Thursday, November 30, 2006

Addicted to oil?

The Iraq Study Group (ISG) is set to release its report (AP, by Lolita Baldor) next week. And they seem to be talking quite a bit about troop redeployments, but there also seems to be something missing from all this preliminary talk: ending our "addiction to oil."

Nearly a year ago, I applauded our Commander-in-Chief when President Bush said (CNN):

"Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," the former oil executive said.

"Tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22 percent increase in clean energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas," Bush said. "To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission, coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

"We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks,or switch grass."
But at this point, who remembers the "Advanced Energy Initiative?" Was this just lip service?

I don't think so. I get pretty deep into this energy stuff. And from what I can tell, things are happening... behind the scenes. Way behind the scenes, unfortunately. And therein lies the problem. As the saying goes... if a tree falls in the woods...?

The President should be using the bully pulpit in an effort to end America's "addiction to oil." But he is not doing that. As far as I'm concerned, there's no way to decouple the war in Iraq from our dependence on Mideast oil. And since the path toward energy independence and away from Mideast dependence is complex, it is incumbent on our leaders to show us the way.

I sincerely hope that, unlike the President, the ISG doesn't fail to address America's "addiction to oil" when they address their "plan for Iraq." If they do, along with the President, they'll be doing a disservice to our nation. The issues are too big. The stakes are too high. Someone needs to explain to America both "alt fuels" and the path forward. And if the POTUS isn't going to do it, then whoever has the eyes and ears of the world should do it. And my guess is that, next week, the world's attention will be focused on the ISG.

In the meantime, I'm working at the local level to move Cheshire toward alt fuels. More on that in a different post.

And not entirely unrelated, Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) announced his bid for the Presidency today. I don't know much about him at all. But from what I understand, he's making alt fuels central to his campaign... so he's starting off on the right foot with me.

Tim White
Cheshire Town Council, 4th District

Booming economy?

We've got some new businesses coming to town (WRA, by Lauresha Xhihani). I guess that new Chamber Director really knows what he's doing... he just needs to remember to bring all the new business to the south end of town. That way I can run ads next fall talking about how I "reduced unemployment" and "increased jobs" in the 4th District. Ha!

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Term limits

I got an interesting letter tonight from a resident here in town, Ray Squier. I haven't read the entire letter yet (it's three pages), but did read the beginning... including the question:

"Is it time to again look at the town Charter for review, revisions, improvements?"

That question brought something to my mind... something that I had been considering for a while now, but had not really discussed publicly.

Term limits

I think we (the town) ought to seriously consider term limits for the Council. Personally, I think we ought to have term limits for all levels of my government: Washington, Hartford & Cheshire. But I can only have a direct impact on Cheshire.

How could we impose term limits?

We would need to revise the charter. Hence, the timing of this posting. (Btw, the last Charter Revision was completed in 1996. And I think it began in 1994. So I agree with Ray. It's been over a decade since we opened up the Charter. Regardless of term limits, I think it may be worthwhile to consider revising the Charter.)

Some general thoughts on how I would define "term limits?"

I wouldn't want to preclude someone from office forever. However, I don't see a need for someone to stay in office for more than say, six to ten years continuously. Then they could leave office for one term and return thereafter. However, in the meantime, we would have gotten some new people into office... people who may very well not run for office if they were to face an "incumbent." As well, I wouldn't want to backdate this rule. To simplify things, we could just "start the timer" today.

As for the much broader idea of "Charter Revision," for those of you who are unaware, Charter Revision is a significant undertaking. And most importantly, it means EVERYTHING is "on the table." That means we could:

1) move from a Council/Manager form of gov't to a Mayor... either strong (New Haven) or weak (Meriden, I think).

2) pay our elected officials (ha! I'd love to see how that goes over in the voting booth! It'd go over even better than Wooding Caplan did in Wallingford... I think that went down something like 6600 - 400!).

3) allow for split referendum votes... bifurcating the town budget from the school budget. (Personally, I think that would be great because it would be handing more power to the voters. Right now though, we can only have one "up or down" vote on the entire $90million budget. Splitting out various line items would be good for the town.)

