Letters to the Editor: Waveny thanks First County Bank, Is Connecticut junk?
To the Editor:
Thanks to this recent grant, we are able to fund the next implementation phase of an electronic medical records (EMR) system throughout our network. Specifically, the funds will be used for continued staff education so we become more proficient and sophisticated in the use of the EMR system and to establish connectivity with all our third-party medical providers, such as pharmacy, laboratory, and imaging.
As a result of the generosity of local organizations like First County Bank Foundation, Waveny is able to consistently deliver the most advanced service innovations available to the health care community. We, and those we serve, deeply value the Foundation’s contribution and belief in our mission.
William C. Piper
Waveny LifeCare Network chief executive officer
To the Editor:
Unlike our national culture of celebrity, which seems to thrive on attention-getting stridency, issue creation, hyperbole and “alternative facts,” our local town governmental process is at its best when its members are endowed with experience, civility, sobriety and a firm grip on reality. For this reason I support the re-election of Penny Young to the Town Council.
I have known Penny for four decades and, as you, have benefited from her commitment to our community.
She listens. She thinks. She asks questions. She “gets it.”
As the parade of issues, perennial and new, comes before our Town Council — from the promise of our youth to the stability of our seniors to the evaluation of properties owned by the town — hers is a voice that should continue to be heard.
Richard H. Troy
To the Editor:
New Canaan Republicans that I know have a thirst for new faces and new approaches to vexing issues that are confronting our community. That thirst can soon be quenched by voting for Kevin J. Moynihan.
“Change” is always a powerful force in elections and after six years I strongly believe it really is “time for a change” in New Canaan’s red brick town hall.
Kevin J. Moynihan, a 36-year resident of New Canaan and current member of our Town Council, has very respectively announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination of the office of first selectman.
In my observations, Kevin is running a very issues-oriented campaign and has comported himself admirably since his big announcement. While he is working diligently and plans on being victorious, he is not looking to divide our Republican electorate and has been firm, but courteous, to the incumbent.
I learned during my two terms as chairman of the New Canaan Republican Town Committee that in politics there are “show horses” and “work horses.” Believe me, Kevin Moynihan is a “work horse,” and more importantly he will lead us.
He will be aggressive and lead from the front and provide a comprehensive new approach to our chronic problems, like inadequate cell phone coverage and a unacceptable commuter parking waiting list.
As a retired corporate securities lawyer, Kevin is prudent and uses good judgment; he really understands the issues New Canaan faces.
He was for the Saxe renovation since inception and would have worked collaboratively with our very-able Municipal Audit Committee and town treasurer to fix the recurring and embarrassing material weakness that we read about for four years.
Kevin has also quickly recognized that Hartford is looking to make draconian changes to both education funding and aid to small towns. These proposed changes will affect our town finances and we need to better plan for them now.
Please use your vote wisely and vote Kevin J. Moynihan at the Republican Caucus July 18.
Editor’s note: O’Hora served as the Republican Town Committee chairman from 2010 to 2014.
To the Editor:
Connecticut has the wealthiest, most educated citizens of any state in the nation. So why is our state government broke?
We lack a state budget and risk downgrades from rating agencies. Connecticut could become the first junk-rated state in the U.S. It doesn’t matter how rich you are — if you spend more than you make, then sooner or later you are going to be in trouble.
As Margaret Thatcher said, “Eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
So what is the state government going to do? It is going to come after towns such as New Canaan. One proposed solution to the profligate chaos in Hartford is to foist a third of teacher pension costs onto towns such as ours. They have blown through their revenue and now want to stick us with their unpaid bills.
As taxes go up and up, employers from GE to Beretta and Aetna are fleeing. With the budget utterly out of control in Hartford, we have to be especially careful with our own financial affairs in New Canaan.
That is why I would encourage you to support Rich Townsend for our town council. No one could be more careful with taxpayer dollars or more focused on protecting property values and making this a competitive business climate once again.
Fiscally irresponsibility has made this a state to flee from. We should make it a place for businesses to flee to.
To the Editor:
New Canaan is the perfect, idyllic New England town. It is a beautiful place to life. But to keep it thriving, it also has to be a convenient place to work.
