Letters to the editor
Published 1:01 am, Friday, November 6, 2009
I would like to thank the voters of Westport for their support in re-electing me to the Board of Education. I am honored by this, and I renew my commitment to non-partisan collaboration, inclusion, fact- based analysis and active listening as my approach to serving on the Board. I congratulate my fellow candidates, Mike McGovern, Don O'Day and Elaine Whitney, on conducting a positive campaign and for working together to find opportunities to meet with, and listen to, a wide variety of Westport voters. I look forward to working with all of the Board of Education members to keep the Westport Public Schools among the premier school systems in the country. I encourage all Westporter's to continue to contact me by e-mail at email@example.com.
I want to express my deepest appreciation to all my campaign supporters. Your willingness to vote for me, display a campaign sign or write a letter of support to this newspaper is deeply appreciated.
I also want to thank Ted Youngling Jr. for serving once again as my campaign treasurer. And thank you to my wife, Mary Ellen, for her constant encouragement, insight and willingness to let me stay out at late evening meetings throughout this campaign and my past four years on the Board.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution to our community by our retiring member of the Board of Education, Kristin LaFleur. The knowledge, energy and enthusiasm that she brought to the board will be missed.
Member, Board of Education,
Starr thanks constituents
Dear friends, neighbors and residents of District 1,
Thank you for your vote of confidence on Nov. 3 returning me to the RTM to represent you for two more years. I appreciate your trust and will work hard to be sure that I am worthy of it. Please feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 227-1843. Together we can work to ensure that our district and our town are the best that we can be.
Again, my heartfelt thanks for the honor of representing you, both for four terms past and the fifth ahead.
RTM District 1,
Thank you, District 7
Without the voters in District 7, I would not have the honor and pleasure to serve for yet another term. Thank you for the gift of your vote and trust. I continue my pledge to represent you all with honesty and the best of my ability. It was good seeing you at the poll on Election Day and getting to hear from you. Please always feel free to contact me with any questions, complaints, comments and, yes, even compliments.
Stephen Rubin, RTM 7,
Congratulations to First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Second Selectwoman Shelly Kassen on their reelection. In addition, we want to thank all of the voters of Westport for once again choosing to have all of the boards and commissions remain under Democratic leadership. We also congratulate all of the returning and new members of the RTM.
Apart from the hard work and dedication of all of the Democratic candidates to present a positive, informative campaign I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the people who helped made the campaign a success. First and foremost we have to thank Dora and Burt Stuttman. Not only did they work tirelessly for the campaign but have always been there to provide support. Democratic Town Committee Vice Chairman Cecile Newberg, Secretary Ed Marcantonio and Treasurer Alan Shinbaum made our success possible. Getting out the vote was a crucial component in this year's election. Thank you to Joe Scordato, Debbie Rath, Susan Witkow and all of the dedicated people who made so many calls to inform the voters of Westport. We couldn't have done it without you.
Ultimately, this election wasn't about politics but what is best for our town. We welcome our Republican challengers to join us and work for all of the residents of Westport.
The Westport Democrats welcome your comments and invite you to visit our Web site, westportdemocrats.org.
Westport Democratic Town Committee
Every incumbent won in our recent local elections in Westport. I was one of the non incumbents. This correlation of incumbency to victory may or may not be a neutral fact.
It may evidence that Westporters are broadly content with the decisions and directions taken by its local political leaders. It may evidence that the opposition candidates were less capable than the incumbents or outside the mainstream of the majority view. It may evidence institutional pressures, arising both from the structure and practices of government and in the mental mind-sets of voters. It may evidence the absence of differences between the competing candidates. It may evidence that the candidates who won were "better" for Westport based upon their records to date and concerns over the future actions of their opponents, if change occurred.
Others will have their own list of explanations, including references to voter turnout.
For me, my primary hope is that the fact that every incumbent who won evidences thoughtful choices by the voters, based upon all available information. To phrase the concept from another direction, for those who read this letter to the editor with indifference or who decide to stop reading, that might suggest that the choices may not have met that standard.
to serving again
Many thanks, of course, to the people of District 8 who voted to allow me to represent them again on the RTM. I look forward to following through on work I've started and tackling issues on the horizon.
Chief among my concerns (no surprise to anyone) are concerns involving environment and health; our education system; the vitality of our arts and cultural scene; building community; and tightening our financial practices. Work the RTM takes on in these areas should benefit all Westporters. I again ask my constituents and others in town who are interested in receiving occasional updates and questions about opinions to let me know via-mail, at either of the following: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also contact me if you have questions or issues of your own. I'm also wondering if District 8 residents would attend monthly or bi-monthly district brown-bag lunches.
Thanks also to the people who worked so hard to "get out the vote" and those who ensured the elections ran smoothly, to the news media who deconstructed complex issues for readers, to those who supported me publicly (and others, at home), and to everyone who stepped up to offer to serve the community.
