Q. Why is Center Street a one-way road?
A. Back in 2000 when downtown renovation was nearly complete, the town council and others decided to make it pedestrian “friendly,” meaning with more concern for people than cars. It’s worked over the years, but many believe the street should have eliminated parking all together. Some, including some merchants, feel the street should be changed to two-way.
Q. The school colors at Southington High are blue and white. Were there times when some coaches tried to add or change to other colors?
A. Baseball legend John Fontana loved to brighten up his team uniform with a red trim, but that faded away when he retired. A former football coach, who didn’t last long, tried to use all black uniforms. SHS has flirted with red trims over the years. Presently it’s all blue and white. Before 1950 high school colors were gold and blue with no mascot.
Q. Why are members of our town council not paid?
A. Simply because in 1966 when the town government went to a manager-council form of government, it was decided councilors would be volunteers. Our town is one of a handful that does not compensate its decision makers. There have been feeble attempts to vote for a minimum of $50 pay for each meeting, but neither party wants to be the first to propose payment.
Q. Why do people complain there’s not enough parking downtown?
A. Perhaps they’re just too lazy to park in Riccio lot. Compared to surrounding towns, Southington has more parking. Aerial shots show plenty of asphalt. The Riccio lot that accommodates more than 150 cars, and is seldom filled except for the annual Apple Harvest Festival.
Q. Will Southington ever have a mayor form of government?
A. Never. Things have been fine without the political rhetoric of mayoral campaigns. The present form has worked extremely well for 53 years.
Q. Whom do you feel would make an excellent assistant manager to eventually replace the present manager Mark Sciota?
A. Economic Development Director Lou Perillo. His experience with the town is vast and is a hometown product. Perillo has been directing economic resources to Southington for more than a decade and is known for his professional approach to problems. Perillo is well-versed in town government and is respected due to his successful communications with business and state officials. Also, Perillo is non-political and would gather support from both parties.
Q. With the political power in Southington flip-flopping every several years, which party has the best chance to win the next municipal election and retain its control?
A. Behind the scenes, I’m told the Republicans are already preparing a strong slate of candidates that perhaps could not include long-time councilor and former chairman Mike Riccio. Mike has developed a successful business that demands much of his time. With the return of Republicans Victoria Triano and Tom Lombardi, the GOP still needs a few good candidates, but the campaign against the Democrats won’t be easy. Dawn Miceli, John Barry and Chris Palmieri are popular vote-getters and veterans of town politics.
However, even with the three on the ticket, the local Republicans are set to unleash some familiar names to run for town council. Southington is stingy with political sparring so it could be a quiet, non-issue campaign.
Q. Will potential Independent candidate Jack Perry run again after losing a seat on the council by handful of votes?
A. Not sure at this time, but if he does run he could present a problem for the reigning Democrats. It’s just not easy to win as an Independent.