It is time for our town council to take steps to make it a more convenient commute. Improved commuting logistics would massively improve New Canaan home values as more new families would consider New Canaan as an attractive and convenient alternative to Darien and Greenwich.
In particular, there are immediate steps that our town should take to expedite new commuters getting parking places near the train. One option would be to auction off a number of spaces for more time-sensitive commuters who don’t want to wait.
Another concern is that it is hard for people to commute to New Canaan for jobs in town. A better train schedule that would allow more people to conveniently commute to New Canaan could inject a new vitality into our town by allowing more businesses, especially financial service firms, to operate here. These have the kinds of jobs that would revitalize our tax base, throw off a lot of benefits to other town businesses, and protect our property values amidst real headwinds.
Rich Townsend has been a leader on these issues. He would be a great addition to our town council. He was a New Canaan commuter for years and knows the ins and outs of problems facing New Canaan commuters today. Better commuter convenience would benefit us all.
To the Editor:
Let’s get this out of the way: I am utterly biased in believing that Rich Townsend would be a great addition to the town council. He’s a great guy — one of the very best. He is also my dad.
Here’s the thing: I am biased, but I am also right.
I have worked with Rich professionally for almost a decade, so perhaps my view is more well-rounded than most daughters. He is fair-minded and has a gift for listening. He’s the consummate team player, but unafraid to stand by his opinions when he believes he is right. He has run companies and his life by the principles of fiscal discipline, prudent prioritization and common sense.
The reason we moved back to New Canaan is the same that brought my parents here 23 years ago — the superior schools make this the perfect town for growing children. Over the years and through the kids, Rich has been an East Eagle, a South Paw and a Westy Whale. He cheered our Saxe theatrical efforts and clapped the loudest at our New Canaan High School graduations. His commitment to New Canaan schools is deep and abiding.
But what about our neighbors without kids in New Canaan schools? The schools are a great investment for them, too. New Canaan property values are measurably higher due to our top-ranked schools.
New Canaan would be well served to have Rich Townsend on the town council.
To the Editor:
I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for Rich Townsend for town council.
In the first debate, he clearly voiced his priorities to protect what is most valuable about New Canaan — from our property values, to strong schools and commuter convenience.
He has been deeply committed to our community for decades. That commitment included an extremely high level of generosity of time and energy as a father, grandfather, churchgoer and volunteer. From studying in the classrooms of Stanford as a student to presenting in the boardroom as the CFO of a major company, he knows how to listen, learn, and lead.
Home owners all benefit when property values rise and we can help strengthen the real estate market by focusing on the right priorities. I have three kids in school in New Canaan so I care that Rich will make certain that our public schools remain some of the best in the nation.
As a commuter for many years, Rich has innovative ideas for increasing commuter convenience by radically simplifying and accelerating the process of getting train parking.
Mostly, we need a representative who is a strong CFO. Why? Because the state of Connecticut is broke. They have run out of money and are going to be going after prosperous towns in Fairfield County for ours. Their profligacy places a heightened demand that we get New Canaan’s finances in order. There is no one I trust more to do so than Rich Townsend.
Chris DeMuth, Jr.
To the Editor:
The foremost issue on most voters’ minds is the financial condition of New Canaan.
Property owners feel the pinch of persistent tax increases in the face of lowered property values.
With a nod to zero-based budgeting, let’s start by looking at our budgets item by item. In our current system, department managers defend their proposed percentage increases, rather than their proposed overall budgets. Let’s go back to the beginning and look at every item that comprises those budgets.
However, the difficulties in obtaining money for legitimate needs, mid-budget cycle, is so forbidding that department managers must plan over-generously in order to protect against shortfalls. Let’s make mid-year requests less unfriendly and more streamlined.
Let’s help budget managers to develop budgets that mirror actual current needs.
Next, let’s get down to the business of eliminating the duplication of services in our Board of Education and our town government, and let’s do it in a way that doesn’t make our educators feel threatened. Do we really need two finance departments? Can they be combined in a way that is fair to both? I think so.
Let’s increase our grant writing. Let’s look at increasing our user fees. And let’s start requiring maintenance endowments on future private-public partnerships. Too often what seems like a generous gift can, over time, become an albatross of expenses.
