A Statement from the Easton Democratic Town Committee

Racial justice is a human right that continues to be violated in our country. The Easton DTC is grieved and outraged by the countless murders of black men and women, and collectively mourns the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks. . . and of so many more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as a result of systemic racism. We unequivocally condemn these injustices and will continue to join our voices and actions in protest to demand change. 

BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.

As Easton Democrats we will:

  • Adamantly condemn white supremacy and systemic racism
  • Do the work within our town, community, state, and nation to end violence and police brutality against people of color
  • Engage in open dialogue with law enforcement, elected officials, town boards, as well as local and state policy makers to assure zero tolerance for racial harassment or harm
  • Educate ourselves and provide community education, resources, and events that promote racial justice, and help us reach the promise of Liberty and Justice for ALL
  • Listen to and amplify the voices of people of color in our community, town, state, and country while standing with them in solidarity and support
  • Recruit and support candidates who are committed to fighting for racial justice on all fronts—educational, social, economic, medical, environmental—and will hold all elected and appointed officials accountable for their positions on systemic racism

BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.

We commit to confronting racism openly, honestly, and to champion equality, fairness, and justice. These are not new beliefs, but ones that have been held quietly; that ends now. Our collective voice and power will be used as catalysts for change in Easton, Fairfield County, and across Connecticut.

In solidarity, The Easton Democratic Town Committee

Easton’s Xenophobic Elected Official

EASTON'S XENOPHOBIC ELECTED OFFICIAL

May 25, 2020

Easton, CT —The Easton Democratic Town Committee disagrees strongly with Easton Board of Finance member Michael Kot’s April 29 letter about COVID-19. 

Among many outrageous comments, we are most alarmed by Mr. Kot’s mention of the “Chinese-created pandemic.” These inaccurate and xenophobic words show complete disregard for Easton’s Asian and Asian-American residents. Mr. Kot’s opinion is intentionally divisive and is unacceptable in our community. Discrimination from town leadership can create or enable conscious and unconscious bias in others, putting members of our community at risk. 

Easton resident Ya-Ching Liu told us that she’s “been subjected to many ignorant comments, including people calling the Chinese culture disgusting, or casual mentions of how they stay away from businesses where there are Asian people because they probably are carriers. It’s been hurtful to see the vitriol directed at people of Asian descent.”

We are dedicated to safety, equity and inclusion. We expect our public officials to uphold these most basic ideals, yet Mr. Kot is clearly prejudiced against some of the citizens he governs. 

A properly functioning and inclusive town like Easton must not tolerate bigotry and racism. We ask for Mr. Kot’s apology and an assurance that he will conduct his public responsibilities without discrimination. If he refuses to do so then we ask him to resign his position on the Board of Finance.

Sincerely,

The Easton Democratic Town Committee

Contact:
Sarah Lehberger
Easton Democratic Town Committee
Email: contact@eastonctdems.com
Phone: 646-425-7696

A Public Response from David Bindelglass Regarding Recent Letters & Your Vote

Dear Easton voters,

Tom Herrmann, Adam Dunsby, and the Republican Town Committee, in a letter dated October 30th and another dated November 1st, seek to divide our town with scare tactics and misrepresentations about your Democratic neighbors. 

The Republican leadership on the Board of Selectmen, including Kristi Sogofsky, refused to allow discussion of the April gun safety ordinance, proposed by Selectman Bob Lessler. As Bob stated at the time, this first draft was meant to encourage important dialogue about a heated topic so that the Board of Selectmen could modify and improve the ordinance to ensure the safety and peace of our community.

Many residents of Easton want to prevent the disturbance of the town’s peace and quiet, and unintentional danger caused by firearms. For example, one resident found a bullet lodged in her bed’s headboard, another in his car, and another’s dog was shot by a stray bullet. I know this is a difficult topic, but good leaders conduct challenging conversations with their constituents by providing ample opportunity to share different perspectives and engage in respectful debate.

Our goal is about what is best for our town.

