The Elim Park Christmas Party is today, Dec. 1 from 9am to 3pm (I think).
The town lights the tree on the green on... Sunday?
Maura Esposito resigned from the WPCA. The WPCA is where the unfounded ugliness of Shenanigate started last summer... I wonder if Tim Pelton will be asked to return to the WPCA... he certainly seemed to receive rave reviews from everyone when he was replaced. Regardless, Council appointments are political in nature.
I forgot to mention sooner... I was on the Dan Lovallo radio show this afternoon with Dowd Muska of the Yankee Institute, a generally conservative, CT-based think tank. The topic was... you guessed it... Ron Paul. And on a different Paul note... I got an email from a CT resident yesterday. He told me that he called the state Republican Party and asked who was running the CT for Ron Paul campaign and... they gave him my name. Ha!... actually, what's of most interest to me is the anecdotal nature of this... it's just another example of the influence of The Blogosphere!... cuz I've never spoken with anyone in GOP headquarters about Ron Paul... so I'm sure they associated me through either TWL or CTLP.
Matt Altieri responded to my email from yesterday. He asked me to call him to discuss my call for a nonpartisan cost/benefit analysis of the rainy day fund. So I need to followup on that.
Joe and Marilyn Bartoli are hosting a fundraiser for Dave Cappiello, the first GOPer to announce a run for the CT-5 against Chris Murphy. I say "first" because according to Cool Justice, a former state Rep., Tony Nania, may also be running. I wish them all the best of luck, but as I mentioned recently... incumbents tend to win.
The Council organizational meeting will be on Monday, Dec. 3. And the first regular meeting of the new Council will probably be Tuesday Dec. 11.
And since I haven't mentioned them in a long time... if you're interested in learning more about global energy issues, check out the reports produced by the Washington-based, non-profit Energy Security Leadership Council.
My favorite state Senator, Lou DeLuca, resigned today... finally!
Anyone know who the new PZC Chair will be? If it's EJ, Sean, Woody or Tim Slocum's replacement, the organizational aspect should be straightforward. But if the Chair and Vice Chair were Tali and Mickey... I would think things might get messy... who would be the acting Chair in the absence of a Chair and Vice Chair? Would there be a special vote, in which case the PZC may keep a Dem Chair for the current ND vote?
What else is happening?
Friday, November 30, 2007
The Elim Park Christmas Party is today, Dec. 1 from 9am to 3pm (I think).
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Fred fired the first shot. He went after Mitt, Huck and also Rudy in this extended version of last night's debate ad. (This version is 2mins, while CNN allowed only 30 seconds of airtime during last night's debate.)He's down in the polls, so I'm not too surprised by this ad. Though I am curious about one thing... my favorite, Ron Paul, and John McCain are both excluded... yet they're both ahead of Fred in various polls in different states... maybe there's more to come?
You'd better hold on to your seats though! With the millions being raised by Rudy and the hundreds of millions in Mitt's bank account... I think this campaign is just beginning.
And I can't help but wonder if people start taking shots at Ron Paul. It could be interesting. What would they say? "He's against the war!" Heck, that's not exactly a skeleton in his closet. And I think he's fairly representative of GOP primary voters on every other issue... so it'd be interesting to see if any of the other candidates try to "let people know more about him."
I'm not sure yet if my call for a cost/benefit analysis gained some support today, but it may have. (And if you missed my earlier posts on calling for a cost/benefit analysis, you can read more here, here and here.)
I feel it may have gained support because of what I read in Matt Altieri's letter in today's Herald. The letter was quite pleasing to see... so much so that I just sent him the following email:
I read your letter in today's Herald.
One line in particular jumped out at me...
"Cheshire wins when we leave all that posturing at the door and look at the issues with practical and non-partisan points of view."
I agree. And since my call for a cost-benefit analysis of the rainy day fund is a non-partisan, non-ideological request... will you join me in my call for this cost-benefit analysis?
Anyway... for the benefit of the taxpayers, I'm hoping that we can finally move forward. I mean, it seems to me that spending $5,500 for bond insurance is better than increasing taxes by $2,000,000.
Town Council, Budget Committee
Labels: taxes n spending
I just got an email from Matt Hall announcing the roles of Council members. I think it becomes official at the Council's organizational meeting next week. And remember, if you're interested... there'll be a ceremony this Sunday in Town Hall in which elected officials take their oaths of office. At least for the Council, that includes swearing to uphold the US Constitution.
Council Subcommittee Assignments:
Budget: Michael Ecke, Elizabeth Esty, Tom Ruocco
Ordinance Review: Elizabeth Esty, Michael Ecke, Tim Slocum
Personnel: Matt Altieri, Laura DeCaprio, Tom Ruocco
Planning: Laura DeCaprio, Matt Altieri, Jim Sima
Solid Waste: Matt Altieri, Laura DeCaprio, Tim White
Audit: Tim White, Michael Ecke, Matt Altieri
BOE: Jim Sima
PZC: Tim Slocum
IWWC: Tom Ruocco
WPCA: Elizabeth Esty
Historic District Commission: Tim Slocum
Parks & Rec: Matt Altieri
Economic Development: Michael Ecke
Public Building Commission: Matt Altieri
Public Safety: Elizabeth Esty
Housing Authority: Jim Sima
Prison Advisory: Elizabeth Esty
Retirement Board: Tim White
Cable TV Advisory: Laura DeCaprio
Energy: Tim White
Environment: Laura DeCaprio
Performing and Fine Arts: Michael Ecke
Human Services: Tim White
Youth Services: Tom Ruocco
I'm glad to see Tom Ruocco on the Budget Committee. He wanted it. I'm sure he'll do a good job. Thanks Matt!
