Letters to the editor
Published 5:15 pm, Thursday, September 2, 2010
Support Plan E
for school redistricting
Editor's note: The following letter was sent to members of the Board of Education (BOE) and the Fairfield Citizen. The BOE met last night to discuss the proposed redistricting plans. Check our website today for a short report on the meeting and get the full story in Friday's paper.
Dear BOE members:
As local residents for nearly 20 years, and parents of a soon-to-be seventh grader at Tomlinson Middle School, we are firmly behind "Plan E" for the proposed middle school feeder pattern/redistricting plan.
A primary reason for moving to Fairfield was the location of the schools within close proximity to our home, and moving to the Greenfield Hill section of town five years ago was triggered by our desire to keep our son in the neighborhood.
My wife, Angela, and I firmly believe that by dramatically altering the proposed school redistricting for the town forces us to seriously reconsider our future plans in Fairfield. Changing the high school feeder pattern from Ludlowe High School to Warde High School is absolutely wrong, and we are totally against any such redistricting efforts on your part. Simply put, altering the feeder patterns and refusing to consider the grandfathering of students into various high schools in the near future does everyone a serious educational disservice.
We certainly hope that the full BOE considers "Plan E" as the way to go, because any other decision would be considered a disaster for all students, parents and faculty within the Town of Fairfield school system.
money and politics
Having been trusted to captain boats on a few journeys, recreationally with friends aboard, for a quarter of a century in both U.S. and international waters, I was a little put back a few years ago when the Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department replaced the cylindrical aids to navigation marking Fairfield's several Long Island Sound swim areas with spheres.
I had taken a breather from boating for a few years, and I just guessed something had changed, and I wasn't curious enough to check my Chapman's to see what was going on. Surely, with the Coast Guard Auxiliary right there, the Department of Environmental Protection vessel stationed at Benson Marina and the Fairfield Police Marine Unit on constant alert, the aids to navigation would be right, or so I wrongly "assumed," and you know what that means.
The Long Island Sound is navigable waters to many a new boater from far away and, as picky as this may sound, those of us who venture into new waters check our charts, consult a local navigational guide and look way ahead with the binoculars before entering any unknown place. It is all about getting there safely and within the time planned. Although, the shallow passage across Penfield Reef is not marked with an aid to navigation or two -- for reasons I will never understand. If I were coming anew on the Reef, I would expect to see the cylindrical aids and not spheres , which might indicate a mooring or anchorage site off of the beach. As a local, though, it is no big deal.
Early this summer I read a report that during a routine infrequent inspection, the state ordered the spheres removed and replaced with cylinders. The town was not in compliance with the original permit conditions, which I have to guess is a longstanding permit, and was ordered to replace the spheres with the regulation cylinders at a reported cost of $35,000 to the taxpayer.
The Parks and Recreation Director, Gerry Lombardo, was quoted as saying he saw their point. Everybody makes mistakes but this was a huge mistake, that I will never understand, and it really might have created a hazard, and certainly some confusion, for an unfamiliar sailor in recent years -- but who knows?
I found it odd that the Board of Selectmen, all of whom receive compensation from the taxpayer for their time, decided to "punish" the volunteer organizers of the recent referendum, and only schedule a half-day vote, and just two days after the primary. While the Registrar of Voters said it would be a challenge to hold the referendum on the same day, they said they could handle it if that was most convenient for the voters. Two of my very diligent representatives on the RTM were there to advocate for us voters who wanted same day voting, but, in the end, the punishment was meeted out -- and make no mistake the decision was punitive as much as it was intended to doom the referendum to failure if it ever had a chance given the threshold.
The Board of Selectmen didn't want to spend the $20,000 on the full-day referendum and they were not happy about the $10,000 for the half-day either. They really were not too happy that the democratic process was being used to challenge their decision to borrow, tax and spend -- during the worst economic times in my lifetime -- to pay for a questionable, non-essential item. Yet they have never said a word the $30,000 wasted on the aids to navigation, nor vowed to put in place procedures to prevent such lingering, stupid mistakes in the futre.
Personally, I think they should spend more time to make town government run better by breaking down the bureaucracy while demanding excellence and collaboration from the departments, and less time trying to suppress the democratic processes we have defined in the town charter -- as bad as I think they may be -- but that is just one man's opinion.
And, yes, shame on me, for not saying anything. I had some possible knowledge and I should have said something. I had been around the marina and the beach back then, but, quite frankly, saying something about safety precautions to some of the town prima donnas too often has been met with a rash of unwarranted sewage, if not an ignorant attempt at humiliation. And saying anything to this Board of Selectmen is worse than talking to the wall. I made a bad choice but it was for a reason and based on too many unsuccessful experiences.
