Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WRA Council endorsement

Since the Democrats won control of the Town Council in 2005, they have exhibited erratic leadership. Though they have supported development near Interstate 691 and imposed reasonable (by Democratic standards) tax increases, they pushed through a tax break for senior citizens that unjustifiably punishes all other property owners. Republicans offer a better option, though they give voters reason for concern by insisting public safety — a big issue these days in Cheshire — could be improved simply by paying police officers more.

Tim White


It's 6:30pm and the trick'r'treaters just started arriving. Invariably, there was one young boy (probably 12 yrs old or so) whose costume wasn't obvious to me (all I saw were two dozen, 3-inch long rubber chickens attached to a black shirt).

So I asked: "What are you?"

His answer: "I'm a chick magnet."

It's five minutes later and I'm still laughing!

Happy Halloween!

Tim White

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Wall that Heals arrives

I was speaking with students at CHS this morning and having taken the day off from work, I had the opportunity to visit the memorial wall site. It was really memorable and I think this whole idea of Ralph Zingarella's is fantastic and timely.

Please visit the memorial this weekend. If you do, you'll see that students created collages for each of the 614 CT soldiers who died in Vietnam. And those collages are hung in a tent at Bartlem Park... one of the tougher moments for me was when I was speaking with a Southwick resident... her brother (Freeman) was commemorated in one of the collages.

Besides today's motorcycle escort (which numbered in the hundreds), there will be an official ceremony on Thursday night at 6:30pm. I hope you can make it.

Here's the official schedule of events.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rainy day fund for $2,000,000 or bond insurance for $5,500?

I just watched a few minutes of the candidates forum discussion on the rainy day fund. It was interesting... though a bit troubling to hear Council members seeming to say everything is hunky dory with the rainy day fund... without ever seeing a cost/benefit analysis.

As a CPA, it makes no sense to me why such an analysis has not been produced. Regardless, it hasn't happened and clearly won't happen without a change in Council composition... despite there having been bipartisan support for the measure when I first suggested it... back in April or May.

Anyway, for those who have followed my quest for a cost/benefit analysis of the rainy day fund, I recently came across a small bit of information that I found quite interesting...

But first some history... here's an unedited excerpt from an email sent from Town Hall to the Council on December 6, 2006 regarding Moody's rating upgrade of the Town of Cheshire...

Moodys Investors Service notified me about one hour ago that they have upgraded our credit from "Aa3" to"Aa2". This is a significent development for the Town as we haven't had a credit upgrade from them in about 13 years and have been working on this upgrade for the past 5 years. It places us in a very high grade among municipalities and will result in a lower interest cost on future bond sales. There are many other positive benefits to this which I will explain later as I will provide more info over the next few days once I receive their report..

As you can see, early on... the rating upgrade was directly and primarily, though not exclusively, tied to "lower interest cost on future bond sales." Which led me to my next question...

Q. Is an 8% rainy day fund necessary for the town to issue "triple A" bonds?

A. No. You can buy "bond insurance."

And while bond insurance was, to the best of my knowledge, never mentioned as an alternative to collecting $2,000,000 in additional taxes (plus another $80,000-90,000 annually), I did ask the next obvious question...

Q. Does the Town buy "bond insurance?"

A. Yes. The town (and apparently all municipalities) buy bond insurance so that municipal bonds are virtually always rated AAA.

And this led to the next obvious questions...

Q. How much did the bond insurance cost to increase the bond rating (as compared to the town rating) from AA to AAA for last December's issuance?

A. $14,500


Q. Could the town have purchased bond insurance to increase last December's bond rating from A to AAA? And if so, how much would it have cost?

A. Yes. An additional $5,500 or $20,000 total.

So... to recap... (and seriously... please correct any flaws you see in my logic...)

The town increased the rainy day fund from 5% to 8%, at a cost of $2,000,000 to the taxpayers. And the alternative would have been a cost of $5,500 to the tax payers?


lemme think about this one...

$2,000,000 or $5,500 to get that vaunted triple A rating...


yeah... I guess collecting $2,000,000 in taxes makes more sense.

Tim White, CPA
Town Council, Budget Committee

p.s. There's a touch of sarcasm here. And on a different note, I'm not expecting to spend much time on the blog for the next week... but do check in to see what others are saying!

Some more web stuff

I've added a few Cheshire related blogs/websites to the left side column:

Cheshire Smart Growth


TCE blog (not exclusively Cheshire, but run by a guy who grew up in Cheshire... and his concern is very much related to Cheshire.)

Sox WIN!!!

