Letters to the Editor: Student weighs in on Catholic campus contraceptives, Missing Bobinski, special election
Published 10:03 am, Friday, June 2, 2017
I hope this note finds you well. My name is John Hirschauer and I am a rising senior at Fairfield University, of which you just ran a piece discussing the ongoing controversy surrounding the distribution of contraceptives at the college. I am a conservative opinion columnist for The Fairfield Mirror who has been published in The New York Times and The Hartford Courant. I wrote a (controversial) piece on just this subject in my column The Other Side in the Mirror earlier this year that I would be happy to provide as an opposing viewpoint on the issue. It is reproduced (with slight revisions) below:
What Makes a School Catholic? (Originally Entitled “Contraceptives on Campus Defy Jesuit Values”)
I am utterly unsympathetic to the delirium of many at Fairfield who brood over the supposed injustice of a campus without contraception. Despite rhetoric attempting to medicalize the issue, sexual relations are fundamentally different than conditions like typhoid fever or osteoarthritis, in that there is no ethereal force beyond one’s control compelling two individuals to fornicate. If the concept of pregnancy or impregnating another breeds terror, the remarkably simple solution to avoid such an occurrence is to abstain from sexual activity. This, of course, requires self-control, a phrase whose injunction has become synonymous with “intolerance.” If, then, one feels the burden of temperance too great, the local CVS, a five-minute car ride from campus, routinely stocks birth control and contraceptives. Opponents then quiver about the imbalance of vehicular access between upper and underclassmen. The university, of course, offers an hourly shuttle that stops in the CVS plaza. But this is not enough for some students clamoring for Fairfield to fundamentally contravene its moral mission in pursuit of their own personal convenience. The Stag Bus, the university’s free shuttle, runs hourly, forcing students without cars to either wait a daunting 45 minutes for the bus’ return or worse yet, call an Uber. While we’re at it, why don’t we have a deli for cold cuts on campus? How dare the university force freshmen and sophomores to brave the formidable shuttle ride to Stop & Shop when we could easily stock an entire produce section in the Barone Campus Center with a farm and slaughterhouse on the Quad to consolidate the supply chain? If an inconvenient wait time is enough to deter you from buying a condom, I posit you ought to examine your level of commitment to pre-marital copulation.
There is no omniscient force driving individuals at gunpoint to pay tens of thousands in tuition to attend a Catholic university. Fairfield University exists specifically to, according to the university mission: “foster in (students) ethical and religious values” and emphatically states the university is “Catholic in both tradition and spirit.” I would be the first to join critics who say it is impossible to detect Fairfield’s Catholicism, for too often Fairfield bends at the waist to multicultural and gender ideology and forsakes their supposed commitment to the church. But while it goes without saying that non-Catholics attend Fairfield University, that fact is a complete non-sequitur when these same non-Catholics voluntarily pay money to an institution whose mission is openly submissive to the dogmas of the Catholic Church, irrespective of its impotence in professing those values. More plainly, if you don’t like the church’s teachings and a Catholic university’s willingness to follow them, you’re welcome to attend one of the over 4,000 other universities across the United States, many of which are more cost-efficient than Fairfield and concurrently have enough condoms in the campus center to satiate even the most pubescent levels of libido.
Why does this matter? Why not just pacify the student body that, to my knowledge, overwhelmingly supports the placement of contraception in the campus center? Because, for whatever reason, Fairfield has divested itself further and further from its Catholic heritage. I have an inkling that this is due in part to a deep shame about the moral clarity of church thought as regards standards of morality. The church’s belief that the only way to eternal life for individuals cognizant of the truth is through the Roman Catholic Church is inescapably divorced from the kumbaya-singing postmodernism that runs roughshod over colleges nationwide, which has all but jettisoned any objectivism in morality. But if Fairfield does this final act of caving to populist catechetical disdain, it will have forfeited one of its final remaining vestiges that legitimately demarcates it as a Catholic school. It is a moral and intellectual tradition worth preserving, even if a riotous student body decries its inconvenience.
