Click above to get to picture story
of Speak Up 2005...
SPEAK UP 2004
now history...begins with report of Legislative award to Weston
February 7. 2004 brought @60 members
of the public (by the end it seemed like more people), 30 town
officials ask and answer questions:
- Metro North--what can we do to get new/more
- Activities for Seniors...as need grows, are
there any plans to expand facilities - and how about school
- Performing and Creative Arts Center process
("How come you are planning for something beyond the
- the 8-24 "complaint" regarding Town of
Weston presentation to Planning and Zoning Commission--is
there anything to this?
- Drinking and driving by youth--is there more
the police can do by way of Town Ordinance to prevent it?
- Affordable housing;
- how will traffic and confusion during School
Construction project-next phase (the actual building) be
monitored to protect all--(everyone should work out alternate
route from one side of town to another?);
- what about the reassessment--what did it
mean to Weston homeowners--answered by Board of Assessment
Appeals most thoroughly--with invitation to anyone with a
complaint or question to sign up for an appointment for April
- Why does the School Budget presentation get
short shrift at Board of Selectmen? What will the Board
of Finance be looking for in re "presentation" and back-up?
- Why don't more people attend Speak Up?
(Someone really asked that.)
- Why didn't the school plan contract when
pupil projections shrank?
- More analysis of the Q&A as editing
progresses on the video...but Weston FORUM reporter should
have a good report Thursday!
2003...Moderator Helen DeKeijzer closes the meeting held at
Norfield Parish Hall...
signature LWV of Weston event...broadcast on March 8, 2003 at
2pm, 5pm and 8pm on Channel 79; available at Weston
"The Town's Business
Is Your Business: Direction From The People To Their
Government" talked money and affordability in 2003.
Congressman Christopher Shays to be at Weston Town Hall to
speak with Westonites (and others) Saturday, February 15,
2003 at 12 noon;
- State Senator John
McKinney and Representative John Stripp constantly up to
- Senator McKinney
remarked upon the paucity of power line questions...one of
last questions called attention to upcoming 2004 removal of
"standard offer"--which should lead to "spike" in power
costs unless something is done this session in the
Legislature to moderate this "California" effect (NOTE -
these bills now under consideration in the Legislature: S.B.64,
"proposed bills" on these subjects).
- About 100 in the
"Speak-Up 2003" audience;
- first question about
whether Weston is too free with its money--questions why we
are "Number One" on education spending and property
taxes; later questions revolve around doing the
Referendum over in light of present financial situation and
- most questions to the
Superintendent of Schools or Board of Education or First
- School Building
Committee called upon several times, Police Commission twice
at least; Town Administrator, Library Board, Westport-Weston
Health District, Town Engineer and Parks and Recreation
Commission answered questions;
- no Conservation
Commission or Planning and Zoning Commission questions, none
to Board of Finance or Commission for the Arts or Septic
Committee, Building Inspector;
No. 10 on Sheff settlement ($2,500,000 required)
set for Public Hearing in Hartford Feb. 10 - no one asked
the last two "Speak-Up" events (see below)? Have these
issues disappeared? Not really--in fact, the condition of
the Samuel Senior Dam came up again (flooding Main Street in
Westport). within 20
minutes...) - First Selectman Woody Bliss explained that the
structural condition of the dam was secure.
"Speak Up 2002"
Parts One and
Two appeared on-air...Ch.71--which is Regular Cablevision
Public Access (not Town Channel [#73]) ...this version had
been shortened to fit the Cablevision schedule--but when the
Town Channel (#73) showed it, you saw theoriginal
TWO-HOUR VERSION IN WESTON LIBRARY FOR THOSE WITHOUT CABLE...
On Saturday, February 23, 2002, from 10:30am
to 12:30pm, at Norfield Church Parish Hall cameras rolled,
questions, answers and dialogue flew and civility reigned!
OBSERVER CORPS REPORT:
forum lets voters grill politicians" read the lead story in
the Norwalk HOUR Sunday, Feb. 24. "At the League of
Women Voter's annual Speak Up 2002 forum, politicians answered
questions on topics ranging from litter removal to Northeast
Utilities' proposal to build 345,000-volt towers from Bethel
to Norwalk." In the second paragraph, League
Co-President and moderator Helen deKeijzer was quoted saying
"We want you to ask any question that is on your mind...This
is a free flow of ideas."
