Winter Storm Alfred more than , it appears to also have ravaged voter confidence.
Loralyn Cropper, who lost power from 2 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 29 until late morning Friday Nov. 4, said she's "very disappointed in Wilton’s leadership."
"The Town has not responded in a timely manner. I’m not going to vote for him [First Selectman Bill Brennan]," she said.
Like many Wilton residents, Cropper expressed frustration not only with CL&P, but also with the town's highest elected official, saying they were dismayed about the . Now some residents say they plan to vote with their feet on Tuesday. In short, they won’t be pulling the lever for Brennan, who is running unopposed. Their decision not to vote is their vote.
Brennan could not be reached for comment.
In a robocall Friday, the first selectman thanked Wiltonians.
“During this severe emergency, the town greatly appreciates everyone's patience,” Brennan said in the recorded message. “We recognize that residents are tired and frustrated. Be assured every effort is being made to restore 100 percent of power to Wilton by this weekend."
Because of the issue of communication during and after Hurricane Irene, other residents said they couldn’t believe it wasn’t improved this time.
The town website didn’t post any storm related information until p.m. on Sunday Oct. 30. And it wasn’t until nearly 24 hours after the storm that town officials started letting residents know about food, shelter and power.
“Apathy is a politician's best friend and Wilton politicians should be grateful,” George Young commented on Wilton Patch. "If it wasn't for the beer issue this Election Day, the only turnout in Wilton would be the unopposed politicians voting for themselves."
At nearly 11 p.m. on Oct. 29, 58 percent of Wilton had no lights, wrote Ken MacCallum.
There was still, according to Ken MacCallum a “complete lack of communication from our town 'leaders'—no calls on the reverse 911 system and no emails on the email alert facility.”
Several residents praised , for issuing email updates throughout the week.
Lavielle said she went to the Norwalk Regional Operations Center, which served Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton, New Canaan and Norwalk. And while operations centers as a rule are closed to all but the Fire and Police Chiefs and First Selectmen, the Norwalk center did agree to show Lavielle how it worked.
“If I want up to the minute information I go to where it is,” Lavielle said, who still had no power as of Nov. 4.
Lavielle spoke to many angry constituents during the week. She said more than anything else most were fed up with CL&P.
“This is a huge black eye for Connecticut,” she said. “How can we tell people to come here to live, to do business, and then not have power for eight days?”
Moreover, Lavielle said, CL&P was woefully unprepared. She said she received a voice message from CL&P Friday night before the storm saying this was going to be much worse than Irene but that they were going to be ready.
“So why did it take so long to call in all the out of state crews? That’s not the fault of anybody in Wilton,” Lavielle said, adding the Town had difficulty getting accurate information from CL&P.
She expects a bi-partisan effort to come up with legislation next session that addresses how to give CL&P more competition and get it to perform better.
MacCallum and several other residents used the comments section urging Wilton copy New Canaan’s Office of Emergency Management Facebook page, which included a real time map of road closures and wires down as well as details about emergency shelter. Others pointed to Ridgefield, which they said made reverse 411 calls.
“What's up, Mr. Brennan—is it because you are unopposed for reelection, Wilton taxpayers can sit in the dark without any way to know what is going on in town?” MacCallum posted.
Mary Caty, who lives on Linden Tree Road, derided what she said was a total lack of communication from the Town. She, her husband and children removed road-blocking debris last Sunday.
On Friday, Caty implored neighbors to call Brennan’s office to let them know roads still had no power and were covered in debris.
“We need to rally and motivate and become the squeaky wheel!” Caty wrote in an email. “Please take 5 minutes today to voice your concern and frustration about the lack of response. If Brennan's office gets enough pressure he may put pressure on CL&P to work on our neighborhood.”