Town Council, 4th District
Some of you have asked me what the new political landscape will look like next week. I can't say with certainty, but I have idea.
My understanding is that most incumbent Councilmen will be retaining the same positions/roles as each held during the current term (Dec 1, 05 to Nov 30, 07). That is, Matt Hall will remain Council Chair, Ecke Vice Chair... and committee chairmanships/membership will remain largely intact. I'm guessing that Laura DeCaprio will fill the roles held by Diane Visconti (Planning & Solid Waste) and Jimmy Sima and Tim Slocum will presumably take seats on Ord Review (previously Orsini) and Planning (previously Schrumm).
As for me, I spoke with Tom Ruocco and he'd like to be on the Budget Committee, so I hope he's seated on that committee. I figure that I'll be going to all of the meetings on the operating and capital budgets anyway... and if something is of particular interest to me, or if I feel I can really add value... I'll still attend and can always vote via the full Council. Perhaps Tom and I will switch roles with me going on Solid Waste with... Chairman DeCaprio?
And for those of you who are wondering about the rules governing all this... I believe it starts with a vote for Council Chairman... and I'm pretty sure that Matt Hall has five votes for that. Then the Council Chair decides all committee memberships, including Chairmanships... though that's all done with input from Council members, particularly the caucus of the majority.
I imagine Steve Mrowka will remain the BOE Chair, but don't know for sure.
And I'm assuming that PZC will soon have a Republican Chairman. Though due to some odd circumstances, the ND meetings will likely continue with Dem majorities (Flynn Harris, Kardaris, Maye, Coburn, Todisco) and a Republican Chair (chosen from Dawson, Kurtz, Marinaro, Strollo). And be on the lookout for a replacement for Tim Slocum's PZC seat.
Only other political note... look for Elizabeth Esty to vie for the Dem nomination to challenge Al Adinolfi for the 103rd (assuming Al runs). Why do I say "vie?" My guess is that she'll run and that due to public funding, you'll see candidates coming out of the woodwork this year... particularly Dems in the 103rd... which is one of the (if not the) most heavily registered-Dem districts in the state that is held by a Republican.... my money though? I like Elizabeth, but incumbency matters and no one works harder than Al. Look for Al to be reelected, regardless of his opponent.
Signing off for tonight.
Town Council, ??? Committee
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It was quite a meeting last night... when I left my house at 9pm, I was actually wondering if I'd get there in time to speak. ha! anyway... some thoughts... This concerned me because while the Town Manager presented this revenue of $1.16 million (with offsetting costs of approximately $100k), he didn't mention that in CT, it is basically illegal for towns to "turn a profit" in a municipal building department. In other words, building department revenues cannot exceed building department expenses... or at least that's what the Council has been told for each of the past four years whenever we've discussed the building department fees. And when I asked for clarification... perhaps I missed it, but I didn't hear anything about the law changing. So I'm still wondering... is this "million dollar windfall" for real? Or will the town approve this project, get paid these fees, then get sued by the developer and refund this $1,000,000? I don't know, but I know the Town Manager has testified with some very contradictory information.
1) I got there and the first thing I was told was the outgoing PZC Chair Patti Flynn Harris kicked off the meeting with a Freudian slip, commenting "when we approve this..." er, uh... "if we approve this...." ha! Again though, I showed up late so don't know if it's true. Nonetheless, I just had to mention it cuz it was too funny to pass by... seriously though, can anyone confirm if she said that?
2) There's been a lot of discussion about whether this proposal will be the tipping point in moving from a volunteer FD to a paid FD. And that seemed to be refuted, but we should all keep in mind that a paid FD (more precisely, two paid firemen) was on the Council's agenda just over two years ago. It disappeared without much fanfare, but it did get on the agenda once already.
3) I think of most concern to me was the fiscal impact analysis' revenue assumption for building inspection fees:
This concerned me because while the Town Manager presented this revenue of $1.16 million (with offsetting costs of approximately $100k), he didn't mention that in CT, it is basically illegal for towns to "turn a profit" in a municipal building department. In other words, building department revenues cannot exceed building department expenses... or at least that's what the Council has been told for each of the past four years whenever we've discussed the building department fees. And when I asked for clarification... perhaps I missed it, but I didn't hear anything about the law changing. So I'm still wondering... is this "million dollar windfall" for real? Or will the town approve this project, get paid these fees, then get sued by the developer and refund this $1,000,000? I don't know, but I know the Town Manager has testified with some very contradictory information.
I guess I shouldn't be too surprised though... from the continued claims that defined contribution plans don't really work for volunteers to the pool with its 40,000 annual users and $1,400 profit... I think I may need to start directing all my financial questions to our Finance Director, Patti Lynn Ryan.
4) As the clock ticked away and 2am arrived, I finally got a chance to talk. (Btw, while I was annoyed at the late hour... I don't fault PFH. It was a judgement call with good intentions... people were there and she wanted to let us speak. Unfortunately, she couldn't foresee just how long comments would take.) My early morning comments...
a) I drew attention to the flooding problems related to the 129' vs 137' floodplain elevation... including asking the PZC to ensure that no government agencies ask the town to return the $280,000 that passed thru the town on the way to remediating the collapsing aqueduct.
b) I asked if the proposal was energy independent... and keeping in mind that I was pretty groggy at this point... I think the answer was no, though the developer is looking for state and federal funding for some alternative energy projects that may alleviate their drain on the grid. And if I got this right, then this answer was unacceptable... I mean, at what point will we start taking our energy issues seriously?
c) I pointed out that this proposal was sprawl and should be rejected as presented. While there's no need for the residential, if it is included it should be above the retail and the impervious surfaces should be reduced while conservation easements should be placed on much of the land.
