More political flyers have been distributed in Wards 1 and 6, but this time they involve sewer taxes, as opposed to previous flyers that solely targeted Ward 1 Councilman Steve Colantuono.
The first of the two flyers reads: “Are you pleased that your sewer bill increased 100 percent since 2006? Did you enjoy paying a 14 percent increase this year alone?”
It continued, “What caused this problem? The same thing that causes our yearly property tax hikes – career politicians like Donna Travis and Scott Avedisian.”
A second flyer supplements Travis’ name with Colantuono’s. Other than that, the two flyers mirror one another.
“The mayor appoints and the council approves all Sewer Board members,” the flyers read. “Now, they’re poised to appoint former Councilman Donald Torres, another politically connected insider who constantly raised taxes and never corrected sewer authority problems when he had the chance. We need qualified people, not political insiders, on the Sewer Board.”
The flyers go on to read that Colantuono and Travis don’t care about taxpayer money. They asked taxpayers to tell the council members to “stop throwing our money down the sewer.”
Colantuono said that once again the people distributing the flyer have their facts wrong. He said Avedisian receives emails from the Democratic City Committee with appointments to the Sewer Board.
“Mayor Avedisian always honors their lists,” Colantuono said, noting that Avedisian simply forwards the lists to the council. “It’s not his list; it’s not our appointment. He honors the City Committee. This is not a Mayor Avedisian appointment.”
Avedisian agrees. He said the flyer is inaccurate and that he does not appoint anyone.
“The Chairman of the Democrat City Committee nominates to me and I forward to the Council,” Avedisian said via email. “In fact, the first person nominated by the Chair of the Democrat City Committee was former Councilman Carlo Pisaturo [and] his nomination was rejected by the Council. That meant moving to the next nominee, former Councilman Donald Torres. His nomination is now pending before the Council.”
Ward 1 resident John Kennedy, who said he created and distributed the flyers, said he and about a dozen people are going to continue printing and distributing flyers.
“We’re not going to sit around and wait for every election to notify the public,” he said during a phone interview late yesterday afternoon. “We’re going to do it throughout the year and throughout next year so people know what’s going on. We’re tired of these career politicians just electing their politically connected insiders and not people that are qualified for these positions. It’s at the point where it impacts everyone that lives in the city.”
Kennedy said that just because Torres once served on the council and also ran for mayor doesn’t make him qualified to sit on the sewer authority.
“There are millions of dollars involved and he doesn’t know anything about construction, project management or anything to do with the water or the sewer board,” said Kennedy. “It impacts the user, which is the taxpayer. We’re tired of getting increases every year. And a majority of the projects are under accessed. The next project has to pay for the last project. It’s mismanaged and has been like that for years. We just want people on these committees and boards to know what they are doing.”
He is also “tired of” continued tax increases.
“When are we going to get a decrease?” Kennedy said. “When are my taxes going to go down? They always go up, but they never go down.”
Kennedy said people could anticipate more flyers in the future. The group plans to target politicians throughout the city who it feels aren’t living up to expectations of the taxpayer. It depends, he said, on legislation that they push.
“If you’re not taxpayer friendly, we’re going to be coming after you,” Kennedy said.
He anticipates the group of people involved in creating and passing out the flyers will grow as more individuals become aware of the issues.
“We want to keep the residents of each ward engaged in the process,” Kennedy said. “No one goes to [council meetings at] City Hall. Ten people show up and they think it’s a riot. Not everybody can go to these meetings, so how can we educate them about what’s going on? This is how we’re going to educate them.”
Former Ward 1 Councilman Bob Cushman, who also formerly served on the School Committee, said while he was involved with previous flyers distributed before the election, he wasn’t involved this time.
“I had no part in it,” Cusman said.