Glenn Ouellette for Mayor: The choice for a new generation of leaders

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O P I N I O N

THE SOAPBOX

STAND UP. SPEAK UP. IT’S YOUR TURN


We’ve got some serious challenges facing Manchester’s Queen City in the next two years, but if there’s one thing I know, we always overcome what we tackle together.

As a candidate for Mayor in the upcoming Primary Election, I have a clear understanding of the problems, and a vision for a solid plan to move Manchester forward.

This is what we can do in this city of Manchester with ideas toward moving a forward vision as citizens of One Voice – One City Government – heard loud and clear by working together to resolve our City/School’s major problems on a long-term solution with a lasting fix, ending results for the future of our beloved Queen City.

We can build a city that brings people together, instead of dividing people, and this is my vision as your next elected Mayor, ‘The People’s Mayor’ of the City of Manchester.

Over the course of this campaign, I have proposed many ideas on how to better manage our City/School government more efficiently and always having a common sense position to back my solid decision, making for what is best for the Queen City of Manchester and not what is best for the special interests. Many of the ideas have been inspired by what has worked in many other regions and other cities across America – Canada and the world around us. I will be the Mayor YOU can count on, to work for YOU, the people, and not against YOU as others at City Hall have in the past 17 years of patching away our City/School problems with nothing to show for it, but of the same issues being worse today than yesterday.

Manchester’s Tomorrow Must Be Better Than Today’s

We should have come to the conclusion that the short-term 17-year path to patching our way in solving our major problems by now just doesn’t work. It’s just more throwing of the same repeated wasted tax dollars, going after the same old problems of yesterday, years gone by without any lasting results to show for it.

In the past 17 years for instance, we have spent $100 Million of our tax dollars to recover and repair our roads – streets – alleys and sidewalks, only to have used $85 Million Wasted to keep patching the same pot holes 17 years in a row and only $15 million to actually fix in a solid way some of our highways in a long-term direction with lasting results. The same thing has happened with the school district’s redistricting process: 17 years later we have spent $1.7 million of wasted tax dollars, only we’re not getting any lasting results for it. We still haven’t completed the MDS Redistricting 17 years later, that every other school district in America has succeeded on their first try. That kind of local government status quo must change, and change for the betterment of today, for our city’s future, if we are ever to fix the City/School problems that will last long enough to get to the other problems that Manchester faces.

Another few examples where the City/School government of Manchester have misplaced our future priorities and wasted our limited resources, where today we the taxpayers are paying for the past, and it unfortunately continues in 2017.

The City sold the Canal Street Parking Garage back in 2003 at $3.3 million, yet we owed a debt on it for $2.6 million and we have been paying it down for the last 14 years. With three more years to go,  after selling it and not owning it, affects our city budget to this day. We destroyed and moved the Singer Family Soccer Field that we still had a debt of $1.9 million owed and built a new one across the city at another $2 million – on top of that, we are still paying today. We built the Fisher Cat Baseball Stadium, but because we built it with less quality materials than the plan called for, we had to add another $1 million for otherwise unnecessary repairs to the already $5 million that our taxes pay on it yearly.

We sold the Ash Street School that we owned and it was paid for $1 million, but only received $400.000 of it, then proceeded to spend $355,000 for 5 years at $1.775 million, spent to rent space for the Board of School Committee to meet in down in the Millyard. We then bonded $1.7 million on an Administration Condo that could have been paid for in 5 years with having $75.000 tax dollars left over. We added $228,000 for condo fees per year on top of our debt ceiling. And we sold just 1½ years ago the old police station on Chestnut Street, valued at $2.8 million, and gave it away after refusing two other investors wanting it for $1.8 and $1.2 million respectively, but the city declined and sold it for $250,000. Today we are in the process of trying to buy it back for $750,000, or a loss of half-a-million dollars that the taxpayers will pay for a second time on this building – plus the added projected repair and adding another floor to it, at another $1 million.

These are just highlights in some of the worse waste and mismanagement by our past and present elected officials in the last 17 years, and it goes on and on to this day.

When is enough – enough and when will we elect a City Mayor with common sense decision-making that works for the people and not against them? 

That’s why I will continue to support the Tax Cap as your next Mayor and weed out this continued waste of your hard-earned tax dollars.

Too many of those elected officials think that’s it’s OK to break our City Charter – that it’s OK to break laws, even though they took an oath to defend and abide by those laws. The solutions are simple: Stop the wasting and giving away of the city’s prosperity.

Fixing our City/School problems with the lasting resolve to get the Job Done Right the first time.

