Election 2017: At Selectman Debate, Kenin and Williams Say They Won’t Force A Primary

Republican candidates for selectman Christa Kenin and Nick Williams said during a debate on Wednesday they would not force a primary in the fall municipal election should they fail to win the nomination during the Republican caucus on July 18.

This is in contrast to two of the three Republican candidates for first selectman, Cristina Ross and Kevin Moynihan, who earlier in the evening indicated that it is possible they will choose to primary, should they fail to get on the party ticket. Both said it would depend on the outcome of the vote in the caucus.

When asked if he would support his opponent in the fall election if he is not endorsed, Williams, a three-term incumbent, said during the Republican Town Committee debate, “Yes, I support Republicans.”

“And although it’s not my race, I’m a little shocked to hear that at least two of the candidates running for first selectman saying they won’t respect this process and that they’ll primary,” he said during the debate, held at Town Hall and moderated by Michael Dinan of NewCanaanite.com and Greg Reilly of the New Canaan Advertiser. “I’m of the opinion that if I were to lose to Ms. Kenin [in the caucus], I would probably not be inclined to primary.”

Kenin, a member of the Town Council who is challenging Williams for his seat, also said she would “not force a primary in the fall, should I fail to get the nomination.”

“And I will wholeheartedly support my opponent should he get the ticket on Tuesday,” she added.

The well-attended debate, which was the second sponsored by the RTC, covered a wide range of topics, from how to handle downtown development to how to hold down rising taxes to how to address a lack of commuter parking in town (for coverage of the first debate, click here, here and here).

In her opening remarks, Kenin said part of the reason she is running is because the current administration is too “cozy” and is failing to address issues that directly impact property values in town.

“Right now on the three-person Board of Selectmen we seem to have one person and—I hate to say it—a pair of twins,” Kenin said. “In the last six years I can’t remember a time when the first selectman and the second selectman voted differently from each other. We have not seen much debate or deliberation – what we’ve seen is a lot of head nodding, dramatic sweeping gestures, rash decisions, and even an occasional high-five once the tapes of stopped rolling.”

“It all feels a little too cozy—and cozy is a bad place to be,” Kenin said. “We want three people on the Board of Selectmen who are going to individually research the issues that come across their desks—and critically analyze those issues. We want leaders who are going to actively discuss and debate the issues in public, so our citizens know and see that their elected officials are working hard at work representing them.”

Kenin said if she is elected selectman, “I can promise you that the dynamic on the board will be a little different. There will be no cozy. Instead there will be independence and objectivity. There will be critical thinking and a faithful adherence to the single policy of what is best for our town.”

Instead of responding directly to Kenin’s prepared remarks, Williams instead chose to address “two issues which our opponents have been critical of us [i.e., the Republican members of the Board of Selectmen] for – transparency and inclusion.”

“Ironically, I view these issues as a strength of this current Board of Selectmen,” Williams said, adding that a few years ago he supported as somewhat controversial proposal to televise all town meetings.

“Today all of our meetings are televised—and I am proud of my role in introducing that historic level of transparency,” Williams said. “We’ve also been criticized for not being inclusive—during our six years we’ve added 92 new volunteers to our board and commissions. I believe the level of inclusiveness achieved by our administration is unsurpassed in the history of our town.”

When asked later in the debate whether he had ever opposed a decision by First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and tried to change Mallozzi’s viewpoint, during their six years on the board together, Williams said, “I stand up to Rob all the time. In the past we’ve had some boards of selectmen where the first selectman and the second selectman didn’t get along, and it played out publicly and it didn’t go very well. Rob would be the first one to tell you that I am not shy about giving him my opinion. I think I have a strong influence on him… “

When pressed to be more specific, Williams said he thought had a strong influence on Mallozzi when the board was faced with a decision whether to proceed with construction at Saxe Middle School.

In general, Kenin has been positioning herself as an agent of change for town government while Williams has touted the administration’s past achievements, including “Support for our top-ranked schools—including the renovation of Saxe Middle School; a beautiful new Town Hall; a fully funded pension plan for town employees; a striking new post office; new partnerships, as with the New Canaan Athletic Foundation, which recently commenced a historic upgrade of the town’s athletic facilities; and, more recently, the bringing off natural gas to our town.”