RTM District 8,
Where's the threat?
Normally I would not respond to differing opinions expressed in the heat of a political campaign. But Democratic Chairman Jim Ezzes says I "threatened" him. Since threats are not part of my Lexicon and Ezzes' remarks are so personal and if left unchallenged, denigrating, I am answering.
The "threat" in Ezzes' published letter turns out to be my statement:
--¦if either Howard Lathrop or Ron Corwin were to get the endorsement (of the Democratic Town Commitee) that Save Westport Now would not only not endorse the two men but would actively go against them in the press and advertising." Although not quoted by Ezzes, I also said that there was a lot of anger out there about the way the Y hearings were conducted and that he might want to consider that. Ezzes disagreed and said Corwin was "well regarded."
I had called Ezzes as a courtesy to let him know what we at Save Westport Now were thinking. As a former Democratic Town Committee chairman, I know how difficult it is to find suitable candidates for all elected positions and I thought he ought to know what our position was, for whatever it was worth. I also mentioned several names for their Search Comittee to consider.
Forgive me, but I don't see anything that could be called a "threat" unless the very existence of Save Westport Now and its opposition to the Democratic choice was so considered. If that is the case I am flattered at the import and status assigned to Save Westport Now.
Incidentally, Ezzes had no problem with our endorsement in prior years of both Corwin and Lathrop.
Ezzes goes on to say some things that need contradiction. "The candidate they chose to endorse agreed to their rigid and uninformed agenda." Save Westport Now has a general platform that is the base of the organization's activities and has been over the years: Prevent over- commercialization. That has led us into protecting neighborhoods, protecting the aquifer and environment and monitoring zoning and planning as they impact our aims. Is that "uninformed?" He says the rigidity of that platform --¦prohibits an impartial, unbiased and educated decision" (by our elected candidate) Save Westport Now has never, never approached a sponsored and elected member of the P&Z and asked for anything.
We appear before town boards year `round and plead a case on its merits. Our elected candidates have no reference to Save Westport Now until the next election. They are quite able to make appropriate decisions without reference to anyone.
Shall I go on? Ezzes seems to find it "unconstitutional and undue influence" for us to urge voters to vote only for our candidate although they may vote for three. Actually, the way the votes are counted, the three candidates with the most votes are seated. Since Save Westport Now is contesting only one seat, why should we ask for competitive votes? From what I learned at law school I say we're not depriving anybody of their "constitutional right" to vote or not vote as they wish.
I am glad to have Ezzes thinking out in the open where it can be controverted. Perhaps I can change his mind, at least about some items, and we can be friends again.
Save Westport Now,
Don't spend money we don't have
It seems the consequences of one-party rule, whether in Hartford or Washington, is always the same: unrestrained spending, and huge deficits for future generations.
Last April when Jim Himes voted for the bloated $3.5 trillion budget, he said, "Today I voted for a budget that is responsible, honest, and forward-looking. This budget will reduce the national deficit by two-thirds in four years." [April 2 press release available on himes.house.gov.] Fewer than six months later, deficit projections have gone up by $2 trillion.
This is not merely a case of hindsight being 20/20: before voting for runaway spending, Himes voted against freezing domestic spending. With the national debt hearing $12 trillion, now Himes is poised to follow Pelosi into authorizing more debt.
If you or I reach the limit on our credit card, we put the credit card away. For Jim Himes and the Democratic Congress that's the wrong answer -- they're about to raise the limit on the government's credit card, yet again.
The country is facing great challenges, but the answer to every problem cannot be to spend money we don't have and borrow against our children's future.
Whether Himes recklessly misjudged the economy by $2 trillion or was just robotically following Nancy Pelosi's lead (as he does on more than 95 percent of votes according to the Washington Post), we have a problem.
Rob Russo is a former state Senator, and is a candidate for Congress in the 4th district.
Know it. Fight it.
With the recent passing of prominent American figures such as actor Patrick Swayze and NCAA President Myles Brand, pancreatic cancer has been in the national spotlight yet many people don't realize the severity of the disease and the urgent need for early detection methods and effective treatment options.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in our country and the most lethal among leading cancer killers with a five-year survival rate of just 5 percent. Seventy-six percent of patients die within the first twelve months of diagnosis because there are no early detection methods and the disease is often diagnosed when it has spread to other organs.
As November nears, and we commemorate National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, now, more than ever we must: "Know it. Fight it. End it." Pancreatic cancer has long been overlooked and under-funded among the leading top five cancer killers.
I volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a nationwide network of people dedicated to advancing research and supporting patients. You can be a part of the movement to bring hope to those affected by the disease.
Visit www.pancan.org to learn how to get involved today.
Together we can make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
East Setauket, N.Y.