Thank you so much for your work on this very heated topic and please do let me know if you plan to use the article; I can then provide you with a biographical statement if required.
I am writing to express my sadness that the Rich Bobinski RBO Orchestra is not on the lineup of Fairfield’s Summer Concert series this year. Although I am not a resident of Fairfield, my father and I found the music wonderful enough to warrant a trip up I-95 from White Plains to listen when they played, and as I’d look around at the crowd, lots of other people seemed to think so, too. We also loved the atmosphere and enjoyed how you could purchase pizza, ice cream, etc. from local businesses within walking distance to the gazebo.
I hope that Fairfield residents don’t resent when outsiders attend these concerts and hope that they also visit the concerts put on by other surrounding towns. A favorite activity for my family is to gather the concert lineup of all the local towns within driving distance and make a summer schedule for attending outdoor concerts.
What makes the RBO concert in Fairfield so special to me? It is the one concert in which my dad will get up, hobble over to the dance floor, drop his can, hold onto me and polka! As I look around the dance floor, other people, young and old are also enjoying the music.
I called the Fairfield Recreation office to ask why they dropped this concert and was told that it was a matter of money and if I wanted to sponsor the concert, it would cost $800.
I do think that for all the people who seem to enjoy this concert it is worth it, but as a substitute teacher, I don’t really have that kind of money. However, I would be happy to contribute an eighth of the cost of this concert.
If someone would like to sponsor the concert or chip in to sponsor it, I guess you can contact the Fairfield Parks and Recreation office and talk to them. You can keep my intended portion as a thank you contribution.
Maybe if enough people chip in smaller amounts like mine, we can all meet up again this summer to waltz, polka and do all of the other dances to the orchestra.
I am not affiliated with the RBO Orchestra.
Kiley is the right thing
It is also essential to reversing a self-destructive trend taking hold in town politics.
Over the course of 22 years of public service, Kevin was both careful with our money and a strong supporter of the services that make us an attractive and vibrant community. He put the town first and thus fell out of favor with his former Republican party for not being radical enough.
Republicans, who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of this election and feel entitled to power without input from voters, are now determined to make unsustainable budget cuts resulting in a failure to sufficiently fund core services.
The budget vote on May 1 made clear the RTM Republican majority is answering to a special interest group offering misleading data and a growing hostility toward support for education and libraries, literally the pillars of our community. They share a dogmatic policy of austerity that will end up costing taxpayers more in the long run.
The RTM majority’s reckless action to cut $825,000 from contingency was done without transparency or disclosure to either the Democratic caucus or to the public. This was especially dangerous considering the uncertainty of state aid in the current budget cycle and beyond.
Appeals against this cut made by the Board of Finance, which restored to contingency unsustainable cuts made by the Republican led Board of Selectman, including one-third each of our paving and library materials budgets, were ignored.
Proposals to cut two positions at Town Hall were never disclosed to their respective department heads. Both were political in nature and had no effect on the budget. This isn’t good governance.
It is one-party rule lacking in both transparency and decency.
If we continue down this path, we face a decline in town services or a supplemental tax bill. Perhaps both. It is fiscally reckless and irresponsible to say the least.
Simply put, electing Kevin Kiley on June 6 will restore both civility and fiscal responsibility to Fairfield.
Vote Ed Bateson
Now that the courts (and not the Democrat Town Committee) have decided that a special election is to be held on June 6, we are free at this time to discuss the relative qualifications of the two candidates in this special election for the Board of Selectmen. For the past eight-plus years we have known and supported Ed Bateson and until just recently we have never found fault with Ed’s opponent, Kevin Kiley.
We have worked with both Ed and Kevin, and they are good people; but the simple fact is that Ed Bateson possesses qualities of leadership which Kevin Kiley does not. Ed is clear-thinking, decisive and persuasive. He is able to break down complex problems and communicate solutions to those problems in simple terms, and Ed Bateson commands a historical perspective of Fairfield governance which is both remarkable and unequaled.
