Letters: Lots more readers write about Nov. 3 election
Updated 5:32 am, Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Heller backed for new RTM term
We have been fortunate enough to have a capable RTM member for our district in Velma Heller.
This year Velma also did an important service to the whole town when she capably and calmly ran a contentious town meeting on the Baron’s South property. Although it went on for hours the decision not to overthrow the P&Z’s ruling on the property was made democratically and with a minimum amount of rancor. We believe her experience on the RTM makes her the best candidate to vote for in District 9.
Cary and Len Peterson
Backing Coalition candidates for P&Z
The Coalition is an alliance of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are devoted to restoring reason, courtesy and balance to the planning and zoning process. The current P&Z fails to understand that Westport cannot thrive in a rigid anti-development environment.
Westport needs open-minded, modest planners and zoners who will look toward the future and carefully calibrate the mix of residential, recreational and commercial development that would allow Westport to flourish. That is how our taxes will remain relatively low, our neighborhoods lovely, and our schools famously excellent. This is what the Coalition stands for.
You have four votes for the P&Z. If you cast three of them for the Coalition, you can unseat the incumbents and restore expert, thoughtful, courteous governance to our town. Vote for Denise Torve, Glenn Payne and Howard Lathrop.
Supporting Bloch for RTM
Tom Bloch is an ideal candidate for our district and for Westport. Like many candidates, Tom has had a distinguished career in financial management at a large NYSE company. What makes Tom a unique candidate is his financial prowess and his proven track record of leadership on behalf of local organizations. I have had the distinct privilege of watching Tom in action as the president of my condominium community Regents Park and as a long time board member of Rolling Hills Country Club.
Tom is a devoted public servant who brings his financial acumen and boundless energy to every endeavor. He is tireless in his commitment to his work. Tom can be seen distributing financial statements, renegotiating bank loans, helping out elderly neighbors, cutting down hanging tree limbs and locking up at the end of the day. He goes out of his way to solicit input from residents and club members. His good cheer and hard work have benefited both of these communities measurably.
Tom would be a true asset to District 5 so I urge you to support his candidacy.
Heller deserves new RTM term
When I look at the list of members of the RTM, one of the standouts who has tirelessly served our community and helped to guide it with valuable perspective, good judgment and diligence, is Velma Heller.
Her peers have acknowledged her good leadership skills by elevating her to be deputy moderator. I am encouraging your readers to return her to office in November.
Supports Bruce in finance panel race
Professionally, his entire 33 year career has been in finance, managing various forms of financial risk and executing complex transactions in project finance and other areas. For the past several years, he has been restructuring transactions, demonstrating a talent for negotiating resolution of complicated commercial disputes, often without resorting to litigation. It’s not hard to see that this experience will be extremely helpful to our Board of Finance.
Iain has also demonstrated that he cares deeply for our town. He has been on the Boards of the Westport Weston Y for the past 13 years, including as president of the Board of Directors during the permitting phase for the new Y. Iain worked with many parties, often with competing interests (members, staff, boards, consultants, town officials, etc.) to find workable solutions to complicated problems. He also spent a few hundred hours in Town Hall participating in and observing public hearings, RTM meetings and so on. Iain gained valuable insight into how our town works and how collaboration achieves useful ends.
Iain’s community involvement goes well beyond the Y, having lived here since 1989. Iain is a dedicated cyclist, not just riding the bike, but using his passion to help others. He is a leading fundraiser for the annual SpinOdyssey event, a marshal for the CT Challenge and Smilow Cancer Center’s “Closer to Free” ride, as well as a ride leader for the Sound Cyclists club. He has also volunteered in various capacities around town, including at A Child’s Place, Suzuki Music School of Westport and the Saugatuck Church.
What more could we want for a Board of Finance member — deep financial skills and experience, demonstrated leadership and a clear passion for making Westport a better place. I will enthusiastically vote for Iain in the coming election.
Elect Tom Bloch to RTM
As most Westporters know, our town is quickly turning grayer and grayer. Seniors (age 60 or older, according to the Senior Center), currently comprise more than one-third of our population of 26,691 residents.
All the more reason, it seems to this veteran town observer, to elect an extraordinarily energetic, vigorous 71-year-old doer like Tom Bloch to the non-partisan Representative Town Meeting from District 5 in November. He has already proven his campaign theme that "Seniors Matter" through his appointment by the first selectman to the Senior Enhancement Activities Committee, his role as the Town's representative on the Board of the Saugatuck Housing Cooperative which is the town's senior housing development; his service for five years in different positions at the Westport Historical Society; his tour of duty on the Historic District Commission for 10 years; his election to the board of the Rolling Hills Country Club, and his extraordinarily capable management of the Regents Park Condominium Association as president for the past 15 years, where he is known by its 81 owners as the manager who runs the tightest condominium budget in town. He keeps Regents Park in A-1 shape. I know this from first-hand experience. My wife and I live there. As a former RTMer myself, I am certain that Tom would be a great asset to all Westporters on the RTM.