Again, it's a late night... so signing off with a thank you to Chiefs Cruess and Casner. I thought Mike and Jack did a really good job in compiling the information and explaining their thoughts.
The GOP will be having its CNN/YouTube debate tomorrow.
If you're a believer is less government and less war, you may want to listen to Ron Paul.
On a dem note... did anyone see Joe Biden's print ad talking up how it seems that "all the Dem candidates agree with Joe"? Well, Dennis Kucinich hit back hard today:
The Congressman has the utmost respect for Senator Biden and his years of service to the nation. He just happens to be wrong on some very major issues; and, if the other candidates agree with him, then they’re wrong, too... If voters are dissatisfied with the Biden tweedle-dums and tweedle-dees, they should vote for someone who represents their beliefs and their values. Not someone who says, ‘I agree with Joe.’ Dennis doesn’t agree with Joe. Or Hillary. Or Barack. Or John. Or Chris. Or Bill.
And back on the R side... I think things are going to heat up over the next month or two... especially on the free-for-all GOP side where it seems each of the candidates (polling outside the margin of error) is out of step with the likely primary voters on at least one of the party's main issues (abortion, guns, immigration, spending, war, etc.).
Today, the legislature held a public hearing on the "3 strikes" law proposed by Rep. Al Adinolfi and Sen. Sam Caligiuri. Here's an AP excerpt:
The lone survivor of a deadly home invasion in Cheshire in July urged state lawmakers Tuesday to not get caught up in politics as they try to reform the state's criminal justice system.
In a letter submitted to the legislature's Judiciary Committee, Dr. William Petit said the only legitimate focus should be on public safety...
"Those horrible events not only took the lives of my beautiful and wonderful wife and daughters, but they also exposed some glaring defects in our laws and their inability to adequately ensure our public safety," Dr. Petit wrote. "Every resident of Connecticut deserves to have those glaring deficiencies in our public safety laws corrected full and promptly." (by Susan Haigh)
Labels: state government
Actually... before I go to bed... I couldn't resist posting this online "best cookie" contest for Presidential hopefuls. Needless to say, it's an online poll so Ron Paul has 95% of the vote (for his wife's apricot-coconut balls), but... what I find interesting... check out who loves oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.... I thought she had forgone baking cookies? lol.
It's 2:15am and I just spoke at, and returned from, the PZC public hearing for the ND. I'm too tired to comment right now, but did you watch it? Any comments? I'll try to post on it tomorrow... and I'll upload the perplexing, if not misleading, fiscal impact analysis.
Labels: northend development
Monday, November 26, 2007
Some more upcoming dates-to-remember:
Monday Nov 26 - PZC closes (I believe) their public hearing on the ND. I have no idea if they're planning on approving the proposed sprawl... I hope not. Regardless, I hope the PZC gets an analysis on the lifecycle cost of this project... not just the next four or five years. Beyond that, I certainly hope that if the PZC is taking a "global view" of this project... they absolutely should require the development to be self-sufficient, in terms of energy needs.
Tuesday Nov 27 - legislature's public hearing on the proposed "3-strikes" law.
Saturday Dec 1 (I think??) - Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the green.
Anything else happening this week?
Town Council, 4th District
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Elim Park is having their annual Christmas open house on Dec 1... and coincidentally, they're also hiring nurses, if you know anyone who might be interested.
The WRA is comparing the battle over Cheshire's ND to Blue Back Square in West Hartford... and there's even petitions floating around opposing the residential and retail components. For me, I'm still wondering what the residential's secondary impact will be on the town.
Everybodys' annual Christmas giveaway should be coming up soon... two weeks maybe? I know it's usually a Saturday night with doors opening at 6:30pm.
Most of the town's elected officials will be taking their oath of office on Sunday Dec 2 in town hall... it should be open to the public... for anyone who is interested.
A recent NHR article (by Luther Turmelle) provided some really useful information. It mentioned several companies that are now offering electricity to households in a competitive market... finally! It only took ten years! Anyway, with skyhigh electric prices I figured you might be interested. Unfortunately, the article is more than a week old and I can't find a handy link (perhaps because the NHR just changed the website). Nonetheless, I think Luther mentioned both Direct Energy and ConEd as suppliers.
If you're in need of a gift this season, but don't know what to get... you just know you want to spend money in town... the Chamber of Commerce offers gift certificates. I usually buy some myself because you can use them at plenty of places around town.
What else is happening?
Friday, November 23, 2007
Everywhere I turn, I always seem to hear politicians telling me what they think I want to hear. Or sometimes they talk of "process" or offer disingenuous arguments (does President Bush have any credibility when he opposes the SCHIP childrens healthcare because of cost?).
It seems so rare for politicians to be willing to engage in the grand philosophical debate of ideas. But to me, that's what they should be doing... debating the merits of the issues based on their philosophical beliefs.
But for an even better analysis of what I see in Ron Paul, here's an excerpt from his hometown newspaper, The Brazoria County Facts:
Congressman Ron Paul not only has emerged from darkhorse status to player in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, he is doing it with a campaign method that is out of the dark ages. He’s saying what he truly believes. Off the cuff. Straight off the top of his head.