When asked if she could recall a time when she cast a dissenting vote on the Town Council, Kenin said, “A perfect example of that was during Charter review. One of the issues that came up was whether Board of Finance members should be required to own real property or rent. Out of the 12 Town Council members I was the only one to dissent and say, ‘Yes, I do want Board of Finance members to be required to own real property,’ because I believe that a lot of the [capital] projects are pushed to be bonded, and in 20 years when they come due, I know I’ll be there. And voters agreed with me overwhelmingly, when it came down to it.”

In fact, minutes from Town Council meetings through Charter revision discussions show that Kenin voted with the group—not against it—in putting five major questions drawn up by the Charter Revision Commission to voters last year, and no record exists of a vote where she dissented. (All five major Charter Revision Commission recommendations were approved 12-0 by the Town Council at its July 20, 2016 meeting, according to minutes of the meeting later accepted by the group.) A review of meeting minutes from Kenin’s approximately two years on the Town Council show that she voted with the majority 95 times versus once with the minority (on a wording change to a motion already voted up unanimously, at the Feb. 24, 2016 meeting, according to its minutes). The figures do not include unanimous votes by consent or on items such as accepting meeting minutes or the individual expenditures of budget call.

Kenin declined to issue a clarifying statement when given the opportunity by New Canaanite. “I stand behind all my comments made at the debate,” she said in an email.

One topic that has been debated frequently in New Canaan in recent months is a preliminary proposal to deck one or more of the commuter parking lots in town in order to address a serious shortage of commuter parking and the long wait list for parking permits. Some have said that the long wait list has served as deterrent to potential home buyers—some of whom have opted for Darien over New Canaan due to parking and the shorter commute.

Although recent data was presented during the debate comparing New Canaan favorably to Darien in terms of the number of commuter parking spaces and the number of people waiting for permits, Kenin, who is in favor of building more parking at the Lumberyard Lot, said the issue is “less about specific numbers and more about the actual experience.”

“If you came to New Canaan three years ago, you could immediately get a commuter parking spot in the Talmadge Hill lot,” she said. “Today, there is a two-year wait list. To me, it’s a binary situation [between New Canaan and Darien]—it doesn’t matter if you had 600 or 1,200 people waiting—I would say we’ve made commuter parking inaccessible.”

In light of the recent controversial applications before Planning & Zoning, the candidates were asked what one question they “would you want to ask a prospective member of the Planning & Zoning Commission—and what would you hope their answer to be?”

“I would ask what their vision of New Canaan is … and what is that proper balance between the traditional village of New Canaan versus having more commercial operations that might enhance the tax base,” Williams said. “We have a re-valuation coming up—and we might have some tough choices. Does that mean we want more commercial activities? It might…”

“Also, I’d like it to be someone who knows the town well,” Williams added. “Because we’re different from Darien, and we’re different from Greenwich, and having an understanding of the fabric of this community is important.”

Kenin said her “vision for P&Z would be to maintain our rural charm because that’s why people move here.”

“Let’s have reasonable development not over-development,” she said. “Let’s maintain our village charm—because that’s why people shop here—and let’s expand the types of businesses that are allowed in town. And let’s always make sure we have our affordable housing moratorium in place, because although its been touted as a great success, it was not in place this past fall when we needed it most.”

When asked why she feels Williams is responsible for New Canaan not meeting its full potential, Kenin said, “Well, he has been part of the current administration that’s been in place for six years that has not forward the issues of providing better cell service and improving commuter parking. Also, I believe that one of his campaign promises in 2011 was to personally take on the downtown and make sure it maintained its vibrancy, and we still have a lot of challenges there.”

Williams responded by saying he thinks “downtown is pretty vibrant” and that the current retail vacancies are not a major concern.

Considering that local taxes have been rising sharply in New Canaan during the past three years, the candidates were also asked how sustainable the current rate of increase will be, moving into the future.

“It’s not [sustainable],” Kenin said. “And [the upcoming] revaluations will come in lower than expected—and that’s the only reasonable way an elected official should approach planning.”

When asked what as he would do, if elected, should the revaluation come in lower than expected, Kenin said, “As always, we would need to control spending—and I would be much more aggressive about determining wants and needs. And we would need to make sure we increase revenues—and there are a number of ways to do that.”

In response to the same question, Williams said: “It’s pretty simple: Money in, money out. You either raise taxes, you cut spending, or you do both.’

