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Have You Met... Robyn Greenspan?

The editor for ExecuNet talks about social media, Stratford's potential, and why she is running for the 9th District. First in a new series called "Have you Met...?"

Welcome to a new series on Stratford Patch called: "Have you met...?" 

Here is a chance to get to know some of your neighbors. These lovely folks are working in and around the community to make it a place they love.

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Who We're Meeting: Robyn Greenspan

I'm from Brooklyn, N.Y. by birth, but live in Stratford by choice. I am the Editor-in-Chief of ExecuNet and a blogger for "The Huffington Post." I am constantly writing in my head, yet very little actually gets to the keyboard. You can find me on Facebook and or follow me on Twitter.

Questions:

EH: You aren't from Stratford originally. How did you end up here?

RG: How did you know? Was it the accent? I am from Brooklyn and at some point in adulthood, I realized most of the people I knew were moving away from concrete and toward open space with lots of grass and trees.

When I fell in love with someone in Connecticut, it made sense to follow my heart and I came to Stratford.

EH:  You recently announced you are running as a candidate in Stratford's 9th District. Most people would rather saw off their own arm than get involved in politics. What is your motivation?

RG: That would leave a lot of one-armed people who didn’t see the value in public service.

My motivation is not political; it’s to help residents feel better about living here and drive Stratford toward realizing its potential. I’ve been on the Board of Assessment Appeals for multiple terms and I personally see the pain of higher taxes – I feel it too. I’m also a two-term member of the Economic Development Commission and, at that level, we’re limited in what we can do to progress strategic vision and implementation. 

Politicians are known for doing a lot of talking, and I think voters are tired of hearing the same voices and the same rhetoric. As a journalist, I am skilled at researching and asking the right questions. My education in counseling makes me a good listener. I manage people and teams at work so I can solve problems and lead results. Those are the qualities that I will bring to represent the 9th District on the Town Council.

EH:  In your role as Editor-in-Chief at ExecuNet, you refer to yourself as a "social technologist." What does that mean? 

RG: I like to harness the power of technology and social platforms to mobilize people, whether it’s around topics, ideas, causes, anything really. In my role, I build community around content where something that is read sparks an ongoing conversation.

There are so many online channels to give people a voice where they wouldn’t ordinarily be heard, and, more importantly, to engage in dialogue. The public forum at Town Council meetings is a perfect example. A handful of residents get a few minutes to say something but they are not actually engaged in a meaningful conversation with Council members. It’s a very one-dimensional and, I think, unfulfilling experience for citizens.

I have a Facebook page so that I can actually interact with townspeople and learn what’s important to them and hear their ideas. Otherwise, politicians mostly talk at voters and residents mostly talk at Council members.

EH:  People always seem to say: "Back when I was a kid, blah blah blah." What specifically do you remember about your childhood that makes you nostalgic for the "way things used to be"?

RG: Other than cheap gas prices? My mother and I often talk about how unsupervised my brother and I were, and the freedom we had to play and explore in our neighborhood, in contrast to the tight monitoring of children today.

EH: If you are at home right now, and you had nothing planned, what would be the first thing you'd do? Then what? 

RG: If I was looking for something social to do, I’d likely check Facebook to see what my friends were doing or whether there were some local events. Many of my Stratford friends will post if they are going to a neighborhood restaurant, movie or town event and then we can meet up.

If it’s a stay-at-home kind of day, I’d probably decompress with "Project Runway" or "Top Chef" on the DVR and then feel inspired to cook something that’s beyond my capabilities.

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For every "Have You Met..." post, I will be asking the same three questions to our neighbor. Sort of like "Inside the Actor's Studio" but without the curse word! Here they are:

EH: If you could be or do anything else, what would it be?

RG: I would be who I am, because that’s all I know. But, if I could start over with a different career path, I might have become a school guidance counselor. I have a human services inclination, which is what drove me to get a dual graduate degree in counseling and human resources development.

EH:  What three words would your friends use to describe you?

RG: I didn’t want to see this through my own biased lens so I crowdsourced it and used social media to get my friends’ responses. They said: thought-provoking genius; intelligent; funny; strategic; clever; knowledgeable; articulate; supportive; insightful; entertaining; supportive; kind; witty; focused; dynamo; paragon; champion. I’d feel lucky to actually be any three of these.

EH: If you could change one thing about Stratford, what would it be?