We don’t believe in divisive tactics that scare and enrage people. It’s important that we discuss safety and quality of life concerns and that our Board of Selectmen be allowed to make decisions in the best interest of our town. Neither party should pressure elected officials about discussing – or not discussing – important topics. As your First Selectman, I will consider all proposals and will make decisions on legislation only after open discussion with the public, attentive listening and sharing of opinions, and careful thought.

Easton voters know our issues in this campaign. Instead of trying to mislead and instill division, we pledge to search for new sources of revenue, preserve open space, protect our seniors, and ensure the high quality of our schools. Achieving these goals will attract home buyers and subsequently increase our property values.

We will continue to present our vision to the town in a constructive and honest campaign.

I urge all of Easton to vote Democratic on November 5th for honest, open, thoughtful, and energetic new leadership for Easton.

Sincerely,

David Bindelglass

Clear Differences Between Easton’s Candidates This Municipal Election

Vote Row A for Easton Democrats

There are very clear differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates. The Democratic candidates want to work with the town’s citizens to responsibly move our town forward. We will lead with transparency as we seek to find additional revenue sources so we can improve our Senior Tax Relief Program and fund our schools. 

We believe that with your support and VOTE on Tuesday, 11/5, we can drive long-term prosperity for all households, and protect all that we hold dear to us in this town. 

What We Learned in the Recent Debates About the Differences Between Democratic and Republican Candidates

There is a lot at stake in this election, and it’s important to know the issues and the candidates’ positions. The Q&A debates for Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance demonstrate clear and important differences in the positions held by Republicans and Democrats on important issues that matter to Easton residents.

Republicans have made it clear that they believe Easton should continue on in the same manner as we have in the past. Easton Democratic candidates are dedicated to Easton, and we recognize that we must have clear plans and foresight to protect our town’s future. We aim to protect our seniors, and fund our schools, which will subsequently attract home buyers and increase our property values. Our goals are in support of the following initiatives…

1. Educational Excellence

Attracting new families to Easton depends on maintaining our excellent schools. Our Democratic candidates support funding our schools to ensure excellence in education and strong social, emotional, and academic programming. If you have lived through the last few budget cycles, then you have experienced how the Republican-controlled Board of Finance has continued to reduce funding for our schools resulting in significant cuts to faculty and staff. And you may have even noticed that they removed an individual from a critical board in which he was in favor of supporting school funding. That didn’t go unnoticed by us, and we think that speaks volumes about their priorities.

The bipartisan Board of Education has presented reasonable budgets to the Board of Finance, but its Republican members have repeatedly suggested large cuts to those budgets. The Republican Board of Finance nominees have supported $400,000 of cuts as well as tax credits for households that send their kids to private schools. The Democratic candidates support reasonable budgets to maintain small classes, ensure adequate educational support staff, and fund professional development. We will approach the Board of Education budget looking at what we NEED to better educate our children, rather than arbitrarily reducing BOE budgets as they are presented. Learn more in the closing remarks by Tara Donnelly Gottlieb and Devon Wible.

2. Revenue Generation & Senior Tax Relief

The Democratic candidates are committed to finding more revenue from sources other than individual property taxes. One example is ensuring that Aquarion property is assessed and taxed appropriately.

The Easton Democratic Town Committee has found that the land under the Hemlock Reservoir, which is owned half by Easton and half by Fairfield, is appraised at $30,000 per acre in Fairfield, but at $3,652 per acre in Easton. As a result, and as is clear in the tax bills, Fairfield collects over $167,000 per year in taxes from their half of the reservoir, while we collect less than $17,000 per year from the other half. It also appears that Easton has undervalued other land under reservoirs for decades, resulting in potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tax revenue. 

Democratic candidates have addressed this issue multiple times, but the Republican candidates have neither noticed nor investigated this disparity. In the recent debates, we have been accused of spreading “disinformation” by bringing up this topic. As stated above, we are presenting the facts and information and will seek a fair assessment on the lands under town reservoirs.

