Q&A With Waterbury's Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Neil O'Leary

Neil O'Leary marching along Baldwin Street during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade.
 

                           Interview and Photographs By John Murray

Observer –How do you define the role of mayor in Waterbury? Give a brief description of the job you are applying for.

O’Leary: I define the role of the mayor of Waterbury as the number one person responsible for the day to day operations of the city. The person who is solely responsible for the perception of the city. The person who should be the city’s biggest cheerleader on a 24-hour, seven-day a week basis. The person who has to collaborate with all the department heads for the running of the city. The person who has to offer a listening ear to his constituents who have elected him to run the city, and understanding the citizens are his bosses. A mayor must remain ever sensitive to the needs of the community and his constituents. They elected him for a reason, and we must never forget that if the people elect us then they have elected us for a reason, and what were those reasons? Obviously, strong leadership skills. Obviously, strong trust between the candidate and the constituents. Obviously, a belief that the person they are voting for is going to lead their city in the direction they want to see it go in. I think that is what the mayor’s primary responsibilities are. I think what happens a lot, especially if a person is a long-term incumbent, is that those constituency beliefs some how get watered down over time. I like to call it I.A., not the internal affairs as I’m familiar with, but incumbent arrogance. It’s not something that an incumbent sets out to strive for, it’s something that just develops over time.

Q&A With Waterbury's Independent Party Mayoral Candidate, Larry De Pillo

Larry De Pillo has placed his name before the voters in Waterbury 14 consecutive years. He has been a relentless watchdog of municipal government, and a tireless community activist.

                   Interview and Photographs By John Murray

Observer - How do you define the role of mayor in Waterbury? Give me a brief description of the job you are applying for.

De Pillo -The Mayor of Waterbury is the leader of the city government and his job or her job is to make sure that the taxes are kept in check, to make sure that the citizens receive the services that they’re paying for, and that he is either capable himself, or with the team that he puts together, to continue to grow the grand list by bringing new businesses to the city. The mayor also must meet with the business community on a regular basis to make sure that their needs are met because without a stable business community you do not have a stable job base. Waterbury’s strength is the fact that it has strong neighborhood groups and the mayor must make sure that they are satisfied with the services being provided as far as the parks in their areas, the cleanliness of the streets and sidewalks in their area, and that if there are issues regarding blight and crime that they get addressed. To me, that’s the job of the mayor of the City of Waterbury.

Which Mayoral Candidate Has The Best Plan To Move Waterbury Forward?

   The Observer has concluded its Q&A interviews with the three mayoral candidates in Waterbury and will publish the results in its October 14th edition. Most of the headlines in the daily paper continue to bleat on about remarriages, brothels, and a car provided to a prominent State's Attorney. That may help Republican-American publisher Bill Pape sell more newspapers, but the people on the street don't give a crap about these issues. The voters want to know how the three candidates - incumbent Mike Jarjura, and challengers Neil O'Leary and Larry De Pillo, plan to address the major challenges facing the City of Waterbury. Those issues are unemployment, growing the grand list, revitalizing downtown, charter revision, aldermen-by-district, blight, brownfields, public safety, park maintenance, education, the Greenway, water, manufacturing, and the biggest issue of all - taxes.

Tibetan Monk Vows To Build A School In One Of The Most Isolated Spots On Earth

Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Yonten was raised in Zanskar Valley in the Himalayan Mountains of North India. Zanskar is one of the most isolated and desolate valleys on Earth, and Yonten has vowed to build a school there to help keep the endangered Tibetan culture alive. Yonten will be in Waterbury on Wednesday, October 5th, at the Mattatuck Museum, showing a documentary film about his project. The event begins at 6 pm with light refreshments and a short talk. Then the film, "Journey From Zanskar", will be aired. The suggested donation is $10. Photograph by John Murray

"Stone Of Hope" Will Be Dedicated To Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On October 16th

    On a recent trip down to North Carolina to cover the World's Strongest Man competition, the Observer swept into the nation's capital to check out the new monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. The monument dedication was originally scheduled for late August, on the same day Hurricane Irene battered the East Coast. Wisely, the event was re-scheduled to Sunday, October 16th, 2011. The photographs were taken by John Murray, the publisher of The Waterbury Observer. The following information was taken directly off mlkmemorial.org, the official website for the monument.

