To the Editor:

To quote American author and environmentalist Edward Abbey, “A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”

Some in Westport, along with DEEP, would like to allow wildlife trappers to trap and remove coyotes from private and public property. But trapping is neither scientifically justified nor effective at managing wildlife populations. Using lethal methods to control coyote numbers disrupts the pack hierarchy and allows for larger litter sizes with increased survival rates. In other words, trapping has the opposite effect of what is desired.

Instead of allowing traps in Westport, focus should be on humane solutions to resolve conflicts with coyotes. It is inexpensive and effective to educate the public to supervise their pets and remove food attractants that lure coyotes into our community. There is no need for Westport to overturn our longstanding opposition against trapping when we have other valid management options.

Patricia Harmon


To the Editor:

With the cycle of fall routines underway at my house, I’m geared up for three kids at three different public schools, sports schedules, and the neverending preparation of meals like so many working parents. I’m also feeling the political season upon me, and recognizing the mounting importance of the local political race in the town I love.

With the state of Connecticut in financial disarray, our local leaders need to be incredibly smart managers of our own resources, while tenaciously advocating on the state level. I believe Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker understand this and will fight for the priorities that matter to our community.

The leadership we need now must continue to demonstrate fiscal strength, ethical conduct and a long-term vision for sustaining the quality of life in our community.

Both Jim and Jen are strong business leaders, who have proven their commitment to fiscal discipline, shown their dedication to our top-notch educational system through their roles on the Westport Board of Education, and now share their talents as first selectman and member of the Board of Finance. These tough negotiators have already worked to protect our school budgets from disastrous state funding cuts, and helped negotiate difficult union pension plans that will save us millions over the next few years. They’ve achieved these fiscal wins along with many others for Westport with strength, a sense of financial discipline and a long-term commitment to our town’s future.

This leadership duo has cultivated important relationships and opportunities for business that are vital for the financial health of our town, but have also responded to and enhanced the high-quality services and amenities that we regularly enjoy living here, such as improvements at Longshore, Compo Beach, the Levitt Pavilion and the public library.

Together, Jim and Jen will solve complex problems, fight for our interests as well as lead bipartisan initiatives that will allow Westport to remain vibrant and thriving, and better able to serve ALL of its residents.

I am a Westport native. I chose to come back here to raise my family because of the outstanding schools, safe and beautiful neighborhoods, arts emphasis and open-minded community. But I know this is a critical juncture, and we cannot take these gifts for granted.

I trust Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker with the task of preserving the best of Westport, while enhancing the economic vitality needed for it to remain the place we all choose to call home.

Aimee Spengler Dolan


To the Editor:

I urge all Westport voters to support the re-election of Jim Marpe and the election of his running mate, Jen Tooker, to the Westport Board of Selectmen. Jim Marpe, working with Jen Tooker on the Board of Finance, has done a fantastic job managing our town’s finances over the last four years. Together, they have held property tax rates flat, reduced the town’s debt and kept our services and our schools world-class. They are both former members of the Westport Board of Education with a clear track record of support for the Westport schools. In fact, their responsible fiscal leadership has protected our schools during the state’s ongoing budget crisis. Please support Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker for the Westport Board of Selectmen because they are proven leaders with the governing experience and the skills to lead Westport forward.

Rob Hess


To the Editor:

First Selectman Jim Marpe and Selectman Avi Kaner have provided outstanding leadership for Westport residents during the last four years. Due to his increasing obligations leading his family's expanding business in NYC, Avi has found it necessary to step down as selectman when his term expires in November. When Avi informed him of his plans, First Selectman Marpe immediately selected former Board of Finance chairman and former Board of Education member Jennifer Tooker to join him on the ticket. Jen Tooker will provide the same kind of outstanding, all-inclusive leadership to which Westporters have become accustomed during the last four years. In the meantime, Avi, recognizing the importance of continuing Jim’s leadership, has stepped up to support Jim and Jen as their campaign manager for this fall’s campaign.

This new team of Marpe and Tooker will continue the fiscal discipline that has been put in place to safeguard our town’s future. At the same time, they will continue to support our outstanding school system while improving the quality of life by continuing to upgrade important town amenities and addressing such issues as traffic and congestion. As they have done during the last four years, they will continue to improve the economic vitality of Westport.

Marpe and Tooker have achieved their success in Westport by working with the most competent people available to accomplish the mission, regardless of party, or any other characteristic. They are highly competent executives who know how to work with everyone. They are very people oriented. In addition, they can be counted on to have the highest level of ethical standards.

I urge Westport citizens to vote for the Marpe/Tooker team in November.

Pete Wolgast


To the Editor:

In light of the catastrophic and unprecedented events that have befallen our fellow citizens of Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas, we are obliged to issue a heartfelt call to all Americans of all faiths and traditions, to recite prayers on behalf of those affected by beseeching our Creator on their behalf.

We also call upon every individual to contribute tzedakah (charity) to the funds established to help ameliorate the suffering and deprivation of the tens of thousands who have lost their homes and earthly possessions.

As people of faith we are duty-bound to step forth with alacrity, each person contributing according to their ability, to help our fellow man at a time that we so desperately are in need of divine assistance and favor.

The power of prayer together with good deeds will assure that we find grace and mercy before our Creator that He will grant us success to aid and comfort, protect and shelter the millions of people affected — the young and the elderly, the sick and the infirm — who are currently displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the resulting rainfall and flooding of biblical proportions.

Together, we will obtain the mercies of our Father in Heaven to bring about the much-needed relief and reprieve to the people of the greater Houston area.

On behalf of the 950-member rabbis of the RAA serving in communities throughout the United States, we acknowledge our government officials, first responders, National Guard and the thousands of citizen volunteers reaching out to help in the rescue of the flood victims.

May G-d bless you and keep you safe.

Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht

Editor’s note: Rabbi Hecht, of Beth Israel Synagogue of Westport/Norwalk, submitted this in his role as presidium chairman of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.