And indeed it was--from the
first question (on making the School Campus bike-friendly) to
discussion of a Town Cemetery, to external terror threats to
zoning violations to greater attention to community artistic
needs. No mention of education issues other than the
previously mentioned bike question. No mention of taxes
or spending. School program on "civility" promoted
(perhaps more school-centered Westonites should follow how the
League manages to be civil)...and the biggest input came from
State Representative John Stripp and Senator Judith Freedman
on some of their ideas on power line issue (Public Hearing
Tuesday in Hartford on Bill 307)...and then, to everyone's
surprise, Congressman Christopher Shays arrived at this Weston
League event (Weston will now  be returned to the new
4th District--represented at this time by Congressman Shays),
to great applause, as he is the modern leader of campaign
finance reform (League's first and foremost issue to
League Observer Corps (it
even observes our own meetings!) recorded 19 different
questions asked in the two hour "Speak Up 2002" session:
for clarity, these questions are color-coded--most in more
than one color:
- school related,
- "outside agency"
out of our control,
- statement only.
- BICYCLING ISSUE--how
will school plans blend in this
kind of recreation (for the community as a whole)? How
about updating the Town WEBsite for more useful notice of
- Who owns the C,L&P Right
- WOODLANDS COALITION
announcement (NOTE: Since "Speak Up" WOODLANDS
COALITION has made headway--gaining moratorium on power
- Who is responsible for
preventing visual blight, zoning violations?
- Is there an appeals
process from zoning enforcement (if it isn't effective)?
- What is the latest on
the Midtown former Service Station?
- Whose is the ultimate
decision on the C,L&P issue?
- What can be done about
noise and neighborhood intrusion of development at Morehouse
- Water supply
endangerment--drought--to the amount available for
residential use--what is the
- Is there hope to ever
see a Town Cemetery? (Later information supplied by
Dick Bochinski, from the audience)
- What if there were a
"dirty bomb" incident in N.Y.C.--how would Weston cope?
- Will there ever be an
arts center in town? Perhaps at the Jarvis Military
- Announcement of March 5 "Civility" presentation by consultant to schools...
- Traffic...what can be done about it--especially at
high volume intersections?
- What can be done about
Georgetown Road ("H") intersection?
- Announcement of S.B.
343...pro-power lines bill
- Will a large facility
at Morehouse Farm Park be open to all (eg. like Greenwich Point Park case)?
- How are things progressing on
the septic-sewer front?
- Can't getting a driver's licence
be made more difficult?
"Speak Up 2001"(PHOTOS
AND NOTES FROM LEAGUE)
SPEAK UP 2001 highlights in low
light...for portraits, and photos from Bob Rowland, see below.
IS FRONT AND CENTER AT SPEAK UP 2001...
2001" Is Big Success...a photo essay:
Co-President and Moderator welcomes
crowd and panel; next photo...take our word for it--the
Facilitator for the Select Team (on school construction) reponds
to a question and plugs the upcoming March 3, all morning (9am
to 12:30pm) session at the Weston Middle School cafeteria. Next
is the representative of KELDA explaining the offer agreed
to by the Governor and his company to preserve lands.
Questions came from the audience on many subjects, and the next
photo shows the pitch from the audience for help for video
production funding (just the last few dollars) to get a Public
Access TV studio up and running. On the right is State
Senator Judith Freedman beginning to answer the question by
offering to check with staff--"How many Towns are exempt from
their own zoning laws in Connecticut?" (Answered by the
questioner: two others besides Weston.) Below are
more photographs, these by Bob Rowland...
First Selectman Hal Shupack (top)
addresses budget question; Selectman Emil Frankel answers
question on Route Seven (center), and Selectman Woody Bliss
bottom) speaks about Fromson-Strassler AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Crowd thoughtful as ethics concerns
voiced...and Moderator pleased that event ends peacefully!
For non-League commentary, clickHERE.