October 20, 2009

And, finally, the 3rd District debate

And now for the district with no incumbents.
Please forgive me for using DC for Derek Czenczelewski. That's a tough name to type quickly!
All four candidates are here: DC, David Mills, Kate Matthews and Terry Parker.
It's noteworthy that Matthews is the first woman to sit up there for the debates the whole evening (though Bishop would have been here, too, save for a poorly timed flu).
There hasn't been a woman on the council since Ellen Zoppo departed two years ago after her mayoral bid fell short. I'm not sure how long, if ever, there's been more than one woman councilor among the six.
Bristol remains a little behind the times on such things.

Q - INdustrial park...
Matthews said the city has four options to accelerate the sale of lots in the new business park off Middle Street -- to give BDA more money to advertise more effectively, possibly hiring a professional broker "to push those lots," perhaps dropping the price or working out other financial arrangements, and the city could offer increased tax abatements.
Mills said there is an opportunity "to determine what we want to go in there."
The city should "make a list" of which companies are wanted and then go out and recruit them.
Parker said it is about marketing and tax breaks.
"We also have a great opportunity and we also have a great site," Parker said. Because Bristol is halfway between Boston and New York, it's attractive.
DC said he agrees marketing is crucial. He urged local, regional and national advertising. He said Bristol "lags behind" in information technology and ought to try to cluster firms in the park.
Clustering can "create a snowball" and can be a success, DC said.

Q -- Forestville... and 72...

Mills said the city should follow the recommendations of the study five years ago. Improving the pedestrian flow in the village center is important. He said that the old Sessions building could perhaps house condos.
The Forestville Village Association should play a role. The new road will make the area more viable than it is today.
Parker said that ROute 72 creates "a great opportunity."
He said the city should investigate removing the island in the center. It is imperative that whatever is done be "the people's development" and not a City Council one " so we can have development that is in the character of Forestville."
DC said condos are a good idea.
He said the new road is going to be a tremendous boost for Forestville by "opening up the entire area."
Matthews said she read the Route 72 corridor study, which is "a comprehensive, forward-looking" report that she endorses. I'll link to it later.
She said she is a lifelong Forestville resident "and a lot of people in my part of town" are concerned about what changing traffic patterns may mean. "This issue needs to be handled with care," Matthews said.
Matthews called for a holistic approach that deals with the wide range of issues that Route 72 will create.

Q -- marketing...

Mills said that until Bristol identies what it wants to be, attracting people to town will be hard. He said the city needs to tackle blight and "sell cleanup to everyone," improve the city's gateways.
He said he would like to get local landscapers to agree to care for one of the gateways.
"It's critical that we market the city the way we should," Mills said, including improving the city's website.
Parker said the city is unique in that it borders six other towns. Each has unique gateways to Bristol. Landscaing idea is "great," he said.
Parker said the BDA needs the tools to market the city.
DC said that Bristol's economy is now 20 percent in digital information, due to ESPN. A lot of people want to work there and we should encourage other jobs in the same sector to grow the IT cluster.
"We have a lot of other opportunities" beyond ESPN in the same business, DC said.
Matthews said the city need to make sure that zoning is business friendly and making a place where companies want to come, providing quality schools, safe streets and more.
"We have to make Bristol a worthwhile place to live and I believe we do," she said, and to keep pushing forward to preserve quality of life.
"We also have a highly qualifed workforce," she said.

Q -- marketing...

DC said the first step is to get the BDA, BDDC and chamber to get on the same page. THey need to meet montly to improve communications.
The city needs to revamp its website and to utilize social media.
The bedrock of any community are its working families, Matthews said, where excellent schools are crucial.
Matthews said she would continue the grants and incentives the BDA has used successfully to lure business to town.
Mills said bringing people to Bristol "is just like recruiting." First you need to analyze the need, then where do you find it. You have "go out and do your homework." Then list them and contact them. Follow up with those that show interest. "Invite them to the city," Mills said.
Ties in to cleaning up city and improving gateways. It ties into downtown where you don't want "a desolated, vacant lot," Mills said. The mall site "is crucial."
Parker said all of the suggestions "are great ideas."
"We are a great community," Parker said, and "this is an economic force to be reckoned with."

