Respect for our residents

Dear Ridgefielders,

Our residents at Ballard Green have found that there has been a great deal of foot traffic through the campus recently. They are concerned with people using our picnic tables and other things that are for resident use only. Ballard Green is private property and for residents, their families and their healthcare staff only.

With the concern of COVID-19 and the risk that it poses for our vulnerable residents, we ask Ridgefielders to be mindful of their presence on the property. We realize that it is a quick cut through to CVS and the park, and we are fine with the transient passing to get to the next place. But use of the residents’ property, walkways, grills, smoking shelters and picnic tables are not to be used by anyone except Ballard residents.

We thank you in advance for your attention to this request and for keeping our residents safe and healthy.

Jan Hebert, commissioner

June 2

Clergy: Change together

To our Ridgefield community, as the clergy of Ridgefield, we feel the need to make a statement in light of our nation’s turmoil and unrest. Each of our congregations has initiatives unique to them. Yet, together we know that we’re able to do more than we can apart.

Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail reminds us of how silence can be injurious. “Anyone who lives in the United States can never be considered an outsider” to the injustices in our country. It is for that reason we commit ourselves to joining in the conversation on dismantling racism’s stranglehold on the American Dream. We pray that King’s dream might become a reality in our lifetime.

We must move away seeing people as either winners or losers just as we must move away from evaluating their worth by the color of their skin. The question is no longer “How can I maintain my special and secure status?” It is “How can we all grow and change together?”

Rev. Chuck Bonadies, President

Ridgefield Clergy Association, June 5

No to ‘Drive-thru Food’

In the article Time for Drive-thru Food in Ridgefield, Bob Jewel expressed that the arguments against drive-thru restaurants in town are antiquated. I disagree with Mr. Jewel’s primary assertion that trash from drive-thru service would not be a problem today.

Much of my time during the pandemic has been spent walking the trails and track at RHS/SRMS. After a few months of being disgusted by the amount of garbage I saw, I decided to pick up the trash during my walks. In a few days, I had filled over 15 trash bags of litter. Even though fields and courts were “closed,” new litter continued to be generated every day.

Most of what I picked up were water bottles and other drink containers. However, just this past week, I came across two pizza boxes, containers from Chick-fil-A, three bags from McDonald’s, numerous bags from Dunkin’ Donuts, cups, plastic utensils, napkins and other take-out food containers. (I am actually concerned that those planning the drive-in movies at RHS are encouraging people to eat food in their cars because I know a percentage of that garbage will not make it home.)

The litter problem is not unique to RHS. I see litter strewn along the sides of many town roads.

Since we did not have a Rid Litter day this year, I encourage homeowners to pick up the trash in front of their property. I also ask those who are out taking walks to consider picking up the litter they see. Most importantly, I encourage anyone generating trash, including dog owners with blue bags, to dispose of their waste properly. This will help make our town a bit nicer for everyone. And since the amount of “take-out trash” is already a problem and will only get worse as the town moves away from stay-at-home policies, I would not support adding to the volume of garbage on our streets by bringing drive-thru service to town.

Tom McLemore

Ridgefield, June 5

Make a difference

We can all agree that the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin was a heinous act. He and his three cohorts will face justice in a court of law.

Americans across the country have peacefully marched together to show sympathy and support for the Floyd family. We have also seen this positive action marred by terrorist groups such as Antifa and others, not only looting and killing, but condemning America as being systemically racist and labeling all cops as bad. It is dangerous to blame an entire group for the criminal actions of a few.

When a man yells “Allahu Akbar” as he stabs a Jewish rabbi, does that mean all Muslims are murderers? When a Catholic priest molests a child, does that mean that all priests are pedophiles? No, of course not.

Yes, some Americans are racist. Every group and profession has some miscreants. When they commit crimes they should be held accountable by the law, but wrongly assigning guilt to entire groups is not only extremely divisive but, as history shows, leads to consequences that are horrific.

While marching up and down Main Street is fine, will it make a difference? The Ridgefield Republican Party suggests donating to the ABC fund.

Also, there is a Danbury organization that organizes mentors for minority youth. Contact Mark Lounsbury, Jericho Partnership 203-791-1180. They need adult mentors and adult and teen tutors. My husband has been a mentor for 20 years, for three boys.

The last young man, now 20, sent him a text last June wishing him a happy Father’s Day. Bob replied: “Thank you, but I am not a father.” Deon wrote back: “I know, but you are the closest thing I ever had to a father.” If that isn’t making a difference, I don’t know what is.

Linda Lavelle

Aspen Mill Road, June 6

Frey and Facebook

It is time for John Frey to step down as lead moderator of the Ridgefield Facebook group.

