Candidates are stepping forward to seek the Democratic endorsement for Common Council and Board of Education seats in addition to an open mayor’s seat. A five-member nominations committee met Thursday, June 9th to begin their review of candidacies and to plan interviews ahead of the DTC’s endorsement meeting to be held between July 19 and July 26.
Alderman Paul Catanzaro and State Rep. Tim O’Brien, who announced their candidacies weeks ago, have submitted their names in the mayoral contest for consideration by the screening committee. Democrats are also slated to endorse candidates for tax collector, city treasurer, 15 Common Council seats, three for board of education, two for Board of Assessment Appeal and four constables.
Incumbent Treasurer Teresa Sapieha Yanchak is expected to seek re-election.
For the Council the DTC has heard from a number of incumbents formally and informally who may seek a new two-year term, including Ward 4’s David DeFronzo and Larry Hermanowski, Ward 3’s Shirley Black and Emmanuel Sanchez, Ward 5’s Roy Centeno and Carlo Carlozzi, Jr. and Ward 2’s Tonilynn Collins. Republicans currently hold two seats in Ward One and a Democratic team will be selected from Democrats residing in Districts 1, 10 and 11 (Vance, First Church and HRA/Ben Franklin).
Council At large incumbents throwing their hat in the ring include the majority leader, Eva Magnuszewski, and Council President Mike Trueworthy. Democrats will also consider three other at large candidates to round out the five seats up for election citywide. Ald. Catanzaro’s mayoral bid opens a Democratic slot with the other two at large posts held by Republicans. New Council candidates to date include Laura Woodie, a DTC member from District 2 who ran two years ago, and Domenico Colossalle from District 1, a former longtime Director for Civil Preparedness.
Incumbent Board of Education members Aram Ayalon, Brian Riley and Carlos Pina Jr. will seek re-election to a four-year term. The Committee will endorse three candidates in July.
More candidates for city offices are expected to come forward by the June 23 meeting of the Town Committee. All interested Democrats may contact the DTC as soon as possible to be considered by the nominations committee for municipal office. Candidates are expected to complete a candidate information form as part of the endorsement process. The form is available online at https://newbritaindemocrat.org/2011-endorsements/. Submissions are requested by July 1 for candidates to be considered for recommendation by the nominating committee.
Serving on the Municipal Nominations Committee are DTC members Lidia Agramonte-Gomez, Rosemary Klotz, Peter Kochol, Rich Marzi and Emma Pierce.
Democrats To Meet Thursday, June 23rd
The Democratic Town Committee will meet Thursday, June 23rd at 7 p.m. at New Britain City Hall, 27 West Main Street, Room 504. All candidates seeking city offices will be introduced or announced at the meeting.
State legislation impacting New Britain will be discussed at the meeting that is open to all Democrats. The meeting will be held in Room 504 of City Hall.
Council Set To Vote June 22nd On COSTCO Zoning; Debate Escalates Over Legal Issues, Taking of Park Land
The debate over legal questions and appropriate use of city parks continues this month in the run up to a June 22nd Common Council vote on zoning approval of a COSTCO store at Stanley Golf Course. On June 7th, the City Council meeting as a zoning committee gave the go ahead on an 11 to 3 vote to a plan to develop a COSTCO store at Stanley Golf Course and take the woods of A.W. Stanley Park for replacement golf holes.
The Council committee vote last week followed a presentation by Mayor Stewart and representatives of COSTCO and public testimony that overwhelmingly opposed the plan that would put a COSTCO warehouse and parking lot on two holes of the golf course and build a tunnel to new holes at the park.
Proponents contend the COSTCO plan, including the conversion of wooded park land deeded to the city by Alix Stanley, is allowable for a development that will bring up to $475,000 in tax revenue and 200 jobs to a city in dire need of both. The land in question is ideal for the retailer for its proximity to one of the largest malls in the state along the I-84 corridor.
There is considerable doubt, however, over the legality of taking the Stanley Park woods — an issue taken up by Attorney General George Jepsen last week according to the Courant. Also sought is more independent information that will measure impacts on traffic, environment and wetlands.
In June 7th testimony, Bradley Klein, a senior writer for Golf Week magazine and expert on golf architecture, condemned the proposed changes to the Stanley course. As reported by the City Journal, he called the new design “a travesty.” Klein added that, given the decline in demand at 27-hole courses, a more feasible plan would be to reduce Stanley to 18 holes. adding junior golf training facilities and perhaps a new location for a driving range behind the frontage that would be used by COSTCO. Such a scheme would leave the woods untouched.
AG Jepsen’s inquiry — which will examine donor intent and a trust in which sales of the land would be placed –may be pivotal as to whether the project can move forward.
Downtown New Britain has good bones. The busway — let us hope — could be the push that triggers a renaissance. The other towns need to follow suit, as does the business community and the state Department of Transportation. The DOT isn’t doing much beyond applying for the last of the federal funds, expected this summer or fall. The thought is to crank it up when the money comes through. Why wait?
Courant Columnist Tom Condon June 12, 2010