Whispers In The Wind

From the Waterbury Republican- American this morning:
George Babcock was quotes as being “shocked” that David Gentile, blaming it on rumors that he wanted to cut senior bus service.

The fact is this. Gentile and Santagotta proposed cuts to the fuel budget for the senior bus. If you have no fuel, how do you expect it to run? I understand their intention to trim the budget as much as possible, but given the fluctuations in the price of fuel over the last 6 years on an annual basis, sometimes its wiser to give some more leeway in teh budget. Somehow Democrats also seemed confused when they also proposed a $10,000 cut to paving last year “because we didn’t use it”. True, the town didn’t use it for paving. The Town Council transfeerd that money to be used for plowing costs. Even after this fact was pointed out, Democrats Santagotta, Gentile, Masi, and Perrone still voted to cut the fund. Somehow they just don’t see connections between obvious facts very well.

But the election is over. The above should have been better pointed out by the Democrats’ opponents, and they weren’t.

Another issue on Election Day emerged early Tuesday as candidates arrived at polling places to campaign. As Chris O’Brien carried a lawn sign to hold with the other candidates at Wakelee School, James Pape told him he coldn’t do that. For some reason Mr. Pape continued by saying “we passed an ordinance that says there’s no signs on school property.” Later he said that I couldn’t put the sign on my car because it was on private property.

Wait a second…

First of all, the Board of Education can’t pass an ordinance if they wanted to. In fact, there is a town ordinance prohibiting smoking on school grounds, but that ordinance is listed in the Town Hall in the ordinance book and numbered accordingly. The police department can come up and give you a fine for smoking. Before that ordinance was enacted, the Board had a policy that you couldn’t smoke. But unless you were a student, they couldn’t do anything about it.

Now, regarding sign placement. I recall a few years ago the Board sent letters out requestion candidates to not place signs in the ground. The concern was that placing large wooden stakes into the ground would create lage divets. The letter was nicely worded, but really presented as a gentleman’s agreement and local practice. We can accept the desire not to tear up the field and O’Brien mentioned that the gentleman’s agreement with the major parties in town had this purpose. Candidates in the past still held signs or had placards on their vehicles and could excercise their First Amendment so long as it was outside the 75 foot line. But Mr. Pape said no, it appiled to all signs now. Well, that’s a clear breach of the freedom of speech.

But for some reason this make-believe prohibition comes up every year until I call town hall and make sure it didn’t come from them, because it never does. Yesterday one maintanance supervisor lied and said it had. I don’t blame the maintanance worker, but because so many people are involved in the Education system, its unclear where the order came from.

Now for the claim of being on private property. Perhaps ten years ago an issue was brought up when someone was driven off the field for having a pick-up game on an athletic field. I don’t see how a half dozen people thowing a football around with hopes of one day making the team is such a horrible thing. The Board of education was concerned at the time that the grass would wear out if it was used too often, so they instituted a permit system to monitor the wear and tear of the fields. It seems they rotate fields somewhat like a farmer rotates his fields, but still- grass tends to grow back quickly and its a fact of like that 40 high school boys in full padding and cleats will run down a field. By comparison, eight family members or neighbors in sweats and sneakers probably wouldn’t have the same impact. A few years ago, the BOE seemed to solve the sacred grass problem. We now have an nice expensive artificial turf field. The impetus for this field was that because the grass on it is artificial, it won’t wear out. It also is properly drained, requires less maintainance and according to various statistics, claims to cause fewer injuries to athletes. Given this, I don’t understand the sacred grass concept even more.

But I digress – I have a problem when the Chairman of the Board of Education claims their buildings and grounds as “private property”. Last I checked, parents have asked the Town Council for money to preserve various programs. They go to the Town Council because only the Town Conucil can tax the residents. So clearly, the MILLIONS of dollars in tax dollars collected by the Town of Wolcott go to the private charity of the Wolcott PUBLIC Schools. There shouldn’t be that much confusion here. Given that Mr. Pape was himself standing outside for re-election, he knows the people walking past him would be casting their vote for or against him. A private institution wouldn’t elect their leaders this way. Then again, given the $6,000-7,000 increases in administrators’ pay his Board recently approved, maybe he does think it is his own private entity.

After such a brutal campaign, and while we can have some beautiful fall days, I hope residents would go out and enjoy some of the beautiful parks and fields in town. The TOWN owns quite a number of them. Softball fields, soccer fields. Take up a pick-up game with some friends and family. And if someone comes along to tell you “sorry – this is private property” outside of the school you went to – don’t say anything. Look at the beautiful piece of land around you that past town leaders bought or generous citizens donated. The grass, the fields, the grounds. Then look up -and see if the leaves are moving. When the person intervening sees your hesitation with perplexion, ask him – do you see that?

See what?

Isn’t it windy out here?

Yeah, actually it is.

Then give him a friendly smile. “Then Go fly a kite.”

Life’s too short. And Wolcott’s too beautiful a place to live not to enjoy it.


2 Comments to “Whispers In The Wind”

  1. Chris – thank you for your very valid point. One point you did miss was how ironic it was that the letter by Mr. Brundage “just happened” to be right under my “paid ad” and failed to note that he is Ms. McQueen’s son-in-law.

  2. It’s ok for Ms Malena to print out right lies and untruths and try to smear peoples reputations with no proof and make personal attacks, cross every line of good character and have no respect for her opponent but she is worried about a letter placement next to her ad. Again it speaks for her lack of character. Her “It’s all about me” attitude. Get over yourself!

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