Saturday, June 30, 2007

Public Information Officer

Emma's dad said:

I think that it makes sense to appoint someone whose charge is to facilitate and improve the distribution of information from the town. Clearly, previous efforts, if any, by the council or its individual members have not been fruitful, and the importance of improving the public's ability to access government information cannot be understated. As Jefferson wrote, "whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." It's time for a more aggressive approach.

And my response:

Perhaps the newly created position of Public Information Officer will fill that role? hmmm...

After all, you may recall that this past Tuesday the Council voted to create a position of Public Information Officer. And if you read the job description below (click on image to enlarge), you'll see that #8 of the PIO role "originates and distributes information to the public through press releases, the Town website, the Government Access Channel, and other means as appropriate." (#9 & #10 seem to reinforce #8.)

So has the request by Emma's Dad just been filled?

Perhaps, but I will point out that when the Town Manager initially proposed this and I began asking him questions about it, he said several times that this role is not changing... this is simply a "recognition" of the role that is currently being performed as the job has changed over the years, with new duties added (new duties highlighted in yellow)... and again... this is simply a recognition of the current role. And so I guess that public information is already available, right?

Or maybe I'm left scratching my head... trying to figure out... if the Council just voted to create this new position... which is simply a recognition that these responsibilities are already being performed... then... how do we address the concerns of people here on this blog (and around town)... that public information is not as readily accessible as it could/should be?

Great comment by Emma's dad.

Emma's dad for Council!

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Role of the Town Clerk

Since there's so much hoopla over the role of the Town Clerk, I decided to crack open our governing document, the Town Charter. I figured it would be easy-peasy... but not so. The Town Clerk's position doesn't seem to have it's own section anywhere in the Charter. So it may be codified by state statute... I'm not sure. Nonetheless, I did find some seemingly relevant info.

Starting with the section on "Records:"

I'm not a lawyer, but my take on the above "All elected... boards... shall make regulations for... the execution of their duties..." is that Shenanigate falls squarely at the feet of the Council. Of course, I'm assuming that the Town Council is among the elected boards. If so, it seems to me that since appointments to boards and commissions is a Council duty, then the execution of that duty falls squarely on us... except to the extent that the Town Clerk is supposed to keep copies of the actual sheet of paper upon which the Council votes... and as was mentioned during the meeting when we began to investigate Shenanigate... the list which is so often relied upon... is nothing more than an extra duty taken upon the Town Clerk... a duty which she would no doubt be happy to relinquish. And at that point... I guess the Council could give the responsibility to the Town Manager. And that probably makes sense as this is public information... and we just voted (6-3, Ruocco, Schrumm, White opposed) to create a new position of Public Information Officer! (Btw, that's a touch of sarcasm on my part... in case you missed it. We don't need a PIO. It's unnecessary.)
Tim White

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Open forum 6/27

Sorry... having html issues...

The state Senate passed the budget,0,900524.story 33-1. Cheshire's junior state Senator, Sam Caligiuri opposed the budget for what seems to be a simple reason... taxes do not equal spending. And to me, that seems like a perfectly sensible reason to oppose the budget. Hats off to Sam for that vote.

And related to the Council... wow... I don't even feel the need to discuss Shenanigate... although others are definitely talking about it. I heard some very choice comments today, but I think the most interesting comment I heard today was unrelated to the not-yet-completed Shenanigate (remember... it was sent to the Ordinance Review Committee)...

Someone here in town said "Tim, I was watching the meeting. Why doesn't the Town Manager answer your questions? It's as if I asked you what time you were going to bed. And you answered 'the sky is blue.'"

If you're not busy tomorrow night... the Town Council Personnel Committee will be holding another meeting on the Town Manager's annual review. Also the Republican Town Committee will be meeting in Town Hall. I think both meetings start at 7:30pm, but if you're interested in the Personnel meeting... call Town Hall to confirm the time and to find out if it's expected to happen in executive session.

What else is happening? Anyone have any predictions on the final outcome to Shenanigate?

Tim White


Above is the resolution that kicked off last night's "investigation."

I'd say that "Termgate" turned into "Apologygate" last night. For me, I don't think the apologies last night were sufficient in terms of repairing the damage caused by the accusations. For instance, not only were words flying at the June 12 Council meeting and at last night's meeting... and those were, to some extent, "repaired" at last night's Council meeting... but what about all the newspapers? I think each of our three local dailies carried at least two articles on this issue... and the Herald covered it in last week's article and editorial... so how is that damage repaired? None of that damage was repaired at last night's meeting. But I have to run off to work now. Your thoughts?
Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

John Larson on Ron Paul

John Larson says Ron Paul "speaks truth to power."

Ron Paul for President!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Town Hall 6/25

It was a busy night at town hall. I started with the budget committee, after having recused myself from the discussion on the fund balance policy (because it included a presentation by my employer). I then joined in the discussion with the CFD pension plan. My main concern was ensuring that the FD had considered a defined contribution and not only a defined benefit plan. And they said they did... although I'm still not convinced that town hall staff have even a rudimentary understanding of a defined contribution plan... and that's concerning to me because long-term liabilities are a huge concern for both governments and businesses... and to not understand the basics is a serious deficiency, IMO.

Simultaneously, there was a PBC meeting on the Norton boiler project. I'm not sure how that went, as I didn't attend.

I scooted off to the Energy Commission. They discussed a host of issues and kicked it off with the pool consultant report. And while I can't remember what they said in their comments for the Council, I know what I think of the pool consultant report... that was $20,000 that we wasted. I'm glad I voted against that waste of money. They discussed the Norton boiler project and raised some good points, an RFP for townwide energy services, the purchase of streetlights from CL&P (still recommending the wait'n'see mode... and wouldn't this put a twist on the pole posting issue?) and the 20% by 2010 clean energy program (we're over 200 households now, so we'll get a second photovoltaic) among other issues.

Finally, the PZC met tonight. I didn't attend the meeting, but was told that there was no vote on the proposed ND.

About tomorrow's Council meeting... I still haven't seen any resolution or anything related to the proposed investigation. So while it is an issue of concern to many... I'm still at a total loss as to where this is going.

Signing off...

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, June 24, 2007

CTs "civil rights" legislation

Today's CT section of the Sunday NY Times has a fantastic... and scathing... editorial on the state of our state. It speaks to my recent assertions that comity reigns supreme in Hartford.

It is true that a former governor, a state treasurer, two mayors and a state senator, as well as other powerful appointed state and municipal officials, have served time for malfeasance in office. But the most impressive evidence lately that Connecticut winks at corruption was the resounding silence early this month after State Senator Louis DeLuca pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor threat charge. Nearly all legislators had nothing but sympathy and praise for Mr. DeLuca. He received a suspended sentence for asking a man suspected of mob ties, James Galante, to “visit” his granddaughter’s then-boyfriend who Mr. DeLuca believed was abusing her. (The couple later married.)...

