COMMENTARY: Meriden GOP official responds to Rohde

COMMENTARY: Meriden GOP official responds to Rohde


I always find Mike Rohde’s guest columns in the Record-Journal interesting, more often than not appalling in his hubris, but interesting nonetheless. His offering on August 13 was just more of the same. It could easily have been titled: Meriden Democrats Save the World Again Just in Time for the Upcoming Election.

Does he really believe city residents are so gullible? Does he think that city residents going about their daily lives think to themselves, “thank goodness the Democrats are solving all the problems in Meriden so let’s make sure to re-elect them.”

In reading his columns — 41, he says — I think the former mayor might indeed believe that no one holds the local Democratic leadership responsible for higher city taxes, higher city water and sewer bills, ongoing issues in the police department, crime, and lack of effective economic development, especially downtown.

Rather, Mike Rohde believes and, more to the point, wants city residents to believe, that Republicans are to blame for Meriden’s problems because we talk about the issues, thus in his view spreading negativity and pessimism, and, even worse, offer solutions that the Democrats either disagree with or can’t take credit for.

In his August 13 column, the former mayor actually accused Republicans of not liking our city because we don’t go around saying how wonderful everything is.

What he didn’t say is that he wishes Republicans would just shut up and let the Democrats do whatever they want. As Mike Rohde knows that won’t happen, he is undoubtedly writing guest column 42 right now.

Consider this. If the former mayor cared about our city as much as he claims, he would spend less energy elevating Democrats in office and more energy seeking solutions to the very real quality-of-life issues affecting Meriden. A good start would be to acknowledge that Meriden’s Democrats do not have all the answers, nor do they have the market cornered on good ideas.

Let’s take, for example, our city’s brand new, beautiful downtown green. It has already served as the site of farmers’ markets, concerts, and other special events. Residents stroll across the bridge, walk their dogs, and relax on the benches.

According to Mike Rohde, we have the hard work and leadership of Meriden’s Democrats to thank for this. Not so fast.

Local residents no doubt remember the catastrophic floods that once plagued our city, destroying businesses, ruining property and wreaking havoc on the lives of Meriden residents. The Meriden Green, while a lovely park, was designed to prevent future floods.

And the years of research, design work and sheer political will that went into making the Meriden Green a reality was spearheaded by the late Phil Ashton, a proud Republican and former Republican mayoral candidate. That Mike Rohde could not find it in himself to acknowledge Phil Ashton’s contributions in his haste to put his fellow Democrats on a pedestal is shameful.

Then, there is the city’s new train station. The idea for that didn’t originate with the Democrats either. I have the press releases to prove that I proposed a downtown transportation center as the Republican mayoral candidate 20 years ago. Not surprisingly, city Democrats didn’t like the idea back then. After all, they didn’t come up with it.

As election season heats up, Meriden residents are going to hear a lot of things, a lot of it presented in shades of black and white that should be viewed in shades of gray. Democrats are desperate to hold on to their majority on the City Council and the Board of Education.

They want you to re-elect their mayor, a former Republican turned unaffiliated voter, because he doesn’t challenge them.

The Democrats will accuse Republican candidates of pessimism and negativity every time they promote an idea they didn’t come up with themselves. Please keep that in the back of your mind when you’re reading news coverage, press releases, and, undoubtedly, future guest columns penned by Mike Rohde.

When evaluating the many things you’ll hear and read between now and the election, ask what you want for yourself, your children, and your neighbors.

Are you satisfied with what is happening in Meriden? Do you think the current Democratic leadership is doing a good job? Or, are you ready to consider alternatives?

Anna P. Neumon is secretary of the Meriden Republican Town Committee and former deputy mayor and city council member.

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