Greenwich’s choices

FI-EditorialWhen polls open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday there are concerns about how many Greenwich voters will actually show up. Municipal elections have the most direct impact on residents, and this year there are qualified candidates in the races presenting diverse views. So it’s important for Greenwich to get out and vote.

For the Board of Education, Greenwich Democrats can be very pleased they have a wealth of excellent candidates. Any two of the three people running, Laura Erickson, Debbie Appelbaum and Samarpana Tamm, would be fine additions to the board. But only two can be elected, and it’s clear that Ms. Appelbaum is one who deserves it. A longtime PTA member who has been in leadership positions at all three levels of Greenwich’s schools, she has the experience and the perspective that fits perfectly on the school board. Ms. Appelbaum will bring a focus on better academic performance and improved communication with the community.

And while Ms. Erickson has an excellent résumé, the Board of Education needs people like Ms. Tamm, and not just because she’d be the only representative actually living in western Greenwich (though that is important). A passionate advocate for children, Ms. Tamm is committed to doing what’s best for the whole district and would bring a fresh perspective and new ideas. As one of the town’s highest character citizens, she can be counted upon to always do what’s right.

The Republicans again find themselves locked in a contentious fight for the Board of Education. Endorsed candidates Brian Peldunas and Peter Bernstein are running against incumbent Peter Sherr and the mud is flying (much of it in the Post’s pages). It’s unfortunate this has happened again, and Greenwich Republicans need to look deeply into what’s going on inside the party now that two school board races in a row have turned poisonous.

On the merits, Mr. Peldunas is uniquely well-suited to be a member of the board, having been the driving force from the outside as a parent for needed improvement of the district’s math curriculum. On the inside he will have the opportunity to have an even greater impact, and we support him.

And while Mr. Bernstein is a fine candidate, there’s no doubt that Mr. Sherr deserves to stay. It has been extremely disappointing to see such a negative campaign against him. You don’t always have to agree with Mr. Sherr, but he is a vital voice in town and has the best interests of students in mind. He asks tough questions and expects real answers. There’s no reason to believe he and the superintendent cannot work together, despite their differences. Yes, Mr. Sherr has challenged the status quo, but he has also proven he can work toward consensus.

Greenwich voters also have a real choice for tax collector. Incumbent Republican While Tod Laudonia has righted the ship after a choppy first term and has always been a friendly face in Town Hall, this campaign has shown that Democrat Rick Novakowski is the right choice for tax collector.

Mr. Novakowski has thrown himself into this race and demonstrated that he is prepared and will be passionate about the job. He has shown where further improvements can be made in tax collection, and we are confident he can make them. Mr. Novakowski knows this community and has run an impressive, energetic campaign that has appealed not only to his fellow Democrats but to Republicans as well.

Mr. Laudonia is a good man, but Mr. Novakowski has shown he simply wants this job more. Tax collector can be a thankless job, but Mr. Novakowski has demonstrated he wants to be a public servant, helping the town and individual residents. No matter what the party affiliation, Greenwich voters should do the right thing and vote for Rick Novakowski.

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