Why are they so silent? The short answer is that Mr. DeLuca has been an insider for decades, and, more than anything else in the government of this small state, relationships rule...

That is the root of why the State Legislature has proved so reluctant to pass laws that would deter corrupt behavior: Lawmakers are afraid that such proposals might hurt their friends — not just themselves. In addition, because state laws are so weak, Connecticut can’t effectively police itself; it is dependent on the competence and aggressiveness of federal authorities to expose corruption.

It is to the great credit of United States Attorney Kevin O’Connor’s office that so many government officials have been indicted in the state over the last several years. Yet the federal government cannot keep galloping in like the cavalry to save the day. Connecticut has to change its culture of corruption in much the same way, says Andy Sauer of Connecticut Common Cause, as the South had to change its racist attitudes 50 years ago to make repeated federal intervention unnecessary.

The analogy is apt. To change the unacceptable status quo, voters need to change not only the laws but legislators’ attitudes as well. And attitudes will change only when state residents begin voting against lawmakers who are soft on corruption.

It would also help greatly if the Legislature could be persuaded to approve several laws that have been proposed, and resoundingly ignored, for years....

Sooner or later, state legislators must set aside their ingrained desire to protect their friends and instead strengthen the rule of law for everyone. It is the only way to fix a state that, for good reason, has become known nationwide as Corrupticut.

For the laws that proposed and ignored, click here for this must read editorial.

Of interest to many of you... one of the proposed laws though may relate directly to Termgate:

Strengthen the chief state’s attorney’s office by giving the state’s top prosecutor the power to issue subpoenas during investigations. The Legislature stripped away that power several decades ago when the chief state’s attorney was deemed too aggressive in fighting in-state corruption. The office must have more authority.

The reason I say this may be relevant to Cheshire's Termgate is that I have reason to believe that despite the wording in the Town Charter... the Council does not have the ability to subpoena or question witnesses (under oath).

So it seems to me that the story and history of Corrupticut comes full circle right now for Cheshire... while some people feel our legislature can do no wrong... the same legislature may very well have also handicapped the ability of the Council to perform a credible investigation.

Tim White

Council agenda 6/26

Here's the agenda for Tuesday night:

I wish I had some more time this afternoon to opine, but don't... so just a few quick thoughts:

The much discussed proposed investigation is last on the agenda. I presume that is in the hopes of "clearing the decks" before getting involved in this discussion. I'm not sure if that's going to work though... this just seems as though there are a lot of things to be discussed... so I'm not sure that we'll even get to #14. Whatever happens though, I certainly hope that the "discussion and action" is televised... this issue is too big to happen after the cameras are turned off.

As well, this is only the meeting agenda, but at 7:30pm the Council will open up by holding two public hearings... one on the Strathmore Woods dam and one on the budget reserves (an issue of concern to me in terms of how high do our taxes need to be... when is enough "enough" in terms of reserves?)

Besides the Council meeting on Tuesday, there are plenty of other meetings this week:

Monday 7:00pm - Energy Commission
Monday 7:30pm - Budget Committee - discussing volunteer firefighters' pension ordinance and fund balance policy with the town's financial advisor... an employee of People's United Bank (formerly known as People's Bank). And since I work for People's... I'm expecting to miss this part of the meeting as it represents a potential conflict of interests... although I may touch base with the Town Attorney for further guidance.
Monday 7:30pm - Planning & Zoning - I think there's a meeting and I believe they'll be discussing the ND, but I'm not sure about that.
Thursday - Personnel Committee - town manager's annual review... and as I recently told him... I've been disappointed with his performance this year and do not expect to support giving him a raise, if that is proposed by the Council... nothing is set in stone for me on that though. Just airing my current view. (seriously though... here's just one issue, and there are many... why were the Friends of Boulder Knoll excluded from the ERT process? I have yet to hear a good answer... rather all I've heard is obfuscation about costs and RFPs... neither of which preclude discussion, so why the exclusionary tactics? Or perhaps the RFP excuse is legitimate, but then why didn't the Town do an RFP for the CYB land? To me, that's a glaring inconsistency... and all I want is to encourage discussion. Doesn't that make sense? I always thought that discussing concerns and viewpoints was worthwhile.)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Trichloroethyolene (TCE) in Cheshire

After years of inaction at a number of contaminated sites in town, the local health district is preparing to contact property owners about voluntarily remediating their land. (MRJ, by Leslie Hutchison)

Fifteen industrial sites in town are listed on the federal government's potential Superfund list. Six of those sites are under consideration for action by the Environmental Protection Agency....

The former Alling Lander site at 300 E. Johnson Ave. is one of the properties that has lingered on the EPA list for decades. It was designated as a potential Superfund site in 1986 after the agency found the soil and groundwater contaminated with trichloroethyolene, or TCE. According to the EPA, extended exposure to TCE could increase the risk of cancer in humans.

Tim White

On the comeback

By now I'm guessing that most Nutmeggers have heard that both black bear and moose are wondering all over CT (WRA, by Brigitte Ruthman). But check this out...

I recently met a lady from Bethany. She told me that she saw a mountain lion in her yard! Finding it hard to believe, I asked her if it was a bobcat. She said no... this cat was too big and it had a full tail... still finding it hard to believe, I asked if it was a lynx. She said no. Then she told me that she's a biologist and that she knows what she's talking about, mentioning that she lives adjacent to one of the many water-authority owned lakes in Bethany... and that a "deer run" goes right through her yard.

Was it a real sighting? I don't know. But considering that all the other big animals seem to making a comeback... and considering that mountain lions supposedly used to live in CT... and considering that they never left the east coast, they just got pushed back to Canada... well... considering all that... who knows? They might be making their way back to CT.

Tim White

50 years and counting

Being from the same high school class (CHS '57), my parents are often involved with their class reunions. And as you can see, they graduated high school 50 years ago this month! So it was no surprise to me that they (mostly my mom... she loves organizing parties) were involved again.

Anyway, as circumstances would have it... I ended up going to the cocktail party tonight for an hour or so and having a really nice time. And if you've been around Cheshire awhile, but think you wouldn't've known anyone there... think again... my parents' class always makes sure to invite old teachers... at least one of whom you may have known if you graduated from CHS before the early 80s.

Tonight I finally put a face to a name that I had heard for years... Bob Mischler (sp???). He came up from South Carolina to see his former students (he was a teacher in the early years of CHS). He told me an interesting story too.... apparently back in the early days of CHS ('50s), there was a concerted outreach effort on the part of the school administration to contact colleges and universities... to help them "get to know" CHS. In turn, a positive reputation was established with those schools. And that reputation continues to this day. Anyway...

