The folly of First Selectman Fred Camillo’s fondness for public-private partnerships was laid bare at a packed Glenville forum last week: private funding for town projects may not get you what you need. Worse, they may get you what you don’t even want.
Mr. Camillo had pressed for a Glenville dog park sparked by a pet shop’s offer of $30,000 for naming rights. But neighbors recoiled at the idea, shocked that the only improvement for a community suffering from excessive traffic, speeding, dangerous pedestrian crossings, flooding, and lack of parking was something that would attract even more cars.
At least this botched dog park episode prompted Mr. Camillo to come hear Glenville residents describe the actual needs in their neck of the woods. And the neighbors who crammed into the Glenville firehouse had a lot to say.
Where’s the plan to address pedestrian safety?
Residents asked for a crosswalk or stop sign on Weaver Street where a woman was recently killed by a car while walking her dog. They complained about the heavy traffic coming off the Merritt — estimated at 15,000 cars a day— where it can take three light changes just to get through the intersection. Things get so backed up that residents can’t exit their own driveways.
They called for greater police enforcement of speeding. “It’s like the Dukes of Hazzard out there,” someone exclaimed.
They wondered why there is still no sidewalk on the Hawthorne North Street, where children walk to Glenville school along a narrow busy road, why there’s no crosswalk to get to the school, no police posted at the dangerous intersection of Pemberwick and Glenville during school arrival and dismissal, and why the crumbling steps to the Glenville school have not been repaired.
Why no work done to address flooding?
One resident asked what the town is doing to identify the source of contaminants in the Byram River after a June check discovered that coliform bacteria counts have spiraled 1,420%. Flooding was also a concern. A trash rack that contributed to flooding during Hurricane Ida was supposed to be repaired last spring, but that work has yet to begin.
A neighborhood plan gathering dust
In 2017, the town hired consultants to prepare a Glenville and Pemberwick Neighborhood Plan with action items to improve sidewalk safety, add traffic calming measures, and increase parking. Aside from routine road paving, the only significant recommendation of the report that is moving forward is thanks to federal and state dollars—the Glenville corridor improvement project—which the First Selectman took credit for.
Playing the blame game
Lacking satisfactory answers for residents’ concerns, Mr. Camillo pivoted to blaming 8-30g housing developments for the problems in Glenville, suggesting that Hartford legislators are at fault. The fact is that no 8-30g developments have been built in Glenville, so they are not causing the speeding, traffic, flooding and hazardous conditions there.
No vision, no leadership
There is a simple reason why the town has not invested in infrastructure improvements in Glenville or elsewhere: a lack of vision and leadership from our First Selectman, and an obstructionist, Republican-led finance board that refuses to adequately fund our needs.
Town departments like Public Works now operate on starvation budgets, while the Republican majority on the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) haphazardly cuts funding for road repair, traffic calming and infrastructure. Greenwich used to employ a traffic engineer to streamline the flow of cars through town, but that position was cut. And while the First Selectman could use the weight of his office to shepherd projects important to residents, he chooses to spend his time on poorly conceived pet projects. Literally.
Recently the League of Women Voters released a report calling for an overhaul of how the town plans infrastructure projects and manages its capital spending. The community forum in Glenville made clear that the current model of one-at-a-time fixes, plus an over-reliance on public-private partnerships has left residents in the lurch for too long.
This November 7, voters will have a chance to elect experienced financial planners with the vision to deliver better services to residents while keeping our taxes low. Vote Row A, all the way.
Residents packed the Glenville firehouse to express their concerns for the neighborhood, and many were turned away due to lack of space.
The exclusionary “unity” party
Why did Fred Camillo only invite fellow Republican Board of Selectmen (BOS) member Lauren Rabin to join him at the Glenville forum? Democratic Selectwoman Janet Stone McGuigan was visibly absent from the podium, consigned to being a member of the audience. Where’s the “unity” in excluding your fellow BOS member?
You’re invited to our Grand Opening!
Join Congressman Jim Himes, Laura Erickson, and our terrific municipal candidates for the opening of our campaign headquarters on Monday August 28, 5:00 pm, followed by phone-banking to voters.
23 Benedict Pl. (rear entrance). RSVP: StephanieLandryDTC@gmail.com
HEADING OUT OF TOWN THIS FALL?
Don’t forget to request your absentee ballot! And don’t think your vote doesn’t matter. In a recent election, a candidate for the Board of Education won by one vote. It only takes a moment to make your voice heard.
Thinking about running for the RTM?
You can have a positive impact on Greenwich by running for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). This November 7, every seat on this 230 member body will be up for election. All it takes to get on the ballot are a few dozen signatures. Learn more about serving here. When you’re ready to go, download the petition here and start gathering signatures.
Tax-free week just in time for back to school shopping!
Enjoy tax-free shopping from August 20 – 26 on purchases of clothes and shoes. Every item costing less than $100 is tax exempt. Kids grow fast and back to school shopping can get pricey. The state legislature adopted tax free shopping week to help families stretch their dollar a little further.
DON’T MISS OUR CAMPAIGN KICKOFF PICNIC
Join fellow Democrats, our municipal candidates and our local statewide elected officials for our Annual Campaign Kickoff Picnic. Sunday, September 10th, 12-3 pm at the Greenwich Botanical Center, 130 Bible Street in Cos Cob. Click here to register. We look forward to seeing you…rain or shine!
|Volume 2, Number 6 • August 24, 2023|
|Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.|
|Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836|