Zalik appeals to ‘the people’ in run for mayor

Sandra Zalik, right, announced her campaign for mayor on Saturday on the steps of Town Hall. She will seek the Republican nomination, opposing Rep. Laura Hoydick. — Melvin Mason photo

There’s a new name in the race to become Stratford’s next mayor.

Former Town Council member Sandra Zalik is joining the crowded mayoral picture after announcing her campaign for the town’s highest office on Saturday.

Before an audience of nearly three dozen people, Zalik made her formal declaration to run for mayor said she’s running because she cares for the town and wants to see better for it.

Zalik is running for the Republican Party nomination. She will face Rep. Laura Hoydick, who announced her campaign on May 20.

Zalik said she was tired of “politics as usual” and people working for the parties instead of the people in Stratford.

“I’m a Republican at heart, but more importantly, I have an independent spirit. I don’t owe anyone anything. I’m not going to promise anyone a job. I will not make promises to contributors and I don’t make backroom deals,” Zalik said.

Zalik said she expects a tough challenge from Hoydick, but she says she can beat back the expectations versus the state representative.  

“Some people, the establish politicians, think that my opponent is a shoe-in. They think because she has more money and name recognition that I don’t have a chance. But I disagree,” Zalik said. “I think we’ve had enough of the so-called political establishment. What have they done for us?”

Zalik said the town needs to get going on fixing the Shakespeare Theatre and the Stratford Army Engine Plant to get them on the tax rolls and ease the burden on taxpayers.

Zalik expects the Stratford Republican Town Committee will endorse Hoydick at the Republican Town Committee caucus on Thursday, July 20. The results of a party primary on Sept. 12, she said, will go in her favor.

“I’m going to the people. I’m not going to rely on the party. I assume once I win the primary, the party will back me,” she said.

The Democrats, who will also caucus on July 20, have Democratic Town Committee Chairman Stephanie Philips, Zoning Commissioner Joe Paul and Board of Education Vice Chairman Len Petruccelli vying for the party’s mayoral nomination.

See the July 20 edition of the Stratford Star for more information on this story.

About author
Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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  • Bill

    Just worth mentioning, the chairperson wouldn’t vote for a budget this past Thursday because she wants money for the opioid crisis. Can you do better than that Sandra? Not sure who’s putting who first anymore in this town. Expect a very low turnout

  • Alta Vista

    One has to question the competency of any would-be Stratford Mayor who makes the fantastic claim that they will bring the AFST back on the tax rolls.nnThis coming election we need a cold, hard does of fiscal reality not more fantasy, please. Anyone who claims they will make the ASFT turn a profit and be a benefit

    • Sandra Zalik

      Dear Alta Vista – thank you for giving me a chance to clarify. I do NOT expect Shakespeare to get back on the grand list. I DO expect to get a developer to bring it back to life – like what is going on at the Wall Street theater in Norwalk. We could have had that same group here – except for politics getting in the way. As far as it being profitable, that would be up to the foundation or developer that ran it. I would expect to get some income to the Town from leasing the land. Hope that clarifies my position. Thank you again, Alta Vista.

      • Alta Vista

        So no one has been able to accomplish this, despite many, many attempts over many, many years. nnBut Sandra Zalik can, she claims. OK. You can claim anything you wish, Ms. Zalik, in a bid to attract votes.nnAt least you are intelligent enough not to boast that you will add the AFST to the Grand List.

        • Sandra Zalik

          Thank you, Alta Vista. I do not believe that our tax dollars should be spent on the theater, and I do not believe that it can be the same theater that it was in the past. I do believe, though, that it can be a multi use entertainment facility that could bring people and money to our Town. I was a Trustee for the Greater Bridgeport Symphony for several years, so I know the struggles of non profits first hand. It takes a dedicated group of volunteers to work on raising money through donations to subsidize ticket revenue. Nearby business do benefit from the traffic created by an entertainment facility.

          • Alta Vista

            Ms. Zalik, I have a decade’s worth of experience at a cultural non-profit and I can tell you that the current climate for non-profits is worse than its been for more than 30 years. Many smaller ones have gone under and all are struggling these days.nnSo there’s that.nnI applaud the fact that your goals for the AFST are more modest and realistic than Mr. Catalano’s. nnHigh end retail stores that fled after the AFST closed? I asked for a list and received none.nnFrom my understanding it will take at least several million dollars of investment to reopen the AFST in any form. nnIf it was a great deal, a fantastic opportunity, it would’ve happened already. And I don’t think it is a high priority for most residents. nnI’d rather see your efforts devoted to the SAEP which, I believe, has far greater potential for ROE.

          • Sandra Zalik

            I hear what you are saying, Alta Vista. I am planning to multi-task. 🙂

    • Matt Catalano

      Hey Alta Vista, why don’t you post under a real name? Any way that’s the argument that people like the GOP chairman like to make. However it misses the point as always. Whether or not the theater was well managed in the past has no relevance on what is possible today. What’s important to remember is that when the theater was open we had high end retail in this town and our restaurants were full. People coming to town spending money. That’s the benefit of a vibrant performing arts space. I’m tired of listening to folks like you, who continue to foster arguments about why things can’t work. And usually by people on the payroll who do nothing but suck on the teat of government. Culture and Tourism represent over $600 billion dollars in the national economy. We are foolish not to take advantage of that.