Besides meeting people, one lifelong (north end) resident of Cheshire had a few pictures with her... and I thought they were really nice photos, so I asked to borrow them to upload them here. For reference, these photos were taken "post-April storm," but "pre-east side aqueduct collapse." And if you're like me and find the angle of the last photo a bit unusual... I was told these pictures were taken from a hot air balloon. Isn't that great!? I'd love to take a balloon ride someday.

Well... hope you enjoy!

Btw, the culvert/tunnel/aqueduct is again on the Council agenda for Tuesday... full agenda to come later.

Tim White

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anything, but straightforward

For anyone who is unaware... I'm an auditor by trade. So by definition, I investigate... I review documents and processes with an eye for "completeness" and "existence," among other attributes. So this type of stuff is right up my alley. Anyway...

I think we (Cheshire bloggers) have already concluded that placing reliance on data found on the town website is a roll of the dice at best. But what other problems may await the proposed investigation?

Well, here's one possible obstacle:

Here you see the (unadopted) Council minutes from the June 12 meeting. Take note of 12B. Do you see the name of the newly appointed WPCA member, Michael Solomon? I don't.

So I reviewed a few sets of other Council meeting minutes. What did I find under appointments? Nothing. And, unlike the Town website, I'd say that "minutes" are probably a "legal" document.

But what could this lack of detail mean to the investigation?

Well, if minutes are routinely adopted without a mention of the names, addresses and terms of appointment... that could be a significant gap in the "audit trail."

Alternatively, the Clerk of the Council does maintain audiotape of meetings going back for some time... but I'm not sure for how long. As well, most meetings have been getting videotaped for several years. But oftentimes the video production ends before we get to "appointments to boards and commissions" on the agenda. So that's another crapshoot.

Of course, the governing document is probably the physical sheet of paper upon which the Council votes. But for what it's worth... those sheets are handwritten and, I believe, they've been known to include chickenscratch... with names and dates getting crossed out and rewritten immediately before votes are cast.

So if you're thinking that this will be straightforward... maybe it will be. But I tend to doubt it.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

High school dropout

Well... not exactly. To say that Sarah Esty dropped out of school is a stretch. She did finish high school early though... and hats off to her for that... And earlier this week, the WRA did this human interest piece on her (by Tracey O'Shaugnessy). It's a really nice article about a rising star in the Democratic party.

The article did miss something very important though... just how good she is at electioneering. While the article mentions her involvement in policy, it barely touches on her involvement in politics.

But is she good at politics and electioneering?

Well, IMHO, whatever she chooses to do, she will do well. So here's my advice for someone you may know... James Carville... move over! In a few short years... you're going to have some serious competition.

Tim White

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Subversion or smokescreen?

Taken from some of the recent press:

Esty said Wednesday that the Web page change means the appointment process "was subverted by back-door activity to torque the system." She noted, "It's bad behavior and abuse of the system." (MRJ, June 13)

“Someone went behind the council to do this; an attempt was made to cheat,” Esty said. “The process was tinkered with, and if you give someone the result they tried to get by cheating, then you reward that kind of behavior.” (NHR, June 15)

"Whoever puts stuff on the Web site should be more careful," said Schrumm. He questioned whether the Web site is truly an official record, as the Democrats claim. "It's not unusual that dates (of terms) get screwed up. It's a smokescreen," Schrumm said. (MRJ, June 14)

But while the tone is heated, I'm only certain of one thing:

The Town Council will launch an investigation to determine why public records for a committee appointment were changed by the town clerk without "any notice or consultation" and "without approval of this council." (MRJ, June 13)

And I intend to support Matt Hall on this...

"I will call for an investigation as to how that happened and who asked (the town clerk) to do it and why she did it," Hall said. (MRJ, June 13)

...because at this point, we either need to stamp out the alleged wrongdoing or we need to clear anyone who has had their name wrongly dragged into the mud. (Although, it should be noted that most of the comments about "tampering" seem to have come with the caveat of "could be a clerical error.") Furthermore, as you may have noticed in my LTTE in today's Herald... I have a low tolerance level for wrongdoing. And not that I'm saying anything happened here... I don't know. But I do know that I'm sick and tired of Scooter Libby, William Jefferson, Don Clemons, Lou DeLuca and on and on. If there is reasonable belief that someone goes "behind the council" and attempts "to cheat," I think the Council should consider publicly addressing the concern... then we can at least clear the air.

Regardless, in simple terms... I feel we must move forward with the investigation. But how do you feel?

Do you think the Council should launch an investigation into whether the system of town government:

was subverted by back-door activity to torque the system?
undecided free polls
And here's the latest online article covering Termgate (Herald, by Josh Morgan). Quite the editorial in the Herald this week, huh? I don't think they pulled any punches.

Finally, I'm not convinced at this point that any wrongdoing will be found in the Town Clerk's office... I expect investigating terms of appointments will likely be anything but straightforward.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Barack Obama in CT

Barack Obama will be coming to CT this weekend. Obama will speak at 2:30 p.m. on Sat., June 23, at the Hartford Civic Center.

I don't know much about Barack, but I like him on at least one issue... transparency in government. He recently teamed up with perhaps my favorite Senator, Tom Coburn (R-OK). Obama joined Coburn in an "unusual" coalition to pass the "transparency in federal spending" legislation. Frankly, I find this legislation to be a no-brainer... but when considered by the powers-that-be (Porkmeisters Byrd & Stevens), they probably saw it as a direct challenge to their "power."

Many people in government (at least those who are power hungry) don't like to be challenged.

Go Barack! Go Coburn! Speak truth to power!

Tim White

"Taking the bus is definitely not cool"

Here's a clip from Quinnipiac's Chris Pierpont on CHS parking. He's the same QU student who put together the clip about Elizabeth Esty on the sewers.

Tim White

Proposed changes to Plan of C&D

I've had a few requests to upload the proposed changes to the Town's Plan of Conservation & Development. So here it is... just click on the image to enlarge it:
Tim White

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I passed the last major hurdle on my way to becoming a CPA! I think it's just a matter of paperwork now... wish me luck!

Tim White

Ron Paul on border security

"...real national security cannot be achieved unless and until our borders are physically secured. It's as simple as that. All the talk about fighting terror and making America safer is meaningless without border security. It makes no sense to seek terrorists abroad if our own front door is left unlocked." - Ron Paul

On a related note, I really can't understand why this "compromise" bill seems to not address securing our borders.

And for anyone who doesn't know me particularly well, I lived in Vietnam from 1995 to 1998. I made lots of friends while living and working there. So the issue of illegal immigration hits home for me as I have personal friends who are waiting in line to come here.

Regardless of that though... it makes no sense to me why there is any compromise involving the securing of our borders. I mean... you may want to have tens of millions of immigrants come here this year... but I would think that all Americans would agree that the borders should be secure and all immigrants should come here legally. Right?

