LWV of Weston's "SPEAK UP XXIII"
Held at the Weston Public Library Community Room
Saturday, February 8, 2014, 10:30am to 12 noon

This program was broadcast live on Channel 79.  Art on the walls by Keith Brooks.  And the FORUM wrote a great editorial in advance...and followed it up with another editorial after!
And speaking of Speak Up impact...more follow-up here.

Note:  The Speak Up 2014 video is 1 hour 40 minutes 20 seconds long.

The links below provide the video in a choice of two formats, .wmv (Windows Media Player format, which is playable on all Windows-based computers and some Apple Computers), and .mp4 (which is playable on most modern computers of either type).  If you are using a Windows-based computer and Internet Explorer, clicking on the .wmv link will automatically open Windows Media Player and start playback promptly.  Some other software, including Firefox and Safari, might not begin playback until the entire file has downloaded, which due to the length of the program may take 15 or 30 minutes or more depending on your internet connection speed.

Windows Media Player format (254 megaBytes):   www.lwvweston.org/LWVSpeakup2-8-14.wmv

MP4 format (434 megaBytes):  www.lwvweston.org/LWVSpeakup2-8-14.mp4

PICTURE STORY SPEAK UP 2014 - one of the very, very best!!!

Westonites poured through the doors - and they spoke up at...Speak Up - you bet!  Great art show on the walls - besides coffee and tea the was a "spread" of cakes and cookies...and pop corn...and then we were ready to start...

QUESTION NUMBER ONE:  This went to the Lachat Oversight Committee, beginning with a preamble about open meetings and democracy and how this Committee followed all the rules of the sunshine policies presently in the F.O.I. regulations...and posted minutes, agendas, etc online...question was "What's up?" and what will we have to look forward to soon?

Laura Smits was our moderator...and kept things moving along.  Atmosphere of pastoral setting seemed not quite the temper of the crowd!

QUESTION NUMBER TWO:  Could there be a concession stand or food truck located at Morehouse Farm Park?  Parks and Rec responded that first stop would be to ask P&R.

QUESTION THREE:  First mention of Senior Center issues...or was it this one...or this one, which compared what Weston Seniors have compared to others...more came later, as well.

QUESTION NUMBER FOUR:  Who better to address this than the Superintendent, who clarified the year by year agreement ("M.O.U.") or memorandum of understanding between town and Schools.
Later, as if in an aside, because no one asked about the increases in the operating budget proposed FY'15 ("What are you doing to keep the budget in hand?") the Superintendent remarked that Weston Schools are taking full-paying tuition students from other towns.

QUESTION NUMBER FIVE:  Since Newtown, what's new in Weston - not exactly how it was phrased but it drew reaction immediately from Selectmen and State Senator...and Building Committee Chair. with side discussion with Town Administrator.

QUESTION NUMBER SIX:  Well, it was a different topic, but it was further focus on Board of Education policies.  I think the issue of grants for solar panels and necessary delays, perhaps, as the questioner correctly pointed out, is unfortunate because grants turned down one day might not be around later when you are ready to use them.  The crowd wasn't sure what to think.

QUESTION NUMBERS SEVEN THRU...Brainstorming at the Library for the future of the center of town...and for the town in general as it relates to the state, etc. Town Plan here.

The one comment from the Board of Finance was clearly an indication that the school budget may be in for a bumpy ride before approval.  "Occupy Wall Street" series of oil paintings on display.

QUESTION NUMBER EIGHT, ABOUT REGIONAL RELATIONS:  And then there was the question about what regionalism the way the Legislature may fashion it means for Weston...below:

Rep. Shaban congratulated First Selectman Weinstein on having trumped the Office of Policy and Management by merging in a timely fashion with HVCEO.

QUESTION NUMBER NINE, ABOUT WHY WE CAN'T THINK MORE FREELY...ah yes, easy for citizens to say, but those responsible to the State and the taxpayers have to be circumspect. 

The Bike-Ped Committee describes some ideas (l), a citizen poses the question about why we can't plan with an open mind (r) and the Supintendent takes it all in (c).  It was a bit past noon...

AND QUESTIONS POSED BY THE THOUGHTFUL BIKE-PED CHAIR.:  And while he was at it, the Chair. of the Bike-Ped Committee offered some advice...picking up where the resident who has not yet gotten involved in government sees things that could happen and thinks "Why not?"  Well, the Chair. of the Board of Ethics (above, left) is seeing that perhaps people should know about what they must give up to participate in local government.

And then the Q&A of Speak Up was over with thanks to all participants - people didn't want to stop talking...many lingered in small groups for another half hour..   lingering, as in the last time we saw Paris?

It was really amazing - the 2014 Speak Up crowd had stayed to the end!
The impact of the event was still felt at a Board of Selectmen's meeting or two afterward...had the Selectmen and others working hard to find answers.

And post-Speak Up, what is the "State of the Town" right now (as related to Kiwanis 3-8-14)?

The two hots spots at "Speak Up" this year were areas where school and town hegemony clash. 
See Board of Selectmen report for Feb. 24.

Most telling perhaps was the absence of questions about the school budget...or maybe this was it coming to the mic?

Art show at the Library inspirational..."Speak Up" picture story here
To link to League video production, click here.

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