“Tough choices may have to be made with the re-val,” he said. “We’ve already postponed [the development of the] Locust [Street lot], which was approved by the Town Council unanimously, I believe, in 2012. It was scheduled to be in the budget this year—but the Board of Finance said, ‘We can’t handle it—we just have too much going on.’ I would be more than happy to look at decking the Lumberyard [lot]. But that could be [up to] $18 million. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it… but we need to be very careful moving forward. I am very concerned about this re-val.”

When asked to be more specific about what he would do to reduce the town budget, should a revaluation come in exceedingly low, Williams said, “It’s going to be tough. The Board of Education budget is essentially 60 percent to 63 percent of the town budget—and most of that is driven the the teachers contract. Likewise we have union contracts here at Town Hall. To be honest, it’s going to be capital expenditures, [where we look to cut].”

Earlier in the evening, a debate was held among Republican candidates for first selectman—Ross, Moynihan and Rob Mallozzi. For coverage of that debate, click here.

Later in the evening, a separate debate was held for candidates for the Town Council. Stay tuned to NewCanaanite for coverage of that debate.

—Michael Dinan contributed to this report

27 thoughts on “Election 2017: At Selectman Debate, Kenin and Williams Say They Won’t Force A Primary

  1. Michael,
    Would you please publish the information about the Darien parking lots and waiting lists? Those facts need to be available.

    • I’m surprised your comment hasn’t gotten more attention (not from Michael himself necessarily, but from other readers and commenters on NewCanaanite). One of Moynihan’s biggest campaign issues is commuter parking–so much so that he paid for ads to be shown on sites completely unrelated to New Canaan, I believe using Google’s DoubeClick ad service (who knows how much that cost, and fiscal responsibility is another matter I disagree with Moynihan about, but I’ve been seeing them for weeks.

      He’s just flat out wrong about it. He claims people are moving to other towns, rather than New Canaan, because of a lack of commuter parking but, as discussed at the debate, if someone moves to Darien instead of New Canaan they’re going to wait longer, based on the number of people waiting for permits, than if they had moved to New Canaan. I wish I had the numbers in front of me and could post them myself, but Moynihan and Kenin both focus on this issue, when it really isn’t an issue to begin with.

      And, if I may, let me address fiscal responsibility for a moment. At the debate, when asked what would happen if there is a significant decrease in assessments leading to lower tax income for New Canaan, Moynihan said, “You’re going to have to focus on costs—you’re going to have to get serious about sharpening the pencil and cutting.” But at the same time both he and Kenin continue to insist that a parking deck be built at the Lumberyard lot. It doesn’t make sense to me. How would they offset the costs of that construction, which Nick Williams stated could cost as much as $18,000,000 (stated in the debate)? That’s a huge investment and something about which the voters should really question the value of that size of an investment to “solve” a problem that no one else seems to even view as a problem needing to be solved.

      If, hypothetically, building that parking deck would cost $18,000,000, what else could the town do with that money that would be better for New Canaan as a whole in the long-term? And where would the current permit-holders park during construction? I’m thinking it would create problems, not solve them.

      But, again, Moynihan is so fond of divisive politics with his “Townie” and “Suit” labels, maybe that’s what he wants. Maybe he wants to create more of a divide between the residents of New Canaan than he’s already created. I don’t profess to know what’s going on in his head, but I don’t think his (or Kenin’s) arguments about commuter parking being the town’s main issue hold any water.

  2. The Town Council did not vote to approve the Charter Revision Commission’s recommendations per se but rather voted unanimously to approve sending the 5 recommendations to the public voters to be on the November ballot. There was varying dissent by individual Council members on several items reflected in straw polls taken during meetings. Christa did indeed oppose changing the rule that required real estate ownership in order to be on the Board of Finance, and her view prevailed with the voters in November, the only one of the 5 recommendations that was not approved.

    • We included the clarifying paragraph on Christa Kenin’s voting record because it would have been misleading, incomplete and inaccurate journalism to let her statement at the debate stand on its own. As you know, a vote on an elected body such as the Town Council is a rather specific action—different from an informal straw poll, different from a voice call for ‘Yeas’ and ‘Nays.’ More to the point here, as the article notes, Kenin herself was asked about her own voting record because in her opening statement at the debate she criticized her opponent’s voting record specifically—not his record on informal polls or conversations—yet in her response she referred to what likely was not a vote but something else. Why a candidate for office who herself voted with the majority 95 of 96 times would open up this can of worms, I cannot say. I will tell you that we have invited Christa to issue a statement of clarification on the matter. I do not know whether these distinctions make a difference to our casual reader or participant in town politics, but I will tell you that accuracy is important to me as editor and publisher of this site.