Watching Paul during a debate or interview is refreshing for voters. They appreciate his honesty and the passion with which he presents his case.
...we should relish the forthrightness of Paul, who is doing more than making the presidential race interesting. His unconventional campaign shows that someone with genuine, heartfelt ideas can have a voice among the tap-dancing, polished politicians. Americans have heard Paul’s message and responded. Is it too much to hope the other presidential hopefuls will hear Americans’ message about what we want from our candidates?
This, not this, is very much why I like Ron Paul. I believe he wants the debate. He wants to discuss ideas... the big ideas... candidly and vigorously.
And on a local note, that's one reason why I'll miss my 3rd district counterpart across the aisle... Diane Visconti was usually quite willing to engage in a philosophical debate... and for me, that always made Council meetings more interesting.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I'm pretty busy today, but since war and oil are always on my mind... I thought I'd repost part of a piece from Sept 2006...
With news of a "huge" oil reserve (AP, by Brad Foss) found in the Gulf of Mexico, it begs the question “What does 'huge' mean?”
To understand, here are some US oil numbers:
Barrels of oil
Barrels consumed per day: 20,000,000
Barrels consumed per year: 7,300,000,000
Est. barrels in the new Gulf reserve: 3billion - 15billion
Est. time to consume the new Gulf reserve: 5 months to 2 years
Est. time to consume the ANWR reserves: 6 months
Gallons of gasoline (in terms of barrels of oil)
Gallons of oil per barrel of oil: 42
Refined gallons of gas per barrel of oil: 19-20
Approximate annual US gas consumption: 140 billion gallons (7.3B barrels x 20gal)
Average American household consumption (The following numbers are rounded. Their purpose is to show reasonableness.)
Est. number of households in the US: 140,000,000
Gallons of gas consumed per US household per yr: 1,000
Gallons of gas consumed per US household per day: 3
So it is fair to say that the Gulf reserve increases America's oil reserve by 50% (from 4 years to 6 years). But when I look at these numbers, I don't see this as a panacea. Rather, I see this as enabling us to kick the can down the road. At times that may be the best thing to do. However, with America at war, largely because of our dependence on Mideast oil, I feel we must take action now to reduce our dependence.
Est. US oil reserves: 29 billion barrels (29 / 7.3 = 4 years supply)
Est. Saudi oil reserves: 250 billion barrels (34 years supply… if only the US, but that’s not the case.)
Can we make it happen? Well, it was once said:
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out..." - Pres. Kennedy, May 25, 1961, on sending a man to the moon
We can and should do it. And whether or not Washington acts, Connecticut and Cheshire can and should take action.
Town Council, 4th District
1619 Thanksgiving, Berkeley Hundred in Virginia
On December 4, 1619, a group of 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, comprised of about eight thousand acres (32 km²) on the north bank of the James River near Herring Creek in an area then known as Charles Cittie (sic) about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia was established on May 14, 1607.
1621 Thanksgiving, The Pilgrims in Massachusetts
The early settlers of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts were particularly grateful to Squanto, the Native American and former British slave who taught them how to both catch eel and grow corn and also served as their native interpreter. Without Squanto's assistance, the settlers might not have survived in the New World.
The Plymouth settlers (who came to be called "Pilgrims") set apart a holiday immediately after their first harvest in 1621. They held an autumn celebration of food, feasting, and praising God. The Governor of Plymouth invited Grand Sachem Massasoit and the Wampanoag people to join them in the feast. Evidence to support that claim came from diaries of Plymouth. The settlers fed and entertained the Native Americans for three days, at which point some of the Native Americans went into the forest, killed 5 deer, and gave them to the Governor as a gift.
I hope you and your families all have a nice Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Just this evening, I heard the last Inland Wetlands public hearing would be happening tonight... so thankfully I got to the meeting (after stopping by my favorite sushi place next to the Herald for a quick bite).
As you could guess, my main concern was doing what Matt Hall suggested Council members do... he suggested that rather than have the Council act as an intervenor (with regard to the elevation of the aqueduct bypass), acting individually each of the nine Council members address our concerns directly with the IWWC and/or PZC... so I did just that... along with David Schrumm... I voiced my concerns over the flooding in the north end. So hopefully the IWWC will do everything they can, regardless of any beaurocracy that may impede them.
Next I'll need to attend the PZC public hearing. I believe that is scheduled for next Monday, November 26. Besides the flooding issue, I'll need to speak out against the proposed sprawl. Why my suggestion to "stop it or stack it" hasn't gone anywhere really makes me wonder... who's in charge? Well... I guess Republicans are now, though I'm pretty sure that neither Maidelis nor McPhee can vote on this part of the project... and Slocum is probably out too, so Kardaris, Marinaro or Maye will probably be voting.
And I'm still wondering whether this development will be self-sufficient with regard to electricity needs... at least their baseline needs, if not their peaking requirements. Does anyone know? I haven't been able to keep on top of all of this... and this, IMO, is a big question... remember... much of America's electricity is derived from fossil fuels (either natural gas or oil). So if you're concerned about America's dependence on foreign oil, then you should be concerned about this project... because poor planning here will add to that problem, if we don't tackle the issue head on.
What do "AuH2O", Jr. and GQ Magazine have in common?
They both like Ron Paul!
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul today gained a public endorsement from Barry M. Goldwater, Jr.
