Baron’s South Committee: A Follow-Up Report

Alert “06880” reader Tom Leyden and his wife Rita have been busy. They attended yesterday morning’s Baron’s South Committee meeting. They were also at the September 21 meeting, and this week’s RTM and Board of Finance sessions. Tom sent along this report:

We’re interested in the prime subject (affordable housing), the utilization of public town owned property, and the process.

I was impressed tremendously by how this committee worked yesterday morning (2 members were absent: Jo Fuchs-Luscombe and Ken Bernhard). There was meeting management, give and take, obvious caring and expertise shown. Many opinions were aired.

Several members were defensive, but restrained in response to how they were characterized in the public sphere. However, this took little time.

Given the result of Wednesday’s Board of Finance meeting, everyone present agreed to staying on the committee to conclusion.

Selectmen Gordon Joseloff and Shelly Kassen offered whatever resources necessary, and open minds. They supported redoing, if that’s the final result.

Janis Collins (BOF) offered insightful suggestions on how to proceed forward. This is too complicated for me to accurately explain, but was well taken by the committee. Many of her points led to the “next steps.”

A point that Paul VanOrden made that I agree with is that the committee came up with a recommendation based on the limitations of the scope of the Request For Proposal for good and well-considered reasons, and should not be forced to change but rather explain why, etc. It’s up to the approval process to accept or reject their recommendation.

John Thompson suggested that there was confusion in the public’s interpretation of the numbers, and that the committee should set out to correct that confusion. Who could disagree with that?

Most of the balance of the meeting was taken determining the intermediate steps towards the already scheduled RTM meeting of October 29. “Sub-meetings” (my words, not theirs) will be scheduled between and among the Board of Finance, RTM, Planning and Zoning and other interested parties (again my words) to insure an effective meeting on the 29th.

Shelly Kassen served in a very effective fashion to guide the committee through the vagaries of the “approval” process. She was very informative to me, a “public” listener. She did not strike me at any time as having anything but the best interests of affordable housing and the town’s fiscal interests at heart.

Part of the Baron’s South property.

Toward the end of the meeting I was asked to comment. I made the following points:

1. The committee was impressive.

2. The committee suffered from a communication problem, meaning that their reasons for choosing the proposal they chose should have been articulated more clearly and effectively quickly, making sure the restrains of the RFP were thoroughly understood by the public.

3. I believed their conclusion was the only one that could be chosen under the RFP.

4.  Whether they liked it or not this was a political process, and the lack of intermediate communication as to what was going on let the public decide any way they wanted what they were up to or not. The public has opinions, good or bad, and with the marvel of modern media, instant and widespread capability will fill the vacuum with “noise.”  The committee should have found a way to provide intermediate communication.

5.  I was happy with the “next steps.”

All in all I witnessed a good, effective committee meeting with a process road forward to achieve the best result for a serious and genuine need for affordable housing with fiscal viability for the town.

Let’s keep our powder dry, and let the process work.

73 responses to “Baron’s South Committee: A Follow-Up Report

  1. Not enough ATMs

    Any chance another bank could be installed there? We don’t seem to have enough in town and in that area. 🙂

  2. This is all based on the premise that a housing development is a proper municipal use for Barron’s South – which it is not. The committee to decide that was never formed and has never met. Mr. Joseloff came into office with a strong desire to build something/anything on that property. Senior housing may be a worthy cause, but it is not appropriate for Barron’s South. While we are resetting, perhaps we should go back a step a further and decide how best to use this property in a way that doesn’t increase already significant traffic congestion and doesn’t change the character of downtown Westport forever.

  3. Perhaps the biggest problem with this Baron’s South Committee and the process is the unstated conclusion (not reached by any sort of consensus) that senior housing is the best and most desireable use of the property, from the perspective of the townspeople. Most people I know don’t think so, and wonder how we got on this path that seems to lead towards permanently diverting this wonderful, centrally located town-owned land for this purpose.