This is awesome! These guys are pretty damn good.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A state of paralysis

If the words “I’m in a state of paralysis” were spoken by:

George Washington on July 4, 1776
Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863
Franklin Roosevelt on December 7, 1941 or
Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987

Would you consider them leaders?
Yes, some issues are too risky to address
No, leaders are not afraid of big, bold ideas
Consultants are leaders. Lets hire more! free polls
Tim White

Play ball!

Here's a pic snapped by Steve Carroll... apparently from his seat!... during Game 1 on Wednesday:pretty sweet, huh?

Tim White

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Council candidates forum

I enjoyed tonight and really do appreciate everyone getting involved and running for office. We all had a chance to share our views. Interesting thing to me though was what I heard from people afterward... people were saying that the candidates all seemed to agree. I didn't think so. At least... not on everything.

Here's my version...

I think there were six questions asked. And from my perspective, two questions received very different responses from various candidates.

Q1. Should we close the pool? My answer... the problem is not the pool. The problem is the bubble. We have three options to address it:

1) summer facility,
2) maintain the status quo or
3) build a permanent structure.

For two years now, I've advocated a summer facility to save money and energy. And more recently, I've advocated erecting a permanent structure (financed using the wasteful energy budget of $400,000/yr).

But how did other Council members respond?

We're "paralyzed." We're afraid of "big, bold ideas."

Frankly, I found it astounding to hear "leaders" utter those words. I mean... this is a recreational facility. Heck... agree with them or not, Congressman Chris Murphy has advocated defunding the war in Iraq. Congressman Chris Shays has advocated the surge. And Congressman Charlie Rangel has gone so far as to advocate reinstating the draft.... yet this Council is "paralyzed" over a recreational facility? For me, those had to be the most disappointing comments of the night.

Q2. What's an appropriate size for the rainy day fund? My answer... As a CPA and a member of the budget committee... I don't know, because I have yet to see the cost/benefit analysis that I've been requesting for several months now.

The response from others seemed to be to simply dismiss the reality that if $2,000,000 is collected in taxes, then the taxpayers deserve to know the benefits related to those taxes.

And to suggest that 8% is a good number because it is "one month of bills" is simply absurd. Any CPA would recognize that you're answering a "balance sheet" question with a "cash flow" answer. And since the town doesn't collect one month of "revenue" each month... that argument is simply bogus... now don't get me wrong... cash flows are a concern... but to suggest that 8% is "a good number" because it covers "one month of bills" is ridiculous. Any CPA would dismiss that argument out of hand... or at least ask for a cash flow statement for the town to further understand the cash flows of the town... since everyone knows the town gets the majority of its cash in January and July of each year.

And of course, I also mentioned my belief that tax dollars belong to the tax payers... not to government. On this, I did sense strong philosophical differences... largely along party lines... though that may have been the only issue where people could determine party affiliation based on candidates' answers... hence, I'm not surprised to hear people say "it seemed liked everyone is in agreement on everything."

Anyway... if you're a bit lost on this topic, but still trying to follow it... here is an analysis I compiled a few months ago... it gives some highlights of the "rainy day fund," including the costs related to both the "existing" rainy day fund and the "maintenance" of the rainy day fund. I think it's self-explanatory:

Your thoughts on the candidates forum?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Consultant a no-show

Here is the WRAs take on last night's discussion of the pool consultant:

The Town Council on Wednesday met with the Parks and Recreation Commission and members of the Energy Commission to discuss a $20,000 report that was supposed to give the town some options on how to make the pool energy efficient. The consultant hired to write the report, Acquattica Pools & Water Parks of Voorheesville, N.Y., didn't show up. The report came several months later than expected and didn't provide alternatives to lower costs at the pool (by Lauresha Xhihani).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Open forum 10/25

The Council candidates forum is being held tonight at 7pm in Town Hall. It's jointly sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Chamber of Commerce... I'm not sure when the BOE will have their forum, though I'm thinking it's next week.

Steve Carroll is one lucky guy... he got to see my Sox trounce the Rockies in person last night. I did catch the end of the game on TV at least. Go Sox!

There are more and more political ads in the Herald. Has anyone seen anything of interest?

Tim White

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Council mtg 10/24

Tonight's meeting... we started out with a very nice ceremony for the record-breaking girls swim team. Then we called a few public hearings and got onto the item that dominated the meeting... the pool consultant report.

I thought the presenter, John McIlhargy, was knowledgable and did a good job. My problem with it though... he works for USA Swimming... and USA Swimming was free. Aquattica was the lead consultant and they received the $19,500. Yet, to the best of my memory, the Council and taxpayers have yet to hear from Aquattica.