“America is at a crossroads,” said Mr. Goldwater. “We have begun to stray from our traditions and must get back to what has made us the greatest nation on earth or we will lose much of the freedom we hold dear. Ron Paul stands above all of the other candidates in his commitment to liberty and to America.”
“Leading America is difficult, and I know Ron Paul is the man for the job,” he added.
GQ announced today the honorees for the magazine's twelfth annual Men of the Year issue=:
Ron Paul, presidential candidate - Dark Horse of the Year (no other candidates for POTUS made the list)
Monday, November 19, 2007
That's the working title for former Governor John Rowland's new book... he mentioned it this morning at the Exchange Club's annual interfaith breakfast. He also spoke of his trials and tribulations in life... I didn't get to stay 'til the end (I had to get to work), but his comments were interesting.
Town Council, 4th District
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Bridgeport’s CT Post ran this article on our Congressman, Chris Murphy. I think it's a nice article, but I think Chris may have gotten one thing wrong. He said "Obviously, I know I am a perpetual target. This seat was held by Republicans for 24 years." Well, that would be true if he's talking about the CT-6, but not the fightin' fifth!
Cheshire and the CT-5 were represented by Democratic Congressman Jim Maloney from 1996-2002 before being defeated by Nancy Johnson after redistricting... I just wanted to point out that CT-5 is one of the most evenly divided “swing” districts in the entire country… and we live in it… so your vote does matter! Heck, I think it was 1998 when Jim Maloney beat Mark Nielsen with a plurality of the vote and the Libertarian candidate getting 1500 votes… making a majority unattainable by either the R or D. So remember... if you live in the CT-5... your vote does matter!
I don't yet know with certainty who will be opposing Murphy. But on the other side of the aisle, there is one declared GOP candidate... Dave Cappiello… a state senator from Danbury... and the Bartolis will be holding a fundraiser for him in the near future... details to come.
I was just watching the Council meeting on Channel 14 and want to clarify a statement that was made that was, IMO, misleading (though definitely unintentional).
At Tuesday’s meeting, at least one Council member suggested that a defined benefit plan (DB) made more sense than a defined contribution plan (DC) for the fire department.
It was stated that DCs don't act as incentives because unlike employees, volunteers cannot benefit from a "matching contribution" as they do not get paid.
But “matching contributions” are largely irrelevant to the discussion of DBs v DCs.
There’s no difference in funding for the two plans… the only difference is… who takes the risk. The recipient or the taxpayer? For me, I’d prefer to take the risk off the taxpayer… and give the risk (upside or downside) to the recipient.
Here’s an example of how the two plans would work:
Anyway… I didn’t understand why I heard this statement because twice in the past two years, this assertion was made by town staff during budget committee meetings. And both times I challenged the validity of the assertion, yet only a few weeks ago… this same assertion seemed to be made again in the Herald… that a DC isn’t appropriate for the FD because of their inability to take advantage of a matching contribution.
Regardless of the statements that have been made, I hope that all Council members will think more about the taxpayers and begin to ask more probing questions of staff on financial issues. I mean, understanding the difference between DBs and DCs may seem insignificant to some... but why would Council members openly oppose the drafting of a cost/benefit analysis for our ballooning rainy day fund?
I can't help but wonder if the Council's basic oversight function is being performed as well as it should be.
Town Council, Budget Committee
I know there's a lot of concern about the ND... particularly the residential component and the net tax benefit to the town. But I'm not sure if any bloggers have actually researched similar projects. By research, I mean just a simple google search of key words, such as:
fiscal impact study retail development
or any similar words.
Anyway, I just googled those words and found some interesting info.
Click here to see a University of Wisconsin fiscal impact study for "Anytown USA." They give you some idea of questions that may be relevant to the proposed ND and some worksheets to analyze the financials.
Town Council, 4th District
Labels: northend development
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Forget about the story of him plagiarizing the British pol 20 years ago... here's a great commercial where it sounds like all the Dems want to plagiarize Joe!And about Thursday's Dem debate... I didn't see the whole thing, but I thought Biden and Richardson came across best.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Congressman Chris Murphy was liveblogging tonight at My Left Nutmeg.
There was a car accident on Rte 70 near I-84 (WRA, by Lauresha Xhihani).
Here is the Herald's take on the firefighters' pension vote (by Josh Morgan).
State Senator Lou DeLuca (R-Woodbury) resigned! Unfortunately, the state Senate basically punted on the whole scandal. No doubt that's because they didn't want to do anything that could hurt their motto: Comity Reigns Supreme Under the Gold Dome - don't hold fellow legislators accountable for their criminal behavior! Term limits, anyone?
And here's an excerpt from a constituent's email I received today: According to the statistics on this website, New Haven County will have 2,536 foreclosures due to subprime lending and as a result of this 166,000 houses in the county will suffer a decrease in homevalue to the tune of $2,494 for each "affected" (by the nearest foreclosures) home. The concern was related to Cheshire's revaluation.
I'll try to do more on the Council meeting this weekend. Until then... what else is happening?
Town Council, 4th District
Our nation’s promise to its seniors, once considered a sacred trust, has become little more than a tool for politicians to scare retirees while robbing them of their promised benefits. Today, the Social Security system is broke and broken.
Those in the system are seeing their benefits dwindle due to higher taxes, increasing inflation, and irresponsible public spending.
The proposed solutions, ranging from lower benefits to higher taxes to increasing the age of eligibility, are NOT solutions; they are betrayals.
