PICTURE STORY OF SPEAK UP 2015 - ON TOWN TV CHANNEL 79 AT
Weston Public Library -
Solo art show by Westport artist Eric Chiang, Jan. - Feb. 2015
Saturday, February 7, 2015, 10:30am to 12 noon
HERE IN TWO FORMATS
Media Player format
(best viewed on Windows computers via Internet Explorer,
which will open Windows Media Player and begin playback
without waiting for the
entire file to download; other browsers may not begin playback
until the entire
file has downloaded, which may take several minutes or
viewed on Apple computers if Windows Media Player has been
41 minutes 2 seconds; 256 megaBytes)
(viewable on most Windows and Apple computers, but playback
may not start until
the entire file has
downloaded, which may take several minutes or more):
41 minutes 2 seconds; 437 megaBytes)
Picture story: Before the crowds, a thought. Before the
discourse, the set up. This year League was fortunate
to have on the Library's walls a "musical" accompaniment!
League has reviewed the video, our summary of "Speak Up 2015"
below. Weston FORUM article on here: http://www.thewestonforum.com/25441/record-crowd-attends-westons-speak-up/
LWV of Weston got lucky. "Speak Up" was scheduled for
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. With a "blizzard" having been
forecast for the previous week and a big snowfall due in later
Saturday and possibly thru Monday, it was great good
fortune to be able to fit "The Town's
Business is Your Business: Direction From the People to
Their Government" into its original date!!! Thank
you, Mother Nature!
And so the 24th annual LWV of Weston "Speak Up" began.
Lights, camera, action! What makes "Speak Up" the
important event that it has become is the quality of the
questions the public asks. League counted 15 individuals
asking questions and/or making statements. Nineteen (19)
officials were on stage. It was standing room only in
the audience. And it did run a bit long. Quoted in
the FORUM report, the Moderator remarked upon the strands of
mutual connection among and between volunteers in Weston.
#1 - And our
Moderator got started! What's up at the Library?
Asked by webmaster, answered by Library Board Chair. (in
back row). And we found out what is in store over the
next number of years - and we are looking forward to our
Library modernizing itself inside while keeping its identity
as modern architecture - built in 1963, but still modern!
Weston reminds many of music. Is it more like chamber
music? It is a smaller "classical" experience, with
definite themes recurring throughout public discourse.
#2 - Senior Center thanks and can we do more? On stage,
those who don't have to respond, State Legislators and the
Board of Education, relax. Now that's a serious look
from Town officials (r). Our newest State Senator is
impressed with the quality of the questions!
#3 - After
sitting through a lecture prior to Speak Up, on the Merritt
Parkway, this Westonite (l) asked about where "lock boxes" and the
State of CT fit in. And everyone was all ears.
#4 - And a question regarding not feeling
informed about what is going on with the Police Station and the expansion of
Town Hall. And what will it cost and what we actually
need. Studies upon studies and what to show for it. Chair. of School Board
spoke up for Kaestle-Boos evaluation of school and town buildings
as extremely helpful over the last decade.
#5 - More specifically,
what are plans for the newest study being undertaken and who's in
charge? A new entity beyond "global facilities?" A
"Central Part of Town and Beyond" study? Zoning
changes? The First Selectman reported that a 100 acre
property was newly available (in private hands).
#6 - Someone who has been
around for a while and questions the decision-making process of
government generally, made a lot of sense, too.
#7 - Bingo! Someone asked
about how come his reassessment went down but his tax bill went up
- League had invited the Tax Assessor, but he did not attend,
since this was not a re-assessment year! The Board of
Finance could have handled that but the Town Administrator stepped
in at the suggestion, we think, of the First Selectman, and gave
it a try - suggesting that the resident go in to Town Hall to ask
the Assessor personally.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A TOWN WIDE NEWSPAPER DELIVERED TO EVERYONE:
NOW, IF PEOPLE SUBSCRIBE TO THE WESTON FORUM THEY GET THE
INFORMATION THEY NEED TO BE ON TOP OF THEIR OWN INTERESTS.
HAD THIS QUESTIONER HAD THE BENEFIT OF THE WORDS OF WISDOM FROM
THE ASSESSOR LAST YEAR IN THE FORUM, HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN THE IF
HIS PROPERTY DID NOT INCREASE IN VALUE MORE THAN THE
AVERAGE HOUSE, HIS TAXES WOULD GO UP.
#8 - Complemented the
town on the new Senior Center and asked about other services to
keep Seniors in place.
