Story By John Murray

   The whispers started before Election Day. If Governor Dan Malloy won re-election Neil O'Leary was going to step down as mayor of Waterbury and join the Malloy administration. We disregarded the speculation until a close political insider said it was true. "If Malloy wins, O'Leary is gone."

   The Waterbury Observer just received a letter from Raechel Guest about the the challenges the city faces implementing aldermen by district in the coming months. Guest was a staunch supporter of electing aldermen by district and wrote this open letter to the 15 current aldermen who are tasked with executing the will of the people.

Dear Aldermen,

   After listening to Mayor O'Leary on WATR, it is my understanding that the boundaries for the new Aldermanic Districts will be drawn up by an outside consultant, guided by a commission to be selected by the Board of Aldermen. It is also my understanding that final approval of the plan rests with you.

   A message to the citizens of Waterbury from John Murray, the Publisher and Editor of The Waterbury Observer......

   There has been a lot on my mind the past few weeks as the Waterbury Observer has risked its objectivity to champion systemic change in Waterbury municipal government. I’ve published the Observer for 21 years and the newspaper has never endorsed a political candidate for public office. It was our original intent to provide information to our readers and encourage them to vote. At various times in the past two decades we have been referred to as the Bergin Gazette, a Democrat rag, in the tank for John Rowland, too close to Phil Giordano and a Neil O’Leary mouthpiece.

                                   Commentary By John Murray

   We received a text message the other day that simply said, "Can we get together and talk about this?" Not familiar with the number, or what we'd be talking about, we responded with, "Who are you?"

   It was community activist Steve Schrag and he wanted to get together to discuss the need for a stop sign in the South End of the city. We were on deadline of publishing blockbuster stories about an interview with a juror from the trial of former Governor John Rowland, and a huge commentary about our take on aldermen by district, and couldn't get our minds around the minutiae of a stop sign request.

                                   Commentary By John Murray

   In the past four months Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary has been successful in leveraging his influence on the local political scene to help secure $35 million dollars in state and federal aid. This November voters in Waterbury will be asked if they want to elect aldermen by district, or whether to keep the current at-large system in place. The idea of electing aldermen by district has been kicked around since 1994, and while much of the debate has been defined by ethnicity and skin color, it really is an issue of fairness and equal representation.

                           Story and Photographs By John Murray

   During jury selection for the trial of the United States of America versus John G .Rowland prospective jurors were handed questionnaires and asked to fill them out. Bob McCormack was in a crowd of more than 100 candidates, and when he read the first question he was sure that would be the end of his day in federal court. The question was, “Do you know John Rowland?”

   “Yes,” McCormack wrote. “Rowland was a 1975 classmate of mine at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.”


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