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Gerckens: Hear Mayor Dugatto’s ‘Roar’ In Derby

by Alderman Art Gerckens | GUEST COLUMN | Sep 9, 2017 7:49 am

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Posted to: Derby, Derby Election 2017

FILE PHOTO Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom once said, “In politics, if you want something said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.”

I’m proud of Derby’s first female Mayor. It’s with this pride that I’ll cast my vote on Tuesday, September 12th for Anita Dugatto.

I’ve known Anita since she supervised me at WaWa when I was in high school. Looking back, I smile as I realize that I’m still reporting to her.

Anita is a kind person filled with empathy for her fellow human beings. I watched as she provided shelter for homeless citizens while she worked tirelessly to get them into housing. People talk about helping others, but Anita actually leads by example.

She’s worked doggedly for Derby. The WPCA wanted $31.5 million for repairs and infrastructure costs. While others shied away from this request, Anita embraced the challenge and a referendum for the WPCA and to repair roads went to the public and passed.

Blight was an issue. Anita stepped to the plate and formed a BOA subcommittee that dealt specifically with blight.

Her blight campaign recovered blight fines, foreclosed on properties, established a Clean and Lien program, and jump started DerbyCares which was able to tend to an elderly resident’s property so he could focus on his health.

Citizens complained about taxes. Anita discovered over a million dollars in back taxes that were owed the city sitting uncollected. She recovered the money and auctioned properties that were not up-to-date on taxes.

Those who ran the city previously did a good job of receiving threatening legal and other problem letters from state and federal agencies. It took Anita to actually respond and do something about them. Letters have been answered, lawsuits settled, and we are once again on good terms with agencies who once shunned Derby.

We had a stagnant redevelopment zone. Anita sought grant money and then used it to formulate a public-driven plan. It’s a plan that reflects the will of the people of Derby not the will of an outside developer. The plan is something we can all look at and comprehend.

In her most recent term she has Derby on the cusp of greatness. There is an undeniable positive vibe in this town.

We have new businesses (including some recognized throughout the state), new infrastructure, beautiful parks, new plans to revitalize downtown, and renewed pride in our schools.

Anita Dugatto . . . her commitment to Derby, hiring of professional people, inclusion of the public are some of the main reasons these things are happening.

In closing, 70’s pop star Helen Reddy had a hit single called, “I am woman, hear me roar.” Go ahead and roar, Anita. Roar for Derby. Roar for those less fortunate. Roar for all the young girls looking up to you. Roar for all those women who are sick and tired of the attempt to try and muffle successful, independent women.

The writer represents Derby’s Second Ward of the city’s Board of Aldermen.

Views expressed in guest columns (aka ‘letters to the editor’) and press releases do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley Indy has a 550-word limit on guest columns.

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