      • As a member of the Town Council, I can confirm that Christa Kenin expressed her lone dissent – in two meetings – with the proposed Charter Review question regarding Board of Finance members not being required to be property owners. The only vote that was taken was whether the CRC’s recommended 5 questions should be put on the ballot for the voters to decide and all TC members voted in favor of that motion. While I take your point about wanting to fact check actual voting, I believe that the heart of the issue is simple – do our elected officials publicly express dissent on an issues that may not be aligned with leadership or the consensus? In Christa’s point about the CRC – she absolutely did. Christa seeks to align her voice with the voters – even if it differs from the governing bodies.

        • Thanks, Kathleen. Noting strictly as an aside that we also have published your endorsement letter for Christa Kenin, I would say ‘express’ is a clever word to use here for its catch-all quality. Given that this came out of a debate, the more relevant question may be: If Christa Kenin’s criticism of her opponent were framed that way—that he had never “expressed” dissent with respect to the Board of Selectmen—would it have been included in her opening remarks at all? Perhaps not, though it may have allowed for a rather softer follow-up question of her: “Have you publicly expressed dissent on an issue that may not be aligned with leadership or the consensus of the Town Council?” For better or worse, that’s not how it went. While we take your point about what has been expressed, as it were, this candidate’s claim during the debate regarding actual voting—and these carefully worded comments from her supporters—are really what has forced out questions of her own voting record. We invited Christa to submit a clarifying statement—she declined.

        • By “expressed her lone dissent” do you mean she mentioned in passing that she didn’t like that idea? Or made a comment during an official Town Council meeting? Because whatever is meant by “expressed her lone dissent” sure didn’t show up in her voting record.

          If she really opposed it why did she vote to put all five of the charter revisions on the ballot? I’m not trying to attack you here in any way, I’m just amazed that she is holding onto this point that she can “align her voice with the voters” but she didn’t actually do that when push came to shove. Sounds more like she fell in line with the rest of the council, yet she expects us to believe she’ll do anything differently in another elected position?

          I just don’t buy that at all.

  3. Appreciate Selectman Williams taking the initiative in asserting his acceptance of the results. I hope the First Selectman competitors were taking notes! It’s clear Mr. Williams is his own voice and has a strong influence on the BOS.

    Also very interesting note about Ms. Kenin’s voting record vs. what she said at debate. Good fact checking here Newcanaanite.

  4. I am a supporter of Christa Kenin and I find your article to be inaccurate when you state “In fact, minutes from Town Council meetings through Charter revision discussions show that Kenin voted with the group—not against it—in putting five major questions drawn up by the Charter Revision Commission to voters last year, and no record exists of a vote where she dissented.”

    From my personal conversations with Christa, I recall she has always believed that members of the BOF should be property owners. I had to do an internet search to make sure I remembered this accurately as your article paints a much different picture.

    On November 10, 2016, Greg Reilly wrote an article in the New Canaan Advertiser which states : Last spring when the Town Council was deciding which questions to put on the ballot for voters to decide, Councilman Christa Kenin was the only member who publicly opposed the recommendation.

    Christa has always been on record this way and I don’t understand why you are reporting otherwise. I think perhaps the “vote” was an unofficial raising of hands, to poll the town council and not an official vote per se. Thus, there is no public record, but that doesn’t mean she changed her mind or is lying now. This is irresponsible reporting in a critical time.

    The article in the Advertiser is linked here: http://ncadvertiser.com/88757/voters-agreed-with-kenin-on-finance-members-being-taxpayers/

    • Thank you for submitting your comment, Michelle. I approved it for the site, though I wonder why, given that you support Christa Kenin’s candidacy, you would want to shine a light on her voting record and the inaccurate statement she uttered at last week’s debate.

      Let me say first that we have spoken to Christa about the story and have invited her to issue a clarifying statement on her response during the debate.

      I know you have strong feelings about the election, Michelle. We published your endorsement letter. By contrast, our priority at the New Canaanite is accurate reporting. As I said in replying to Dave Hunt above, we would not be doing our job if we allowed demonstrably false statements made by any of the candidates to stand unexamined.

