September 28, 2022

Old Lyme Voters Deserve BOE Members With Skill Sets Other Than Education: Vote the Republican Slate for True Diversity

To the Editor:

When I served on the Board of Education, former Connecticut Superintendent of the Year and Superintendent of Region 18, Dr. Betty Osga, opined that a diverse group of people with different experiences and skill sets often made better decisions than a homogeneous group of “experts.”  Truer words have never been spoken, especially as it relates to service on the Board of Education.

The Democrats would have you believe that having the Board of Education filled with like-minded candidates with extensive teaching backgrounds is the only way to ensure the best education for our children.  The problem with that logic is that an absence of diversity of thought leads to the promotion of a single, myopic mindset.  That single mindset leads to an acceptance of proposals and initiatives without question and creates a slippery slope where differing viewpoints are discouraged, ridiculed and silenced.

Being a Board of Education member entails a balancing act of representing everyone in the community.  Of course, we want the best education for our children, but we also want members to be responsible to the community at large.  Further, being on the Board of Education isn’t just about students, it’s about facilities and finances and human resources, too.  Having members that question and probe the administration’s proposals, curriculum choices or mandates isn’t obstruction, it’s their job.  To do otherwise would be neglecting their responsibilities and dilutes the sanctity of having a local, independent Board of Education.

The Republicans have offered a slate of candidates that have very diverse backgrounds and different experiences, who hold different opinions on a variety of topics.  Candidates shouldn’t have to pass a litmus test or walk in lock step with each other to be considered for office.  Rather, each should be judged based on their unique qualities, skillsets, ability for critical thinking, and their genuine desire to promote excellence in education.

I urge you to join me in voting for all the Row B candidates for the Board of Education because they offer the most diverse set of perspectives and skillsets that will best serve Region 18. 

Sincerely,

Steve Cinami,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Boathouse Project Moving Too Fast, Costs Too Much, Benefits Too Few

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Old Lyme

On Oct. 1, a special meeting was held by the Town to present new boathouse plans for rowers at Rogers Lake.  Construction costs are estimated to be $883,000: with $478,000 being a CT STEEP grant, and the remaining $405,000 to be contributed by the town of Old Lyme from its rainy day account.

The Town is in a hurry to move this project forward in a very short time so that construction can begin.  Some would say the Town is in too much of a hurry.

While a boon for the approximate 100 rowers in Old Lyme (50 students and 50 adult rowers), there is next to nothing in this project for the other citizens who are being asked to pay for this effort.

Several areas of concern are:

  • The scope has changed so much from the original grant proposal, the Town will have to resubmit scope to ensure the grant is still valid. For example, the existing boathouse will be torn down, not renovated, and construction of new docks will not be included.  We are being asked to approve funding of $405,000 to support a grant we aren’t sure will be re-approved by the state.  Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?
  • The President of the rower’s association anticipates program growth to be no more than 10 to 20%. Whether that growth is measured in participants or boats, the proposed boathouse appears substantially over designed.  The current program is supported by approximately 35 boats, whereas the new boathouse is designed to house 53 boats.
  • A scant 1 week of public discussion has been allowed before a vote. Don’t you believe more time and consideration is warranted to make an informed decision on such a large expenditure?
  • As a community, we are proud of the success and accomplishments of our rowers. However, since the boathouse stores boats donated by the rower’s association to Region 18, wouldn’t it make sense to have Region 18 pay rent until the costs to Old Lyme are offset?

As with any project being rushed, too many questions remain unanswered to request the good people of Old Lyme to approve spending over $400,000 of its $4.9 million rainy day fund for so few citizens  Some would even question whether this is a proper use of a rainy day fund.

Not allowing proper consideration for other potentially-interested parties to comment on how to broaden the public interest in the project would be a mistake … politically and possibly economically.  For instance, why not renovate and heat the existing bathrooms for everyone’s use, in lieu of constructing new bathrooms for rowers only for an estimated cost of $130,000? (9/15/2014 Committee minutes)

This project should be delayed to allow ample time to improve the project in the interests of the Town as a whole.  Even if, in the event, there are no other interested parties, at least everyone would have been given a chance to respond.  Please attend the Town Meeting and vote for what is best for the community.

See you at the Middle School at 7:30, Oct. 6!

Sincerely,

Steve Cinami,
Old Lyme.