Let’s do what it takes to let our residents know that the town is spending tax dollars wisely and frugally and that any increase is truly justified and unavoidable.
Editor’s note: Devereaux is a Democratic candidate for first selectman.
To the Editor:
We have been residents of New Canaan since 2013 and have been very active in the community with two children in the New Canaan public schools, volunteering time for many organizations including the West School PTC, Cub Scouts, Meals on Wheels and St. Aloysius and financial support for many others.
As many of you, our largest personal investment is our home in New Canaan. Although we do not have 20 years of history in this town, we don’t need those years of experience to recognize a recurring theme with current First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams — a lack of leadership in our town government and unwillingness to take positions on critical issues facing New Canaan.
Saxe Middle School expansion: This accomplishment does not belong to the first selectman or the selectman, although it is touted as a key accomplishment.
Approval of this project was spearheaded by the parents of New Canaan with support of many other residents. Working moms and dads and other concerned residents spent hundreds of hours petitioning and speaking to the Town Council and Board of Finance to successfully approve the expansion of our overcrowded middle school.
In fact, the current first selectman went on record as not supporting the expansion, which is what prompted the uproar from town families. Only after the overwhelming support and public pressure from the community and mere days before the November 2015 election did they change their tune on Saxe by stating they would be more “open minded” to the expansion.
Town-owned buildings: Did you know the town owns 53 buildings, many of which have significant deferred maintenance? These properties, similar to a private home, decrease in value if they are not maintained.
To date there is still no comprehensive plan for these deteriorating town assets. How many taxpayer dollars need to be spent before there is a thoughtful strategic plan for these buildings? Holding these buildings could very well hinder other critical investments the town needs to make.
Further, I would expect our leaders to make informed decisions. Unfortunately this was not the case with the Outback. In the dead of summer, the first selectman and selectman made a rash decision and publicly stated the Outback should be demolished. Again, only after significant scrutiny did they research the issue and reverse their position. The lack of leadership in this capital intensive part of the town budget is appalling.
Appointment and findings of the Audit Committee: A similar brazened attitude was displayed toward the creation and findings of the Audit Committee. How could these two publicly attack the many well-regarded members of the Audit Committee after citing serious internal controls in town hall especially when the deficiencies came under the watch of town employees hired by the Board of Selectman?
This same behavior again came back to the forefront when the town treasurer was publicly ostracized for reporting similar internal control concerns. This consistent attacking behavior illustrates their disregard for official reports and their inability to accept responsibility for issues at town hall.
It is time to elect officials that are transparent, independent, take the time to research issues and make informed decisions incorporating the views of all New Canaan residents. We need leaders that are thoughtful and fiscally conservative, yet understand that New Canaan is slipping behind its competitive towns and may need to invest strategically to attract residents that will protect our real estate values.
Please join us in supporting Kevin Moynihan, Christa Kenin and Rich Townsend at the caucus July 18 to bring this needed change to New Canaan.
Greg and Becky Ethridge
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Family Fourth Committee, I would like to thank all who supported the 37th Annual New Canaan Family Fourth Celebration at Waveny Park by purchasing an entrance pass and attending this Independence Day celebration.
The fireworks show was spectacular. It was another memorable Fourth of July celebration — an outstanding evening of family fun, wonderful music, great food and a fantastic fireworks display. Your financial support makes this great New Canaan tradition possible; whether you drove in or walked in, thank you for buying an entrance pass.
We offer a big thank you to the New Canaan Family Fourth Volunteer Committee and all of the following; the show could not have gone on without their energy, hard work and commitment:
Fire Department and fire marshal;
New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps;
New Canaan Community Emergency Response Team (CERT);
New Canaan Town Band;
Parks, Public Works, Recreation and Information Technology departments;
Town Clerk’s office;
The Exchange Club of New Canaan;
Master of Ceremonies Dan Taylor;
Our special benefactors;
The gourmet food trucks;
The volunteers who worked from early morning to very late at night, to set up and take down all of the necessary infrastructure and equipment.
A special thank you this year to Walter Stewart’s Market, the New Canaan Toy Store and Baskin-Robbins for selling entrance passes at their stores and to the local print and online papers for getting the word out about the event.
