LETTER: Don’t Trust Camillo’s Doublespeak on Environmental Issues

Letter to the editor submitted by Jennie Baird, Riverside

Dear Editor,

In municipal elections we seek candidates who are capable managers and thoughtful stewards of our municipal resources – from our finances to our public spaces – regardless of party affiliation. What’s good for me should be good for my neighbor. And we all want to preserve the unique aspects of town that make it a desirable place to live.

Unfortunately, one of the candidates for First Selectman is far from middle of the road when it comes to local environmental policy. True moderate Republicans enthusiastically supported the plastic bag ordinance that was brought before the RTM last year (Livvy Floren came out in full support of the proposed ban, as did Republican First Selectman Peter Tesei). Rep. Fred Camillo, now the Republican nominee for First Selectman, however, issued an opinion that he touted as a “compromise” – but which was no compromise at all. Rather, it was a  roadblock to hinder the adoption of the proposed ordinance.  

Camillo proposed that merchants provide plastic bags “upon request” – meaning that merchants and residents would voluntarily decide whether to limit plastic bag use. Isn’t that what most merchants and residents were already doing? The intent behind the plastic bag ban was to change behavior and force people to consider their actions each time they go to the store.  Voluntarily allowing compliance is no deterrent at all.

In addition, Camillo suggested a “limit” on the number of plastic bags that could be used. Camillo makes a reference to taking 20-30 plastic bags when walking away from a store.  Really? How often does a person leave a grocery store with 20-30 plastic bags? The arbitrary number illustrates Camillo’s motivation to obliterate the intended effects of a plastic bag ban and obscure the real issue.

Rep. Camillo is expert at presenting himself as a voice of reason, but when you look under the hood and dig into his proposals, you have to wonder where he is truly coming from – and whose interests he is protecting.

Greenwich needs a leader who is fully committed to environmental policies that conserve our town’s distinctive natural resources – and one who is transparent with their values and goals, not trying to confuse and obscure behind doublespeak.

Jill Oberlander supported the plastic bag ban and will continue to provide the leadership Greenwich deserves when it comes to environmental legislation that will protect our town’s precious natural resources in the future. That is why I will be casting my vote for Jill Nov. 5 and why I am urging my neighbors to do the same.

Jennie Baird,