4) revise the Council election cycle. (For example, we could change from four to three districts, change from two to three year terms and have three Council members up for election each year... putting all these changes together would help us comply with minority representation rules, as two at-large members would always be up for election.)

5) split the roles of Council Chairman and Honorary Mayor (I see no need to combine the roles.)

6) do all sorts of things.

I have some other ideas to broach if we revise the charter, but the single most significant idea I would support is term limits. (I don't like the idea of going to a Mayor. By having a Mayor, you centralize power. And that's fine with a good person in office. But I think Corrupticut has proven itself to have too many people who start to believe that they themselves are special, ultimately succumbing to temptation. Nope... I'd rather skip that possibility.)

Please comment on this. I really would like to hear if people like the idea of term limits or, more generally, a Charter Revision. (I found this Wikipedia page to be very useful in reviewing the supporting and opposing arguments.)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Council mtg 11/28

I got a couple of my vote predictions wrong. I expected different votes on both:

Sunday hours at the library - this passed unanimously. I really was surprised that Dave Schrumm voted for this.

Pool consultant - this passed, 7-2. Tom Ruocco and I voted against spending the $19,500.

Finally, there was also land acquisition on the agenda for executive session. However, we didn't vote on anything (which happens outside of exec session), so I don't have any update on this.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Walmart's $4 drugs

Walmart announced they'll rollout their $4 prescription drug plan in CT today. It will cover 26 conditions. (AP) And if I have the story right this time, this is not a copay. It's just $4 for your prescription. The AP story also mentions that both Target and BJs are rolling out similar programs.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, November 27, 2006

Asking for trouble

What was this Southington woman thinking? (Courant, by Ken Byron)

A 42-year-old woman was arrested over the weekend for allegedly renting a hotel room for three 17-year old boys who had a party there with three 14-year old girls, police said Monday.Charlene Milia is also accused of buying alcohol that the six youths had at the party. Police said one of the boys, who was not identified, also had sex with one of the girls.
Seriously, what was this woman thinking? Just this past spring it seemed as though headlines everywhere were talking about parents getting in trouble for being complicit in underage drinking.

If you're interested in learning more about where to find help, please check out our Cheshire Cares website.

Tim White
Town Council, Human Services Committee liaison

Town hall 11/27

I was at the Energy Commission meeting tonight in town hall. As usual, there were lots of interesting things discussed tonight. Perhaps the best thing though was that we had, IMHO, all the relevant people there for perhaps the first time ever. Along with the Energy Commission members, also present were facilities representatives from the town and the schools and members of both the Council (me) and the BOE (Bob Behrer).

This may seem insignificant, but it's not. Without having everyone represented, it makes communication difficult. In turn, projects either take forever or simply never happen. So a special thanks to Bob Behrer for taking the time attend!

Also happening this evening in town hall was a meeting of the Senior Tax Relief Study Committee. I joined the meeting for just a minute, as I was busy with the EC. One thing was mentioned to me though in passing... is it true that they unanimously rejected the idea of a tax freeze? I was told they did that last Wednesday, but I hadn't noticed it mentioned anywhere.

Finally in town hall tonight was a meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission. I didn't catch any of their meeting, but did see their agenda. Included in the agenda under New Business were two rather interesting items: "Petition for Changes to the Town of Cheshire Plan of Conservation and Development" and "Zone Text Change Petition Application (Interchange Special Development District)." Both items were put forward by W/S Development Associates, LLC. I googled them and found some interesting stuff. Stuff that some may consider good, while others may consider bad. And I believe these are the same guys who did the shops in Canton. Anyway... anyone happen to see the PZC meeting on TV? What exactly were they doing?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Extinction of NE Republicans?

The NYT is running this pretty interesting article (by Pam Belluck) analyzing "New England Republicans."

There's a suggestion that the National GOP impacted races all the way down to local races:

Even so, in Rhode Island, city council members across the state lost longtime Republican seats, and in the Connecticut legislature, Democrats achieved a veto-proof majority for the first time in 25 years.

“Several states in New England have fairly high numbers of independent voters, and those folks broke 2 to 1 for Democrats,” said Constantine J. Spiliotes, director of research for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. “They usually split pretty evenly.”

