If you look at where we are in Norwich politics in comparison to just a week ago, you have to be impressed, or should be. If we keep going at this pace, by the end of the month, the only folks in Norwich NOT running for Mayor or for City Council will be just us two (what do you mean, will I sign your petition?).
There are now four candidates for Mayor, Joseph Radecki who was the Democratic Party endorsed candidate in 2001, is a petitioning candidate this time around. He is joined by three current aldermen, Mark Bettencourt who is the endorsed Democratic Party candidate this time, Peter Nystrom, who is the Republican Party endorsed candidate and Bob Zarnetske who is the candidate of the Norwich For Change Party, all seeking to become Mayor.
There are six vacancies on the Norwich City Council and, because of the State of Connecticut's provisions for minority representation, one party may hold no more than four seats (assuming that same party also elects the mayor), which has meant since charter revision in 2001 the other party (singular by design) would have the two remaining Council seats. Tip O'Neill really should have copyrighted the phrase 'all politics is local', he'd have made a fortune (I keep trying to register 'pony rides for my birthday' and end up with what looks something out of the pony's back end) and maybe that's what could be driving this year's City Council races.
The Democratic City Council nominees are six people (remember the magic number could be as few as four but no more than five) to include incumbent Alderman Pete Desaulniers, as well as former alderperson Jacqueline Caron, and Tucker Braddock, Wilson Fong, Deb Hinchey and Ron Ward. The Republicans have three people seeking City Council seats--incumbent Alderman Bill Nash joined by Dianne Slopak and Andreana Becker.
Here's the part I like: there are three more people seeking places on the City Council, all petitioning candidates as Norwich For Change Party nominees. They are John Andriote, Bob McCoy (I'm hoping he's gonna let me call him "The Real") and Tami Jean Patterson. I like choice a lot-I'd vote for Baskin Robbins, at least thirty-two times, if they'd run (although there are flavors of ice cream I wouldn't eat, I still like the idea that they're there for someone else to choose) but one of the aspects this season I especially like is the variety of viewpoints and perspectives the various people seeking office bring to the debate and the discussion.
I don't think we can have enough good ideas (and between you and me, from what I've been reading so far in this campaign I'm not sure how many ideas have been advanced). I've spoken out in the past that hope is not a plan and that leads me to be vocal in my support for Bob Zarnetske. What you might wish to do, if I may make a suggestion, is comparison shop (sounds so tawdry and I apologize but still....) and read all the newspaper articles you can put your hands to (the Otis Library has some great archives of local newspapers in case your pony has ruined your collection), check out candidate websites, and make it a point to seek out the debates and voter forums between now and November.
You cannot ever make an overly informed choice. It is just NOT possible. Instead, you can sift through the words and thoughts and look for the ideas that you feel are most worthwhile and the plans for implementing them and then form conclusions on who it is that can get us, as a city, to where you've concluded we need to be heading. This time we have choices and divergent voices to better reflect both the city we are as well as the city we wish to become.
If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. Just how many more abandoned mills, surrounded by pot-holed filled streets through blighted neighborhoods do you think we need? Yeah, me too.