Q - higher ed...

Parker said this community has long sent students to all of the state universities. The president of the state university system is someone Parker has known for two decades. He said the city can talk to him. He's a visionary, he said.
"We can probably work something out," Parker said.
Mills said the city should approach nearby schools. It could also potentially partner with Bristol Hospital to help train people it needs. It could be "a great marriage," Mills said.
He said that developing Depot Square into a destination offers the hope of attracting more.
"Depot Square is the catalyst that's going to turn our city around," Mills said.
Matthews said she echoes some of Mills' comments. She said the site is a great site for a college branch.
"We may have some difficulty marketing that," Matthews said. She said the Tunxis satellite in town is underutilized and needs to "do what it should be doing."
Others will wonder if it's a good place to be if Tunxis isn't fully utilized downtown.
Matthews said that education is key.
DC said that with the struggling economy "a lot of people have been going back to school."
Tunxis may want to expand in Bristol.
It might also be able to attract a training school, too, DC said.
He said that a rich nightlife would help attract youths to Bristol.

Closing statements...

Matthews said she is a mother, wife, homeowner and lawyer who has lived her whole life in Bristol. She said she's looking forward to sending her young daughter to the new k-8 school on Pine Street.
"In these trying times," she said, the city needs to be fiscally conservative.
She said she is "an ethicak, fair and independent-minded" person.
Mills said that over the last two months he's had "so many people come up to me and ask what are you doing?"
"I'm excited about Bristol's future," Mills said. He said he's tired of people saying, "This is Bristol. What do you expect?"
With two new schools, tranforming Forestville "into a quaint, welcoming village" and more, Bristol will be the city we all want.
Parker said he's lived in Bristol for 40 years. He said he's been an election moderator for more than 20 years, raised a family "and I do love this city."
"This community is a community in transition" and Depot Square will help define what kind of community it becomes, Parker said.
He said he is committed to getting the input of as many residents as possible on key issues.
"The people have a right to be heard," Parker said.
DC said he is "relentless" and "will keep hammering away" to accomplish his goals.
He said he has a solid education and leadership skills. He said he decided to run "nearly five years ago."
Bristol has "done nothing" with the mall site. Now is the time to do something, he said.
*******
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

17 comments:

Parker it somewhere else said...

Parker shows what a clueless dullard he is when he comments that the fact that Bristol is "halfway between Boston and New York" is a marketing tool for an industrial park. Hey dumb-a__: it's about the cost of doing business. That's why ESPN is here, not the location. Location is irrelevent when talking manufacturing (this is an industrail park nit-wit). Companies have moved their operations overseas or at least outside of the US. Being one of and in the middle of two of the least competitive states is a disadvantage you dope.

Anonymous said...

Matthew's rhetoric is shallow and vague, yet she's better than most of these Democrat buffoons.

But at least Mills has common sense end experience (and unlike Matthews) does more than state the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Yes Kate, lets spend more. That's the true tax and spend liberal you are. Did you get your feeble talking points from Ellen? I hope they're marketing tha place for crying out loud! Sell the entire parcel to someone who knows what to do with it, and that's not the Democrat controlled Bristol City Hall.

Anonymous said...

DC blew me away tonight. He sounded articulate, intelligent and was very likable. His closing speech was really impressive. He and Dave have my vote!

Anonymous said...

I thought that Kate was the most specific with her responses.

I think she would be an asset to the council.

chris wilson said...

isn't it peculiar that with education making up in excess of 50% of the city budget yet not one question relative to education?

I know the event was sponsored by the GBCC but I belive business groups are as interested in education as rte 72, depot square and the other issues discussed.

Maybe they'll talk about education in the next debate!