The King And I

 

King Bhumibol of Thailand is the longest reigning monarch in the world.

Column By Don Coppock

  I recall my first visit to Bangkok . I was taking a tour of the city, we were bogged down in one of the city's usual traffic jams, and the tour guide was talking about all things Thailand.
We were about to enter the King's Grand Palace,  so I asked him his thoughts on the King. He smiled and his eyes got a glassy look as he began, ‘I love my King...’

Palace Theater's November Line Up

IN THE HEIGHTS

Friday, November 4 -- 8:00pm; Saturday, November 5 – 2:00pm and 8:00pm
The 2008 Tony Award-winner for “Best Musical,” IN THE HEIGHTS takes audiences on an exhilarating journey into a vibrant Manhattan community where they’ll discover what it takes to make a living, what it costs to have a dream, and what it means to be home. Sponsored by Webster Bank and WTNH/MyTV9. Tickets: $48/ $58/ $68

Former Torrington Mayor Owen Quinn Appointed Leader Of Neighborhood Housing In Waterbury

    Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury, Inc. (NHS of Waterbury) has appointed a new Executive Director, Owen J. Quinn of Torrington. Quinn was hired by the NHS of Waterbury Board of Directors in September following an extensive candidate search.

Mayor Jarjura's Giant Pencil Swiped From Headquarters On Scott Road

   The symbol of Mike Jarjura's stunning 2006 write-in campaign victory was stolen from outside his campaign headquarters on Scott Road in Waterbury. Jarjura lost in a stunning primary upset to Democrat challenger Karen Mulcahy, but stormed back in November 2005 to become just the fifth politician in American history to win a major political office by having th electorate pencil in his name on the ballot. The mayor's father, J.P. Jarjura, had a six-foot replica pencil made to honor the historic win, and presented to him at his third inauguration. Jarjura told the Observer today that, “I want it back. There will be no questions asked and no consequences. Just leave it outside the door of my campaign headquarters at night and we'll find it in the morning The pencil has great sentimental value to me.”

Wide Range Of Acts Coming To Palace Theater In October; Pixies, Anthony Bourdain

The Charlie Daniels Band is playing in Waterbury October 15th.


   Fall into fun this October at the Palace Theater. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at www.palacetheaterct.org or in person at the Box Office at 100 East Main Street.  Groups of 15 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call the Group Sales hotline at 203-346-2002.

An Oversized Visitor Frequents Riverside Cemetery

A Great Blue Heron flies in for a landing at the Riverside Cemetery in Waterbury. According to the Cornell University of Ornithology, "The largest and most widespread heron in North America, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond. An all white form is found from southern Florida into the Caribbean, and used to be considered a separate species, the Great White Heron.

Waterbury's Derek Poundstone Battling For World's Strongest Man Title

Waterbury's Derek Poundstone is in North Carolina this week competing in the World's Strongest Man competition. Poundstone came in 2nd place three years ago, and 4th place two years ago. In the 2010 competition in South Africa, Poundstone was severely injured and didn't place. This year Poundstone is healthy and looking to re-establish himself as a one of the top strongmen in the world. Derek, a three-time winner of America's Strongest Man, has won every prestigious strongman title except the world championship. Poundstone is a police officer in Naugatuck, and is looking to open an old fashioned gym on Baldwin Street in the south end of Waterbury in October. Photograph by John Murray

Lebanese Festival In Waterbury's East End Continues Sunday. Music, Dancing And Great Food

Members of the Mariot Youth Organization from Our Lady of Lebanon Church performed Lebanese folk dances during the annual Taste Of Lebanon Saturday afternoon in Waterbury. The festival is open tonight (Saturday) until midnight, and continues Sunday after the 10 AM Mass until 7 pm. Our Lady of Lebanon Church is located on the corner of Prospect Road (Rte 69 South) and East Mountain Rd., Waterbury, CT. Photographs by John Murray