Imposing any tax on Social Security benefits is unfair and illogical. In Congress, I have introduced the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 191), which repeals ALL taxes on Social Security benefits, to eliminate political theft of our seniors’ income and raise their standard of living.
Solvency is the key to keeping our promise to our seniors, and I have introduced the Social Security Preservation Act (H.R. 219) to ensure that money paid into the system is only used for Social Security.
It is fundamentally unfair to give benefits to anyone who has not paid into the system. The Social Security for Americans Only Act (H.R. 190) ends the drain on Social Security caused by illegal aliens seeking the fruits of your labor.
Ron Paul, M.D.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Anybody see the meeting last night? I can't help but feel that the discussion on David Schrumm’s request for the town to try to avoid additional flooding in Cheshire’s north end was the most disappointing Council discussion in the past two years… (even moreso than the majority’s desire to waste tax dollars on the creation of an entirely unnecessary public relations position in Town Hall!).
From my perspective, the genesis of Mr. Schrumm’s concern was that earth-moving efforts in the north end’s aqueduct are about to raise the flood plain in north Cheshire from 129 feet to 137 feet… or at least that’s what I took from his motion. And to me, it’s common sense to ensure you don’t raise flood plains unnecessarily. But that’s not how the Council majority saw it.
They seemed to be largely focused on simply rejecting his motion… and they lost sight of the forest through the trees. Even the independent and clear-thinking Ray Squire tried pointing this out to the majority… to no avail. Unfortunately, the majority seemed more intent on rejecting Mr. Schrumm's resolution than on dealing with the issue at hand... avoiding additional flooding in the north end.
Some of the arguments put forth by the majority in opposition to Mr. Schrumm’s motion:
1) We trust our town officials… huh? You’ve got to be kidding me! This from the people who initiated Shenanigate?
2) There’s no precedent for the Council acting as an intervenor with Planning and Zoning… huh? As I mentioned last night… what exactly did the Town do when it took control of Strathmore Dam?
3) The cost in legal fees is unknown… but how much did the Town spend on legal fees for Strathmore Dam? Did we know the cost before embarking on that endeavor? And since Strathmore is now largely done, do we know the cost-to-date?
4) If the goal is to address concerns beyond the scope of the IWWC & PZC, then we shouldn’t take action… wow… if this doesn’t take the cake… to see the Herald prior to the Election and read all of the kudos from the majority for maintaining our current form of government was to read the latest edition of Cheerleader Magazine. Yet last night these same people were pointing their fingers all over the place (paraphrasing)… “it’s the PZCs responsibility,” “it’s up to Inland Wetlands” and “it has nothing to do with the Council.” It was the same old song and dance… “if it’s good news, thank us! If it’s bad news… blame the form of government.” But what should you expect from a Council that is “afraid of big, bold decisions” and remains in a “state of paralysis” over a recreational facility?
Having said all this, I do want to point out that at least Elizabeth Esty and Diane Visconti acknowledged that Mr. Schrumm’s motion had merit.
Regardless, for me, last night’s discussion on raising the north end flood plain by 8’ was probably the most disappointing discussion of the past two years.
Town Council, 4th District
Republican presidential candidate and 10-term Texas Congressman Ron Paul voted Tuesday to uphold President Bush’s veto on the controversial water projects measure that authorizes over 900 projects that could cost $38 billion to complete. The measure, attached to a $215 billion spending bill, was condemned by Congressman Paul and many other House Republicans as an exercise in government waste and unsustainable deficit spending. President Bush’s veto was overturned by Democrats and fiscally liberal Republicans in both the House and Senate in favor of a $606 billion House-Senate compromise measure.
Most 2008 presidential hopefuls did not vote on this important bill, including fellow Republican contenders Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and John McCain. Congressman Paul was thus the only 2008 Republican presidential candidate to vote on the measure.
“Americans want a Republican Party nominee who is a real Republican, actively fighting to curb uncontrollable government spending, voting against bloated bills like these,” said Paul campaign manager Lew Moore. “Apparently Senator McCain isn’t interested in fiscal restraint. Congressman Paul, however, is, and he continues to be the only real Republican fighting to control spending.”
Monday, November 12, 2007
Some thoughts on tomorrow's meeting (see agenda below)...
4A - Energy efficiency improvements are obviously very important... We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And since more than a year ago I asked that we do a townwide analysis... describing which town buildings will get the quickest payback for energy efficiency improvements... I guess that townwide analysis is complete and the Hitchcock-Phillips House is at the top of the list. I'm looking forward to seeing that analysis on Tuesday night... and pressing forward with other energy efficiency improvements in an expeditious manner.
4F - This is the money received by the town from the RWA toward the curb-to-curb repaving of Brentwood Drive, Towpath Lane and a couple other streets.
4I - $50,000 matching grant for Lassen Farm. At first glance, I guessed this meant that the town had to spend $50,000 to get the grant. But that's not the case... staff and volunteer time can be applied toward the $50k match. And with people, such as Kerry Deegan and the FOBK, already helping... I'm hoping we can get the $50,000 without spending much in the way of property tax dollars.
7A - We're having a public hearing at the start of the meeting. And the volunteer firefighters pension is starting to cost some money, but my hope is to defer a paid department for as long as possible. I'm guessing that a paid dept could get much more expensive, in a matter of only a few years.
7K - This relates to David Schrumm's request from a few weeks ago. I need to read the info on this still, but am wondering if the October 29 Inland Wetlands report relates to David's concern.
