Letters of Endorsement
Dear Fellow Democrat,
The upcoming election is important. Our next P&Z Commission will be writing the Town Plan of Conservation and Development that will set the Town's agenda for the next ten years. They will decide whether to loosen the restrictions on building size and density. They will decide whether to allow 6-story buildings and multi-story parking garages Downtown.
If you want to maintain zoning regulations to ensure the appropriate scale and size of buildings, if you want to protect open space and prevent over-development, if you want to promote commercial, cultural and recreational activities—without destroying what we love best about Westport—then I, as Co-Chairman of Save Westport Now, ask you to vote to re-elect Save Westport Now endorsed candidates: Chip Stephens, Jack Whittle, Cathy Walsh and Al Gratrix.
As a fellow Democrat, I understand that you may be reluctant to vote for someone outside the party. But these four individuals (who have also been endorsed by the Republicans) have consistently demonstrated their commitment to mindful planning, rigorous enforcement, and the tenets of “smart growth.” They have demonstrated their respect and appreciation for the rights of developers while honoring the wishes of the electorate, working diligently to protect residential neighborhoods, preserving Westport’s small-town character, and preventing over-commercialization. They have been stalwarts in their efforts to promote planning initiatives that benefit the entire town.
Despite their opponents' often outrageous claims, the truth is that these four candidates have an outstanding record of accomplishments. They have valuable experience, tremendous perspective, and a long view of what will help Westport to thrive for decades to come. I ask you to join me in voting for these fine stewards so that they may continue their good work for all of us.
The choice is clear: Vote for All 4 on Line 4!
Valerie Seiling Jacobs
Though an “off” year, the upcoming election is important. Please make the time to vote!
As a lifelong Westport resident, with family ties to the community that reach back more than six decades, and as a board member of Save Westport Now, after carefully considering the alternatives, it is with pleasure and conviction that I write this letter in support of re-electing Save Westport Now endorsed, and Republican candidates, Chip Stephens, Jack Whittle, Cathy Walsh and Al Gratrix to the Planning & Zoning Commission.
These four individuals have done yeoman’s work as commissioners and have discharged their duties thoughtfully and with great care. Through words and deeds, they have consistently demonstrated their commitment to mindful planning, rigorous enforcement, and the tenets of “smart growth.” They have demonstrated their respect and appreciation for the rights of developers while simultaneously honoring the wishes of the electorate, working diligently to protect residential neighborhoods, preserving Westport’s small-town character, and preventing over-commercialization. They have been stalwarts in their efforts to promote planning initiatives that benefit the entire town.
Despite their opponents often outrageous claims, the unvarnished truth is that these four candidates have an outstanding track-record of accomplishments. They have valuable experience, tremendous perspective, and a long view of what will help Westport to continue to develop and thrive for decades to come. I invite you, friends and fellow Westporters, to join me in voting for these fine stewards so that they may continue their good work for all of us.
I am writing to ask Westport voters to re-elect all four of the P&Z incumbents on November 4. The team of Gratrix, Stephens, Walsh and Whittle has worked with me in preventing a high density 8-30g (affordable) housing project and preserving the Westport Inn; in making zoning decisions that encouraged Bridgewater Associates to maintain their headquarters in Westport; in developing efficient and effect land use permitting processes; and in stepping up the enforcement of land use regulations. They showed true leadership in cutting red tape to help assist residents in recovering from Super Storm Sandy.
The road has not always been smooth and we have had our differences, but the incumbents are working to achieve a goal of providing market rate and affordable senior housing and to improve and expand the Center for Senior Activities.
Please join me in supporting the incumbent P&Z team on Election Day.
Westport First Selectman
MIKE REA IS ESSENTIAL
I strongly endorse Mike Rea for the Board of Finance in the coming election. He has a record in both the Board of Finance and many terms in the RTM of supporting decisions that were always in the best interest of the Town, rather than following a political agenda. I worked with Mike for many year while we both were on the RTM. He speaks clearly and succinctly, discusses issues in a balanced manner and manages to focus on the critical factors affecting decisions. Mike Rea's continued position on the Board of Finance is essential for the future of Westport.