      Also, know this: What’s at issue is not Christa Kenin’s position with respect to the Charter change itself. What is at issue is her response to a specific question about her votes as a member of the Town Council. During the debate, she rather specifically criticized her opponent’s voting record—not his record in straw polls or conversations about matters before the Board of Selectmen: “In the last six years I can’t remember a time when the first selectman and the second selectman voted differently from each other.” She was asked on follow-up during the debate to recall a specific vote where she went against the majority of the Town Council. Yet her answer referred to something other than a vote.

      We need to make a note of that in our story—it’s our job—otherwise we fail to provide context to our readers.

      A ‘vote’ on an elected body is a specific action—it’s not a call for ‘Yeas’ and ‘Nays’ or some other way to get the pulse within the group in an informal way. More importantly here, it’s the action that Christa herself pointed to in making a statement about her opponent. That’s the only reason the follow-up question was put to her. In researching her response, we find that there was no such vote.

      I get it: For you, who supports her candidacy, the distinction feels rigid, unimportant. Yet to claim that our article is “inaccurate” in saying no public record exists of her dissenting vote when, in fact, no public record exists of her dissenting vote—I’m sorry, Michelle, but that’s also a falsehood. Check the minutes yourself, you may find them here.

      As I also said to Dave—and frankly this is what I’m most curious about—none of this comes up if Christa herself doesn’t home in on her opponent’s voting record. Why she would make such a statement when she herself voted 95 out of 96 times with the majority on the Town Council puzzles me. These are matters of public record, they’re easily checked and—with all apologies—it’s our job to check them and report back to the community.

      Thank you again for submitting your comment (and let me know if you want me to delete it).

      • Congratulations to you Mike for retaining the courage of your convictions and standing up for the integrity of your NewCanaanite! With Kennin and her pals I smell maybe more than a little D. TRUMP mode of operating …. say a lie enough and you think people will believe it is the truth.
        In both the debates, Nick Williams came across as a serious, dedicated, experienced person running for a substantial job.
        Given the importance of the Selectman job , why did CK sit there with a tea party smile/smirk the whole time? This “look” combined with her snarky “a little to cosy” comments
        makes her seem like a LIGHTWEIGHT contender … or as the Republicans often say “that’s not how we behave in New Canaan”. Maybe she needs more time living here to understand that.

        Fintan M.

    • I too applaud Michael Dinan for the integrity of his reporting. What’s interesting is that in the link you posted Kenin is quoted as saying, “Out of the 12 Town Council members, I was the only vote to insist that Board of Finance members remain taxpayers.” But, as Michael wrote, there is no record of her voting against that particular charter revision.

      In fact, according to the minutes of the Town Council meeting of July 20, 2016, not only did the council unanimously support sending all the measures from the charter revision commission to the ballot, but Kenin seconded the motion for the vote. This is a direct quote from the minutes from that meeting:

      “After many questions and considerable discussion and debate, Mr. Englund made the motion, seconded by Ms. Kenin, to approve the following resolution: “Resolved, the Town Council, in accordance with Connecticut General Statute §7-191, hereby accepts the report from the Charter Revision Commission and approves the proposed Charter therein for the purposes of placing it on the ballot for approval by electors of New Canaan.” The motion was approved unanimously.”

      An interesting move from someone claiming she was, “the only vote to insist that Board of Finance members remain taxpayers.” Clearly she did not tell the truth about that as no one voted against placing those charter revisions on the ballot.

  5. Interesting that Christa and her supporter talked about her insistence that BOF members be real property owners / taxpayers. As you know, the voters overwhelming thought BOF members should be taxpayers too. And yet, Christa and that supporter are for Kevin M for First Selectman, a position which is also ex officio member of BOF.

    Look it up, Kevin is NOT a taxpayer and is not eligible to be a regular BOF member. I think a taxpayer with skin in the game makes the best First Selectman.

    • Hi Joe- we are not debating wether or not BOF members should be property owners, in fact, I don’t think I have ever made my opinion on that issue public, so not sure why you think you know where I stand. Your “interesting” statement is quite a non-sequitur.

      Michael, I stand by my original statement, please do not remove it. I understand your point here but in the context by which you are reporting it, it feels like Ms. Kenin is being accused of intentionally lying. Could it be that in Ms. Kenin’s mind the straw poll was a vote of sorts, official or unofficial. The point for me is that she was on record as being the lone voice on the BOF issue, and thus, she isn’t lying.

