Republicans offer the best candidates for Tuesday’s elections

Greenwich-Voices-DadakisThis year, citizens face a choice election with high stakes. Voters will choose whether Greenwich continues responsible fiscal policies or whether we increase debt, burdening future generations to pay it back. Voters have an opportunity to end dysfunction on the Board of Education or choose to continue the obstructionism which has paralyzed the board.

Republican First Selectman Peter Tesei, running for his fourth term, has distinguished himself as one of Greenwich’s most outstanding first selectmen. He promised and delivered modest and predictable taxes while exerting leadership to limit spending, even when it meant municipal layoffs. Kudos to Tesei and BET Republicans for keeping Greenwich’s financial house in order during some very stormy times.

Beth Krumeich campaigned against Tesei using the standard Democratic playbook. Insisting Greenwich doesn’t have enough debt, she advocates for more spending and more debt, which means higher taxes. Essentially Krumeich wants Greenwich’s finances to mirror those in Hartford and Washington, which are disasters.

The selectman race pits Republican Dave Theis against Democrat Drew Marzullo. Both are likely finalists in the nicest-guy-in-town contest, but it’s different when it comes to policy. Asked at a debate if they supported Greenwich’s modified pay-as-you-go model, Theis immediately said yes while Marzullo hemmed and hawed before finally stammering he supports responsible borrowing (whatever that means). Marzullo sure is a nice guy but a big-time spender and borrower, too.

Republican Tax Collector Todd Laudonia has worked hard. After a shaky first year, he changed inherited procedures and now has a well-run office providing high service levels responsive to citizen needs.

There’s lots of action over at the Board of Education. Much centers on ending the board’s paralyzing dysfunction which distracts them from making progress, resulting in state mandates on racial imbalance, student achievement gaps and overcrowding at New Lebanon. It seems citizens want an end to obstructionism with a new direction for their BOE.

Republicans Peter Bernstein and Brian Peldunas offer this new direction. They’re solution guys with experience working effectively with committees while demonstrating how to achieve goals and respecting diverse opinions. Never have there been two better-qualified BOE candidates.

Bernstein, an attorney, was president of Hamilton Avenue School’s PTA. This is significant because Ham Ave. isn’t his neighborhood school. He chose to send his children there for their magnet program. As an out-of-district school leader, he used his consensus building skills bringing people together. Bernstein’s smart and respectful to all.

Peldunas already delivered a huge win for students. He successfully lobbied to jettison the failing math curriculum then participated in the selection of the new program which teaches students understandable math, including basic math facts. Despite roadblocks, he persisted. In achieving this great outcome he demonstrated both a commitment to children and how to work effectively with a board, a skill the BOE needs desperately.

Democrat BOE candidates have also seen action. Admittedly I don’t know as much about them but there’s concern regarding Samarpana Tamm. Apparently some feel she won’t effectively represent the entire town, an essential element for a successful BOE tenure. Others say she lacks the educational and community experience of the other Democratic candidates Debbie Appelbaum and Laura Erickson.

BOE voting is a little complicated. Each voter can cast four votes but only two from each party get elected. To make sure you have impact, you should only vote for two candidates from each party. Casting three votes for candidates of one party essentially negates your vote. This election is about Greenwich’ s children so please don’t waste it by voting for just one person either.

Now the voters get their say. The choice is yours. Vote wisely. Election Day is this Tuesday, Nov. 5.

 

Ed Dadakis is former chairman of the Republican Town Committee and has spent more than 30 years serving on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He may be reached at [email protected]

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