The light at the

end of the tunnel

To the Editor:

The pitfalls of the 2016 elections have cast a dark shadow on the sustainability of our democratic values that have evolved slowly and painstakingly since the birth of this great nation.

Earlier this summer, I had a conversation with Senator Richard Blumenthal, expressing my concerns. Senator Blumenthal told me that he does not have all the answers and that he too is concerned. But urged me to keep the faith and that the solution, as always, is at the ballot box.

A few days later, we hosted a “meet and greet” session to Support Will Haskell. He spoke to us about his vision, local issues facing our district and outlined his position in detail. Subjects that I had not been in my focus. The passion within him was genuine and a result of the experiences of his generation.

Listening to Will, the light bulb in my head flickered. Standing before me was a well-informed, eloquent young man, dedicating his life to public service. The light at the end of the tunnel that I was seeking was standing right in front of me and Senator Blumenthal was right.

My fellow citizens of District 26, I urge you to support Will Haskell at the ballot box and vote him in as our next state senator. Seek him out; hear the passion in his words. You will see that light at the end of tunnel, just like I did. Better yet, give Mr. Haskell a call. I know that he will walk miles to meet you as he is dedicated to earning each vote, one at a time.

Eliot Essagof

Westport

We need Kraut

To the Editor:

It’s time we send an independent thinker, a true moderate, and a person who will truly give Westport and lower Fairfield County true representation in Hartford. Greg Kraut is the representation we need in Hartford. Eight years of party first, Westport second has to end.

Unlike our current Representative, who has sided with Hartford insider interests like those of Democrat Speaker of the House Joe Aeresimowicz and Gov. Malloy by voting to increase taxes and extend unsustainable union contracts well into the next decade, Greg Kraut will work for you.

Greg will never sell Westport taxpayers down the road of economic ruin by choosing party politics over his constituents. Voting to tax residents and businesses out of our state, for fear of Party retaliation is not the kind of representation we need in Hartford.

Greg Kraut has no ties to Hartford. Greg Kraut has not been part of the problem in Hartford over the past 8 years. Greg will be part of the solution. Greg Kraut is a smart successful business owner who gets it. Having a wife and two young children, he has a vested interest in our state recovering from the “Party first” agenda which has been governing of our state over the past 8 years.

Look at the issues, ask yourself if the economic interests of your community, your wallet, and your children’s education has been served over the past 8 years. If you are not happy, please join me in sending a message to Hartford. On November 6th Vote Greg Kraut for State Representative in District 136.

Jimmy Izzo

Westport

Enough is enough

To the Editor:

I am not the typical concerned citizen that writes letters to the editor of newspapers. In fact, I try my best to be apolitical in all that I do. Frankly, after all that is going on in our state and in our country, I feel compelled to make my voice and opinion known in the hope that some of this truly “matters” to your readers and most importantly to our country.

I have grown incredibly tired of the rhetoric and rancor in politics. It appears that they spend so much of their time catering to their individual agendas rather than being the true representatives serving the needs of the often touted “ American People”. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, one of seven children. My mom took care of all of us while my dad...spent 20 years serving the city of New York in the often maligned NYC police dept.

I learned so much about the difference between “talk” and “real action”. There is no confusion in my mind about the difference between these two principles.

Frankly with all of the problems in our state and country....we need courageous leaders who connect with the communities that they serve and have the “chops” to actually take on the reticent and politically obsessed to change things for the better. What has occurred here in CT has been absolutely horrendous. We are the laughing stock of the country. Residents are leaving, Business is leaving. Crime is growing...and we have “representatives” who seem to be more concerned with their “washington persona” than getting stuff done here. Like many of my friends and business colleagues...we are done. Over it. Not interested in listening to any more “bologna”.

Tony Hwang is my pick for State Senator. He is one of us. He works full time as a state senator and he is passionate about truly representing the people of our area. Tony is always present at town events...truly working with all of us all the time to make things better.