Walsh and colleagues backed for P&Z
As a fourth-generation Westporter, I love this town and would not consider living anywhere else. However, I recognize the constant challenges that face Westport socially, financially and environmentally.
I feel lucky to know Cathy Walsh because she has proven herself over and again in her capacity on the P&Z. She understands the delicate balancing act, namely, respecting the past while being proactive toward the future.
Cathy is thoughtful, exceedingly fair, and has a vision for the town that rises past party lines. Above all, she gets things done.
Please join me in support of the incumbent members and vote for Cathy Walsh, Chip Stephens, Jack Whittle and Al Gratrix for the Westport P&Z in November.
Deborah Herfort Tiede
Backs GOP slate for finance panel
I am writing to urge you to vote for the Westport Board of Finance team of Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Mike Rea, who all have the financial background and dedication to keep Westport taxes down while at the same time maintaining and improving town services. Working with Selectmen Jim Marpe and Avi Kaner, they will continue the progress that Westport has made in the past couple of years.
Under Jen Tooker’s leadership as chairwoman, the Board of Finance has kept financial support for the schools steady and continues to pursue cost-saving ideas such as sharing administration, communication, energy and information technology upgrades between the schools and the town. This successful Republican team will continue to successfully keep our roads maintained and approve funding for needed downtown improvements. I am sure many of you have noticed the enhancements in the Levitt Pavilion, the town marinas and the Longshore Golf Course, but may not know that Wakeman Town Farm and Earthplace has been supported as well. The golf course has been lauded as one of the top ten in Connecticut and player use is up dramatically.
At the same time, because maintenance of the course was outsourced, the town saved money. Importantly, they were able to keep the town at the highest credit rating possible and paying down our long-term debt aggressively, but responsibly. Please vote for all three — Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Mike Rea — to keep the board on the same track of financial conservatism and improved town services for the next several years.
Supports Bruce in finance panel race
Iain Bruce has exactly the mix of talents Westport needs for the Board of Finance. His financial skill and proven dedication to the community will serve our town well.
Professionally, his entire 33 year career has been in finance, managing various forms of financial risk and executing complex transactions in project finance and other areas. For the past several years, he has been restructuring transactions, demonstrating a talent for negotiating resolution of complicated commercial disputes, often without resorting to litigation. It’s not hard to see that this experience will be extremely helpful to our Board of Finance.
Iain has also demonstrated that he cares deeply for our town. He has been on the Boards of the Westport Weston Y for the past 13 years, including as president of the Board of Directors during the permitting phase for the new Y. Iain worked with many parties, often with competing interests (members, staff, boards, consultants, town officials, etc.) to find workable solutions to complicated problems. He also spent a few hundred hours in Town Hall participating in and observing public hearings, RTM meetings and so on. Iain gained valuable insight into how our town works and how collaboration achieves useful ends.
Iain’s community involvement goes well beyond the Y, having lived here since 1989. Iain is a dedicated cyclist, not just riding the bike, but using his passion to help others. He is a leading fundraiser for the annual SpinOdyssey event, a marshal for the CT Challenge and Smilow Cancer Center’s “Closer to Free” ride, as well as a ride leader for the Sound Cyclists club. He has also volunteered in various capacities around town, including at A Child’s Place, Suzuki Music School of Westport and the Saugatuck Church.
What more could we want for a Board of Finance member — deep financial skills and experience, demonstrated leadership and a clear passion for making Westport a better place. I will enthusiastically vote for Iain in the coming election.
Supports GOP finance board candidates
I urge all Westport voters to support Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Michael Rea for Board of Finance on Nov. 3.
