I thought one of the most egregious examples I have ever seen of a political leader ignoring a clear message from voters was when Groton Democratic Town Committee Vice Chair Natalie Billing attacked the main voter in his party’s recent primary for City Council.
Billing complained that voters had subscribed to a “false story” outgoing councilor Portia Bordelon’s campaign – that she was the only councilor to support the Mystic Oral School’s proposal any longer – to retain her seat on the council by forcing a primary, despite the overwhelming refusal of the party leadership to nominate the biracial woman for re-election.
Instead of celebrating Bordelon’s hard-won victory, Billing attacked the party’s most popular candidate and the people who voted for her.
But I saw another remarkable example of a political leader ignoring a loud and clear message from voters when Stonington First Selectwoman Danielle Chesebrough berated voters after Tuesday’s overwhelming rejection of the tax break offered by her administration to a wealthy developer offering more affordable housing for Pawcatuck.
Chesebrough called the huge corporate welfare vote she advocated “disheartening” and said voters were misled by social media.
It was Stonington’s version of attacking voters by accusing them of not understanding the facts. Like the party vice president in Groton, she basically said that they had bought into a false narrative.
In both of these cases, the elected leaders chose to question the wisdom of the voters instead of listening to what they had to say. In my mind, it turns its back on what democracy is meant to be.
In Stonington the message was loud and clear, and I would say the voters were quite knowledgeable and extraordinarily motivated. They ran in historic numbers for a referendum and rejected, in a ratio of over two to one, the city‘s generous tax relief offer to a Boston-based developer who expects to make a lot of profit from it. public investment.
Certainly, part of the overwhelming vote could be attributed to the residents of Pawcatuck who already have far more affordable housing in their community than any other part of town.
And, really, who could blame them for suggesting that it should be pretty common? And why should the city take a position where it officially endorses a single community for affordable housing? Due to the state’s affordable housing law, the more they grow Pawcatuck, the less likely it is needed in other parts of the city.
But I think the overwhelming message of the vote was not about affordable housing at all. This was a loud criticism of the practice of offering tax breaks to developers while we all continue to pay our fair share.
This is why people from all over town came in such large numbers. It wasn’t, the first woman chosen should understand, simply to reject affordable housing in Pawcatuck, but rather to tell the city to stop giving tax breaks.
Stonington shouldn’t come across as desperate.
Sadly, political leaders left Stonington voters with no choice but Chesebrough for the first selectman in the fall election, as she garnered support from Republicans and Democrats.
I bet she couldn’t do that anymore.
A long time ago, I lost confidence in his leadership.
First of all, it allowed a cascade demonstration, mediated by a press release, of the first checks of the coronavirus pandemic by Governor Ned Lamont, helping the city “Make hairstyles look great againâThe barber defied the governor’s public health orders. She did the exact opposite of what a leader should do in a public health crisis.
Then she refused to censor a city police commissioner for hateful Facebook reruns that attacked gays, “illiterate gangbangers crossing the southern border” and people of color who the reruns say may no longer deserve the call. tolerance.
Our selectwoman’s first response to these fanatical Police Commissioner’s views promoting intolerance: Oh, just Get to know him.
I was never going to vote for Chesebrough again, even before she decided to complain about misguided voters.
I don’t know how I ended up living in a place where the first woman chosen tells me I’m supposed to tolerate hate speech directed at me, which facilitates Trump protests and complains about voters who reject her welfare authoritarian.
The failure of the city’s political leadership left me with no alternative to turn to.
This is the opinion of David Collins.