Valley Times      Saturday 6/022/01
 Derby Voters Told Not to Be Narrow-minded When
 It Comes to Voting for New High School

I would like to address those voters, who are so closed-minded in their views about building the new (Derby) high school.

As a parent of a fifth grader attending a very crowded Bradley School, I cannot believe that anyone would deny the children of Derby every opportunity to thrive in a school system we can be proud of.

Shame on the people who would deny the children of Derby.  Did you not have children who went to school?  Do you not have grandchildren?  We are trying to build our community up by building new homes, getting new businesses to set up shop here.  How can we revitalize our community without quality education?  I urge those of you who are not educated on the facts to learn how much it will cost to take care of our overcrowding without the new school.

If this newspaper is a voice for the people, hear my voice loud and clear: WE NEED A NEW HIGH SCHOOL!

TONI DEGENNARO
DERBY PARENT, Derby

 Voters Urged to Vote “No” to Fairy Tales

Howdy, folks! It’s me again, the Concerned Fisherman.  Folks, before I begin I would like to address something that I’m mighty concerned about that appeared in the editor’s column of May 12, 2001 in the Valley Times.

It seems as if people have been going on the internet stating that this newspaper doesn’t accept opposing viewpoints on issues.  They must have this paper mixed up with the other Valley flyer which doesn’t engage in debate on ANY issue.  They’re on their fourth editor in five years, which gives you an idea of the credibility factor involved in their journalistic reporting which is slanted toward a liberal bias.  I haven’t seen one opposing letter on the new Derby High School issue yet in that flyer.  I stated it back in January, I’ll state it again: this newspaper is the fairest newspaper around when it comes to both sides of ANY issue.

Folks, I would like to point out a few figures that the High School Building Committee released for this new high school.  The new building will now cost $31.7 million with the city picking up the tab of $14 million, after an estimated state reimbursement of $17.7 million.  The figures include the cost of buying 25.5 acres of farmland.

Folks, last November this school was estimated at $25 million with the city picking up a $7.6 million tab after state reimbursement!  How did we end up with an estimated $6 million in less than seven months!

To renovate the Minerva Street facility will cost the city $15.3 million after the state reimbursement.  That’s ridiculous, folks!  The facility was only closed down a few years ago, and with an honest construction company can be renovated for no more than $5 to $10 million.  Of course, folks, then there would be no argument for a new high school.

This Michael Kelleher is a sly one!  I warned all of you good folks about him over a year ago during the Witek Park controversy.  Now get this one: If we build a new high school on land we already OWN, it’s going to cost us $14.5 million!

ONLY IN DERBY!  How do you figure you’re paying a half million dollars more on land YOU ALREADY OWN, AS OPPOSED TO LAND YOU HAVE TO BUY!  If you want to farm my land it would be cheaper than to have to go out and farm on someone else’s property!  I hope Kelleher and the rest of these people never get a hold of the finances of the City of Derby or we will be bankrupt in the next few years, or at the very least, facing a serious deficit. 

The last figure given confuses me altogether, folks.  This has to be politics at its best.  The expected cost of the temporary classrooms for middle school students after reimbursement is supposedly $11.7 million.  But wait a minute, folks!  Unlike the other three plans, the proposal for modular classrooms includes a renovation TO THE EXISTING HIGH SCHOOL! 

There wasn’t supposed to be ANY renovation to the existing high school on the referendum!  Why bring it up now?  I’ll tell you why.

Kelleher and his building committee KNOW that modular classrooms are more cost effective than any other solution to the problem in Derby.  They also KNOW that this solution is the most popular among the opponents of this new high school referendum, so they set up a financial smokescreen by throwing in a renovation cost along with the modular classrooms.  Oldest political trick in the book, folks, but the old fisherman just hooked them in the backside on that one!  Kelleher also stated that the modular classrooms wouldn’t be handicapped accessible.  Folks, he should MAKE them handicapped accessible!

What is the tax impact for homeowners on this project?  If you own a $100,000 home, you will pay $81 per year.  A $150,000 home will be $122 per year.  A home valued at $200,000 will be $163 per year.  Now one part of this folder that carries these statistics claims that this is the most ever a homeowner will pay.  Yet, on the back of the folder, they claim that these figures are only PROJECTIONS for the future. 

