As expected the Mayor and the BOF passed all of the items on the agenda last night including raising building permits and fees. When the discussion came up about building fees and permits I raised my hand to make a comment and was immediately shut down by Mayor Capone saying, "There is no public comment, this is a special meeting." with a smerk on her face. How communist of Mayor April. I remember when she was on the Town Council with me saying that the public has a right to speak. Knowing that if I caused a scene I would be arrested on the spot I decided to write to you the public to let you know that this Administration is nothing but a dictatorship. Remember that in November when you vote for Mayor. You still have an opportunity to speak at the Town Council on June 7th unless they make that a special meeting too.
Across the hall there was the Economic Development meeting which I attended also. It was a very cordial meeting and I was allowed to speak there. The group of 3 Commissioners, Councilman Camera and Paul Hongo were discussing the surveys that were recently handed out to all the businesses. Councilman Camera was raving about the information they received back from the businessess but I wasn't overly excited because only 10% of our businesses responded. I think we need a better plan to find out what we can do better to help Economic Development in East Haven. There also was very good discussion regarding 200 Tyler Street, which was not on the agenda but you can see that some of the ideas are coming together. I fully 100% support converting that entire complex into a government center like West Hartford and Milford has.
At the conclusion of the meeting it was discussed, at my suggestion, that we start to bring in outside resources from other municipalities that have been successful with economic development to help this group. From the meeting though I can see what some of the problems are with Economic Development and that is there are no under 40 year old commissioners on the Board. I raised the point to the Commissioners that not only do they need to speak with business leaders but they need to talk to the Mom and Dad that are raising a family here in East Haven and ask them what they think. That suggestion was not very welcomed. Although I think for the first time ever Councilman Camera and I were almost on the same page as we agreed that we need to get more public input.
If East Haven is going to climb out of the 78 vacant store fronts that East Haven Vine has acurately reported it better get it's act together fast. Sending out surveys is all well and good but if you don't have the ability to listen to all sides and take the younger generations suggestions they will simply give up, put their house on the market and move to a Town that has something to offer them.
It seems that while there is a small glimer of hope for Economic Development in East Haven the old guard is not very welcoming to thinking outside the box.