Contrary to the narrative being spun out the DTC, Ed Bateson is very much about Fairfield. For Ed Bateson, it is the town first and party second, and it always will be. Kevin Kiley is a capable administrator, but Ed Bateson is someone on whom we can rely for his leadership. Ed Bateson is the clear choice for selectman, in our view he is the only choice.
Vote Bateson on June 6
The choice for Fairfield is clear on June 6. Ed Bateson, in his short time as Selectman, has shown that he has the skillset and abilities to make the tough choices required in these difficult financial times.
This year, Selectman Bateson voted to reduce the First Selectman’s tax increase from 4.5 percent to 1.3 percent while yet restoring $2 million in the First Selectman’s proposed cuts to the Fairfield Public School System.
As a father of a Fairfield public school student and the son of a former Fairfield Public School teacher, Ed understands the importance of a strong educational system. As a small business owner, Ed also understands that there are times when we have to do more with less. Ed is strident in his belief that we can and will work to find efficiencies in local government.
He is a strong proponent of transitioning Fairfield from the failed carry-over budgeting system to a zero-based budget approach. Zero-based municipal budgeting has worked to successfully root out waste and control spending in business and government.
Most importantly, on June 6 we need to maintain the current system of “checks and balances” on local government and First Selectman Mike Tetreau in particular. It is clear that Tetreau does not like being in the minority on the Board of Selectmen as it is difficult for him to emulate the tax and spend policies of his good friend Gov. Dan Malloy here in Fairfield. We also know all too well that Tetreau’s control of the Board of Selectmen in the past led to record tax increases with little or no found government efficiencies.
Ask yourself: With the rebuilding of the beach area since Sandy, small homes have been replaced with million-dollar properties. Where has the additional tax revenue gone? Moreover, we have yet to feel the impact of GE leaving and that is going to have lasting effects on our town. To make matters worse, Fairfield Democrats are now under investigation for potentially violating campaign finance laws. Can they really be trusted with full control of your finances if they can’t represent their own finances accurately?
We need to stand up to Gov. Malloy’s proposed cuts to funding in Fairfield. We need a strong voice on the Board of Selectmen and not a rubber stamp. We need Ed Bateson.
We hope that you will join us in supporting Ed Bateson for Selectman on June 6. Ed has shown he is the right person for the job and his efforts over the last several months have been impressive.
Ed deserves a chance to continue to serve and produce real results for all the residents of Fairfield.
A vote for Fairfield’s future
Over the past months, I have become aware of the need for change in our local government. The June 6 Board of Selectmen special election is an opportunity to cast a vote for government accountability and financial responsibility.
When a member of Fairfield’s Board of Selectmen resigned a year into a four-year term, town residents successfully petitioned for a special election to fill the seat. Without the legal authority to do so, the Republican-controlled board declared the election null and void. Despite multiple court rulings against them, Republican selectmen continue to fight against this lawful election, spending taxpayer money to prevent the people from choosing their own representative. It is unlikely that we will know the exact cost of these legal actions until well after the special election is over.
Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Representative Town Meeting (RTM) recently voted to cut the majority of our town’s contingency funding from the budget, against the recommendations of the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen, and despite protests from Democrats on the RTM. This fiscally irresponsible and shortsighted move means that any unforeseen expense exposes Fairfield to funding shortfalls in the short term and higher tax rates in the long term.
As someone who works in the financial services industry, I find the decisions made by the Board of Selectmen and RTM over the past several months to be troubling. Members of our government are public servants, and should be committed to promoting long-term economic growth and success for Fairfield and its residents, rather than preserving their own power and that of their party.
On June 6, I will vote for Kevin Kiley to restore financial responsibility to Fairfield’s government. A long-time Fairfield resident, Kevin served on the Board of Finance for 15 years and has a record of supporting smart and responsible financial decisions. Kevin eschews partisanship, instead putting the welfare of Fairfield and its citizens first. If elected, Kevin will work in the best interests of his constituents to solve the many pressing financial issues facing our town.