Tim White

PZC May 21 meeting minutes

Both via email and here on the blog, I've heard requests for easy access to the PZC minutes for the May 21 meeting. Anyway, I received the .pdf file and am trying to figure out the best way to post them. Unfortunately, it's 20 pages long and technically difficult/time-consuming to post so many pages. So I'm going to have to play around with the blog to see what I can do to make sense of it... sorry 'bout the delay. Maybe they're already up on the town website? Not sure... I haven't checked. In the meantime, here are the last two pages of the minutes... which are not yet adopted by the PZC. Therefore, you should assume that there may very well be changes... just don't know until the PZC votes to adopt. As well, I confirmed that despite their lack of adoption... they are still public information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. (FOI was a concern raised recently... see, the immediacy of blogging adds a whole new dimension to spread of information... something disliked by those who prefer to control information. But that's not me. If you hadn't noticed... I fall into the camp of people who prefer to put everything on the table... I have no interest in control. I'd prefer to have an open discussion, then decide... just seems more democratic to me.)

Aside from that... this proposed investigation seems to be generating quite a bit of press, huh? At least five articles in only seven days. I can't wait to see where the Herald comes in on it.

So far I've seen Matt Hall, Elizabeth Esty, David Schrumm and David Orsini weigh in. Did I miss anyone? I think five of us have not yet said much of anything regarding the alleged "shenanigans."

UPDATE: Special thanks to CH over at Levers and Pulleys for creating this link to the (unadopted) PZC May 21 meeting minutes!

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, June 18, 2007

Open forum 6/19

CHS graduation is tonight. If anyone wants two tickets to the graduation, I just left them in my newspaper sleeve (29 Tanglewood Circle, off Bradford Drive, just south of the veterinary hospital). Feel free to take them! Or tell your friends to grab them. I get them as a member of the Council, but I know that I won't be back to Cheshire by 6pm tomorrow.

Here is an article and an opinion piece about the ND. I'd say the tone of each is less than supportive of the ND.

Here's the WRAs take on Termgate (by Lauresha Xhihani).

What else is happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Revamping the process

The NHR has an article today on the proposed investigation (by Luther Turmelle). It leads:

The decision not to reappoint Water Pollution Control Authority Chairman Tim Pelton is part of a Democratic strategy to make municipal commissions more friendly to development, a Republican councilman said Friday. Councilman David Schrumm said the decision not to reappoint Pelton is evidence that "the majority party on the council has been co-opted by the development community."
Regardless, if the Council does conduct an investigation, much of it may come down to this:
When the council appoints an individual to a board or commission, the council secretary submits the paperwork to (Town Clerk Carolyn) Soltis, but Soltis said she isn't responsible for notifying the council when an individual is nearing the end of his or her term. "That's not part of my job," she said, but is the responsibility of the Democratic and Republican town committees. Hall said the controversy over reappointments illustrates the need to consider revamping the appointment process.
I'm not sure how far reaching this proposed investigation may be, but I agree that the Council should consider revamping the appointment process. After all, it seems the Council relies almost entirely on a document taken from a source (the town website) that is fraught with inaccuracies.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Global warming on Kilimanjaro

Completely coincidental, but this week I was doing some house cleaning and noticed this WRA editorial on the use of Kilimanjaro as an anecdotal example demonstrating global warming. Anyway, I was cleaning and came across a certificate that I earned a few years ago on a trip (as you can see, it's pretty beatup from being stuffed in my backpack!):

Overall, it was a great seven day hike... although experiencing high altitude sickness was not my idea of fun. And if you consider yourself a friend of Ernie... for what it's worth... I didn't see any leopards up there.

Tim White

Website inaccuracies

So that we can remain on topic about "shenanigans," and not digress into a conversation about simple clerical errors... I've uploaded two documents.

This is taken from the now well-known .pdf file on the town website:

As I previously mentioned, Sean Strollo was elected to a four-year term in 2005. So his term should expire in 2009, not 2011. Therefore, I've concluded that this .pdf file has inaccuracies beyond that of Tim Pelton's term... although I'm not speaking to the concerns of Matt Hall and Elizabeth Esty... I'm just pointing out that there are inaccuracies in this .pdf file.

Furthermore, as an anonymous poster noted... elsewhere on the town website, there are inaccuracies... even inaccuracies directly related to the terms of WPCA members... as you can see here (click on image to enlarge):
Please notice my handwritten note about "printed date." It appears that some of these terms have not been updated for more than two years.

Does that mean there's any sort of shenanigans happening? No.

Again though, these comments are not intended to speak to the concerns raised at the last Council meeting. They're simply intended to show that the town website is fraught with inaccuracies... some that have existed for years.

Finally, a hat tip to the anonymous poster who caught the other town website inaccuracies!

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Follow the money

State Senator Lou DeLuca's story only gets worse...

The flow of cash from Galante's associates and his businesses - three years before the now-infamous meeting in a Woodbury diner where DeLuca sought out Galante's help in curbing an allegedly abusive relationship involving his granddaughter - shows a far cozier relationship with the allegedly mob-affiliated businessman than DeLuca has previously acknowledged. (Courant, by Altimari and Lender)
Tim White

Termgate II

The MRJ continues to follow the saga. (by Leslie Hutchison)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blog "anonymity" in court

Anonymity may only go so far:

Two women at Yale Law School who were targets of lewd comments and threats of violence on an Internet message board are suing a former manager of the site and the anonymous posters (Courant, by Kim Martineau)
For reference, last year the CT blogosphere was abuzz with reports that the FBI was investigating the use of the handle "Hon. Harry Reid." The story was that someone was on the blogs claiming to be Harry Reid and claiming to support Joe Lieberman in his losing primary bid... so the FBI entered stage right... to investigate if someone was impersonating Harry Reid.

I don't know what became of the investigation, so... I'm guessing that either they concluded that no law was broken... or that they could not determine who was doing the posting.

Regardless... while there is a great deal of anonymity on the internet... and while I think we should all try to be respectful... if you do "cross a line," there may be consequences.... although... this is all new territory and speculative in nature.

Welcome to the Wild West!

Tim White

I-84 repairs near 2009

A 3.5-mile stretch of Interstate 84 subjected to a botched highway widening project will see major repairs begin in early August, though state planners have pushed the completion date back to November 2008.

In recent months, Department of Transportation staff has said they expected the bulk of the work to be completed before the end of this year. The project was originally scheduled to wrap up in October 2005.

State officials allege the company hired in 2002 to widen Interstate 84 between Exits 25A and 27 made a number of glaring mistakes, including faulty installation of hundreds of drainage basins and pipes. Although there is no immediate danger, those mistakes could eventually cause sinkholes under the pavement, state staff said.
(WRA, by Michael Puffer)

DOT staff still need to be sacked over this. And we still need to know how so many safety issues could be left unaddressed during construction. And how did William Fritz, son of Cheshire's state Rep. Mary Fritz, ever get to be the chief inspector on this project... when he was not NICET qualified. And on and on....