Tony is a real person with a real desire and a demonstrated track record in serving. Tony understands the needs of small businesses and isn’t afraid to listen to all of us and take the action required of a real leader of this community. He is married with two children and truly understands the plight of families in CT. He is a force for lower taxes, reduction of the state regulations that are crippling CT. Tony has eliminated wasteful government spending, ensure safety in our schools, invested in quality education and fought to improve transportation systems.

What I like most about Tony… is that he is real, authentic and present… not some polished up caricature of a representative and/or candidate. I like that he has a bit of “Brooklyn” - No nonsense. Like all of us Tony is driven by an insatiable passion to change things for the better in our state and country. I am going to urge all of my friends and business colleagues in Fairfield and Westport to vote this November and retain a true representative of the people of our state. Tony Hwang.

Al DiGuido

Westport

Vote for Steinberg

To the Editor:

We encourage you to support Representative Jonathan Steinberg and to vote for him in November. His opponent is a worthy candidate, but he is not the better one for dealing with the chaos in Hartford.

Our state is at a pivotal point in a financial calamity. As former Republicans with records of public service, we are certain that Jonathan offers better credentials, better perspective and better judgment of what needs to be done to help our state’s situation and, more importantly, how to get it done.

This is not the time for Westport to send a novice to Hartford. And this is particularly so in these divisive times, when we already have a Representative who can deal with both sides of the political divide.

For those of us who follow politics more than normal, Jonathan has an established record of fairly and effectively representing our community and its values.

He is a fiscal conservative with an appreciation for appropriate governmental interventions. He is an environmentalist credentialed by the League of Conservation Voters who is respected by the business community.

He supports appropriate restraints on access to guns and respects women’s rights under the constitution. And, to his credit, he doesn’t campaign that he alone can solve the transportation issues facing our community, even while he is in the “trenches” trying to do so.

We all agree that Connecticut needs to encourage business interests, improve transportation facilities, provide better education opportunities and protect our air, water wildlife and open spaces. Jonathan Steinberg has navigated the state’s legislative halls in the pursuit of those goals. Party affiliation aside, let’s send him back to Hartford to continue his excellent work.

Julie Belaga and Ken Bernhard

Westport

I’m supporting Steinberg

To the Editor:

When you think about it, Greg Kraut is the ideal Republican candidate in this era of Trump. He is a property developer with little political experience. He repeats claims about his opponent without regard for accuracy. Most peculiarly, he has been repeatedly praised this year on the right-wing fake news website Newsmax - I’m not really sure how an aspiring local candidate hits their radar.

I had the pleasure of serving with Jonathon Steinberg while on RTM. We often disagreed on policy specifics, but I always found Jon to be a tough but thoughtful representative who had the best interests of his constituents at heart. Jon is a serious and sensible person who won’t be found in the pages of kooky websites that promote a variety of nonsense.

As our Representative in Hartford, Jon has represented the interests of Westport while seriously tackling the challenges Connecticut faces. He has been pragmatic, working with both sides of the aisle to find sensible solutions to serious problems.

When Connecticut elects a new Governor next month it will be even more important to have an experienced Representative who is taken seriously in Hartford. That’s why I’m supporting Jonathan Steinberg.

Chris Grimm

Westport

Need to re-elect Gail Lavielle

To the Editor:

We need to reelect Gail Lavielle. As a ranking member of the Education Committee in Hartford, Gail Lavielle has passed numerous bipartisan bills and has been a strong voice for our schools and children.

She authored the first comprehensive mandate relief bill for local school districts which enables the districts to save money and time including the repeal of the regional calendar and was successful in in stopping the midyear efforts last year by the Governor to reduce educational aid.

Along with legislation to help identify and teach students with dyslexia, she introduced and passed lifesaving legislation protecting children with epilepsy in schools.

Based on her work on issues impacting the wellbeing of Connecticut’s children, such as health, development, education, early care and safety, Gail was named a 2018 Children’s Champion by the CT Early Childhood Alliance.

