Letter: Writer rebuts assertions that first selectman candidate deserves credit for Darien High School lights

To the Editor:

I just read the letter to the editor regarding Rob Richards from Mike Klein and literally became ill. Along with many, many very supportive, generous Darien residents who fought to right a wrong, we have much to be proud of as volunteers. I have been personally involved with this process for many years — dating back to portable lights to provide a safer environment for our athletes and now on to permanent lights at Darien High School.  Ten+ years of meetings with hundreds of neighbors, residents, officials and having to send out thousands of registered letters each year just for portables is what led up to victory on the lights movement.

Rob Richards, very candidly, did nothing.

At the very end,  he inserted himself into the process, despite strong recommendations against it, and he hurt the process, not helped it. He had no constructive involvement what so ever and his input is now responsible for actually limiting usage on the field lighting adding no Saturday night games and football games starting at 6 p.m. and not 7 p.m.  like all other Connecticut towns.  The Darien Athletic Foundation (DAF) —  through hundreds of very generous Darien families, businesses and organizations such as our “lead donor,” the Darien Foundation — privately raised over $9 million.

These funds were used  to turf our fields, build seating on the oval, landscape, construct the new beautiful concession stands and most importantly the state of the art lights we will all celebrate on Friday night. To my knowledge Selectman Richards did not donate a single penny, but now wants to take credit for 10 years of work and the DAF following the rules and regulations in our town plan. This is a very sad and desperate act by a local politician trying to make a name for himself. Compromise was reached by the rules governed by our town plan and made possible by the DAF, school board and Planning & Zoning, along with generous unselfish committed donors.

Let’s celebrate our new community gathering place on Friday night, and nobody wants to hear your fairy tale claims of magically getting the deal approved.  This reflects very poorly on your character and let credit be given to residents who earned it.

Let there be light!

Guy Wisinski

Darien

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  • Blue Wave Born

    Jayme Stevenson PUBLICLY took credit for the lights: nhttp://www.darientimes.com/86431/newsflash-stevenson-to-seek-fourth-term-in-november-as-town-leader/nPlease show me the Darien Times article where Rob Richards takes credit for them? This small letter doesn’t say Rob was the only person to thank for the lights either. I can only assume you would be doubly upset that the current First Selectman who actually said that she deserves credit for the lights, and didn’t acknowledge the DAF or any volunteers. Attacking someone’s character for a harmless LTE is misguided and reflects poorly on YOUR character, Guy.

  • Rob Richards

    Mr. Wisinski, you are a long time proponent of DHS Lights and a donor. You have fought long and hard to see this through and deserve recognition.nnThe only credit I wish to take is finding a compromise between two parties who have fought for decades and prevented litigation. nnI am very proud of our community. And for the record, if it werenu2019t for the DAF, the donors, and the many volunteers there would be no DHS lights. u2014 Nobody has argued otherwise.

    • John Sini

      The reality is a compromise was long in the making well before Rob Richards interloped on the issue and proclaimed himself responsible for u201cfinding a compromise.u201d For months, if not years, the issue was already being widely discussed by town leaders and interested parties including many DHS neighbors (several of them DAF donors), without Mr. Richards input. nnThe conditions for approval that Darien enjoys today were developed from input from hundreds of community members (including dozens of neighbors that live in close proximity to the high school), surrounding towns zoning regulations, arbitrated agreements and legal decisions that offered the administration, Board of Education, and Planning and Zoning office countless resources to work from in crafting the zoning regulation compromise that was ultimately adopted best interest of Darien in mind. nnIronically, many of the original conditions Mr. Richards presented and supported were ultimately rejected by town leadership. These included: BOS intervention, an unnecessary taxpayer funded wetland environmental study, single point of vehicular exit from campus, an annual ten game limit under lights, 7 pm weekday cut off time, a town-wide ban for additional lit fields, practices allowed only after daylight savings late October, lights only facing school building, speakers only facing the home bleachers and no sound after halftime, a downward adjustment the appraised value and assessed values of effected neighboring properties, use of retractable light poles, all guidelines enforceable by any Darien property owner and guidelines permanent and enforceable for fifteen years. nnIf the above examples sound misguided, reckless and even illegal, they are!nnFinding this solution was a true community effort, anyone claiming otherwise clearly wasnu2019t part of the process.