#9 - And after that thoughtful set of questions, came another even
more penetrating one about our State (by the next in line).
And a reflection that CT is running out of options by our State
#10 - Always a privilege
to hear from the former Chairman of P&Z (in a previous
decade). And the present Chair. of P&Z quotes from the 2010 Town
Plan, wherein various ideas re: tax base and other matters are
#11 - Thanks to the Library for providing opportunities to learn.
#12 - Questioning the
"transparency" of Global Facilities Committee because it only
posted minutes once. And that the First Selectman had not
had a plan for the former Guidera office and said so at Town
Meeting, but this being the 21st Century, the Second Selectman
used his smartphone to find a different reference from a FORUM
article that quoted the First Selectman as saying that the people
should decide what to do with the building, after it was
purchased. In fact at the Town Meeting, when pressed, the
First Selectman pointed out that many administrations going back
to Sue Hutchineson's in the early 1980's had tried to get that
corner of the first Historic District, but that Town Meeting had
not wanted to spend the money - it was voted down, whatever the
reason, all those years ago.
#13 - A wise Westonite's
pithy remark informally voted best and most immediately helpful
comment. He also congratulated snow removal by the
Town so far, and made a suggestion regarding private property snow
removal that shifts the piles of snow...out into the Town
roads! An ordinance perhaps needed to help insure safe
passage on public roads...?
#14 - Very concerned Westonite
finally raised the unpleasant subject regarding the quandary, at
least for him, of where we are
headed as a Town, fiscally. He noted that the First
point at the Tri-Board Meeting earlier this week was most
disturbing - Weston is listed as number one for highest tax rate
along with a bevvy of other pieces of undesirable data. And
there is no vision for the future, if we heard him
correctly. Response came from the Building Committee who
said that this was the most important "future"question of
the morning. Just before...
the end, passing the microphone on the tough question, it came to
the Chief of Police to repeat that the thing the Police would like
to do is the conduct tours of the emergency service areas in the
present set up. One more round on the Emergency Services
Compex/Town Hall Additions/Use of empty schools issue...which many
speakers so far had questioned, and is the major local thought
And then it was over (ran a bit long, but there was a lot to get
out on the table, we guess).
THINGS UNDER CONSIDERATION...
Hartford Courant Editorial: http://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-moving-toward-regionalism-20150213-story.html
EDITORIAL: Speak and listen
By Kimberly Donnelly on February 6, 2015 - http://www.thewestonforum.com/25203/editorial-speak-and-listen/
There were even more releases - which turned out a
crowd!!! Standing Room Only!!!
Weston Speak Up is coming on Saturday, Feb. 7
Although the Super Bowl is grabbing
attention this weekend, Weston will have its own special event the
On Saturday, Feb. 7, the League of Women Voters of Weston presents
its 24th annual Speak Up from 10:30 to noon at the Weston Public
Library Community Room.
This unique event brings Weston citizens together with town and
state officials to explore issues in an open and unscripted
environment. Have some donut holes and hot coffee or tea, courtesy
of the league, and get involved.
As a Weston Forum editorial once put it, “Speak Up is the perfect
place to make a statement, ask a question, voice an opinion,
clarify a misunderstanding, or share information.”
This year’s event moderator is Laura Smits, a Weston resident, a
League of Women Voters member since 1999, and a registrar of
voters since 2008. She is currently also a member of the
Commission on Aging and was a past member of the Board of
A self-described “media junkie,” Ms. Smits has been a radio talk
show host, an advertising/public relations copywriter, and a
freelance writer. She recently graduated from Southern Connecticut
State University with a master of arts degree in English
The event will also be recorded on video and repeated on Channel
79 and online at the LWV of Weston website, lwvweston.org.
For more information about joining the league, email
Public may speak out at Weston Speak Up
FORUM January 19, 2015
The holidays are over, a
new state legislative session has opened, and the local budget
process has begun!
The League of Women Voters of Weston will hold the 24th annual
Speak Up on Saturday, Feb. 7, in the Community Room of the Weston
Public Library from 10:30 to noon.
Speak Up is a grassroots opportunity for dialogue between
townspeople and their elected and appointed officials from local
and state government.
Every Westonite is encouraged to attend and get answers to their
questions or concerns about any topic of interest. The league
believes citizen participation in government is vital to keep it
transparent and effective.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a question and a friend...Story
in full: http://www.thewestonforum.com/24521/public-may-speak-out-at-weston-speak-up/