These and many other accomplishments that effect my children and their education are why I am supporting Gail Lavielle.

Carol Lenihan

Wilton

I support

Jim Himes

To the Editor:

It’s no news to us that in this day and age, electing active and experienced representatives is of the utmost importance. Amid such a messy political climate, we need leaders who will truly represent their constituents and uphold our values as Americans.

Congressman Himes has been our voice reflecting this diverse district in Washington. His votes and his actions have shown time and time again his dedication to our vision.

I support Jim Himes for reelection this November because I want a House Rep who will strive to work with both sides of the political spectrum to achieve social and economic justice for us here in Connecticut and for America as a whole.

When it comes to women’s healthcare issues, Congressman Himes’ record is flawless. This is so important while women’s rights are on the line. The Congressman takes similar action in protecting the environment and speaks up for action on climate change, fighting back against attempts to undermine America’s essential environmental laws.

The Congressman has spoken out time and time again about the need to reform America’s outdated gun safety laws, and has consistently reflected this standpoint in his votes. It is essential that we have strong leaders like Jim Himes who are unafraid to stand up to the NRA and fight for commonsense gun safety regulations such as universal background checks that are supported by the vast majority of Americans. I want a leader in office who will fight to keep us safe and fight to see our vision and his come to life.

For these reasons and many more, I support Congressman Jim Himes for reelection to the US House of Representatives on November 6.

Ella Berg

Westport

Voters

of Connecticut wake up

To the Editor:

Important midterm elections loom on the horizon. For the past eight years Connecticut has been a one-party dominated state with nearly devastating results. This must change.

The economic condition of our state has been sliding badly characterized by declining personal income and lost jobs. Reflecting heavy borrowing, Connecticut’s S&P credit rating has fallen to AA- in the past two years from what had been AA. The fiscal health of Connecticut affects all its citizens. While the nation has largely recovered from the steep recession of 2007-2009 Connecticut ranks 48th for growth according to a recent U.S. News “Best States” report that gave us a long term stability ranking of 45. And on a recent survey list of the “Best and Worst Run States in America” Connecticut nosedived to a ranking of 38th down from 20th in 2010! Additionally, our state’s pension funded ration has fallen to below 50 percent, among the worst in the nation.

Enough of this failed leadership! Cycles of irresponsible taxation and political promises that cannot be met should not be the path forward here. Therefore, Connecticut voters must choose very carefully now. Republican representation in our state senate currently is only one seat short of gaining a majority that might help to turn things around. As an unaffiliated life-long Connecticut resident it is why I support the re-election of state senator Toni Boucher (R) 26th district who in her leadership position has demonstrated she can work across the aisle and will fight for a better, stronger Connecticut.

Andrew Schopick

Wilton

Lavielle for re-election

To the Editor:

I support Gail Lavielle’s bid for reelection. Her core belief in fiscal restraint and her deep understanding of the economic challenges Connecticut must address to regain its footing garner my support.

I served with Gail on the Wilton Board of Finance and saw firsthand that when it came to responsible governance Gail knew her stuff. She was unwavering in knowing that a strong business climate is integral to growth and that tax increases are a detriment to that growth.

She carried those convictions to the state legislature and, if reelected, will continue to be a voice for economic soundness.

Warren Serenbetz

Westport

Michelle will fight for us

To the Editor:

So many decisions that affect our daily lives are made at the state and local government levels. November 6, 2018 is a critical day in Connecticut — we have a chance to vote for positions at every level of our state government.

As a current RTM member in Fairfield, I see how decisions being made in Hartford directly affect so many decisions we make at the town level. That’s why I’m so excited to support Michelle McCabe, who’s running for the State Senate seat in the 28th district, which includes part of Westport.

I have known Michelle for years as a fellow mom. I have always been impressed by Michelle’s willingness to “walk the walk” when it comes to doing what’s right. Seeing her as a candidate this election season has only reinforced for me that she’s the right person to represent us in Hartford.

