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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 6-6-19

Nader v. Dershowitz on U.S. Constitution

In Letters to the Editor to The Lakeville Journal (May 23), John Carey writes that Ralph Nader’s arguments in his May 9 column, “Trump versus Congress and our Constitution” are “poorly constructed.” Carey recommends that Nader should in effect brush up on the Constitution by reading Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz’s “The Case Against Impeaching Trump” (Hop Books, 2019).

How good is this advice, and what’s the answer? The best initial step anyone can take to resolve the matter is first to actually read the text of the Constitution, and then consult several relevant Supreme Court decisions, federal legislation and even written policy statements (such as the Department of Justice policy manual), all of which affirm the oversight power Congress, and are silent on the would-be “unlimited executive privilege” of the president. In other words, Nader is right. Nixon, Trump and Dershowitz got it wrong.

Meanwhile, you may also want to read the now-available “Mueller Report” (Skyhorse Pubs, 2019), which leads off with an overall summary “Introduction”  by Alan Dershowitz. To sum up, Dershowitz concludes: “The Report is a complete exonerationof the president,” and therefore “We should put the allegation to rest  both as a legal and as a factual matter.” 

We all know, or should know by now, that this statement about the Mueller Report is utterly false.

The questions of possible wrongdoing, impeachment and prosecution are not going away,  as a matter of law or as a practical fact. And between Nader and Dershowitz, when it comes to objective analysis and statement of the U.S. Constitution, I’ll pick Ralph Nader every time.        

Tony Piel

Sharon

 

School should merge with another

Plain and simple, the plan to build a low-income housing unit in Falls Village is a not-so-subtle and ill-advised effort to increase the number of students attending the Lee H. Kellogg School. 

It makes no economic sense whatsoever for Falls Village to add 28 needy families to the town’s responsibilities — and it will undoubtedly raise the mill rate, which is already the highest in the area. 

Where will the families who live in the project work? Outside Falls Village. Where will they shop? Outside Falls Village. Are they going to be cozying up to the bar at the Falls Village Inn? Unlikely. And they won’t pay the mill rate, which is used to calculate property taxes.

The school is the biggest reason for the very high mill rate. But young families with the young children who could attend the school can’t live in Falls Village because of the high mill rate.

Instead, Falls Village has attracted older weekenders, who have no children but can pay the mill rate that largely goes to support the school, which this year has educated 73 children, or about 8 students in each grade. 

I understand the pride Falls Villagers feel in Lee Kellogg, which routinely ranks among the best elementary schools in Connecticut, thanks in large part to the low-student teacher ratio that is a result of the high mill rate that is a barrier to young families. 

But this is not a project that many Falls Village property taxpayers, including us, would support, which the town council knows. Perhaps that’s why the plan is being spearheaded by the Falls Village Housing Trust, whose board members don’t even seem to live in Falls Village. Martha Miller, for instance, lives in Lime Rock in the town of Salisbury, where the mill rate is 11.3. In the town of Canaan, which includes Falls Village, the mill rate is 23.9, or more than twice as much as Ms. Miller’s. (Finding the names of anyone else on the board of the housing trust is next to impossible.) 

The best solution for the continuous budgetary problems in Falls Village is to merge the school with a neighboring elementary school and lower the mill rate. Real estate development will follow naturally and without adding to the town’s budgetary problems. 

Stephanie & Henrik Falktoft

Falls Village

 

Not what the Founding Fathers intended

“Boom-sa-laka, boom-sa-laka is my creed. Breaking all of your toys is my deed.”

That juvenile nihilistic chant keeps popping up and ricocheting off the inside my skull every time I close my eyes (and shake my head) after reading yet another news report of how our head “pachy-derm-is-silk-suits-us” has continued to stomp on our playroom toys (tripartite federal government checks and balances). If this is allowed to continue, might as well kiss most of the 230-odd year-old playroom toys and those playrooms (three branches of the federal government) a short, pungently sour “bye bye.”

The presidency, House of Representatives and Senate, which brought about a new vision of freedom to the world in this new land (though certainly not for the Native Americans), are being reduced to nothing more than groveling, destitute, flea-bitten curs that are being ungraciously bound and gagged (with plastic bags) and summarily tossed into the alley behind Wall Street (or is it the Chamber of Commerce?). 

Ain’t no way that that which our Founding Fathers fashioned into the structural dynamics that their progeny could utilize to survive the darker vagaries of the human lust for power can stand up much longer to the relentless abuse continuously inflicted on them by this temper-tantrum driven, marauding “ele-phantasy-fear-monger-us” (I’m using the Latin names — I like to be scientifically accurate.)

