Letters to the Editor
Re-elect David Bayne
We're writing to express our gratitude for all the support we've received over the past two years from David Bayne during our efforts to encourage the Town of Darien to address pedestrian safety issues, specifically sidewalks along Hoyt Street near the Talmadge Hill train station.
As commuters we are personally affected by the lack of pedestrian access to our neighborhood public transit. Many residents of our neighborhood utilize Hoyt Street to walk to work while navigating a road filled with speeding traffic that is still without adequate walkways, signage and lighting despite two solid years of active pleas to address these safety issues. Not one sign has been added, and not one line has been painted.
David Bayne has remained an advocate, continuing to educate us on how to properly move our issue forward, even when faced with the extreme lack of interest, communication and action that we've witnessed from the majority on the current Board of Selectmen.
This past weekend we had the opportunity to meet David's running mate, John Lundeen. It was refreshing to hear him speak of their team's commitment to proactive planning and prioritization of public projects in town to ensure that public safety won't be brushed aside.
We believe that the Darien Working Together team is interested in making our town a more accessible and pedestrian friendly place. Please join us in voting for them.
Dems will address current concerns
The major issues facing Darien -- flooding, affordable housing, and the shuffle -- must be addressed while preserving our excellent schools. Our schools and moderate real estate taxes are key reasons why people choose to "buy Darien."
During these uncertain times, with record unemployment impacting our friends and neighbors, fiscal restraint is essential to protect real estate values. This is why we must address affordable housing. Like it or not, the law was put in place to incentivize builders. This law is non-negotiable, and four years is not that long to develop and implement a plan.
These are not party issues. These are town issues. I was very impressed with John Lundeen in the Channel 79 debate. I encourage my friends and neighbors to vote for the Democratic ticket because Mr. Lundeen's financial and management expertise along with his excellent running mates are what Darien needs at this time. In the debate, Lundeen highlighted the understated costs of the shuffle. That number excludes purchase and carrying costs of the old library which understates the cost by more than $4 million.
I am impressed with the Democratic ticket's financial acumen and management experience. I encourage you to vote for the Lundeen ticket.
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Let your voice be
heard by voting
This fall's election may appear uneventful to some, as the races for mayor, first selectman and important board positions do not often capture the national spotlight. Voter turnout for a local election can average 30 percent, whereas gubernatorial elections can reach 60 percent and presidential more than 90 percent.
Yet, the reason for the voters to cast their ballot is compelling. The very foundation of our system of government depends on the countless volunteers that take up the challenge to serve by sacrificing precious time away from family and professional responsibilities. The policy decision-making roles that these dedicated friends and neighbors play directly affects every person, child and business in our town. Each one of them deserves our gratitude and support for their willingness to represent our interests and keep our democracy alive and well.
Show them that you appreciate their contribution to our system of government by voting on Nov. 8. It is the very least we can do.
State Senator, R-26
Please remember that every vote counts
Election Day is Tuesday,
Nov. 8, and the Darien Republican Town Committee urges all registered Republican voters to take the time to go to the polls and vote.
There are six districts, each with their own polling location, in Darien. Please visit the RTC or We Are United websites to confirm your voting district. The polling places for each district are as follows: District 1, Ox Ridge School; District 2, Town Hall; District 3, Holmes School; District 4, Hindley School; District 5, Darien High School and District 6, Tokeneke School.
This year the Darien Public Schools are closed for Election Day, so bring the kids to the polls. You serve as an important role model to your children when you exercise your democratic right to vote.
If you are unable to get to the polls on Election Day, please visit the Town Clerk's office to obtain an absentee ballot. All absentee ballots must be received not later than 6 p.m. on Election Day.
See you at the polls. Every vote counts.
Support Stevenson, Campbell and Nielsen
This team is united in their understanding of the important issues facing Darien and has sought innovative and workable solutions to these issues. Darien needs the disciplined and pragmatic leadership offered by this seasoned team.
Over the last two years, they have delivered real results for Darien residents, making progress on some of the most significant issues facing our town and improving our quality of life. This team secured a four-year moratorium on the affordable housing requirements under state statute 8-30g, something that previous administrations couldn't accomplish. They have made progress on flooding issues in Noroton Heights. They've improved the spring clean-up process. They've proposed an innovative solution to providing our seniors with quality meeting space. And to the delight of many residents, they've brought back the 4th of July fireworks.
All of this has been accomplished with an eye towards the future and in a fiscally-conscious manner.
I encourage you to support the re-election of Jayme Stevenson, David Campbell and Jerry Nielsen to the Board of Selectmen on Nov. 8.
Editor's note: David Orner is a candidate for U.S. Congress in Connecticut's 4th Congressional District.
