We are pleased to launch our campaign website for Board of Representatives, District 1, in Stamford. We entered this race to answer the call of our times for all of us to get more involved in the decisions which impact our lives and the lives of our families. We stand with the “Reform Stamford” movement and its desire for positive change and for expanding participation in and the transparency of our local government. We support Mayor David Martin because, among the candidates running for Mayor, we believe he has the best chance to bring about the kind of positive change needed — which does not just look to preserve what is best of the past, but does so with a vision toward the future
Over the course of successive administrations, we have seen property taxes steadily rise. The residents of Shippan are now paying tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes. In the same period, we have seen the size of our City government balloon. We now have dozens of department heads alone and over a thousand City employees making more than $100,000 per year. The benefits of this rapid and exponential growth in the size of our government are not readily apparent, and yet the burden on the taxpayers grows heavier each year.
We need to level the playing field, so that each of us has an equal say. The developer BLT asserts that, in 2011, it had to tear down the Boatyard, with its 300 year history, because, in its view, the site was dangerously polluted. However, what entitles a developer to engage in self-help, without following proper legal procedures and without giving the public a chance to weigh in before it is too late?
In the Cove, we see the effects of overcrowding: in our schools, in the number of cars on our streets and in illegal apartments which appear to have cropped up everywhere in our City. As we recently learned in the fire that started in an illegal apartment behind Stamford Hospital, illegal apartments can result in nearly fatal consequences. Yet, our City’s zoning enforcement department is terribly under-staffed, with only two inspectors for the entire City. But inspections alone are not the answer. Without enough affordable housing, where are people supposed to live?
For many years now, the calls of Cove residents in our District for traffic control measures to address the rampant speeding on our streets have been ignored. Cars race to cut corners to and from Cummings Park and cars and motorcycles use our streets for drag-racing, imperiling not only other motorists, but pedestrians and school children walking to school or to the bus stop. While we have waited patiently, all we have seen so far are traffic studies.
We agree with the Reform Stamford movement that our political establishment needs a wake-up call and to not only listen to, but to act upon, the concerns of our neighborhood communities, like the Cove and Shippan. We also believe that we need to stop the excessive partisanship and work together to be forces for positive change. Stamford is a community filled with passionate, engaged people who love our City and want to see it thrive. We support the efforts of Reform Stamford and all good citizens to make Stamford everything we know it can be.