Election ’15 letters: Final round of reader comments
Updated 10:09 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015
Rea backed for new finance term
The RTM is a non-partisan body, and we are glad that it is: the representative's job is simply to do the right thing for the town, putting aside other agendas. Including politics. We worked with Michael Rea on the RTM, and we have seen that ethic demonstrated in his work on the Board of Finance.
Mike's goal is to fill the needs of the town. Not surprising, since he grew up here, with his wife raised their children here, and has spent three decades volunteering here including as a current member of the Board of Finance, past chairman of the RTM Finance Committee, chairman of the Parks and Rec Commission and head of the Bedford Building Committee (project completed on time and under budget). He accomplished these things while working to manage successfully budgets, resources and personnel of a global corporation in his professional life.
His insight into what can be done is well-informed and practical. We admire his openness to new thinking along with his experience in real-life problem solving. He is certainly financially astute and has contributed to the righting of long-term town fiscal issues. But he is also dedicated to environmental protection, to school and community safety, to the health and welfare of all our residents. He supported Wakeman Town Farm. He supported the library when weekend-closings were threatened. He places a priority on maintaining all town resources better than we have been doing lately (given recent recession-strict budgets). Mike brings a sharp mind and kind disposition to the work that needs to be done.
We strongly recommend that Westport re-elects Mike Rea to the Board of Finance in the upcoming election.
Don’t vote for any school board candidate
Not a single candidate for the Board of Education deserves your vote.
While stopping short of supporting Motherhood and World Peace, all their platforms contain nothing but meaningless platitudes. Not a single candidate said a single word about fiscal restraint, reining in the budget, making difficult choices or cutting back on the "nice to have" but not mandatory programs and improvements. They all speak as if the current level of spending is once again cut to the bone, although recent actions by our current superintendent once again clearly show that similar claims in past years were simply not true.
We can only hope that someday we will get someone on the Board of Education that realizes that this is not about "other people’s money.”
Students urge Klinge’s re-election to RTM
Our names are Maggie Brown, Kristin Munley, Gillian Rozynek and Colby Siegel, and we are writing to you today on behalf of Jack Klinge’s campaign for RTM District 7. All four of us are seniors at Staples High School, and have had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Klinge through his work as a substitute teacher at Staples and his many involvements in the Westport community.
Mr. Klinge has been a substitute teacher at our schools for as long as we can remember. He has been a substitute teacher at Bedford Middle School, Coleytown Middle School and Staples High School for 18 years. He has three children who have all been educated through the Westport public school system. He has also been on the Safe Rides Board since it was founded in Westport.
In conjunction with his work in the Westport education system, Mr. Klinge has served on the Selectman’s Maintenance Committee for 15 years. He has also worked with the same family for the Westport Mentor Program for 15 years. Additionally, many people around Staples High School refer to Mr. Klinge as Coach K due to his role as a Little League manager for 13 seasons. Most recently, he has joined the Senior Center Enhancement Committee.
Mr. Klinge has been a senior serving member for RTM for 18 years. He has participated in the Education Committee, Parks and Rec Committee and the Public Works Committee. He is also the chair of Health and Human Services.
Multiple awards have been given to Mr. Klinge in recognition for his service. He received the Paul Harris Rotary Fellow and the Westport Service to Seniors award in 2013. He also received the Red Cross Have a Heart Award, the Women’s Club Service Award, and the Friends Lifetime Achievement award.
It is evident that Mr. Klinge has been an extremely hardworking and influential member of our Westport community. He is loved at Staples High School and all throughout Westport. Whether it is through his work with the public schools, active role within the Senior Center, or long standing participation in our local government, Mr. Klinge exhibits leadership, dedication, and involvement in our community.
All in all, it is clear that Mr. Klinge cares deeply for our town and would be an excellent RTM representative for the members of District 7. We encourage you all to support Jack Klinge at the polls on Nov. 3.