I think Gerry Brittingham hit the nail on the head when he said it just sounded like "talk, talk, talk." At least that's how I see it. It was November 28, 2006 when the Council voted to spend the money (Tom R and I were opposed) and it was March 14, 2006 when the Council initially voted on the idea of a consultant... so, IMO, the Council has been talking about a consultant for nearly 20 months... yet the Council still hasn't met with the consultant. So I have to wonder... was Jimmy Sima right when he suggested the Council was:

"looking for a third party to come in and say it is expensive to run and you're doing a good job!"
yes, Jimmy speaks the truth
no, this Council would never waste time and money on a consultant
just make the decision already! summer only or permanent structure, but stop talking! free polls

Tim White
Town Council, 4th district

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Registering for Presidential primaries

While presidential primary elections are scheduled for February 5, the deadline to switch parties (and be eligible to vote in the primary) is November 5. I believe that date is relevant only if you are switching from one party to another party, such as from Democrat to Republican or Reform to CT for Lieberman (Cheshire does have one registered CFLer!) However, if you're unaffiliated, then I'm pretty sure this deadline doesn't matter. Regardless... if you have friends who are registered with a party, but want to vote in the primary of another party... they have only until November 5 to make that happen... and with the local election on November 6, they won't be able to make that switch on our upcoming election day.

Tim White

The PO delays continue

Here's the MRJs take on the "progress" with the post office (by Leslie Hutchison):

The words 'berserk' and 'apoplectic' aren't usually connected with business meetings, but that was the angry mood Thursday when town officials met with representatives of the U.S. Postal Service.

"It was like a train wreck," said Town Manager Michael Milone. "It's horrible." Milone was referring to yet another delay for the proposed new post office on Highland Avenue. He said the town was told last month that construction would begin on the new building in the fall of 2008.

When Milone and several other town representatives sat down this week with postal service officials from Windsor, they were told the construction has been pushed back to the fall of 2009. "We went berserk," Milone said.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, October 21, 2007

2007 AL champs!

They did it! Down 3-1... and they came back! Josh Beckett in game 1... I'm good with that. :)

Pool consultant energy update

Blogger's working now. So here are the documents (that I mentioned yesterday) that relate to the energy component of the pool consultant's report:And as a reminder, the pool consultant did offer advice on the programming component of the pool, but please watch the video of last November's vote and tell me...

Does this report meet expectations?
yes, this is so helpful!
no, there's nothing new.
why did we spend $20,000? free polls
(Keep in mind, I haven't uploaded all the pool consultant documents... but I'm pretty sure I've uploaded all the relevant info.)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th district

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Council agenda 10/24

Here are the discussion items on the agenda for Wednesday:

3. Discussion and action re: proclamation declaring October 15, 2007 through October 29, 2007 as Cheshire High School Girls’ Swimming and Diving Team Weeks. (Town Council only)

4. Discussion and action re: proclamation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Town Council only)

5. Discussion and possible action re: pool consultant report. (jointly with Parks and Recreation Commission and Energy Commission)

6. Discussion and action re: call for public hearing volunteer firefighters’ pension ordinance amendments. (Town Council only)

7. Discussion and action re: call for public hearing to amend certain Town Clerk fees. (Town Council only)

8. Discussion and action re: settlement agreement and mutual release with N. Harris Computer Corporation. (Town Council only)

I'm trying to upload images of some pool consultant documents, but am having technical difficulties... so maybe I'll try again later.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Open space referendum

As I mentioned in a previous post, it was unclear to me why two of five referenda included "aggregate" dollar amounts, but the $1,000,000 open space question did not include the $250,000 from three years ago. And while I specifically addressed this during a recent Council meeting, I hadn't received an update. So today I called the "decision maker" myself.

I'd never spoken with "Bond Counsel" before, but I called today. I spoke with one attorney and he clarified the Charter rules for me. Basically, if a referendum question relates to a specific item, then it must be aggregated. But open space questions are never (as far as I know) related to specific land parcels. Therefore, the $250,000 may be "exempt" from being aggregated... or more precisely... the Charter is vague on this. Therefore, it's a judgement call that could appropriately go either way... too bad the Council never opined on this.

Bottom line on the wording of the question... since the referenda had to be filed with the SOTS 45 days prior to the election, the open space question is already set in stone.

Nonetheless, this offers another place I'd like to revise the Charter...

1) separating the school and town budgets,
2) adopting tax limits that require a certain per cent increase to obtain voter approval at referendum,
3) enacting term limits for elected officials,

4) moving some authority from our (FOI-resistant!) WPCA to the Council, and
5) clarifying the rules governing referenda.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th district

Post office update 10/18

On again, off again... and the saga continues.