Makes me think that not only are we teetering on not having a functioning representative democracy that resembles anything like what the Founding Fathers intended for us any more, but that we’re a hairs-breadth (elephant hair, that is) away from toppling over into the abyss of tit-for-tat recriminatory blood-letting investigations to see who is more “legitimate” in their function — lust for power. 

“Hey you powerful guys and gals in government, get over yourselves already.

Save your hot air about each other, we don’t need it! Cool it! Why don’t you do something important, like put down your law books, hang up your smart phone on the lobbyists — and take a damn science class!” 

“Freedom Gas?” “Are you serious?” “Molecules of Freedom?” “Really?” (Does the resulting CO2 and leaked methane appear as little stars and stripes?) 

Hey, I bought a thesaurus when I was in junior-high school too. 

“It lives! It lives! Introducing the one and only ‘Frack-enstein!’”  

Michael Moschen

Cornwall Bridge

 

HVRHS electric car team sets new team record

On Friday, May 31, the Housatonic Valley Regional High School participated in its seventh electric car competition. The weather was picture perfect.  Fifteen members of the team and Ag Ed department participated with two cars, three drivers and two pit crews. Everyone had a job. The team had worked for months preparing and updating their old car and also building a new one. 

Overall the day was good to the team; the older car set a new team track record of 35 laps. Unfortunately, a chain broke literally 1.5 laps away from completing the 60-minute competition. The previous record was 23 laps.  The driver, Naomi Dalmida, did a great job of setting a steady pace and sticking to it; she consistently kept her laps within a 10-second range. It was her first time driving, and she’d been so nervous but her facial expression when she came off the course was heartwarming. One of those great moments for teachers and friends to share. Alas, the newer car developed mechanical issues, so it had to drop out within the first half of its race, providing a tough but important learning opportunity. 

To everyone who made this year possible for HVRHS, a sincere and grateful thank you to our sponsors Canaan Auto, Sharon Autobody, Jacquier Welding, Housatonic Valley FFA, Decker and Beebe, Karen and Jim Davenport, New Images Landscaping, Daves’ Tire and Auto, Ed’s Auto Parts, and 21st Century Fund! The team members want to thank you for the financial support, hours and commitment that made the day possible. To family and friends who came to cheer the team on, your presence and emotional support is, as always, deeply appreciated. 

Mark Burdick

Falls Village

 

Canaan cares! 

The citizens of North Canaan turned out in force on Monday, May 13, at the Planning and Zoning town meeting to support the adoption of an amendment to the zoning regulations to not permit the “manufacturing, production, processing and storage of asphalt” in all zones in the town of North Canaan.

Thank you to every person who came to the meeting to show their support of the amendment and to all the people who have worked so hard to bring this issue to the town’s attention.  

Thank you to all who willingly signed petitions and put up lawn signs to let everyone know we care about our community’s future.

And a huge thank you to the North Canaan Planning and Zoning Commission for hearing your town’s people speak about the negative impact on the health, environment, economic development and quality of life an asphalt plant would bring to our town, and thank you for voting to amend the zoning regulations to not permit future asphalt plants from coming to North Canaan.

The battle continues, however.  The town is still being sued by Ben Metcalf, who seems to want to continue to bring an asphalt plant into a town that clearly does not want one.  He hopes to have his plant approved in the courts on a technicality. 

We need to remain vigilant and continue our fight against any asphalt plant in our town.

STAPEC, LLC  (Stop the Asphalt Plant — East Canaan)

Dolores Perotti

Sally Green

Robin Markey

Dorothy Kelley

Joe Cieslowski

Lynn Fowler

Bernie Re

Joey Jablonski

East Canaan

North Canaan

 

Thanks for great Spring Market

Thank you to The White Hart inn, once again, for providing a beautiful venue for our local artisans at our recent Spring Market. We always appreciate their flexible, open and friendly partnership and continued generous support and commitment to our community.  

The White Hart also made it possible to provide donations to The Jane Lloyd Fund, the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance and the NW Corner Food Pantry.                      

Karin Gerstel

Karin Noyes

Leslie Sykes-O’Neill

Diane Schapira

Tanya Tedder

Shaari Horowitz

Heidi Lindy

MaryLynne Boisvert

Emily Trower-Young and The Salisbury Artisans Group

Salisbury

 

Falls Village needs to protect its current neighborhood

Good tidings, neighbors and readers. A Planning and Zoning Public Meeting took place on the evening of May 29 in Falls Village. The Falls Village Housing Trust (FVHT) is applying for a special permit to go over and above zoning regulations and build a massive 50 bedroom, 28 unit affordable rental development in our historic little section of Falls Village, Lime Rock Station. After the FVHT’s (hired) engineer droned on for 45 minutes about abutments, swales, rip-rap and other such technicalities, someone asked, “Will there be comments from the public?”