  4. Thank you so much Tom for doing what some of us cannot based on our schedules. You were eloquent, levelheaded and to the point. If only this committee had better communicated the progress even if they were still leveling the 3 RFP’s. As we agreed…perception is important especially when it is a public/private sector partnership like this one. I am also certain that all Baron’s South committee members are deeply committed to achieving only the best results but a comprehensive approach and a master plan for Baron’s South is essential…one that respectfully treats the property and accommodates the needs of the abutters and Westporters as a whole. I am happy that the committee has hit the “reset” button and I appreciate their commitment to forge forward. Again Tom…thanks for your commitment and report.

  5. Seems Arm man and I agree on the larger issue here. Arguing over which senior housing proposal is best, while justified based on what I have read, is a bit of a sideshow and misses (perhaps by design) the larger point.

  6. Bart Shuldman

    Tom. Thanks for the note and attending the meeting. An involved citizen is truly appreciated. Thank you.

    There is lots of history you should know before accepting the committees statement about poor communication. They were asked to have their open hearings at night when lots of people could attend. Instead, they chose 9:30 am-Friday. Is that trying to be open? I know a few on the committee and tries to convince them to change. The answer was no. Saying now they did a bad job of communicating is wrong. They purposely decided not to make the meetings accessible.

    During the petition round to stop this
    Project we presented many questions that we felt was important to answer before moving forward. We were told they would be addresses and the committee would be done with all open meetings. As we know, they shut to doors once the ‘good’ stuff began.

    When thinking of senior housing, especially affordable, many questions surface. Who gets a chance to be in an affordable home? Define a Westport resident? Is that someone living in town 1 year, 2 years 5 or 10? Should this be known before we start the bid process? Should Weatport residents understand this to truly understand the project?

    If we use Governement money, then we cannot guarantee 100% Weatporters in the facility. Is that what the town wants? If any amount goes to non Westporters-is that what we want? Shouldn’t we have this information before going to bid? Is this the cart before the horse?

    How many in town will meet the affordable level Or should I say be under the level? Why isn’t the work done to show all Westporters how many will benefit?

    If we stayed away from senior affordable housing and just made it senior living, how at more in town would benefit? There are many senior citizens that have contactede that they are having trouble paying the high and growing Westport tax. If we changed the
    Program to something that could benefit more senior citizens, is this better for all Westport?

    By closing the meetings, by holding them
    On Friday mornings when anyone working could not attend, this committee projected to the community a ‘stay away’ and ‘none caring’ environment.

    The project should be stopped and the necessary work done first, then presented to the town residents for input.

    Just remember, Westport faces ever increasing taxes due to social
    Progra that were poorly analyzed and instituted. We have a chance to stop another.

    • Bart, the criticism of communication was mine not theirs. I totally agree that daytime meetings only are convenient to retired folk like me with time available. I hope they got my (our) message on that point.

  7. The town will make a mess of this. 2 months after repaving Bayberry Lane they’ve torn it open up and down the street for utility repairs! They can’t even schedule road repair well. And it looks like a blind man tried to patch it!

  8. “Powder dry?” I don’t think so, Tom.
    Continue to fire! Or we will be overrun.

    Reset to highest and best use. Scrap the nursing home old age center idea.

    Form a citizens committee with 06880 bloggers. They are the only ones who make sense. 😉

    Thanks, veteran Tom Leyden. Advise when chemical warfare appropriate.

  9. While I understand the BS committee was handcuffed by the RFP, they certainly didn’t complain or speak out. So all this whimpering about “We were just following RFP orders” doesn’t wash. They went along with the program in political secrecy. Get a new team in there. This committee is not believable. Sorry. Nice folks, but clearly biased.

    • Bart Shuldman

      They were not handcuffed by the RFP. TGEY WROTE IT. This committee was reaponsible for it. And this committee kept it going despite input from others in the town to stop.

      Nice try.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Please go back and review what occurred. This committee has been invloved from te very beginning inclusing working to help Joseloff on the P&Z text amendment to allow a facilty on barons south and everyhting since:

      The first selectman also has formed a committee that includes several former town officials to draft a request for proposals from prospective developers of the senior campus. Selectwoman Shelly Kassen, an ex-officio member of the committee, was among the project’s most vocal supporters Tuesday night.