Michelle is Director of the Center for Food Equity and Economic Development at the Council of Churches in Bridgeport. She has firsthand experience gathering people and resources from disparate groups to solve problems and help people.

As our State Senator, Michelle will be that kind of public servant on our behalf. We face difficult issues as a state right now, but Michelle is ready to get to work. She’ll bring her work experience to Hartford, where again she will gather the stakeholders and work with her colleagues to find solutions that benefit us all.

Erin Lopez

Fairfield RTM, District 2

Gail has integrity

To the Editor:

Integrity and conviction are among the qualities I look for in a business partner, and the same standards must apply to our elected officials. Which is why I am proud to support State Rep. Gail Lavielle’s bid for reelection.

I am always impressed by Gail’s deep understanding of the issues on the table, and by her honest, straightforward approach. Gail is a woman of principle, who will not be swayed. This includes her commitment to smart economic development, fiscal responsibility, and environmental protection, among other issues. She is an incredibly hard worker.

Gail Lavielle is an exceptional legislator, and she most certainly will have my vote.

Peter Gaboriault

Westport

Gail never disappoints

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Rep. Gail Lavielle for receiving the endorsement of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) which gave approval to only 15 legislators, and for Rep. Lavielle, the fourth time she has been so honored.

Gail has consistently recognized the need to protect Connecticut’s valuable resources, never faltering in her support for clean energy programs, reliable public transportation, improved coastal management practices, or better open space protection. The need for economic development does not have to mean sacrificing our natural resources. Gail never disappoints when it comes to excellence for her state and for her constituents.

Bev Sutherland

Wilton

Story attacks reputation

To the Editor:

Having read Sophie Vaughn’s Oct. 5 article “Compo bathrooms approved despite pickleballers’ concerns,” I am extremely upset how my photograph and caption was juxtaposed below this inaccurate headline. It makes me appear to be heartless towards the needs of the handicapped despite my long standing volunteer work with the disabled, the infirm and those at end of life in hospice care. It is also very disheartening being that I have handicapped love ones. The decision to do this was not only hurtful, it has intentionally and needlessly tarnished my reputation. To stigmatize me (or anyone) with the repugnant label of being insensitive to the needs of the disabled community is not only abhorrent, but is also irresponsible.

It was irresponsible in the first place to write a careless and erroneous headline singling out “Pickleballers” to perpetuate the false narrative that this is a parochial issue of interest only to a handful of Westport residents. You had previously been informed that this is an issue of concern to all town residents, and that the majority of Westport residents who have voiced their opposition to this proposal are not pickleball players. If you desired accurate reporting, you would have instead written: “Compo bathrooms approved despite residents’ concerns”.

Not only did you place my photograph immediately below that egregious headline, the caption below my photograph said nothing to indicate WHY I was opposed to the funding request; therefore you left your readers, and my neighbors, with the false impression that I may be uncaring towards the needs of others. I want that impression nullified on no uncertain terms.

At the meeting, my opposition to this imprudent proposal was stated repeatedly and very clearly, to be

based only on the restroom’s proposed location and design. I advocated for the restroom to simply be moved slightly to protect Compo’s cherished panoramic vista, and for its unsafe design to be reconsidered. I made it crystal clear that I was in favor of having many handicap accessible restroom facilities available - just not in that particular location and not with a design that has already proven to be dangerous. I refer you to my actual words, that you can hear on the meeting’s archived video.

In addition, your decision to choose the “cry of pickleball players that the bathroom will block their view of the beach” as your lead in, rather than the multiple other valid reasons that were cited at that meeting and recognized by BoF Vice Chair Michael Rea (including the “nearly one million dollar” expense, design, size, location, safety, prudence, lack of transparency, flawed processes, insufficient public knowledge/guidance/approval, etc.), is very disturbing.

In addition, that a news organization would omit First Selectman Marpe’s remarkable admission that the operative and crucial portion of P&R’s March 31, 2015 minutes reflecting the restroom approval was fictitious, and that our town attorney claimed that this fact was irrelevant, is startling.