Re-elect Republican slate of candidates
I am pleased to state my strong support of Jayme Stevenson for first selectman and Jerry Nielsen and David Campbell for selectmen. Working closely with Jayme, Jerry and Dave over the last two years in my state representative role I know they serve the best interests of Darien in all that they do.
They have created a plan to relocate the senior center and build senior affordable housing -- something that this town has debated far too long without a decision. They have obtained a moratorium under 8-30g, the state mandated affordable housing act, and brought fireworks back to Darien after an absence of nine years. Their goal in these accomplishments as well as in a number of other initiatives has been to find solutions to issues facing our town in the most cost effective way possible. Quoting Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana: "Candidates should campaign to govern, not just win an election." Jayme Stevenson, Dave Campbell and Jerry Nielsen have done just that with character, honesty and integrity. They've certainly earned my vote on Nov. 8.
serve Darien well
I am writing to express my support for the campaign of John Lundeen, David Bayne and Vickie Riccardo and to encourage Darien voters to set aside party affiliations and vote for the best team for the job on Nov. 8. I firmly believe that the Darien Working Together team has the right experience, perspective and determination to continue to make our town a pleasant, safe and affordable place to live and work.
Since moving to Darien four years ago, I have been impressed with David Bayne's tireless activism for the community, especially on issues such as public safety.
He demands results, voices concerns, promotes accountability and is responsive to the concerns of townspeople. I recently met John Lundeen at a neighborhood rally to discuss the Hoyt Street sidewalk issue. I was impressed with his proposed proactive solutions to pedestrian safety and other town issues such as affordable housing and the budgeting process. I feel that he possesses similar characteristics to Mr. Bayne -- qualities that I believe all of our town leaders, regardless of their political party affiliation should display.
In particular, Lundeen and his colleagues' drive to scrutinize capital projects and restore fiscal responsibility to our town is critical for our future. If the shuffle project moves forward as proposed, our town will reach its debt ceiling, putting Darien in a precarious financial situation especially if an unforeseen project expenditure comes to light. I believe that Lundeen, Bayne and Riccardo will give thorough appraisal to this project and other matters and will present refreshing alternatives. I encourage all Darien voters to support them at the polls next week.
At the right size
and at the right cost
We all agree: Darien needs, and our seniors deserve, a new senior center.
Here is a cost-effective, long-term alternative from Darien Working Together:
Build a new senior center at Edgerton adjacent to the existing building.
Senior programming, services and activities will continue uninterrupted during construction. The current senior center can remain open until demolition.
The seniors gain a new, flexible, fully accessible building, including fitness, creative and socializing spaces at a location they know and like, and long-term impacts on the Edgerton Street neighbors are minimized.
The building will be the right size for the current user population and program, and reasonably anticipated growth based on actual U.S. Census data.
The Darien Arts Center can offer dance classes in the new building after senior center hours, as happens now.
And there will be no waiting for the completion of two Board of Education building projects at 35 Leroy and the DPW garage to begin construction for our seniors, because the board remains where it is.
The former Library (35 Leroy Ave.) is an asset that we should put to work by monetizing it. If sold and re-developed as housing, which is consistent with the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, it would produce tax revenue for the town and reduce the overall senior center project costs.
Compare this alternative to the intertwined and co-dependent Shuffle projects and their $12 million price tag. In tough economic times, we should identify cost effective ways to gain a new senior center.
Building new on Edgerton makes sense. Let's work together. Vote Row A, Lundeen, Bayne and Riccardo, on Nov. 8.
Board of Selectmen
for BOS on Nov. 8
I am voting for Vickie Riccardo for the Board of Selectmen. Vickie is hard-working, smart and understands town issues. I should know. We have been close friends since our days as Tokeneke School volunteers more than 10 years ago.
I've watched her with admiration as she has served in elected and appointed positions in town government. She is a dedicated public servant who works collaboratively, while displaying wit.
Like her running mates, John Lundeen and David Bayne, Vickie is committed to providing Darien's seniors with a bright, safe, flexible and fully accessible new senior center. But that's not all she care about. She cares about the quality of life for all of us. That means she won't lose sight of other Darien priorities, such as: Flooding and storm water management; our public schools; pedestrian safety; facilities upkeep to preserve our public buildings; protecting the environment; and careful deployment of our tax dollars.
Election day is Tuesday,
Nov. 8. Please join me, and vote for Vickie on Row A.
Democratic candidates' qualifications shine
John Lundeen, David Bayne and Vickie Riccardo bring truly outstanding qualifications to the race for the Board of Selectmen. Republicans who care more about the future of our town than about lockstep party discipline should be thinking hard about voting for this team next Tuesday.