Tom is a highly successful, retired corporate business executive with 40 years of experience in finance, credit, organizational, business development and operations, and profit and loss responsibility as a senior executive for the CIT Group. There's nothing quite like an astute businessman to keep the RTM on an even keel.
A Westport resident with his wife of 49 years, Ronnie, Tom has lived here for more than two decades after moving from the West Coast. A native Californian, Tom graduated from California State University at Northridge in 1968 with a degree in finance and a 3.7 GPA.
He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1970 after an eight-year tour. The couple have two grown children and two grandchildren. His hobbies are golf and his family.
He is a member of the Republican Town Committee, but this is his first run for public office. I believe he's already learned all he needs to know how to help others — through his many contributions to our town.
Klinge backed for RTM
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jack Klinge for 11 years. I met him when he introduced himself to me one day while serving as a substitute teacher at Staples where I was the principal. From that first friendly introduction, I have had many discussions with him about life, travels, town government concerns, and school budgets. I was always impressed with Jack's first-hand knowledge of how a high-functioning high school actually works, what are required to fulfill the mission of the school and to provide for the needs of a highly motivated and capable student body. I was also impressed with Jack's ability to maintain a reasonable perspective when fulfilling his duties on the RTM. Although I may not have always agreed with him, I truly believe that Jack always had the best interest of students in mind while recognizing the difficulties in providing funds during times of a shrinking tax base.
Through the years, I learned of the many committees on which Jack Klinge served. The list is very impressive showing that he was concerned about overall town government from a leadership position (RTM and various sub-committees), concerned about K-12 education, Safe Rides, the needs of senior citizens (Meals to Homebound and chairman of Friends of Senior Center), and still had time to become involved with town maintenance, Little League, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Westport Mentor Program.
Everything about Westport's health as a community is important to Jack Klinge. Unlike so many citizens in our country who choose to sit on the sidelines, he has chosen to be involved for the past 50 years in making Westport what it is today. Let someone else do it is not a phrase that has ever come out of Jack's mouth. If it needs to be done to help maintain and enhance our community, he is first to volunteer. Let's elect Jack again so that he can continue to help lead Westport into the future.
Support GOP’s team for finance board
It is crucial for Westport residents to elect Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Mike Rea for the Board of Finance. Their election will support the vision for Westport that we were elected to pursue. It also continues the solid financial oversight exhibited by the current Board of Finance.
Westport is better off today than it was four years ago. We have paid down debt, maintained reserves, supported our schools, and funded our pension obligations. Iain, Clarissa and Mike are a uniquely qualified financial team and their election will ensure that the Board of Finance will continue on the path of strong financial discipline.
Bruce backed for finance seat
I have known Iain Bruce, candidate for the Board of Finance, for over 50 years and heartily endorse his candidacy! Even as a young adult, Iain was an industrious and responsible member of our community with a strong interest in business and finance.
Iain has over 30 years of experience in finance leading corporations to financial success while mitigating financial risk and has held senior level roles in financial services, banking and insurance the most recent of which was senior managing director at Ambac Assurance Corp.
Iain is a 26-year Westport resident who, along with this wife Linda, raised their children here and watched them blossom and excel in the outstanding schools our town enjoys. I am also a longtime Westport resident and taxpayer having lived here, with my husband Dennis, for almost 30 years. I know Iain shares my desire to continue our town’s financial soundness, keep our property values high, and maintain our excellent schools.
Iain has been active in our community in numerous capacities including leadership roles at the Westport-Weston Family YMCA, Saugatuck Church, Suzuki Music School and Staples swimming. He has served the Westport-Weston Family YMCA on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees from 2002 — present and held the position of president from 2007-11. Iain is also a former board member of the Suzuki Music School.
I am confident Iain will continue the strong progress our current Board of Finance has begun in maintaining and enhancing our property values, reforming retiree pension and medical liabilities, and practicing financial discipline. I trust Iain to make prudent decisions with our town’s financial resources as he maintains Westport’s excellent quality of life and outstanding school system while keeping an eye to cost efficiency and reducing the size of government.
Please join me in voting for Iain Bruce and his colleagues Clarissa Moore and Mike Rea for the Board of Finance on Nov. 3.
Coalition slate best for P&Z
During this campaign season some desperate candidates and their supporters have engaged in lies, exaggerations and misstatements. An intelligent and engaged electorate can and should look through the nonsense and recognize only what is clear and factual.
The Republican/SWN P&Z commissioners running for re-election have had their opportunity and we have seen the results.
