Last Night’s Meeting
Monday did not start well. Before I even left for the train, I had a moment and checked the Connecticut Post. And there, splashed across the top of page 3, was a piece about my Special Committee and our ordinances. In typical sloppy fashion, the reporter quoted no one from the committee and only the vocal folk for and against it. He even got some of the facts wrong. Still, I was annoyed.
When I got the office and checked e-mail, there was a note from one of the vocal opponents who got my name wrong and continued to twist the committee’s intent beyond recognition.
Nope, not happy at all.
Knowing I needed to speak on the subjects at the evening RTM meeting, I decided to draft my remarks and have them approved by my colleagues prior to speaking. Here’s what I said last night:
Thank you, Mr. Moderator.
As you know, the Special Committee has been meeting regularly since late July. In February, based on comments from the Body and the public, I recommended the three ordinances be referred back to the Special Committee for additional consideration.
Our committee met several more times, taking extensive comment from the public. Despite a desire to enact an ordinance that would serve the dual purpose of addressing a local safety issue in addition to the larger issue of historic preservation, we have yet to find Demolition Delay language that we feel would best benefit the town.
The Tree and Stone Wall ordinances were tidied up based on the commentary received to date but as they were dissected at the Standing Committees this month, it was clear that further work was required. Additionally, the three ordinances, designed to benefit and enhance Fairfield, have since become a political football between two diametrically opposed citizens’ groups — for once, we can be thankful, not Republicans and Democrats — that have vigorously lobbied through the press, much to the detriment of both the ordinances and the committee’s efforts.
Therefore, I now move that the three re-submitted ordinances once more be referred back to the Special Committee for further consideration and the committee will report back to the RTM on a date certain, three regular meetings from now.
Just like that, a divisive debate was short-circuited. I have no problem with the public speaking and having their opinion heard. I encourage it. The problem is, what FPLAN’s proponents and CSTOP’s adherents would have said last night was nothing new and we’d all heard it before. What I kept reminder myself was that the general public has been silent. No letters to the editor, no e-mails or calls to me personally, nothing.
Our Special Committee will meet again, with public comment taken, and figure out what our next step will be.
Meantime, the rest of the meeting went off without a hitch, including our one public review of the $200+ million budget. There was a token question and suddenly, we were adjourned. Our socialable soda began before 9:30, which was outrageous. Then again, maybe everyone did their jobs better than usual and there was less to be contentious about. I’m not really sure.