      • Alta Vista

        it’s clear that Mr. Catalano has a rose-colored, nostalgic view of both Stratford’s past and the local financial contribution of the ASFT during that time. nnIt’s also true that Mr. Catalano is not a disinterested party here as he’s been pushing the AFST revival himself for many years, too.nnHe also claims that I’m likely on the “teat of government’ ‘doing nothing.’ These are just lies, folks. nnI work 6 and 7 days a week in private industry and it’s my tax money that’s been wasted for years on the ASFT.nnBack during the last round of requested proposals, the financials of the one of the alleged comparables u2013 a town running a ‘successful’ Shakespeare theater u2013 listed a $3 million dollar loss due to a downturn in attendance. nn”Whether or not the theater was well managed in the past…” is simply a slander on good names of John Houseman, Lawrence Langner, Lincoln Kirstein, and financial backer Joseph Verner Reed.nnYeah, John Houseman and Lincoln Kirstein u2013 what did they know about running a theater? nnThey need the wisdom of a Mr. Catalano u2013 who is what, a multi-Tony Award winning director and producer with extensive Broadway and regional theater credits?

      • Alta Vista

        Back during the last round of requested proposals, the financials of the one of the alleged comparables u2013 a town running a ‘successful’ Shakespeare theater u2013 listed a $3 million dollar loss due to a downturn in attendance.nn”Whether or not the theater was well managed in the past…” is simply a slander on the good names of John Houseman, Lawrence Langner, Lincoln Kirstein, and financial backer Joseph Verner Reed.nnYeah, John Houseman and Lincoln Kirstein u2013 what did they know about running successful theaters?

      • Alta Vista

        Can Mr. Catalano give us any facts, other than claiming I am on the government payroll doing nothing (I am not)? nnWhat exactly were the ‘high end retail’ stores that were supported by the AFST that then left town when it closed? A list would be helpful.nnWhat facts are there that prove our ‘restaurants were full’ during the run of the AFST and now have no customers due to the lack of a vibrant performing arts space?nnEmotions and false nostalgia run very high on this topic.nnInstead of using my tax dollars, why doesn’t Mr. Catalano set up an online funding campaign for Stratford residents to give money for the theater’s revival on Kickstarter or Indiegogo? nnThis would be a real litmus test of local support.nnIt’s an option that’s been available for many years now. But I suspect no AFST fans want to see the real world result of such a campaign.nnPlease spend your own money, Matt, not my taxes u2013 which are too high already.

        • Jon

          Dear Alta Vista,nIt’s obvious to me that you have some valuable historical knowledge of the theatre that could assist in helping provide a positive outcome for it in the future.nThere are many passionate about it’s future and it’s potential as cultural activity center for the community.nYou also seem to share a level of discontent that many in the community feel about how the local government has managed things in the past.nMy desire would be and I’m sure Sandra and Matt from above would agree also to have those in the community like yourself put all of that knowledge and frustration into a positive constructive effort to help turn things around.nAnyone can point out others weakness be negative.nThe people that drive change build off others strengths.nIf you want to make a difference be positive and constructive so people like Sandra can make a difference.

          • Alta Vista

            I have no special knowledge of the AFST, none that is not publicly available I think. Youu2019re right that I believe local government has gotten seriously off-track recently. That’s not a keen insight these days.nnIf anyone can make that building useful again, more power to them. Just donu2019t base your case on anecdotes and unsubstantiated claims. Use facts. nnAn online fund-raising campaign would be an excellent way to see how many people in town are willing to put their dollars behind this effort. Why hasnu2019t this been tried?nnIs it possible that the AFST supporters are the few, the elite? Is this the townu2019s most pressing issue for the majority of its citizens?nnI want to vote for a mayoral candidate who states they will not use any of Stratfordu2019s taxpayersu2019 money for this project. Weu2019ve spent enough. Let some other interested party spend their money.nnYou want me to be positive? I positively don’t want any more of my tax money spent on the AFST.

          • jon

            I’m very glad to see that you are willing to share in a constructive manor.nI have looked through some of the other topics you have shared on and you should really utilize your knowledge to help make a difference.nI don’t think anyone wants to utilize tax dollars recklessly on the theatre.nI also don’t believe those that I know to be the most passionate about the theatre are the elite either. I think they are just good people that were fortunate to have great memories of experience at the theatre in it’s hay day and they would like that to continue.nYou are also right the devil is in the details.nThat being said ask Sandra and all of the potential candidates what matters to them and candidly provide a realistic outline of what you think as a taxpayer will make sense and is priority. nThe mistake made today is people don’t get involved and properly informed and pass the blame after the fact.nMake a difference get involved show those like Sandra nwhat matters to you . Otherwise they can only guess.

          • Alta Vista

            The problem, I think, is the dismal voter turn out in Stratford. It’s why we have the highest town taxes in the state of CT. nnOnly a percentage of eligible voters bother to show up and that leaves those in power free to do as they will.

          • Sandra Zalik

            Hi again Alta Vista – I did not get the endorsement of the Party and will now collect signatures to get on the Primary ballot in September. As I go door to door and talk to people, I will also focus on voter turn out. You make a good point there. Be well!

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