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Ignore The Man Behind the Curtain – At Our Peril

As I read the last edition of my counterpart’s column, it struck me there was a topic disappointingly missing from the piece – Woodbridge.  All the Democrat national talking points were there – pro-choice, gun laws, climate change, etc.  Even Donald Trump was mentioned.  Trump?  How in the world does a former President impact the important issues of Woodbridge?  Spoiler alert – he doesn’t.  The balance of the article is then a long list of Democrat candidate websites.  Not a lot of thought about or attention to Woodbridge.  And that, my fellow Woodbridge residents, is precisely the problem.

To be quite direct, nearly every major challenge we face as a town is courtesy of Democrats.  This is a fact.  The Country Club of Woodbridge was purchased under the leadership of a Democrat Board of Selectmen.  Yes, there was a town vote that favored the sale – but it was pitched as how we could save the property as open space, which would be a great benefit to the town.  Successive Democrat leaders have advocated solely for the property’s development.  The result is a controversial eyesore.  They even refused to allow residents to vote on the open-space-minus-10-acres proposal of the Woodbridge Land Trust and Woodbridge Park Association.  More controversy than benefit, all under Democrat leadership.  Now, with the specter of that property being a target for affordable housing, this situation, too, lies at the feet of our one-party rule.  The state law that has Woodbridge at the center of the housing controversy, was written, passed and strengthened by Democrats.  Again, fact.  There is no evil Republican influence doing these things to us, it’s all Democrats.

Another recent issue is the Amity Board of Education not returning surpluses to the three towns, as has been the practice for years.  There was zero effort to continue the practice or a willingness to legally defend the practice if challenged.  It is being driven by a Democrat majority on the Amity Board which has zero Woodbridge Republican representation.  We don’t seem to mind having the 7th highest mill rate in the state, but that feeling may change when the new Amity student census reveals that our share of the Amity budget is going up.  These important issues, my fellow Woodbridge residents, are the “man behind the curtain” and if we ignore how badly they are being handled, we’re in for continued failures in leadership.

Laying out facts such as these has been criticized as “talking down Woodbridge.”  Quite the contrary.  It’s how serious leaders correctly and transparently identify important issues.  Failure to do so is Pollyanna and demonstrates either a lack of awareness or skill to positively address and solve them.  Which brings me to our recent election and an issue that should back our Democrat leadership into a corner created by their own voters.

The majority vote in favor of “early voting” was clearly along party lines, with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it, right down to the “Vote Yes” lawn signs prominently displayed in front of the Democrat party tent outside the polls on Election Day.  Fine, majority rules and we go from there.  But let’s not overlook a similar Woodbridge issue:  how our local Democrat leadership has stubbornly refused to call for a Charter Revision Committee to examine any proposal to make the vote on our town budget an all-day, go-to-the polls referendum.  As those of us who have endured our annual town meetings know – if you are not in your seat at precisely voting time, yes, that one hour of the whole year – you don’t get to vote.  No way to square the enthusiasm for early voting with its anthesis – one hour, on a weekday, or you’re out of luck.  This is hypocrisy, not democracy.

It is no secret that what happens in Woodbridge today from a local government perspective is decided within the ranks of the local Democrat party.  Their public comments, press releases, newsletters and articles ignore, spin or gloss over crucial challenges we face.  A good place to start to right the ship, driven by the November 8 referendum results, is a Charter revision effort.  Amending the way we approve our budget is one of many positive changes we can make – all it takes is the Democrat majority on the Board of Selectmen to get the ball rolling and let the process play out transparently.

This is an opinion piece.

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