As Government Leaders, We Cannot Dismiss the Right of the Public to be Included

At the time of my vote, I was under the impression I could abstain and couldn’t provide much detail due to the executive session. Further, I was extremely disappointed that the public and the subsequent rollout were not decided prior to returning from the executive session.

As government leaders, we cannot dismiss the right of the public to be included in transformative or potentially disruptive activities within the city. Our pier is one of our greatest assets, but it belongs to ALL the people here. On another note, I was not sold at the time that this developer and or investment firm was invested in New London, understood the uniqueness and or what the vision for New London should be. That’s an ongoing conversation that needs to be held publicly and with transparency. I’m all for growth, but I don’t want to be sold on our potential. I want lasting partnerships, with partners that get it. Not those that sell us dreams, smoke, mirrors, and a replica of some other city that is cleaner, perhaps safer, and perhaps denser and or benefits from consistent tourism traffic.

This is not the worst idea, and I’m grateful for the interest, but I also know the asset and its value. In fact, we should build upon our school’s footprint in the region, focus on infrastructure and safety and give developers, small businesses, and residents a reason to truly want to live, work and invest here. We must leverage our arts and cash in our connection to our alum and major athletes. It’s time to motivate our city, a city full of champions, heroes, and Olympians. We cannot do that in silos, without motivating leadership, nor by being afraid of political ties and friendships. We need private interest but not at the cost of public interest or future generations to come.

I attempted to table this vote so we could properly discuss the above and more, but 5 other councilors decided to vote favorably for this “new” New London. And they too have every right to cast their vote as they see fit. Ultimately, or eventually, you the community will get to weigh in. When you do, don’t simply destroy ideas, speak up and add value and protect your assets. New London will grow, it needs to, but at what risk to what makes this place New London.

Curtis K. Goodwin is a member of the City Council of New London, CT