But Thursday’s “city hall” meeting with our state legislators at Town Hall drew about 30 Westporters.
Alert “06880” reader Gene Borio was there. And although the subject matter was dry — the budget, transportation, infrastructure — the 3 politicians were very impressive.
State senator Toni Boucher, and representatives Gail Lavielle and Jonathan Steinberg (Tony Hwang was working late in Hartford) addressed many tough issues with “equanimity, intelligence and perspicacity,” Gene says.
There was no rancor or petty sniping between the 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat.
The setting was utilitarian, as Gail Lavielle, Jonathan Steinberg and Toni Boucher addressed important local issues with honesty and intelligence. (Photo/Gene Borio)
As the legislature balances Connecticut’s deficit, current and future needs, and the necessity for new funding sources, the intelligent discussion covered topics like our tax burden, loss of jobs and residents, Metro-North, and possible tolls.
The panel strongly critiqued a proposed bill that would create an entity — the Connecticut Transit Corridor Development Authority — empowered to encourage business development within a 1/2-mile radius of rail or bus transit stations. Westport alert: It would have little local oversight — and even worse, would have the power of eminent domain.
On affordable housing, the representatives gave kudos to Westport for addressing the issue years ago.
The legislators emphasized their support for environmental groups, Sherwood Island and the Westport Library. They heard — and were moved by — heart-felt stories about what happens when people served by the Department of Developmental Services (and their caregivers) grow old.
Afterwards, there was a friendly meet-and-greet. Gene says that one rep noted how gratifying it is to come to Westport, with its intelligent, informed and engaged citizens.
Of course, Gene notes, “we elected them. We’re pretty fortune to have these no-nonsense politicians, who clearly and truly serve in a tough job.”
The good news is: Gretel Hartmann’s bench is back on Canal Beach.
Alert “06880” reader Gene Borio reports that Saugatuck Shores residents thought Hurricane Sandy swept it away forever. But there it is, right where it was before the storm 2 years ago.
The interesting news is: Gene and his neighbors don’t know how it got there.
“Apparently someone salvaged it from the massive destruction, and now restored it,” he says. “It’s a little worse for wear, but it’s in its proper place on in the sand.”
The bad news is: He doesn’t know who Gretel Hartmann was. The bench was there for about 10 years before Sandy, Gene says.
If any “06880” readers have info on Gretel, let’s give her — and her bench — some due. Click “Comments” to share.
Saugatuck Shores was on the agenda at a recent board of selectmen meeting. They considered 2 petitions: one for speed bumps on Harbor Road, the other against.
Alert “06880” reader Gene Borio doesn’t have a horse in that race. He lives on Canal Road, a 600-yard straightaway. That’s where he’d like to see speed bumps. Or at least a speed-activated sign (which residents have requested, to no avail).
But Gene has another issue with Harbor Road: the new sea wall. In his opinion, it’s waaaay too close to the road. Strolling, jogging, biking, dog-walking — all are now life-in-your-hands situations.
In just half an hour the other day, he saw:
While Gene was taking these photos, a contractor asked what he was shooting.
“The beautiful view, of course,” Gene said.
“And the sea wall. I think it’s too close to the road.”
“Yeah!” the contractor replied. “Why couldn’t they have moved it back 3 feet?!”
Gene thinks that would be tough. But, he says, 1 1/2 to 2 feet could be doable.
As for the traffic photos: “There’s a lot worse than this going on every day,” he says.
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