The current Board of Selectmen, two of whom -- Jim Walsh and Sherri Steeneck -- never faced the voters to earn their positions, have set a tone in town government that, quite frankly, stinks like a dead rat, and it goes to too many corners in our government.
Have a splendid day and watch out; it is dangerous out there. But better days are ahead, I am sure.
for cancer fundraiser sincerely appreciated
I'd like to thank the people of Fairfield (Stamford, New Haven and W. Babylon, N.Y.) for supporting our fundraiser Wednesday night at The Colony Grill here in Fairfield. We raised $1,617.26 for the Kick-It Ride (a motorcycle Ride to Kick Cancer) and the American Cancer Society.
A BIG, "Thank You" to Ken and Mike at the ColonyGrill for allowing us to hold our fundraiser there and also to their entire wait staff. They were amazing. Maybe more amazing were our own men and women in blue: the Fairfield Police Department under the direction of Lt. James Perez. They were even more amazing (according to the wait staff) as they didn't drop a single pizza or drink!
The department members traded their guns for aprons and order pads to collect tips from the customers for "good service." We sometimes overlook our police and fire personnel at times (doggone parking tickets), but they do more than just patrol our town and make it a great place to live.
The Fairfield Citizen and Channel 12 News did a great job of promoting our event, so thanks to them too.
Cancer is something that we don't like to talk about and events like this one, along with St.Baldrick's Day, and Criag Breslow's StrikeThree Foundation, are wonderful ways to remind us that things can get better and make people aware of the real faces of cancer. They show us the generosity of friends and complete strangers as well. Our motorcycle ride is a way of celebrating cancer's survivors as well as those who fought long and hard against this disease.
There were several survivors in our crowd last Wednesday night who came over and said, "Thank you." One was a woman who is a survivor in more than one way. She is a breast cancer survivor as well as a caregiver to her husband, who recently lost his five-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Again, I'd like to thank all those who supported us Wednesday: Colony, the Fairfield PD and the townspeople of Fairfield. Thanks a whole lot.
Chris (Hawk) Kinsley
Kick-It Ride committee member
Egg recall reveals
need for FDA reform
With a recall underway of 380 million eggs that have been contaminated with salmonella, it is important that consumers know that our food safety system in this country is broken. While this episode is one of the most severe food recalls, especially ones that come too late for those who get sick, are all too common.
In part this is due to an impotent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) whose regulatory powers are 70 years out of date. Today, the FDA does not have the power to inspect food processing facilities, order a recall, or regulate imported food. Tragically, this results in 76 million Americans getting sick every year, of which a staggering 325,000 are hospitalized. Around 5,000 people even lose their lives.
While the issue of unsafe food on our grocery store shelves affects all Americans, it especially affects children, who have weaker immune systems. The food that kids eat in school cafeterias can be particularly dangerous. Schools often do not find out about contaminated food until it has already made kids sick and, currently, schools have no way of knowing what food processing companies have a bad history of food contamination.
Fortunately, there is a bill in the Senate right now called the FDA Modernization Act that can fix some of these problems by giving the FDA the teeth it needs to make sure our food is safe. It has already passed the House and enjoys bipartisan support, including that of our own two senators. Since the Senate calendar is so busy right now, however, it is crucial to let Senators Dodd and Lieberman know through calls and letters how urgent it is to pass this legislation now. As this most recent massive recall shows, it would be irresponsible to put this off.
Government sponsored religion
Can someone please explain to me why the U.S. Government is using tax payers' money to fund the rebuilding of several mosques overseas? (See The Washington Times, Aug. 10, 2010)
Why is our government in the business of funding Islamic worship centers? What happened to the separation of church and state?
The left is constantly pushing the "separation clause" and we see their continuous attacks on Judeo-Christian faiths, yet when it comes to the Islamic faith, the left is very supportive. Now, with 70 percent of the American people opposed to the building of a mosque near ground zero, our government once again shows it's supporting the Islamic faith.
Local government has given its approval for a mosque to be built next to ground zero; yet, still opposes the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which stood across the street from the World Trade center until it was reduced to dust on 9/11.
For nine years, the New York Port Authority has refused to let the church be rebuilt. Why? Why is our government eager to spend millions of tax payers' dollars to rebuild mosques overseas and place a mosque near ground zero, yet refuses to allow a church to be rebuilt on its original foundation? Why it is acceptable to the left for our government to fund the rebuilding of Islamic worship centers, yet they fight against any Judeo-Christian issue that involves our government?
We need to stop this insanity; people need to wake up before it is too late. What's next, Sharia law; government-sponsored trips to Mecca and Medina; or Ramadan as a federal holiday?
Ssg. Wynn S. Allen, USA (Ret.)