Friday, April 15, 2011

Campaign Season

Remember three months ago, when I complained that streets hadn't been fully plowed during the January snow storms, causing dangerous situations for drivers and pedestrians? Remember how I was told that I was being unfair? Remember how the Mayor declared that it was unreasonable to expect people to keep one side of the city streets free from parked cars during storms?

Well, now it's spring and the city has to clean all the winter sand off the streets. In order to do so, the city requires that all cars, on both sides of the road, be removed to make way for the street sweepers. Any car in the way will be towed.

How to interpret this... Let's see.

1. It is more important to clean the sand off the streets than to remove snow from the streets.
(This assumes that the city will actually enforce the parking ban during street sweeping.)

2. The city is run by a system of chaos, disorder and total lack of consistency. The Mayor has no ability, or perhaps simply no interest, in effective management of city services.

I'm leaning towards Interpretation 2.

In the past ten years that Jarjura has been Mayor, the city's financial standing and credit rating have improved dramatically. This is a good thing.

On the other hand, city services have languished. There have been no improvements to city services, even though our taxes have been increased. There has been no indication that the current administration wants to improve city services.

In this election year, it seems that what city residents want most is improved city services for improved quality of life and a more beautiful and pedestrian-friendly city.  Will Jarjura continue to base his campaigning on his fiscal record, or will he switch his focus to the address the concerns of the citizens? For that matter, where do the other candidates stand on these issues?

This is one of those things that makes me realize just how far I've come. Once upon a time, I had no idea how city government functioned and no idea how to decide which candidates to vote for. Now I actually download the proposed budget, read through it, and try to figure out ways to save money and improve services. I pay attention to what candidates say and what they do--and I am increasingly left thinking I can do just as well, if not better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is idiotic that Waterbury still uses a sand/salt mix when the State and just about every surrounding town has switched to liquid de-icers. The liquids are far more effective, cheaper in the long run, and do not require sweeping. You can see where the Waterbury border is when snow falls because there is often ice and snow on the city side and bare pavement on the small town side. Of course, there will be a lot less overtime for city workers, so they are all against switching to the liquid, and the influential, no-bid, local private contractors do not want to invest in the equipment necessary to apply the liquid, so they are against it as well. It is past time for the city to stop using sand, and if the Public Works Director cannot understand this, then it is time for a new Public Works Director.