Independent candidate Mark Blaschke said today that he's going to run for City Council again this year.
"We have to have some common sense in government here," Blaschke said.
Though Blaschke acknowledges that the political establishment doesn't take him seriously, he said he is willing to tackle the hard issues that politicians prefer to ignore.
He said, for instance, that the school system is socking taxpayers for too much.
Blaschke called for school Superintendent Philip Streifer and the entire Board of Education to resign.
"We have to start from scratch," Blaschke said.
He said the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., the nonprofit created during the Stortz administration to oversee the revitalization of the 17-acre downtown mall site, should be axed.
"It's a waste of the taxpayers' money," Blaschke said.
Blaschke, who lost a 2nd District council bid in 2007, said that he would also impose a 10 percent pay cut on top managers at City Hall and the school district.
One of the 2nd District's two incumbent councilors, freshman Republican Ken Cockayne, said his week he would seek reelection. The other, veteran Democrat Kevin McCauley, isn't talking about his plans yet.
Blaschke said that Cockayne is "way off base on the issues" and is too anti-union and too opposed to social programs in general. McCauley, he said, is mostly invisible.
He said the council needs someone who will stand up to the out-of-control school budget and oppose two proposed new schools sought by educators.
"We can't afford them," Blaschke said. "People are paying enough in taxes."
Blaschke said that the problems at City Hall extend beyond the high visibility issues that political leaders are taking the wrong stands on.
Even snow plowing, he said, is "getting a little slipshod."
Blaschke said the city needs to tackle big issues that it typically doesn't do anything about.
He said the methadone clinic on Farmington Avenue is attracting convicted felons to town, pushing up crime rates and holding down property values. It needs to be run out of town, Blaschke said.
He said he is opposed to Cockayne's push to tape the city's overfunded pension plans to cover at least part of the tab of a new trust fund to cover retirees' health care benefits.
"Don't touch the workers' pension fund," Blaschke said. "They should leave the pension fund alone."
Blaschke said he wants to run an upbeat, issues-oriented campaign.
But, he said, if his opponents want to tangle, he's ready.
He said that if Cockayne, with whom he has had run-ins since the last election, "wants to play boogie-woogie, I can play boogie-woogie with him, too."
He said the city leaders need to be held accountable.
"They're getting away with too much stuff," Blaschke said.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com