Follow, Or in This Case, Support the Leader
As Woodbridge moves into the municipal campaign cycle, also known as “silly season,” we’d like to remind voters that the local Republicans and our allies have consistently been the source of the best solutions for preserving and leading our town. Candidate slates will be selected and announced in July, with texting, political mail, newspaper ads and other campaign activities to follow. We expect Democratic candidates to claim some of our ideas as their own. On November 7, we hope voters will remember that the Republicans have been focused exclusively on our town all along and have consistently offered the best ideas for advancing Woodbridge.
Already, the announced Democrat candidate for First Selectman has commented that the long-term future of the Country Club of Woodbridge is the biggest issue the Town faces. We agree; indeed, this has been the case since the property was purchased by the Town 13 years ago. The issue became even more obvious when the Democrat administration chose to cancel golfing operations and so stopped the property from generating revenue. Over many years, even the four years when the aforementioned candidate served on the Board of Selectmen, no progress in reaching town consensus was achieved. Instead, the Democrat leadership seemed singularly focused on selling the property for housing while leaving the clubhouse in disrepair. In sharp contrast, the Republicans and our candidates advocated in the campaign 10 years ago that an expert in golf course repurposing should be engaged while the property was still in good shape. The Democrat majority did nothing. Today, the Republican position remains clear – bring in an expert to analyze the multiple ideas that have repeatedly been offered by civic-minded residents and organizations, present the facts in a series of public forums, and see which one makes the most sense to town residents. There should be no predetermination that development is the only answer, and no “shopping” the development idea to multiple town boards as has been the case. It’s time we got serious about achieving consensus on the future of this valuable asset. The Republicans have a clear vision to make that happen.
It’s worth highlighting the blighted condition of the clubhouse, and the related lack of security. Two editions ago this column focused on the mess that building has become, and offered video evidence. Thank you to the hundreds of residents who logged in to see the video we posted documenting the horrible condition of the building. Our column inspired action, as soon thereafter the Board of Selectmen held an executive session to discuss clubhouse security. While we’re glad the Democrat leadership realized the problem, we wish they had been proactive and avoided the needless deterioration of a valuable asset.
Republicans have pointed out for years that our Town Charter (which serves as our local Constitution) should be updated to better serve Town residents. A recent state law now requires our town to convene a charter revision commission by 2025. The Democrat candidate for First Selectman seems to be jumping on the charter revision bandwagon. However, it appears he was silent on the issue when he served on the Board of Selectmen, even though Republicans at the time were calling for sensible charter revisions such as putting the annual town budget to a vote by referendum, rather than the antiquated town meeting process. Republicans remain strong in our push for an annual budget referendum. We also continue to argue that our Board of Finance should be elected, not appointed. Voters, please note that candidates advocating charter revision should specify what potential changes should be on the agenda of a Charter Revision Commission. It is disturbing that this topic reached the lips of a Woodbridge Democrat only when it came from “the top,” in this case, a Hartford statute. There was nothing preventing the formation of a charter revision commission years ago, except for the desire of the majority party to maintain the status quo. We need leadership that recognizes issues and takes action, not leadership that “waits for orders.”
One last point for readers. Think back to previous editions and the topics covered by my counterpart in the column opposite this one, then consider what we cover here. Republicans are focused on identifying important Woodbridge issues – and only Woodbridge issues – and offering solutions. The other column has been literally all over the map discussing national, state, and social issues. As the “silly season” progresses, we ask you to remember who’s been with you on important local issues all along, and who will lead the way moving forward.
<span class="fineprint">This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.</span>