Maggie Brown, Kristin Munley
Gillian Rozynek, Colby Siegel
Vote for P&Z incumbents
Westport is a vibrant, dynamic community and sought-after destination because it is not stagnant. It is constantly evolving for the future.
With the leadership of P&Z Chairman Chip Stephens, Commissioners Cathy Walsh, Jack Whittle and Al Gratrix have all worked together to ensure Westport will continue to thrive in the 21st century and beyond.
They have responded to and incorporated the interests of all Westporters into their intelligent planning, preserved our valuable open space, and protected our resources and amenities while retaining the town’s unique character and tax base.
This Nov. 3, vote for all four P&Z candidates endorsed by the Republican Party and Save Westport Now. Re-elect Chip Stephens, Cathy Walsh, Jack Whittle and Al Gratrix so that they may continue their teamwork to keep Westport a shining jewel for future generations.
P&Z candidate clarifies small vs. large remarks
In the interest of correcting information, I wish to clarify a comment I made at the recent P&Z debate as I have learned that it has been misunderstood.
During a discussion on the size of buildings downtown, I said, "We all want charm and diversity, but that doesn't mean it has to be small." There was no definition of "small" and it has been taken to mean I wish to see large buildings.
Many buildings downtown are not small, such as those housing Restoration Hardware, Patagonia, Urban Outfitters, Paper Source, Calypso, Vineyard Vines, the Kemper-Gunn House, to name a few. They seem to be accepted as fitting well into the downtown streetscape. The former YMCA was not small and neither will be Bedford Square. I was using existing buildings as the frame of reference.
As I also stated, as a 15-year resident of downtown, I do not want to see large buildings created in the downtown area.
Coalition for Westport
Planning & Zoning candidate
Batteau backed for new RTM term
District 8 has been blessed by several long-serving RTM members who residents can count on to serve their interests. Wendy Batteau is one of them and deserves your vote on Nov. 3.
I’ve known Wendy for many years and I’m constantly impressed by her work ethic, insight into the issues and dedication to assuring the RTM makes the right decision. In my seven years on the RTM, I served with Wendy on several committees, and she’s always been prepared for the matter at hand, adding value to the discussion. She’s also an expert on many environmental issues, and I call on her as a resource when I wrestle with relevant legislation at the state Capitol.
The RTM needs Wendy’s experience and perspective. Please vote for her on Election Day.
State representative, 136th District
Schine supported for RTM
We are writing to support Lois Schine’s re-election to the R.T.M. (District 8).
Over the years, Lois has represented our town in numerous capacities, and has made considerable contributions of time, effort and commitment that have yielded many positive results. There is no question that Lois loves this town that she has proudly called home for over 60 years, and we trust her to represent its residents with honesty and integrity, as she has always done in the past.
We have always found Lois to be readily available and very responsive in addressing any town concerns of ours, as well as issues brought to her attention by many other fellow Westporters. We feel strongly that re-electing Lois Schine to the R.T.M. is a smart choice.
Rob, Lori Steinmetz
Backing P&Z incumbents
I am writing to ask Westport voters to re-elect all four of the P&Z incumbents on Nov. 4. The team of Gratrix, Stephens, Walsh and Whittle has worked with me in preventing a high density 8-30g (affordable) housing project and preserving the Westport Inn; in making zoning decisions that encouraged Bridgewater Associates to maintain their headquarters in Westport; in developing efficient and effective land-use permitting processes, and in stepping up the enforcement of land use regulations. They showed true leadership in cutting red tape to help assist residents in recovering from Super Storm Sandy.
The road has not always been smooth and we have had our differences, but the incumbents are working to achieve a goal of providing market rate and affordable senior housing and to improve and expand the Center for Senior Activities.
Please join me in supporting the incumbent P&Z team on Election Day.
Gray supported for RTM
Please join me in supporting the candidacy of Lisa Parrelli Gray for Westport’s RTM — District 4.
I have known Lisa and her immediate family for the past 16 years, both on a personal and professional level.
