As Westport’s Little League all-star team roars toward the World Series in Williamsport — they’re 2-0 in the New England regionals, the most recent win a perfect game yesterday over the Maine state champs — some adult fans are having a tougher time.
They want to honor Westport’s 1st-ever Connecticut championship with a highway sign.
So far, they’ve struck out.
On Sunday, July 28, Avi Kaner — whose son Jonathan is friends with several of the all-stars — emailed the 3 Westport selectmen and 4 state legislators from this area. He asked how a sign could be placed at I-95 Exit 17. “I have seen similar signs elsewhere,” he noted.
Eight days later, State Senator Toni Boucher responded. She relayed information from the state Department of Transportation’s Traffic Engineering Division. It said that the division
receives many requests for recognition signing and, as a result, has established a practice of limiting the conditions under which they will be installed. Generally, recognition signing is currently limited to college level athletic teams that win a national or conference tournament championship or win their conference. Little League level athletic accomplishments are not recognized on the State highway system by the Department.
The Department shares your enthusiasm for honoring the Westport Little League team. However, if all such recognition requests were accommodated, there would be so many signs that motorists would have difficulty responding to the various regulatory, warning and guide signing essential to the driving task.
In view of the above, the Department does not provide or allow Little League Championship signing in the State highway right-of-way.
Boucher hit “reply all,” and added her own thoughts:
It might be a good idea to put in a bill as a delegation to change this policy in the future. In the meantime, if anyone wants to try to contact the Governor’s office on this it may be worth it.
Kaner — the Republican candidate for 2nd selectman this fall — took less than 20 minutes to send his next email. He thanked Boucher for her suggestion of a bill, asked whether the legislature could “overturn this DOT decision on a one-off basis” — and added this personal plea to State Representative Jonathan Steinberg:
“As a leading Democrat, the Governor’s office will be most likely to listen to you. Can you please try?”
This is bipartisanship at its finest. Senators Reid and McConnell, Congressmen Boehner and Pelosi: take note.
Although, if I was a betting man, I’d lay odds that the Westport Little League all-stars’ season will end a lot more successfully than this bureaucratic mission.