The Council got another update on the Post Office... needless to say... it's more runaround.

At least the south end "satellite post office" is open... thanks to the Councilman from Cheshire's 4th district... that was resolved a while ago... LOL! Seriously though... don't you enjoy all the far-fetched claims that are made at this time of year? I do get a kick out of them.

But back to the issue of this post... I do hope that the post office is moved sooner, rather than later. The traffic there has been a mess for years.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sewer capacity update

The Council received this update from Town Hall earlier today...

Attorney Andrew Lord of Murtha Cullina, LLP called us earlier today and informed us that he had been notified by Bill Hogan of the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), that DEP will approve the WPCA's permit modification to re-rate the Treatment Plant from 3.5 mgd to 4.0 mgd. This will provide the facility with 500,000 gallons per day of additional capacity.

I have asked Attorney Lord to press DEP for a formal written notification of this re-rating, which will hopefully be transmitted shortly.

We recently wrote to State Representatives Mary Fritz and Al Adinolfi and Congressman Christopher Murphy asking for their intervention in resolving what was an apparent impasse between DEP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Through the efforts of Congressman Murphy's office, a meeting was held between DEP and EPA, which apparently facilitated this result.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Hayley's Hope & Michaela's Miracle

I just received this email from a friend on the Human Services Committee...

The mission of Cheshire's Lights of Hope is to come together as a community, honor the Petit Family, and raise funds to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis by selling luminaries to light our town and neighborhoods with Hope on December 16th, 2007.

Cheshire's Lights of Hope believes selling these luminaries to light the streets of Cheshire will be an opportunity for neighbors and businesses alike to rally together and raise important funds to benefit Hayley's Hope & Michaela's Miracle Memorial Fund, a locally-restricted fund established by the Petit family to assist Connecticut residents battling MS.

Here's the website: Cheshires Lights of Hope

Meetings moved

Council meetings are getting juggled around a bit. As it stands now, tonight's meeting among the Council, P&R and the pool consultant has been delayed until Wed Oct 24 (pool consultant wasn't available). Additionally, the agenda for the special Council meeting of Tues Oct 23 will likely be delayed until the following day.

And again... congratulations to the Cheshire girls swim team. It really is impressive... and they're still going!

Tim White

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ordinance Review update

I guess there was some confusion in Town Hall about Tuesday's ORC meeting. Regardless, here's an update on tomorrow's ORC meeting... and please note, this is not a meeting of the full Council:



1. Roll Call.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Discussion and action re: volunteer firefighters’ pension ordinance amendments.
4. Discussion re: review of procedures for maintaining Commissions List document and terms of appointed officials.
5. Discussion re: updating and maintenance of Code of Ordinances and amendments.
6. Discussion re: required attachments to Town Council minutes.
7. Discussion and action re: Code of Ordinances book fee increase.
8. Discussion re: role of Town Historian.
9. Adjournment.

Tim White

U-Verse and cable

The battles of AT&T and their new U-Verse service (NHR, by Luther Turmelle) are probably just beginning.

Dick Blumenthal is considering taking action. Cox and Comcast will likely be asking questions. The DPUC is almost certainly getting involved. Others will probably get into it too.

Regardless, I saw the AT&T lineman on Bradford Drive a week or so ago. He was preparing the lines to offer their cable tv and cable internet services. And speaking of their new service...

Scott Hanley, who manages Wallingford’s town government access channel, said AT&T is requiring local access programing providers to make a one-time expenditure of $5,000 to buy an encoding device and between $2,100 and $3,000 a year for the town to have dedicated high-speed Internet lines. (H/T to PT!)
It's interesting to see how the technology field is taking shape, including how government access will be delivered to homes. For me, if enough houses used AT&T, then such an expenditure may be worthwhile. I'd need to learn more.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

They won!

They won! They did it. 0 to go. And they broke the national girls swim team winning streak record along the way! Congratulations to the girls' swim team members, parents, coaches and supporters for all the years in the making... and, of course, a congratulations to Ed Aston. It really is an amazing record... even the TV news crews were there tonight.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Council & Ordinance Review agenda 10/16



1. Roll Call.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Discussion and action re: volunteer firefighters’ pension ordinance amendments.
4. Discussion re: review of responsibilities of the Public Safety Commission.
5. Discussion re: review of procedures for maintaining Commissions List document and terms of appointed officials.
6. Discussion re: updating and maintenance of Code of Ordinances and amendments.
7. Discussion and action re: Code of Ordinances book fee increase.
8. Discussion re: status and future administration of elderly tax freeze.
9. Discussion re: role of Town Historian.
10. Discussion re: Building Use Policy.
11. Discussion re: Public Building Commission Rules and Regulations.
12. Discussion re: blanket bid waivers.
13. Adjournment.

