LETTER: Healy’s “Local Zoning Control” Letter is Political Rabble-Rousing

To the Editor:

Kim Healy’s Letter to the Editor on proposed zoning legislation is disingenuous at best, cynical at worst. She asks, “Where are local legislators in Hartford’s fight for local control?” when she knows full well where they are. Working.

Here’s [Selectman] Ross Tartell’s testimony on the group of bills she cites, S1024:  “The impact of these bills is to usurp local autonomy and quash possible collaboration between the state and local municipalities. They will create an environment of polarization that will prevent attainment of productive outcomes that resolve critical social and racial issues, and that also create economically viable towns that are attractive and have housing that is economically accessible.”

[Wilton’s State Rep.] Stephanie Thomas (D-143)  had similar concerns about local control in her testimony before the Planning and Development Committee exploring affordable housing: “I can’t support the removal of a local public hearing process…which I believe is the very foundation of checks and balances between communities and developers.….Residents often know more than traffic experts, developers and, dare I say, legislators….”

[Wilton’s State Sen.] Will Haskell has repeatedly opposed any legislation that would cede local control.

All of these legislators found that these bills and others, while intended to create affordable housing and support diversity, impeded, rather [than] promoted the cause they championed. But they offered alternatives and volunteered to be part of a working process, so as to encourage cooperation, not polarization, between the state and our towns.

That’s different than shouting, “Local Control! Local Control! Local Control!” and walking away, only encouraging those in the state who think we’ll never understand the issues. The inequality of opportunity in education and housing in Connecticut is real and has to be addressed. Rabble-rousing for political points doesn’t help. Ms. Healy is like a moviegoer shouting fire in a crowded theater…. so she can get a seat.

Bob Carney