Pear Tree, town development among topics at polls
The proposed Pear Tree Point Beach renovation project, town development, and Democratic representation were some of the topics spoken about at the polls at Darien Town Hall Tuesday morning and afternoon.
While there are candidates running for many board positions, the only contested election is for first selectman: Current First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, a Republican, is running against unaffiliated candidate Chris Noe.
“Not enough Democratic representation”
Darien resident Jan Maier said she’d like to be part of a “grassroots” effort to bring in more Democrats.
“It starts here and goes to the state,” she said.
She added that she also supports Board of Selectmen candidate David Martin, a Democrat. “I know him and I know that he and his wife feel the way I do about a lot of things,” Maier said.
She added that “it’s well known that what happens nationally has to start with what happens in town.”
Since she has lived in Darien, Maier said she has always had that opinion, but definitely has felt very strongly about that over the last three years.
“I think our country’s going to hell in a handbasket and I think there are people in this town who don’t see that the same way,” she said.
Darien resident Delice Bolotin said she has lived in town a long time and the “impact of all this building under Jayme Stevenson has cost me in taxes and a lot of other people,” she said, “It’s huge.”
Proposed Pear Tree renovation project
Bolotin, who has spoken at Pear Tree Point Beach Building Committee meetings in the past, said the proposed renovation project has impacted her vote today.
“I think that the current selectperson has a mission to build that project, no matter what,” Bolotin said. “What the public says doesn’t matter to her. In terms of voting today, that was very important.”
Pear Tree is “a big issue,” she said, and “part of that issue is how much it would cost to build and to maintain.”
She added that she voted for Noe because she said not voting at all “is not the wise choice.”
“I would have preferred to have a stronger oppositional candidate to Ms. Stevenson. Nobody stepped up,” Bolotin said. “He is the only other candidate. That, I think is a travesty in this town. I really think that’s a shame that nobody wants to run.”
She added that she also voted for all of the RTM members in town who don’t support the proposed Pear Tree project.
“Listening to all”
Despite those who had complaints, there was a strong core of Stevenson voters today as well, many of whom said the first selectman “listens” to all opinions.
Darien resident Renee Bea said while she’s a registered Democrat, she will be voting for Stevenson.
“Jayme does a great job listening to folks of all political persuasions and really views everybody as a Darienite, so that’s meaningful as a representative. You want to have someone who represents everyone,” Bea said. “I’m excited to vote for her today.”
Bea added that she also supports Board of Education candidate and member Jill McCammon. “She’s been a wonderful representative on the Board of Ed, and I think she’s very thoughtful and reasoned in her approach to understanding all of the issues that have been in front of her.
She added that she’s impressed with McCammon’s “reasoned approach” and “willingness to hear everyone out.”
“When you sit in on some of those hearings, having a representative that’s respectful and open and patient with their community is really, really important,” Bea said.
Darien resident Karen Billsa, a Republican, also said Stevenson has done a “great job” as far as the issues that concern the town.
Despite the issue, Billsa said she has confidence that Stevenson “will handle whatever it is in a way that I agree with.”
Town resident Geraldine Trippitelli, who has lived in Darien for 15 years, said she likes Stevenson.
“I think she listens to the families and she’s very much involved,” Trippitelli said.
Regardless of which candidates one supports or what political views one has, Monica McNally, chairman of the RTM Public Works Committee, said it’s “great” that people come out to vote, especially in an off year.
“I think it’s fantastic,” she added.