Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Bad Day for Waterbury

Last night the Board of Aldermen was scheduled to vote on the proposed health clinic move to Bank Street. The majority of Aldermen were ready to vote yes. Seventy-five downtown merchants had declared they were in favor of the move. Numerous people were planning to speak in favor of it at the Alderman meeting. At the last minute, Mayor Jarjura decided that the health department would withdraw its proposal, even though the new lease would save the city approximately $200,000 a year. As far anyone can tell, the only opposition came from a small number of people who want downtown to be expensive and exclusive. I absolutely can understand that there might soon be a good development plan put into action, but the situation was not handled at all well. There was a very clear message sent that poor people will no longer be welcome in downtown, and that all decisions will be made only by a select few. The downtown business owners were effectively told that their opinion doesn’t matter, and that they should continue to be patient (and watch their businesses go under!) while the city’s developers try to get something accomplished.

The deserved outrage accompanying the mayor’s actions in that matter has been completely overshadowed by Jarjura’s other executive decision of the day: to create a special new job for former-governor John Rowland as economic developer for the city. This is all anyone has talked about today.

So far, it’s not clear which organization Rowland will for. The articles I’ve read say that Jarjura originally wanted Rowland to take the top post at WDC (which explains, I suppose, why the job application deadline was extended a month). Rowland declined, not wanting to get stuck in an admin job. So now a special job will be creating, presumably letting Rowland work as he chooses, at either WDC or the Chamber of Commerce.

In one article, it was stated that the Chamber isn’t a public organization, but if they’re creating a position for him because the Mayor asked them to, doesn’t that make them a branch of city government?

Rowland’s supporters are blind to public opinion. The majority of people in the state of Connecticut do not like or trust Rowland. I’m a firm believer in letting everyone have a second chance, but this is hurting Waterbury. Remember when Lamont’s aide said that Waterbury was where the forces of slime meet the forces of evil? Waterbury has been called the most corrupt city in Connecticut many times today. Pretty soon this will be a national story. The entire country will once again be laughing at Waterbury. How is Rowland going to promote development in Waterbury if his role as economic developer tarnishes the city’s image?

Rowland might very well have all the right qualifications for the job, but so far he’s doing a lot more harm than good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Swallow hard says the Hartford Courant? Be serious! There are plenty of better choices for this
position. Jarjura hiring Rowland is like a pharmacy hiring a
convicted heroin addict. And for those of you who say he deserves a
second chance, tell it to former State Senator Ernie Newton who got
five years for shaking down some of his constituents for $5,000
dollars. Rowland only got ten months for one count of corruption in exchange for admitting on the federal court record that he committed eight separate felonies. And this is only the tip of the Rowland corruption empire! Reference the website Rowland, Inc., and remember his $200 million dollar loan to Enron, his $300 million dollar shower
on Phizer and his convicted Treasurer Paul Silvester's $500 million steerage of state monies to favored investment firms, to say nothing about the hundreds of millions Rowland gave out to O&G Industries and the Tomasso Family. And on top of all that his Chief of Staff Peter Ellef and Ellef's son (Peter Ellef II) were indicted and convicted along with William Tomasso for running a criminal enterprize out of Rowland's Governor's Office. So to say Rowland deserves a second chance because he served his time for one count of corruption is like saying Al Capone deserves a second chance for serving time for one count of income tax evasion. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Rowland crookedly steered these hundreds of millions for free. He most likely got his cut kick backed to an off-shore bank account that's beyond the scope of a state or federal audit. So what's really
going on here? It's not so much that the system is corrupt as
corruption is the system. Too many businessmen love a crooked
politician and too many newspapers are indebted to these same
businessmen for advertising dollars. That's why the Hartford Courant, like a prison bitch, has to swallow hard. The business corporate class controls the government and the media...and John Rowland & Michael Jarjura know this...that's why they have no shame.