To the Editor:
Terrie Wood’s Op Ed piece in last week’s Darien Times was a shameful display of fear mongering and misinformation.
For years Republican legislators have called for a fundamental restructuring of Connecticut’s government. Yet, when Democrats put forward concepts to have Connecticut’s 169 towns share services in a more cost-effective manner, Ms. Wood argues that it is the end of the world as we know it.
She decries a “one-size fits all” approach to Connecticut’s current fiscal problems. Yet, she is guilty of the same thing when she writes that “growth must be our top priority” without regard to cutting costs. Growth is part of the solution, but no serious person will tell you that growth is the entire solution to structural budget deficits forty years in the making.
Instead of scaring Darien residents and condemning efforts at finding ways to save taxpayers money through shared services, Ms. Wood should be supporting constructive proposals, such as phasing out taxpayer subsidies for towns that insist on providing services that could be more efficiently delivered in conjunction with other towns. Instead, she prefers to just say “no.”
Equally troubling is the “us vs. them” trope that Ms. Wood uses to compare “well-organized” Darien to “mismanaged” cities, such as Hartford and Bridgeport. What Ms. Wood ignores is that Hartford’s population is almost six times that of Darien, but has a net Grand List of only $3.7 billion, less than half of Darien’s $8.4 billion. Similarly, Bridgeport, which is Connecticut’s largest city, has approximately 145,000 people and a net Grand List $6.1 billion.
It is much easier to be “well organized,” when a town has a large tax base and a small population requiring few services. Starting on third base is nothing to gloat about.
Finally, Ms. Wood’s gratuitous mislabeling of her Democratic colleagues as “Democratic Socialists” only further solidifies her reputation of one of Connecticut’s most ineffective legislators. Rather than lend hand, Ms. Wood prefers to look down her nose and wag her finger at her colleagues and the rest of our State. Darien deserves better.
The writer is the chairman of Darien’s Democratic Town Committee.