Concerned Conservative said...

Chris: I agree.

1) Are we still on track to spend $150 million on this controverisal new K-8 monstrosity?

2) Why is the BOE wasting money on buying cars for drivers Ed.? And on top of that why aren't the taxpayers supporting American firms?

3) Why is referring to our national holiday, Thanksgiving, forbidden? It's called "turkey day" (perhaps referring to most of the members of the BOE) instead.

Anonymous said...

what is with this - Let's get business to spruce up the landscaping on the entry to towns -- "gee,last I checked they pay taxes too!" hello - then the city needs to take care of this - not look for more handouts from businesses that are already struggling and contributing much already.

BDA - I was hoping someone would say the obvious - we have an inefficeint, lame director in the BDA. If we have to opportunity to hire the right person - someone who cares and works - then the possibilities are endless! Instead we look at all the work arounds rather than solve the problem.

Concerned citizen - yes the school is still on track - which could be really amazing for the community!

And the cars bought by BOE for driver's education - the question should be: does the tuition for the driver's ed at $425/student cover the cost of the instructor, cars, insurance and all else that goes into the program. if it does - or is close, we are all better off to have well trained teen drivers!

Anonymous said...

12:07 you're dead on; I was truly impressed by Derek's remarks, and well thought out responses.

Parker lived up to my lowest expectations...come on, his closing statement - If you don't vote for me then just vote for all the other Democrats - are we supposed to march along like brainwashed robots?

I was really expecting more from Mrs. Matthews. As an attorney I thought she would have done more research into the specifics of the issues and could have been more eloquent. Also, as someone who practices construction law, I thought she would have had a lot more to say about screening contractors.

I was going to vote for Mills no matter what he said, but used the debate to pick my second vote. Unless something major changes, I'm giving it to Derek.

Anonymous said...

I thought you weren't a brainwashed robot? "I was going to vote for Mills no matter what." Pleeasse!!! Mills is well known and that's the only reason he is getting elected and you know he will. Everyone in this town knows him, but that doesn't necessarily mean he would make a good councilman. It's like picking the most popular guy in school just because he's the most popular guy in school. I think you are a brainwashed robot and a republican one at that!

Anonymous said...

12:33

Too bad that he mayor doesn't have the brains or guts to pick up on the suggetsion from Stortz (see other thread)

We need to do something!

Anonymous said...

we are doing something. have you not read the papers? have you not been to any meetings of the bddc? we're doing all we can in a bad economy. let's do it right and take our time or else we'll have another route 6 on our hands or worse!

Anonymous said...

You are right Dereks answers and comments were great but then agian how much does he really know about the real world. He lives at home with his parents, while I am glad to see he that he went to school thats all he has done is school, part time work at ESPN and live at home.
He is a great kid but needs some real world experience, I went to college also but it did not totally prepare me for real world, like taxes , marriage, owning my own home ,kids these types of expereinces you can not learn in a classroom they are ojt and no matter how much you do them you are still always learning something, college is great but real world experiences are what really teaches you something that college and living at home don't.

Anonymous said...

7:19

I have attended meetings, I read the papers including those out side of Conn.

I talk with and LISTEN to people.

Bristol cannot wait for someone else to pick up the slack.

Start with BDA, but some one has to put it ALL together and Rosenthal isn't the one!

Anonymous said...

9:20 - Marriage, having kids and paying taxes on your home are the life lessons Derek lacks? I know plenty of people who rent, are single or dating and have no children who would disagree with you.

Admit it, you have no reason to dislike the guy. You said it yourself that he gave great answers. This is the kind of guy we need on the council. Youth and new blood!

Anonymous said...

Mills was a dissapointment!

Anonymous said...

Give Derek a chance,never say never,he might be smarter than the rest of the candidates!Terry Parker,how many times are you gonna run?There is probably a better chance Ward won't have a drink tonight!I'm sorry,both things are IMPOSSIBLE!!!