  10. Big SHOUT OUT to Dan Woog for bravely continuing to post on this issue and permit an honest and open discussion.

    Run for 1st Selectman, Dan. The 4 year salary is over $400 Grand! Nice blog subsidy. 😉

  11. A couple of questions for the readers. Hoping to get some help.

    When is King Gordo’s term up?
    Has King Gordo ever publically stated the true impetus behind this idea? The inspiration, motivation, etc.? I want to know how this all started.

  12. If the Committe thought the RFP prevented them from exercising their fiduciary respsonsibility, they should have said as much. Thus far we have a whitewash. This project is ripe for corruption and nothing presented so far diminishes the probability that it will be corrupted.

    • It is disingenuous for this committee to say the RFP was the issue. This committee wrote the RFP after Joseloff worked on the text amendment to allow P&Z to approve such a facility. When we tried to stop the text amendment by going to the RTM we were denied. But we were promised an open process which we all know did not happen.

      The RFP was their decision. Their input. Their work. Truly troubling they would say anything else. Just google it and you will see what went on back when we true to stop this.

      • We have our very own Chicago style politicians right here in Westport. How special.

  13. It is important that several EVENING meetings for the public to voice their opinions and ideas about the use of the property. It needs to be comprehensive and someplace for all residents of Westport to enjoy… not just the vision of a few.

  14. One thing does bother me, I got into this late and apologize for not knowing the WHOLE background. Has any citizen or group of citizens made a suggestion/approval for BS other than Senior Housing? If so I am not aware but as I said I just woke up to all this. On a somewhat lighter note our position is…anything but a dog park. We already have two in town, Winslow Park and Compo Beach including my front lawn from time to time.

    • Hi Tom:

      Thanks for your efforts. In response to your thought of “not knowing the It WHOLE background.” Here is a post I put up on an earlier thread which can shed some light in that direction:

      it might be instructive to go back to the history of how Baron’s South became “designated” for public housing. I was a reluctant observer of the RTM Long Range Planning Committee during the process of determining the 10-year Town Plan for Conservation and Development. (2006?) The 10 year plan is a terrific process mandated by the State. Other towns take it very seriously. Westport “leadership” used the process for their personal agenda.

      At the time, the Y relocation out of downtown was a front and center debate and interestingly enough, the location of the Y was not included in the 10 year plan, by explicit order of Joseloff and the P&Z. Discussing the impact of downtown without the Y and sewer blue lines were said to be “too controversial” for an important town-wide plan!

      Likewise, the RTM Long Range Planning Committee was “veal penned” (look up the term for how politicians neutralize pesky constituents) and completely shut out of the 10 year plan. The RTM LRP seemed to ask too many questions for Joseloff and the P&Z’s specific agenda.

      One of the questions the LRP asked, in their capacity as responsible to the overall RTM and the community, was to determine if the P&Z’s hiring of the outside consultant to lead the 10 year planning process and write up the recommendations was done with legally sourced town funds. From what I could tell, the hiring and fee for the consultant did not go through the proper channels. It became a minor issue, but given the LRP’s weak position vis a vis the P&Z and the heated Y discussion, it never got the airing or resolution it should have. I think the hiring and the money was simply spent backhanded and no one had the political will or leverage to go against Joseloff and the P&Z.

      (BTW: the RTM LRP bent over backwards to help the Y stay downtown, but the Y treated them as rudely as imaginable. Or maybe you can imagine it given how the Y has treated most everyone…)

      So Baron’s South was never really a topic for the 10 year plan, only very superficially as it could be used to keep the Y downtown, while not addressing the Y downtown…. There were some challenges due to the topography and the ridiculous concept that the 9am-5pm Sr. Center wouldn’t share space with the Y (huh?), but nothing that couldn’t have easily been overcome.

      During the 6+ months of the 10 year planning process, there was NO mention of any kind that Baron’s South as a location for public housing.

      As these planning exercises go, there were several drafts circulated for comment before the “final” plan was formally adopted; something like 3 drafts over 6 weeks.