      • Blue Wave Born

        Nobody has said that it was not a community effort. As i posted before, but was taken down for some reason, Jayme Stevenson took credit for the lights in a Darien Times article but neither Guy or yourself (Both republicans and vocal Stevenson supporters) acknowledge that. Perhaps you should read the articles on this website about the lights…all give Richards some form of credit for working with the neighbors and Dr. Brenner. Perhaps you should take up your issues with the times’ reporters. As you said yourself Mr. Sini, it was a community effort. Rob Richards is part of that community who sought to make a difference. the timing is of some interest, as it appears the agreement was ultimately completed AFTER the intervention of Dr. Brenner and Rob Richards

        • John Sini

          If you read my public statements after the resolution was adopted, I ascribe “all the credit to Dr. Brenner, the BOE and the DAF.” Needless to say, without a permanent superintendent in place this issue wasn’t going anywhere.nnAs far as your assertions related to Mrs. Stevenson, the article you cited starts out with the quote:nn”As far as achievements during her current term, she said she doesnu2019t view them as her own, but rather, the townu2019s.”nnu201cThey are collective accomplishments u2014 Iu2019m most proud of building upon what weu2019ve been working on in the last few terms,u201d she said.

      • Guy Wisinski

        Spot On John Sini. There is no I in TEAM, it’s all about COMMUNITY and people checking their ego’s at the door. Let’s Unite Under The Lights!nnThis is not Political, leave that to Hartford???

  • Mike Klein

    Guy,nAs someone who actually played sports at DHS, I have a unique and immense gratitude for all those who contributed to getting the lights installed at the high school–including you. Similarly, I am grateful I can watch the DHS lacrosse games on DAF streams. I am sorry you felt slighted by my letter of support for Rob Richards. Having met you several times in years past, I know your passion for Darien sports and the many positive contributions you’ve made from coaching youth to helping with the lights. In regards to my 200 word letter, I did not say that Rob was the sole reason the lights happened, nor did I take credit away from anyone else who helped. I said that he helped to get them installed in his association with concerned neighbors. Rob has not said or been quoted anywhere as taking credit for the “10 years of work,” nor have I in any way suggested that to be the case. Mrs. Stevenson’s statements on, “working behind the scenes on issues like lights at the high school,” is the most politicized statement on the lights by an elected official. To say it isn’t political is equivalent to starting a sentence with no offense, and expecting someone to not be offended at what follows. Moreover, the very nature of Mr. Sini’s response is political as he is a Stevenson supporter and a Republican member of Planning & Zoning.nnIf you want to talk about poor reflections of character and fairy tale claims, lets start with “getting physically ill,” over a letter to the editor in the Darien Times. A letter to the editor (or a line in the comments section online) in the Darien Times that I disagree with-or attempts to personally attack my character-is at most, mildly irksome. nnWhile I am mildly irked at some of the content of your letter, I think we both agree that finally having lights at the high school is a benefit to DHS’s nationally recognized sports teams and the community. It seems we also agree that everyone who helped in making it happen deserves recognition. It just appears that you, a Republican and former member of the Republican Town Committee, believe the Democratic candidate for First Selectman deserves no credit…nnMike Klein

    • John Sini

      Michael Klein, do you really want to start a discussion about “poor reflections of character?”

    • Guy Wisinski

      Mike, Thanks for playing, but that was a swing & a miss. It takes a community and your letter was misleading and upsetting to a lot of people. It’s not about any individual, it’s about TEAM. My family is full of Dems & Rep’s and I’m about the best person for the job. Based on the job being done in Hartford these days and our state tanking, I would not be making political references to what we all agree will be a great gathering place for Darien. Go Blue Wave!

      • Mike Klein

        Guy,n I couldn’t agree more with you: it takes a village. My letter endorsing Rob highlights that point so specifically. Rob has a unique ability to work constructively with opposing sides. It is a big reason why he will be an ideal First Selectman for Darien. Non partisan consensus bulding is clearly a big part of his political philosophy–something that is lacking in all levels of government. nnThe fact remains Mrs Stevenson “politicized” the issue months ago in the Darien Times, and held an official campaign event/fundraiser based on the lights (talk about making it political!). Struck out looking, Guy. My letter only references Rob’s work with the neighbors concerned about the lights. Apologies to those offended. Another note: the editorial staff of the Darien Times titled my letter. I was doing what Darien Republicans and Democrats alike traditionally do: voice their support for political candidates via Letters to the Editor. Clearly many other factors went into getting the lights installed. As a former DHS athlete I am beyond grateful for the effort that everyone put forward regardless of party. For anyone to state otherwise is simply false and misleading.nnI will not continue to indulge grown men who hurl attacks of character and petty backhanded insults on a public forum toward someone less than half their age. If anyone would like to continue this discussion in a constructive manner please feel free to contact me by email/disqus PM. You will be received with respect and an open mind. nMike Klein

  • Blue Wave Born

    Just wondering if everyone was aware of the Republican campaign fundraiser, “Lights, Campaign, Action.” Stevenson was raising money for her campaign by specifically exploiting the new DHS lights. To be clear, it was strictly a Stevenson political campaign event. We’re not talking a letter to the editor, we’re talking a candidate openly trying to raise money for their campaign based on the new lights at the DHS stadium. By no means was the a celebration of the lights; the invitation was signed by the campaign treasurer and approved by Stevenson–an official campaign doc, and official campaign event/fundraiser for three Republican BOS candidates.

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