Sunday, January 28, 2007

Strong Mayor

On March 13th, the City of New London is holding a referendum on how we govern ourselves. The second charter revision committee has presented the council with a proposal to have a strong mayor at the city's head. That would be a novelty New London hasn't experienced for eighty years.

In the 1920s, the city fathers decided a bureaucrat would run the city better than a directly elected representative. The mayor became a figurehead, a golden boy selected by his or her peers, everyone getting a turn for a year. The position is a powerless plum to reward a crony. The City Council, without a mission or a reason to be, devolved into a boring sideshow while the city was run by a faceless, colorless bean counter. The council fiddles while New London declines. The city manager plays the lyre.

This March, New Londoners will have a chance to change the way they do business. Maybe some business will finally get done. As usual, be careful what you wish for. While Whalehead King is all in favor of an active, effective city administration, he has come to love the Whaling City just as it is. Little changes in New London. Our citizens will be in character if they defeat this proposal. The status quo, while disappointing, is predictable. New Londoners love to complain.

We endorse the idea of a mayor with power. We applaud the idea of someone with a vision capturing New Londoners' imagination. If something happens in City Hall, people will take notice and participate. Right now, little transpires in the Council chambers. Meetings aren't adjourned, they expire with no one noticing. New London's government is ineffectual and irrelevant. It is the city's worst enemy.

We need a demogogue. We need a slippery, proficient politician. We need someone to take the lead and take the heat. We need a Guiliani, a Cianci, a Winthrop. We need someone who will poke this sleepy city in the ribs and get it moving. Mark your calendar for March 13th. Think about it. Consider it carefully. Mistakes are lessons from which to learn. New London has learned more than the library contains. Maybe now it will become wise. Remember to vote your best interest on March 13th.

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