      The “Final” draft was circulated a week before the plan was to be certified (the following Wednesday, I believe). Given the tight and closed control the P&Z had on the process, not much was allowed to be discussed. The RTM Long Range Planning Committee was able to get only one visit from the P&Z to air its take on the plan and was completely dismissed in every one of their most basic questions on trade off’s and vision for the town. There simply was no vision from the P&Z.

      Last comments on the plan were to be in by Friday, with the plan certified (per State mandate) the following Wednesday (I believe). There was no mention of workforce housing in the previous draft and no apparent groundswell of input towards that end.

      On Monday, two days before the certification, and after it was closed to all comments, the consultant who wrote up the plan (hired and paid for by Joseloff and the P&Z under opaque circumstance) included, out-of-the-blue, a half page about how they had studied Baron’s South for public housing and it was their specific recommendation that it be used as such, and that they decided it was also unsuitable for the Y. No one had heard of any analysis of this idea, nor was that “plan” ever available for public comment!

      I remember one RTM Long Range Planning Committee member quiping that the committee was “Joseloffed”, by being completely shut out of the planning process and then having a “plan” foisted on them that no one had agreed to, much less even discussed.

      My memory might be inaccurate, so I urge you to talk to Jack or Mathew from the LRP. But it seemed to me to be small town politics at its worst (or maybe second-worst when you consider how we lost our downtown Y to a dog park for professional dog walkers and out of towners…).

      The process was rigged from the start. Someone had a personal, long term plan of their own and they are still moving forward in the same manner. Thank you for your efforts.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Wow. Great recap of the past and how this all came to be. Given Joseloff’s ugly display during the petition hearings it now makes sense. He has been driving this for a while and seems not to want to stop for any reason. He does appear not to have All of Westport interest. And now they continue to try and push this thru.

  15. Senior housing on Baron’s South is a great idea as long as it serves as many Westporters as possible, and is structured to meet the financial interests of taxpayers.

    An appraisal of the property was commissioned by the Board of Finance earlier this year. They looked at a wide range of possibilities ranging from single family homes to commercial office space. This was 100% market driven, with no affordability component.

    As expected, including a significant affordability component (60%) resulted in an almost complete depletion of value.

    Another submitted proposal for a market rate Continuing Care facility showed significant financial return for the taxpayer. We paid $7 million for the property, and would be getting over $2.5 million a year back with escalations linked to the mil rate.

    The reasonable answer is clearly a combination of the two proposals. The first component should be as described by the RFP, focusing on less expensive small apartments. This would not generate significant income to the town but would provide a service. The second component should be a market based higher end Continuing Care facility, generating substantial returns to the town. This would be a win-win-win. Win for seniors who seek smaller more affordable apartments, win for middle income seniors who can buy into the Continuing Care apartments, and win for the taxpayer.

    The use is completely synergistic with the current senior center on the property. Additionally, seniors will not adversely affect the Board of Education budget. Even better, maybe the nearly empty Westport transit buses will be utilized.

    The property was purchased for municipal use, not open land, and allowed disposition of parts of it. We already have the municipal use in the senior center. We can now add to that use, and achieve a return for the taxpayer. Hopefully reasonable moderates will prevail in this debate, and not the extremes (those that only want a social program, and those that want only open land).

    • Mr./Ms. Reasonable, Glad to meet you…sorry I don’t know your real name. I was hoping that serious well considered posts like yours would be by named individuals ala Walsh, Shuldman, and Feeley who are unafraid to link themselves to their considered opinions. IMHO the anonymous comments on this blog are generally discarded, diregarded by Town Hall. That’s a shame because I believe some good people post on here only you can’t hear them through the camoflage.

      • It's not our blog - we just help make it interesting

        Mr. Layden, as has been discussed many times before on this site, 06880’s rules are 06880’s rules. Address the substance of the comment or move on, or start your own blog. Pining for a world that doesn’t currently exist, nor desired by many, is a much bigger waste of time than an unattributed comment.

        • First spell my name right. Second you missed my point. It’s not about this blog it’s about influence. Try it sometime.

