Friday, October 30, 2009

Election '09: Bruce Chuluda on the Issues

Bruce Chuluda is the Republican Party's nominee for Mayor.

What are your three legislative goals if you are elected?
Keep taxes reasonable, continue to promote good economic development, and maintain open and transparent government.

How do you plan to implement those three legislative goals?
I plan to continue the work and follow the path that I have been on for the past 6 years. I'll look to consolidate and eliminate where practical and do things more efficiently. I'll continue to solicit good businesses to come to our city and provide incentives only if it is necessary to attract the very best businesses. And I'll continue to be accessible and ensure that all city departments are responsive to residents' concerns, as well as making sure we keep people informed of what is going on in our city.

Which city services do you think should be maintained or expanded?
Our Public Safety services are the most critical to maintain and augment where affordable. Apart from those, we should consider expanding services to any great degree only if it is affordable to do so. Of course, I continue to look for ways to collaborate with other local communities in an effort to expand some of what we do and save money in the process.

How will you make Westbrook a better place in which to live and work?
I will continue to promote the spirit of community within our great city and work to make it economically vibrant and affordable.

Which city services do you think should be cut or eliminated?

I have consolidated and, even in some cases, eliminated several of the services we provide. Moreover, I will continue to look for other programs that make sense to either reduce or eliminate. At this time, I would have to say that we provide the basic menu of things that taxpayers and residents have come to expect and that, without much public discussion and debate, I would find it difficult to go on record at this time with specifics for cuts or elimination. Rest assured, I am always in the planning mode.

What are your thoughts concerning a Charter Commission?
I strongly oppose the need to create a Charter Commission. No one has articulated what in the Charter needs to be changed or eliminated, and my sense is that this is simply political posturing. Apart from those that are elected, my discussions with the average citizen are that they couldn't care less about the Charter and what it says. All our residents want is government that is open, inclusive, and honest with them. It sounds good to many when someone says, "Let's look at changing the Charter." I think what we have works, so until someone tells me what doesn't work, I will continue to be opposed to the need for a Charter Commission. The City's legal counsel has already stated that there are many things residents can change about our government, without the need for the creation and expense of a Charter Commission.

Do you plan to vote "Yes" or "No" on Question 2 on this year's referendum ballot?
I will be voting no on this question because I do not believe it will benefit the majority of Westbrook residents. I think most of us own vehicles that are either more than 6 years old and/or not of the hybrid variety--thus no benefit. The harm it will do to local revenue will either shift the burden to the property tax or mean a possible reduction in services, or both. I'm all for lower taxes and think the State should spend the effort in fixing the income tax instead.

What are your thoughts concerning the zoning conflict between Pike Industries and Westbrook Works?
I was the first to propose a re-zoning of the Five Star Industrial Park and believe it to be in keeping with the long-term vision the city has for that area. We want to attract and retain high- tech businesses and jobs. The Pike and IDEXX (Westbrook Works) conflict transcends the City's efforts, and I hope they can settle their issues.

Do you plan to vote "Yes" or "No" on Question 4 on this year's referendum ballot?
I will be voting no on this question. Once again, I believe Westbrook has been fiscally responsible in its spending and I do not want the State or anyone else telling our City how it should be run. We have elctions every two years, so if the voters don't like the way thing are going, they have the ability to vote people out of office.

Cite at least one example in which you cooperated with a member (or members) of another political party.

I created a non-partisan Trash and Recycling Committee, and it was chaired by a Democrat. I've worked with our Democratic legislative delegation in an effort to speed up the William Clarke Drive construction project. I will work with anyone when it is in the best interst of the majority of our residents.

What are your thoughts concerning the proposed Stroudwater Place development?

I was supportive of this venture from the beginning and, while not an outward cheerleader for it, I worked for a couple of years with the developer to ensure that the proiject he unveiled and wanted to bring forward would have the greatest liklihood of acceptance and support from residents. Much of the work of a Mayor is behind the scenes, such as ensuring things that are brought to the public are crafted in such a manner so as to garner the most support from not only the Council who might vote, but, most importantly, the people of our city.