There's also the suggestion that Republicans are doomed, unless the party becomes more welcoming:
Most newcomers are independent, “trying to figure out which party is more welcoming, and that’s clearly the Democratic Party right now,” Mr. Peterson said. “If the national party doesn’t make a home for independents, the Republicans are going to start losing. I don’t think they realize it yet, but I think they’re going to have to throw out their whole playbook.”
Nationwide, I think the GOP has its work cut out for it... from the hallowed halls of the US Capital to every Town Hall across America... or at least everywhere in the Northeast.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Making alt fuels work

A Nebraska-based company, Dial Energy Corp., is planning on building an ethanol plant in Illinois. In and of itself, that's not particularly newsworthy here in CT. But I noticed that they're considering running the ethanol plant off of a biodiesel plant (Peoria Journal Star, by Kevin Sampier). Dial Energy plans to:

"build the 100-million-gallon ethanol plant on 300 acres near Abingdon(Illinois). Company President Travis Taylor said the site also could host a 50-million-gallon biodiesel plant."
But back to just the ethanol plant... here's an example of how moving to alt fuels could help CT... Dial Energy's President, Travis Taylor said:

"the plants would mean an economic boost for the area. About 45 to 50 jobs that would pay $40,000 annually would be created from the project. Taxes paid by the company would fund the local school districts and farmers would have another buyer for corn."
And of course there's all the other benefits... cleaner environment, better health due to a cleaner environment, curbing sprawl and a reduced dependence on mideast oil... among other benefits.

I'll have to bring this up when the Council sits down with P&Z to discuss changes to the town's Plan of Conservation & Development.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

No energy for answers

It's the time of year again when rate hikes are in the news (NHR, by Luther Turmelle). But consumers should take solace in the notion that our elected officials are showing a great deal of concern (AP) for us (said tongue in cheek). With UI requesting a 38% rate hike for households and 50% for businesses, the AP reported the following this past week:

"House Democrats on Monday ruled out a special legislative session to take up energy legislation, choosing instead to schedule a public hearing before the end of the year. Rising energy prices have become a political issue, putting pressure on elected officials to at least try to find solutions."
This definitely was one of the issues I heard repeated the most by people this fall. And I think it's great that there's going to be a public hearing. But will they ever take action?

People wanted action a year ago, but nothing has happened yet. I think our "citizens' legislature" is overcomplicating this and getting too involved in the details.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, November 24, 2006

Council agenda 11/28

I've gotten the agenda for next Tuesday's Council meeting. My thoughts on the items included on the agenda are:

1. Discussion and action re: approval of agreement to purchase energy through CCM. This is an easy one for me. I'm expecting this will be a unanimous decision.

2. Discussion and action re: establishment of Sunday hours at the Cheshire Public Library. I want to know what the costs will be, but am expecting to support this. Personally, I don't use the library much. But both from my visits, as well as from the usage numbers I've seen, the library continues to get an increasing amount of use (6% per year is the number that comes to mind). So I know the benefit is there, I just need to see the cost. I'm expecting this to pass with six or seven votes in favor, two or three opposed.

3. Discussion and action re: approval of economic incentive for Sandbank Veterinary Hospital. My concern with this is less with this particular incentive and more with our townwide approach to tax incentives for businesses.

This really begs the question: will we ever see any substantive property tax reform? I haven't really investigated this beyond reading the local newspapers, but I have yet to hear any legislators define their version of "property tax reform."

But back to Cheshire, I'd like to see both a comparison of Cheshire to other towns and if there are any facts to substantiate the costs and benefits of the tax incentive program that is often offered by the town.

4. Discussion and action re: appointment of pool consultant. I'm willing to listen to the proposal from Parks & Rec, but I find it hard to believe that anyone can convince me to vote in favor of spending this $20k. I'm expecting that this will be another 8-1 pool vote, with me opposed.

5. Discussion and action re: approval of revisions to Personnel Rules and Regulations. I'm not yet sure what these revisions are.

6. Discussion re: land acquisition, executive session.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

UPDATE: I got the details for the proposed Sunday hours at the Library.

