Board of Selectmen – June 25, 2012
I would urge the Board of Selectmen to reject that Charter Revisions as submitted. This is a no win situation for anyone who wants professional government. Having a First Selectman who delegates all responsibilities to a pseudo Town Manager with no public policy experience does not serve the electors of the town and should not be incorporated in the Charter. . We are paying over $500,000 for the Selectman’s Office that closes on Monday night at 4:30 PM although Town Hall is open for business on Mondays until 7 PM. This Charter has no substantive changes and should be rejected. The gatekeepers are the board of Selectmen and the document before you has significant failings. This is neither responsive government nor open government. The cost of a referendum for tweaking the Charter with a few changes is too costly. I urge the board to reject the Charter and not cherry pick the document.
Recently I called the psudo Town Manager, Tom Cooke, and Director of Administrative Services to the First Selectman on June 18 and was answered by his answering machine that stated that he was out of town at a conference on June 6. Did he not review his message for 3 weeks? This is indicative of his performance. Cooke was hired to negotiate all union contracts and to date none have been finalized. First Selectman Mary Glassman had to hire a labor attorney to negotiate the Police and Public Works contract since Tom Cooke was unfamiliar with the workings of these departments.
On Tuesday, June 5 at 3:30 PM and sub-committee with Selectmen Heavner and Askham was convened to get public input on the stipulations for the Ground Lease for Eno Farms affordable housing to comply with the Eno Trust. At the last minute Tom Cooke realized that the residents of Eno Farms were not notified so he took it upon himself to place 50 agendas in the mailboxes of all the homes at Eno Farms for their input. However, using mailboxes without stamps to transmit information is illegal. Since Tom Cooke is a Harvard graduate and an Attorney, I would assume he knew he was breaking the law. I am asking Tom Cooke to pay the Simsbury Post Office for the postage of these agendas which will cost him $22.
When I reviewed the classified ads for rental apartments in the Hartford Courant I found that several ads for Eno Farms rentals stated for low and moderate incomes. This is deceptive advertising since the Eno Trust and the Eno Ground Lease is for low and very income people. The Attorney General’s Office told Konover and CHFA not to use this type of advertising and they continued the ads. I filed a complaint with Consumer Protection asking them to review this deceptive advertising. Tom Cooke, Mary Glassman’s pseudo Town Manager, Harvard graduate and an attorney was not concerned that this was inconsistent with the Ground Lease, for low and very low incomes. It is the town’s responsibility to make sure that the Eno Trust and the Ground Lease is followed, for low and very low income people. Is Tom Cooke aware that the Town is responsible for the poor in Eno Farms through the trust and Ground Lease, not moderate income residents? What did his prestigious education teach him?
I would like to have an update on whether having concerts in a barn on West Mountain Road in a residential neighborhood, owned by Joe Patrina is consistent with the Simsbury zoning regulations? Joe Patrina has consistently used his attorney to shield him from all efforts to resolve this violation knowing that First Selectman Mary Glassman will cower to his demands. Since Joe Patrina has extensive wealth he will be able to defend a lengthy lawsuit. Therefore, it appears Patrina has bought his way out of compliance. Why should Joe Patrina have special status in Simsbury? Joe Patrina is a bully.
I recently took my family to play tennis at Henry James Junior high and found them to be dangerous with cracks throughout the courts and grass growing on the courts. I then reviewed the High School courts and they were dangerous also. These courts are no longer in repair mode but need a complete reconstruction. If the tennis courts are not reconstructed they will have to be closed until money is allocated for the tennis courts. How can the Simsbury High School tennis team practice and have matches on these courts? The town courts in Tariffville are also in disrepair and dangerous. The cracks are beyond a fix, they too have to be reconstructed. I would like to suggest that the Board of Finance require the Town and Board of Education to list all maintenance projects with the costs and a maintenance schedule. If the Town can pay $250,000 for reconstructing sand traps for the golf course they can certainly find money for the tennis courts.
I am concerned that the PAD (Planned area development) is being used by developers to increase the density of the land use and overdeveloping the town. Many of the properties with high density approvals will be flipped and bought by other developers applying for changes to the land use. It appears that the PAD is going to have a detrimental effect on the infrastructure of Simsbury, increasing the ability of the volunteer Fire Department and Police Department to work effectively with the increased load. The infrastructure will be compromised and traffic increased. The schools that are now experiencing lower enrollment will have to increase classes and teachers. All these PAD’s that are being approved by the Zoning Commission will create an overabundance of rental apartments. Hiram Peck along with the fast track Zoning Commission is allowing huge tracks of land to be developed that will be costly to the taxpayers in increased services. This will lead to an increase in taxes to support this overdevelopment. Simsbury will have an overabundance of rental housing stock causing the rental units to be reduced in price and maintenance neglected. I would suggest that the Simsbury land use boards look into the future needs of the community and slow development of rental housing.
As Simsbury’s bicycle friendly community grows and the road is shared with both cars and bicycles, it is time that the town educates the bicyclists on road safety. We have a proliferation of cross walks, logos and lines in the street that add to the confusion of where and when to stop and who has the right of way. The bicyclists have high jacked our roads and have not observed traffic signs. Until everyone observes the rules of the road, Simsbury will not be a bicycle friendly community. I have received pictures of the Simsbury bicycle sculpture from a Simsbury resident that I would like to share with you. It states, yet another bike never ridden by John Hampton and the other John Hampton’s stationary bike. Is John Hampton bicycle friendly?
Recently there have been many news stories about candidates running for office that are having their campaigns investigated. Several members on our Board of Selectman have endorsed their candidacy. Has anyone rescinded their support? As a voter in Simsbury I am extremely upset with the choices both parties have nominated as their candidates for State Office and am shocked that members on this board are willing to endorse these candidates wholeheartedly. Both parties nominated a person who volunteered to run, not the best candidate to represent Simsbury. What hypocrates!