Commentary By John Murray
We received a text message the other day that simply said, "Can we get together and talk about this?" Not familiar with the number, or what we'd be talking about, we responded with, "Who are you?"
It was community activist Steve Schrag and he wanted to get together to discuss the need for a stop sign in the South End of the city. We were on deadline of publishing blockbuster stories about an interview with a juror from the trial of former Governor John Rowland, and a huge commentary about our take on aldermen by district, and couldn't get our minds around the minutiae of a stop sign request.
Community activist Steve Schrag
Days later it dawned on us that Steve Schrag's plea for help was a near perfect illustration of the need for electing aldermen by district in Waterbury. Ignore the race baiting that is sure to come from the Republican-American newspaper and from the two major political parties that oppose the ballot initiative to elect aldermen by district in the city. The issue isn't about race, it's about empowering neighborhoods - every neighborhood - to hold their elected officials accountable. If we had aldermen by district Schrag could have contacted one of the three aldermen elected to represent the 75th District in Waterbury, and they could advocate for the stop sign at the next Board of Aldermen meeting.
Flyer sent by Steve Schrag
But currently the Board of Aldermen (which is elected at large) has no representation from the 75th District. That's 20% of the city with zero direct representation on the board. That's not good government. It is time to change this outdated system that results in excessive representation from Town Plot, Bunker Hill and the East End of the city.
Steve Schrag is not alone in seeking a quicker response to quality of life issues in Waterbury. Not sure where to turn, a man well versed in city government was reduced to sending a blind text to a community newspaper. We can do better than this, it is time to make city government more accountable to the neighborhoods. Vote yes on question #3 on the ballot that asks "Shall the Charter be revised to provide that three Aldermen shall be elected from each of five equally populated districts rather than the current manner of electing 15 Alderman at large?"
Return the power to the neighborhoods. Return the power to the people. For more details, click on the link below.