Tim White

More trash hauler indictments

Since the June 2006 indictments of 29 CT trash haulers, 21 have pled guilty. And now there are more indictments against the eight who are pleading not guilty... plus one more person! But wait... there's more...

Among those additional charges are allegations that some of the defendants tried to bribe politicians and made campaign contributions through straw donors. The politicians have not been identified. (AP)
Wow. Charges of CT politicians being offered bribes? No! I can't believe that. Could you imagine? In Connecticut?

Oh man... the stories never seem to end. I don't know how you feel, but I really long for an Eliot Spitzer. AG Blumenthal can do good... he is chasing down the I-84 folks, such as William Fritz. But I really would love to have someone who doesn't look for every headline and spent more time going after the bad guys... although that may be more of an FBI role... I'm not sure. I just know that I'm tired of all this stuff.

Tim White

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Legislative malaise

Someone asked, so... here's my letter... as it appeared in Tuesday's MRJ... before he stepped down as "leader." (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Personally, I think he should resign from the Senate. But this is a step in the right direction.

Tim White


Or should we call it Water(PollutionControlAuthority)Gate? lol.

No... I'm kidding. An investigation is a serious matter. And for those of you who haven't seen it, here's the link to the MRJ article on the pending investigation (by Leslie Hutchison).

What can I say about this? I think much of this was precipitated by changes to this .pdf file on the town website... it details the elected & appointed officials in town, including name and term of office.

But as far as I know, that document is not a "controlling legal document" (btw, I can't help but think of Al Gore when I say that! lol.), although I believe it is used by both parties in a "customary fashion" as a "controlling document." Notice how I'm already parsing hairs here?

Anyway, if you look at the document and look at the PZC, you'll notice that Sean Strollo's term ends in 2011. Yet I distinctly recall him running for office in 2005 in a head-to-head matchup against (one of Cheshire's most likable Democrats) Angie D'Agostino... for a four year term. Therefore, Sean's term would expire in 2009. Right? Well... my guess is that is simply a clerical error... probably everyone who got elected to PZC in 2005 got entered with a term ending in 2011. And consider this... the person who updated this... probably isn't nearly as involved in this sort of stuff... as most bloggers. I think we probably tend to be a group of people who get much more involved in the details than others. So to say that Sean's term (ending in 2011) was probably a data entry error... is almost certainly true.

Additionally, Bill Kunde is still listed on that same .pdf as a member of the Energy Commission. And he resigned a few months ago.

So I think the file is probably fraught with inaccuracies... which... while it should be accurate, a clerical error is not a big deal... it is just something that needs to be corrected.

I'm not going to opine any further. It's just that at this early stage, I thought it would be worthwhile to begin to point out things that (probably) should just be put to bed... without including them as a part of any investigation of "shenanigans."

Tim White

CPD for Special Olympics tonight

Members of the Police Department will participate in a fund-raising event at a South Main Street restaurant this evening for the benefit of Special Olympics of Connecticut. The Tip-a-Cop event starts at 5 p.m. at Yellowfin's Seafood Grille, 1027 S. Main St.

Tim White

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

DeLuca resigns from leadership role

State Senator Lou DeLuca has resigned his position as "minority leader" in the state Senate. However, he has not resigned his seat as a state Senator (Courant, by Mark Pazniokas).

I hope my letter still runs in the paper.

Tim White

State GOP Chair DUI

(CT) Republican State Chairman Chris Healy informed the GOP's state central committee at a special meeting Monday night that he has pleaded no contest to a drunken-driving charge in South Carolina. (Courant, by Mark Pazniokas)

Tim White

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Council mtg 6/12


This meeting was a doozy... way more than I expected.

Most of the agenda was relatively straightforward, but there were a few points that stuck with me. I think the "Neighborhood program," CYB ballfields, the Dodd gym reconstruction contract and transfer of uncollectable taxes all passed unanimously... although I and other voiced a number of concerns over the CYB ballfields... my main concern there is reducing the use of Macnamara/Legion field. As well, I'd like to take down all the fences and return it to being a regular "all purpose" field... for fun stuff like Thanksgiving football games!

I thought the meeting got interesting when we got to the "ERT" proposal. As I mentioned earlier, I asked my questions about the need to "authorize" the Town Manager to facilitate a dialogue among interested stakeholders. Or as Matt Hall put it... if the Council "authorizes" the Town Manager to do something... then it would seem as though there is a "presumption of prohibition."

I tried to be blunt... if we're simply having a discussion... where is the prohibition on having a discussion? Is it in the Charter? Is it in a Council resolution? All I heard was crickets. And for some reason, no legal opinion was sought on this... it was just presumed. As I said during the meeting... that made absolutely no sense to me... none whatsoever. I thought it was very poor judgement on the Town Manager's part. Then to have a resident (Kim Stoner) come to the microphone and basically say that public input had been stifled by Town Hall staff?!?! Huh? As I then said... this whole thing was very troubling to me... after all... it was just supposed to be a discussion. What's wrong with that?

The meeting progressed to the Town Manager's report:
Of particular interest to me was the Town's participation in the Energy Star program... and hey... it took only 14 months (and numerous reminders from me) between the Energy Commission recommendation and the Town's participation in the Energy Star program! Whatever... it's done. And I think it's extremely worthwhile.... and last time I checked, only about five CT towns were participants... so we're among the first and leading the way in energy conservation!

Also of interest to me, but not included in the report... the town's policy on the use of town-owned property for political fundraisers. As I explained during the meeting, I planned a political fundraiser last fall... and it was to be held on town-owned property (the Historical Society-occupied Hitchcock-Phillips House). But I was told that I could not hold that political fundraiser and I needed to look elsewhere... this notice came after I had sent out the invitations. So what could I do? Nothing. I knew that I could not ask for an exception. So what happened with the recent "lifting of the rules?" Well, according to the Town Manager, he screwed up... I agree. He screwed up... big time.

Finally, we got around to committee reports. And the one thing that I had forgotten to mention earlier to Elizabeth Esty (Ord Rev Chair) was my dad's idea that we should end pensions for crooks. That is, if town employees turn out to be crooks, then they lose their pensions... fortunately, Cheshire hasn't been cursed with the problems facing so many other towns and the state... but why wait for problems to arise? Let's just put everyone on notice now... if you do wrong... there will be consequences. I still can't understand why former Gov. John Rowland will be getting his $50,000/yr pension starting at age 55.... oh wait... I forgot... the legislature would do that... and... Comity reigns supreme Under the Gold Dome!

There was a big hullabaloo when we got to appointments to boards and commissions. (There was a question of the WPCA seat that had been occupied by Tim Pelton for quite some time.) And while I thought David Schrumm made some good points, I voted in recognition that the majority party decides who gets appointed.

