The following comes from Tony Silber, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission who recently criticized the election of Deborah Herbst as Board of Education Chairman. She is the mother of First Selectman Tim Herbst, but she was on the school board before his election in 2009.
It seems Mr. [Jack] Testani, [Trumbull Republican Town Committee Chairman] has time to spend his
workdays rooting through municipal meetings minutes. Good for him. I don't have
that kind of spare time in my job.
My record on the Planning & Zoning Commission is an open book. Like many residents of the town, I strive to balance my profession with my community service and my personal responsibilities. It’s not always easy. But the volatile Mr. Testani has made a characteristically ugly attack, and I must respond.
It's been an honor to have a voice in Trumbull's land-use issues. I do my homework. I research the issues. I go out into the community and visit sites. I think about long-term planning, and I embrace my statutory role to protect the public health, safety, convenience and property values of our residents. I will continue to do that till the last hour of my term.
I've made many positive contributions on behalf of the people of our community. Please don't take my word for it, Mr. Testani:
• Ask the folks who live near Lower Main Street if I've played a constructive role on the P&Z.
• Ask the applicants who come before our board whether my suggestions have enhanced their projects, for the betterment of the town.
• Ask the advocates for sidewalks, and for traffic calming, and for better-connected parks—ask what they think of my presence.
• Ask the developers of the important projects of recent years—the mall revitalization, the new shopping center on Route 111, the mixed-use project on Long Hill Green, or the new cancer center on Park Avenue if my role has been valuable.
• Ask my colleagues on the board whether I've been a persuasive, non-partisan contributor.
I called for a comprehensive development plan on upper Routes 111 and 25. I called for the Riverwalk. I was the first to call for the reopening of the Master Plan. Some of the most important initiatives in the draft plan are mine.
We updated the zoning regulations in 2008-2009, and we worked on the Plan of Conservation and Development the last two years. The meeting schedule during those years was more than 50 percent greater than the traditional schedule. I’ve attended two-thirds of those meetings. Make of that what you will, Mr. Testani.
Here’s the real reason for Testani’s attack: He’s angry. So is Tim Herbst, who has a “Svengali-like” hold on Testani. I said Tim Herbst’s position as first selectman, together with his mother as chairwoman of the school board, creates a conflict. I still believe that.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t honor the public service of Deborah Herbst, Tim Herbst, and Michael Herbst. I do, and I respect them all. I even honor the public service of Jack Testani.
This is about Jack and Tim crudely trying to crush perceived opponents. But I’m not involved in community service to oppose Jack Testani or Tim Herbst. I participate because I am determined to have a voice in the affairs of my town. Testani and Herbst could not be less relevant to that.