Starting on November 6th, Democratic leadership will examine and research the record to determine if these lands under reservoirs should be reassessed. It is the town government’s job to ensure that all of its land is fairly assessed and taxed so that one taxpayer constituency is not unfairly (under or over) taxed. Democrats are determined to get Easton taxpayers a fair deal, and if this discrepancy is of interest to you and you’d like to be a part of the team moving this research forward then we welcome your volunteerism on the Easton Democratic Town Committee.

The Democratic candidates also believe that the roughly $400,000 per year that we pay in debt service to own land on South Park Avenue is not what more than 75% of our town voted for in 2008. On the purchase price of $6 million, about $3 million remains to be paid. Easton taxpayers have invested too much in this property already, and there is still no plan to responsibly use this land. It is a lost opportunity for revenue, tax relief, or even community use. The annual debt service could pay for vital town services like improving our Senior Tax Relief Program, provide funding for a new ambulance for our EMS, and/or reinstating important faculty positions and programs in our schools. Whatever the future use of the land — Democratic leadership will proactively research and transparently discuss how to end this enormous expense and use South Park so it benefits our town and its citizens. We will welcome your input and ideas as well.

3. Promoting Community & Connection

We will keep Easton’s unique rural character in tact! There is no place like Easton, and preserving our open space is paramount to keeping Easton attractive to others and maintaining our town’s character. People want community and connection, and with imaginative thinking and careful planning to protect our land and farming community aesthetics, we can make things happen in a way that honors Easton’s history and celebrates all that we are as a community. We can responsibly add to our town by adding one or two small establishments – places like the Easton Village Store and Greiser’s — where neighbors can come together.

The small area near Silverman’s Farm already has (and has always had), several small businesses operating there. The Democractic Town Committee met with Planning & Zoning recently, and have a clear understanding of the regulatory control that is ensured for any possible expansion as evidenced in this FAQ pdf they shared with us. We understand that many individuals have concerns over any possible development in this area, and we recently addressed some of those concerns via social media as well. Our team of leaders will continue to be transparent about our vision, promote our farms, and look into opportunities for community and connection in this small 15 acre area. These efforts will make Easton even more attractive to home buyers, which will support increasing property values – a goal for so many of our residents! Your talents, input, and innovative ideas are welcomed on any of these initiatives as we seek qualified and committed community members on our various town boards and commissions.

All of Our Goals Will Lead to Improved Property Values

When elected, the Democratic government officials will take action to address and improve our property values. Easton’s Democratic candidates are dedicated to finding nonpartisan solutions. Let’s think, plan, research, engage in open and honest dialogue, and explore our options – together – for Easton’s future!

We look forward to seeing you at the polls and earning your VOTE on November 5th! Polls are open from 6am – 8pm at Samuel Staples Elementary School!

Pictured left to right: Devon Wible (Candidate for BoF), David Bindelglass (Candidate for First Selectman), Bob Lessler (Candidate for Selectman), Tara Donnelly Gottlieb (Candidate for BoF)

Spotlight Feature Series: Meet Gloria Bindelglass, Candidate for Constable in Easton, CT

You’ve Been Involved in the Community for Some Time Now. Can You Share More About Your Work and Service?

I’m currently a member of the Library Board, and the healthcare consultant for the Easton Community Center. I’ve served as Commissioner for the Easton EMS, and spent the majority of my career as an emergency department nurse and critical care instructor.

Most recently, I developed an App that guides health care providers in resuscitation, assists with critical tasks, and documents events. It has been an incredible experience to empower others in this new capacity and to see how this technology can improve the chances that patients will survive their cardiac arrest, as well as increase provider efficiency, and create positive environments for those in the healthcare workplace.

I’m running for one of the Constable positions for the town, and I hope to find solutions that will help to move Easton forward.

Do You Have Any Health or Wellness Related Information That You’d Like to Share with our Extended Community?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Year after year, we see the pink ribbons, hear the taglines about “Pinktober”, mammograms and self exams. For most of us, it sits on the periphery of our radar. Until it’s you or someone you love that gets the diagnosis.