RG: There are a lot of projects where I would like to see forward-moving change: Army Engine Plant, Shakespeare Theatre, Long Beach, etc. I’m suffering from “expectation fatigue” from all the initiatives that don’t come to fruition.

A big change that is worthy of exploration is whether Stratford really benefits from the two-party system. I’m far from an expert on non-partisan democracy but it often feels like elections are merely won by whoever has a D or R next to their name in Stratford, which may not be the most qualified candidate. Imagine how much might be accomplished by a Town Council that couldn’t vote along party lines?

EH: Thanks Robyn!

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Is there someone you think your Stratford neighbors should meet? We'd like to meet them too. We are open to suggestions! Drop me a comment here!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

George E. Mulligan September 28, 2011 at 05:48 PM
I am against Esq. Joseph Kubic. I believe Joe is part of the problem. I believe Joe was Town Councilor 1991-2003 + 2007-2009. At the very least, Robyn, would be addition by subtraction. - I do not know Robyn. We spoke, recently. I was impressed. Robyn doesn't want negative campaign. - These are my negative beliefs, which i believe POSITIVELY must be known: - I believe Joe has been promise Town Council Chairmanship. RTC Controls all lawyers for 30 years, working together, I believe, and padding their fees since July 2001. 1996 Dem State / Town Committee Member Richard Burturla firm Berchem, Moses, & Devlin started getting Town & BoE Business, despite RTC controling Town Council and BoE for about 26 of 30 years. See Berchem website = huge political connections. Esq Burturla 1987-1989 Town Council chairman caused mini-Budget & resulted in 1991 Referendums 2 % Budget Cap - limiting spending increase Term Limit Prohibit financial self interest. - 1998 Pension Bond Passed 1998 AVCO SAEP Preferred vender given. I believe Willinger Law firm represented all 3 (failed) winning bidders. CT POST reported Willinger is cousin to Bpt Developer Sal DeNardo & Trumbull Nancy DeNardo, Dem State Chair. - I believe CT State Judges, State Prosecutors, State Trooper, Federal Judges, US Attorneys, & FBI work with their version of WHITEY BULGER. - I believe local Police, Fire, Attorneys, and others PENSIONS, OT, HEALTHCARE, etc - are PAYOLA, KICK BACK sourcing
Robyn Greenspan September 29, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Thanks, George. I hope you are feeling better.
Jezebel282 September 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Ms. Greenspan, If you don't mind, I would like to ask you the same questions I ask every candidate. As our property taxes are relentlessly increased year after year do you have an specific plans in mind to reduce that burden on homeowners and renters?
Robyn Greenspan September 29, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I appreciate the question, Jezebel; it's one that has kept me up thinking for a very long time. Property taxes are merely symptomatic of larger, systemic issues that need to be addressed in this town. One example is the lack of a strategic economic development vision. What happened to that Economic Development Director that was budgeted for last year? To outline a specific plan in this small space would be doing the taxpayers and the details a disservice. I am actually crafting something more comprehensive that I would like to more formally publish. Perhaps that will allow us more dialogue?
Jezebel282 September 29, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Ms. Greenspan, Excellent! Although I have some ideas of my own (like $1.8 million for the Town Attorney's office), I look forward to your ideas prior to election day.
Robyn Greenspan September 29, 2011 at 03:14 PM
And I look forward to hearing yours. My guiding principle for this campaign is from Peter Drucker: "The leader of the past knew how to tell. The leader of the future will know how to ask."
Jezebel282 September 29, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Most of mine can be found at http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/
George E. Mulligan September 30, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Please note 1998 + 2010 stats, & the questions I posted to Olivia & John. Could Ms. Greenspan & Esq. Kubic answer same?
Dave Fuller September 30, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Jezebel, You hit the nail right on the head with the Town Attorney budget. Seeing that budget (as well as HR and other parts of the budget), I couldnt support the budget this year and why it got my no vote. Service cuts to public works and elsewhere with a tax increase is not good for the taxpayer. I would like to see the TA budget cut by a third, and have some of that money restored to public works and some of that money go back to the taxpayer. There are other elements of the budget that need some trimming too. And, that fat is there from both Democratic and Republican administrations, and Democratic and Republican Councils, so this fat is not partisan, but rather institutionalized. I have broad socioeconomic theories as to why government spending at all levels is what it is. We had such a booming economy in te 1990s and the first half of the 2000s that government and the private sector alike thought money grew on trees. No one questioned, and here we are today. Keep asking questions.
