The Waterbury Observer just received a letter from Raechel Guest about the the challenges the city faces implementing aldermen by district in the coming months. Guest was a staunch supporter of electing aldermen by district and wrote this open letter to the 15 current aldermen who are tasked with executing the will of the people.
After listening to Mayor O’Leary on WATR, it is my understanding that the boundaries for the new Aldermanic Districts will be drawn up by an outside consultant, guided by a commission to be selected by the Board of Aldermen. It is also my understanding that final approval of the plan rests with you.
This is an incredibly important moment in Waterbury’s history. Unfortunately, it seems that many of Waterbury’s voters do not trust you, their Aldermen, to honor the intent of the Charter Revision. Everyone I have spoken with has expressed concern that you will hijack the democratic process and disregard the will of the people. Some of this distrust comes from the fact that many of you openly stated that you are opposed to the Charter Revision. Some of it comes from a general mistrust of Waterbury politicians, developed from years of witnessing political corruption in this city.
You have been given an opportunity to restore the public’s trust in their elected officials.
It is vital that the appointed commissioners be people who understand the city’s neighborhoods, who know where the neighborhood boundaries are, and who are in support of the Charter Revision for electing our Aldermen by District. The commissioners must respect the citizens of every neighborhood and must be free from prejudice toward any racial or economic group.
Waterbury’s citizens will be watching you closely in the coming months. Now is the time to set aside your opposition to the Charter Revision, and to do your part to ensure that this process is handled in an ethical, honest, and open way. I hope that you will rise to the challenge.
Wood Street, Waterbury