Political talk should be seen as critical

To the Editor:

In the article “Board of Education developing policy on political expression in schools,” Jessica Gerber and Jennifer Maxon-Kenelly of the Education Policy Subcommittee are said to begin discussions on regulating political discourse within our schools. They express fear “of politics getting contentious,” and how we must impose rules to stop “hypothetical” situations in which children might be arguing about present-day issues in our political system.

Imposing speech regulations is far from innocuous. It is dangerous, and a threat to the very foundations upon which this country was built. Furthermore, they are a threat to the ideals which we must instill in our children and which we must strive to build our education around. Limiting political discussions in schools and other public spaces is the beginning of a slow descent into widespread mandated censorship that we are seeing throughout the world today.

We must teach our children how to have important discussions with their peers. We must teach our children how to listen to an opposing point of view and to validate these views. Students should not be sheltered from hearing and truly listening to others’ thoughts and principles. We must teach our children how to have open and honest dialectics. This is how they will cope in the real world.

Politics should be seen as a critical extension to the classes that are taught today. Understanding the fundamental principles of science and philosophy is important, but we must also teach our young adults how to apply this knowledge to make an impact on the world. Whether we like this or not, policy and regulations are the essential means in which we can do this.

To deprive these young adults of any open discourse regarding politics, is to strip them of the ability to use their knowledge to implement real-world actions, and to make the world a better place.

Laura Ehrenkranz

Fairfield

Editor’s note: The letter writer is a retired Fairfield teacher.

Herley has a problem

To the Editor:

Michael Herley has a problem with traffic in Fairfield.

Herley may have a point, but a resolution is unlikely soon. Consider U.S. Route 1 from Eastport, Maine, to where the highway ends in Florida. From start to finish, the route runs through every town along the route. One Maine town built a roundabout highway just so traffic could skip its own town in order for the nonstop traffic to get to the next town where one will get stuck at light after light and stop sign after stop sign, and one delay after another in order to get the downtown location of choice, or to a stop at any attraction along the way, be it an eatery or a “whatever” merchandizer, called “Do Drop In.”

If one lives in Fairfield, it is what it is, and one must drive with it or not, expect delays, difficulty parking, insolent drivers and accident-averse pedestrians.

I recently read that one guy bought the town, to avoid this problem. Yes! He bought the town and paid to have traffic diverted around it. But he owns two yachts, a golf course, and a jet airplane. But I think you still have to drive Route 1 to get to his town. Although I heard that you could fly in.

Gerard Coulombe

Fairfield

Deepest thanks

To the Editor:

Operation Hope of Fairfield wishes to express our deepest thanks to the guests, sponsors and local businesses, individuals and volunteers who supported our 17th annual Evening of Hope on May 3 at the Burr Mansion in Fairfield. Your support enables us to continue taking care of our neighbors in need.

Evening of Hope celebrates our Community Heroes, named in honor of those who helped envision and create Operation Hope over 30 years ago. This year’s honorees were Rabbi James Prosnit, Congregation B’nai Israel; Evie Eckert Angel, Angel Commercial; and Harry B. French, Henry C. Reid & Son Jewelers. We are blessed to have these Community Heroes’ support and dedication to our shared commitment to this special community.

We are grateful to our sponsors for making the event a smashing success: Diamond Sponsors AvalonBay Communities and Alan and Betty Feldman; Ruby Sponsors Black Rock Church, People’s United Bank and Santa Energy; Emerald Sponsors First County Bank, Integrated Print Solutions and the Store at First Church Congregational; Sapphire Sponsors Bank of America, Congregation B’nai Israel, Lamburt Corp. Insurance, Shaughnessey Banks Funeral & Cremation Services, Turner Construction Co. and TVEyes. Thank you, too, to our generous in-kind sponsors: Abbey Tent & Party Rentals, CAPRI, Henry C. Reid & Son Jewelers, Regina Madwed/Capitol PhotoInteractive, Mo’s Wine & Spirits and Tequila Revolución; and to our media sponsor, Fairfield Magazine/TownVibe.

The recently renovated Burr Mansion provided a lovely backdrop for a festive evening filled with fun, friends and fundraising centered on the theme of “CincOH de Mayo.” Many thanks to DJ Jim Money and caterer Best in Gourmet for transporting us to Mexico and turning our event into a fiesta!

We rely heavily on volunteers to fulfill our mission, and are indebted to the many volunteers and employees who helped plan and staff the event. Special thanks to Committee Chairman Darrin Fodor for leading the charge, and to the committee members for their hard work.

Operation Hope has been proudly serving this community for over 30 years. The programs and services we offer have changed over time, but our mission to end hunger and homelessness is as relevant today as it was when we first opened. We will be evolving again to meet the challenges faced by those who are newly homeless, opening our Homeless Response Center this summer. This increased focus on outreach, engagement, diversion and problem solving will contribute to the coordinated effort across our county to end homelessness. This, combined with our housing programs, clinical support and case management, aim to help people solve their homelessness more quickly. And our food pantry and community meal service will continue to fight hunger and food insecurity for our struggling neighbors. With your support, we will reach a day when everyone in our community has supportive relationships, hope for the future and a place to call home.

Carla Miklos

Executive director

Operation Hope of Fairfield

Proud of Fairfield, proud of budget

To the Editor:

We were proud to join the large bipartisan majority of members of the Representative Town Meeting last Monday in approving the town budget without changes. The budget represents an effort by the town to maintain services while addressing large cuts in funding from the state and attempting to keep tax increases in town to a minimum. This is a challenging time for Connecticut’s towns, and we believe that Fairfield’s town leaders and boards have risen to the occasion and created a budget that will work well in the coming year.

The budget as brought to the RTM had been carefully crafted by the first selectman and approved by the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance with very few changes. Many hours were spent by those boards, the Board of Education and the RTM in hearings, reviewing the budget proposal, listening to department heads explain their budget requests, asking questions and discussing the proposal. The budget does include some reductions in funding, particularly to the Department of Public Works, but when faced with the choice of cutting some items from the budget or increasing the taxes of Fairfield’s citizens, town leaders chose to make the difficult choice to make some cuts.

We are very fortunate to live in a town that is well-managed and conservatively financed, yet provides services that we all treasure: a wonderful library system, beautiful parks and beaches, excellent schools, and so much more. We want to thank all of the town leaders for their hard work during this budget season, as well as the citizens who participated in the process through their attendance at meetings and emails to and conversations with town leaders.

Karen Wackerman

Fairfield RTM majority leader

Phil Pires

Fairfield RTM moderator

Jill Vergara

Fairfield RTM deputy majority leader