Then the real fireworks broke out... Chairman Matt Hall advised the Council that at the next Council meeting, there will be a vote to begin an investigation (as defined by Charter) into what was described as "shenanigans." lol. The word seems a bit lighthearted for what seems to be afoot...

Anyway... more on that later. And I'm hittin' the sack now... really, really tired.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, June 11, 2007

Open forum 6/12

The Sopranos: My initial reaction? I hated it. Upon further reflection... wow... now I think it was a great ending to a great show. Forcing me to step away from the TV and use my own imagination... I love it!

PZC met tonight. I watched a few minutes, but not too much. Someone here mentioned that there was no discussion of the ND tonight.

I caught word tonight that the Town is already officially an Energy Star town. I think that's great. It's taken a while... not only did the Energy Commission recommend the idea over a year ago, but... work began on some of the Energy Star requirements (there are three) perhaps, three years ago. And if you want your business to become an official Energy Star business, click here.

Recognizing that we're not about to see Senator DeLuca's resignation, the Courant editorial is calling for a possible impeachment. For my part, I sent a letter to the paper about this. And I didn't even bother blasting Sen. DeLuca... I'm upset with the body politic for having failed to demand action.

Ruth Podgwaite has officially announced that she won't be running for reelection. So a big thank you to Ruth for all of her years of service... and there have been many... she was my dad's English teacher at CHS... and he (and my mom) graduated in 1957! Ruth's been in the Cheshire schools for a while....

I emailed the Council TV director, Henry Chase, today. At the Relay, he mentioned to me that he now records town meetings on DVD. So I asked him if he now gives DVDs to the library. If so, I may start borrowing the DVDs from the library and uploading them to the web myself.... doesn't seem like Town Hall is too interested in doing it.

The pool consultant met with the P&R Commission last Wednesday. Only update I've heard is that the pool consultant didn't really know too much about energy, although they did know quite a bit about programming.

Alright... I'm going to bed. Anything interesting happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Ron Paul with Ronald Reagan in 1976

When Ron Paul invokes his support of Reagan's legacy, I believe he's being sincere. Notice the caption...he was a supporter in 1976... not 1980.

Just a reminder though... I don't agree with Ron Paul (or Reagan) on everything. But he is the Republican candidate who I support.

Tim White

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pole posting text (GCS 23-65)

From the Office of Legislative Research:

Connecticut has no overall state statute prohibiting placing posters on all public property. But there are specific sections of statute that prohibit it for specified objects on certain types of public property.

Connecticut statute sets a $ 50 maximum penalty for each offense for anyone who "affixes to a telegraph, telephone, electric light or power pole, or to a tree, shrub, rock or other natural object in any public way or grounds, a playbill, picture, notice, advertisement or other similar thing, or cuts, paints, or marks such tree, shrub or other natural object, except for the purpose of protecting it or the public and under a written permit from the town or borough tree warden, city forester, or commissioner of transportation. . . " (CGS § 23-65(a)).

CGS § 23-65(b) further sets a maximum penalty of $ 50 or imprisonment of up to six months or both for each offense for anyone who "affixes to or maintains upon any tree, rock, or other natural object within the limits of a public way or grounds any paper or advertisement other than notices posted in accordance with the statutes. "

Outdoor advertisements such as billboards cannot be set up even on private property without a permit from the commissioner of transportation (CGS § 21-50). But advertisements and signs also cannot be displayed within 100 feet of any public park, state forest, playground, or cemetery, or within 15 feet from the outside line of any highway outside the thickly settled or business part of a city or town, except on the walls of a building where the goods are sold or the business in question is conducted (CGS § 21-58). Violations are subject to a fine of up to $ 100 for each sign (CGS § 21-63).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Posting on poles

I had a conversation with someone who I consider extremely knowledgable on the law (CT Statute #23-65(a)). What was interesting to me was... he said that the utility companies (I think CL&P owns the poles) officially discourage posting information on the poles, but they do not prohibit it. Instead, he said state law prohibits it. But he also said that same law prohibits posting information on trees.


So this is illegal?

That seems absurd to me. I mean... I can cut down a tree on my property, but I can't put a sign on it? And I'm curious to know the wording of the law... does it prohibit treehouses? Would full enforcement require the demolition of all treehouses? Would all birdfeeders need to be removed? Ok, ok... I know I'm talking in the extreme, but... "justice is blind," right?

Here's the NHRs take on the pole posting issue (by Luther Turmelle).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Council agenda 6/12

Here's the agenda for next Tuesday's Council meeting @ 7:30pm in Town Hall.... I think the meeting officially begins with a public hearing on a new business item (7A) that relates to a tax issue for non-profits... it's a public hearing that is held annually and usually gets little public input....

Some thoughts:

7B) Anyone have any questions on this they'd like me to ask? I may have some questions, but do expect to support this... on a side note, CYB was over at the Notch this morning doing a raffle for their trip next week to Cooperstown. Great stuff... I'm sure all the kids will have a great time. If you're interested in buying a raffle ticket, call Lisa Frazier on Chamberlain Court.

7D) Considering my concerns with Fund Balance policy, I'm not entirely comfortable moving forward with this yet. But we've got a budget committee meeting prior to the Council mtg, so I'll be asking questions there.

7F) Most people probably have no interest in this item, but since I work for one of these banks... I'll be recusing myself.

7G) This is an interesting item. It seems mundane... a request for the ERT to consider the proposals of the "Friends of Boulder Knoll" and Kerry Deegan's sunflowers. What's interesting? The wording of the motion is interesting to me: "The Town Council directs and authorizes the Town Manager..."

This particular wording is nothing new, but I can't fathom why the town wouldn't simply give the proposals to the ERT. Doesn't that seem like common sense?... Why do we need to authorize it? Having a discussion and considering all stakeholders... doesn't that make sense? Perhaps there's some sort of prohibition of which I'm unaware?

Going forward though, I feel that the Council may need to take such action more often... "directing" the Town Manager to take action... because I feel the Town Manager often seems unwilling to take action without being directed to do so.

For example, why hasn't the Council seen the April 2006 Energy Commission recommendation to make the Town an Energy Star town? At this point, I feel that I must make a motion at the Council to take action... because, despite my urging over the course of the past year, the Town Manager has not brought this to the Council.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, June 08, 2007

Open forum 6/8

Ron Paul (for President!) has a revamped website today.

Lt. Gov. Fedele will be liveblogging over at CTLP today around 2pm or so.

Thanks to CH for the brief tutorial on commenting by a "name" other than "anonymous." I know some use that functionality, but I wish it were more. From my perspective, it can be easier to follow the comments... yet it's still anonymous. So please consider using it.

The Environmental Review Team is at work on Boulder Knoll.