The Sundays would run from Jan 7 - Mar 25. The hours would be 1pm to 5pm. The known costs are as follows:

1 Supervisor @ $41.25 x 4.5 hours = $185
1 Children's desk librarian @ $37.50 x 4hrs = $150
1 Reference desk librarian @ $37.50 x 4hrs = $150
2 Clerks for checkout desk @ $14 x 8hrs = $112
1 Page @ $7.80 x 4hrs = $31.20

Total wages per Sunday = $629 + 7.65% Soc Sec = $677
Total wages for 12 Sundays = $8,123

There are some unknowns here, including some small revenues and miscellaneous "unknowns," such as plowing/shoveling and heating.

I still have some questions which I'll try to get answers to before Tuesday's meeting. (I can already tell that this meeting will be a long one. I certainly don't want to make this meeting go any longer than it likely already will... I have to get up in the morning to go to work.) Overall though, I think I like the idea of offering Sunday hours at the library.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I doubt I'll be back online for the next couple of days, so...

I'm sure that all of us have some wonderful things for which we are thankful. I hope you and your families all have a very nice thanksgiving.


Cheshire's new "hotel"

Cheshire's getting a new hotel (MRJ, by Tiffany Aron). Although you may not be able to stay there. Its designed for those of "us" with four legs.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

CTs $4 copay

While Walmart is already offering $4 copays in Florida, that most famous of French stores, Target, is now offering $4 copays nationwide. (NHR, by Ed Stannard)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

UPDATE: I incorrectly assumed that the $4 payments were copays. However, that does not appear to be the case (Peoria Journal Star). Rather, Target is simply charging a flat rate of $4 on these drugs. ( Even better!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cheap electricity switched off

Connecticut offers homeowners four different suppliers from where to purchase their electricity:
1) CL&P
2) Levco Energy
3) Sterling Planet
4) Community Energy

CL&P offers the standard rate. Sterling and Community offer clean energy for a surcharge. Levco offers a rate discounted from that of CL&P. Unfortunately, as The Day (by Patricia Daddona) is reporting, Levco is not taking additional customers for the time being.

You can try again next year though. They're hoping to increase their customer base beyond the 38,000 households they currently serve. And for what it's worth, I used Levco for a couple years before switching to clean energy. I thought Levco was fine. I never noticed a thing.

But if you're interested in signing up for one of the two clean energy options,
click here. I'm still hoping that the clean energy really takes off. In Austin TX, clean energy is now less expensive than regular energy.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Clean energy stumbles again

The Journal Inquirer (by Don Michak) is reporting that state auditors report that officials at CTI are breaking their own rules.

"The auditors said the agency's procedures require that, where possible, any contract for personal services requiring an expenditure of more than $75,000 be awarded on a basis of 'competitive negotiation' where proposals are received from at least three qualified parties.

They cited one contract with a stated maximum of $75,000 but for which payments totaled $84,700, and three other six-month contracts with one consultant who was paid $69,675, $70,535, and $75,407, respectively, for each."
I happen to be both involved in government and an auditor.

This is atrocious. First of all, I perused their website and found their financials... for 2003. They don't even have 2004 up yet (from what I could find)... and they've already completed their 2005 audit.

Second, I looked for the "materiality" of the $200,000 that was paid to one consultant. Considering that their total 2003 balance sheet was only slightly in excess of $100,000,000 and their Profit n Loss statement was approximately $4,000,000 on both the revenue and expense side... that $200k should have stuck out like a sore thumb.

I hope someone in Hartford holds CTI's management to account. This is just unacceptable.

Finally, if you didn't read the article, CTI's provides much of the funding for the Clen Energy Fund. And CTCEF is one of the main sponsors of the fuel cells at the Cheshire Town Pool... although unlikely, this may negatively impact the fuel cells. Stay tuned.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pool consultant: $19,500

I missed the meeting. I didn't get there until 9pm and everyone was on the way out the door. But before they all left, I think I got the scoop.

The Parks & Rec commission voted this evening to recommend a consultant to the Council. The consultant is (and forgive me if I get this wrong... again, I wasn't there) Aquatica. And the proposed fee is $19,500. (I believe the other proposal, from Lutra Aquatics, was for $35,000 or so.)

