BECK: Redmond’s inflammatory political rhetoric designed to play to emotions

Submitted by Pete Beck — District 11

I am responding to the letter dated May 27 by Jon Redmond, (REDMOND: “Letter to My Kids” is devoid of facts and heavy on political rhetoric) responding to a letter in Greenwich Free Press entitled “To My Kids and the Kids of Greenwich” (May 24, 2020) from Sara Selbert Savov discussing possible increases to the Board of Education budget.

Mr. Redmond says that Ms. Savov’s letter “almost ruined my day” and attacks her letter as “yet another insufferable, condescending and preachy Op-Ed in our local press that is devoid on facts and extremely heavy on political rhetoric designed to play to the emotions of people … Reading these letters is like watching a terrible film that assumes its  audience is as unintelligent as its script.”

I respectfully submit that those very same words — “condescending”, “preachy”, “political rhetoric”, “unintelligent”, etc. — apply in spades to Mr. Redmond’s letter.  However, I don’t make the nonsense claim that my day has almost been ruined by reading it, although I certainly deplore the type of nasty and illogical rhetoric that his letter represents.   

For example, Mr. Redmond says that Greenwich spends more per student on its public schools than any other district.  Not true.  According to the most recent numbers online, 23 Connecticut school districts, including Weston, Westport, and Redding, spend more per student than Greenwich.

And in contrast to his claim about “significant reductions” in school budgets in all neighboring towns, Darien, Westport, and New Canaan have all increased their 2020-2021 school budgets over last year’s and it is anticipated that Weston will increase its school budget in a final vote June 1.

Here is an example of Mr. Redmond’s inflammatory political rhetoric designed to play to the emotions of people:  He says that the reason the Greenwich school budget should be held to last year’s is that we have experienced “a pandemic that has cost 100 thousand American lives, shut down our economy for almost three months and led to 35 million unemployed Americans …”  The facts he cites are certainly true (among the few in his letter) but in no way support his illogical and absurd claim that  Greenwich should therefore freeze its public school budget. 

To the contrary, school shut downs resulting from the pandemic have done significant damage to the education of our public school students, damage which will only be magnified if teachers must be laid off and programs curtailed because of the budget freeze.

I assume that Mr. Redmond is aware of the trillions of dollars in increased federal spending voted on a bipartisan basis and signed by the president to offset the effects of the pandemic.  Mr. Redmond is advocating that Greenwich adopt  the contrary policy that hard times automatically require austerity, regardless of need.       

In his final sentence Mr. Redmond says to the RTM members “Stand up to the bullies and do the sensible thing.”  I wholeheartedly agree.  I urge the RTM members to stand up to the bullies like Mr. Redmond and give thoughtful support to reasonable requests by the BOE for interim funds needed to assure the quality of the education of all the children in our public schools, and by extension the standing of our Town as a good place in which to live and raise a family.