John Lundeen's education, experience, energy and engagement mark him as the clear choice for first selectman. With service in both the Reagan and Carter administrations, long and successful financial services industry experience, and his tireless dedication to Darien's Boy Scouts, youth athletic leagues, Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Gorham's Pond, John has the breadth and depth to bring extraordinary results in addressing Darien's opportunities.
David Bayne has genuinely distinguished himself as selectman for the past four years. His keen interest and laser focus on crafting responsible solutions to town issues have served us well. His ability to surmount crisis was dramatically shown by his dynamic action as acting first selectman in responding to the March 2010 snow emergency.
Vickie Riccardo has demonstrated incisive intelligence and enthusiasm in her service to Darien on the Charter Revision and Planning and Zoning commissions.
I urge to join me in voting for Lundeen, Bayne and Riccardo.
Procaccini and Leroy properties not the same
Last week, a fellow RTM member wrote a letter implying that support for buying the Procaccini property in 2005 should translate into support for keeping the 35 Leroy property in 2011.
This argument fails to take into account two important differences:
1. The Procaccini property could have supported much-needed playing fields and a community swimming pool. In contrast, 35 Leroy cannot be used for either;
2. The Procaccini property came to market in a different economic environment: prior to the recession, prior to cuts in state funding; prior to our tax reassessment and higher mill rate.
Different circumstances call for different actions. Selling 35 Leroy (ideally to construct senior housing) could generate $4.8 million, and add ongoing property tax revenue for the town. That money could be used to pay for a new senior center, or to buy a more functional piece of property (one that could be used for a pool), or to reduce taxes.
Not only does the shuffle fail to include a pool at Town Hall, but spending $2.6 million to move the Board of Education into a $4.8 million home at 35 Leroy puts any other capital project farther out of reach.
RTM Member, District 1
for fiscal responsibility
I am writing this letter in support of the Lundeen, Bayne, Riccardo ticket for Darien's Board of Selectmen (Row A).
Over the past four years, as a member of the Board of Selectmen, I have been a part of the struggle to keep Darien's town budget in line by eliminating employees as well as funding from many areas which see constant use. Managing with the directive of "need to have" versus "nice to have" has kept Darien's tax burden bearable for all members of our community, and yes, pushed some of the burden back on to individuals and charitable organizations. Smaller government in our town has been manageable -- something we should be proud of.
With the advent of the shuffle, that philosophy has gone the way of the dinosaur, and has been replaced with an impatient and relentless push to fill empty buildings, regardless of the long-term operating costs or strategic vision for our community.
John, David and Vickie know that our seniors need a new center. They also know that as leaders, it will be their job to craft the best solution for everyone in Darien. Please join me in voting for Row A on Nov. 8.
Shuffle funding won't impact schools
I was surprised to read letters last week stating that the approval of the facilities move would impact the education budget. As a former PTO co-chairmen and participant for several years in the Board of Education budget process, I think some clarification is needed.
Money that would be spent on the renovation of 35 Leroy and the new Mather Community Center is capital funding from the Board of Selectmen. It has no relation to the money that the Board of Ed needs for students. This funding, whether for teachers, textbooks, supplies or new initiatives -- is requested in the Board of Ed operating budget during the annual budget process.
People are entitled to their opinions about a town building project. But let's stick to the facts rather than make budgetary connections -- involving children -- which simply aren't there.
out for residents
On Nov. 8, Election Day, you have a choice to put Darien back on a progressive course to improve the quality of life for all Darien residents -- that includes seniors, our youth and all ages of our adult population.
John Lundeen for first selectman, David Bayne and Vickie Riccardo for Board of Selectmen have the experience, know how and skills who will work together with the Darien community to make the right decisions for Darien.
will work for Darien
On Election Day, Nov. 8, please join me in voting for John Lundeen for first selectman and Vickie Riccardo and David Bayne for the Board of Selectmen.
Throughout this campaign season John, Vickie and David have demonstrated their understanding of the issues facing Darien today and have presented a clear plan and vision for the future.
A vote for Row A is a vote to move Darien forward, improving the quality of life for all Darien residents.
Evonne M. Klein
John Lundeen for
a better Darien
This is your chance to elect a team that will help Darien realize its highest long-term potential. In this most trying of economic times we would be lucky to have a first selectman whose high morals equal his acute business intelligence and know-how. John Lundeen is free of special interests and hidden agendas, free of the desire to use this position as a stepping stone to higher power and operates without indirect self-enrichment as motivation.