In the best interests of Westport it is now time to vote for serious people who know how to conduct the public’s business in a fair and impartial manner. Vote the Coalition for Westport line this November. You have four votes for the P&Z. Cast three of them for Denise Torve, Howard Lathrop and Glenn Payne, true public servants who will represent your interests and not some private agenda.
Visit the Coalition for Westport at www.coalitionforwestport.org or its Facebook page for truthful and well thought-out positions and policies. Or email them at email@example.com with your questions. They will be happy to respond.
Michael A. Nayor
Elect Karpf to RTM
I am writing to express my strong and unqualified support for my fellow RTM member Lauren Karpf’s election to RTM District 7. I say election and not re-election even though she is an incumbent because last year Lauren was fully vetted and hand picked by her fellow RTM District 7 members to step in and fill Stephen Rubin’s unexpired term. Lauren has continued Stephen Rubin’s famous 17-year perfect RTM meeting attendance record with a perfect attendance of her own this past year. And, just like Stephen, she works very hard for the people of District 7.
I have gotten to know Lauren quite well this past year on the RTM in our work together co-sponsoring a town ordinance requiring a competitive bidding process on all town contracts over $20,000. This important piece of legislation will result in significant savings to the town by ensuring the highest quality goods and services for the best possible price.
Please join me in supporting Lauren Karpf for the RTM in District 7.
John F. Suggs
RTM District 5
Rea backed for Board of Finance
I strongly endorse Mike Rea for the Board of Finance in the coming election.
He has a record in both the Board of Finance and many terms in the RTM of supporting decisions that were always in the best interest of the town, rather than following a political agenda. I worked with Mike for many years while we both were on the RTM. He speaks clearly and succinctly, discusses issues in a balanced manner and manages to focus on the critical factors affecting decisions.
Mike Rea's continued position on the Board of Finance is essential for the future of Westport.
Vote for Moore for RTM
We would like to voice our overwhelming support for the election of Andrea Moore as RTM for Westport District 9.
Andrea was raised in Westport. She retired from a successful career on Wall Street to focus more time on the busy lives of her three girls. She also dedicated herself to community service in Westport as a tireless volunteer, and assumed several leadership positions.
She is effective. She is hard working. She is smart. She brings people together and builds consensus. She gets things done.
The RTM and Westport residents will benefit from her diligence, sound judgment and intelligence.
Nicole and Dan Dodge
Support Coalition for Westport candidates for P&Z
I support the Coalition for Westport and urge all to vote for its three candidates: Denise Torve, Howard Lathrop and Glenn Payne. They will bring fresh, dynamic thinking to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which is sorely needed. Westport needs a Commission which can take matters into its own hands without waiting to be nudged into action. Torve Lathrop and Payne are the only choices for the future of Westport.
Vote for Torve, Lathrop and Payne. Their positions are clear. They want to bring civility back to the Planning and Zoning Commission. They want applicants to be treated respectfully. They want to create a plan for Westport, not just sit idly by while Westport continues to grow in a haphazard manner. The P&Z must recognize that growth is inevitable and work to achieve what is in Westport’s best interests. This Coalition of three candidates represents the best opportunity for Westport to grow in a manner that benefits all Westporters.
The Coalition for Westport is interested in our neighborhoods, our commercial and retail areas and the needs of all Westporters, including seniors. The Coalition's candidates, Denise Torve, Howard Lathrop and Glenn Payne, want to achieve what is best for all Westporters. Nostalgia for the 1950s does not benefit the town or its residents.
Klinge backed for RTM
If you live in District 7, you should be very grateful that Jack Klinge is running for the RTM once again — and you should make sure you vote for him Nov. 3.
Jack is a remarkably selfless man, who has dedicated himself to the well being of Westport. From serving on the RTM for now 18 years, devoting countless hours to a wide range of its committees (including Education, Parks & Rec, Long Range Planning) to his volunteer service at the Senior Center, as chairman of the Friends of the Senior Center for 10 years, to his hands on work delivering meals to the homebound — and that’s just a partial list — Jack is always there for what is good and for what is right.
As a former selectman and Board of Finance member, I had the privilege of working closely with Jack on many initiatives. He is thoughtful, passionate and compassionate, and follows in the great tradition of incredible public servants Westport has been lucky enough to have — he’s surely one of the Bill Meyers of this town.
Please return Jack to the RTM where his experience and expertise will serve not just District 7 well, but indeed all of Westport.
Candidates backed in RTM District 4
As a member of the Westport RTM, I'm urging residents of District 9 to cast a vote for Andrea Moore, Velma Heller and David Floyd in District 4.
Velma Heller has served seven terms on the RTM, is not only our deputy moderator, but is also chairwoman of our very important Education Committee. She is a teacher and true advocate for children and education. It has been an honor to serve and learn from Velma. You will not find a more dedicated member of our RTM.
David Floyd has served two terms on RTM. He currently chairs our Parks and Recreation Committee. David is a voice of reason, one who not only listens, but hears the issues. David always does his homework, always puts Westport first.