The Republican majority on the Board of Finance, led by Chairwoman Jen Tooker, has done a terrific job on behalf of Westport taxpayers. They have kept property taxes level while paying down the Town’s debt, reforming employee pensions, and ensuring Westport is on a strong financial foundation for the future. We must keep these sound policies and exemplary leadership in place.
Please vote for Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Michael Rea on Election Day.
Bruce backed for finance seat
I have known Iain Bruce, candidate for the Board of Finance, for over 50 years and heartily endorse his candidacy! Even as a young adult, Iain was an industrious and responsible member of our community with a strong interest in business and finance.
Iain has over 30 years of experience in finance leading corporations to financial success while mitigating financial risk and has held senior level roles in financial services, banking and insurance the most recent of which was senior managing director at Ambac Assurance Corp.
Iain is a 26-year Westport resident who, along with this wife Linda, raised their children here and watched them blossom and excel in the outstanding schools our town enjoys. I am also a longtime Westport resident and taxpayer having lived here, with my husband Dennis, for almost 30 years. I know Iain shares my desire to continue our town’s financial soundness, keep our property values high, and maintain our excellent schools.
Iain has been active in our community in numerous capacities including leadership roles at the Westport-Weston Family YMCA, Saugatuck Church, Suzuki Music School and Staples swimming. He has served the Westport-Weston Family YMCA on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees from 2002 — present and held the position of president from 2007-11. Iain is also a former board member of the Suzuki Music School.
I am confident Iain will continue the strong progress our current Board of Finance has begun in maintaining and enhancing our property values, reforming retiree pension and medical liabilities, and practicing financial discipline. I trust Iain to make prudent decisions with our town’s financial resources as he maintains Westport’s excellent quality of life and outstanding school system while keeping an eye to cost efficiency and reducing the size of government.
Please join me in voting for Iain Bruce and his colleagues Clarissa Moore and Mike Rea for the Board of Finance on Nov. 3.
I strongly endorse Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Michael Rea for the Board of Finance.
This team can deliver on Westporters’ high expectations. We want superior schools and Town services delivered efficiently and effectively. Concurrently, we insist the Town remain fiscally strong for the long-term, including pension and other post-employment benefits reform. Balancing these priorities, while keeping taxes virtually flat for the past three years, has distinguished this current Board of Finance. There is still more work to be done. It is essential to elect a team that can continue this work. Their deep financial expertise, combined with their broad community involvement in Westport, makes them the perfect team for the job. We are lucky to have such quality candidates on the Board of Finance ballot.
Please join me and vote for Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Michael Rea on November 3rd.
Success in Progress!
Chair, Westport Board of Finance
October 6, 2015
The current P&Z majority has demonstrated its commitment to preserving the nature and scale of the town and to controlling both the pace and the places of development. Their work has included preserving open space as well as protecting the town from the encroachment of huge structures which would dwarf neighboring buildings and generate significant amounts of traffic (of which we complain enough at present).
Citizens need to ask: Do we want to move in the direction of White Plains, or keep the nature and the scale of the town which have enticed so many to move here and raise their families? Those who prefer the latter choice will be well served by supporting the four incumbents as a majority slate of four.
Re the Baron’s South housing/memory care project with the constantly increasing number of residential units: Recall that this had been proposed on a unique and valuable parcel of publicly owned land at perhaps the most crowded suburban intersection in the state. In addition, it came encumbered with a number of questions,to which none of the proponents ever provided a clear answer. These questions included the absence of an objective, third-party assessment of the projected needs of such units by actual Westport residents;the size of the units Westport seniors would prefer (after downsizing from years living in a house); and, crucially, the means by which preferences would be effectively guaranteed to Westport’s own seniors. Given that public land would have been involved, it is certainly reasonable for Westporters, including Westport’s own seniors, to ask why clear answers were never given even with all those years to provide them.