With John, we have an opportunity to focus solely on the betterment of our community. Instead of a $12 million community center, John would spend $6 million on the project by selling 35 Leroy and building a right-sized center devoted entirely to seniors. Without image consultant or publicist, he, a seasoned businessman, will work to lower our tax burden.
John's conservative and cooperative approach that accomplishes goals without bankrupting is exactly what we need to move forward successfully. We would also benefit immensely from his transparent government operations and planning.
As FOGP president and proponent of the plastic bag ban, John shows his commitment to the environment. If you question the ban, please visit Westport, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket to view its success.
Pull the level for Lundeen/Bayne/Riccardo.
Thank you for making Dig Pink a success
During the month of October, the DHS girls volleyball team raised awareness about breast cancer and nearly $7,000 to support the Side-Out Foundation and breast cancer research.
Funds were raised through bake sales, the Dig Pink Rally and donations. Thank you to everyone who bought a baked good or a ticket to the game or more importantly talked to a friend or family member about breast cancer to raise their awareness.
The events would not have been possible without the support of our wonderful corporate sponsor Lanphier Day Spa and our supporters Williams & Company, Mama Carmela's Deli, Equinox, iTown, Executive Printing and Whole Foods. Thank you for your monetary donations, providing your professional talents, food donations and overall support.
DHS Girls Volleyball Team
I am troubled with the shuffle as a taxpayer, parent, and long-time participant in the Board of Ed budget process. I support a senior center but not the shuffle as a means to that end.
I have personally advocated for school budget initiatives that directly impact children and classrooms during a time of rising enrollment: issues like class size; bus capacity/safety; investments in instructional technology; and guidance counselors to support the growing student population. I have defended small items too (like orchestra music stands) also slated for the chopping block due to lack of funds. We have repeatedly heard from our town boards that we cannot afford to increase spending on important educational needs. How can we afford to relocate our school administrators to new office space?
As students are asked to pay a $100 fee to participate in school-sponsored activities, to close the budget gap, how can we spend $2.6 million on a larger home for school administrators, a home worth up to $4.8 million on the real estate market?
While school parents and administrators justify every penny spent on education, the shuffle throws millions at a school problem that doesn't exist, and creates unwelcome new burdens. The (undetermined) annual operating costs will siphon BOE funds from the classroom, staff time will be diverted from the schools to the move, and inefficiencies will increase between separate office buildings. How, in a time of rising enrollment and shrinking state funding, can we justify spending millions of dollars on new administrative office space?
Although initially presented as part of the shuffle, the $12 million plan doesn't include a community swimming pool, something the high school swim teams desperately need, and the entire community, including seniors, would enjoy. The $12 million shuffle plan, without pool space, is both troubling and flawed.
ABC thanks Chamber
On behalf of the scholars and the Board of Directors of A Better Chance in Darien, we would like to thank the Darien Chamber of Commerce for selecting us as a co-beneficiary of its annual Wine and Food Tasting Event, held at BMW of Darien on Thursday, Oct. 20.
As always, it was a wonderful event supported by many local businesses, with the proceeds directed to local non-profits including ABC, the YWCA, the Lion's Club and the Chamber's Scholarship Fund. It is because of the involvement and support of our local community that ABC has been able to offer academic and boarding scholarships for the past 30 years to exceptional young women of color from under-served academic environments.
We are grateful to the Chamber for their support in helping us achieve our mission.
Jane Yezzi and Ron Hammer
Co-Presidents, A Better Chance in Darien
Vyvyan O. Burns
A Better Chance in Darien, Inc.
Support Jayme Stevenson
While running for governor, I spent more than 18 months traveling all over Connecticut listening to the many problems and frustrations of our citizens. Few, if any, actions in Washington or Hartford are addressing the problems I heard citizens complaining about most. Many actions from our two capitals, such as higher taxes, more regulations and policies that hurt employers, are actually making things worse.
So Connecticut's local governments are left to tackle many of the problems we face. Strong leadership and the right policies at the local level are more important than ever. That is why I am supporting Jayme Stevenson and the Republican ticket in Darien's elections on Nov. 8. You can rely on them to provide excellent town services efficiently while holding the line on taxes.
Please support Jayme and the Republican team by voting for them and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.
Stevenson is a leader
This is a critical time for our communities as we consider who will be providing leadership in our local governments. And Jayme Stevenson is just that -- a leader. As a selectman, a business executive, and as a parent, she has proven time and again that she has the skills necessary to lead Darien.
Jayme is a true public servant who will carefully listen to all sides with an open mind, build a consensus, and make the best decisions for Darien's future. She believes in common sense solutions, open communication, and fiscal responsibility. Jayme Stevenson is a problem solver with a passion for this community, and I know Darien would be well served with her at its helm.