This is interesting. Until I read this a second time, I thought this was an ORC-only meeting. But it's actually a special meeting of the full Council. And if I'm counting correctly, that's at least four full Council meetings this month... of which I'm aware (Tues Oct 9 - regular; Tues Oct 16 - special mtg w/ ORC; Wed Oct 17 -special mtg w/ Park & Rec; Tues Oct 23 - special). Aside from budget time, I don't think I've ever seen four full Council meetings in one month. I guess there's a lot of stuff that needs to be done urgently.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Human Services 10/13

Here's some information that was provided at Thursday's Human Services Committee meeting:Tim White
Town Council, Human Services Committee liaison

Friday, October 12, 2007

Some weekend events

The YMCA is holding their 3rd Annual Harvest Dinner Dance tomorrow (Saturday, October 13th) at 6:30PM. The event will be held at the St. Bridget’s Parish Gym and the cost is $35.00 per person. This includes: Buffet Dinner, BYOB (soda and mixers provided), Cocktail and Dinner music provided by John Phillips & DJ Jim O’Rourke, and a Silent Auction. All of the proceeds from this event will benefit our Strong Kids Campaign which provides financial assistance to families in need. (Thanks to Margaret Coombs for forwarding me this email.)

And if you have young kids, don't forget the Masons' CHIPs program at the old fire house... scheduled for the same time as the fire dept's open house from 11am - 4pm at the headquarters at 250 Maple Avenue.

What else is happening around town?

Tim White

Letters to the editor

Blogging has its benefits... such as allowing you to speak out in a more immediate way, with an ongoing discussion. But for all the benefits offered by blogging, I'm sure you're not reaching as wide an audience as is reached by the newspapers. So I encourage all of you to start adding your names to your comments and sending in some LTTEs. I think those letters would have a greater impact on the upcoming election than any anonymous comments on TWL.

Whether you're pro-D, pro-R, or pro-write-in... whether you support or oppose a particular candidate... I encourage you to write a letter to the editor this weekend. It shouldn't take more than 15-20 minutes. Perhaps you can start getting involved here:

And if you want a bit more advice, feel free to drop me a line (439-4394). I'd be happy to help.

Tim White

Parking: stop it or stack it

The proposed north end residential continues to be one of the hottest topics in town. And you may know that I've been saying that with regard to the proposed residential, PZC should "stop it or stack it." Anyway, I did mention that to the developer and his response was that you then end up with a conflict for parking spaces... that is, at certain times of day (probably 5pm-10pm) the retail customers and residents compete for parking spaces... and the retailers don't like that. So...

Here's my idea for dealing with that parking issue...
...stack the residential and the parking! It would be straightforward. You'd just need to add a second level of parking for, say, residents. Then you give them a "keycard" for access to their reserved spots. And if the reserved parking spaces are close enough to the housing, I'm sure people would prefer to use them over the retail spots.

Of course, I'm sure others have thought of this. I mean, this isn't rocket science... so why wouldn't this be an obvious alternative to the addition of more impervious surfaces? Well, I think I got the answer...

I was speaking with someone who I consider knowledgeable on this type of construction and he said it's... $30,000 per elevated parking spot. So I've got to assume that cost is the issue... it's cheaper to put a parking spot on the ground, than it is to put a parking spot 15ft above the ground.

As for me, I still say stop it or stack it, including the parking.

Tim White

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Enlightenment

Is this a claim to be living in the 18th century?? lol.

Seriously though, about the public hearings... that was Mike Ecke's idea and it was a good one... but as for the creative problem solving, I'm still waiting to hear the creative solutions for the pool and its energy budget.

Maybe some answers will be provided at next Wednesday's meeting between the Council and P&R? No word yet on when and where that meeting will occur, but I hope the Energy Commission gets invited. After all, the bubble (and its costly energy consumption) is more of a concern than the programs that are being provided. And it would be an ideal opportunity to ask the EC about how the town and pool could benefit from performance contracting and the possible construction of a permanent enclosure for the pool.

Tim White

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Child identification program (CHIP)

If you have kids, you may want to stop by the old firehouse (on Maple Ave, right between the new firehouse and the Waverly) this Sunday between 11am-4pm. The Masons will be holding the annual CHIP program. But...

...what is CHIP?

CTCHIP is a comprehensive child identification program designed to give families a measure of protection against the ever increasing problem of missing children.