Lisa has been an active member and volunteer in the community since she moved to Westport. She always interacts with a smile has demonstrated integrity, loyalty, patience and a strong ability to listen and formulate ideas and solutions.
I exhort you to vote for Lisa Parrelli Gray and let her put her efforts, energy and enthusiasm to work advocating for your district as well as the town of Westport.
Rea backed for finance panel
With our local elections fast approaching, I want to take this opportunity to enthusiastically endorse the re-election of Mike Rea to the Westport Board of Finance.
What are the most important criteria that I choose to consider? Experience. Local roots. Significant real world experience. A good heart.
Mike Rea has been a long time political leader of our community and every resident is better for it. For every board that he has served, for every charity he has volunteered for and for every community activity he has led where all of us have stood to benefit, Mike Rea has proven to me that he has considerable experience in serving our town’s most important fiscal needs at this time. Mike’s current tenure on the Board of Finance is highlighted by tight control of annual mill rate increases. That translates into economic benefit for all of us.
Mike was raised in Westport. He and his remarkable wife Carla chose Westport as their home. They raised their kids in Westport, educated them in Westport schools and continue, to this day, to give back to our community every day and in so many ways.
Mike’s other job, when he is not serving the community’s interests, is to work in a significant position for a large multi-national corporation directing their real estate and facilities requirements on a global basis. This work has allowed Mike to develop significant real world experience, which continues to positively impact his efforts on behalf of the entire Westport community.
I know Mike. I like Mike. You all should vote for Mike because he is fair, intelligent, highly experienced and always present and available. You should vote for Mike because he has a good heart and he shares your most important issues and concerns.
Please vote to re-elect Mike Rea to Westport’s Board of Finance.
William A. Wexler
Klinge’s re-election to RTM urged
Many of you have met Jack Klinge the same way I did, at a Board of Education budget meeting. Or perhaps you met him over the years in Town Hall at an RTM meeting, an RTM committee meeting, a Selectmen's Maintenance Committee meeting, a Senior Center Enhancement Committee meeting and the list could and does go on. If you don't attend many town meetings, then it is possible you have met Jack through all the volunteer work he does at the Senior Center or through the Westport Mentor Program or with Safe Rides. Perhaps your kids have come home from school and talked about their substitute teacher, Coach K, otherwise known as Jack Klinge.
I wanted to begin my endorsement of Jack in this way. It is virtually impossible to share with you the depth and breadth of Jack's involvement in Westport. This broad perspective is one reason Jack is an asset to the RTM. The balanced, thoughtful and deliberate manner in which he evaluates issues is the other reason Jack should be re-elected. The RTM is the legislative body that makes decisions on so many different issues. Their decisions affect all of us as Westport residents. It is critical to elect people with the perspective and the experience of Jack Klinge to the RTM. He has earned your vote. The town will be so lucky to have him serve again. Please re-elect Jack Klinge to the RTM, District 7.
Westport Board of Finance
Supporting Flug for re-election
As residents of RTM District 9, we have had the good fortune of having Eileen Lavigne Flug as one of our RTM representatives for the last 10 years. Her tenure on the RTM is impressive, demonstrating her strong leadership skills and her steadfast commitment to the community of Westport. Eileen has spent the last two and half years as moderator of the RTM, creating strong working relationships with town officials, while running fair and efficient meetings.
When we go to the polls on Nov. 3, we are voting for Eileen Lavigne Flug as one of our representatives. We know her and trust her work. We urge fellow residents in RTM District 9 to do the same thing: Vote for Eileen. She has served us, the RTM and the town of Westport well.
Priscilla, Dan Long
Vote for Rea for finance panel
I served with Mike Rea on the RTM where I saw firsthand his effectiveness in taking on tough issues and bringing them to resolution. On the Board of Finance, he has demonstrated great institutional knowledge of Westport that has helped put complex issues into perspective. He is well-balanced, articulate and devotes the time necessary to make important decisions for Westport taxpayers.