Both are too rich for my blood. I'm hoping the fuel cells may save us enough dollars to keep the pool afloat. Or, perhaps, even better... my idea that I posted a few days ago about using Sun Edison and Avalence to virtually eliminate the energy costs of the pool.

And the other potential benefits of using Avalence and Sun Edison:

1) it moves us to real renewable energy (not just "renewable," as defined by the Legislature... seriously, how does one define natural gas as "renewable?")
2) it increases the public awareness about "the hydrogen economy." And that benefit would be priceless... because at some point our elected officials will wake up and recognize that we've run out of middle east oil.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Benefits of alternative energy

The Washington Post has this very interesting report (by Steve Mufson) on how alternative energy can help rebuild America.

"Many boosters of solar, wind and biofuels have tried to sell them as pieces of a new American economy, but these nascent industries rely on many of the same skills and materials as the old American economy-- and that's good for people looking for jobs.

The wind turbines installed by Madison Gas and Electric Co. in Wisconsin, for example, were placed on towers that weigh 73 1/2 tons, mostly made of steel. They were built in Shreveport, La. Wind turbines also use components common in many endangered U.S. industries, such as gearboxes, rotors, control systems, disc brakes, yaw motors and drives, and bearings.

'What we need are policies that advance the climate for investment in these products,' says Marco Trbovich, communications director for the United Steelworkers of America."

The article continues, explaining how certain electric rate policies may move people in a certain direction:

"If utilities start charging customers more for electricity during peak-usage periods -- around midday and early afternoon, when solar power is most available, the solar business could get another boost."
Personally, I don't want to see any more rates increase. I think we've all had enough of that. But perhaps cutting off-peak rates would have the same impact as increasing peak rates?

If you're thinking about using solar power (photovoltaics) and are interested in getting more info about it, this is a good place to start. And that webpage may lead you to this page where you can find CT tax incentives.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

My alma mater: 50 yrs old

My alma mater, Norton School, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The celebration is being organized by one of Cheshire's most active (and fun-loving) residents, our Town Historian, Ron Gagliardi. If you're interested in becoming involved (including lending or donating items of interest), please call 272-7283. (NHR, by Luther Turmelle, Nov 12)

Although I'm sure all of our teachers, like Mrs. Link and Mr. Verillo will be remembered by the organizers... I hope they don't forget to commemorate the, perhaps, most important of member of the Norton community, Mrs. Dill.

I'm gonna have to take a look in my basement. I'm pretty sure I still have my 1984 "yearbook."

Tim White
Norton School alumnus

Rhodes Scholar

Cheshire High School graduate, Uma Shankar ('03), has been selected as one of 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide. (WRA, by Lauresha Xhihani)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Classroom discipline

This story (MRJ, by Amanda Falcone) provides background on a theme (difficulty enforcing discipline in the classroom) that I've heard from teachers everywhere... both in Cheshire and around the country.

The article notes that, in Meriden, the issue relates back to "Connecticut’s 2002 P.J. settlement of a student’s lawsuit against the state education depart­ment" said Thomas Bruenn, president of the Meriden Federation of Teachers. He continued on "School systems need to find a way to better carry out the mandates of the decision."

Note: I've never spoken with anyone in Cheshire who linked the "P.J. settlement" to classroom discipline. And I don't want to imply that.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, November 17, 2006

State commissioners resign

As is customary, Governor Rell has requested the resignations of all of her commissioners (NHR, by Gregory Hladky) and deputy commissioners. The article suggests that many are traditionally reappointed.

Perhaps some at the DOT won't be returning?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Algonquin replacement

Prospect is moving ahead with finding a location (WRA, by Emily Beaver) for a school to replace Algonquin.

Tim White

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Open forum 11/16

There were a few Council subcommittee meetings tonight. Discussions began on both:

1) the use of the Lassen property and
2) action to be taken on the P&Zs recommendation for the Strathmore dam.