Poles are more of an issue than I first realized... more on that later today or this weekend.

Plans are moving forward on some proposed commercial development in Waterbury (WRA, by Michael Puffer) off the Austin Road exit... is that exit 25 or 25A?

CHS Softball lost (WRA, by Joe Palladino) in the Class LL semifinals.

Council meeting next Tuesday... I don't have the agenda yet.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Failure of the body politic

The WRA has a good recap on the problems facing state Senator Lou DeLuca (R-Watertown).

he associated with a man he knew or suspected was involved in organized crime; promised to use his office to do him favors if he asked; lied to an FBI agent; declined to report an attempted bribe, as required by state law; enabled or even assisted a criminal conspiracy that cost commercial and residential customers millions; and engineered a scheme that could have resulted in lethal violence.
Yet Senator DeLuca has not yet stepped down from his leadership position in the state Senate.

But why bother?

Earlier this year, Rep. Pat Dillon (D-New Haven) admitted to driving drunk and Rep. Don Clemons (D-Bridgeport) admitted to having witnessed (and subsequently ignored) a shakedown.

If they face no political consequences, why should Sen. DeLuca?

Seriously though... I'm not sure which is worse... the actions commited by our "leaders" or the failure of the body politic to call for sanctions.

And if you're curious to see Sen. DeLuca's affidavit, the Courant has it here.

Tim White

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bowman biodiesel plant on WFSB

For some reason, I can't get audio right now. Nonetheless, I thought you might appreciate seeing this video.

And hats off to Ned Bowman... this is a great thing that he and his family are doing... and as I've said before... biodiesel (alt fuels) is not quick n easy, complete solution to our energy problems... but it is a step in the right direction.

Tim White

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Open forum 6/6

The NHR is reporting:

A plan to develop an 8-acre property at 300 East Johnson Ave., which is being evaluated for inclusion on the Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List, is being backed by a local businessman whose companies have been accused of doing favors for state officials to obtain "sweetheart deals" on state contracts.

The company that is proposing the development is TJM Environmental Restoration LLC, a firm that, according to Cheshire tax records, is affiliated with Frank Ruocco, a resident whose North Haven companies — Earth Technology Inc. and Earth Technology II LLC — have come under state and federal scrutiny. (by Luther Turmelle)

There was a hail storm in northwest Cheshire today.

The Personnel and Ordinance Review Committees met tonight. Any word on what happened?

Sadly, a driver was hurt and a moose died today when the two collided on the Merritt in New Canaan... I guess the story I heard about a moose up on Prospect Ridge probably was true.

The Courant is keeping up the drumbeat on state Senator Deluca. As they should. There should be outrage.

I think the Parks & Rec meeting is tonight. I believe they will be meeting with the pool consultant. If you have any questions about the report, Matt Altieri is the liaison. So you may want to give him a call.

Cheshire's canada geese are back in the news (WRA, by Mike Puffer).

Anything else happening around town?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Republican debate 6/5

I think Wolf Blitzer did the Main Stream Media (MSM) proud tonight. Promptly following the debate, Wolf pointed out that all 10 Republican candidates held the same view on Iraq.

He gives teeth to the myth of MSM bias. Regardless...

I had mixed feelings on most of the candidates.

With Rudy Giuliani's talk of "nation building," he continues to lose ground with me. John McCain surprised me... I had a mixed reaction to his comments... even though I've felt a great distance from him recently.

Although they've made some good (and bad) suggestions in the three debates, Tommy Thompson and Tom Tancredo leave me wanting for a better speaker. And that's where Mike Huckabee has really surprised me. Huckabee is head n shoulders above the rest... as far as his speaking ability goes. He's a really good speaker and he's comfortable with what he says.

Duncan Hunter is really concerning to me with his talk on Iran. Our military is stretched so thin right now, I don't think America can do anymore (and that's what the Generals are saying... did anyone catch 60 Minutes on Memorial Day weekend? A sitting Major General said just that... albeit in slightly different words). Our military is really hurting.

Mitt Romney is a pretty good speaker... but I'm just not a fan yet. Sam Brownback is also a surprisingly good speaker, though Huckabee is the best. I think Jim Gilmore only went up in stock for me tonight, but... he still can't compete with my candidate of choice:

Ron Paul, M.D.!

Lastly, I couldn't believe the equivocation by most of the candidates (I think Paul & Gilmore were the exceptions) on the issue of Scooter Libby getting a pardon. Seriously... I wonder how many of these gentlemen were calling for impeachment/jail for Bill Clinton in 1998? I don't know who did and I'm not about to research it. But for Republicans to be equivocating on the issue of jailtime for perjury is really disappointing. Come to think of it, several of the candidates were in office during the Monica thing... so they've probably made comments on the record.

Tim White

Comity reigns supreme

Comity reigns supreme Under the Gold Dome.

From the Courant editorial:

Well, the bar for performance in elective office has been lowered once again.

Monday, state Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca of Woodbury pleaded guilty in Waterbury Superior Court to a misdemeanor charge for asking a garbage hauler [Galante] with suspected mob ties to have his associates threaten someone Mr. DeLuca believed was physically abusing his granddaughter.

No felony, no jail time. The Senate Republican leader received a six-month suspended sentence on the threat charge and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and donate $1,500 to charity....

That appears to be sufficient for most of Mr. DeLuca's colleagues on both sides of the aisle....

...the senator told the undercover [FBI] operative that "anytime [Galante] needs anything within my power that I can do, I will do." And, at a second meeting with the operative, "I'll keep my eyes open," and "Understand that anything that could hurt [Galante], I'll try to blunt it as best I can." This was three months after Mr. Galante was indicted on 72 counts of tax fraud, racketeering, threatening and extortion.

Sen. DeLuca: James Galante's man in the legislature.

Is this the kind of representation Connecticut wants or deserves? Hasn't there been enough shoddiness as well as downright corruption in government in recent years?

No elected "leaders" seem concerned about Rep. Dillon's DWI or about Rep. Clemons' bearing witness to a shakedown or about this... all actions while in office.

Again, comity reigns supreme Under the Gold Dome.

Tim White

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ron Paul on the Daily Show tonight

Comedy Central at 11pm... I think it's channel 40 on Cheshire's Cox.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Open forum 6/4

I watched a bit of the Democratic debate tonight. I think the candidate I liked the most was former Alaska Senator, Mike Gravel. He was the only candidate I heard mention the

in unfunded liabilities that America is now facing. Go Gravel!

I took a peak at an old town audit. It included a number... the "unreserved general fund balance" as of June 30, 2005. The number was $5,049,348. And I think this year's fund balance is supposed to be about $7.8-7.9million. So if my memory serves me, the town's fund balance increased by nearly three million bucks... in two years, not three or four years. Now I'm really scratching my head wondering about the benefits for the cost.

