Election 2021 Letters to the Editor — Sept. 24, 2021

Every Friday until Election Day, GOOD Morning Wilton publishes Letters to the Editor that we’ve received about the candidates and/or election-related issues. Learn more about our election coverage guidelines and policies, including word count maximums and requirements for Letters to the Editor. Letters are printed in the order in which they are received. To send a letter to the editor, email it to editor@goodmorningwilton.com.

Tara Pagano’s Wilton History and Experience Make her an Asset for ZBA

To the Editor:

I am submitting this letter in support of Tara Pagano for the Zoning Board of Appeals (Alternate).

Tara was the first person that I met when I moved to Wilton in the mid-80s. At the time, she was a student in the Wilton Public Schools and grew up witnessing the tremendous growth and change that Wilton has seen over the decades. Tara’s parents owned a thriving Wilton-based business, initially operating out of their home, and eventually purchasing commercial property to where they built and relocated their business. As someone actively involved in the growth of their family business, Tara has had firsthand experience with the zoning process and all considerations that go into the zoning review. Her knowledge of Wilton’s history of development and change, combined with her long tenure as an active resident and involved member of the community, will enable her to provide thoughtful insight into many matters that will come before the ZBA.

I believe that Tara will be a tremendous asset to the ZBA, and will represent Wilton very well. For this reason, I fully support Tara Pagano during our next election, and hope that you will too.

Vivian Lee-Shiue

BOE Does Not Need Partisan “Ideologues” Against Equity, Open Choice and More

To the Editor:

For Board of Education, Republicans propose Jared Martin, who likens Open Choice, a small, voluntary program providing opportunity for a few Norwalk students and a more enriching experience for Wilton students, to “school busing.” He is campaigning against the way our schools recently removed Native American imagery from logos.

Running with him is real estate professional Jess Christ, who has opposed school mask policy, despite medical advice, and who felt it prudent to erase some social media postings prior to running. She believed it very important “that this concept of ‘equity’ be removed from our vocabulary,” until that statement, too, was recently dropped.

Democrats offer current BOE Chair Deb Low, who has devoted her life to education, as teacher, principal and superintendent, in Wilton and Ridgefield; along with Pam Ely, longtime director of the Children’s Day School of Wilton, another career educator; and Nicola Davies, who has participated and held leadership positions in four PTAs as her boys advanced in school. She is treasurer of the high school PTA.

The BOE does not need ideologues. The board works best, as Low says, when members are “a non-partisan team” devoted to students’ educational excellence. Amen. I support Low, Ely and Davies.

Bob Carney

Editor’s note:  GOOD Morning Wilton asked the letter writer to submit proof of his statements, which he did, including screenshots of things he referenced. His statements about candidate Jared Martin are factual and straightforward based on 1) a comment Martin made on a prior GMW article and 2) a video posted on Martin’s RTC website profile page. For candidate Jess Christ, allegations of removing social media posts and potentially controversial statements, are more serious, and we reached out multiple times earlier this week to the RTC to offer her the opportunity to respond. We shared with RTC Vice Chair Jake Lubel the sections of the letter that referred to Christ and several screenshots of social media posts that had been sent to us. We asked for the opportunity to ask Christ about the content and statements she made in her social media posts. On Thursday evening, that offer was declined. Instead, the RTC told us that Christ “was made aware of the opportunity, but we decided to address this with one voice.” They emailed the following statement, attributed to the Wilton RTC:

“Without having seen most of the content of this letter or knowing the name of the author, we will say simply that contemptuous attacks do no service to our town. We want to use this opportunity to make a unifying statement to all Wiltonians. We have all been through difficult times over the last 18 months — the toughest, and the strangest, that many of us have ever seen — and we feel so fortunate to live in this great community. Campaigns and elections often bring out the worst in people, but this isn’t necessary, and we won’t contribute to divisiveness in our small piece of the world. Instead of attacking opponents or litigating out-of-context or dated statements, we will continue to focus on our candidates’ plans to enhance and improve Wilton, how they will work with others on their boards, and how they will approach their roles if they are fortunate enough to earn your votes. We are neighbors before this election and will be after. Wilton is such a special place with special people — let’s all treat it that way.”