Andrea Moore I have known over 40 years, a native Westporter, former PTA president, will be a great addition to our RTM. Andrea has worked closely with our educators, with her finance background, she knows the importance of combining fiscal responsibility with quality education.
Velma Heller, Andrea Moore and David Floyd are all doers. They will work hard to keep our town moving forward. Please join me in supporting them by voting Tuesday, Nov. 3.
RTM member, District 3
Liccione supported for RTM
Please elect Sal Liccione to the District 9 RTM. Sal is an energetic housing and transportation advocate and volunteer, who will put in the time and effort necessary to do the job.
Re-elect incumbent P&Z members
These currently serving Planning and Zoning board members, also endorsed by Save Westport Now, have successfully worked to preserve open space and protect our residential neighborhoods.
As a resident who lives in the area of the Westport Inn, I was concerned about the likelihood that upon the inn’s sale, it would become an 830G housing development. Along with our Selectmen Jim Marpe and Avi Kaner, the board worked to save the Inn as a hotel which spared my neighborhood from an influx of residents which would have negatively impacted traffic, schools, and local services. Additionally, Bridgewater is enhancing their campus in an environmentally sound way and continues to be a tax asset to Westport.
Chip Stephens, Jack Whittle, Cathy Walsh and Al Gratrix all are longtime Westport residents who brought up their families in Westport. Each of the candidates has experience in business or law and has been active in local charitable organizations for many years as well as serving on the P&Z, which requires sincere dedication and a substantial time commitment.
Recently, they have established a P&Z subcommittee to focus on senior housing and have previously coordinated with the Westport Housing Authority on the rebuilding of Sasco Creek and Hales Court. Since I live near Sasco Creek, I have watched with enthusiasm as the construction has proceeded and is nearing completion. I believe that the team of Whittle, Stephens, Gratrix and Walsh deserve to be elected in order to keep Westport growing responsibly.
Coalition candidates for P&Z backed
We need a thoughtful, responsible P&Z that can be trusted and respected, unlike our present commission.
An important task of the new P&Z will be to write the Town Plan of 2017. We need to elect Coalition candidates Torve, Lathrop and Payne, who will work with Paul Lebowitz on the issues facing Westport now and in the future: affordable housing for seniors and all ages, preserving our environment and our neighborhoods, balancing commercial and residential development.
They can do it. Vote for the Coalition.
Jo Ann Davidson
Gray backed for RTM
I am writing to urge Westport voters to elect Lisa Parrelli Gray to the RTM of District 4 this November.
Lisa has contributed her time, talent and expertise to our community for years. Whether running our Chamber of Commerce, volunteering in our PTA or organizing events to benefit the needy in our area, she uses her unique blend of business acumen, creativity and compassion.
In electing Lisa to the RTM District 4, you can be sure she will bring a dynamic voice to our town's government. She offers not only invaluable business and civic experience, but a true passion for the vitality of Westport.
Vote for Lisa Parrelli Gray.
Kristin von Staden
Re-elect Flug to RTM
We are proud to write this letter in support of Eileen Flug’s re-election as a District 9 representative on the RTM. Eileen is bright, caring, dedicated and interested in every aspect of our community life — in other words, she is everything Westport could want in a town representative.
As parents with children that are basically the same age as Eileen’s, we have been impressed with her commitment to making Westport a better place for future generations. She was instrumental in working to promote healthy menus in our schools, she has championed conservation and agricultural education through the Green Village Initiative, and we have no doubt that her work in the renewable energy field will provide her with insights to help Westport follow “smart growth” strategies in the years to come.
One other thing about Eileen, she is a really nice person who brings spectacular energy to this town without ego. We need more Eileen Flugs, but we are lucky to have this one. Let’s re-elect her to the RTM.
Stephen Cowherd, Anne Staudt
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.
Moore for RTM
We are writing to urge all voters to support Andrea Moore for RTM District 9. Kim and I have known Andrea and her husband Dave for over 13 years as both a neighbor and a friend. Andrea is a lifelong resident of Westport having attended Staples High School, and is currently a mother of three children who attend Westport schools.
Westport is an amazing town! We can all appreciate its beauty, the many services offered, and the incredible school system. What makes Westport even more unique are the indefatigable volunteers who commit so much of their time to keeping Westport great. Andrea is one of those people. She has volunteered on countless boards, served as president of Saugatuck Elementary School’s PTA, and commits countless hours supporting our town — including her passion, the Staples Tuition Grants program. Andrea also uniquely understands the qualities that have made Westport wonderful while maintaining a strong vision for its future. We need tireless leaders in our town who can work effectively with each other to solve our town challenges and help secure its bright future.
I hope you will join us in supporting Andrea Moore for RTM in District 9.
Jack, Kim DeWitt