(Read Rolf's campaign blog, "Stamford: The City That Can Work For People")
- STAMFORD MAYORAL CANDIDATE DEBATE ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 PM at UConn-Stamford, GenRe Auditorium
Sponsored by SoundWaters and UConn
- RALLY FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Saturday, October 24, 1:30 PM in front of Ferguson Library
Take a stand for a safe climate - downtown rally is part of the largest global day of climate action
ever, with events in 2,000 cities worldwide. Sponsored by Greenpeace.
- STAMFORD GREENDRINKS
Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 PM at Stamford Marriott Hotel
243 Tresser Blvd, Stamford
Rolf will give a brief talk about his environmental proposals.
- STAMFORD MAYORAL DEBATE
Thursday, October 29, 7:00 PM at Ferguson Library, 3rd Floor Auditorium
Sponsored by The Advocate & the League of Women Voters of Stamford
- "THE GARDEN" FILM SCREENING & DISCUSSION
Sunday, November 1, 7:00 PM at home of Barbara Spitzer
72 Oakdale Rd, Stamford
The fourteen-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles is the largest
of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in
1992, the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted
neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community.
As mayor I would pursue improvement for the residents of the City of Stamford in the areas of mass transit, local commerce, food and education.
Certainly the introduction (or re-introduction from a historical perspective) of a light rail system on Summer Street linking the Transportation Center to Bull's Head is a welcome start. If not already considered, this would be significantly enhanced with rail passes that can be used on CT Transit buses.
Eliminating the convention of location-specific bus "transfer points" that limit where a transfer can be used would make buses and rail more convenient and economical to use. Buses, themselves, could be more serviceable if they operated at 15-minute intervals and could make stops at waiting areas that are consistent in their amenities (ALL offering shelter, seating and regularly-posted route information), and are clearly identified (regardless of what part of town they are in, or how infrequently they are used). Service could be enhanced by cross-linking key routes with new bus service, that may currently run only on a parallel or divergent basis from the Atlantic Square node or Transportation Center. For example, while 33 connects Strawberry Hill/Newfield Avenue with Hope Street, no service connects High Ridge Road with Newfield via Vine Road. Such a connector would be a boon to senior residents at Wormser Congregate Housing, and those using the Harry Bennet and Weed Library branches.
Reestablishment of a Stamford-based Dial-a-Ride service is also important. While the Norwalk-based system currently in use does operate throughout the county, bus operators are frequently not sufficiently familiar with Stamford's street layout to afford timely service to seniors and the disabled, leading to frustrating delays when meeting medical or other appointments.
In contrast, keeping with the emergence of the green economy, better use of school transportation could be made by either reducing, or eliminating student parking in high schools, encouraging more students to use buses or to walk, while also saving lives and oil by reducing the superficial, competitive influence of car culture.
While Stamford is informally considered by the financial community as an extension of Manhattan, steps can be taken to foster a more independent retail/service climate to offset the current economic upheavals. I would propose negotiations with the owners of the Stamford Town Center to form a public/private partnership that would allow large sections of mall space to be reserved for occupancy by locally-based, independent businesses. In this way, the local economy can be stimulated by taking advantage of the mall environment as a consumer "destination".
A subsidy program derived from funds currently channeled to needless city contractors like ABA Associates (which has been allowed to take over city maintenance activities of the parks, Smith House, many public schools with inefficient results) could be used to encourage local start-ups to open in the mall at affordable rates. Eliminating a conspicuous dependence on private services would also increase the number of salaried civil employment opportunities.
If successful, such a program might help buttress the introduction of a local currency, along the lines of the Ithaca, NY "dollar hour" system, helping to inoculate Stamford from the worst of a nationwide, Weimar-like hyperinflation scenario, which some economists have speculated will occur with the next major economic convulsion.
Food and Health
A few years ago in the heart of Los Angeles a community garden spanning acres produced delicious, clean produce for neighborhood residents, but was razed by the city to make room for Big Box store warehouse space. The looming prospect of needing wheelbarrows of money to buy a loaf of bread could be offset by planting additional small-scale community gardens throughout the City (perhaps using the empty lot on Greyrock Place as a proof-of-concept prototype) might prove a practical local equivalent. It needn't be limited to open soil, either. Some office buildings in Stamford received height variances in exchange for making part of their properties available for public use. Community gardens would be a humanizing, communitarian application.
As the government has granted drug manufacturers no liability if people sicken or die from vaccination, rather than receive a shot, Stamford residents should have the option to quarantine themselves in their homes, unmolested by FEMA, CDC, or other Federal entities, in the event of a Swine Flu outbreak.
Stamford schools should move away from the national education trend toward the "conformity factory" model by rejecting the test-based dictates of the No Child Left Behind Act, which essentially withholds obligated government funding unless school districts open their doors, their students' records and minds to military recruiters and a general dumbing-down curriculum. Outside of Career Day events, recruiters should not be allowed in schools at all levels. Pentagon documentation amply outlines the depth of the military's efforts to penetrate middle- and high school culture by encouraging recruiters to mingle with students in lunch rooms, during dances and other events, and to seek out opinion leaders among various cliques to manipulate students into signing up.
Whether this comes to pass, countermeasures could include offering equal time for the War Resisters League, SNAFU and other organizations that inform students of all their options and what their rights are both in and out of uniform. The mind-numbing effects of a test-based curriculum could be offset with college-level courses in the use of logic, rhetoric and "defensive consumerism" techniques. Standard textbooks could be complemented by the provocative application of popular nonfiction drawn from a broad range of social/political stripes, so that the education experience empowers students by getting them excited about thinking for and teaching themselves, rather than simply being taught.
Read Rolf's campaign blog, "Stamford: The City That Can Work For People"