Letter: Trust comes with time and performance

To the editor,

As I jogged around my neighborhood days prior to the election, I estimated the political signs for Hess and Rossi were a 60/40 split respectively. This was commensurate with the final vote tally, as well.

I voted for Pete Hess more so as an act of defiance to scorn current leadership rather than an acknowledgement that I agree with his political ideology. Honestly, I’d rather see Alex Olbrys or Seth Bronco as mayor. These young bucks lacked the political pretentiousness exhibited by others and had the courage to champion drastic changes — like altering the Borough’s charter regarding budget referendums — ostensibly because they had nothing to lose at the incipient stages of their careers.

Notice that towns with the lowest mill rates are the ones without town-managed systems. Funny how checks and balances work, isn’t it? This is why Naugatuck has a spending problem. Any politician opposed to allowing citizens to fully adjudicate the budget process (no minimum turnout percentage or referendum limit) isn’t the right choice for the Borough.

As each candidate was busy proving why one was more of a scoundrel than the other, they celebrated their fail-proof plans (panaceas per their supporters) that were full of pixy dust but lacked intricate details regarding implementation. This matched the platitude of usual political rhetoric during any other election season — and each candidate is myopic enough to believe their philosophy is 100 percent infallible (of course).

Pete’s “Smart Growth” plan calls for increasing the grand list first (attracting businesses) in order to lower the mill rate. Here’s why this is a fundamentally-flawed concept from a business perspective: the mill rate needs to be lowered first in order even get the attention of outside companies. There’s a reason why for-profit organizations are attracted to municipalities with lower mill rates, sound budget processes, and fiscally responsible records: profit margin — plain and simple. Naugatuck doesn’t currently fit that description, and this is the reason why commercial activity continues to flounder. Companies are financially prudent; they won’t make decisions out of pure benevolence because Pete Hess feels encouraged for the future or because he’s a swell guy. Corporate models aren’t predicated on propitious political visions or illusory growth plans.

Naugatuck’s good ‘olé Uniroyal and Goodyear days are clearly over. Politicians proclaiming that “the best days are ahead of us” provide nothing but lip service until they follow through on what they promise, and nowadays that’s a dangerously-rare combination.

Pete seems to be a good person and has a robust network of friends, but it’s not justifiable to award a position solely because a person is an old buddy that everyone fondly venerates. Politics is a business that doesn’t mix well with friendship. The duties of the office demand unbiased objectivity and a utilitarian approach where decisions are made for the greater good of all without pandering to specific cliques within the local gentry. Pete needs to be willing to make extremely tough decisions that won’t placate everyone, including friends. If performance doesn’t live up to expectations (no substantial tax relief) he can expect to face the possible consequence of not being re-elected by responsible voters that base their decisions on grounds of merit, irrespective of personal or professional esteem.

There’s no shortage of lawyers in politics, and past problems with lawyer-politicians are well documented in our country’s history due their habitual lack of ethical discretion and questionable performance. I hope that Pete’s an aberration to this trend, but he’s done nothing yet to deserve the clout normally ascribed to someone with a documented history of success. Confidence and trust come with time and performance; it’s not instantaneously bestowed. This is why it’s so vexing to see a preponderant amount of residents impetuously swooning over yet another attorney (almost in an act of desperation) that purportedly has a unique solution to solve all their hometown’s problems as if to achieve some philanthropic goal. You’ve been here before folks. Blindly investing all faith and credence into another poli-torney with unrealized claims has been a self-inflicted curse. We have the power to keep elected officials on a very short leash (a lesson Tamatha Rossi is learning), so let’s continue that trend and keep the pressure on.

Unfortunately, Pete’s also a member of a party that was actually having discourse over eliminating capitalism during a recent presidential debate. At one point, Bernie Sanders mentioned that the correct course of action for America was to abdicate capitalism altogether and

Pete: I pray you don’t subscribe to this notion nor undervalue the reason why America attained its reputation as the best country in the world. It’s attributed to capitalism — which is also the reason for your successes — and not premised on socialistic principles that engender policies of class warfare and entitlement.

Todd A. Thoren

Naugatuck