The Record Journal had this interesting article (by Tiffany Aron) on "cadet teaching" in Cheshire's public schools. Cadet teaching is CHS students going to teach little kids in our elementary schools.

CL&Ps rate hike is here. (AP) They're looking for an 8%+ increase for Jan 1. If you're interested in saving money on your electric bill, click here. The company is Levco. I used them for several years, until I switched to clean energy last fall.

Cheshire's Senior Tax Relief Study Committee has begun its work.

The Herald had an interesting article (by Leslie Hutchison) about my fundraising. I think this only highlights why I've been calling for campaign finance reform and have personally thanked our legislators for having taken action.

Unrelated to any articles, I had an idea today for a possible way to virtually eliminate operating costs at the pool. As well, we may be able to avoid spending money on capital costs. The basic idea is this: get PVs (solar panels) from Sun Edison, then use that electricity to run a "hydrogen creation & storage facility" from Avalence. I have no idea if this can work, but I think it's worth investigating.

And finally, does anyone know who Murphy supported for House Dem majority leader? Hoyer or Murtha? And what does that mean to the CD5?

Tim White
Cheshire Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Saving tax dollars

One other notable point of interest from last night's Council meeting:

Energy Commission member, Bill Kunde, spoke on an agenda item. The item was the CHS window replacement project. Bill explained that the relationship among our commissions (in this case, Public Buildings and Energy) was working well.

Now this may seem of little interest to many, but for those of you who follow the local Cheshire stuff, you may recall that the topic of "working relationships" among our Boards and Commissions became a heavily discussed topic during the October '05 Council meeting.

Largely as a result of that discussion, the Council passed a little-noticed resolution in February of this year. In turn, that resolution is probably properly credited with having created the environment in which our Commissions are now working well together.

This is great news for the town. We now find ourselves working collaboratively and, more importantly, moving away from the "lowest first cost" theory of building projects to the "lowest lifecycle cost" theory. This shift in design process should save money for the town and the taxpayers.

This shift in thinking may have been years in the making, but hopefully it will be worth the time and effort of those involved in the change.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Women's voices

The Courant had an interesting take (by David Lightman) on the sway held by women, particularly single women, in last week's election.

"If there is a clear Election Day message from women, independent analysts said, it's that they want Congress to stop the partisan warfare, show some concern for constituents and act."

I wonder if this applied to the state level? And I wonder if this will also hold true in next year's local elections?

Tim White
Cheshire Town Council, 4th District

Rte 42 delay

The Town Manager announced last night at the Town Council meeting that there's another delay in the Rte 42 reconstruction project. (And a quick reminder... the "reconstruction" project is entirely unrelated to the waste of money that was the "repaving" project that happened this past summer... both of which are happening on N. Brooksvale between Broadview and Rosemary.)

I wish I could say this delay was a surprise to me. But after all the runarounds, delays, changes of story, etc.... nothing really surprises me with this project anymore. So I did something last night that I should have done a long time ago. I asked the Town Manager to ask the State DOT for the DOTs list of projects in priority order. Also, I'll need to make sure he gets their list of criteria used when they prioritize their projects. After all, without a list of priorities and the related prioritization criteria, how could the DOT decide when a project happens?

Between money being wasted on Rte 42 and the I-84 debacle (and their storm drains to nowhere), someone really needs to be held to account at the DOT.

I may not have a full grasp of the situation, but it seems to me that we just keep throwing away our state tax dollars with that department. And that's money that could be better used on education or cutting taxes.

Tim White
Cheshire Town Council, 4th District

Council mtg 11/14

I don't have my notes in front of me from last night's meeting, but don't recall much of anything being particularly controversial. There was one topic though that really upset me.

The DOT has announced another one year delay of the Rte 42 reconstruction project. This just set off a myriad of questions in my mind. And I can't do them justice right now, before I go to work. So I'll do another post on this later.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

UPDATE: I forgot one other thing. The Energy Commission Chairman, Rich Ogurick, brought forward some potentially bad news in relation to the fuel cells at the pool.

Cheshire may have not have the (natural gas) capacity to support the proposed fuel cells. However, everyone (UTC, Yankee Gas, CT Clean Energy Fund, etc.) is on board and doing everything possible to address this capacity issue.