Let me tell you about my journey…

“I am a breast cancer survivor. One year down and four to go... until I can say that I am cancer free.”

My annual breast health check ups were on February 14, 2018. I sighed my usual sigh of relief to hear that both my mammo and ultrasound were fine, and I got the “see you next year” from my doctor! 

Then, I started to notice small changes to my nipple that April, just two months after my exams. Having had a lumpectomy a few years prior, I chalked it up to scar tissue. As the weeks progressed, it became worse and sore. I thought to myself, “I have my next doctor’s appointment in July. It can wait until then.”

Did You Wait Until July to Get It Checked Out?

No. I mentioned it to my husband during a casual conversation. So he took a look, and (not surprisingly) knowing what a good doctor he is – said I should have it checked immediately.

On June 7, 2018, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. David literally saved my life by urging me to go to the doctor when I did. I am a lucky breast cancer patient. I was told that I had the “best” type of tumor. I am confident that this will be a one and done incident, and I am here a year later to share my story because of early detection. Watch this video to learn more…

What Lessons Did You Learn Through This Experience?

Always get your mammogram yearly but don’t rely on that alone. Make sure you do monthly breast exams, and if you think that you notice something that makes you unsure or uneasy – do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor immediately! Also, if you have a partner, it is important to use them as your second line of defense. I say this as a nurse and healthcare professional, because these topics should not be taboo. From a clinical standpoint, it is often the partner that notices something different (before the patient). Breast cancer affects both men and women, although in the U.S. less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases occur in men. Regardless of gender, we need to be vigilant about our (breast) health and empower each other to say something or to encourage a doctors visit.

And it’s important to “know your lemons” like the video above shows! I want to encourage you to talk openly about breast health, and the video above is worth sharing as it might just save a life!

My hope is that this October you’ll be informed… about your breast health and also about who’s running for municipal elections in Easton. I hope you’ll choose to take action on both. If I can offer any words of support or doctor recommendations, please feel free to reach out too. And I’d love to see you at the polls at Samuel Staples Elementary School on Tuesday, November 5th!

Spotlight Feature Series: Meet David Bindelglass, Candidate for First Selectman in Easton, CT

You’ve Been Committed to Helping Easton's Children and Families for Some Time Now. Will That Change if You are Elected?

Since Gloria and I moved to Easton 25 years ago we have raised our sons here and been involved in community life. You may remember me from my many years coaching soccer and, in 2015, I was elected to the Easton Board of Education. We who serve, regardless of party, share a commitment to our children. We all believe that preparing our children to be future citizens in an ever more complex society is a moral obligation. Yes, we face some tough issues, not the least of which is the rising cost of education. But we have made it our priority to keep class sizes small and we have managed to accomplish that with very modest increases in cost. We agree that we must not lose track of the fact that schools, along with the character of our town, are what drive people to move here. My commitment to the children and families of Easton is to maintain the high quality of education that we have come to expect. This requires the kind of individualized attention that can only come from keeping class sizes small. We must ensure the value of every education dollar spent and keep our costs in line.

Why Did You Decide to Run for First Selectman?

When my children grew up and went away to college, I found that I was no longer going to watch them play games all the time. The town and the schools were so good to our family, and I thought that I could give back to our community in a greater capacity. That is why I wanted to serve on the Board of Ed. While there, I realized that there was still more that I could do. As I slowed down my surgical career over the last few years, it became clear that I now have the time to devote to the town in a larger capacity than years prior. I decided to run for Easton’s First Selectman and use all of the knowledge that I’ve gained towards serving the town in this impactful way.

The single most common thing I hear is that people feel like they do not know what is going on in town. It’s true that we no longer have our newspaper, but this isn’t the whole story. People feel there is a lack of transparency. There are concerns about the town’s finances, how the town functions, and the lack of a vision for the town. Even those who seek out information about what’s going on feel stymied. Those who go to Board of Selectmen meetings do not feel heard. People are dissatisfied with the Town Meeting process. People distrust the leadership or wonder if there is any leadership at all.

