Let’s start by not stacking the deck on important town projects
It’s frustrating when important town decisions get made behind closed doors. Next week, there are a few nominations that, if confirmed, can have big consequences. We want to make sure you know what’s going on.
Stacking the deck against Central Middle School
Republican members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) have made no secret of their opposition to the Board of Education’s plans for rebuilding Central Middle School. Since there is no support for their vision on the Board of Education, they are trying to stack the building committee in their favor, and First Selectman Fred Camillo is helping them do that.
Next week, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will be asked to vote on the nomination of Jan Rogers Kniffen to the CMS Building Committee. Kniffen was nominated by Camillo and is a close ally of Nisha Arora, the school project’s chief antagonist. Arora had already been using her husband, former state representative Harry Arora’s mailing list to whip up opposition. If the RTM approves Kniffen, Arora will have the benefit of a close pal and donor to her husband’s campaign as a voting member to help torpedo the project.
Camillo could have chosen more qualified candidates. Stephanie Cowie, also a Republican, has been attending all of the building committee meetings and has a long history as a PTA leader, GPS parent, and ADA advocate.
The RTM should reject the nomination and send the message that cronyism is not welcome in our town government.
Weaponizing town departments against Central Middle School
In another behind-the-scenes maneuver to delay construction of Central Middle School, BET Republican member Leslie Tarkington asked Camillo to intervene via the town legal department.
The legal department obliged, providing an outlier opinion that supports BET Republicans’ claim that no funding can be granted until a Municipal Improvement is approved. This legal formality has not been required of other school building projects such as the GHS vestibule, Cardinal Stadium and New Lebanon.
As recently as this past April, the BET approved $70 million in funding for CMS, without a Municipal Improvement in place. This interjection by the legal department adds untold time and millions of dollars to the cost of the project and puts the whole school capital budget process in limbo.
Stacking the deck against The Nathaniel Witherell
This month the RTM will also be asked to approve appointments to the Board of The Nathaniel Witherell (NW), the town-run senior care center. While The NW has seen its ups and downs, many Greenwich seniors rely on it.
To the dismay of many Greenwich seniors and their families, Republican town leaders have been trying to privatize its management. If the RTM approves the candidates that Fred Camillo and Republican selectwoman Lauren Rabin nominated, outsourcing senior care is all but assured. One nominee, Brad Radulovacki, has publicly expressed his belief that Nathaniel Witherell should be privatized. A second nominee is Dr. Michael Goldstein, whose campaign for U.S. Congress included his opposition to COVID vaccinations and masks.
The Family Council, whose members include the residents, staff, volunteers and family members of The Nathaniel Witherell have organized a petition urging the RTM to reject these two nominations.
Stacking the deck and the Board of Education
Something unusual happened quietly last week. Two Republican candidates for Board of Education (BOE) evaporated — poof — with nary a comment. They were just gone. What happened? Back in July, the Republican Town Committee (RTC) announced they were taking the unusual step of endorsing four BOE candidates for two Republican seats in the November election. Culture warriors Adele Caroll and Rich Niemynski were on the slate just long enough to prevent any moderate Republicans from petitioning onto the ballot. Then they withdrew just in time to avoid having you see their names when you step into the polling booth in November. The RTC couldn’t risk having a reasonable Republican raise their hand and run.
The remaining two candidates include Karen Kowalski who opposes teaching African American history, votes against protections for LGBTQ students and is comfortable doing right-wing tv spots that claim our schools are peddling “pornography, gender ideology and woke garbage.”
Editorials that caught our eye
“He’s the most important Greenwich official, and you’ve probably never heard of him.” David Rafferty of the Greenwich Time sheds light on Greenwich’s esoteric governing model: “You know who Dan Ozizmir is? Currently, he’s the most important Greenwich elected official, but you never saw a lawn sign asking for your vote.”
There’s only one way to change the BET: vote for all six Democrats for the BET on November 7.
“Break the Logjam” David Weisbrod, member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation writes, “My wife and I moved to Greenwich in 1985 because we thought it would be a great place to raise a family. We were right! … After 40 years as a leader in finance, culminating as JP Morgan’s Vice Chairman for Risk Management, I have dedicated my time to serving our town.”
For your calendar
Help us get our Democratic slate elected in Greenwich this November! Come make calls with us at our headquarters at 23 Benedict Place, rear entrance, between 5:30 and 7pm on Thursdays through November 2nd!
September 16 and every Saturday
Canvassing Saturdays! Swing by Greenwich Democratic headquarters (23 Benedict Place, rear entrance, parking available in the Benedict Pl Municipal Lot) to learn the ropes, pick up a door knocking assignment, and spend a great afternoon talking to Greenwich voters!
No experience necessary. Please bring a charged smart phone and comfortable walking shoes. We’ll provide scripts, training, and water.
Noon every Saturday until November 4.
DTC monthly meeting. Learn how to get involved at our monthly meeting. Thursday, September 21, Town Hall Meeting Room. 7:30 p.m.
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.
|Volume 2, Number 9 • September 15, 2023|
|Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.|
|Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836|