Letters to the Editor
Published 1:00 pm, Thursday, September 22, 2011
Darien needs new administration
We are fortunate in Darien to have good and talented citizens running for first selectman and the Board of Selectmen. The question is: Who is best equipped to serve?
The major issues facing Darien have been largely ignored by the present administration despite its pledge to resolve them. These include studying, developing and implementing an effective flood control plan for Darien's watersheds; developing and implementing a fair and rational affordable housing plan instead of resting on the laurels of a temporary moratorium; and continuing the business revitalization program that was championed with bipartisan cooperation in the previous administration.
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Instead, we have spent two years arguing over how and where a new senior center should be built (the "Shuffle" is really about nothing more than that).
If you want leaders who listen, and who will actually work on the issues that got them elected, I urge you to vote for John Lundeen, David Bayne and Vicki Ricardo. Read their biographies; you will be impressed by the breadth and depth of their longtime service to all of Darien. A vote for them is a vote for yourself.
Community Fund seeks donations
The Community Fund of Darien is kicking off the 2011-12 campaign season.
We are in the midst of a global recession with massive unemployment. There are many out there who are in crisis. For more than 60 years, The Community Fund of Darien has been helping people in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford by providing funding, solutions, education and community awareness.
Why contribute to The Community Fund of Darien? It makes sense because we are able to spread dollars most effectively by supporting 27 agencies and social service needs while providing due diligence to make sure our funds are spent wisely.
Our board consists of 26 local residents who meet regularly to discuss current issues, new initiatives, agency funding and participate in community outreach. We are engaged, involved and making sure The Community Fund is effective and making a difference in our community.
The unemployed, disabled, homeless, young and elderly need our support more than ever. Each and every contribution counts.
Christie Stone, President
The Community Fund
Seniors deserve a better center
For nearly three decades, our senior center has been housed in a 1950s elementary school -- complete with child-sized toilets. Today, the facility on Edgerton Street is almost literally falling apart. As noted by 89-year-old Jim Baker in another media outlet: "This building is a disaster and everyone knows it." Indeed, the amazing programming put on by Beth Paris and her staff is the only reason that more than 400 Darien citizens are members of the current center.
Dave Campbell, upon becoming first selectman, found a way to solve this problem. His plan, commonly known as the "Shuffle," would move the Board of Education to the old library building at 35 Leroy Ave., transfer the Senior Center to the BOE's vacated space, and allow a public-private partnership to explore the creation of affordable senior housing on the senior center's old site. When he presented this proposal to the Commission on Aging, we didn't see it as a partisan plan, but a great way to solve a major problem in our town. We were joined by the Social Services Commission and the Board of Education in supporting the Shuffle.
The architect's drawings for the proposed Mather Community Center at Town Hall show a modern facility designed not only for our existing members, but for the baby boomers just around the corner. After attending a presentation about the new center last month, Mr. Baker, a retired architect, said, "These plans look terrific and include everything a modern senior center should have." Add the fact that the center will be close to other town services, ADA-compliant, and served with plenty of parking, and it's clearly a real winner of a plan.
Yet, in a difficult economy, some will be heard to disparage the idea of "spending millions on some seniors." The reality is that the center would serve our burgeoning senior population for the next several decades. Furthermore, after the seniors finish up their programs each weekday at 3:30, the center would be opened up for other purposes: Scout meetings; parent functions; exercise classes -- the list goes on and on. It would be a community center in every sense of the term.
The fate of the Mather Center will be decided by our town representatives in the near future. Will short-term thinking or long-term planning prevail?
Joe Pankowski, Chairman
Commission on Aging
Support David Bayne for BOS
I am writing to voice my support for the re-election of David Bayne to the Board of Selectmen. I first met David about seven years ago when he was outside the Donut Inn during a major cold front collecting signatures on a petition in the hope of getting the town to acquire a parcel of land. He has since gone on to become a respected member of the RTM and elected to the Board of Selectmen.
David approaches his duties with focus and dedication the same way he did on that cold morning outside the Donut Inn. Whether leading our town as acting first selectman during the aftermath of the March 2010 storm or hearing the concerns of residents on the train platform as the only commuter on the Board.
My hope is that the debate will move well beyond how early executive session should start on a Monday night and instead deal with the real issues facing our town. May our newly elected Board of Selectmen govern in an open and accountable way without regard to political affiliation for the betterment of our town.
Please join me in voting for David and his teammates, John Lundeen and Vickie Riccardo.
Support Lundeen for first selectman
My husband Dave and I got to know John Lundeen and his family years ago when our boys were in Boy Scout's Troop 53 together. A more conscientious and caring individual is hard to imagine. When John comes up with an idea, he follows through. When he volunteers his time, he puts his all into the effort, from beginning to end. Perhaps most important for the position of first selectman, John is a pleasure to work with.
Our son Coleman adds this: "I got to know Mr. Lundeen very well as a boy scout with his sons Berent and Anders. We went on a week-long camping trip in the Adirondacks that he chaperoned. What I remember most about Mr. Lundeen from those days was his facility for leadership and his concern for those around him. I was definitely glad to have him guiding us on that voyage. He can also shred a mean 12-string guitar."