Elizabeth Esty's 1st district bike tour was supposed to happen today. I didn't go, so I can't offer any details. Did any bloggers go?

CNN will be hosting the next Republican debate... this Tuesday in New Hampshire. Anyone want to drive up with me? I'm not certain that I would want to go... but if somebody wanted to go, I'd definitely consider doing it.... I could hold a sign for my candidate... Ron Paul! ... And in other presidential updates... Jim Gilmore and Newt are the only two campaigns that seem to be interested in the blogosphere. At least I get updates from them... not from anyone else... although that may relate to spam filters.... I don't really know.

BOE should be just about done with business for the summer. The next Council meeting is next week, although Personnel meets this week. And there's a Council meeting next week on the Town Manager's goals/objectives/annual review (as I recently mentioned, I've got some concerns). P&Z probably meets again next Monday (will they be discussing the northend?). Anything else interesting happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Electric bill

Electric reform passed through the General Assembly. It's a bill with a lot of pieces and for that reason, few legislators seemed to be happy with it in its entirety. Nonetheless, a compromise was crafted... crafted between Speaker Amann and Senate Majority Leader Williams.

Why wasn't the compromise crafted by the Energy Committee? Mainly because Senate Chair Fonfara and House Chair Fontana (along with House Vice Chair Nardello) couldn't agree on the approach. In the end though, Fonfara (who I believe was one of very few who opposed deregulation 10 years ago) won and Fontana/Nardello lost... and the bill passed with overwhelming support in both chambers.

I do feel there is one very important issue being addressed in the bill... reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Although it's probably not too widely known, I think 40% of CTs electric generation is derived from fossil fuels (33% natural, 5-10% oil). And this bill takes action on the creation of distributed generation with alternative power sources (photovoltaics, windmills, etc.).

Of course, that will cost money... probably bonded money. But hey... I think it makes more sense to spend $1,000,000 on a windmill than on turf or the linear trail.

Tim White

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Chris Murphy wants new energy policy

Following his comments at Elim Park, Chris Murphy visited town hall for a brief press conference. There he spoke about a new energy policy for America (NHR, by Luther Turmelle).

According to the article, he's definitely talking about alternative fuels, as well as taking on OPEC and Big Oil. My hope though is that he reads the December 2006 report issued by the Energy Security Leadership Council.

This report, entitled Recommendations to the Nation on Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence, gives the best analysis of America's oil dependency that I've seen to date.

Their cover letter concludes:

America's oil dependence threatens the prosperity and safety of the nation. Continued policy paralysis is unacceptable precisely because we can take action to improve our energy security. Many challenges lie ahead, but we have no doubt that the efforts of the American people will meet with success.

The time for action arrived long ago. We must not waste another moment.

Then their report sets forth three main goals:

1) increase CAFE standards
2) increase production (and efficiency) of alternative fuels
3) increase drilling within US borders (with strict environmental controls)

And if you add up all the numbers in the report, they suggest that even after 25 years of doing all this... America will still be reliant on foreign sources for 30% of our oil.

I really hope Murphy reads this report and takes action on all three parts. And yes... I realize that environmentalists will be upset with the part about increasing US drilling (probably ANWR, among other places), but we have a choice... rely on US oil (and protect the environment through our own controls) or continue our reliance on foreign oil (much from the mideast) indefinitely.

As always, it's a balancing act. But I'd weigh much more heavily on getting out of the middle east and take our chances with our own rules about protecting the environment.

Tim White

Ode to Phillip the Great

A poem submitted by Cheshire resident Greg St. Martin:

O, Great Phil.
Not just any hill.
Tho’ we never heard of you
upon you men did want to buil’.
O, Great Phil.

Then it rained.
Your sand did spill.
No more dirt bikes
for Jack and Jill.
Conspiracy theory?
A movie: “Kill Phil?”
Pardon my French, but
“What the hill?”
Cost to fix you:
half a mill!
‘Mong friends who’s counting?
O, Great Phil.
As long as Cheshire won’t get the bill.
Unneeded expenditures:
we’ve had our fill.
Read last line “Town Pool,”
if you will.
Not to mention
the climbing mill.

O, Great Phil.
Good luck, my friend.
“Tim White Listens”
while others pretend.
Let’s not destroy
our fine North End.

Greg St. Martin

Friday, June 01, 2007

State Sen. Deluca arrested

Wow. I just noticed this over on CTLP that State Sen. Lou Deluca has been arrested (Courant, by Mahony & Pazniokas). And suddenly there's another mention of last year's trash hauling scandal:

sources close to the investigation have said that the charges against DeLuca arise from a request he made to the man at the center of the trash hauling case, James Galante...
What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Democratic Reps Pat Dillon (DWI) and Don Clemons (ignoring a shakedown) should lose their leadership titles... and so should Republican Sen. Deluca. But I'm sure nothing will happen. Alas...

Comity reigns Under the Gold Dome.

Tim White

Chris Murphy at Elim Park

I just attended the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce lunch at Elim Park. It was nice to see some other town officials there... Matt Hall, Elizabeth Esty, Greg Florio and Mike Cruess were there. And of course, Congressman Chris Murphy.

Ignoring for a moment what he said... I thought he had a pretty good delivery... he made a good presentation. He touched on a number of topics, then fielded questions.

Topics covered included:

Iraq - I'm pretty sure he didn't explicitly say it, but I'm almost positive he recently voted in the minority to defund the war... and he emphasized that it was not a vote taken lightly.

Healthcare - he said a few times that the current Congress doesn't have the will to do much on healthcare, as this discussion would likely be superceded by the Presidential race. (Go Ron Paul!)

Unfunded liabilities - he touched on my weak spot and said almost everything I wanted to hear him say... talking about his vote for the "pay-go" system, which was basically a vote for a balanced budget. That's definitely the right attitude. My only concern was that he was talking about the $9trillion debt... and that fails to acknowledge all the future unfunded liabilites (another $50trillion or so), such as social security and medicare. But while I think those are extremely important issues... he does seem to be on the right track here.

Ethics reform - he's helping to lead the charge here. It was nice to hear him say that the ethics problems in Congress were bipartisan (Delay-R, Ney-R, Jefferson-D, etc.) This topic was probably the only one where I felt at a loss in what he said... John Lesky (Chamber of Commerce, Goverment Relations Chair) asked Murphy about Congressman Murtha's recent headlines. Chris didn't seem to be current on Murtha's recent alleged threat to a Republican Congressman ( That was unfortunate in my opinion. I think he should've been more aware of it, but that's me. I'll give him a pass on it this time, but I really hope that if he makes ethics his forte... he holds Ds and Rs equally to account.

Anyway... the lunch was nice. Having the Congressman speak in Cheshire was nice. And it's a beautiful day... so I'm gonna end this post right here.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District