Neil O'Leary marching along Baldwin Street during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Interview and Photographs By John Murray
Observer –How do you define the role of mayor in Waterbury? Give a brief description of the job you are applying for.
O’Leary: I define the role of the mayor of Waterbury as the number one person responsible for the day to day operations of the city. The person who is solely responsible for the perception of the city. The person who should be the city’s biggest cheerleader on a 24-hour, seven-day a week basis. The person who has to collaborate with all the department heads for the running of the city. The person who has to offer a listening ear to his constituents who have elected him to run the city, and understanding the citizens are his bosses. A mayor must remain ever sensitive to the needs of the community and his constituents. They elected him for a reason, and we must never forget that if the people elect us then they have elected us for a reason, and what were those reasons? Obviously, strong leadership skills. Obviously, strong trust between the candidate and the constituents. Obviously, a belief that the person they are voting for is going to lead their city in the direction they want to see it go in. I think that is what the mayor’s primary responsibilities are. I think what happens a lot, especially if a person is a long-term incumbent, is that those constituency beliefs some how get watered down over time. I like to call it I.A., not the internal affairs as I’m familiar with, but incumbent arrogance. It’s not something that an incumbent sets out to strive for, it’s something that just develops over time.
Larry De Pillo has placed his name before the voters in Waterbury 14 consecutive years. He has been a relentless watchdog of municipal government, and a tireless community activist.
Interview and Photographs By John Murray
Observer - How do you define the role of mayor in Waterbury? Give me a brief description of the job you are applying for.
De Pillo -The Mayor of Waterbury is the leader of the city government and his job or her job is to make sure that the taxes are kept in check, to make sure that the citizens receive the services that they’re paying for, and that he is either capable himself, or with the team that he puts together, to continue to grow the grand list by bringing new businesses to the city. The mayor also must meet with the business community on a regular basis to make sure that their needs are met because without a stable business community you do not have a stable job base. Waterbury’s strength is the fact that it has strong neighborhood groups and the mayor must make sure that they are satisfied with the services being provided as far as the parks in their areas, the cleanliness of the streets and sidewalks in their area, and that if there are issues regarding blight and crime that they get addressed. To me, that’s the job of the mayor of the City of Waterbury.
The Observer has concluded its Q&A interviews with the three mayoral candidates in Waterbury and will publish the results in its October 14th edition. Most of the headlines in the daily paper continue to bleat on about remarriages, brothels, and a car provided to a prominent State's Attorney. That may help Republican-American publisher Bill Pape sell more newspapers, but the people on the street don't give a crap about these issues. The voters want to know how the three candidates - incumbent Mike Jarjura, and challengers Neil O'Leary and Larry De Pillo, plan to address the major challenges facing the City of Waterbury. Those issues are unemployment, growing the grand list, revitalizing downtown, charter revision, aldermen-by-district, blight, brownfields, public safety, park maintenance, education, the Greenway, water, manufacturing, and the biggest issue of all - taxes.
Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Yonten was raised in Zanskar Valley in the Himalayan Mountains of North India. Zanskar is one of the most isolated and desolate valleys on Earth, and Yonten has vowed to build a school there to help keep the endangered Tibetan culture alive. Yonten will be in Waterbury on Wednesday, October 5th, at the Mattatuck Museum, showing a documentary film about his project. The event begins at 6 pm with light refreshments and a short talk. Then the film, "Journey From Zanskar", will be aired. The suggested donation is $10. Photograph by John Murray
On a recent trip down to North Carolina to cover the World's Strongest Man competition, the Observer swept into the nation's capital to check out the new monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. The monument dedication was originally scheduled for late August, on the same day Hurricane Irene battered the East Coast. Wisely, the event was re-scheduled to Sunday, October 16th, 2011. The photographs were taken by John Murray, the publisher of The Waterbury Observer. The following information was taken directly off mlkmemorial.org, the official website for the monument.
King Bhumibol of Thailand is the longest reigning monarch in the world.
Column By Don Coppock
I recall my first visit to Bangkok . I was taking a tour of the city, we were bogged down in one of the city's usual traffic jams, and the tour guide was talking about all things Thailand.
We were about to enter the King's Grand Palace, so I asked him his thoughts on the King. He smiled and his eyes got a glassy look as he began, ‘I love my King...’