How does it work?The program consists of four major components:

~ a brief videotaped interview
~ a digital still photograph
~ fingerprinting
~ dental bite impression

The videotape is a recovery tool that provides far more individual characteristics and mannerisms than a still photograph. The digital photograph is also a valuable recovery tool. Fingerprinting is a tried and true method of individual identification. The dental bite impression provides an impression of the biting surface of teeth which, like fingerprints, are unique to each individual. The dental impression also collects enough saliva to provide DNA and a source for scent in canine recovery. Together, these four measures provide a most powerful identification and recovery tool.

Tim White

Campaign finance reports

Today was the deadline for reporting campaign finances through September 30. For me, I spoke with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and they told me (in a nutshell) that since I neither raised nor spent more than $1,000, I didn't have to file anything.... that was nice to hear.

It would be interesting to see what others raised though... and to see who is giving to whom. And if any of you are interested in doing your own research on this... don't forget to check the Town Committee reports... I'm guessing those are the only PACs (if you can call them that) that exist in Cheshire... though there may be more.

Tim White

ND field trip for PZC

I was told the following:

PZC is having a field trip / public hearing at the proposed North end development site this Saturday 10/12 at 9AM. The public may attend. The commissioners will be accompanied by the applicant and they will point out various aspects of the project relative to the property we are seeing. We won’t be able to ask questions at this venue as the meeting is not being recorded by a secretary. We will jot down our questions and then ask them at the next Oct. PH in Council chambers. Members of the public will have to do the same thing. We have been told to access the property by way of Dickerman Rd. Parking is available on the site by going down the road that was cut for the repairs to the aqueduct. I have asked the planning office to provide an 8 ½ x 11 walking map for the PZC and the public so we can relate to what we see and how it appears on the map.

I haven't confirmed this, but felt it would be worth posting in case it is correct. Perhaps one of you knows if this is true?

Tim White

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The new ballot

I understand that the above is an example of the front of the November ballot... notice that there is a space for "write-in" candidates.

And below is an example of the back:I'm not sure why the "open space" question (#1) for $1,000,000 doesn't mention the $250,000 that was appropriated three years ago. Only last year (and again this year) I asked if dollar amounts must be aggregated for items to go to referendum and was told that is the case... and that is shown quite clearly in question #3 where the sewers had a multi-year project aggregated.

To me, that additional $250,000 seems important because, unlike many other open space appropriations, this quarter million dollars was never approved by the voters. So I hope that this ballot gets amended between now and the election.

Tim White

GOP debate

The debate is live at 4pm and will be rebroadcast at 9pm.

Monday, October 08, 2007

DOT reorganization

Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s first major attempt to reorganize the scandal-plagued state Department of Transportation is already creating an angry backlash within the agency, according to several state officials...

"It’s been received with unbelievable grumbling and created unbelievable animosity," said one DOT official, who asked not to be identified...

"This is one where the (DOT) bureaucracy wants to draw a line in the sand and say it’s not going to let this work," the state official said. "It’s really a test of whether the commissioner can overcome bureaucratic resistance."...

The final trigger for the reform was a massive construction debacle on a project to widen Interstate 84 in Cheshire and Waterbury...

The scandal has resulted in a federal grand jury investigation and a state lawsuit against the contractor, the now-defunct L.G. Defelice of North Haven, and the consultant hired to perform I-84 inspections, the Maguire Group Inc. of New Britain....

However, not a single DOT official responsible for overseeing the I-84 project has been disciplined since construction flaws were first discovered 19 months ago. (NHR, by Greg Hladky)

I'm glad to see that something is finally happening. Regardless, I still think there needs to be serious consequences for all parties involved in the I-84 debacle, including for what democratic state Senator Gary Lebeau described as the "nexus" of the debacle... the inspectors... the Maguire Group.

Tim White

Blogging rules

Avery Doninger, 17, has lost once in court against her principal and superintendent. She doesn't plan to lose again...

She is appealing a federal judge's recent decision that school leaders were within their legal rights to remove her from running for class secretary because she called administrators "douche bags" on a blog entry she wrote at home.

This lawsuit has thrust this average student, and her school district, into public scrutiny on the Internet and in the media. It has also put her and her school at the forefront of a largely unexplored legal issue:

What power, if any, do schools have over the content students put online?

Tim White

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Brooms out

The Sox completed a 3-game sweep today... not too shabby.

W/S agrees to pay

The MRJ has reported:

The company that wants to build a retail and residential center in the Interchange Zone has agreed to pay up to $37,000 for the cost of an independent review of their application. W/S Development of Chestnut Hill, Mass. wrote in an Oct. 4 letter to Town Manager Michael Milone that it would reimburse the town for a peer review of their application before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Open forum 10/6

With the subprime home lending situation (WRA), someone told me today that companies are starting to revise down their 2008 sales estimates for durable goods... washer/dryers, refrigerators, etc..