Democracy must not be a spectator sport. Make your voice on June 6 at the special election for the Board of Selectmen. Vote for Kevin Kiley for Selectman. Kevin has spent the last 22 years serving the town of Fairfield in many roles including RTM, Board of Finance and Selectman. Kevin’s work in finance gives him the important background for this job, especially now that the state of Connecticut in facing fiscal crisis.
Over his years of public service, Kevin has fought for our public schools, lowered taxes for seniors and delivered sensible and fiscally responsible budgets. He puts people above politics, a principle missing from too many elected officials today. He has a clear plan to keep Fairfield desirable and affordable.
Your polling place is the same as the Presidential election last year. The election June 6 is open to all voters in Fairfield. Vote for Kevin Kiley.
Please vote for Edward Bateson for the Board of Selectmen in the special election on Tuesday, June 6.
He is well-qualified and has been a longtime member of the RTM. He knows how to keep our taxes down without reducing funding for our schools and town services.
Frankly, I feel that this whole exercise is unnecessary and huge waste of money. If the Democrats feel that it is essential, let them pay all of our (i.e. the town’s) expenses out of their coffers. Why should we pay for this silliness?I have not seen any justification for or the necessity of a special election either in the newspapers or in any judicial proceedings.
We will be voting for Kevin Kiley for the vacant Selectman’s position when the special election is held in Fairfield on June 6. Kevin has the experience and knowledge to continue serving Fairfield as Selectman. Kevin will continue to listen to the people of Fairfield and work with our Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, and with members on the RTM.
Kevin has 22 years of public service and an extensive financial background. He has fought for senior tax relief, improvements for our schools, and has always put the people of Fairfield first.
We attended Candidates Night on May 24, which was sponsored by yhe League of Women Voters in Fairfield. Kevin answered the questions from the attendees thoroughly and thoughtfully. Kevin is professional and willing to work well with everyone for the benefit of the Fairfield community.
Please support Kevin on June 6 at the special election. Kevin has been a valuable asset to Fairfield and has earned our vote.
Vote against Kevin Kiley
The pro-Kiley, pro-illegitimate special election letters, (or propaganda would be a better word) are pouring into the newspapers. There are so many letters coming in that I do not know if the Fairfield Citizen News will be able to find space for my letter. I hope they can.
A group of ringleaders from the Fairfield Education Association, (FEA teacher’s union), the DTC, and certain politically ambitious members of the RTM have intentionally ignored, disregarded, and violated the rules and regulations of the governing document of the town, the Fairfield town charter. The rules of the charter clearly state that when a selectman resigns another selectman must be appointed within 30 days of the resignation. That requirement was met and Mr. Ed Bateson was appointed before the 30 days expired. If the board did not appoint an individual before the 30 days had expired then a special election would be legitimately called for.
Since Mr. Bateson was appointed within 30 days why is there a special election? The fact of the matter is that a special election in this specific case is illegitimate since Mr. Bateson was appointed legitimately. It should not be taking place because the rules and regulations of the Fairfield town charter were subverted by a group of ringleaders. The ringleaders support for the illegitimate special election was to act according to their own unruly wills. This will lead to anarchy. The ringleaders have professed their love for free and open elections, yet they have run roughshod over the Fairfield town charter. The illegitimate special election is a screen or shield to cover their anarchic actions. The legitimate Board of Selectmen and town charter are the best possible protectors of the taxpayer’s liberties from anarchic excesses. The Board of Selectmen had its inherent right to fill the vacancy according to the town charter. The ringleaders or petitioners are without legal authority.
Think about the following: what need is there for the Fairfield town charter if it is simply disregarded by a group of ringleaders who are pursuing their own private political agenda? When rules are ignored other people will say “well if they managed to pull this off then I will try it also.” The fact that the ringleaders have carried it this far is a clear and present danger to the Fairfield town charter. The ringleaders “will of the people” explanation is totally disingenuous and they know it however they will use it if they can get away with it.
