Archive for November 3rd, 2009

November 3, 2009

Candidate: Chris O’Brien

Chris O’Brien is running for the Town Council in the 3rd District this year. He is running for his second term. He is also the publisher of this blog.

O’Brien is running for the Council because he feels that local government affects our lives more closely than any other that we hear about in the news. For instance, if you dial 911, you will have local responders come to your aide. The Town of Wolcott sands and plows your roads in the winter. Your children go to local schools which are funded mostly by your tax dollars. And the people who make decisions on these issues are usually living just up the road from you. Keeping you more informed as to what the Town of Wolcott is doing with your money and input is why he ran for office two years ago and why he started this blog. And whatever your point of view, feel free to post your views here.

Chris is a single 30 year old paramedic who usually works night shifts at Campion Ambulance in Waterbury. He has also volunteered at Wolcott Volunteer Ambulance for the past 13 years. On his days off, he actively thirsts for information about how things are run and how we can make things better in town and life in general.

In the past two years, he has learned quite a bit about the Wolcott Town Budget and openly shares that information with anyone who has questions. He meets regularly with Mayor Dunn in working on various issues in town. For the past two years he has worked to make sure services are efficient and cuts to the budgets can be made wherever possible without impacting services. He supported the Mayor in making $1,100,000 in spending reductions this past year and voted to freeze taxes. O’Brien became a deciding vote on this past year’s budget, refusing to vote for it twice until line items he thought were wasteful were eliminated.

At the same time, O’Brien has developed a rapport with many town employees and department leaders. In a year of recession, he has worked with the Mayor and reached out to town unions to attempt to reach fair agreements so that taxpayers can afford to live here. Communication is his highest priority.

Last month, O’Brien was successful in getting a Tax Abatement Ordinance passed to invite new businesses and jobs in town. He wants to ensure that the ordinance works and will change it if necessary. He also proposes to form a Charter Revision Committee that could make changes to the town constitution to improve how the town works. Please call O’Brien at (203) 558-5817 if you have any suggestions – or criticism – for him.

(If you are a candidate and want to include an introduction here, send me an e-mail: cobrien7@hotmail.com)

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November 3, 2009

Newspaper Corrections

Three clarifications should be noted in relation to things reported in local newspapers regarding this year’s election:

1. An article on Friday in the Waterbury Republican-American discussed a proposal to cut funding for the Senior Bus Service. The article may have given the impression that new candidate Charles Marsella could be partly to blame for that proposal. Yet, the fact should be made very clear that Mr. Marsella is not a current member of the Town Council, and was not one when the proposal was made at the June 2nd Council meeting. As a new Democratic candidate running for Council, it appears he became inadverdantly caught in the cross-fire over the issue.

The proposal on June 2nd during a budget vote was introduced by Councilmen Gentile and Santagotta. It failed 5-4 along party lines with Mr. Masi and Mr. Perrone also voting for it.

2. Secondly, a letter framed in what appears to be an advertisement is printed in the October edition of the Wolcott Community News on pages 7 and 31. It is signed by Tom Brundage, who is related to Tax Collector Lorraine McQueen through her daughter, Cherryl Brundage. It is unclear whether or not Mr. Brundage paid for the two ads. It is also unclear if the two letters – which are distinctly different but with the same focus to endorse Ms. McQueen – were meant to be published as letters or advertisements. There is no “paid by” attribution on either one.

So we wonder. Is the Wolcott Community News, published by the Moore family, endorsing Ms. McQueen? Or could it simply be a twice- made editing oversight? Here in Whisperland, we’ll accept any letters and publish them with attribution. In fact, we recieved a comment from Ms. McQueen shortly after publishing a story slightly favoring her opponent, Ms. Malena. Because we felt McQueen provided interesting insight into her job that is not commonly known, with her permission we pulled her comment off the comment page and onto the main website so that more readers could see it. While we would love to accept money in exchange for a prime spot advertisement, well written opinion from any source will dominate these pages for now. Besides.. even if we wanted to accept advertising, we simply wouldn’t know how to place it on the website. I’m lucky to know how to type. So we’re all better off.