As usual, the police and CERT volunteers did a wonderful job handling the traffic flow; the park was nearly empty about 30 minutes after the fireworks ended.
And I offer special kudos, as always, to our recreation staff, led by Steve Benko and Bill Kapp, for their tireless efforts in creating a quintessential Fourth of July celebration.
Please send any comments, thoughts and suggestions for next year to me at town hall.
Editor’s note: Stadler served as chairman of the New Canaan Family Fourth Committee.
To the Editor:
I encourage you to support Rich Townsend in his run for Town Council.
Rich is a man of great integrity; he is honest, hardworking and deeply committed to maintaining a high quality of life for the citizens of New Canaan.
As his pastor, I have witnessed Rich’s care for and commitment to our local community through various missions and charitable organizations over the years. Rich is a core volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fairfield County and co-coordinator of our church’s monthly Habitat workday.
As a devoted and active member of the United Methodist Church of New Canaan, Rich and his wife, Cathy, are always willing to serve and lead our congregation as needed. In addition to participating on several committees, Rich has been a mentor to our confirmants and a trusted friend to many.
Our Town Council needs dedicated, well-rounded, sincere people who are committed to the issues that matter to this community. Please join me in voting for Rich Townsend.
Editor’s note: Fjeldal is the pastor of United Methodist Church of New Canaan.
To the Editor:
I am writing to support Rich Townsend’s candidacy for Town Council.
After living and raising his family in New Canaan for almost 30 years (interrupted by a two-year job assignment in Paris), Rich has seen the town grow and evolve, yet the underlying strengths have not wavered: excellent schools, solid fiscal management and a large number of caring, talented citizens actively involved in the work of local government and community organizations.
I have known Rich for 25 of those years as a dedicated husband, father, NYC-commuting corporate executive, community volunteer, local businessman, and fellow choir member (Yes, he can even sing!). Whether organizing a community pancake breakfast, feeding the masses at a church barbecue, organizing work crews and wielding a hammer for Habitat for Humanity, or counseling young people starting out in their careers, he brings intention and enthusiasm to every encounter, listens carefully, and responds respectfully.
New Canaan is fortunate that Rich has decided to put his hat in the ring to bring his energy and discernment to our town council. He is committed to building on our community’s best strengths while always looking for ideas to improve the status quo in meaningful ways.
To the Editor:
As a fellow commuter and father of three schoolchildren who attend our highly-ranked public schools, I write in support of Nick Williams for re-election as selectman of our town.
Nick is a former chairman of our Board of Education who championed academic excellence in our schools throughout his tenure. He also introduced the concept of televised public meetings in New Canaan — perhaps the most important act promoting public transparency in town history.
As a commuter — the only commuter running for office at any level in town government — Nick and his fellow selectmen authorized the creation of a separate parking fund to support necessary maintenance and upgrades to our parking facilities. So far that fund has generated nearly a million dollars that have been used to pave and rehabilitate our existing lots, install electronic parking meters and permit the use of smartphone apps.
Given the literally thousands of hours he has spent riding the trains to and from New York City, it’s not a surprise that it was Nick’s idea to embrace technology with the use of digital license plate readers, which eliminated the cumbersome stickers and tags that were used by commuters with great frustration in past years.
To the Editor:
I heartily endorse Rob Mallozzi and Nick Williams for the nomination as our Republican party’s candidates for first selectman and selectman, respectively.
In their six years in office Rob and Nick have represented the interests of all New Canaanites, from senior citizens, to newcomer families, to young school children, and that’s reflected by the high ratings our town has consistently received for our quality of life. As the father of three schoolchildren, I’m particularly grateful for their support for our outstanding schools.
Likewise, our spectacular parks, our beautiful downtown village, our first-class emergency services personnel, and our distinct “family atmosphere” make New Canaan the special community that it is, and that’s due in large part to the thoughtful and patient leadership that Rob and Nick have brought to their jobs.
Are there really any towns out there that are better (and in better shape) than New Canaan?
Please join me in voting for Rob and Nick at the Republican Caucus July 18 from 6-9 p.m. at the New Canaan High School. Experienced leadership really does matter.