I was very disappointed by the Republican-American's coverage of last night's Democratic Convention, which seemed strongly biased in favor of Mayor Jarjura. Last week the newspaper wrote, in an overly opinionated way, that Vance would have to scramble at the last minute to put together his slate of candidates. Today they failed to mention that he had his slate in place at the convention, just as they failed to mention the names of anyone running with him (which includes incumbent Alderman Martin Misset, who was at the convention).
I think this quote in the article stood out most for me: “What does it say about the Vance campaign that even the rival party thinks I’ve done a good job? I mean, when even your rival party won’t run against you, how can a real, true and loyal Democrat find fault?” Jarjura asked after the convention ended. “It’s petty.”
First of all, define "good job". When Jarjura first became mayor, the state Oversight Board (remember them?) was making the hard decisions and required actions to pull us out of an economic morass. Jarjura didn't fix the city's budget all by his lonesome. He has stayed the course and done the basic things that a mayor should do. Nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, after so many years of corrupt government, people in Waterbury think this is something outstanding. It's not. It's the bare minimum.
Here in Waterbury, we think it's highly commendable if the Mayor isn't corrupt and on his way to jail. It's not. It's the bare minimum.
So if by "good job" Jarjura means "hey, great, we've got a balance budget and the mayor hasn't been arrested", then yes, he's doing a good job.
Second, the reason the Republican party isn't running against Jarjura has more to do with their party being dead in the water. Waterbury voters still equate their party with Giordano. There was absolutely no point in their running a Republican candidate against Jarjura. It's going to be a long time before the voters will trust a Republican mayor again. The Republicans have endorsed Jarjura in order to save their own party and to oust the Independents.
Third, considering that Jarjura has set himself up as the Republican candidate, I don't think he has any right to talk about being "a real, true and loyal Democrat". Cutting a back-room deal with a rival party is about as far as you can get from being loyal to your own party.
Fourth, saying that it's petty for a fellow Democrat to find fault with the sitting Mayor sends chills down my spine. The last time I checked, this was a free and democratic nation. The Office of Mayor is not a dictatorship. It is not petty to find fault with one's government--it is our patriotic duty to speak up when we don't agree.
Neil O'Leary came very close to joining Vance in challenging Jarjura in a primary, does that mean he is petty as well?
If there was as strong possibility that the Republicans or Independents could win the mayoral election, I could almost agree that this is not a good year for the Democrats to be divided. But that possibility doesn't exist. The voters deserve choices.