          • It's not our blog - we just help make it interesting |

            Apologies for the misspelling. That fact that you and others sign your comments does not make them any more worthy in my eyes. It’s another piece of information I can chew on, but that’s about it. Attribution does not guarantee substance, and substance does not require attribution.

            • Attribution does eliminate wondering about the source, and that impacts and influences the substance of the comment one way or the other. You make an interesting philosophical point.

        • John McCarthy

          Reasonable, yes, you basically laid out the Hillspoint Group proposal. The structure they have proposed is a win-win-win…..probably a lose in there somewhere, but nothing will please everyone.

          • John, sorry I left you out of my list of “unafraid” posters. You are the champ.

            • Great addition. Dare we add Woog?

            • John McCarthy

              I wish more RTM members and others in elected positions would comment on blogs using their real names. This is one of the most valuable and revolutionary ways to get dialogues going. Ignore some of the crap that is a natural by product of debate and dialogue and let people know what you are thinking. Hiding behind the statement that “This issue may come before the RTM and I can’t pre-judge an issue” is BS, in my opinion. We are legislators and citizens and people want know what we think. Thanks to the Internet we have the power to do this in a way never even imagined by previous generations. And no one has the courage or interest in using that power.

              • Love your THIS ISSUE MIGHT COME BEFORE THE RTM quote.

                Are you kidding me?!!

                • John McCarthy

                  Tom, no, unfortunately this is a frequent statement I hear from RTM members. Sorry guys, it’s what I hear.

              • There is nothing to fear except fear itself….seems to me this might apply to those legislators who hide…whether it be in camoflage or silence

              • Stacy Prince

                Well said. Democracy in action, 21st-century-style.

  16. Open land, be it park land or otherwise, available to the townspeople and available for development in the future if needed (and when property values are not at historic lows) IS municipal use. Most townspeople favor NOT building housing on Baron’s South.

    • Hmmm. How do you know what most people in Westport favor or don’t favor? Do you know how I feel about this issue?

    • John McCarthy

      Most townspeople don’t even know what Baron’s South is, IMHO. Now, what if you asked people if they preferred to have open, hilly space that is used by 10 people a day (my own estimate) or a project which could generate $2.5 million for the town each year with no additions to the school-aged population and some open space preserved? I think most Westporters would take the $2.5 million. Value/Money which can be re-deployed to other areas, such as our pension/OPEB liability, subsidizing affordable housing or tax breaks for seniors, reducing taxes in general, teachers, police, fire, a new library, public transportation, etc., etc., etc.

      • We have no idea what the project would generate in revenues for the town. In fact, it could cost money if you account for the opportunity cost of the land. Is anyone willing to guarantee the $2,500,000? Is anyone willing to guarantee more? What are the guarantees worth? So far all we have is Gordon rolling out a large pork barrel with questionable intent.

    • Keep it open land, which was the original idea when it was bought.

  17. Tom…the property was acquired for municipal purposes. Some thought that it could be used for a new main fire station and police station….but the first responders veto it because of the topographical challenges…. A few discussed a land swap with the Y but that was deemed to complicated. Then came theFirst Selectman and the Second Selectwoman’s vision for a CCRC/ affordable senior housing for Westporters who were being driven out of town as a result of no longer being able to afford upkeep…taxes…ect. of their homes.

    • Bart Shuldman

      We should remember they turned down using Barons Douth for the Y as they said the land was too difficult to use and build on. But now it is ok to build senior homes, etc. I truly don’t understand how and why. Now the Y will move away from town.

      Not sure which is better for Joseloff as he owns a few buildings in the area.

      There are no studies to tell us Westpoters what additional costs the town will face. With care and homes will we need more fire, police or ambulance? Who will pay for for the road access? Sewer cost? I can tell you the nursing home in Westport by Kings Highway always has police etc.

      Again, this has been rushed to quote and we have seen no details for any type of proposal and the eventual cost to town. This is what gets us in trouble. A ‘feel good’ program leads to increase taxes and the people who get hurt the most–SENIOR CITIZENS.