Lundeen would serve Darien well
John Lundeen not only has an impressive academic and professional background (master's in public policy from Harvard and experience in both government and finance), but also has a reputation for level-headed, non partisan leadership in our community. Those who have worked with him in Friends of Gorham's Pond or Boy Scouts or the Chamber of Commerce always point out his intelligent and calm leadership manner. He also is someone who is not above rolling up his sleeves and doing the work.
Over the past few years, the papers have been awash with the "Shuffle," a discussion that, at times, reflected a hostile disregard for opposing views and a partisan positioning that made a minority viewpoint appear irrelevant. This all felt silly in light of nonpartisan issues facing our community -- a weakened local and national economy, rising education costs and decreasing state support, continued pressure on our current tax rate, ongoing traffic and transportation issues that have not been adequately resolved.
I look forward to a more inclusive, nonpartisan administration under John Lundeen.
Furthermore, Dave Bayne and Vickie Riccardo bring many years of experience that add value to this team. Please join me and vote for John Lundeen and his running mates, David Bayne and Vickie Riccardo.
Support Stevenson on election day
I am writing to encourage my fellow Darien voters to cast their ballots on Nov. 8 for Jayme Stevenson, Dave Campbell and Jerry Nielsen. Each has a deep commitment to the betterment of the town of Darien -- a commitment which existed well before they chose to serve their community on the Board of Selectmen.
I had the honor of working alongside Jayme Stevenson as co-chairmen of the Royle School PTO and as members of the Executive Board of the Darien High School Parents Association. Jayme is extremely thoughtful, insightful and articulate. She is a hands-on leader who thoroughly researches and evaluates every issue. Time after time, Jayme's comprehensive exploration and strategic evaluation of issues brought forth new ideas, fostered practical solutions and built consensus among constituents with diverse interests.
It is no surprise that over the past two years, Dave, Jayme and Jerry have developed creative answers to a variety of questions in our community, including affordable housing and the senior center. I am confident that their commitment to finding innovative solutions to Darien's difficult issues will help guide our town through any challenges we may face over the next two years.
Kathleen Del Col
Dems' slate would bring fresh perspective
It is my pleasure to support the Democratic slate of candidates running for selectmen. John Lundeen, David Bayne and Vickie Riccardo bring new solutions, strong commitment and enormous positive energy to the issues facing Darien. John's background in public sector budget analysis and planning will be invaluable in identifying areas where town costs can be cut without reducing services and new revenue generated through public/private partnerships.
David, who I have known personally and professionally for three decades, is indefatigable in his service to the town. A member of the Board of Selectmen and the Darien Environmental Group, David strives to ensure that town government works better for us all. No one can question David's deep commitment to Darien and public service.
Vickie, another long-time town resident, brings experience in many essential areas, including planning and zoning, public safety and education.
As citizens of Darien, it is our obligation to work together to make our town better for everyone, not tomorrow or next week but every single day. The Democratic team of Lundeen, Bayne and Riccardo understands that need and will work hard to make it a reality.
Peter L. Thoren
The Blue Wave Booster Club would like to thank the Darien community for its support and participation during last week's Blue Wave Pride Day. Special thanks to the local businesses which allowed us to sell our spirit T-shirts and enroll new members at their locations: Darien Sport Shop; Goodwives Stop and Shop; and Upper Crust Bagel.
In addition, we are grateful to the Sport Shop for donating a percentage of its sales on Sept. 10 to the Blue Wave Booster Club. Our T-shirts were created by Mike Watters at Sound Beach Creative LTD., and print work was generously donated by Action Letter, Inc., through Darien High School alum Ellen Connery.
Since 2006, the Blue Wave Booster Club has donated almost $100,000 to the athletic programs at Darien High School. Memberships from the community are our only fund-raising source at this time. Your $100 annual membership fee allows you to support the BWBC's ongoing efforts to provide the very best in equipment and training to our student athletes. In addition, your fee includes two free passes to all home football and basketball games! If you haven't yet joined the Blue Wave Booster Club, please visit www.bluewavesports.org to learn more about the BWBC and your favorite sports teams.
Go Blue Wave.
Blue Wave Booster Club
Center thanks Community Fund
Not-for-profit organizations like the Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County are facing unprecedented financial challenges as we try to fulfill our mission to deliver our critical and specialized outpatient psychiatric services to our community's most vulnerable children and families.
Local funding partners like the Community Fund of Darien are essential contributors providing grants which leverage the dollars from State and other government sources.
The Community Fund of Darien is a true partner of the center, offering needed funding not only to the agencies which serve Darien residents, but also to agencies like mine which serve surrounding towns like Norwalk where the needs of its citizens are great.
As the executive director of the Child Guidance Center, I am grateful for their progressive allocation process and philosophy of giving. I look forward to their caring and informed panel of volunteers who visit us each year to learn about our work.
Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County