Here’s the Courant’s editorial today:
October 19, 2007
The decay of inner suburbs has foretold regional ills in some parts of the country. That hasn’t happened in Connecticut, by and large, but it is in the state’s interest to keep its inner suburbs strong. West Hartford has been one of the state’s best-run inner-ring communities, even drawing residents from outer suburbs. The town has gained momentum in recent years, and the town council incumbents responsible deserve re-election.
They withstood lawsuits and withering criticism to support Blue Back Square, a smart growth project in West Hartford Center. Now that the $158.8 million entertainment, shopping and residential project is opening, their resolve is being rewarded.
Development efforts are also underway in Elmwood, on Park Road and elsewhere. The town’s schools remain strong and cannot be shortchanged. The Democrat-led council has undertaken an array of other initiatives, from green energy to traffic calming and a bicycle task force. By contrast, the Republican challengers offer few new ideas beyond unspecified budget cuts and efficiencies.
Residents can vote for six council candidates. Nine will be elected, with a maximum of six from one party. The Courant recommends:
Scott Slifka, 33, is a Democrat and a lawyer. Mayor since 2004, Slifka has emerged as one of the top municipal leaders in the state. He is a poised, he listens and he thinks creatively.
Carolyn Thornberry, 59, a consultant, is a Democrat running for her third term. She was behind elderly tax relief, a new senior center and new playing fields, among other things.
Chuck Coursey, 44, is a Democrat who runs a public relations agency. He is seeking a third term, and has been responsible for project oversight of Blue Back Square. He has championed smart growth development in commercial centers and a number of quality of life issues.
Joseph Verrengia, 43, is a Democrat and West Hartford police officer seeking his second full term on the council after being appointed to complete a partial term. Mr. Verrengia switched parties after bucking GOP leadership to support Blue Back Square. He is a budget hawk and has a strong interest in the Elmwood neighborhood.
Shari Cantor, 47, also is a Democrat seeking her second full term. She is an accountant and has played a key role in budget matters.
Tim Brennan, 37, is a Democrat seeking office for the first time. He is a lawyer and the son of two local teachers, and has a strong interest in schools, senior issues and energy policy.
Also worthy of consideration are:
Leon S. Davidoff, 45, a business owner and lawyer. A Republican, Davidoff brings considerable experience, having served on the Newington town council in the 1990s as well as on West Hartford’s plan and zoning commission.
Steven Adler, 46, is a Republican and an insurance operations manager. Currently a member of the zoning commission, he would emphasize fiscal discipline and economic development.
Kelly A. Clark, 29, is a lawyer and a Republican seeking her first term. She is attuned to issues involving younger residents, and has a concern for traffic safety, among other things.
Also running are:
Peter Martin, 30, a lawyer and Republican seeking a first term. He stresses an open budget process and concern about taxes.
Michael Seder, 65, is a Republican seeking his first term. An industrial salesman, he has served on the Ledyard town council, and is focused on fiscal restraint and responsive government.
Joseph Visconti, 50, is a Republican and general contractor seeking his first term. An activist known for his opposition to Blue Back Square, Visconti says he champions fiscal discipline and public involvement in government.