To the Editor:
The resignation of Terry Granatek from the East Lyme Zoning Commission and the efforts to fill the remainder of his two year term raise significant concerns for me about the integrity of our democratic processes in East Lyme. The disregard for our town charter, which specifies that appointees to elective offices should serve until the next regular town election or a special election, is troubling. Instead of following this charter provision, the Republicans on the zoning commission nominated and placed an individual who was not selected by the voters. This person will now have the authority to make decisions affecting our entire community. What’s more it seems a deliberate move by the East Lyme Republicans on the commission to avoid being held accountable by East Lyme voters.
This isn’t an isolated incident but rather part of a pattern of partisan maneuvers that have unfortunately become all too common in our town’s politics, especially on the zoning commission. I attempted to speak at the East Lyme Zoning meeting on November 2nd about the appointment and was told that the public could not speak on items on the agenda. I then attempted to speak generally about my dissatisfaction with the commission and was prevented from continuing by the chairwoman. The video of the meeting is available on youtube. These actions seem to dismiss the democratic principles that our nation was founded upon, and it makes citizens cynical. When we witness actions such as these, it makes people question the value of our individual votes. How can we believe that our voices matter when decisions are made behind closed doors and individuals can be inserted into key positions without proper democratic processes? It’s not just discouraging; it’s a betrayal of the very democratic ideals that we hold dear. When people such as myself have raised questions about these and other actions by this commission they have been accused of mudslinging. I want to be clear that it is not “throwing mud” to disagree with a decision nor is asking questions about the priorities of this board.
The East Lyme Republican party likes to act as though they aren’t connected to the actions of their national party, but they certainly have embraced their national party’s anti-democratic rhetoric and actions.
It is my hope that East Lyme voters will reject their anti-democratic message and instead vote for a group of people who want to serve the people of this town and not shut them out. Vote Line A on November 7th.
Menapace is a 2023 candidate for the East Lyme Planning Commission