A fat lot of good loving a parade will do me and the thousands of others who crowd the city every St. Patrick’s Day if Mayor Finizio can’t get by the fact that Election Day is over and it’s past time to stop blaming everything that happens now on who a person supported then.
This blog is not actually about the situation of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade but concerns over what has become standard operating procedure since Mayor Finizio took office in December although using the parade to highlight the problems seems appropriate.
It was estimated that 15,000 spectators came to New London last year with their family and friends, not to mention their money to spend at local businesses, to view the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and, while the parade committee has said it doesn’t necessarily have a problem with $7500 if it is fair and allows them to maintain their 2012 parade route and treats the parade as a city function as voted on by the city council on February 21, 2012 instead of charging them at the private duty rate for police officers for the day at a much higher rate with a 6 hour minimum, personally I think it’s going a bit too far to ask them to pay rental fees for barricades, garbage cans and a reviewing stand which the city already owns. (http://ci.newlondon.ct.us/filestorage/4159/4161/4171/5744/Council_Minutes_February_21__2012_Approved.pdf)
There is a lot of time, effort and work that goes into organizing an event of this size, one that brings so much to the city of New London and it seems to me that the parade committee is not asking for a free ride but only for this administration to be fair.
And as if getting a permit for a community event of this magnitude isn’t difficult enough, parade organizers, or rather only one of the parade organizers, Marie Friess-McSparren, is being subjected to one smear after another by the mayor’s short list of cronies, questioning everything from who she supported in the past election, to someone else pulling her strings, “…being consistently on the wrong side of history…”, being uninterested “…in serving both New London and the Parade Committee…
Not to be outdone by his devotees, Mayor Finizio includes The Day columnist, David Collins, in his blame-placing for this permit process fiasco. "The fact that this came so suddenly and without warning, and the fact that it was written by a political columnist, is a clear sign this was a political hit.''
But the real proof of who is guilty of laying blame can be found by doing a simple search on The Day using the search terms “Finizio, blame” and “McSparran, blame” which I did and will show you how far I’ll go to prove a point. Using those terms, I was actually surprised to come up with anything at all but what I came up with was McSparran, blame 0 and Finizio, blame a whopping 33!
Nick Checker, a local film producer, non-New London resident and Finizio supporter had no problem at all obtaining permission to film portions of his film “Wisp” in a city park. All he did was ask his friend, Mayor Finizio. This note, from Nicholas P Checker, appeared on Daryl Finizio’s Facebook page shortly after he was sworn in as mayor. "Nicholas P Checker Sensational day of shooting yesterday for the Kickstart/Preview of our upcoming Nightshade Productions film "Wisp", set for filming this spring. Very special thanks to New London Mayor Daryl Finizio for making Riverside Park fully available to us as a key filming location ... which it will be again this spring."
Like a lot of cities, New London has a Film Commission complete with a fee schedule and permit process yet, after talking with people on the commission and other city officials, I never could find that any fees had been paid or permits issued.
Will future permits include the question “Who did you support in the last election?” Or will it just be understood that if you did not support Mayor Finizio, you’re in for a hard time and will be expected to pay through the nose for everything, including the crosswalks, sidewalks and no walk signs.
Making it difficult for the parade organizers to move ahead with their planning and then denying any part in the resultant chaos is not the first time that the mayor has attempted to attribute one of his public relations disasters anyplace else other than on himself.
Unless Mayor Finizio wakes up to the reality of dwindling support and confidence, not only by the citizens of New London but by those with whom we do business and the damage this continued enmity and turmoil does to the city, it can only bring more hardship to the people who live and work here.