Dave Fuller September 30, 2011 at 04:01 PM
I know Robyn through work on several campaigns. She is an independent thinker and advocate for the community. Robyn is a proud progressive, but is also open minded and willing to listen to all sides of the argument, whether they are liberal, moderate, conservative or libertarian. I hope Robyn gets your vote in the 9th district as she is a critical thinker and we need more thinkers in government.
Jezebel282 September 30, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Mr. Fuller, You are correct in that the biggest drains on taxpayer funds have become a "rite" for the two Town Committees. It begins with the Town Attorney (do we really need two at every Council meeting?) and has crept into HR. At $612,000 it is one of the least staffed and most expensive departments in Town. Clearly, something is not right. Reducing the TA budget by 1/3 would still make it 300% more expensive than any surrounding Town. This position must be rethought completely. At $1.8 million per year you could start a law firm and staff it with half a dozen lawyers and give them all cars.
George E. Mulligan October 01, 2011 at 11:30 AM
1998-1999: Adopted Budget $109,221,819; Town/BoE Employee Benefits: $ 8,005,753 < - 2010-2011: Adopted Budget $185,278,902; Town & BoE Employee Benefits: $34,309,599 <
George E. Mulligan October 01, 2011 at 11:52 AM
1998-99: Town+BoE Employ Benefits: $ 8,005,753 < 2010-2011: $34,309,599 < Benefits - 1998-1999: Adopted Budget $109,221,819; 2010-2011: Adopted Budget $185,278,902; - Cause & Effect? - Finance Director Susan Collier email September 2, 2011: 1998-1999 Est Averages: residential sales price: $139,725; Assessed value $ 97,808; Tax Bill $ 3,423 - 2010-2011 Est Averages: residential sales price: $250,000; Assessed value $175,000; Tax Bill $ 5,977 - Stratford has # 1 or top 3 Coastline in CT & is member of Fairfield County GOLD COAST. I grew up in Fairfield, after living in Stratford age 5 - 9. Fairfield & Stratford have about same population. Why are home values twice as high - lower Mil Rate? - Only 2 extra stops on the Commuter Line from NYC & Stamford. Only 6 to 10, I-95 exits from # 24 Black Rock Tpke to # 30 Lordship Blvd - How is it the leaders members of RTC & DTC are successful business people, yet have run stratford into the ground? - Attorney Billing on? AVCO - 3 failed Bidders so far, 1996 > Shakespeare 3 failed Bidders, so far 1985 > Raymark unfinished from 1980s / 1990s > Long Beach West Airport Avallone - Housing Supposed Labor Negotiations/Arbitration UNFUNDED MANDATES > WHY no FILING "WRIT of MANDAMUS?" ECS about $ 100 Million CT + Fed $ 5 million minimal BoE+Town x 20 years - Jeze+readers, if attorneys solved these problems 20-30 years ago? Would we even have Town Attorney BUDGET? - Mil Rate, under 18?
George E. Mulligan October 01, 2011 at 11:53 AM
1998-99: Town+BoE Employ Benefits: $ 8,005,753 < 2010-2011: $34,309,599 < Benefits - 1998-1999: Adopted Budget $109,221,819; 2010-2011: Adopted Budget $185,278,902; - Cause & Effect? - Finance Director Susan Collier email September 2, 2011: 1998-1999 Est Averages: residential sales price: $139,725; Assessed value $ 97,808; Tax Bill $ 3,423 - 2010-2011 Est Averages: residential sales price: $250,000; Assessed value $175,000; Tax Bill $ 5,977
G townsend October 03, 2011 at 10:30 PM
The escalating cost for a pack of attorneys is absolutely insane(remember when the town attny handled it all part time )The overtime cost at public works totally negates the rationality of the layoffs.The bonding of all these cap projects in this economy is reckless. All this results in future taxes along with less services.The financial leadership in Stratford is blind
George E. Mulligan October 04, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Re: Town Attorney & other geometrically cost increases? Has "blind" changed its' meaning? Does it now mean "greedy & selfish?"
Jaclyn Rothenberg October 25, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Robyn attended the October Stratford Women's Club meeting. Robyn cares deeply about the future of Stratford and the Stratford club members look forward to having her with join us this year as we move forward with our many annual community projects/donations.
Robyn Greenspan October 25, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Thank you, Jaclyn! I really enjoyed meeting you and all the other members, and I look forward to all the good work we'll do together at the Stratford Women's Club.

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