The campaign season has definitely kicked off. I saw Tim Slocum, Tali Maidelis and Gerry Brittingham greeting customers at Stop n Shop this morning. I also saw Cindy Kleist waving to passers-by from the corner of Lanyon and Route 10.

AT&Ts new competition for Cox, U-Verse (WRA), is also swinging into gear. I saw an AT&T lineman on my street, Bradford Drive, this afternoon. He told me that they expect to have their TV and internet services up'n'running in my neighborhood within a couple months.

And the Senate investigation into Lou DeLuca continues (NHR, by Greg Hladky).

Tim White

Council agenda 10/6

I don't have time to comment right now, but thought you may want to see this... of interest to at least a few people... volunteer firefighters pension and Strathmore dam...Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, October 05, 2007


Sox are going strong...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Wall that Heals

In section II of this week's Herald, you may be interested to read the status update on The Wall that Heals. Two key points of interest for me:

We are still in need of volunteers who are willing to help guard The Wall through the late night hours and early morning hours. The goal is to make certain no one will work at The Wall for more than a two-hour time slot. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Ralph Zingarella by phone at (203) 250-2547 or email at

And of great interest to me... a reception honoring Cheshire's 2nd Medal of Honor recipient, Colonel Barney Barnum:

The Open House reception to be held in honor of Col. Harvey Barnum and all of the veterans in Cheshire will be held at approximately 4:45pm until about 6:20pm. All of the Town's veterans are invited, but please contact Ralph Zingarella and indicate that you and your spouse will be in attendance. The Cheshire High School students are working very hard to prepare a wonderful evening for everyone, and of course Col. Barnum.

Tim White

Inland Wetlands update 10/4

Here is the Herald's view on Tuesday's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission meeting (by Josh Morgan). I didn't stay for the whole meeting on Tuesday, though what I heard was interesting... I'm just hoping to get to voice my opinion to the Inland Wetlands and PZC at some point... stop it or stack it... and leave the western portion undeveloped with a conservation easement in place.

And related to PZC... I'm hoping that this proposed development is self-sufficient with regard to electricity. According to CL&P, Cheshire is in the "southwest corner" of the state. And that's where we've got some serious transmission deficiencies... no need to exacerbate the problem.

Tim White

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Let's do it!

Josh Beckett pitched a complete-game shutout as the Red Sox rode their ace's dominating outing to a 4-0 victory over the Angels on Wednesday. Kevin Youkilis got the scoring started with a solo homer in the first, and David Ortiz added a two-run jack in the third.

Go Sox!!!

Tim White

$10 trillion and counting

Here's the Courant editorial on America's $10,000,000,000,000 debt. No word on the $60,000,000,000,000 in unfunded long-term liabilities...

By a 53-42 vote, the Senate revised upward the maximum amount of money the government can borrow to $9.815 trillion.

Thus, a Republican president who inherited a budget surplus and campaigned on staying true to GOP conservative fiscal principles will leave office as the biggest national debt builder ever. Since Mr. Bush assumed office, the debt has nearly doubled. For most of those years, Republicans also controlled Congress.

Democrats are predictably denouncing the record. "What we're doing with our very high debt is essentially blowing out living standards," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus - even as he voted to raise the limit. "We have no choice but to approve it. If we fail to raise the debt ceiling soon, the U.S. Treasury will default for the first time in its history," he added.

Presidents and congressional leaders have used the we-have-no-choice argument forever. Of course they have no choice if they spend considerably more than they collect in revenue and they refuse to choose between higher taxes and leaner outlays.

For the sake of America, I hope the next POTUS is serious about a balanced budget. Too bad GWB wasn't.

Tim White

Capacity of CT prisons

Connecticut’s top prison official dodged lawmakers’ questions Monday about whether state prisons are near capacity and whether new facilities such as a hospital for mentally ill inmates are needed.

State Correction Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz insisted new restrictions on parole for violent offenders ordered by Gov. M. Jodi Rell haven’t created significant overcrowding problems for the prison system....

State Rep. Al Adinolfi, R-Cheshire, told Lantz he believes "there is really a need" for a prison hospital for mentally ill inmates. "I will be pushing for that," added Adinolfi.

