Waters: From the Front Lines – A Town Held Hostage by a Fringe Minority

Submitted by James Waters

A town of 61,000 residents is being held hostage by 42 residents and the candidates they put forward.

You heard that right: 0.07% of the town’s population, the members of the far-right Republican Town Committee, are trying to force fringe candidates and policies on our town through a hostile takeover of our town legislature.

For the past two years, I have been privileged to represent District 12 (North Mianus) on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and the town on the Old Greenwich School Building Committee. In these roles, I have had close and regular dealings with RTM members.

The RTM is a “center-right” body, with 230 members. It is the town’s legislature, wielding significant clout over our town.

In my tenure two things have become clear:

First, there are 40-50 RTM members of a far-right political persuasion. They consistently vote together and pressure others. Their names are well-known to RTM members. We see them at every meeting; they always try to obstruct and prevent getting things done. They lose regularly in their attempts to cut school projects and inject divisive, national culture war issues into Greenwich.

Second, there is thankfully a majority of 125-135 RTM members who are the “voice” of the RTM. They are reasonable and collaborative; they vote in the majority 80%+ of the time. They are normal people and not ideologues, a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and Unaffiliated members. They ask tough questions but support our schools and detect and defeat conspiracy-fueled proposals that come for a vote.

If you’re interested, you can look this up thanks to a great new resource by an enterprising resident.

If you look through various districts, you’ll see people who hover at the fringes: the 40-50 noted above.

You’ll also see a solid majority that works together to get things done.

Now, as residents prepare to vote in the local elections, this far-right minority is mad. They’re tired of losing. They want to deceive residents into voting for far-right candidates by calling themselves “common sense” or “sensible” or (laughably) “bipartisan.”

If elected, they aim to force fringe initiatives on the town and replicate Steve Bannon’s “precinct strategy” of taking over municipal governments. This has been executed with disastrous results in other towns across America.

They’ve already been trying to do it for years. They want to:

• Cut school projects like the Old Greenwich School and Riverside School renovations
• Tie the Central Middle School project in knots
• Pass an ordinance to unbalance our balanced Board of Education
• Cut necessary upgrades to fields, traffic control, and sewers
• Hollow out already thin town departments
• Put people with extremist political viewpoints on town boards
• Endlessly waste the time of town employees and experts at taxpayers’ expense
• Reject teacher, firefighter, and police contracts
• Reject free money the town receives in grants to help modernize Greenwich

Residents must not let this stand.

Fortunately, a Bipartisan Coalition has risen to stand up for you. They will listen to you and continue to get things done. They will fight extremism. They will protect our schools. They will practice fiscal competence. And they will invest in our great town to make it even better for all of us.

How do I know this? Because they have a track record of doing just that.

So on November 7, I hope you will support the Bipartisan Coalition RTM Ballot. It was written about in the Greenwich Time and endorsed by the Voting Moms. That’s how I intend to vote.

Those are the people I trust to keep our town moving forward. They’re all listed right here:

Please be careful to vote for this ballot rather than a copy-cat created by the far-right to confuse you. Note that there are different names on the ballot depending on where you live. If you don’t see someone listed, they’re connected to the hostile takeover effort.

If the good people of Greenwich show up to vote, we will make the RTM better for you. If not, things could get pretty ugly for the next couple years.

James Waters is a Greenwich native and resident. A Republican, he works at a private investment firm and served in the Bush Administration’s White House Office of Management and Budget and then as a US Navy SEAL officer. He is an incumbent candidate for Representative Town Meeting in District 12 and also serves as the Chairman of the Old Greenwich School Building Committee. The views in this letter are his own and aren’t endorsed by any of the town bodies on which he serves.