Cheshire swimming

Cheshire swimming continues to excel(WRA, by Joe Palladino) in statewide competition.

Tim White
Cheshire Town Council, 4th District

Monday, November 13, 2006

Council agenda 11/14

It looks like tomorrow's Council may be a lively one. There seem to be a few items that will generate some discussion, including:

1) Acceptance of an $81,850 grant for a program (incl staff) to prevent underage drinking. I support accepting the money and seeing the benefits of the program. However, I expect there to be discussion on "what happens when the funding ends? Does the position then get funded through local taxes?" I think that's an appropriate discussion to have. But I also feel that underage drinking is a real problem and two years may help us make real headway with it.

2) Appropriation of $35,400 for three different school projects. I'm not sure if this will generate any discussion, but the money is coming from the Peck-Jones fund. And, if memory serves me, that money is the exclusive domain of the BOE... dating back decades... if not a century. I want to learn more, but am sure I'll be fine with this.

3) Legislative Package. This one is a doozy every year. My guess is that most discussion will be focused on CCMs suggested modifications to binding arbitration. Then state funding for elderly tax relief, and grants for both the wastewater treatment plant and barite mines will likely be discussed at length.

4) Purchase of electricity thru a consortium (CCM Energy). I don't think this will be a partisan discussion, but it will probably elicit questions. The Energy Commission has recommended this to the Council. I think it makes sense. Basically, we're buying our electricity in bulk and getting a discount as a result. (If you're curious how they make a profit on us, I believe it relates to the offpeak rates for streetlight electricity... that's where they make their money.)

Should be an interesting one tomorrow night!

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

UPDATE: It’s also worth noting that the legislative package does not include the turf, the barn or any other projects that are clearly a lower priority than something such as the wastewater treatment plant.

Why Shays won

"'I'm not thrilled with any of them,' (Shays) said" when asked who he would support for Republican minority leader in the House.

OK. There are many reasons why Chris Shays won (Courant, by David Lightman) in this Democratic landslide, but his independence is certainly one of the main reasons. And while I'm sure I disagree with him on many issues, I do respect him. I'm glad that he was reelected.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th district

p.s. Congratulations to Cheshire's adopted son, Chris Murphy! I wish him all the best. Between getting engaged and elected, he's going to be a busy guy for the next 12 months.

School safety funding

No doubt this measure (AP) will garner widespread support within the legislature because school safety is important. However, this proposal does beg the question... how is the money going to be allocated? Will it be based on needs? And what are the needs of CTs towns?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Veterans Day

I attended the Veterans Day services on Cheshire's green yesterday. The brief comments provided by everyone were nice, particularly in light of the fact that we, once again, find ourselves at war.

Besides veterans' comments though, two things caught my attention:

1) No call was made for recognition of WWI vets because the last surviving veteran died about one month ago at the age of 116.

2) the Vietnam Veterans' memorial will be coming to Cheshire. Ralph Zingarella, a teacher at CHS, is spearheading the initiative with his students. I think this is a fantastic idea and one that will hopefully resonate with people both here in Cheshire and in neighboring towns.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I lost

But I'd like to congratulate my opponent, Vickie Orsini Nardello. And thanks to all of my family and friends who gave me so much support.

Quick analysis... the "globals" in this election outpaced the ability of probably just about any Republican challenger. I don't have the exact totals, but I lost by about 5200 to 4300 votes. Please... opine!

Tim White

Thursday, November 02, 2006

You decide: Who will best represent you?

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted for 13% spending increase in 2-year budget (2005 Budget)
2) Voted to increase state income tax up to 5.75% (HB 6397: 2003)
3) Voted to increase sales tax from 6% to 6.5% (2003 Budget)

Tim White:
1) Helped keep Cheshire tax increases below 2% per year;
2) helped cut thousands of dollars of wasteful spending.
3) Proposes law to limit property tax increases to 3% unless voters approve more.
4) Opposes raising state taxes; “Cut wasteful spending first.”