      This idea that she is being intentionally deceitful is a testament to how little people know about her and her candidacy. Keep drinking the incumbent Kool-aid commenters, I guess it has worked for you this long.

      • Live debates are difficult to navigate—candidates may stumble or misspeak for a moment and give bad information, no matter how experienced they are, and there’s no shame in that. Some might say how it’s handled afterwards says far more about someone seeking elected office than making a mistake in the first place. Again, we offered Christa Kenin a chance to issue a statement clarifying her remarks, and she declined. Why, I have no idea. Where in the story does it say she lied?

        Are you saying that we have a candidate for selectman who doesn’t understand what it means to cast a vote as a member of a public body? Or that this candidate understands the difference between a vote and a—whatever you want to call it, show of hands on the Town Council or nod or wink or some other ‘expression,’ as Kathleen might say—but chose in a public debate to answer a different question because it was expedient? With the exception of one person whose first selectman candidacy blessedly has not yet taken center stage, all of the residents seeking office this year are mentally stable, highly educated, intelligent and communicative—I wouldn’t underestimate any of them.

      • Does it not bother you that a candidate may have thought, in your words, “the straw poll was a vote of sorts, official or unofficial”? That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement to me. If anything, it sounds more like an admission that the candidate, Kenin, is hardly fit to serve on the Town Council, let alone the Board of Selectmen.

    • You’re correct, Board of Finance members must be taxpayers in New Canaan and Moynihan does not fit that bill. Let’s keep that in mind when reading this excerpt from the article discussing the prospect of a primary for First Selectman:

      “Moynihan said should there be a dramatic decrease in assessments, ‘You’re going to have to focus on costs—you’re going to have to get serious about sharpening the pencil and cutting.'”

      Those are strong words from someone without, as you put it, any skin in the game. Especially considering his history of voting in favor of every spending measure put in front of him–and not just that, but I don’t believe he’s ever voted to cut spending to anything either. He seems happy to spend everyone else’s money as often as he can.

      While the ex officio member of the Board of Finance can only vote in the event of a tie (as is my understanding), I do not believe that a non-taxpayer is in the position to truly represent all of New Canaan and to do what is best for all of the town.

      Let’s not forget that Moynihan seems to be attempting to drive a wedge between residents of New Canaan who commute to New York and those who don’t with his terms, “Suits” and “Townies.” There is no justification to create a divide like that between fellow residents of New Canaan. I firmly believe that anyone with that “strategy” simply cannot have the best interests of the town in mind.

  6. If you want a candidate who will not be a cozy rubber stamp and always represent his constituents properly as a Town Council member than you must vote for Roy Abramowitz CPA/ MBA. Roy has always been at the fore front of individual thinking that has been spot on and in the best interests of the electorate. He will not follow a wrongful path but walk in the woods and leave a trail. A trail to be followed by others for the best of the community. He was the first to recommend the need for an audit committee, point out the lack of internal controls and segregation of duties and material weaknesses in financial reporting. Over a decade ago he was spot on. He is tiredless and will stand for what is right not what is popular.

    • Jan, I had thought the recommendation for an Audit Committee came out of the appointed committee charged with studying the Lakeview Avenue Bridge debacle and making recommendations in its wake. Do I have that wrong?

      • Roy attended all the Lakeview Avenue town Hall discussions and pointed out the material weaknesses in internal control and proposed best practices to review contracts, dusbursements, and especially legal invoices. He was adamant in his proposing an audit committee to the appointed committee. After much pushback from members of the Town Council who stated the Town Council was the audit committee he suggested a workable plan. A subcommittee was then formed and Steve Karl and other members asked Roy to attend the meetings And called upon his expertise in discussing an operational framework. After much delay he wrote a guideline memoranda to the First Selectman. Kathleen Corbet formalized his recommendations into a proposal. Ask Kathleen. If those on the Town Council listened to Roy a decade ago the continuous material weaknesses, inadequate accounting systems, and embarrassing financial inadequacies would have benn remedied many years ago. Let us give credit where credit is due. He ran with this issue even though not a Town Council or official sub committee member. Just tirelessly dedicated to serve and institute Best Practices.

        • When people work “behind the scenes” they are often not given proper credit for the efforts. Jan’s points are very important and well stated. Republican residents who will vote tonight in their caucus should take note.