      • Mr. Shuldman, I admire your tenacity and what I would “high level” thought on the. Greater issue. Your comments I find helpful in understanding better how to think about this….no conclusions yet, just Leyden thinking. Hope the burning wood doesn’t offend your nose. (Thought I’d thow that in to beat someone else to the punch and inject a modicum of levity.)

      • My understanding was that the reason why the Y was denied an opportunity at BS was that the previous administration deemed it inappropriate to allow a private entity to take control of such a valuable municipal asset. Ironically, the Y has thousands of Westport members, while the Joseloff nursing home might take in only a handful. It’s amazing to see how low the bar has fallen for a qualified municipal use in only a few short years.

        Reset, delay – whatever needs to be done to make this THE political issue in the 2013 municipal elections. If Westport politicians really want this thing, they should run on it during an election year.

  18. Thanks Jamie for helping me understand some history here. I’ve been bizzy trying to get more background on my own. For example, I know now that Mr. Shuldman tried to derail this process at the RTM level but got turned down. Surely the Selectman’s Office does not control RTM. Influencing the then constituted P&Z/BOF I get….but the RTM…no.

  19. “They looked at a wide range of possibilities ranging from single family homes to commercial office space.”

    That’s not a wide range. That’s about as narrow minded as it gets. Downtown Westport is already a congested mess. Barron South is just too good an opportunity to resist: there is a “free” piece of land, Federal money, small town empire builders and plenty of contractors all willing to help turn downtown Westport into Stamford/White Plains.

    Our elected officials should first do no harm – and that should be to avoid pulling any more traffic off of the parking lots now known as I95 and the Merritt Parkway into downtown Westport. Let ’em drive by. The quality of life of all Westporters will improve – not just seniors – if our elected officials worked to decrease congestion and sprawl in Westport.

  20. Bart Shuldman

    When I went to present to the RTM the petition, you get 2 days, I went up against Joseloff. He was the one behind the Text Amendment to change the zoning laws to allow Barons South. Without the amendment they could not go any further.

    Joseloff did influence the RTM as he had to. In order to get this project going he had to defeat the petition which was signed by many in town. He promised a lot including the process would be very open. I believe that alone convinced the RTM to allow the text amendment to go thru. You can look back on the news articles for your own opinion.

    • Thanks Bart. I will.

      • John McCarthy

        Bart has this correct. The RTM was promised an open process. And a say on whether any project on BS would go through. It was on that basis that As a member of the RTM I did not vote to overturn the P&Z. That is a large reason why I was so offended by how the process was actually handled.

        • Bart Shuldman

          Thank you John. While I cannot expect everyone to support my views I do hope you understand i will be honest. And I truly appreciate John that your vote was based on Mr Joseloffs many promises. If you remember the hearings he was quite insulting to me personally and then used his position to promise things he never delivered.

  21. John McCarthy

    Does anyone believe that we should never sell a piece of town property? Why? Having heard a few people say this at the BOF meeting (not BOF members) I am wondering from what perspective this POV makes sense.

  22. Bart Shuldman

    John. It’s a great question. Should we ever sell town land.

    From my perspective I would like to truly understand the towns liability for our pension plans and OPEB. As most of these plans are starting to see significant deficits and increasing liabilities, what will the effect be on our taxes. This could and probably will effect the quality of life in Westport. If we continue to see higher taxes, will our home values decrease? Will more senior citizens be forced to move away? Will younger families not afford to live in Westport.

    An honest discussion with real numbers should help us all understand the future. From what I have witnessed, Joseloff just does not care. He continues to push ahead with programs and continues to under fund our liabilities.

    If we understand our situation then it might help to have a discussion on either 1) can we cut OPEB or our union pensions 2) if not then what does the tax situation look like going out 5, 10 years.

    We can then look at the options we have to minimize the effect of what could be, ever increasing taxes. Remember, people on fixed income, senior citizens are getting hurt the most.

    Then we can decide how to use the towns assets to help. Including our land. And it could be a good discussion because, as the Hillpoint proposal showed us, seniors would benefit along with everyone else.