I would negotiate the replacement of Yarger-Decker with an equitable program, either a choice of an IRA or a 401(k) plan account with both City/School employee contracts contributing to an equal amount respectfully agreed upon.

I would complete the MSD redistricting school project finalized and ready for the beginning School Year of 2018 – not wait another 17 years of failed tries that has already cost us some $1.7 million with no ending results. I will end this project and get it done right to save millions and allow us to plan for the future, in filling up those areas of need of improvement, with the help of our superintendent. This will be our 18th and final try to get it right the first time around, as your New Mayor.

We will sell the school business condo of the MSD administration and have it relocated in a wing at West High School by the opening of School in 2018. We will get $2 million for the sale of the School Administration condo, pay off the remaining bond immediately and take what’s left of the condo sale monies to refit the new planned Administration offices.

I would create an emergency short-term road patch guaranteed to last two years, giving the city time to prioritize which streets should be repaired – done right the first time for a solid fix to last 20 to 25 years without having to revisit them every year.

For Manchester’s safety I will maintain the 237 complement of police officers steadily (all 12 months of the year) if need be, to keep all our citizens –  young and old alike – safe by day and Nnght, as a necessity. Add three new police officers in 2018 and four others added in 2019 ending the next two years with a full complement, from 237 now to 240 in 2018 and 244 by the end of 2019.

I will restart the Neighborhood Crime Watches, at least one for each of the city’s 32 neighborhoods, by providing the tools and funding needed to the MPD. We use to have over 36 active city Crime Watches before Mayor Gatsas and Alderman Craig were elected into office, but they did not maintain the funding to operate them and look were we are today. More crimes committed by criminals who rule our parks by day and take over our streets by night to create some of our most horrific criminal activity in Manchester.

I will reopen all city parks closed or restricted from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in daytime usage during school hours and put a police presence on foot patrols, if needed, to keep those parks safe for all of our school children and residents alike, who choose to use them. As mayor I would also add a police presence on foot patrol to walk the downtown parks once per hour after the 9 p.m. curfew till day break to enforce it.

I will reopen Veteran’s Memorial Park’s public bathrooms. Over the last six years both Mayor Ted Gatsas and Alderman Joyce Craig voted to close them, while still charging the taxpayers to maintain them. Just more wasted tax dollars under their leadership, without results of solving any of the real collective criminal problems. As your next Mayor, I will add cameras in the public hallways and in the entrance/exit ways to oversee that area and monitor for criminal activity.

I would speed up the graffiti removal to take back the control from the gangs operating in our city. Today it is out of control and we must take back our Queen City from the graffiti offenders.

I would hold quarterly open discussion meetings with the professionals on drugs & city crimes until the epidemic is over, and do the same with all religious organizations to meet quarterly at the City Hall Chambers to resolve our major city problems.

Recognizing that local partnerships are critical to tackling substance abuse,my initiatives would support programs and go after more federal grants to effectively support our city in preventing youth and adult substance abuse. Many of my supportive programs would be of matching federal/state and private/public grant funding where the city provides a one-to-one match in local funding.

I will work toward changes in the Cadillac employee contracts for their overreach and unaffordable salary increases of Manchester’s tax cap that must and will be followed under my Mayoral administration. I will strongly recommend that next City/School employee contracts being negotiated in 2018 be less rich in salaries and that an increase to their health co-pays meet the 20 to 25 percent criteria of the next signed contracts. I will not support either the City/School budget overrides in order to cover over-the-top tax cap contracts of any kind. I support the tax cap that our citizens favor as well (by over 75 percent of the property taxpayers within Manchester.) That is the only way to control wasteful spending.

Those are a few of the most important problems needing to be fixed in order to save and eliminate the waste of Manchester’s City/School government, and without overriding the spending tax cap. That will allow us to fix our remaining City/School problems.

The City’s Charter would be followed and respected at all times under my leadership. No more voting on Issues of elected officials in conflict of our City Charter – period. That Charter belongs to ‘We the People’ and it must be respected by of those elected taking an oath to defend it.

I know you care about getting the Queen City back on the right track to its full potential once again, so let’s build a growing, thriving Manchester, together.

We cannot solve our city/school problems with the same thinking used when we created them in the first place. 

I ask for your support come Primary Election Day on Tuesday, September 19, where all 12 Ward polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vote for a new generation of leadership, starting with Glenn Ouellette For Mayor 2017, the right candidate as “The People’s Mayor.”


 

Glenn RJ Ouellette is a longtime city resident and faithful attendee as city meetings. He hosts a Ouellette At Large, a program on Manchester Public Television. This is his third run for mayor. Visit his campaign website here.