On June 12, 2001 go to the polls whether it’s sunny or raining, and cast your vote NO to fairy tales involving figures, overcrowding, educational opportunities and the building being inadequate to teach high school students anymore.

The future of this city’s political integrity counts on it.  Mayor Marc Garofalo hasn’t any Board of Ethics, except YOU the people.  The people must be heard and make a difference. 

Until next time, folks: Good fishing and good living.

THE CONCERNED FISHERMAN
Derby 

 The Voters Educated Derby Politicians!

After Derby voters overwhelmingly defeated a Derby Mayor Marc Garofalo Administration initiative for a new Derby High School last June, Derby politicians profited from the referendum results.

As a result, when “Derby’s Political Dream Team Garofalo” set its sights on Derby’s best downtown business complex, the former Webster Bank for a new luxury City Hall, they decided to by-pass Derby voters by not allowing a city referendum for the purchase.  Team Garofalo did not want a loser with their new City Hall toy, so they decided not togive Derby voters a chance to vote on it.  They just bought the property by themselves.

However, the Derby City administration must expect another loser for the second new high school referendum on June 12--by allowing it!  Derby’s politicians do not allow a public vote for their new City Hall conquest, as they wanted a new City Hall more than a new high school that Derby voters do not want.

Derby voters educated Team Garofalo to dictate a new City Hall on Derby taxpayers to pay for, and not allowing them to reject it bya Democratic process called a referendum.  Only in Derby!  The Shelton City administration recently voted to allow $30,000 in proposed City Hall renovations to go out for bid!  Why didn’t the Derby City dictatorship allow $890,000 in new Derby City Hall renovations go out for bid?

It appears that the City of Derby has reached the point of being politically paralyzed!  Even without Derby’s current spending outlay, Derby’s bonded indebtedness takes $2.7 million, or 10 percent of the city’s $27 million budget. 

Taxpayers, watch out!

STAN MUZYK
 Derby 

 Powerful Mailer Swung Election?

Vincent Guardiano, a member of the Zoning Board that voted to zone the Hine’s farm property industrial, wrote a letter claiming that those in opposition to the school proposal won the last referendum becaue of one mailer. I didn’t realize that one mailing could so effect an election. Perhaps that mailer was so effective because it raised questions that those in favor of that school proposal had never bothered to address.

Again, for this upcoming referendum, we are besieged with threats of dire consequences if we don’t vote in favor. Mr. Guardiano claims that this miracle proposal will alleviate school overcrowding, make up for the lack of recreational facilities in the city and address all residents’ concerns all for the cost of a weekly trip to McDonald’s. Hogwash!

The only kernel of truth in those claims is that it will alleviate school overcrowding. Of course we must ignore the fact that the current school was built for a large student body than we have. It is true that with all the additional space, the classrooms will be filled with about 10 students in each room rather than the 25 to 30 students per class we have now. But, do we need to have one classroom for approximately every 10 students?

If this school provides us with sufficient recreational facilities, why then is Witek Park still being discussed for additional fields, as the papers recently reported? If the new school resolved all recreational issues in the city, there would be no plan to spend more on building at Witek Park.
As to the issue of the cost of the building, the City Treasurer reported that because a bond was being paid off, we would only pay $122 more per year (based on a $150,000 home).

That, however, does not take into acocunt how much our taxes would have gone down because of the paying off of that bond. So, already it will cost $122 per year plus what we could have saved in taxes (a number not reported by the City Treasurer, by the way).

Furthermore, I’m sure the increased salaries for the necessary new teachers and staff and the increase in the electric bill will make the cost much closer to a daily trip to the River Restaurant than to McDonalds.

Mr. Guardiano also claims that this proposal took into account residents’ concerns. Again, Mr. Guardiano’s claims are more more fiction than fact. The vote on the last referendum was 2-1/2 to 1 AGAINST building a new school. Which part of NO new school was addressed with this referendum? Moving the school to another side of town, creating a traffic nightmare, at significant taxpayer expense did not address the concerns of the overwhelmingly majority of taxpayers who voted NO.

This issue does merit a discussion of facts, but the facts must be truth and not distortions. And, the discussion must address the concerns of the majority of the taxpayers.
It cannot be a discussion where you merely point fingers. Those of us in opposition are not against education. We are, however, against throwing money away.

No matter how many different ways you try to force it, we will continue to oppose wasteful spending.

JOHN W. KOWARIK
Derby