Sunday, April 10, 2005

May Elections Update

Update 5/3/05--Results posted:
May Election Results

Municipal elections for several towns are happening the first week of May, so let's check in on some of the races:


Democrat Laurence Grotheer is challenging Republican Amey Marella for the post of first selectman/woman: (analysis)

Democratic challenger Laurence Grotheer claims that Marrella's appointment of Brian Luciani to the Board of Police Commissioners and his subsequent chairmanship should have resulted in the town changing insurance carriers.
Luciani supplies insurance to town employees through his business Group Insurance Associates which, Marrella said, he has been doing for many years. (Albert)

A tempest in a teapot, at best. But let's see if a supposed ethical lapse on the part of Republicans can help swing GOP-leaning Woodbridge over to the Democrats.


There is a four-man race in Naugutuck between Democrat Curtis Bosco, current mayor Ron San Angelo and independents Peter Jurzynski and William Woermer: (primary results, commentary, original analysis)

How much of Alexius C. Conroy's Naugatuck Renaissance Place concept for revitalizing downtown will become reality won't be known for several months, but Mayor Ron San Angelo wants voters in next month's mayoral election to believe none of it can happen without him.

San Angelo has made the introduction of the Fairfield developer's proposal the centerpiece of his re-election campaign, and declared that a vote for him is a vote to move the project, and the borough, forward.
Curtis Bosco, the Democratic nominee, has pointed out that Democratic Mayor Joan Taf authorized the Mount Auburn study and gave economic development officials the go-ahead to speak to Conroy. Economic Develop-ment Commission Chairman Chester Cornacchia, appointed by Taf, suggested he look at Naugatuck as a potential development site.

Bosco has said he supports a grand plan to revitalize downtown, but warned that Conroy's vision is a long way from ever becoming a reality. (Dalena)

The "revitalization" project in question is a huge mixed-use complex that may cover up to 148 acres and cost more than $700 million. There are few specifics currently available about the plan. Jurzynski and Woermer weighed in:

Peter J. Jurzynski came out strongly against the project several times before and after Conroy's presentation. He said he is against the project because he does not believe it contains enough job-producing industry or a corporate office building, which he said are the only things that will produce economic benefits for the borough. Nearly shouting into the microphone during the public hearing on the project, he said it does nothing to help poor people and the elderly.

"As mayor, I will push for and obtain major employers -- Conroy/San Angelo/Bosco will give you more condos and higher taxes for the people in neighborhoods," Jurzynski writes today.

At least a dozen residents left the hearing as he continued to speak.

The other petitioning candidate, William Woermer, has his own vision for a downtown revival -- a convention center and live theater area from Maple Street south to the General DataComm, with shops and restaurants, a parking garage, a hotel complex and a glass walkway to the railroad station, "all built architecturally in mind of the Whittemore and Tuttle traditions."

His plan would require only the General DataComm parking lot and the building that houses Nardelli's, Rosenblatt's and a coffee shop. (Dalena)

Since it's likely that San Angelo will win re-election, I imagine that this project will stay on target. But should it? This has the look and feel of a "magic bullet" solution--something that will, in one shot, fix everything. Somehow. I don't know the specifcs (apparently, no one does but the developer) but I'm usually leery of super-sized downtown development projects like this because a) the money can be better spent on smart, quality small-scale neighborhood redevelopment, and b) invariably, half of the thing stays unbuilt when the town runs out of money or the developer backs out.

More updates as they happen.

Albert, Bridget. " Ethics concerns aired." Orange Bulletin 6 April 2005.

Dalena, Doug. "Naugatuck's downtown plan." Waterbury Republican-American 10 April, 2005.

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