Westport needs more common sense leaders like Mike, who put party politics aside and look only to serve the town’s best interests. My vote is going to Mike Rea. Please join me on Nov. 3.
Schine backed for RTM
I am writing in support of re-electing Lois Schine to represent RTM District 8.
I had the opportunity to work with Lois when, as chairman of the Westport Arts Center, I was presenting to the RTM’s Long Range Planning Committee about locations for a future home for the arts center, which Lois chairs. Her ardent support of the long-range priorities of Westport, of those things that truly matter and are irreplaceable, is important to us all.
Her long, deep involvement in Westport organizations and government have earned her a sense of perspective and priority that is vital to our planning efforts and governance.
Supporting Klinge for RTM
In his 18 years on the RTM, Jack Klinge has been a tremendous friend to the Westport schools. He has been a passionate advocate for our students on the RTM education committee. Jack is not afraid to take a strong stand that supports the education of our kids or the budget or security of our schools.
Jack's devotion to children goes well beyond the RTM. He is a substitute teacher at both the middle and high schools and is on the board of SafeRides. Perhaps most tellingly about Jack's commitment is that he attends the Staples graduation every year — just because of his longstanding commitment to the school system.
On a personal level, I have come to know Jack as thoughtful, logical and kind. He is an outstanding representative for our schools and for our town, and I strongly encourage the voters of District 7 to re-elect Jack Klinge to the RTM.
Supporting Rea for finance panel
Michael Rea, the incumbent member of the Westport Board of Finance has my vote for re-election.
In the time I have known him he has demonstrated a devotion and commitment to our own unparalleled by any other candidate.
As a native Westport, who has raised his family here, Michael has given of his time unselfishly to many important volunteer positions.
Chairman of the Parks & Recreation commission. Chairman of the Bedford Middle School Building Committee, elected six times to the RTM and presently serving on the Board of Finance are but a few of his accomplishments.
Elected officials come and go, Michael is always there for us.
Please join me in supporting Michael Rea for Westport's Board of Finance.
Re-elect P&Z incumbents
As a lifelong Westport resident, with family ties to the community that reach back more than six decades, and as a board member of Save Westport Now, it is with pleasure and conviction that I write this letter in support of re-electing Chip Stephens, Jack Whittle, Cathy Walsh and Al Gratrix to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
These four individuals have done yeoman’s work as commissioners and have discharged their duties thoughtfully and with great care. Through words and deeds, they have consistently demonstrated their commitment to mindful planning, rigorous enforcement, and the tenets of “smart growth.” They have demonstrated their respect and appreciation for the rights of developers while simultaneously honoring the wishes of the electorate, working diligently to protect residential neighborhoods, preserving Westport’s small-town character, and preventing over-commercialization. They have been stalwarts in their efforts to promote planning initiatives that benefit the entire town.
These four candidates have an outstanding track-record of accomplishments. They have valuable experience, tremendous perspective, and a long view of what will help Westport to continue to develop and thrive for decades to come. I invite my fellow Westporters to join me in voting on the Save Westport Now line for these fine stewards so that they may continue their good work for all of us.
Ian E. Warburg
Vote for Rea for finance panel
I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for re-electing Mike Rea to the Board of Finance. I first met Mike eight years ago when I served my first term on the RTM. At that time he was the chairman of the RTM Finance Committee and was an invaluable resource regarding the intricacies of town finances, the budgeting process, resources and structure.
Mike consistently demonstrates that he is firmly behind the best interests of the town and rises above the political fray by refusing to engage in partisan politics. He is always thoughtful, well-informed, practical and creative in his approach to building consensus and is able to cut to the essence of the long term financial negotiations and issues that the town is currently navigating.
His vast experience over the years as an incumbent member of the Board of Finance as well as chairs of the Parks and Recreation and Bedford Middle School Building committees and a six-term member of the RTM where he chaired the RTM Finance Committee have grounded him with a broad understanding of the town and his constituency.
I urge you to re-elect Mike to the Board of Finance on Tuesday, Nov. 3.