  7. I am a Democrat, but i find it odd to hear a candidate for office saying that an opponent would not “respect the process” if they sought a primary. The “process” is democracy. Voters of any party should be concerned that election laws are characterized in such a disparaging manner to make it seem like a candidate is doing something out of line by going to primary.

  8. Glad to see Ms. Kenin’s past record on the issues brought up. As NC grandparents of three Norwalk children whose families can’t afford to live here, my husband and I were very upset at her efforts a few years ago to start a petition to oppose selling Waveny Pool passes to non-NC residents.

    This despite the fact that those passes were sold at a higher cost in order to keep the pool solvent: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/New-Canaanites-not-cool-with-nonresidents-at-pool-4790760.php.

    I’m so glad our town decided to ignore her efforts because the kids love the Waveny Pool !!

    • Not only was Ms. Kenin’s pool petition dripping with racist innuendo it would have been a disaster financially for the town pool to not allow those out of towners’ fees to be collected. I refused to sign her petition at the time and the town is lucky it never went anywhere.
      Add this to her lying about being a voice of dissent in votes and her insistence the town needs to “change” and she appears unsuited for this office. Ms. Kenin’s main motivation seems to be her own political aspirations and not what is best for the town.

  9. I think if people are going to make such salacious and libelous comments against Ms Kenin’s character, their full name should be used. She is not a racist.

    You must all be very afraid of her and the good campaign she is running, especially after she won a town council seat and ousted Roger Williams.

    I am frankly surprised this news site would allow such commentary to be made anonymously.

    Your statements show, again, how none of you have taken the time to get to know her as a candidate.

    Lastly, no michael, I didn’t say you called her a liar. It’s in the comments.

    • Thanks, Michelle. A few things:

      1. I verify each commenter’s identity and have an open line with them through email, even if their screen handles are not full first and last names.

      2. I have rejected 75% of the comments submitted for this story because they have been too much like personal attacks.

      3. I’ve given thought prior to approving each comment. The comment that used the word “racist” referred not to a candidate but to a petition. As far as the many comments that guess as to Christa Kenin’s intentions when she apparently used the word ‘vote’ during the debate when she meant something else, I will only say again that we offered her a chance to clarify her remarks. She declined, saying she stood by what she said at the debate—a curious entrenchment. That created a void, and people naturally are trying to fill it in. I’m not thrilled about how the comment thread has gone as far as that goes, yet given the circumstances, I am allowing it.

    • I’m writing this after having attended the caucus and listened to all the speeches. I do feel that I got to know Kenin as a candidate. Her views are fairly obvious, albeit misleading at times with regard to her statement about the charter revision vote on the Town Council.

      I think it’s important for everyone to understand that the same thing, in this case the petition Kenin started in an attempt to prevent non-residents from purchasing passes to the Waveny Pool, can be seen by some people as unoffensive but other people may see or take offense at something written in that. If a person saw something he or she perceived as racist in a petition, that is that person’s opinion, not necessarily a stated fact, but I believe we are all entitled to our own opinions.

      What’s the old saying? Something like, “I may not like what you say, but I will defend your right to say it with my life.” The beauty of this country is that we are free to disagree with one another and even discuss those disagreements, but I don’t think that one person’s interpretation/opinion of Kenin’s petition, or at least whatever language that person saw in the petition as being racist, should lead someone else to label that statement as “salacious and libelous.”

      But back to Kenin’s campaign. I listened to her speech and I heard nothing new. I don’t believe she had anything new to say, just restating things she already said and frankly felt hollow, as though it was missing a real message. Much like Moynihan’s speech, as well as that of Aguirre-Ross, it seemed to use a lot of words to say very little.

      I always make an effort to find out a candidate’s positions and I feel I did that in this caucus as much as I do in any and every election, but in those efforts to learn about her stances on the issues I have come to believe that her only real position is that she wants to move up the political ladder. She doesn’t seem to bring leadership to the table, nor does she seem fit to serve as a Selectman. All I’ve heard from her was mixed messages in what I assume was an attempt to appeal to everyone, while actually committing to nothing.

      To be clear–I mean no offense toward Kenin or any other candidate when I write this and I hope you don’t think what I’m writing is “salacious and libelous,” these are simply my observations and thoughts about this caucus and the candidates involved.

      Lastly, I think all of the residents of New Canaan should be thankful to Michael Dinan and the incredible work he has put into covering this caucus and in keeping the comments civil and on-topic.