I want to find real solutions to these issues. I have experience with the kind of collaborative and bipartisan leadership that Easton needs, and I will bring it to the role of First Selectman.

Play Video

Tell Us Something That’s a Big Part of Your Life that Others May Not Know About.

I have always had an almost fanatical love of football. I was on the quiet side and not all that confident as a kid. I loved the sport though, and my parents finally let me play tackle football as a freshman in high school. I turned out to be well built for it and did reasonably well. It made me far more confident and sociable as a teen. It also taught me the importance of teamwork, and helped me to form some really strong bonds in my community which continue even today.

One of those bonds was particularly significant. One of my teammates was Art Monk who went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Watching his induction into the Hall of Fame was a wonderful moment in my life. I recall feeling a sense of pride for Art. We grew up in a large town that was racially mixed, and in the 1960’s it was a model of successful desegregation. Art had risen above all of the hurdles and controversy during those times, and when most of us thought that he was being snubbed by Hall of Fame voters for a number of years. In our many years of watching and playing sports, diversity and inclusion weren’t always celebrated. I’m grateful that Art was honored and that times have changed, although there is still much work to be done.

David Bindelglass pictured here (#61) with Art Monk (# 72) in their high school team photo.

Not all of us go on to play professionally or even after high school. I did, however, have the great pleasure of watching my boys go on to find their own passions, play their own sports, and one of them helped as assistant coach on their college football team as well.

Can You Tell Us More About Your Mission Work with Operation Walk?

There are many rewarding parts to my career as an Orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon. I consider myself very lucky to have developed the skills needed to perform hip and knee replacements, which are so life changing for patients. It is incredibly gratifying to see so many lives transformed by these operations. I am extremely fortunate to have been mentored by Lawrence Dorr, who is an incredible surgeon and teacher. Beyond the surgery procedures, he taught me how to be a complete physician.

Dr. Dorr decided that we could make an even greater impact by doing these surgeries all over the world. He wanted to help people with arthritis in developing countries, so he founded Operation Walk which has performed more than 10,000 knee and hip replacements over the past 20 years. I have been on six missions now, and on 3 continents, most recently to Cuba. We take a team of about 50 people and (in a typical week) we do 50 or so operations to help people (who had no hope of ever having a normal life again) to function pain free and regain their mobility.  As wonderful as it is to perform these surgeries at home, in these other countries it is that much more rewarding. I have also been able to bring several members of my team from Connecticut to work with me. They all describe the experience as transforming, and I am so proud of the work that they do, their care and dedication.

What are Your Goals for Easton?

It’s all about leadership, collaboration, and having a long-term vision for the future of Easton. The Board of Selectmen has a responsibility to ensure that citizens know what’s going on in town and provide a forum for them to participate in making decisions about our future.  And, the Board has a responsibility to help Easton residents exchange ideas in a respectful and inclusive manner. 

We have been walking throughout the community and talking to Easton residents, and they are asking for more opportunity to understand, to be heard, and to participate in shaping Easton’s future. They want to see Easton thrive, and that includes finding ways to attract new people to town which will strengthen our property values and tax base. They want to find more ways to build community. They want to preserve our open spaces. They want our youngest and oldest residents to feel safe and assured knowing that they can continue to flourish in Easton. They want leaders who can demonstrate what is possible – and do so with energy, compassion and openness.

I’m running for First Selectman along with Bob Lessler who has served our town as Selectman for twenty years. We are leaders who will have an open mind and transparent approach to solving problems. We will work to articulate issues and solutions clearly, concisely and intelligently. We will always lead in a civil and courteous manner. We promise to listen to all stakeholders, and to work in partnership with everyone in Easton. Together, we can build a sustainable future for Easton. We hope you’ll come out to one of the upcoming Q&A events with the candidates in October, so you can be informed before you head to the polls. Join us by voting Democratic on November 5th at Samuel Staples Elementary School, and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. We want to hear what matters to you!