It seemed clear that the Mayor and the Common Council were shocked to see 150 residents, 5 reporters, and 3 TV cameras at their meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Councilman Daley said the Common Council would be taking up a resolution at their August 4th meeting to oppose the use of the Boardman Lane site for a Military Base, he felt that this resolution would pass with overwhelming support. Mayor Giuliano tried to head off public comments by stating that he does not think this is a good site, but the Mayor did not repudiate his statement on July 1st to The Hartford Courant, where he was quoted: "I don't think it's a bad site, and I don't begrudge Cromwell some economic benefit." Nor did he take the opportunity to clarify his statement earlier yesterday to Eyewitness News 3 (towards the end of the video), "Overall a good thing, ... unlike some of the residents out there who think this is going to be a big negative for them, I really don't think it is."
The ambiguity in the Mayor's position infuriated many residents, and after the public comment period of the meeting, there was a period of heated discussion between residents, Mayor Giuliano, and Councilman Pessina. Residents asked that the Mayor very forcefully tell our federal elected officials not only that this land is unsuitable for the building of the military base, but also that there is NO suitable land available in Middletown. Councilman Pessina and the Mayor defended their lack of action by blaming federal officials for this situation, but many in the room did not buy it. Paul Torop said it was a strategic error by the city to oppose the siting of the Army Base in Maromas while at the same time generically supporting the construction of the Base in Middletown. Residents demanded that this error be corrected.
Readers of the Middletown Eye will be interested to know the response to residents' frustration at the lack of public notification of this or other public meetings in Middletown. Mayor Giuliano claimed that this special meeting was posted on the city web site (it is not). Councilman Daley then said that the one thing that had changed in his 30 years of public service was that there is no good newspaper coverage of city meetings. This was thankfully not true of this meeting, but his point is valid and underscores the vital role that news coverage plays in civic engagement.