I joined the group, which has a rule against political posts, in 2018 and noticed almost immediately that the rule was selectively enforced, consistently allowing politically conservative views to be represented, while centrist and liberal views were stifled. Posts railing against taxes and tolls, which in many cases specifically criticized Democratic elected officials, were allowed, despite clearly violating the group’s rules.

As I soon learned the administrator of the group was John Frey, Ridgefield's longtime Republican State Representative, who has a well-documented and longstanding aversion to tolls and an opinion that Connecticut's taxes are too high. After noticing Mr. Frey’s bias, I started to point out posts that violated the group’s rules, asking him to remove them and be more mindful about the ethical minefield in which he was operating by using his position as moderator to advance his conservative beliefs. His response was to remove me from the group.

This biased enforcement, which clearly benefited Mr. Frey politically, has become more troubling during the current societal upheaval. Members of the community are justifiably angry about his partisanship. Rather than serving our town as a place for community news, the group has become a hyper-political battlefield, far from its mission and in violation of its own rules.

Mr. Frey is leaving the legislature at the end of this term, no doubt as a result of his extremely narrow victory over a political newcomer in 2018, despite having served 20 years in office. Our community’s lack of trust in his fairness means that he should also either step down as group moderator, or acknowledge that it is a right-leaning political group and that those who want an apolitical space should look elsewhere.

Alex Magliozzi

Ridgefield, June 7

A plea to our police

The country has been racked by demonstrations in protest to the brutal death of George Floyd. And this is only the most recent example.

I have heard much. Some of which depressed me. From those who deny there is a problem to those who stereotype all policemen as racist.

I would like to make a few observations.

Being a good policeperson, fair and disciplined, is a person I greatly respect. Their job I can only imagine is extremely difficult and when done right deserves our respect and appreciation.

But there is a problem. Police unions continue to be obstacles to reform. They continue to protect the most abusive among them. Prosecution in alleged police abuse cases is small and their unions are resistant to any calls for reform. Just recently we had 57 emergency response police in Buffalo, New York resign in protest when two of their own were suspended for pushing a 75-year old man to ground resulting in that man bleeding from the head as they walked by. Really?

When police unions do that, they disrespect the work of so many others among them who carry out their difficult jobs with reason and discipline. It creates the perception the majority of police are racists and abusive by condoning such actions. They make it harder for communities, especially communities of color, to appreciate their extremely difficult job and legitimate complaints police have regarding the respect and trust they fail to receive even when they are doing their job responsibly.

My plea to policemen and policewomen…STOP! If you are truly better than that, as I believe the great majority of you are, be open to greater accountability. In the end, if you do not, you will only be proving your harshest critics right.

Carey Jaffee

29 Stony Hill Road, June 7

Where’s the outrage?

In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white cop in Minneapolis the country has erupted in protests, many of which have descended into riots and looting, from coast to coast. A spotlight has been shown on the crime committed by a police officer and we are outraged.

But where is the outrage against the lies continually promoted by the media, liberal politicians and many voices in the black community that this is just another example of systemic racism within the white hierarchy? That this is black genocide? That police forces are out to get blacks and must be eliminated because they cannot be reformed?

Where is the outrage against black on black crime? In Chicago, between May 29 and June 1, 85 people were shot, 24 fatally, virtually all in the black community. In St. Louis David Dorn, a 38 year veteran police officer was gunned down while trying to stop the looting of a pawn shop by a 24 year old black man, and left to bleed to death on the sidewalk. 17 people have died in demonstrations or riots purportedly protesting the death of one black man.

Where is the outrage against the false narrative that the police are indiscriminately gunning down black men? In 2019, in a country of 325 million people, there were 28 unarmed men killed by police - 9 were black and 19 were white. Of the 9 black victims, 5 were legitimate cases of self defense by the cops. Of the 4 remaining cases cops were prosecuted in 2 and exonerated in 2. That is not genocide.

If you would like to hear a young, articulate black woman make the case against these false agendas, listen to Candace Owens at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtPfoEvNJ74&feature=youtu.be.

Sean Archambault

Ramapoo Road, June 8

Think about Ridgefield’s debt

Please, everyone, do me a favor and think about a better way to spend Ridgefield’s tax dollars.

Currently, we are going to build a new police headquarters and a new fire headquarters.

Why can’t we build just one new public safety fuilding?

Better yet, in these times of shrinking school populations, why can’t our local government take East Ridge Middle School and re-purpose it?

The average homeowner pays $1,200 every year to service Ridgefield’s debt.

Please, do me a favor and at least think about it.

Rich Fasanelli

Gay Road, June 8