Right now, Adinolfi said, even potentially violent mentally ill prisoners must be released once they complete their sentences. He said a separate medical facility is needed for mentally ill people who shouldn’t be in a traditional prison setting.
(NHR, by Greg Hladky)

Tim White

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Disenfranchising the voters

On another post, a blogger asked about the Democratic Town Committee having some sort of pot luck dinner at the Senior Center. And presumably, since fundraisers are "prohibited"... this must be a free event and not a rehash of the ugly politics of this past summer (where favors were being dished out to the politically influential). Even so... that blogger reminded me of the concerns I raised.

You may recall my concern about benefits being accrued to the two major political parties in town... while others (and half the voters in town are unaffiliated) are afforded no such favors. Well... Cindy Kleist is running for Town Council... and she's not running with either of the two major parties. But has she been offered the use of a town facility for a political fundraiser? No. And her husband asked that very question this past summer!

You may feel this is benign. You may dislike Cindy. But to me this is a willful disenfranchisement of the voters... and it's just not right.

I hope that the policy is revised and an offer is extended... soon.

We're into October and any event is going to take some time to organize. But who knows... maybe disenfranchising non-major party candidates is the goal? Or maybe The-Powers-That-Be simply don't care about fairness and equality?

Tim White

Open forum 10/2

There is a fundraiser for Carolyn Soltis tonight, 5:30-7:30pm at the Zdonczyk residence (1160 Wolf Hill Road).

Inland Wetlands meeting tonight at Town Hall.

The Mets collapse is final. (You may not want to mention baseball to either Sheldon Dill or Matt Hall this week.) Go Sox!

And lastly, just this weekend I got official word that Everybodys' annual holiday party is again scheduled for 6:30pm on the second Saturday in December... as always, everyone (particularly Stop n Shop customers... lol.) are invited.

Tim White

Monday, October 01, 2007

Town meeting video on the web... on the rise!

Forget public television access. The way to go may be Internet video. Some watchdog residents are taking their political videos to a new arena — one where the public can view them on demand. Video-hosting Web sites have long been popular outlets for videos made by teenagers, and more recently of footage of politicians nationally. But increasingly, residents in smaller towns have been using the Web as another avenue to air videos of town meetings, debates and other issue-oriented programming. (WRA, by Jodie Mozdzer)

The article offers three towns as examples: Cheshire, Seymour and Washington. (Note: the online article is abbreviated.)

Anyway, I think it's fantastic that Cheshire is moving forward with this. And with the WRAs front page story, I hope other towns take notice and also consider making it happen.

And for anyone who still questions the power of the internet... do you know why I was contacted about this article? Well... the reporter, Jodie Mozdzer, found me at TWL while she was googling around online. Ain't the internet great?! But I can't end this post without saying thanks to both Craig Houghton and Cindy Kleist for having "moved the ball down the field" on this.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Campaign finance

Yesterday was the "cutoff" for Q3 fundraising. Bill Richardson seemed to have gotten quite a few headlines for having raised $5,000,000. Barack and Hillary reportedly raised $20,000,000 each in Q3. I understand Mitt raised $10,000,000 and added another $7,000,000 from his own personal fortune... I'm not sure about anyone else, although Ron Paul raised $1,200,000 online in the past week alone.

Chris Murphy had raised $780,000 through Q2 of this year, but his fundraising may start to go dry now... among all incoming freshman in the 110th Congress, Chris received the most money from last year. Then last week he tattooed MoveOn for their "General Betray Us" ad... so many MoveOn supporters are fuming right now. Chris' likely GOP opponent, state Senator David Cappiello, had raised over $200,000 through Q2... regardless, no word yet on the fundraising for either of them.

Perhaps more interesting to many of you though will be the local fundraising reports that had their "cutoff" yesterday. For me personally, I'm not yet sure if I need to report anything. The reason for that is my intention... I intend to spend less than $1,000. So I may not need to file any reports. For anyone spending more than a grand though, they'll need to file. And I expect most people will be spending more than a thousand bucks.

Why spend more $1,000? Easy... with 9,000 or so households in Cheshire... a postcard to every house in town could easily cost $3,000 (cardstock / postage / photocopying)... for a district, call it $750. A lawn sign costs about $8. And I think there are about 400 streets in town. So to have a lawn sign on 1 of every 4 streets would cost $800... and on and on. You can exceed $1,000 very easily.

Anyway... I imagine the press will be looking at those local campaign finance reports when they get filed with the Town Clerk, Carolyn Soltis, in the next week to ten days. So maybe there will be some reporting on them... or... perhaps you'd like to do your own reporting! If not here, then write your own post at Cheshire Town Post. I'd be happy to give you a blogging tutorial... and I imagine (if he has the time) Craig Houghton would also be happy to help with the endeavor.

Tim White