What a shocker to read another ridiculous column from the guys in the balcony. Paul Choniere’s editorial in The Day today regarding Marie McSparren’s views on the Police Community Relations Committee complaint process could have been written as an informative opinion piece that both educated on FOI as well as on the number of unsubstantiated and unfounded complaints per year compared to those which are found to have merit. (That second point is most salient, since that would be most indicative of the value of process itself). However, the column and the opinion lost its merit when Choniere just couldn’t help himself and went right for the jugular (i.e. here’s what it’s all about- “repudiate” McSparren at the voting both). We know that FOI requires complaints to be read openly and that should be something we can all support. The problem is that in New London, the administration has shown itself to be unsupportive of its own cops and so in an effort to help protect them, McSparren is trying to find a work around. That’s the real issue that is going on here and the guys in balcony know it, so its much easier to take out those who oppose the administration rather than inform or educate in any real way. That’s the advantage you have when you own the ink.
Today’s column raises a much bigger point than the PCRC, McSparren, the election, or The Day’s lame editorials and it is this: the unrest that exists in the City of New London and the constant tugging between the media, the administration and many residents has come from the fact that citizens and groups are doing the work of government because the system no balance and there is no appropriate governing body to appeal to. Since the Charter requires a vote of 6-1 for a council override of the mayor, we essentially have a dictatorship without checks and balances. The fact is that the council is handcuffed to take any action, and even when they do, the mayor can chose to ignore it without any recourse, and that is what is happening. Add in that the largest newspaper around is in the pocket of the administration and you have the makings of a communist state. Luckily, this is still the good ‘ole USA so the democracy that got us into this mess is the same democracy that will get us out. In some ways, it is exciting to watch since it has caused people to take action, but the downside is that citizens, unions, city employees and various groups are doing much of the work of government when they shouldn’t have to. Average citizens are taking their own time to find out what is really going on with the budget, the police, the city pension plans, crime, safety and so on. They are educating themselves and each other and they are doing it without help and without the disclosure of truthful information . Citizens are working to fix a very crippled process. That is hard to do in the face of so many things working against you. Do not give up. Do not get tired. Withstand the criticisms. See beyond what you read and hear. Keep doing what you are doing and fight the fight that needs to be fought to get the City operational again. And to Mr. Choniere, who does not live in New London, I say what George Bailey said to Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life, “…all this rabble you’re talking about, they do most of the living and working and paying and dying in this community”. Do you?