Democrat aldermanic candidate Ruben Rodriguez, left, withdrew his name from the Democrat slate yesterday stating his ideas were being ignored by mayoral candidate Neil O'Leary. The O'Leary campaign had a different spin on Rodriguez's departure. O'Leary was quoted in the Republican-American newspaper this morning saying that State Representative David Aldarondo, pictured above on the right, had engineered the defection after O'Leary had refused to put Aldarando's friends and relatives on his campaign payroll. The following two press releases refer to the incident. Photographs by John Murray

   Editor's note - For 18 years the Observer has published in-depth Q&A interviews with every mayoral candidate in Waterbury, and after that information was shared with our readers, we stopped covering the race. There are a lot of accusations and excitement during the final weeks of an election, but the Observer, a monthly newspaper,  didn't have a forum to respond to the unfolding drama. Now with our website, we can continue to cover issues up until election day. The question is how?

   We decided the fairest way was to bundle campaign press releases together and let our readers sort it out. For example, we received a strongly worded press release from the O'Leary campaign last night, and instead of publishing it on the website, we forwarded the allegations to the Jarjura campaign and gave them 24 hours to respond. The result is a point - counterpoint which is published below.

   Whichever campaign initiates the first strike, the other campaign, or campaigns, has 24 hours to respond. This new policy applies to the campaigns of Mike Jarjura, Neil O'Leary and Larry De Pillo.

Waterbury's Derek Poundstone successfully hoisted 913-pounds in the deadlift event at the 2011 World's Strongest Man Competition at Wingate University in North Carolina. It was a personal record.

  (The following is an account of Derek Poundstone's attempt to win the World's Strongest Man contest in North Carolina, USA, in September 2011. There were nine other athletes in the finals of the competition, but the Waterbury Observer focused primarily on Poundstone because he lives in Waterbury, Connecticut. He's our strongman. In tribute to the other athletes we've included more than a dozen images of their attempts to bring home the championship to their hometown, or country. It was an historic competition.)

   Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The massive bodies of strong man athletes are over-sized shock absorbers that cushion the pounding and abuse sustained during training and competition. Running fifty yards with 1000 pounds on your back places unimaginable stress on knees and ankles and lower backs. Pulling a two-ton Mack Truck 100 feet, pressing 342 pounds overhead for repetitions, and dead-lifting over 900 pounds are athletic feats that few men in the world can perform.

Mike Jarjura has enjoyed a magical run in Waterbury politics. He was elected five times as a State Representative in the East End, and has served five consecutive terms as mayor, tying him with Mike Bergin for the most consecutive terms in office, If Jarjura wins an historic sixth term in November he will establish a new record.

                   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’d like to be re-hired to.

Jarjura: The Mayor of the City of Waterbury is the chief executive officer of the corporation. It is a $400-million dollar budget corporation and has nearly 3,000 employees. The corporation provides a number of essential human services to over 110,000 people. In addition to being the CEO of the corporation, the mayor is also the chief elected official and really the number one public persona of the city. That’s really what the job as Mayor is best defined as.

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.

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