“Yes,” sayeth the chairman, “Two minutes per person.” We rushed our remarks. It seems to us the FVHT, in league with the P+Z Commission, is trying to ram this thing through, muzzle public opinion and get this thing built come hell or high water. The FVHT has failed at every turn to notify (or attempt to create a consensus with) us neighbors.

FVHT is an organization that has never built anything, has no track record whatsoever, proposing to build and manage a massive development. It’s like a 5 year old picking up a bat and saying “I wanna play baseball.” Next thing they know, they’re up at bat at Fenway. The FVHT has no answers to too many questions. 

Will the thing pay property taxes? We don’t think so. The costs will land on the laps of us townspeople. Where’s the money, $2-$5 million, coming from? Does the FVHT care about the earth-shaking impact on our little neighborhood? We think not. 

Who will manage it for the next coming decades? Income verification, tenants in, tenants out? Maintenance up the wazoo. Two wells producing 5,500 gallons a day? Eight septic systems? Really? The road is dangerous. The exit is right at the bottom of a sharp downhill turn. 

Here are key points from our P+Z regulations. I paraphrase: Protecting water quality, especially groundwater and existing and potential drinking water supplies. Conserving the value of buildings and property and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the town.

Preventing the overcrowding of land and avoiding the undue concentration of population. That the location, size, nature, and intensity of the proposed use will be in harmony with the orderly development of the area and compatible with other existing uses. Encouraging the development of housing opportunities, including multi- family dwellings which will promote housing for both low and moderate income households which will not adversely affect public health, safety, welfare, or property values. 

Are these regulations just words on a page? We didn’t ask for this fight. We know the P+Z is made up of our fellow citizens. But for them to drop this “A-Bomb” on us is just unneighborly. This thing is over-scaled, overpriced and a total over-reach. We’ll fight it. Start small, FVHT. Prove you CAN be “Trust”ed. So far, not so much. The next P+Z meeting is June 27 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Please join us.

Colter and Katy Rule; Bob Anderson; Jim and Louise March; Kim and Osama Aduib; Lillian Lovitt; Noelle Lamuniere; Lesley Janzen; Jeff Bauman

Falls Village

 

An introduction to the Falls Village Housing Trust

Dear Neighbor, Allow us to introduce ourselves — the Falls Village Housing Trust.  The trust itself is a Connecticut nonprofit corporation administered by a board of directors. We have a charitable status with the IRS.  The trust has the purpose of building and then maintaining affordable rental homes. These homes are intended for working people and their families. More children in school means more state and federal funding for the school. We will also have one-story homes for seniors. 

Our board members: The trust was formed in 2016 by then-president Lara Mittaud, Mary Palmer’s daughter. Lara has a farm on Route 7 in Falls Village, and she has two sons who attend Kellogg School. Our current president is Jandi Hanna, a speech pathologist for Region One schools, including Kellogg.  She lives across the street from the school.

David Wilburn lives on Main Street and works for Salisbury Bank.  Tracy Atwood is a retired Foreign Service officer and lives on Prospect Street. Vincent Inconiglios, an artist and creative consultant, lives on Music Mountain Road. Felicia Jones works in many community activities, and she lives on Warren Turnpike. I am the only non-Falls Villagian, but I live in Lime Rock, where I practice tax law.  

Our first step as a trust was to obtain initial funding from the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH). We achieved DOH funding of $189,000 in February of this year. The sole purpose of this funding was to develop a plan for housing. We hired an architect, Paul Bailey, who has successfully completed over 60 affordable housing projects. We also hired Civil One Engineering to design the water, sewer and other systems for the project. We retained Housing Enterprises, Inc. to help us through the maze of DOH regulations and funding. Because of the expertise of these professionals, we have been able to go from funding to full plans for P & Z in four months.  

An additional reason we were able to move so quickly was because the groundwork for Affordable Housing (Incentive Housing Zone) had been laid out for us by the town in 2013.  

DOH closely supervises our expenditures of their funds.  Every penny must be applied to expenses they have previously approved. 

After we get P & Z approval, we then join a pool of other charitable trusts and others competing for DOH main project funding.  DOH uses a point system to determine which projects get funding to build. In order to earn more points, our project must have a certain number of bedrooms, energy efficiency, handicapped accessibility and a range of other criteria. Because our architect and consultant have so much experience in affordable housing, we have confidence in this next step — this competition that we face.  

Our project will pay full real estate taxes to the town. 

Please write with questions or concerns:  Address at Box 47, 108 Main St., Falls Village CT 06031. 

Martha Miller, Treasurer

For the Falls Village Housing Trust

Falls Village