How did the ringleaders manage to get their case on the docket as quickly as they did? Who paid for the filing of their complaint and other court costs? How about attorney’s fees? Who paid for all this, Fairfield’s taxpayers? The ringleaders and their sycophants will say they are following the law because a trial court judge approved the illegitimate special election.The ground for the judge’s decision was not the Fairfield town charter but the judge’s own personal beliefs. The rights of all of Fairfield’s taxpayers were dependent on the arbitrary ruling of a judge whose ruling in favor of the illegitimate special election was an error and might be reversed upon appeal to the higher appellate court. That is why we have appellate courts to monitor possible errors on the trial court level. The judge is a human like everyone else. All humans can make a mistake.
What is even more incredible or audacious is that the minority of ringleaders expect all of Fairfield’s taxpayers to pay for their illegitimate special election. The ringleaders sense of entitlement is shocking, as if they are entitled to this illegitimate special election. A spoiled child acts that way when he or she does not get what they want.
What is even more shocking is this minority of ringleaders cannot even wait until the next legitimate election cycle takes place. They demand an election now even when it is clearly illegitimate. How can this be condoned by the majority of law abiding citizens who follow society’s rules?
I suggest that the majority of Fairfield’s taxpayers vote against Kevin Kiley on June 6 the illegitimate special election candidate who is attempting to usurp a position on the board of selectmen. Despite the false propaganda in the media a heavy turnout of fed up taxpayers will defeat Kevin Kiley. I suggest voting for Ed Bateson. Thank you.
As a Fairfield public school teacher and a member of the Fairfield Education Association, I am writing to corroborate its endorsement of Kevin Kiley to fill the spot on the Board of Selectmen vacated by Laurie McCardle late last year. Recognizing that many will quickly assume that the FEA’s endorsement of Mr. Kiley was inevitable and point to political expediency, that simply fails to hold up to the truth and in actuality diminishes the credibility of our association.
Since the cost of education is the largest segment of the town’s budget along with the importance of the selectmen’s role, the FEA decided to hold a public forum to pose questions to the two candidates, Mr. Kiley and Mr. Ed Bateson. The original date offered to Mr. Bateson was rejected but he did accept an alternate date. Mr. Kiley in fact had to rearrange a planned business travel schedule to meet the alternative date to only learn at the last minute that Mr. Bateson would not make this date either, citing the ongoing appeal in the courts intended to stop the special election entirely. Thankfully, at some point in the very near future, both Mr. Bateson and Mr. Tymniak will stop wasting the town’s money (unnecessary legal fees) which ironically they typically voice to be so concerned about, and finally come to accept that the special election will proceed as more than 3,000 citizens of our town hoped and petitioned for. Furthermore, Mr. Kiley was considerate enough to attend the forum and field questions solo.
There was no preconceived notion on the part of the association to endorse any candidate. In fact, it was quite possible after listening to positions and evaluating how questions were answered along with prior voting records in public office that the association would choose to remain quiet and not endorse either candidate. However, after careful and serious consideration of Mr. Kiley’s views and answers to a number of challenging questions about not only education related issues but also additional town and state wide issues, it became clear that Mr. Kiley was knowledgeable, thoughtful, open minded, inclusive and refreshingly humble and measured in recognizing where he would need additional information before forming an opinion. His previous voting record on the RTM and Board of Finance only further validated these impressions. Contrast that with Mr. Bateson’s refusal to even attend, but couple that with a voting record of repeated cuts to the education budget along with rejecting teachers and administrators contracts that were collectively bargained with the Board of Education, it was clear we should not sit idly by.
Fairfield will be well served with Mr. Kiley seated on the Board of Selectman. We can only hope that Fairfield residents understand the importance of who we choose to sit on this powerful and influential board and take the time to come out to vote on June 6. The expectations of a strong turnout are unfortunately slight. Let’s prove that wrong… it’s a special election and especially important to seat Kevin Kiley as our selectman!
