To the editor:

As Nov. 7 comes, who NOT to vote for is as important as who to vote for. In light of statements by Camilo Riano, do you actually want these GOP candidates anywhere near the decision-making process for the education of Westport’s children?

Mr. Riano said publicly that he loves Westport and loves America, yet his statements at a Board of Education meeting are quite offensive: “I think a vote cannot be justified as the democratic way of doing things, because this is not the American way.” 

He accused Superintendent Scarise, the Board of Ed., teachers, counselors, and librarians of “grooming” children without providing evidence of this predatory sexual behavior. 

By implication, if not directly in words, he has denigrated the town with claims of “Marxism” in “the shadow of communism.” “Tell me anyway,” Leon Trotsky wrote, “maybe I can find the truth by comparing the lies.”

Mr. Riano and Ms. Fitzgerald condemn words and language used in books and spoken by anyone who opposes their views, echoing the words of Vladimir Lenin: “We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

Mr. Riano’s comments, abusive accusations, thoughts and policies are dangerous. Dangerous to the education of Westport’s children and the town in general as his personal attacks follow in the path of Roy Cohn who said: “My scare value is high. My arena is controversy. My tough front is my biggest asset.”

He compares Westport to the Taliban and says the library is “enforcing leftist censorship with ‘the Prevention of American Rights.’ ” He promotes the public demonization of a person or group which, as we have seen across the country, incites acts of violence against individuals and groups. Look at his words recorded and documented at Board of Ed meetings and Connecticut Centinal his online journal:

10/28/23: Writing about the Board of Ed.:

“Ms. Goldstein does not want to discuss the radical-left ideology which is behind the plans to implement the Equity Study that she has been promoting for years, and is now using raw political power to pressure her opponents on the Board to keep silent while she allows for the indoctrination of our children at the expense of their safety and well-being.”

7/24/23: Writing about the Library:

“In the heavily politicized environment of Westport, ‘fighting misinformation’ is a euphemism for ‘enforcing leftist censorship.’ Following the example of the most dogmatic regimes on earth, such as the Taliban, the library’s selection committee has constituted itself into the Westport Library Committee for the Promotion of Socialist Virtue and the Prevention of American Rights.”

7/13/23: Writing about TEAM Westport:

“The reality is that Westport, CT, has a shadow communist government and TEAM Westport is its politburo. The members of the ‘Party’ are making it very clear to all town residents: any opinion that is against the official radical-leftist line ‘“will not be tolerated.’ ”

7/5/23: Writing about Superintendent Scarice:

Mr. Riano describes his “continuing efforts to establish a system of radical-left indoctrination” and presents the Westport School District’s work as “attempts to justify the introduction of un-American ideologies into the public school system.”

Candidates Fitgerald and Riano want to control and limit education according to subjects and books of their specific choosing while ignoring the Constitution, history, fact, and the very complex world children are growing up in.

It is absolutely urgent to vote for Lee Goldstein, Neil Phillips, and write-in candidate Jill Dillon. As Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, said: “To defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilization you need education.”

David Meth

Westport