Town Council, 4th District
Labels: council mtg
As the proposed ND moves down the tracks, concern seems to be mounting about the project. Personally, I attribute the November 6 PZC election results (in part) to the proposed ND. In particular, there's a substantial number of people in the south end of town who are "scratching their heads" over the residential... wondering "why?"
But now the retail part seems to be facing some real environmental questions...
On November 6, the MRJ (by Leslie Hutchison) reported:
The water quality of the Ten Mile River could be at risk from a proposed development in the north end, according to a review by the Southwest Conservation District. The review is the only study done specifically for the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission in connection with the application by W/S Development to build a 639,000-square-foot retail and residential center north of Interstate 691. "The development of this parcel would create a great deal of impervious surfaces," the report says. It estimates that parking lots and other surfaces would cover more than 36 acres of the 110-acre property. "The potential risks to the water quality are high," the report continues, "from a wide array of non-point source pollutants associated with these land uses during and after construction."Btw, I understand the report was received by the town on October 29.
And yesterday, the NHR (by Pamela McLoughlin) raised questions about existing water quality:
The water quality of four brooks and a river was deemed "impaired" Saturday after 20 volunteers analyzed water samples by determining what kind of insects were living in the waterways. The sampling was arranged by Quinnipiac River Watershed Association executive director Mary Mushinsky as a "rapid bioassessment day," supported by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Grant... it was determined all five waterways are deficient, conditions at two affected by low water levels and all likely affected by human landscaping practices."They’ve lost their clean water organisms," Mushinsky said.The volunteer group of men, women and children first got a 90-minute preperatory lesson from DEP water specialist Michael Beauchene...Once educated, the volunteers fanned out in teams to five sites: Ten Mile River on the Southington/Cheshire line; Misery Brook in Southington; Harbor Brook in Meriden; Wharton Brook in Wallingford and Meetinghouse Brook, also in Wallingford.I believe the next PZC meeting is Wednesday at 7:30pm.
Town Council, 4th District
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Excerpted from today's New Haven Register (by Abram Katz):
Every new expanse of artificial turf contains plastic grass and about 120 tons of finely chopped tires that emit a small amount of toxic, cancer-causing, mutation-triggering chemicals and metals. The layer of rubber "crumbs" makes the surface softer and more forgiving. It also gives off dozens of compounds that have not been studied or assessed for safety in the United States....
Environment & Human Health Inc. of North Haven completed a 30-page study of artificial turf in July, becoming one of the first environmental groups to address the issue. Nancy Alderman, president of EHHI, said, "People have been calling from all over the country. We’re one of the few organizations that’s done anything...."
"There’s a need for more research and study on the health hazards," Blumenthal said. Rather than review every chemical detected in crumb rubber, investigators could search for known harmful compounds, he said. "Few people anticipated that their children would stick their faces into chopped up tires, or swallow any. My four children played on synthetic turf. I’m not panicking," Blumenthal said. Simple measures, such as washing after playing on artificial turf and avoiding artificial turf when temperatures are high, could minimize whatever risk the rubber poses, he said. "The connection between tires and health effects are unexplored. It is counter-intuitive to use tires where children play. I can understand the apprehension of parents," Blumenthal said. "There seem to be serious questions here. Maybe we should find answers," he said.
Town Council, 4th District
Whereas it has long been our customs to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by rededicating ourselves to the cause of peace; and Whereas in the intervening years, the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation; and
Whereas the Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926 (44 Stat. 1982), calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies, and later provided in an act approved May 13, 1938 (52 Stat. 351) , that the eleventh of November should be a legal holiday and should be known as Armistice Day; and
Whereas, in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful Nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day:
Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America , do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 , as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain. (Wikipedia)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
While Veterans Day ceremonies normally take place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, due to a conflict with Sunday morning church (including parking on Church Drive), the Veterans ceremony will take place tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am.
h/t to Elizabeth Esty
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Real conservatives have always supported low taxes and low spending.
But today, too many politicians and lobbyists are spending America into ruin. We are nine trillion dollars in debt as a nation. Our mounting government debt endangers the financial future of our children and grandchildren. If we don’t cut spending now, higher taxes and economic disaster will be in their future — and yours.
In addition, the Federal Reserve, our central bank, fosters runaway debt by increasing the money supply — making each dollar in your pocket worth less. The Fed is a private bank run by unelected officials who are not required to be open or accountable to “we the people.”
Worse, our economy and our very independence as a nation is increasingly in the hands of foreign governments such as China and Saudi Arabia, because their central banks also finance our runaway spending.
We cannot continue to allow private banks, wasteful agencies, lobbyists, corporations on welfare, and governments collecting foreign aid to dictate the size of our ballooning budget. We need a new method to prioritize our spending. It’s called the Constitution of the United States.
Here is a quick recap of the numbers for the 4th District Council seat:43 people "blanked" (cast no vote) my race this time.
In 2003, about 2000 out of 2100 people cast votes (100 blank votes). In 2005, about 2000 out of 2200 people cast votes (200 blank votes)... so blank votes were down this year in the 4th district Council race.
Town Council, 4th District
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
For keepsakes... here is some of the literature that was distributed during the campaign... thought you might be interested... this is just some Dem stuff... I'll see if I can find some of the GOP stuff, but I've got stacks of paper scattered about right now and need to tidy up a bit. Until then... here is some stuff on the Council (enlarge images by clicking on them):Here are some claims made by the PZC candidates:Here is some BOE literature:And finally, here is some general Democratic info:
Feel free to parse! I think some of this stuff is quite fair, but some... well... I'm still wondering how one claims that increasing our bond rating to AA is "fiscally responsible," if you don't have a cost/benefit analysis.
