The three men vying to be elected mayor of Waterbury on November 5th are from left to right, Independent Party candidate Larry De Pillo, Democrat incumbent Neil O'Leary, and Republican candidate Jason Van Stone.

                                            Column by John Murray

   Trying to understand the 2013 municipal election in Waterbury is as slippery as black ice on an early morning in February. It’s the most low-key mayoral campaign the Observer has covered in 20 years, but trying to dig out the reasons is as elusive as trying to catch the Loch Ness Monster. Why? Because perspectives change from one political camp to another, and grasping reality in politics is like snatching a fistful of fog, they both leave you empty handed.

   Is it a foregone conclusion that Neil O’Leary will be re-elected on November 5th? Is that why it’s so quiet?

   “Nothing is guaranteed in politics,” O’Leary said. “There has been very little excitement in the campaign so far, and that may translate into low voter turnout. We’ve worked very hard and I’d like to think the citizens of Waterbury like the job we’ve been doing, but does a lack of excitement worry me? You bet it does.”

An autumn view down Pine Street in Waterbury. Photograph by John Murray

                                               By John Murray 

     For the past 18 months Larry De Pillo, middle, has unleashed a blistering attack on every proposal and action initiated by Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary (D). At hundreds of events and programs De Pillo, the Independent Party candidate for mayor, has blasted O'Leary as a dictator and a man out of touch with the Waterbury taxpayers.

   Earlier in the day the two men clawed at each during a mayoral debate on WATR while Republican Jason Van Stone, left, seized the middle ground. Tonight, during the second debate of the day, this one in the NOW Building, and conducted by the Waterbury Chapter of the National Conference of Black Women, one of the questions asked each candidate to name one thing O'Leary has done right in the past two years.

   When De Pillo said O'Leary was right in bringing economic development into the Mayor's Office, O'Leary crossed himself, and gave a quick thanks to God. It was the first positive thing Larry De Pillo had said about his administration in nearly two years, and O'Leary fully embraced the moment. 


   An actor, an architect, a lawyer, a philanthropist and an artist/farmer/engineer have been named to the Silas Bronson Library’s Waterbury Hall of Fame.  Dylan McDermott,  Joseph Stein, Susan Cecelia O’Neill, Edith Morton Chase and Hobert Victory Welton were selected by an 8-person board-appointed committee  on April 17.

   A ceremony that will be attended by the only living inductee, actor Dylan McDermott, will take place on Saturday, Nov 16, in the auditorium of Holy Cross High School, 587 Oronoke Rd, at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited. Admission is free. A reception will follow.

You don't have to travel into the wilds of Vermont and New Hampshire to marvel at autumn in New England. This photograph was taken Sunday afternoon, looking north from the Freight Street Bridge in downtown Waterbury, Connecticut. Photograph by John Murray

At the end of his speech tonight Vernon Riddick Jr. was overwhelmed by history. 

                                             By John Murray


   It was a dramatic evening inside the Palace Theater tonight as Vernon Riddick Jr. was sworn in as the 21st police chief in Waterbury history, and become the first African-American to lead the department.

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