But to return to the bigger picture of the town itself: The P&Z, under the present majority leadership, has in fact kept its focus on the needs of the majority of the residents, including both families raising school children we well as seniors. It has held numerous publicly noticed meetings on various aspects of the town’s land usage. (Perhaps those who make such allegations were not aware of the public notifications?) The fact is that it is difficult if simply impossible to please everybody. In November, of course, there will be a time to choose. Those who wish to keep the direction and pace of the town’s development—to see well-controlled growth—will be best served by supporting the continuation of this P&Z’s work and supporting the majority slate of the 4 incumbents.
November 3rd Vote for Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Michael Rea Essential
It is essential for Westport voters to continue the Republican majority on the Board of Finance (BOF). Vote for Iain Bruce, Clarissa Moore and Michael Rea to go with BOF Chairman Jennifer Tooker to continue the prudent control of the Town of Westport finances. Working with First Selectman Jim Marpe and Selectman Avi Kaner over the last three years, the Republican majority on the BOF has effectively held property taxes level with no increase. During this time Town services were maintained and improved. Officials in no other town in our area match this accomplishment.
Electing Clarissa Moore and Iain Bruce will provide the Town with two new outstanding members on the BOF. Clarissa is a Yale graduate with degrees in economics and political science. She went on to earn a M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. A 22 year career with senior management positions in financial service companies culminating as principal/owner of a private investment management firm followed. Since 2008 she has been President/Treasurer of Green's Farm School PTA, on the Nominating Committee of the Bedford Middle School PTA, on the PTA Council and is now a key RTM member from District 5. Her daughter is in Bedford Middle School.
Iain Bruce had a 33 year career in financial services, banking and insurance following earning a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in finance and marketing from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Iain and his wife, Linda, have lived in Westport for 26 years where they have been active in many local organizations. Their two children attended Westport public schools. Iain is presently on the Westport/Weston Family YMCA Board of Trustees and formerly was President of the Board of Directors. He served on the Board of the Suzuki Music School. He is an avid member of the Sound Cyclist Bicycle Club where he is a ride leader.
To continue the outstanding leadership of the Westport Board of Finance, I recommend votes for Clarissa Moore and Iain Bruce along with incumbent Michael Rae to go along with Board of Finance Chairman Jennifer Tooker.
October 5, 2015
To the Editor:
I am writing to express my support and admiration for the four Republican candidates for the Planning and Zoning Board. As one of the 11% of Westport residents over the age of 70, I believe that Cathy Walsh, Jack Whittle, Al Gratrix and Chip Stephens displayed enormous leadership, courage and forward-thinking in their efforts to preserve the Barons South property as open space rather than convert that particular town-owned property to senior and affordable housing. From the outset, after several discussions with members of the Board of Finance, I have consistently questioned the economics of using town amenities for the development of housing, especially since such housing would not be limited to Westport residents. With open spaces diminishing through the development of projects over the years, keeping land tracts such as Barons South from future development inures to the benefit of all Westport residents and not merely my 11% affinity group. By designating Barons South as park property, these four candidates for reelection preserved the character and quality of life we have all come to expect in Westport while initiating new legislative efforts that will permit senior housing projects to be successfully developed on private land.
They have proven their ability to focus on a host of other timely and critically important land use issues throughout their tenure on P & Z and we should return them to office in November and insure that Westport's charm and life style remain intact for the foreseeable future.
October 4, 2015
To the Editor:
Rea, Bruce and Moore for Westport Board of Finance
The Republican majority on the board of finance has delivered for the town of Westport. They've held property taxes flat for the last past three years and they did it while paying down long-term debt to keep Westport fiscally strong. They’ve maintained our AAA credit rating.
They did it while maintaining and improving town services; you can see it in our schools which continue to be among the best in the state, you can see it in the improvements downtown, you can see it in the town marinas and you can see it at Longshore golf course.
They worked hard specifically to reform employee pension and retiree benefits (OPEB) by converting three defined-benefit plans to defined contribution plans limiting the town's future liabilities.
Keep the winning team on the field. Join me in voting for Michael Rea, Iain Bruce and Clarissa Moore for Westport Board of Finance on November 3rd. They've earned our vote.