Information below is an opinion letter, not necessarily the view of the other Eye authors nor the view of the Eye. Responsibility is placed on the author of the opinion piece and is published as a courtesy.
This week the Patch is reporting that over 450 Wes students have been registered by the local Dem's to vote in the local election. YES- participation in government is good and encouraged. WE want students to participate locally. However, the alternative view on this is that these students are not choosing people who necessarily the popular vote of the permanent residents would be choosing. In the late 1980's, Paul Gionfriddo's mayoral campaign made a valiant effort to mass register Wes students. He won that election, ironically "some say" that he was not the 'hometown" favorite of those who own property, live, work, and raise children here. There is no way to measure other than word of mouth at the time and claims by both parties on voter feed back.
I was present when Mayor Giuliano gave a speech to the Wesleyan Republicans saying he encouraged students to participate in local government, if they truly showed concern for citizens here and made educated decisions. He encouraged them to get active in Middletown culture and activities. Alex Levin is running for BOE on the same ticket as me and he is a student at Wesleyan who plans to stay for the long haul and serve if elected.It is of my opinion, not that of my party or that of the Mayor, but my own, that when a particular candidate lines up shuttles to drive students to the polls, & works with only single party organizing the effort ( ie College Democrats & The Local Democratic Town Commitee) not a bipartisan group on campus (Democracy Matters), he is sending the message that he Dan Drew does not believe Middletown residents are educated & smart enough to make decisions about who they want elected for themselves.
These students have also not been educated, from my understanding, to the fact that by changing their permanent address to Middletown, they are now subject to local car tax and possibly state income tax.
A plea to Wesleyan students: Not long ago, I too was a college student in a small City. I have had Wesleyan students and professors as roommates since becoming a home owner right around the corner from campus. I love going to Wesleyan concerts especially Taiko Drumming. Please be careful when you vote; use your head, be kind & keep citizens at the front of your mind rather than party affiliation. Realize your vote may weigh more than you know. There are real families attached to every decision you make.
As many letters during election season are written by the party and signed randomly with a name, I decided to skip that and sign my own name.
Food for thought- Thank you!
Molly Salafia, Assoc, AIA, LEED GA - a really annoyed citizen, and yes (R) candidate for P&Z
and author of the really annoying cartoons people love to hate.