And while all of these things were mentioned during the campaign... did anyone notice the absence of discussion of the Senior Tax Freeze? Don't politicians usually talk of their accomplishments? hmmm....
Town Council, 4th District
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Council: 5-4 Dems
Hall - 4000 (D)
Ecke - 3600 (D)
Altieri - 3500 (D)
Slocum - 3400 (R)
Sima - 3300 (R)
Esty (D), Ruocco (R), DeCaprio (D), White (R)
Congratulations to the three newcomers: Laura DeCaprio, Jimmy Sima & Tim Slocum! Anyone notice... no Council incumbents lost? Although... the Dem domination of '05 was clearly gone this year with the two parties being on a much more even keel.
BOE: 4-3 Dems
Massey (D) & Sobol (R) were reelected. Dixon (R) returns to the BOE. Brittingham (R) was elected for the first time.
PZC: 6-3 Republicans (MRJ, by Leslie Hutchison)
Flynn-Harris (D), Maidelis (R), McPhee (R)
All five referenda passed.
Any thoughts on the election? I wanted to win a Council majority, but am not too surprised with the Council remaining 5-4 Dem. Nor am I surprised with the BOE results, but... I find the PZC quite interesting.
Why did Rich Levy (Dem incumbent) lose, while Patti Flynn Harris (Dem incumbent) win... with the most votes!? Rich and Patti both voted in favor of the ND zone text change.
It's also worth noting that Tim Slocum (PZC) and Jimmy Sima (BOE) were the most vocal opposition to the ND on their respective boards... and they both got elected to the Town Council.
Our much-maligned Town Clerk, Carolyn Soltis, had a resounding victory. Good job Carolyn!
Joe Bartoli (R) and Vin Lentini (D) were reelected to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Ken Wilson (R) was elected, while receiving the highest number of votes.
Compliments of Leslie Hutchison at the MRJ, here are links to the MRJ election night photos from both the Dem and GOP headquarters.
And as for the only vote totals that I remembered exactly (excluding absentee ballots)... I won 1197 to 666. Again... to the voters of the 4th District... thanks so much!
Town Council, 4th District
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Here's a 53-second clip of my closing comments from Oct 25 LOWV forum:
I thank you, the people of the 4th district, for letting me serve you for the past four years. I hope that I can continue serving the district on issues, such as potholes, sidewalks, road repaving (on Brentwood and Towpath) and drainage (on North Brooksvale) among the many district issues that arise.
I also hope to continue serving the town by offering new ideas, such as using biodiesel in our public works department and uploading Council meetings to the internet.
And, of course, I'll continue advocating other issues of town wide concern, such as a cost/benefit analysis for the Rainy Day Fund and decisive action on the pool and the bubble.
I hope that I, and the new Republican team, can have your support on Tuesday.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Believe it or not, the race for control of the Town Council on Tuesday could come down to which of the town's two political parties has properly gauged the mood of voters concerning the future of the Community Pool.
Republicans and Democrats agree that something needs to be done, but the candidates differ on potential solutions. The Democrats hold a 5-4 majority on the nine-member council.
For example, Republican incumbent Tim White has advocated in the past either closing the pool entirely or having it operate seasonally.... "There's a lot of people who are just really upset with the costs related to the pool," White said. "I think they want decisive action taken." (NHR, by Luther Turmelle)
Democrat Michael Ecke, who is the vice chairman of the council, contends that Republicans on the council have primarily criticized the Democratic majority without offering any real solutions of their own.
"When they were in charge, they offered the exact same ideas," Ecke said.
But Republicans haven't been in the majority for two years. And during that time, (along with operating a summer facility) I've also advocated using "performance contracting" to finance a permanent structure for the pool (this would take the $400,000 annual energy budget and use it to finance a permanent structure, rather than simply letting the heat escape through the bubble)... therefore, to suggest that "Republicans on the council have primarily criticized the Democratic majority without offering any real solutions of their own" is to suggest that I've been mum on this issue for the past two years... and since Councilmen Schrumm and Orsini have been highly supportive of maintaining the pool, as is, I'm not sure who the "Council Republicans" are who complain, but offer no real solutions.
On the contrary, if you watch the pool consultant video from November 28, 2006... most of the concern seems to come from the majority. Although, this WRA article on the pool consultant still makes me wonder why we spent $20,000:Regardless, while I've been offering new ideas... perhaps the best remedy for this situation is electing some new people who will bring a fresh perspective to the table.
Friday, November 02, 2007
The gloves are off in the Democratic primary.
Or are they?
This could go down in the history of Presidential electioneering as an instant classic. Put together by John Edwards, it's a very parsed look at Hillary Clinton... a candidate in her own words... so is it fair to say that the gloves are off?Imagine the fun we could have here in Cheshire if we had the know-how for video like this....
Thursday, November 01, 2007
The opening ceremony for The Wall that Heals was great.
Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum spoke along with several others, including my dad who was a nuclear weapons officer in Vietnam... and a CHS student who read his, in my opinion, very powerful essay which described his thoughts if he was to be drafted when he turns 18... and his definition of bravery. I thought it was moving.
Barney Barnum's Medal of Honor citation was read... by one of Ralph Zingarella's students.
The ceremony was great and, of course, I strongly encourage you to visit The Wall that Heals.