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.

   They may not be sexy, but these are the issues that will decide the 2011 municipal election in Waterbury. Larry Rivkin is doing an excellent job interviewing the three candidates on WATR radio, but the community needs even more information about the issues. Voters have to know how each candidate plans to implement change, and the style of leadership they’ll  use to impact that change. Waterbury needs a vigorous debate, not a mudslinging contest that demeans the candidates, and tarnishes the city they purport to love.

   This year the Observer recorded and transcribed two-hour interviews with each candidate, and we will publish a majority of each interview in the hard copy of the newspaper. The entire transcription of each interview will be posted on the Observer’s website. Also, with a click of the mouse, and within two seconds, the interviews and the entire Observer website can be translated into Spanish, Albanian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Macedonian or 46 other languages. Check out the Google translation bar in the upper left corner of the Observer website.

   Enough of the mudslinging and yellow journalism. Let’s transform this campaign into a debate about the issues that matter most to the voters of Waterbury, a debate you’ll discover in the next edition of The Waterbury Observer.