Editor’s note: The heading on this letter originally included the party identifier of Republican. While the Republican Town Committee has nominated Jared Martin and he is running on the Republican ticket, Martin is unaffiliated and not a member of the Republican Party. We’ve removed the identifier from the heading.


Wilton BOF Will Benefit from Frank Bria’s Energy, Professionalism, Passion for Serving Community

To the Editor:

Frank Bria is a fantastic candidate for Wilton’s Board of Finance. I have known the Bria family for over four years. I was constantly in their day-to-day lives as Lisa, Frank’s wife, and I were Miller-Driscoll PTA co-presidents for two years together. Frank was always so helpful and supportive of our service to the school community. Frank is a highly engaged parent and spouse and a worker bee who never stops, from being a Cub Scout leader and Eagle Scout advisor to being an active board member on several local non-profits focused on education. He also enjoys running marathons, fishing and hiking with his boys in town and helping Lisa’s grandfather with yard work, he never stops. His energy, professionalism, and compassion are to be admired. If elected to the BOF, I know the town will greatly benefit from his strong background in law and business and his dedication and passion for serving our community.

Annie Chochos

Wilton Board of Education Needs Pam Ely’s 30 Years of Qualifications

To the Editor:

The Wilton education system is the gem of our community. It is among the many reasons that make Wilton an exceptional place to live. It takes a robust and knowledgeable Board of Education to support learning that meets the needs of and engages our children, offers opportunities for their growth, and prepares them for a rapidly changing and challenging world. Pam Ely is the candidate who has the qualifications to do this. Pam is fully engaged in the life of Wilton; she understands our town, our schools and our families. She has spent 30 years in Wilton as a champion for our children, as a teacher, an advocate, and an educational administrator. As a parent Pam shares our common goal of providing our children with the educational excellence they will need for the 21st century. For a positive and quality education for Wilton’s children vote for and put Pam Ely on the Board of Education.

Virginia Gunther

Keith Denning’s ZBA Experience and Professional Expertise Prepare Him to Ensure Bright Wilton Future on BOS

To the Editor:

I support Keith Denning for election to the Board of Selectmen. Keith is very well prepared to address the problems that are critical to Wilton’s future. Wilton needs to create diversified housing, so that more people can afford to move here and seniors, who want to downsize, can stay here. Wilton also needs to expand its economic foundation by adjusting the zoning regulations so that our town can grow its tax base and maintain its character. Keith, as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, has the technical background necessary to help the Board of Selectmen develop solutions that build a strong economic future.

Keith is a medical professional. His training and experience have enabled him to recognize the social services and psychological issues that have been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. Keith understands the structure and resources necessary to deliver services and will provide expertise to the Board of Selectmen regarding strengthening the safety net for our town.

Keith has the experience and knowledge Wilton needs to ensure a bright future. Vote for Keith Denning for Board of Selectmen on Nov. 2.

Ross Tartell

No Better BOS Candidate than Kim Healy, a “Steward of the Community”

To the Editor:

I wanted to share my strong support of Kim Healy for Board of Selectmen. Kim has been deeply involved in our community since moving here in 2008. For the past 13 years, she has been a great steward of the community from being a former treasurer for Wilton Youth Council, a volunteer tax prep advisor for AARP, a volunteer and co-chair for Minks to Sinks, and a member of the Wilton Library Board of Trustees. As a Library Trustee, Kim took on roles of increasing responsibility from working on the finance and investment committees, to ultimately joining the Executive Committee as the secretary and subsequently the treasurer before reaching her six-year term limit. With a continued commitment to serve her community, she joined the Town’s Conservation Committee in 2021.

Kim is a sensible, level-headed leader who listens to differing perspectives and acts in the best interest of the institution in which she serves. As a CPA and auditor, she has a fiscally sound approach to managing finances. She is a woman of high integrity, she leans into tough questions, and addresses difficult situations. I cannot think of a better candidate to join our Board of Selectmen.

Regards,

Meghan Whitman

Wilton will Benefit from Matt Raimondi’s “Perfect Fit” on Board of Finance

To the Editor:

When we heard that Matt Raimondi was running for the Board of Finance, we couldn’t have been more excited. Matt is the best person for the job, and we’re looking forward to voting for him on Nov. 2.

