Friday, January 08, 2010

Worst Quote in a Long Time

I've heard/read some things that shock me, but this one by Cathy Smith, president of the Mattatuck Museum's board of trustees and wife of Webster Bank's Jim Smith, really made my jaw drop:

“The last thing we need is an other social service agency, and their needy populations, that don’t really give anything back to the city,” Smith said. “They just take. I mean, come on, have you ever tried to cross the Green?”
(from an article on the front page of today's Rep-Am concerning the possible sale of the Waterbury Club building on Holmes Avenue to the Families & Children’s Aid Inc. of Danbury).

Way to slam everyone who has ever encountered hard times and needed a social service agency's help to keep their families healthy and stable until they got back on their feet!

Waterbury's unemployment rate has been hovering around 11% for a very long time. It's not that people don't want to work, it's that there simply aren't enough jobs.

And yes, I have crossed the Green, many times. I have spoken with hundreds of people on the Green. Every single one of them has something interesting to say. Maybe Mrs. Smith should try listening.


Rebecca said...

Well you are talking about a woman who once asked a co-worker of mine if said co-worker would talk to me about getting gastric bypass surgery so that I could be a better curator. I too have walked across the Green and met lots of interesting people.

SteveP said...

What a stupid thing to say. It is hard not to have painted the Museum/FCA conflict as a class struggle. The comments of Smith and some others were gasoline on the fire.

I read your editorial today and, if the downtown was different, if 30+ years of city mismanagement hadn't destroyed its viability, I would agree in principle that this strategy of preservation would be best. That isn't the case, Smith et al at the museum did not negotiate fairly with the Club and then tried to manipulate the process in the 11th hour by playing the class warfare card. Shame on them.
As for the current mayor, and others including the newspaper, which after the article you quote, pulled their punches in deference to the power of the Smith family (my opinion based on the way they later described the outlandish words of Smith as, "an emotional meeting"), I suggest they do the hard work of banding together and reassessing the downtown. Back in the 70's the Bergin administration began by putting senior housing in downtown. Easy Federal money to get that robbed us of valuable real estate. My opinion is things have predictably gone down ever since.