Jarjura and O'Leary Campaigns Spar Over Print Ads

The Chase Building in downtown Waterbury. Photo by John Murray

   After the last issue of the Waterbury Observer was published our newspaper received a phone call from Steve Gambini, an aide to Mayor Mike Jarjura. Gambini wanted to know if the Observer had fact checked the most recent full page ad in the Observer purchased by Democrat nominee for mayor, Neil O'Leary. Observer publisher, John Murray, told Gambini that the Observer does not fact check political ads, and that the space was purchased by the O'Leary campaign, and they provided the content.

   Two days later the Observer received a press release from the Jarjura campaign that disputed the facts in the O'Leary ad. The following is the release from the Jarjura campaign, and a response from the O'Leary campaign.

Q Poll Indicates It Will Be Murphy Versus McMahon In 2012 U.S. Senate Showdown

Congressman Chris Murphy attends a lot of events in Waterbury and is pictured here receiving an endorsement for the U.S. Senate from the Connecticut firefighters. Photographs by John Murray

Linda McMahon recently paid a visit to a youth blogging program at Waterbury Youth Services.

  Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon thumps former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays 50 - 35 percent in an early look at the 2012 Republican primary for the Connecticut U.S. Senate seat, but she trails either of two possible Democratic candidates, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. McMahon leads 54 - 37 percent among Republican men and 47 - 32 percent among women.

Waterbury Police Looking For Shooter In Hillside Incident

   The investigation into a shooting Tuesday night on Hillside Avenue in Waterbury has hit a roadblock because the victim has refused to cooperate with the police. A 25-year-old man was shot in the leg around 8 PM, but the shooter fled the scene before the police arrived. The victim was taken to Waterbury Hospital and his injury was not considered life-threatening.

Farmers' Market On The Green In Downtown Waterbury Every Thursday Afternoon

Native peaches are ripe and ready to savour. The Farmers' Market continues every Thursday from 11 AM to 3 PM through October 29th.

(editor's note - the following description is from the website buyctgrown.com)

   Farmers' Market on the Green is one of the gems of downtown Waterbury. Situated in the city's historic public green space, the market creates a community center for shoppers and visitors alike. The shady trees and park benches invite market goers to sit and enjoy the colorful activity of the market. Walking paths and green grass let picnickers lounge nearby and enjoy a fresh, delicious lunch courtesy of the local farms that offer their just-picked produce. The market itself is made up of a wide variety of goods, including organic produce, wool and fiber crafts, and flower arrangements. The market even features a regular cooking demonstration and tasting performed by a local chef. Come downtown for lunch or make an afternoon of it. The market is WIC certified and gladly accepts food stamps, so everyone is welcome to enjoy the bounty of fresh, local food.

Respect The Dangers Of The Naugatuck River

 

A kayaker in the annual Naugatuck River Canoe and Kayak Race shows excellent form in navigating through a tricky stretch of whitewater this past May.  Not all boaters on the Naugatuck are as skilled, or prepared.

Column By Kevin Zak and Photographs By John Murray

   Four young adults from a local church group went looking for adventure on the Naugatuck River, and on a bright day in June, they found it. They borrowed four colorful kayaks and headed to the river. None of the four had ever been in a kayak before. They would make no scouting attempts to examine what trouble spots they might encounter. They had no knowledge of the river. No one was wearing a life preserver. No helmets. The only knowledge they had was that there was a way to enter the river in the Platts Mills section above a breached dam. Below the dam were rapids.

Police Confirm Shooting On Hillside Avenue in Waterbury, Victim Shot Once In the Leg

Lt. Chris Corbett from the Waterbury Police Department has confirmed that a 25-year-old male was shot once in the leg last night near the corner of Willow Street and Hillside Avenue in Waterbury. Corbett said the victim was not injured seriously. Photographs by John Murray