To the Editor:

The town I was raised in is no longer the town I remember. It is now filled with a bitterness that seeps through town, tearing us apart in its wake.

At the center is a man who has been in power for almost 30 years, a man whose public quarrels and private battles have now spilled over to affect all of us and the small-town image we prefer to maintain.

I spent close to eight years outside of my hometown, and grew to miss it greatly. I came back just in time for the hotly contested race between Bill Stuart and Neil Cable.

In my support for Neil Cable, I was introduced to the pettiness and vindictiveness of Bill Stuart and his supporters. It seemed they would stoop to any level necessary to smear Neil's name and keep Bill in power.

They succeeded, albeit modestly.

And so it was. Another term for the man who said he wouldn't run again. What was he holding on to? What was he fighting for?

If you ask, his supporters will say he has fought valiantly to keep Bridgewater "Bridgewater." I would like to offer the town's boards, people, and will have done a good job of that. No one man can accept the credit for such things, and it borders on idolatry to suggest it.

Mr. Stuart might say that he needed to remain at the helm to "guide us through troubled economic times."

Hogwash.

Bridgewater is in great shape, and always will be, thanks to the diligent efforts to keep our taxes low and our budget well-balanced. Again, not something one man can take credit for.

I understand that speaking out comes with a willingness to deal with the repercussions. It seems when people speak out in this town, they are immediately slandered and discounted as being in cahoots with Bill Stuart's "enemies."

How is it that a small town guy has so many enemies?

Shouldn't the town of Bridgewater be represented by a more accepting and inclusive figure?

I suppose I should state for the record I am in no way in cahoots with any of Mr. Stuart's enemies. If anything, I am quite comfortable being on the outside -- it's a wonderful perspective to have when dealing with such matters.

I would suggest his trusted supporters and his detractors both take a minute to think about the opposing viewpoints, and I would hope, in the end, a decision is made that will move the town forward and out of the dark place it has been in recent years.

Yes, I am suggesting Bill Stuart resign as first selectman, and offer the residents of Bridgewater a much-needed break from divisiveness and exclusion.

And yes, I used the words "hogwash" and "cahoots" in a letter to the editor. Some words really do have their place.

Jen Monastero

Bridgewater