Mayor Manny Santos claims he wants to keep politics out of appointments to Meriden’s Board and Commissions. Yet his submitted list keeps all the existing Republicans, and removes only Democrats and unaffiliated members. No politics . . . really?
Four, in particular, have been volunteering their time and serving Meriden with experience and non-partisan dedication: Ray Gradwell, a Democrat and a civil engineer as chairman of the Public Utility Commission; William Kroll, a Democrat and retired Meriden Fire Marshal, chairman of Building Code of Appeals; Bruce Burchsted, a Democrat and small business owner serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals; and Dwight Needles, unaffiliated and President of the Meriden Land Trust (!) serving on the Conservation Commission and Flood Control.
Why wouldn’t the mayor want their experience and knowledge continuing on these important committees? Even the Council Leader of his party, Dan Brunet, supports these reappointments. Mayor Santos should, too. I urge the mayor to keep his goal of leaving politics out of the appointment process and reappoint these gentlemen. And I ask the City Council to support them, as well.
Stephen T. Zerio, Meriden
I want to congratulate and thank Jim Fitzsimmons for his years of service to the people of Wallingford. Jim, in his own quiet way, has been and is an effective and considerate leader who demonstrates service above politics.
I had the good fortune of playing “fast pitch” softball with Jim’s dad, and I always thought of Jim’s dad as “Gentleman Jim” and considered him and Debbie as good friends. The old adage, “The acorn doesn’t fall from the tree” is true, in this case. I’m sure they are very proud of Jim, as we are to be his friend.
Bob/Joan Parisi, Wallingford Competent
Regarding any actions taken on the appointment of Meriden committees and commissions, I must tell you of the competence of a number individuals who, as reported in Sunday’s Record-Journal (3-16), might be overlooked:
I sit on two boards with Dwight Needles, the Flood Control Implementation Agency and the Conservation Commission. He is a big asset to both. He researches, reads and educates himself in all matters that come before each group. Dwight is well-spoken and brings much information to us. A few months ago, he took over the chairmanship of the FCIA from Phil Ashton, who headed the group a number of years. Phil always provided a wealth of information and stayed on top of each area of concern. When Dwight became chair, not one beat was missed. His leadership, as President of the Meriden Land Trust and his following of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, adds another dimension to his qualifications. A loss of Dwight would cause a large gap in what was accomplished over the years. I hope that Councilman Bob Williams, council liaison to the Conservation Commission, informs all of Dwight’s importance to that board. I know that councilman Castro and Councilwoman Battista will speak of Needles’ contribution to the Flood Control Implementation Agency.
Others that should not be overlooked are Ray Gradwell, William Kroll and Bruce Burchsted. These gentlemen have worked hard for the City of Meriden. Ray was chair of the Public Utilities Commission and William, the chair of the Building Code of Appeals. Bruce was a member of Zoning Board of Appeals. In their professional life, each one of them either served the citizens of Meriden or are a part of our business community — all wanting nothing but the best for our fine city.
Carmine Trotta, Meriden
‘Has my vote’
I am so happy to hear that former state Senator Len Suzio is keeping up with the Frankie Resto case. He is the perfect person to be a member of the Board for Victims Advocate. Most of the time, when a person leaves office you don’t hear anything about him/her any longer. When Suzio left office, he continued to follow through with issues that were of concern to his constituents. I, like many others, don’t want to have to worry about stopping at a gas station in the evening and being murdered just from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Early Release program is entirely on the side of violent people, while lacking in any concern for the families of victims. It seems that Michael Lawlor, Connecticut’s Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, has not taken the time to adequately explain to all of us how a degenerate like Resto was released early from prison and with no supervision. This is unbelievable! My heart goes out to the Ghazal family. They are fortunate, indeed, to have a supporter like Suzio, and he certainly has my vote in November, if he should decide to run again.
Bruce Swidock, Meriden
When families or businesses look to relocate, they look at three factors — economics, schools and the environment. Looking at Wallingford’s economics, they will see the following: An electric division mired in a legal battle that can cost the taxpayers a potential $8 million. A grand list that shows negative growth 3 of the last 4 years. A pronouncement from the mayor that taxes will probably increase yet again this year. If you are a young family, pre-kindergarten and all-day kindergarten is being implemented or already existing in a majority of Connecticut communities. Though not decided yet, all signs point to this being delayed or not happening for a number of years. Wallingford has the top polluter in the state, Cytec. The EPA reports that this company releases legally 11 percent of pollutants in Connecticut. (221,665 pounds). Wallingford has the second most industries needing Title V permits (industries classified as major sources of pollution) in Connecticut, 6. Of these six companies 3 have been classified as being in “significant violation” over the last three years. In a USA today study entitled Toxic air and America’s Schools, Wallingford placed 6 schools in the bottom 50 for worst air quality in Connecticut.
Wallingford has experienced an increase in prescription drug abuse — 93 deaths in ten years; 53 in the last 3 and a half. This average is tragically way over most other Connecticut towns. At present, our leadership is blocking having a safe medication drop box. How will Wallingford attract new income when compared to other communities? Are we heading in the right direction for growth?
While some of the facts cited above are beyond all control, a significant amount is and was decided by an administration led now by a mayor serving over 30 years. Why choose Wallingford?
Laurence Morgenstein, Wallingford
The anticipation and excitement are hardly containable as the foundation and plans for the “future” of Meriden are falling into place. Plans including a park (in the middle of nowhere), refurbished train station (since Meriden is a Mecca for tourists), affordable low-income (higher density) housing, a C-Town (yes, another much-needed discount grocery store) and new parking deck (for cars that aren’t there) are at the forefront of the plans. On a positive note, necessary plans to renovate our crumbling high schools (which came at a higher price to taxpayers; see PLA vote) and a beautiful linear trail (bravo!) make sense.
With that said, I can’t help but think of a city 15 minutes to our west and make similar comparisons. Unfortunately for residents, decisions have already been made by our former and current (Democratic) leadership that will keep our city on this doomed path. It is a shame that a city of 60,638 people have been led in this direction for so long. The surreal decisions of past and current city leaders will continue to drive citizens away without continued change in thinking and leadership.
Always a Meriden “backer,” it has become difficult to not follow the lead of friends and family members who have given up on our city. Mindless decisions by certain elected leaders continue to plague realistic progress and dishearten residents. People who scoff at this letter should take a close look at our city and where your tax dollars go. Is the favored leadership really what you want to continue? Complaining rarely helps a cause, actions do! Continue, or consider voting for change when the time comes. Halt Meriden in this process of mirroring our larger neighbor to the west.
Andy Rich, Meriden
The election of officers of the We The People Party of Meriden took place on 3-10 at the regular monthly meeting. They are: Lois DeMayo, chair; Nancy Fortier, vice chair; Nancy Luca-Kenney, secretary; David and Karen Parian, co-treasurers. Congratulations, and good luck, to all!