  23. Politics is politics. What matters to politicians is how many votes you can influence. If the politicians realize you are an “influencer” as opposed to a harmless “noisemaker” they might start listening as opposed to ignoring you. I like trying to “influence” rather than making “noise”. It would appear some posters here agree with that. Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes not. I am an optimist and keep trying…I applaud Bart, John and others for doing the same. I feel bad about getting off to a late start.

  24. This town seems to be run by fools.

  25. Dan said: “3. I believed their conclusion was the only one that could be chosen under the RFP”

    Goal of any supplier to government (or to any project, for that matter, or for anyone with a prior agenda) is to influence the spec, terms & conditions, or performance attributes such that only your equipment/product/proposal will meet the terms of the RFP.

    From comments on the related thread, sounds like one of the advisors to the current winning proposal helped define the spec. Someone notes above that the committee set the spec. Better method for open government and open bidding is to keep the spec as general as possible and see what comes in. Might take longer but it certainly sound like in this case the non-conforming bid is considerably more attractive than the one that literally meets the terms of the RFP such that it was “the only one that could be chosen”.

    Dan – putting aside that they went with the only alternative they culd under the RFP, any opinion of whether it is actually the right choice for Westport?

    • could not culd….spell checking or edit function would be nice….

    • Bart Shuldman

      What you will find is the committee set the spec, set the RFP, with direction from Mr Joseloff and helped by the winning bidder.

      All done behind closed doors and some meetings held at 9:30 Friday morning when most could not attend. Despite the promises of an open process by Mr Joseloff.

      This project is very troubling. How many think getting into the care business by a town is not a potential issue? This should be vetted with much attention and detail as possible. The potential liability and cost to the town could be disastrous. In addition, we should all have the facts as to what happens if this project takes government money. What is non residents take spots? How bad will that be?

      You can read about stuff like this in the paper and wonder how it happens. Ladies and gents–it is happening in our town right in front of all of us.

  26. Dan didn’t say that I did! How they got to it aside the RFP was the RFP. Given that…the only proposal that met it was the one they recommended.
    That’s what happened.

    The argument then should be about how they got there. They got there. My opinion is that’s spilled milk. What happens next is where we are and much more important. Lots of possibilities. None of those however will please 100% of the people….but then that’s politics.

    • Oops…second paragraph should read ‘The argument then should NOT be about how they got there.’

    • Tom – thanks for the clarification – by the time I reached the end of the post, I had obviously forgotten (or had missed) the initial article attribution.

      Dan – In the immortal words of Emily Letella: “never mind”

  27. John – didn’t I say, when I left RTM, that you should never vote based on a promise? The BOS (or whoever) hears “yes” or “no” – they never hear “yes, but.” That kind of vote basically says “I will give up all power in the process and maybe you will still listen to me,”

    Hey, isn’t everyone forgetting that there was a poll of Seniors who said they’d like more affordable housing? That’s what gives Gordon his moral authority on the matter. Too bad it wasn’t a poll of DINKs, like me – we’d like more affordable housing for two-income families without kids! Though I guess we should be thankful it wasn’t a poll of Crazy Cat Ladies, about subsidized Crazy Cat Lady housing – we’d be crawling with cats downtown.

    • Seniors could have affordable housing in their own house!! if they were given meaningful real estate tax relief. ALL OF THEM. No out of towners. Just Westporters.
      HELLO RTM BoF!

  28. John McCarthy

    For you stalwarts still following this…..
    I was looking at what the State of Connecticut holds as a standard of ethics for contractors and state employees, the Guide to the Code of Ethics for Current or Potential State Contractors

    In the spirit of Good Government in which this code was written I would think that there would be consensus among Westport residents with adding “volunteer” and “local official” to “state official or employee” and substituting “state” with “Town of Westport” to the below excerpt.

    “A former state official or employee may never represent anyone other than the
    state regarding a particular matter in which he or she was personally or
    substantially involved while in state service and in which the state has a
    substantial interest. This prevents side-switching. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-84b (a).” Page 8 under Lifetime Ban

    Food for thought

    • Still hangin’ in there…

      Propose it.
      See who oppose it.
      They are probably the ethics violators.