Letter: Shelton needs visionary leadership, not Lauretti

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Contributed photo

To the Editor:

To no one’s surprise, Mayor Mark Lauretti announced that he would be seeking a 16th term in the mayor’s office at City Hall this last Tuesday. What was surprising is that he is under the impression that our community simply needs him to continue doing what he has been doing for three decades. There was no foresight or bold plans for our future and he did not explain how he intends to address any number of problems that our city currently endures. In the article, he continues to tout his plans for development of office and retail space in order to grow the grand list. He even touted that 300 more jobs will be coming to Shelton.

What he failed to mention is that we have an enormous amount of vacant office and retail space already. Bringing 300 new jobs to the city is like throwing a goldfish into one of the Great Lakes. The mayor’s economic plan does not even begin to meet our needs. Vacant property tends not to be cared for and very quickly loses its value. In short order it becomes blight. The good news for us is that we are not there yet. It is not too late. The mayor noted that Shelton has been transformed from a blue collar mill town to a corporate center. What he fails to realize is that Shelton is about to undergo another transformation, one where office spaces will not be as valuable as larger segments of our economy either choose or are asked to telecommute. With fresh visionary leadership, our concerns can be remedied, but it has become increasingly clear that a 30-year incumbent is not the person to lead us into the future.

I am calling on my colleagues on the Board of Aldermen to show their leadership by bringing new ideas to the table. Too many of them are under the thumb of the mayor and simply approve whatever he wants. This is a critical time that requires bold leadership from Shelton’s legislative body and our aldermen need to provide fresh ideas like I’ve shared previously. The BOA needs to shepherd our community into the future rather than relying on the economic plans of the past.

The BOA should direct the mayor to address urgent problems like the disarray of our police department, the abject failure of the city-operated school transportation system, our failing infrastructure and the chronic underfunding of schools. We can no longer tolerate this “dirt and duct tape” policy regarding repairs to our infrastructure like the routine chip sealing of worn roads rather than repaving. We can no longer tolerate the terrible treatment of our police officers which makes us all less safe and our students deserve to have reliable transportation to and from school where they should receive the highest quality educational experience.

Our community needs a drastic upgrade to the internet capabilities in our city. Coaxial cable from the late ‘80s will no longer serve the needs of our economy and is one of the main reasons that we have so many space available signs in front of our commercial spaces. The BOA should take the lead on this. Conversations should occur with companies that provide fiber-optic service and not just about running fiber throughout our city, but also about building utility space and hubs within our borders so that everyone in our city can have the internet capabilities needed for work, school and entertainment. We must do this so we can fill our vacant commercial spaces and then, and only then, we can consider further development. Once we do that, we will be in a position for our local economy to thrive. These things are all within our reach, and without increased cost, but the current administration, aldermen included, is not being honest about the problems that we do have so they are not capable of taking the bold action to address them. Please remember this when you cast your ballots this fall.

David Gidwani

Republican 1st Ward Aldermen