Letters to the editor
Published 1:02 am, Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Not just about
In the discussion in your article, "Planning for Westport's Downtown Revitalization," of Nov. 11, many important points are made that bring up how friendly and exciting the downtown area used to be. It also implies how high rents, greed and a lack of vision have taken over over the years. It is simply not a downtown community anymore, and once the Y leaves, the only reason to go downtown is to shop and eat. It is not a place to meet friends and gather, especially at night.
Westport has enormous charm and beauty with a beautiful river running down the center. But what does anyone see on either side of the Saugatuck: cars and parking lots. No cafes, no restaurants, no place to meet and share a beautiful day. Only now, are outdoor cafes and eating areas being considered. The town shuts down by 10 p.m. at night, even on weekends. You can't walk to a bookstore and talk about a movie you have seen over coffee in a cozy cafe. Remember the movie theaters? Ships restaurant? Atticus bookstore and cafe? How bout the Ice Cream Parlor? Oh, sorry, residents who moved here within the last decade would not have a clue.
Each town administration has progressively lost vision of what the town was and could be. Otherwise we could have had a park where the office building is on Gorham Island. We could have had a beautiful library that didn't have to go through successive renovations where a fancy widget factory was built. And now we will continue to talk about it because we need more money. Not beauty. Not comfort. Not friendship. Money.
Westport is not just about revitalization, its about vision and beauty ... and the past.
Movie theaters missing
I've lived in Westport since 1965 and have watched with dismay as Westport's essential local character was overtaken by national chain stores. (Maybe you can't stop progress, but you can stop calling it "progress.") But Westport really lost its downtown when it lost its movie theaters. The place I'm most likely to run into my fellow Westporters is at the Garden Cinema in Norwalk, which also means that Westport restaurants are losing potential clientele to Norwalk restaurants. (The same discouraging phenomenon is happening in Fairfield as well.) I applaud Ron Corwin's suggestion that the P&Z encourage downtown Westport developers to include a movie theater in their plans.
Thank you for your thoughtful editorial (Westport News, Nov. 11). As a Vietnam veteran, I cannot speak for my fellow comrades, but I don't think that whether or not school is in session on Veterans Day is a major concern to most of us. Instead, I would like to see property tax credits or certain discounts at various town related services be given to veterans. This would be far more meaningful and perhaps an incentive for others to serve. In a far greater span of focus, I would like to also see a mandatory two-year service requirement, whether it be community or military, for all 18-year-olds, regardless of gender, in this country. The best way to honor veterans is to become one!
Bring 'em home
The best way to honor our Veterans is bring all our troops home for Christmas!
Thank you, voters
Thank you, voters of District 4, for coming out Nov. 3 to vote, particularly those that voted for me to represent them on the RTM.
Many of your Westport and Weston readers have been unreachable by phone due to errors made by AT&T and the Dept. of Public Utility Control (DPUC) in implementing the dialing change made mandatory last Saturday.
Are you aware that:
"¢ For several hours Saturday morning, Nov. 14, thousands of cellphone users were unable to call any landline in Westport or Weston -- whether or not they dialed the full 10-digit number as directed. (This likely due to a programming error at Westport's AT&T central station.)
"¢ As of this writing (Sunday evening), if you are using your landline and dial "1" before the 10 digit number, your call will not go through and you will get an erroneous and confusing recording that does not tell you how to dial the proper way.
"¢ Again, if you dial "1" before the 10 digit number, you will hear 1--3 rings -- and incur about a 10 second delay -- before you get the aforementioned recording. Ten seconds may not seem like a lot, but in an emergency it can be both dangerous and frightening -- and totally unnecessary with today's telecom technology.
"¢ ATT and DPUC did shockingly little to publicize the dialing change. A Google search of "CT dialing change" or "CT area code change" reveals just one single result published by a Fairfield County or New York Metro news organization (CT Post), and DPUC has not bothered to change its Web page on this subject since last May.
"¢ Neither the DPUC Web page nor the Connecticut Post article mention that you cannot dial "1" before the area code. (The Post article says it's "not necessary" to dial 1.)
The truth is that there have been thousands of area code and dialing changes in recent years, so there is no excuse for professional telecom managers and state regulators to get things this wrong.
If you would like to contact the executives accountable for managing this process, they are:
Editor's note: The Westport News followed up on this information, and neither AT&T nor the DPUC received complaints regarding the issues alleged in the above letter from anyone other than Blau. DPUC spokesman Phil Dukes, readers were reminded that unless they are dialing long-distance, dialing "1" is not necessary. According to Dukes, "If you didn't use the one before, you don't use it now." Nothing has changed for 911, 611 or 211.
Suburbs need to step up
Here we go again. Is it not enough that Bridgeport houses various criminals, juvenile offenders, numerous homes for disadvantaged, mentally challenged adults and domestic and troubled youths placed in foster domiciles?
Must we be sought as a refuge for all the troubled juvenile females in the Greater Bridgeport area? What is wrong with Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport, Darien, etc.?
Must Bridgeport be the suppository of all the emotional and criminal ills in the metropolitan area?
When are the suburbs going to step up to the plate and assume their responsibilities to shoulder some ownership for these problems by opening their doors and silently adapt or cry "NIMBY" (that is, Not In My Back Yard)?
Truly it is time for us to refuse to be an appropriate and available "landfill" for everybody's human pain, especially when these problems are social, non-territorial and common to all of us.
Finally, while Bridgeport does have the land (even if it is owned by the state) it does not mean or mandate that other communities should not be excluded as a viable or real choice, and not look only to Bridgeport or any other city as a panacea for these current mutual dilemmas.
Peter J. George