I understand that news organizations have time and space constraints. However, due to the public’s reliance on what they read, you have a responsibility to publish an article accurately and with substance. Responsible journalism mandates getting the significance, the consequences and the facts of the issue right, rather than misinforming the readership and tarnishing the people you mention.

I want you to address my concerns immediately and issue an apology for implying that I am in any way insensitive to the needs of the disabled community and people living with physical challenges.

Caroline Walshon

Westport

Should hunters be concerned about CWD?

To the Editor:

As hunters start sighting in for deer season, there’s a new concern in the woods: Chronic Wasting Disease. While CWD has never been detected in New England, it was recently found for the first time in Quebec.

Should hunters be concerned? Let’s look at what we know—and don’t—about CWD.

CWD was first discovered at a university research lab in Colorado 50 years ago. In free-roaming deer, it was first detected in the 1980s, also in Colorado. Since then, the disease has slowly spread around the country from Texas to North Dakota and east to Pennsylvania. It affects deer, elk, and moose.

The first common fear among hunters is that CWD will affect them. However, there is not a single case of CWD affecting a human. While CWD is related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (which does affect people), these kinds of ailments tend to not cross the species barrier. The former does not affect people, just like the latter does not affect deer.

Because state agencies have typically tested very few harvested deer for CWD—even in states where the disease has been previously detected—it’s very likely that humans have been eating CWD-positive deer for decades. Yet there’s no evidence that it has ever affected anyone.

A second common concern is that CWD will wipe out deer populations. This hasn’t happened, either.

CWD has been detected in Colorado for three decades and in Wisconsin for close to 20 years. Yet hunting opportunities are still strong in both states. When researchers in those states examined whether CWD had an effect on deer populations and mortality, they found it did not.

Why? CWD has a long incubation period—up to two years. Deer that get CWD are more likely to die of something else, such as predators, starvation, or vehicle strike.

Lastly, there is confusion about how CWD spreads. It is often a mystery. For example, no one is sure (yet) where it came from in Quebec. And CWD was detected in New York in 2005 in one isolated case, but further testing of local deer has not found it again.

CWD is believed to occur spontaneously, which may explain isolated cases, such as Quebec or a previous finding of the disease in reindeer in Norway.

CWD can also be spread inadvertently through hunters moving carcasses. An official with the US Geological Survey has identified carcass movement as a key threat to accidentally spreading CWD. In the New York case, it may have been accidentally spread through a taxidermist. A recent case in Minnesota was linked back to the taxidermy work done by the deer farmer.

Sometimes deer farms, which raise animals for meat and velvet, are blamed for CWD because they move animals between farms and breeding facilities in different states. But farms are actually low-risk due to the stringent USDA rules they are required to follow in order to ship interstate.

Deer farms, which are permitted in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and other facilities that move deer across state lines must be certified under a federal CWD monitoring program. Obtaining certification requires that a farm test all of its eligible animals for CWD for at least five years, with zero positive test results. Farms are constantly testing for CWD and should be seen as the “canary in the coal mine” for an area, but not necessarily the source.

Because CWD is spread by free-ranging animals, there’s little anyone can do to stop its slow spread. But sportsmen should support sensible policies.

States should strictly enforce bans on importing carcasses from CWD-positive areas. State agencies should conduct more testing of hunter harvests for CWD, just to be sure. And states should help fund scientific research to help find solutions to CWD. Recent research has discovered new genetic markers that appear to be more resistant to CWD than previously known to exist, but more funding is needed.

Hunters should also understand that much of the concern about CWD is driven by media coverage. Other deer diseases, such as bluetongue, act quickly and can in fact drastically kill off deer in an area—yet get relatively little media attention.

Hunting is a tradition that provides good bonding experiences for friends and family. Sportsmen shouldn’t let the experience be diminished by unfounded worries.

Charly Seale

Chairman, Media Review Committee

American Cervid Alliance