This past Tuesday, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) hosted a debate between the two Middletown Mayoral candidates, Republican incumbent Sebastian Giuliano and Democratic challenger Dan Drew, in preparation for the upcoming November 3 elections. The event was sparsely attended, and carried few surprises, though Mr. Giuliano did perform admirably, especially given the continual propensity of Mr. Drew to throw unwarranted and unfair sniping remarks across the room at him. However, unfortunately, it was fairly clear to this author that while the Mayor did get a chance to display his impeccable credentials as a realist, he did not take the ample opportunities to swat down his opponent with nearly the zest required.
Democrats are fond of sneering about what they regard as the inexperience, naïveté, and general ignorance of the former Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. Looking at Mr. Drew, one feels quite nostalgic for Ms. Palin, who had four times more experience in local government at the time she ran for Mayor of Wasilla, a city one tenth the size of Middletown. Mr. Drew has never served on a city council; according to the Middletown Eye, he has no experience in government at all; and he has apparently only been in Middletown long enough (five years) to witness Mayor Giuliano trounce another College Democrat-supported instrument of corruption, and get the idea that he wants to suffer the same treatment.
We will return to the escapades of the College Democrats in due course, but first, I think it must be proven that they are supporting not only a non-starter, but a dangerously naïve and unprepared candidate. One of the most hideously ironic elements of the debate came when Mr. Drew agreed with Mayor Giuliano on his lack of support for unfunded mandates—despite the fact that at other points in the debate, Mr. Drew mouthed countless campaign promises which were not only unfunded, but literally un-fundable, as well as accusations that his opponent had failed by not being such a profligate. The most ridiculous of these accusations was his continual claim that Mayor Giuliano had unnecessarily cut police funding from the budget rolls of the City of Middletown, a claim which was debunked by his opponent so many times I was starting to wonder when Ronald Reagan would rise from the grave and holler, “There you go again!”
I think I can fill in for such a supernatural visitation, however, and debunk this accusation much more thoroughly, not being constrained to two minutes of time, as the candidates were. Let us review: The P.O.S.T. (Police Officer Standards Training Council) falls under the State of Connecticut Budget. Due to the state’s fiscal problems and budget that has been recently passed, the Police Academy can only afford to offer two classes in one training facility, with all satellite academies shut down indefinitely. Therefore, in order for Middletown to hire the six police officers which Mr. Drew thinks will magically solve Middletown’s crime problem, six hypothetical candidates from the city of Middletown would have to, firstly, achieve admission to a single Police Academy; secondly, go through a six month training period; thirdly, complete an additional twelve weeks of Field Training; and fourthly, would have to complete a one year probation period before being assigned to most departments. In short, even assuming six seats were available, such a process would take two years, meaning there is no need to budget for new recruits in the coming year.
However, this six-seat scenario is not just unlikely; it is utopian, given that only those officers who can be accommodated by one police academy will be admitted. The odds of one city, even one the size of Middletown, getting six admits to one academy are astronomical. Moreover, assuming we were to budget for six officers and hope for the best, and even if the officers were not admitted, they would still be paid as though they were administering police work. In short, Mr. Drew’s hypothetical alternate scenario inevitably places the Mayor’s office in the position of spending money and getting nothing back.
But wait! It gets worse! During the debate, Mr. Drew accused Mayor Giuliano of not following the letter of the law because he gave away the stone from an old brownstone house to a “political contributor” despite the protestations of the council. This is not only wrong; it is dishonest. Contrary to the twirling moustache narrative painted by Mr. Drew, what actually happened was that the Town Council had already decided to give away certain city property to an energy company in the hopes of spurring growth. On this property, the brownstone had been erected. In its resolution awarding the company with the land, however, the Council claimed no salvage rights. As such, one of Mayor Giuliano’s constituents asked if he could go and salvage the brownstone before the house was demolished. Mayor Giuliano consented, on condition that this person would get permission from both the company and the head of the Planning and Zoning commission. Both permissions were obtained, and the stone was harvested. After already voting away their salvage rights, the Council chose this moment to complain, thus contradicting the letter of the law they had already supported! I realize advice is thin on the ground, but Mr. Drew should know that taking advice from political non-starters on non-issues is similar to asking.
Given the above examples of naïveté and dishonesty, one must ask why the College Democrats so eagerly support Mr. Drew. I suspect they are unaware of these factors, and moreover, of the insulting implications of their behavior for Wesleyan, so let me spell it out for them: This is one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country. Stop embarrassing it by confirming the stereotype that Wesleyan students will vote for anyone with a (D) next to their name. Otherwise, the vaunted “critical thinking” skills and “original minds” this school claims for its students become nothing but hollow euphemisms for a cynical, unthinkingly liberal student body.