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted against returning $466,000 to our three towns (HB 5845, LCO 5217: 2006)
2) Voted to give Hartford $6.74, but Bethany only 21c, per dollar paid in state income tax (2005 Budget)

Tim White:
1) Will put Bethany, Cheshire, and Prospect first.
2) Will fight for our fair share of state dollars to ensure best possible education for our kids.
3) Sought accountability in Cheshire school budget.

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted against lowering electric costs (HB 5689: 2006)
2) No initiative to develop alternative fuels…. “I have urged federal legislators to find national solutions to rising costs” (VN: 2006 Capitol Report)

Tim White:
1) Is Cheshire Council’s main advocate for conservation and clean, renewable energy.
2) Will push for new energy sources, such as ethanol. “There’s plenty the state and towns can do to develop alternative energy and to lower costs.”

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted against cutting income tax on retirees’ pensions. (HB 6940, LCO 7811: 2005)

Tim White:
1) Will vote to cut taxes on retirement income (as 46 states already do).

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted against raising premiums and co-pays for legislators’ health coverage (HB 6721, LCO 7512: 2003)

Tim White:
1) “Legislators and government employees should pay on par with everyone else.”

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted to allow government to take people’s homes for private development (HB 7502, LCO 8402: 2005)

Tim White:
1) Will vote against government taking people’s homes for private purposes. “This is an abuse of government power.”

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted to give illegal aliens discounted in-state tuition at state colleges (HB 6793: 2005)

Tim White:
1) Will vote against taxpayer subsidies for illegal aliens.
2) Favors enforcement of immigration laws.

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Voted against keeping tax returns private and confidential (HJ 304, LCO 8544: 2005)

Tim White:
1) Will vote to keep tax returns private and confidential.

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Almost always votes in line with her party leaders

Tim White:
1) Well known for bi-partisan approach in Cheshire. “I don’t care if it’s a Democratic idea or a Republican idea, as long as it’s a good idea and it works.”

Vickie Orsini Nardello:
1) Lobbying behind the scenes to allow dental hygienists to practice dentistry. (Waterbury Republican American, Letter signed by Dr. John Gagne, 10/29/06)

Tim White:
1) “Patient safety comes first. My only special interests are the people of Bethany, Cheshire, and Prospect.”

"Vickie has served the district honorably for 12 years, but it's time for a change. We can do better." - Tim White

Tim White
State Rep candidate (R-89)
Bethany, Cheshire & Prospect

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Our fair share"

Rep. Vickie Orsini Nardello voted against more money for our towns. I'll fight for our fair share of state funding.

Rep. Orsini Nardello voted against returning additional state dollars to our three towns. Bethany lost $109,000, Cheshire lost $231,000, and Prospect lost $126,000. (HB 5845, LCO 5217: 2006). These funds could have helped us cut taxes or hire more teachers for our kids.

She boasted in her newsletter that we received “our fair share” of state aid. Yet Bethany received a mere $36,000, Cheshire $910,000, and Prospect only $73,000 in state increases.

And last year, Ms. Nardello voted to subsidize illegal aliens with in-state tuition rates at state colleges. (HB 6793).

Where are her real priorities?

“Hartford is the fifth poorest city in the country,” Nardello explained. “When I came here to the Hartford schools, it was like coming to a Third World country.” Nardello is an employee of the Hartford schools which are quite well funded. (

Her concern for big cities is evident in the state budgets she supports. For every dollar of state income tax we pay, cities and towns get back

Bethany 21c
Cheshire 26c
Prospect 50c

Hartford $ 6.74
New Haven $ 3.66
Bridgeport $ 4.42

I'll put our schools and taxpayers first. My only special interests are the people of Bethany, Cheshire, and Prospect.

I'm a product of the Cheshire public schools. As a town Councilman, I've fought for effective school funding and accountability. As State Representative, I'll fight for our fair share of state dollars to ensure the best possible education for our children while keeping taxes down.

"Vote for Tim White. Vote for change – because we can do better."

Tim White
State Rep candidate
Bethany, Cheshire & Prospect

Endorsed by Mayor Bob Chatfield

UPDATE: apologies... I should not have posted this endorsement. Although, if you're curious, it will be in this issue of the Prospect Pages.

Tim White