New Year's thoughts shared - Guest column

The New Year has provided me with an opportunity to peruse old town newspapers and I found several letters that I found interesting. So, I share these New Year's observations.

A former town-elected official, Robert Sousa, writes with some passion outlining the steps our First Selectman Jim Zeoli should take in dealing with the Stew Leonard legal issues.

He provides an outline of what should be done but never discloses that he is a partner with Brian Stone who is an attorney employed by Stew Leonard's. Thus, some of the firm's income is derived from Stew Leonard's. Could this be a conflict of interest?

A second point reflects on his desire to see discussion and negotiation. I applaud this strategy but I don't remember this happening during his tenure in office and the years Stone served as town attorney. That phrase was not in their vocabulary.

We did not "discuss and negotiate" but tended to plow ahead and the town had multiple litigations all of which we lost in court. Negotiation would have been useful and less expensive for the town but perhaps less income producing for attorneys.

A second letter from Sousa expressed concerns about the proposed sewer lines for Route 34 from Derby to the old Hine property on the corner of Grassy Hill. As he cited his rationale for opposing the sewer line I was reminded that this affects his neighborhood, "his" end of town.

Many of the same issues plagued the Dogwood Road area when Target was proposed and granted. He was all for these changes and later advised folks who disagreed with development and change to "move if you don't like it." Leadership is concerned with all parts of and all the people in a community.

Another letter appeared in December regarding the disregard of property as the U.I. Company works on their lines in Orange. The writer, Trish Pearson, another former elected official, outlines in detail the problems and impact on her view from her house, and her neighborhood. We can all understand and relate and can see this change as we pass by the utility right-of-ways. Again though I am disappointed that this intense response to change is reserved for the impact on her environment. The effect of this issue on other neighborhoods and attention to environmental issues affecting the larger community are not cause for advocacy.

On this issue, First Selectman Jim Zeoli has arranged for the power company to meet with all interested residents. Good for him. Officials from the company will be available to answer questions and hear concerns.

Let us work together for Orange and all its residents. Quality of life is a big reason folks move to this community. Discussion, negotiation, compromise are good tools.

Together we can make a difference, trite but true. My hope for 2007 is that Orange works together to take on the multiple challenges confronting our community and enhances the feeling that we are a special town.

Sue Clark is a resident of Orange.