The Protest Vote

While some residents won't be voting at all, others still feel strongly,


Cynthia Greco moved to Newtown eight years ago, and will not be voting in today’s budget referendum. “We moved here from Mount Vernon, NY, and we are so happy to be in a safe environment.  If taxes go up, it’s still worth it.”

 Greco noted that taxes in New York can easily exceed $15,000 for a house in a dangerous neighborhood. “Here you can go for a walk day or night and feel safe. People don’t know how good they have it, or how bad it could be,” she said.

 There are other reasons some Newtowners may abstain from visiting the polls.  Newtown resident and Jehovah Witness John Shannon said, “ We don’t take part in politics,” he said.  “We believe the kingdom of Jehovah will take care of us all.”

 While many were interviewed, those who said they would vote were not always willing to share their position.  Ginny Chion, who sat in the dimly lit Newtown Youth Academy, working on the Light the Night event coming up in September, simply said, “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.” 

 Runner Tom Lutz said he had voted in every referendum, and today would be no exception.  I have been here a long time, and I have seen a lot of changes.  This is an important budget.  The whole discussion points to those who haven’t had raises in a long time, or who aren’t well off financially.  It’s an important discussion," Lutz said.  

Around the local region, voters are taking a stand like never before.  In Bethel, the referendum to take down a 1960s building affectionately called Old Town Hall will be held next week.  The original decision to tear down the building had been made by the Board of Selectmen, who cited their reasons and their right within the Town Charter to make such a decision.

 However, a group called the Bethel Action Committee, led by the town’s notorious activist Billy Michael, gathered more than 500 signatures that had little to do with whether or not the building would be torn down.  Instead, the petition cited the fact that the Selectman made a decision without consulting the people.  

 In Brookfield, The Conservation Commission had suggested a dog park on land that had been restricted to passive recreation. While many residents were not against a dog park in general, an ensuing referendum had an 18 percent voter turnout, with the majority of NO vote overwhelming the yes by three to one. 

 Has the Tea Party idea swept the area?  Have residents had enough of decisions being made for them? Pat Bailey, Newtown resident of 43 years, believes that may be the case.  

 “Most of us are conservative,” Bailey said, referring to herself and friends.  “We are tired of being promised taxes will go down.  When politicians want to get re-elected they say they’ll lower taxes. We just feel that times are bad right now, there are so many vacant houses.  There are two right across from me.”

 Bailey believes that there just may be something to this whole tea party idea.  When asked if she would be voting no against taxes being raised, she answered, that for her, it was less about the money and more about the principle. “This is a form of protest,” she said. 

Paul Alexander July 12, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Connecticut is a financial sinkhole where dollars go to die. Newtown would be wise to control its spending and avoid a similar fate as the state. The State of CT WILL be raising state income taxes. It is unavoidable. CT has the largest taxpayer burden of all 50 states. Newtown taxpayers must draw a line in the sand on spending locally. THERES NO MORE MONEY! http://www.caseyresearch.com/sites/default/files/chart1_3.jpg Former Comptroller General David M. Walker and the Institute for Truth in Accounting Release “The Financial State of Connecticut” and “The Financial State of Bridgeport, CT” reports 7/5/2012 Connecticut’s unfunded burden per taxpayer as of June 30, 2011 was $50,900, up from $49,000. http://www.truthinaccounting.org/news/listing_article.asp?section=451&section2=489&section3=452&page=452&ArticleSource=1083 Chicago, (August 3, 2011) – The non-partisan Institute for Truth in Accounting has identified Connecticut as a "Sinkhole" state because it is one of five states in the worst financial position in the country. While Connecticut has $29.4 billion worth of assets, only $10.1 billion are available to pay $63.4 billion of bills as they come due. Each taxpayer's financial burden is $41,200. http://www.truthinaccounting.org/news/listing_article.asp?section=451&section2=489&page=453&CatID=4&ArticleSource=1004
Out Door John July 12, 2012 at 04:40 PM
If you have no interest in voting today why not just move out of Newtown and find somewhere to live where you think you can make a difference. China looks like a good place! Not voting clearly sends the message that you really don't care about the future of Newtown as a city of of the children who will be impacted by those who choose to vote! With the crappy turnout in the first four elections is is clear that the "DON'T CARE ATTITUDE" is running rampant in Newtown and these folks are probably the same folks who complain the most! Welcome to the new generation where most people could care less!!!!
DaveD July 12, 2012 at 04:51 PM
sorry meant to say we have it better then other places...
Rodney Munos July 12, 2012 at 05:07 PM
WE DONT WANT TAXES AS HIGH AS IN MOUNT VERNON, NY !!! Lets keep things the way they are, there is no need for constant growth and waste spending, 0% tax increase is the right way, and even better start cutting taxes next year, Newtown has peaked, please dont forget we spend 2 million a week, aint that enough ?
zocolo fishing July 12, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Matthew 22:19 "Show me [A US Dollar...] 20 And he said to them: “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 [DaveD] said: “[George Washington]” Then he said to them: “Pay back, therefore, [Washington's] things to [Washington], but God’s things to God.” 22 Well, when [DaveD read that he marveled and left the forum]...
Po Murray July 12, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Newtown education supporter would like to be heard. Many of us are protesting the arbitrary draconian cut to the education budget after the first failed referendum.
Peg Bowers July 12, 2012 at 09:31 PM
People - go vote! And let's get this budget done!
George July 13, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Cynthia: What factors do you suppose contributed to the tax burden in Mount Vernon? Would voter apathy and complacency be among them? Respect your fellow residents enough to go vote. It's more than a right; it's a requirement.


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