Hoyt Street

needs a sidewalk

To the Editor:

I strongly support building a sidewalk along Hoyt Street to the Talmage Hill train station. Many people, including my husband, are walking to the Talmage Hill train station along Hoyt Street every day. Currently, there is very little space for people to walk along the side of the road. It's definitely a threat to people's life while walking by the road side. 

Especially during evenings when there is not much light on the road, as well as in the winter when there is snow piled up on the road side, it would be horrible to walk along the road. I personally tried to walk back and forth along the road to the train station. Many times, I dare not to move my feet when there is a car coming. I have to wait until the car passes by before I can walk forward.

Our residents' life safety should be the top priority of our town's service. I strongly support building a sidewalk on Hoyt Street to Talmage Hill train station, at least from Country Club Road going north.

Yingying Hu

Darien

BOE is being `fiscally responsible' with budget

To the Editor:

The Town has embarked upon the annual process of budgeting for the public schools. This collaborative process has important milestones and involves key stakeholders.

Significant budget pressures exist in the current economic climate. Still, the Board of Education has been a fiscally responsible steward of our education funds while working within constraints of unfunded mandates and contractual obligations, and this latter point is key. While it is tempting to be alarmed by headlines and purported increases, it is critical to look behind the numbers to fully understand the proposed budget. Fixed costs, such as teacher compensation, as well as our town's growing special education needs, an unfunded state mandate, comprise a sizeable portion of the amended budget.

While spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, has grown on average 1.8 percent per year, spending on special education alone has grown an average of 8.9 percent per year in real dollars over the last three years. Real operating spending per pupil, net of state-mandated spending, has actually declined an average of 3.1 percent per year since 2007. We cannot maintain the excellence of our schools if we continue to underfund them. Consider the investment we make in our schools relative to peer towns. Darien spends just less than $15,000 per student per year, which is $1,000 less than the average for our District Reference Group (including New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton, Easton and Redding). So we ask: "What do we get or not get for that investment?"

Darien has been efficient in managing fixed costs such as transportation and health benefits, but these efficiencies do not make up the difference in our investment in public education. Notably, our peer group public schools offer a more robust education experience. They have more appropriate guidance counselor case loads, more support of technology plans, more allocation to professional development, more resources and professionals in their classrooms and they have world language programs in their elementary schools.

We urge all Darien residents to review the amended budget, gain a true understanding of what is being sought, and become part of the process by making their views known.

Margot Congdon and Terrie Van de Graaf

Vice Chairmen

Council of Darien

School Parents

LWV holds forum addressing special election

To the Editor:

On Feb. 22, there will be a special election to fill the 27th District Senate seat which was vacated by Andrew McDonald to join Gov. Malloy's administration.

How well do voters in District 27 know the candidates on the ballot?

For a better understanding of the candidates and their respective positions on the issues that confront the State of Connecticut, The League of Women Voters -- Darien is hosting a Special Election Candidates' Night Debate on Tuesday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Darien Town Hall auditorium. It will last for one hour. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions for consideration. Questions may also be sent prior to and during the debate via e-mail. For more information please visit lwv.darien.org.

Voters who normally vote at Town Hall or Hindley School are residents of District 27. If you have a question as to which district you live in, you may find out by visiting www.darienct.gov; click on Town Services, and click on Registrar of Voters.

Please note that Election Day, Feb. 22, falls during the Darien Public School February recess. You may obtain an absentee ballot from the town website at www.darienct.gov.

Candidates' Night will be videotaped by Channel 79 and replayed prior to the election.

Remember: Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Mary Genco

LWV -Darien

Candidates' Night

Chairwoman

Support Kolenberg during special election

To the Editor:

Connecticut's government faces the financial fight of its life in the coming years. Who do you want representing you in that fight, a leader who has built a successful business and proven his public service mettle while serving on the Stamford Board of Finance, or another go-along, get-along career politician who will just answer to the party bosses?

If you vote at Town Hall or Hindley schools, that is exactly the choice you have in an important special election on Feb. 22 to elect a new State Senator for the 27th Senate District to replace Andrew McDonald. I urge the Darien voters in those districts to support Bob Kolenberg, who has the business and governmental experience to get the job done.

Bob is no career politician. He is a family man who built a successful international transportation business, who got fed up with his increasing tax burden and reduced services, and did something about it by getting himself elected to the Stamford Board of Finance. In that post, he has blown the whistle on waste and mismanagement of taxpayer funds, and learned why we need more voices fighting for our communities in Hartford. Bob Kolenberg will support our town's interests and work to keep Hartford from solving its problems on the backs of Fairfield County.

Because the election will be on the Tuesday of school vacation, many of you may choose to enjoy a well-earned vacation and won't be here to vote. Please don't be disenfranchised by the State's decision to run the election during vacation. Contact the Town Clerk's office 203-656-7307 and obtain an absentee ballot so you can vote for a better future for you and your family.

Please vote for Bob Kolenberg for State Senate on Feb. 22. This time we have a chance to get it right.

John Boulton

Darien

Vote Kolenberg Feb. 22

To the Editor:

One of the candidates in the special election for the State Senate is already serving as a state representative and currently on our payroll. If that state rep. wins the State Senate seat in this election, it would force yet another special election. Voting for Bob Kolenberg would give us the opportunity to have another great representative from our area and would avoid another special election. Bob Kolenberg is already familiar with creating jobs as a businessman (and as we all know, we need jobs); he has been elected citywide two times to the finance board, and this election result would save us money by avoiding another tax payer funded special election. With a state budget deficit of more than $3 billion, I think it is prudent to vote for Bob Kolenberg and get these guys up to Hartford and back to work on saving our state, instead of spending more of our tax money on another special election.

I also recommend getting those absentee ballot applications in today, just in case you can't get to the polls for the Feb. 22, special election.

Rick Giordano

2006 Candidate for

State Senate District 27

Son of former mayor of

Stamford, Bruno Giordano, 1967-69