To say that Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and rival Joyce Craig clashed during yesterday’s debate hosted by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce would be something of an understatement. While the two tread over ground that’s become familiar, some new issues and variations on old themes arose.
Craig, who has taken to asking audiences if they or the city are better off than they were six years ago, has doubled down on the question saying the mayor’s had six years to act on things like parking and building code regulations and failed. She continued with her accusation that the mayor is essentially impossible to work with and added to it that, if he doesn’t get his way, he sabotages the efforts of others, citing his opposition to a deal to put a solar array on top of Mount Manchester (that’s the old dump) and failure to negotiate a deal to have the city take over the National Guard Armory for economic development purposes.
Gatsas said no deal can be had until the army finds a home to replace the armory.
Things got really unpleasant when Craig accused the mayor of being quote “very misleading and tell(ing) lies” in prior forums after Gatsas called her out for hiding two pages of notes under a booklet on her podium. The agreed to rules of the debate barred the candidates from having any notes. In response, Craig complained that Gatsas supported the tax cap override she engineered. She didn’t deny having the notes, despite Gatsas bringing it up twice.
Responding to Craig’s criticism on the tax cap, Gatsas countered saying he doesn’t change what he says in response to the forum he’s in and that he stands by what he says. Things became so negative that, in his closing statement, Gatsas said his mother taught him that when you point a finger at somebody, there’s three fingers pointing back at yourself after Craig painted a brilliantly happy picture of what things would be like in the year twenty twenty if she were elected mayor and blaming him for what she earlier termed a “crumbling” city over the past six years. Gatsas said his opponent had “great ideas” but that he hadn’t heard any of them yet nor had heard anything about how to pay for them. In response to Craig’s charge that he seemed just fine with the status quo, Gatsas said he would continue to be the city’s loudest cheerleader because it was a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to raise a family.
We’ve linked to our live coverage of the debate so you can take a listen for yourself. The two square off again at the Webster School on Friday night. The show starts at six thirty.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester School District will preview the heroin presentation it’s planning to give middle school students at a meeting for parents at the Hillside Middle School tonight. It starts at six thirty and we recommend you get there early.
District officials have come under fire for introducing a very graphic presentation to assemblies at the city’s high schools without prior parental notification or consent. At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Board of School Committee, Superintendent Debra Livingston said the district’s notification policies on such presentations were unclear, but agreed that administrators at the city’s high schools should have been directed to provide notification, which included the ability of parents to opt their children out.
In an interview on Girard at Large yesterday, presenter Christopher Hickey of the Manchester Fire Department said the presentation for the middle schools will be less graphic than the one given to the high schools, but should still drive home the point. He encouraged parents to see it tonight and accompany their children when it’s given in their school if possible. He said parents need to know what’s going on so they can really talk about it with their kids.
The Manchester Planning Board will host a public hearing tonight at City Hall to gain comment on proposed new development regulations. The changes have been in the works since two thousand thirteen and have been developed in response to developer complaints about ambiguity in the city’s regulations. This is a complete overhaul of all the regulations the Planning Board uses in reviewing development, so it’s a big deal. The public hearing starts tonight at six. The proposed regulations are on the Planning Department’s Web site. Don’t worry, we’ve got the link. Retiring Ward Four Alderman Jim Roy, who has been the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s designee on the Planning Board for the past eight years will discuss the details with us this morning.
The Manchester Water Works will be operating large valves in the area of South Mammoth Road from Massabesic Street to Cohas Ave. today. This work is being done in preparation for the changeover from the existing reservoir to the new tanks that are currently under construction. The work will be performed during regular working hours and there should be no interruption in service. Customers may notice slightly discolored water and minor fluctuations in pressure. Mildly discolored water is safe but if you want to to hasten its clearing open the cold water fixture in your bathtub. Though unlikely, should customers notice severe degradation of water quality or major pressure issues please contact the Water Works at 6 2 4 6 4 9 4.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!