3. Finally, we feel the need to take a third local publication to task – our own. The Wolcott Whisper recently published a story about the Board of Education approving a contract with the school administrators union. In it, the Whisper noted that administrators could make raises as high as $18,000 – $23,000 depending upon their job position. We were wrong. These figures assumed that each administrator would recieve step increases each year of the three year contact in addition to 0%, 3.5% and 3.5% increases through the contract.

We have learned that the actual facts are that the currently employed school administrators are already at the highest step levels available and cannot earn the large step raises. Instead, they will be subject to the 0%, 3.5%, 3.5% provisions. Even with these raises, administrators will earn an additional $7343 – $8855 in raises. The story has been revised and we regret the errors.

November 3, 2009

2009 Election Guide

NOTE: These articles have been compiled by one person and while we attempt to be as balanced as possible (except on occasion we’ll note our opinion), it is possible we may miss a piece of the story or make an error. If you find any, PLEASE contact the Whisper as soon as you see it. We will make every attempt to correct it in a timely manner. Also, if you can contribute to the discussion in your own words, feel free to add a comment! Contact: cobrien7@hotmail.com; (203) 558-5817

It’s down to the wire, and 60 candidates are overwhelming you and asking you for their vote. Your newspaper boxes and mailboxes are being filled, and you might be wondering: Who are these people? What are they running for? And how do I decide?

We here at the Whisper are committed to giving you as much information as possible about the races within town. Below are some lists and links and analysis on the various races to help give you insight. Most links are to other articles within the blog. Just click on “The Wolcott Whisper” at the top of the page to return to the main page. Also, feel free to click on “Add a Comment” to leave messages for discussion.

1. For a list of candidates and a description of the jobs they are running for, click here for the list of candidates by office.

2. The October edition of the Wolcott Community News has biographies of most of the candidates, as does the Waterbury Republican- American. Those biographies can be viewed at at www.rep-am.com/news/elections. Articles for the candidates appeared between October 19th and 23rd.

3. The Junior Women’s Club of Wolcott held a Meet The Candidates. forum last Wednesday. This was aired on Channel 96 on Saturday. Each candidate had two minutes to speak.

4. There are four groups of people running this year on three ballot lines. See who’s running with who, and who’s on their own.

5. The Tax Collector’s Race is heating up: analysis, including a reply by Ms. McQueen.

6. Did some Town Council members propose cutting Senior Citizen Bus Service? Read about the alternate budget proposal from June 2

7. There’s some confusing language in an ad on page 40 of October’s Wolcott Community News about a tax cut. What’s this about? Reintroduce a Tax Rate Reduction.

8. Charter Revision has prompted a large number of questions from residents asking: what is it? Here’s you question and answers. here for the Q & A as well as some of the proposals various candidates have to revise the Charter. (coming soon!)

9. The Board of Education recently approved an administrators’ contract for school principals recently. While not covering the candidates, it is recent news that highlights one of the most important roles of the Board of Education.

Wolcott could probably get an award for the most confusing ballot in the state. When you vote, be aware that there are TWO sides to the ballot! Also, most positions allow you to vote for more than one candidate. You can vote for that designated number of candidates no matter how the two or three or six names fall on the ballot. For instance, if you wanted to vote for a Republican, Independent, and Democrat in for an office whose names appear above and below each other, you can do so. If you have any questions, sample ballots are available at Town Hall in the Town Clerk’s office. Also, candidates and election moderators will be happy to help explain the process to you.

Do you have any questions or issues you would like us to help explain? Let us know! We’ll try our best to explain issues you have heard about.

November 3, 2009

Meet The Candidates

Below are most of the speeches of the candidates who attended last week’s Meet The Candidates’ forum at Tyrrell School. We have tried to include what each candidate said word-for -word whenever possible. In most cases, we caught most of what they stated, or at least their main points. When we couldn’t take in their exact wording or points, we drew whatever we could about the candidate so that you could get an idea for their ideas and background.
While not quoted, some have been approximated as closely as possible to their 2 minute presentation last week. We apologize this could not be done for everyone. We hope this gives at least some insight.

Note that Democrats went first, so they did not have an opportunity to reply to other candidates’ speeches.

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