Candidate Information, Household Hazardous Waste, Shopping Carts were Topics at ‘Community Conversations’
By moderator Greg Reilly
The 26 residents who gathered for the regular meeting of Stratford Community Conversations on October 25th raised a variety of local issues, and three related to the municipal elections to be held November 7th.
The group lamented the fact there have been no in-person public forums where candidates could answer a moderator’s questions, and the meeting attendees were not aware of any independent news source that has information about candidates and their positions all together in one comprehensive report. They wondered if the League of Women Voters was still present in Stratford.
The moderator mentioned that Stratford Crier and the Stratford Patch published questions and answers with candidates across the recent weeks.
One suggestion was to have the local Democratic Town Committee and Republican Town Committee co-sponsor a candidates’ forum in the future.
A couple of attendees spoke of allegations about past elected officials who were suspected of having a vested personal interest in matters that came before the government body or office on which they served. They warned voters to find out some personal history on the candidates before voting and called for more oversight of certain offices. The moderator suggested that a Code of Ethics would call for the official to recuse himself or herself if that were the case.
Another regret expressed by a resident is that, while the public is welcomed to speak during the Public Forum period prior to every Town Council meeting, there is no time allotted for any Town Council member to give a response.
Shopping carts left empty near bus stops is an issue raised by a resident. The example was about Walmart, where shoppers leave the store with their purchases and use the carts to get their goods over to the bus stop at East Main Street, near where it intersects with Barnum Avenue Cutoff. When the carts are left on the sidewalk, they can sometimes end up in the roadway and cause a hazard for motorists.
One suggestion was to create a small gate in the fence so carts could be pushed through and back into the shopping center parking lot. Stratford Police Captain Pinto, who was at the Conversations meeting, said he would raise the matter with the appropriate division at headquarters.
Two other issues were raised, and both had accompanying suggestions for positive steps.
When the Department of Public Works holds Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off
Days, they are so popular and busy that the line of automobiles waiting to get to the drop-off point can be very long and time-consuming, a resident reported. Her suggestion was to have the Hazardous Waste days more often.
Regarding roadway safety for motorists and pedestrians, which is a recurring theme at the Conversations, one suggestion was to educate the parents of school children, as well as the children themselves, about proper ways and places to cross streets. The group heard a report of a parent guiding an elementary school-aged child across the street near a school and outside of the clearly marked crosswalk area.
Three questions for the Town went unanswered: 1) What is the new development adjacent to the I-95 Interchange 32 southbound entrance ramp behind Dunkin Donuts at 1275 West Broad Street? 2) Is it true that the Shakespeare Park property requires contamination cleanup before the Town may proceed with its redevelopment plan? 3) What is the new large commercial development on Lordship Blvd near the intersection with Honeyspot Road?
The October 25th Conversations meeting was held at Grace Lutheran Church at 150 Chapel Street.
The next Stratford Community Conversations is set for Wednesday, November 15th, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Sterling House Community Center at 2283 Main Street.
Stratford Community Conversations meets every three weeks at various venues to discuss local issues in a positive, non-critical way. All Stratford residents, businesspeople, community leaders, government leaders and staff are invited. Attendees may simply listen or join the discussion. There is no charge to attend.
For more information, contact resident and moderator Greg Reilly at GPReilly@optonline.net.