Cite at least one example in which you differed with your own political party.
Since my party is in the minority, I cannot specifically recall much. But I am sure there are many things that I support or object to that our two Republican City Councilors feel differently about. We are not in lockstep, nor should we always be. I'm okay with that.

What are your thoughts concerning the fire department’s problems with sexual harassment lawsuits?
I am certainly not pleased that we have such a stigma surrounding us and I hope we can resolve matters soon. Apart from that, I cannot comment except to say that I will not tolerate any future matters and those that do not play by the rules will be dealt with appropriately.

Cite at least one instance in which you’ve agreed with your opponent.
Since I do not know what my opponent's position is on anything, I cannot comment.

What are your thoughts concerning the Downtown Streetscape Plan?
I think the plan is a good one and I want to see it implemented over time. Much work went into it, and I credit those who worked on it.

What policy issue have you changed your mind about since becoming a politician?
I can't really think of anything off-hand. I ran for Mayor because I did not care for the way our local government was being run. I have tried to maintain an openness with the public and an open mind when dealing with issues. There are many things that affect our city, and I have tried to ensure that we communicate with residents and inform people. I firmly believe that if people know what's going on, they will be more supportive than if left in the dark.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
I think I've said it all!

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Election '09: Introducing Bruce Chuluda (October 23, 2009)
Related: Election '09: Introducing Colleen Hilton (October 23, 2009)
Related: Election '09: On Chuluda v. Hilton (October 15, 2009)


Drew Gattine said...

I’ve talked to lots of people – people who support the project and people who oppose it – who were extremely disappointed with the Mayor’s lack of leadership during the public deliberations over Stroudwater Place. This was certainly one of the most important debates about land use and economic development ever held in this City. The Planning Board, the City Council and dozens of interested citizens debated the details for hours and hours over the course of many, many meetings. A handful of Councilors ended up working directly with the developer in an effort to find some compromise. The Mayor just said sat there, said nothing and did nothing. I can’t think of a single time when he even spoke.

David Tapley said...

My curiosity about this site was raised when my profile and opinions were solicited. I must say that I am now very disappointed with the site, and I'm especially disappointed with many of the posts.
The internet is the best, and worst thing to ever happen to us. It is safe and easy to malign, question, and create turmoil with people without them even knowing.
What I like about the City Council is the face to face televised interaction. It is then very easy to discerne truth, honesty, agendas, political party, and vindiction. These are the things that are revealed when people TALK.
I really wish this site wasn't a political attack ground, but I'm afraid that is exactly people are making it. That's to bad. John Morgan has a great thing. This is EXACTLY what is wrong with government. People need to talk, face to face. It isn't always pleasant or easy, and apoligies usually soon follow, but things almost always come out better in the end.

Drew Gattine said...

Sorry, Dave, but I have to disagree. This isn't an echo chamber. Elected officials and candidates who choose to post their views in on-line media should expect that sometimes those wiews will be parsed, critiqued and sometimes criticized. Not every criticism is an "attack", "insult" or "disrespectful" and such claims smack of insincerity. People who stand for elected office in this City need to be thick-skinned. Bruce and I and every member of the Council have been criticized on this site at one time or another. It comes with the territory.

By the way, when it comes to civility and honesty in cyber-communication, I hope you have learned to practice what you preach.

David Tapley said...

I agree with what you say to a degree. I do believe there is a 100% difference between discussion about potential candidates, and discussion about elected officials. That online discussion panel will not exist next week. People will not be posting their opinions about other people. I feel that some of the post on this site are potically motivated, and it that in which I detest.
My statement said we need face to face time when we share opinions. When people are unhappy with a person, they tend to tell everybody but that person. I have been PUBLICALLY critical to some, and I have apoligized to some after feeling that I was to harsh.
If the people of Westbrook want and like an internet government, then so be it. I'd love to talk with people.
Drew, if I were to be elected, I'd certainly hope you'd be at the podium sharing your thoughts. Sometimes we all need to hear(not see)what people think.

Westbrook Diarist said...


I agree face-to-face interaction is necessary. That's why a new civic association is in the works, and this Web site will serve as an online complement.


skybox212 said...

Everyone loves Johh Morgan! Thanks for everything!

Allen Moore