Matt has more than a decade of experience working in finance, and he currently sits on the boards of several companies to provide financial and strategic oversight and direction. A major part of Matt’s role is to oversee the budgets and provide financial perspective — identical to what he would do on the Board of Finance. Matt is the perfect fit for this role.

Matt is also from Wilton and grew up here; he knows exactly what this town needs and what we care about. Given that upbringing, Matt can bring the perspective of a resident who grew up here and moved back. Matt is truly “one of us” and will be able to best advocate for what matters.

Wilton, and all its residents, will benefit from Matt’s insights and expertise. We’re excited that Matt decided to run and can’t wait to vote for him Nov. 2 for Board of Finance.

John S. Kaufman and Hana Kaufman

Sandy Arkell’s Broad Experience in Accounting and Finance will Keep Wilton on Solid Financial Footing

To the Editor:

I enthusiastically endorse Sandy Arkell to be a member of Wilton’s Board of Finance. I know she will tirelessly and responsibly work for us by advocating for measures that will keep Wilton on a solid financial footing.

Sandy was appointed to Wilton’s Board of Finance in September 2020 when a current board member resigned due to his relocation. Sandy was unanimously approved by Wilton’s Board of Finance from 13 candidates that had applied for the position.

Ms. Arkell is a certified public accountant and has over 25 years of experience in financial management with various Fortune 500 companies. She is currently the chief accounting officer for Mastercard Corporation where she oversees budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, pension plan accounting and employee benefits. Additionally, she has been a member of the Wilton Board of Finance for over a year. Her broad experience in accounting and finance makes her an ideal candidate for Wilton’s Board of Finance.

Please vote for Sandy Arkell for the Board of Finance on November 2 and help Wilton maintain its financial stability and keep a balanced and positive voice for Wilton.

Jane Rinard

Rich Santosky — Unique, Talented, Professional — Would be Ideal BOF Addition

To the Editor:

You know how it seems you find these really unique, talented people in Wilton sometimes, who are at the top of their professional field, and yet they are humble and unassuming, so you are surprised when you find out? Rich Santosky is the epitome of this. And even better, he’s on your ballot this year, running for Board of Finance.

Rich’s background managing a large construction company and his comfort managing complex projects on tight budgets give him the needed relevant experience. But more than that, Rich is neighborly, respectful, and inquisitive — he’ll be courteous, yet won’t shy away from asking tough questions.

Rich wants to make sure our tax dollars are put to good use and that our property values are protected with a reasonable mill rate. He is prepared to work closely with the Board of Education to help Wilton prioritize smart spending.

I’ve served on multiple committees in Wilton and am currently on the BOE. I have a great deal of understanding of the commitment and expertise needed for our town boards and am confident that Rich would be an ideal addition to the Board of Finance. Please join me in voting for him.

Mandi Schmauch

Witness to Kim Healy and Monty Du’s Selfless Actions in Wilton

To the Editor:

I have been fortunate to know Kim Healy and Monty Du personally for several years. Both Kim and Monty are long-time residents of Wilton, and I have witnessed their selfless actions in our local community. Not only do they volunteer on town boards — Kim is on the Wilton Conservation Commission and previously completed six years on the Board of [the] Wilton Library, while Monty is on the Zoning Board of Appeals — many of their contributions had gone unnoticed.

But as a friend, I saw:

  1. They were among the first to collect and contribute boxes of masks for Wilton’s first responders in early spring 2020.
  2. They organized food drives for [the] Wilton Social Service Food Pantry during the height of the pandemic.
  3. They testified in Hartford to defend Wilton’s autonomy on matters related to our school district and zoning.
  4. A week ago, they testified for Wilton’s 143rd district to be separate from Norwalk, so our town has an appropriate representation in the Connecticut General Assembly.

With Kim and Monty, local interests are commitments they will honor. On Nov. 2, join me to elect Kim Healy for Board of Selectmen and Monty Du for Board of Finance.

