Open letter to officials regarding master plan

To the Editor:

Our Board of Finance is about to make an important vote on funding the Town Planning Group. As I watch this process from a distance I have to observe that the standards that we are accepting are shockingly low. First this is one of the biggest decisions this town will make in 50 years. It is dangerous to keep this ball in the air with such questionable dealings. With such importance to the town the highest standards should be applied not the lowest. The Board of Finance is an appointed body. It looks to me like we are starting to play by Country Club rules. Not with my money.

Right now the town and its people are in a historically bad financial spot. I encourage all those voting to go stand on Main and Elm and talk to this town about this issue. We want to see honest and unobstructed thinking. We expect nothing less. That is why we need all involved with this project in anyway to recuse themselves. Especially Ms. Wagner who is on the Town Center Planning Group, Mr. Budnick who is on the Town Planning Master Group, Mr. Walker who is the ex-officio on the New Canaan Library Board, Mr. Ward who is on the library board, and Ms. Laperla who fund raises for the library.

This is a time for the Town to take the high road. The library accepted a $100,000 donation for a feasibility study, and this action seems to have caused a reaction of exponential proportions to our town. Our elected and appointed officials seemed to have lost sight of the fact that they are representatives of the people and not part of a dictatorship governing body.

We want prudent and fiscal responsibility, we demand outmost transparency and not the shenanigans that is taking place at the public meetings and hearings. We do not need or want or support any of the library plans as pursued by Town Hall. Furthermore, we find the process applied deplorable and unconscionable; we do not need another dose of higher taxes. In these economic times, if the elected and appointed bodies are not happy with Town Hall they all have the option to step down. We will not take it anymore.

Jack Trifero

New Canaan Concerned Citizens

Policy team thanks focus group participants

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Senior Health Care & Housing Policy Development Team, this is to thank the participants in the eight focus groups of citizens who provided input for the senior policy project over the past two weeks. The primary purpose of these focus groups and qualitative market research was to provide early community attitudes and stakeholder inputs to overlay onto the data already collected in our Phase I report (available on the Town website or at Vine Cottage). In this regard, all the citizens who stepped up to help us were invaluable.

Tom Greenbaum, the professional volunteer moderator, also deserves a major thank you for leading each of the eight groups (four with current seniors 65-plus and four with rising seniors 46 to 64). Tom will discuss an overview of his observations and findings from the research with the team this coming Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium. All team meetings are posted and open to the public.

The Senior Health Care & Housing Policy Development strategic project is to analyze long-term trends, identify future needs for senior citizens in the community, and to provide options for senior health care and housing. The goal of the Policy Development Team is to help define for the town an "optimum livable community" for a growing senior population and the actions required to achieve that goal. The study includes both current seniors 65 and over, and Baby Boomers who will be turning into seniors over the next 15 years (or who may have aging parents to care for).

Jim Lisher, Chairman

Senior Health Care & Housing Policy Development Team

Keep the Internet

free and open to all

To the Editor:

Up until now the Internet has not been a respecter of persons. The world wide web has been an open marketplace of ideas and free speech. People have been able to access any website, at any time, at the fastest speed. That's net neutrality. It means that Internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online, guaranteeing a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies.

Think of the websites you go to for information, for fun, for buying things. The Web has changed life forever. It has been an equalizer of people that allows ideas, thoughts, news and images to crisscross the globe in milliseconds.

Net neutrality is under siege. Large corporations like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner want to become Internet gatekeepers, deciding which websites go fast or slow. A Google and Verizon deal wants to charge steep fees to post data on the Internet. They are pushing for the creation of two separate, unequal sections of the Internet -- one fast Internet for big business websites and an inferior, slow "public Internet" for all other websites, a return to "same old, same old power prevails." Once this horse is out of the barn, there's no going back!

Now is the time for each of us to fight to save the open Internet! Urge everyone on your e-mail address book to do so, too.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski says he supports net neutrality. Under pressure from lobbyists, he hasn't done anything. If you love the Internet and what it stands for; if your small company or organization has a website and access to it would be slowed down if net neutrality is neutralized, send an e-mail to Chairman Genachowski at fcc.gov and let him know what you think.

Tanya A. Bickley

New Canaan

Small business owners

suffering under Himes

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Chris DeMuth Jr. for his brief and pointed review of Jim Himes affirmative voting record with regard to the most important and unpopular legislative efforts brought to the floor of the House in recent years. I was also amused to discover that in the same edition of your paper, Jim Himes whirlwind `17 towns in 17 days' tour had swept through New Canaan. One has to wonder if Mr. Himes rushed through our towns so quickly in order to avoid confronting his disappointed constituents.

His brief stop in New Canaan included only two of the Town's many small businesses, accompanied by First Selectman Jeb Walker, who also proposes to increase taxes on every New Canaan resident with his ambitious downtown renovation plans. Apparently, money is cheap right now, so why not borrow more? It matters little that the policies of both men will ultimately make it even more difficult to fill those empty storefronts so aptly pointed out to Mr. Himes by Mr. Walker himself.

As one of the small business owners in town who also happens to employ more workers than most, I have found it ever more difficult to meet the demands of local, state and federal burdens on my business. I have realized over the past 21 years that small business entrepreneurs are simply middlemen, stuck between labor laws that are stifling, employees who have learned to work just long enough to collect unemployment compensation, and local, states and federal taxes that are ever increasing. This is not a situation that can be blamed on one side of the political aisle or the other. Rather, it is a consequence of decades of squandering of our collective treasure by politicians who seek their own aggrandizement at the expense of the just desires of those who put them in office.

It is safe to say that, especially in light of the forthcoming federal health-care and tax burdens to be placed on small businesses, employees are fast becoming the single most burdensome liability to small business, especially on a labor intensive one such as my own. Try as I might to have envisioned a virtual veterinary practice in which I could diagnose and treat patients with my i-Pad alone or employ robots to assist me, the foreseeable future does not hold that out as a possibility for my profession. In the meantime, I will continue to serve my clients, my patients, and most importantly the State, until I can no longer afford to do so.

Paul M. Potenza, DVM

New Canaan Veterinary Hospital

Thank you, New Canaan

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the members of the New Canaan community for embracing the recent merger of Nursing & Home Care and Mid-Fairfield Hospice. Our agency, now Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, has received much positive feedback and support since the merger became effective on July 1.

After operating in formal affiliation and providing a continuum of care for nearly two decades, we are pleased to combine our related goals and missions to provide greater clarity and simplicity and a more integrated system of delivering home health and hospice care.

Although our name is new, our administrative and clinical leadership remains the same and our dedicated team of skilled caregivers will continue to provide the same level of home care services from the same location. We are committed to providing quality home health care and compassionate hospice services to individuals and families in the heart of Fairfield County.

We are grateful for the generosity of spirit and continued support of the community that has enabled us to bring healing and comfort to those in our care for more than 85 years.

Sharon M. Bradley, RN, MSN

President & CEO

Visiting Nurse & Hospice

of Fairfield County