To the Editor:
I support Portia Bordelon, Genevieve Cerf, Bill Furgueson, Lauren Gauthier, Bruce McDermott, Scott Westervelt and David McBride for Town Council – but a better read would be, for the Town of Groton and for “we the people.” These are my reasons. At the end of this letter are two more who should be considered.
All politicians make promises when they campaign. What is most important, as can only be done with incumbents, is to see their actions in the past versus the words they say today to get your vote.
What a wonderful experience and expectation not to be voting against candidates, but being able to vote for candidates, candidates I know are for Groton.
First and foremost of these is Portia Bordelon. She was the first to hear the townspeople and break out of goosestep with the rest of the then-Council over the disastrous Respler Mystic River Bluffs fiasco. That project, which most of the then Council never disavowed, made our Town infamous and a laughing stock across the State and in the State House. For representing us and the town, Portia has suffered abuse, scorn, racism and bigotry and yet she has stayed true to her constituents. She has paid the price to support the people of this Town.
How sad it is that a conspicuously aligned group has been publicly labeled “The Gang of Four,” now the Gang of Four Minus One. I have witnessed them working that way. Repeatedly this group has encouraged projects giving away our tax dollars with excessive tax abatements, an incentive that was patently not needed. They encouraged, repeatedly, projects that could have destroyed neighborhoods and any quality of life and enjoyment near those projects. It took a concerted effort, repeatedly, for the townspeople to organize to defeat these proposals that no one, except the Gang of Four Minus One and whomsoever influences them, wanted. Of course, their promises to the developers were given without the input of the people, which they discourage, and have often cost us thousands of tax dollars in attorneys’ fees to extract the town from the quagmire in which they placed us.
I have participated in town meetings wherein many people stepped out of a large crowd to speak against a proposal that none supported and the Council, driven by the Gang, still voted in favor of the measure. They are not representing us.
Unable to sway the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Gang sought to load the commission with their like minded “development at any cost” enablers. Hopefully the cost to them for these ill thought out projects will be their seats on our Town Council.
The Gang of Four Minus One is on the ballot. They want your vote to keep trying to push through projects that the townspeople do not want and will have to rally together to stop. They play for the times we do not organize to oppose them or are too exhausted to fight back. They do not understand who we are. They try to load commissions with “their people” and not the core already in place who represent the best interest of the Town. We have seen those battles fought out in the local papers. We do want business, but what reputable firm would want to come here with people like this in control of our town? I am certain that there has been no bribery or improper collusion, but this government looks like Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed, Teapot Dome or Daley’s Chicago.
Another great candidate is Scott Westervelt, a Republican, who is now a Groton Independents partycandidate. He was rather like a petunia in an onion patch as the only Republican on the Council, but he is balanced, considered in his stance and favors what is right for our community, no matter what partisan pressure is being exerted. It is in his nature to be reflective, but he has found his voice and he will use it for us.
I have never been a “pull the party lever” voter, but this year I just might be. Genevieve Cerf, Bill Furgueson, Lauren Gauthier, Bruce McDermott, and Scott Westervelt make up the new Groton Independents Party. There was no place for them at the table of their once party affiliations because of their radical ideas of serving the people. (Being on the Council is a pretty good gig if it weren’t for the people.) They support the novel idea that the townspeople should be allowed to speak at every Council meeting instead of once a month. They believe that our elected representatives should be allowed to speak and debate our issues. They believe in not hiding behind “executive sessions.” They want transparency so that FOIA requests are a rare occurrence rather than the standard course of business in order for citizens to learn about what the secretive Gang is doing. They support citizen input on proposals and the business of the Town rather than the “I think you’re going to like what we’ve done for you” I once heard.
David McBride needs special mention. His sign sits in front of our house as well. He is strong, balanced, a thinking man and is not a knee jerk supporter of any party. He makes his decision on the merits of any proposal.
There are two Republican candidates that should be given consideration, Ms. Pantea Umrysz and Mr. Thomas Frickman. They are two new fresh faces who believe in the people’s voice in our government. Let’s give them a try once we elect in Portia Bordelon, Genevieve Cerf, Bill Furgueson, Lauren Gauthier, Bruce McDermott, Scott Westervelt and David McBride. Those two plus these seven make a full and honorable Council.