Respectfully,

Jennie Wong

Jessica Christ will Advocate for Transparency on BOE

To the Editor:

A new normal for our school board has emerged. I am no longer interested in who has the “shiniest” resume, oftentimes those are the ones that disappoint the most. We have been Wilton residents for 19 years and are deeply invested in our town and school systems. I want someone who is honest and follows through with their promises. With that said, I strongly support Jessica Christ as a candidate for Wilton’s Board of Education. Her commitment to Wilton Public Schools goes beyond the interests of her own children; she cares deeply about the quality of education for all students.

“Jess” is honest and authentic with no hidden agenda. She will listen to both sides and differing opinions. She is not afraid of the hard conversations that need to be had. She has been a champion for our town for years.

In today’s tumultuous political climate, transparency is what we all need. Jess will advocate that for all parents, students, and administrators. Our schools need someone who is dedicated to our community, who has children in the school system, and exhibits necessary thoroughness and focus to best serve our community.

Please vote for Jessica Christ for BOE.

Tiffany Burton

No Better Candidate for Bd. of Finance than Rich Santosky

To the Editor:

There is no better candidate for Wilton’s Board of Finance than Rich Santosky.

Wilton’s budget is over $128 million; understanding where this money goes is critical. Rich has vast experience in budgeting and financial management; he owns a business with revenues many times this amount; understands the difference between needs and wants, costs and investments; and knows how to set realistic and achievable budgets. Rich is a dedicated public servant too. He was a volunteer firefighter/EMT and served on committees to purchase two new fire trucks. As a civil and environmental engineer, Rich served in the Army Corps of Engineers, building infrastructure and managing major facilities — like those in Wilton. He played a central role in NYC after 9/11, managing response and recovery, overseeing budgets and cost control measures to ensure that government expenditures were legitimate and at market value.

Rich and his wife have four children who attend school here. He advocates for investment in our schools, to provide a great education and to contribute to our real estate values.

Wilton is lucky that Rich wants to devote his expertise. Vote for Santosky on Nov. 2 and help Wilton grow its tax base, without increasing taxes.

Nadia S. Murphy

Chris Wilson’s Perspective on Wilton’s Character and Land Development Needed on P&Z

To the Editor:

As a resident of Wilton for 30 years, Chris Wilson has a valuable perspective on the character of the town and the land development for Wilton. We need a person like Chris who is a registered professional engineer and a LEED-accredited professional in building design and construction. Wilton is very lucky to have a person like Chris who is committed to his family and community.

Critical decisions about housing density and development as well as land usage are on the table in the future. Chris Wilson is the right person for the Planning and Zoning Committee.

We all want the best people on the Planning and Zoning Committee. Join me in voting for Chris Wilson, Row B.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Wrampe

Deb Low, Pam Ely and Nicola Davies Bring Intelligence, Experience and Care

To the Editor:

As many residents of Wilton, my family moved to here 19 years ago for the promise of its renowned school district. Over the years the district has faced many challenges but none so acute as that presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilton will need qualified and dedicated leadership on the Board of Education to ensure that the children of Wilton are where they should be despite those challenges. Our children are our community’s future. Protect and nurture that future by reelecting Deb Low and voting for Pam Ely and Nicola Davies who bring with them the intelligence, experience, and care the children of our community need and deserve.

Please vote Democratic on Nov. 2 to meet the needs of today and the promise of the future.

Tracy Murray

Pam Ely is a Champion and Protector of Wilton Education

To the Editor:

On Nov. 2, I encourage Wilton voters to vote for Pamela Ely for the Board of Education.

I worked closely with Pam at the Children’s Day School of Wilton for three years as assistant treasurer/treasurer (2011‐2013). While officially she was the school’s director, Pam also performed like a business owner. In the face of challenging enrollments, Pam capably supervised the school’s budget by carefully managing costs while prioritizing the student experience. The COVID‐19 pandemic further showed Pam’s leadership abilities. She worked hard with parents, teachers, and staff to keep school in-person during the pandemic.

Of paramount importance to Pam was creating a program that put children’s best interests first. Pam is a straight shooter with high standards for doing what is right educationally and age-appropriately. Pam is [an] expert in special education, where she has helped many families navigate how to diagnose and determine the best next step. Pam has deep wisdom from her 30 years in hands‐on education.

As Pam raised her daughter in Wilton and has lived in town for 40 years, she is a champion and protector of Wilton education who will fight to keep control of our schools local.

Sincerely,

Eva Pao