The city would look very different today if Tim Chaucer were running things.
In formally announcing his candidacy for mayor Monday evening, the Democrat listed several instances when his intervention -- even as a private citizen -- got large development plans rejected.
"When the current administration formulated plans to consolidate our two geographically balanced high schools, we formed Milford Citizens Against Mega Schools," he said during a rally on the City Hall steps.
"We showed how consolidating was not only a bad idea educationally, but would be more costly to the city taxpayer. We won the battle."
Chaucer said he opposed a proposal in the 1980s to reroute Gulf Street so that a developer and his daughter would have homes with a better view. "I am proud that we protected the beautiful vista from the Indian burial ground on Gulf Pond when elected officials did not have the city's best interests at heart."
The retired history teacher reminded the 15 supporters at the rally that the historic Merwin-Cadley homestead on Gulf Pond was torn down last year despite assurances by Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. that it would be saved. A developer paid less than the market value in exchange for a conservation easement that was to protect the property, Chaucer said.
The candidate said he opposed a plan to improve Eisenhower Park because it would have meant charging fees to residents to recoup the cost. "The park is there for
everyone to enjoy, for free," he said.
"And it certainly doesn't need $20 million of so-called improvements."
City officials were "asleep at the switch'' when the Langner property next to the library became available several years ago, Chaucer said.
"It was a park-like setting with black walnut trees, and it could have been acquired to add to the recreation complex next to it," he said. "Instead, there are condos on it now and parking at our ball fields is at a premium."
Chaucer said that he would foster open government by, among other measures, putting a logbook in the mayor's office that anyone could review. "It's transparency. We ought to know who our mayor is spending his time with." He'd also consider periodic public hearings on the operation of city departments and to hear residents' complaints.
The candidate admitted he faces an uphill battle at the Democratic nominating convention Wednesday night. Most party leaders seem to have promised their support to Genevieve Salvatore, currently the chairman of the Economic Development Commission. Chaucer would not rule out a primary.
Salvatore said, "It isn't surprising to me that there are more people interested in this race. Many people in Milford are dissatisfied with the status quo and we all agree that it is a good time for a change in leadership. While it's great that others are concerned about Milford's future, I am confident that I will be nominated by the Democratic Town Convention this week.
"I have a strong vision for our city's future and I believe that such vision, together with strong leadership, will be crucial for our success in November and beyond."
Richetelli said he is running on his eight-year record in office.
Peter Spalthoff, the Independent Party mayoral candidate, said, "Tim announcing that he is running for mayor simply goes to my belief that the citizens of Milford can only be the winners with more choices of candidates. There is no reason in the world why there should only be two candidates for the position."
About Chaucer: Timothy Chaucer is the former chairman of the Milford Conservation Comission and a former elected member of the Milford Planning and Zoning Board. n He founded Milford Citizens Against Mega Schools several years ago to fight attempts to consolidate Jonathan Law and Joseph A. Foran high schools. n Chaucer has been program chairman for the Milford Historical Society for the past five years, and is nominating chairman for the Milford Preservation Trust. n He is the founder and director of the Milford Marine Institute Inc., which has educated more than 1,000 Milford children since 1983 about the value of salt marshes, woodlands, farmlands and meadows. n He is a retired high school and college instructor of American history, as well as criminal and civil law, and retains his state teaching certification
ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY FRANK JULIANO