What's happened

to Compo Beach?

On a recent visit to my Compo Beach, I was appalled to see the disgraceful mess that it has become. As I drove into the beach getting the OK to go through, I could see the total disaster.

Here are some issues I'd like to address:

There were picnickers on the grass area near the basketball court. Since when is this being allowed?

The south beach was so crowded with double parked cars that it was impossible to pass, there were tents and canopies on every part of the beach. Canopies, yes, but tents? Has this become a state park?

Driving around by the cannons it was noted that the picnic tables had been moved and people eating and drying towels along the stonewall. Is this an issue? Yes, what kind of people would destroy the sights of our beautiful beach?

To the area left of the cannons I saw tents, not just umbrellas, and tables high enough to be considered buffet banquet tables with people standing around them blocking the view of the sound and sunbathers lying on the sand. Is this what the beach area is for? Since when is ball playing allowed on the main part of the beach area? That's what the courts and south beach are for.

As I drove out of the beach, as I couldn't find a parking spot, I was totally irritated by the lack of security. There were cars parked along the drop-off zone with their tailgate down sitting and eating (this is a no parking zone!). Has this been waived too?

Along the scenic drive-over-looking the sound and peoples' homes, people, dogs, and coolers were lined up on the stonewall where people were sitting and eating. Isn't this invading the use of the walkway by the "walkers" who wish to enjoy the view and still keep safe by not going into the road to avoid oncoming cars? This is where security should be enforced.

There was a time when signs were posted about the rules of the beach and adhered to. Are we just going to let all this happen and make Compo Beach as unpleasant as possible, for the sake of the taxpayers and a few extra dollars?

Another issue is the trash left behind. The lifeguards use to announce toward the end of the day and remind everyone to pick up their trash and belonging before you leave the beach. Good idea. What happened to that?

There was a time when the side parking lot was for out-of town paying cars, and once filled, it was posted "filled" and roped off. Good idea.

The food concession area is always covered with appears and the boardwalk in front of it is dirty with food and ice cream drippings. Wouldn't that be nice if the owner took the responsibility to wash down the area from time to time, free of flies and garbage so the people could walk the boardwalk?

Signs should be posted under the gazebo stating that the tables are for eating, not for leaving your entire wardrobe and belongings for the day, (as some do), throw your trash away, and leave the tables clean for other people to sit and enjoy the shade if they choose to do this.

All these areas of concern should be taken into consideration for those of us who hold season emblem to Compo Beach. We care and remember when there were rules to make our beach a safe and pleasurable place!

What needs to be done is take an inventory as to where and how the money collected is dispersed. Certainly there is lots of money collected to have these issues taken care of and get us back on track.

I'm suggesting and as I am sure many other town's people will agree that we take a look back to when the rules and regulations were carried out and seemed to be successful in enforcing the rules. Why not hand each paying car going through the gate a list stating what we expect along with their receipt of payment to be shown on their windshield, just like the tax payers have to display their emblem. Anyone not abiding by these rules could be fine!?

In conclusion, if other Westport tax payers are in agreement or who have suggestion or concerns, perhaps the administration for the Parks and Rec., Mr. Stuart McCarthy would love to hear about them. Are the young people being taken advantage of in making decisions? After all, it is the taxpayers of Westport who pay to keep our beach safe and clean.

It's time we spoke up.

Bernadette Stiskal


Transparency in government

A petition requesting a Westport RTM "sense of the meeting" resolution has been filed by 36 Westport voters. The signatories include Westport's former police chief, a present member of the Westport Board of Finance and four members of the Westport RTM. The petition results from the action of our first selectman to re hire our present police chief, fire chief and deputy fire chief immediately following their June 1 retirements under their applicable town pension plans.

I believe the first selectman acted on the basis of the town charter, which authorizes the first selectman to "appoint" Westport's police chief, fire chief and deputy fire chief. Whether that power to appoint legally encompasses the actions taken, and the employment terms agreed to solely by the first selectman is far less important than the fact that this action was taken by the first selectman without consultation with any other town body. At this time, I am not aware of any one other than the first selectman who knows the employment terms now in effect following the "retirements" of these three individuals, including whether those terms are in writing.

The Petition asks that the RTM adopt a resolution which states that "the RTM recommends that the Retirements [of Messrs. Fiore, Ackley and Gottfried] and the continued employment of the employees by the Town of Westport, including the financial terms, length of employment, financial benefits or detriments and the policy implications to Westport, its citizens and other Westport employees, be reviewed by the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance."

If readers have a position on this matter, I suggest you convey that by e-mail to your RTM representatives or to RTM Moderator Hadley Rose (e-mail: hrose4rtm3@optonline.net). The matter is scheduled for the July 20 RTM Meeting. Public participation is welcomed. The primary goal of the petition is to air the action of the first selectmen in the belief that transparency in government should be factored into all important decisions by the office of the first selectman.

Don Bergmann


Res ipsa loquitur

The Republican party has been seized by the Tea Baggers, a group of selfish and radical dissenters who oppose all government that does not serve their rather narrow view -- zero cost, zero intrusion, even a belief that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to determine the constitutionality of laws.

One of their demands is that the state of Connecticut fly their Gadsden flag over the capitol in Hartford. To the Tea Baggers this yellow flag, bearing a snake and the words "Don't Tread on Me," is a flag of resistance -- to government and to taxes. It is the battle standard they wave in their fight to reverse all the gains made since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

But they disingenuously mask its true meaning and their true intent by calling it a flag of the U. S. Marine Corps. They tell us that to fly it is to honor this valiant force for democracy. Yet even a cursory review of the US Marine Flag Manual shows no more than that it was "quite possibly" carried into a single battle in 1776, one year before Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes, and 154 years before the Marines adopted their own standard, a scarlet flag with the corps emblem in gray and gold -- no snake, no yellow, no "Don't Tread on Me." Honor the Marines by flying their flag, not by fanciful myth building around a symbol of dubious historic relevance.

Toni Boucher, it seems, has to answer to the Tea Baggers' shrill and often fact free demands. So she rather shamelessly prosecutes their case, continuing to leverage her position of trust to call for the flying of this partisan flag. Whether her heart is in the effort or it is a bald political play for survival is unknown, but, to this writer -- res ipsa loquitur -- the matter speaks for itself.

Republicans should be asking themselves who Boucher represents if she seeks headlines appeasing the most extreme elements of their party.

Roy Fuchs