I write as a 25-year resident of Fairfield and a member of the “sandwich” generation…those of us juggling the needs of school-age children with aging parents. These dual concerns define many of my personal choices, and I believe I am not alone. Indeed, the town of Fairfield finds itself in similar circumstances. Fairfield has always attempted to balance the needs of our children alongside the needs of our senior citizens. It is a delicate situation that requires a deft touch and awareness that both ends of the town’s population deserve attention.
Thankfully, we have had Kevin Kiley keeping watch. In his 15 years as a member of the Board of Finance, he has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of both of these cohorts. Kevin is aware that our seniors most often are confronted with physical or financial limitations that require special focus; at the same time, the value and investment of all of our homes, and the future opportunities available to our children, depend on a strong school system. Through 22 years of public service, Kevin has whittled and honed the annual budget to be as fiscally responsible as possible, without overtaxing our citizens and without damaging our schools.
It’s not an easy task, particularly as partisan politics in Fairfield have escalated. Even in tense times, Kevin has always put the needs of the people of Fairfield above politics. I personally worked with Kevin on several issues, and found him to be reasonable, non-partisan and effective. Kevin brings knowledge and compassion to whatever office he occupies. His work on the RTM, BOF, and BOS is a testament to his even-tempered, reasonable approach to each vote. We are extremely fortunate that he wants to serve! I wish all of our public servants were like Kevin: committed to people over politics. We would all be better off.
On June 6, I’m voting for a civil, sustainable future for Fairfield … which I why I’ll be voting for Kevin Kiley.
I’m supporting Kiley
During the RTM’s 2016 budget debate, Ed Bateson showed his true colors when he said “We need more years like 2013. The Town needs to increase revenues like that every year.” As a representative of District 9—which includes the beach area—I was horrified and appalled by Bateson’s comments.
The higher revenues the Town saw in 2013 were due to building permit fees charged to families rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. As a beach area resident, I experienced first-hand the destruction Sandy left behind. It was devastating to my neighborhood and neighbors, causing untold mental and financial stress and hardship. I could not believe a fellow RTM Member was so out of touch that he was wishing for more years when the town budget could be padded by fees collected on the backs of suffering beach area taxpayers.
Either Bateson lacks compassion for his fellow Fairfielders or he exercised poor judgment. Whatever it was, that moment showed me he doesn’t have what it takes to lead.
On June 6, I am supporting Kevin Kiley. Kevin is a 22 year elected volunteer who has shown good judgment, fiscal responsibility, and the compassion that his opponent lacks. He’s exactly who we need on the Board of Selectmen.
Palmer backs Bateson
Ed Bateson was duly appointed as the replacement on the Board of Selectmen by First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Selectman Chris Tymniak back in December 2016. The process went as it always had gone with plenty of recent precedent to support this. Then a cabal of lawless, power hungry members of the Fairfield Democrat Party colluded with partisan Town officials to violate the Town Charter and force a special election to try to steal a seat on the Board of Selectmen, again, all after this matter was resolved back in December.
But since appointed in December, Bateson has only proven why we need him so badly on the Board of Selectmen and why it is important to cast your vote for him in a Special Election on Tuesday, June 6. Bateson has given voice to Fairfielder’s who don’t follow or care about politics - they just expect their elected officials to use common sense and to work with a sense of urgency, to address the serious problems we face. We have lacked this kind of leadership on the Board of Selectmen for way too long and are paying for it with mismanagement and cost overruns on school building projects and looming budget shortfalls.
Bateson is very much about Fairfield
Now that the courts (and not the Democrat Town Committee) have decided that a Special Election is to be held on June 6 we are free at this time to discuss the relative qualifications of the two candidates in this Special Election for the Board of Selectman. For the past eight plus years we have known and supported Ed Bateson and until just recently we have never found fault with Ed’s opponent, Kevin Kiley. We have worked with both Ed and Kevin, and they are good people; but the simple fact is that Ed Bateson possesses qualities of leadership which Kevin Kiley does not. Ed is clear thinking, decisive and persuasive. He is able to break down complex problems and communicate solutions to those problems in simple terms, and Ed Bateson commands a historical perspective of Fairfield governance which is both remarkable and unequaled.