Thursday, May 31, 2007

Open forum 6/1

The Cheshire Herald has a new reporter, Josh Morgan. He did this piece on the pool and the pool consultant report. I found this comment interesting:

Town Manager Michael Milone said the meeting next week will be the first in a series of meetings that will hopefully answer some questions the (P&R) commission has.
Forgive me, but... wasn't the $20,000 pool consultant report supposed to answer questions about the pool? Perhaps I'm missing something. Regardless, it's good to hear that we'll be having more meetings!

Here's the only article I've seen recently on the garbage removal scandal (AP) that broke last year... the article relates to Waterbury though.

The MRJ blog recently mentioned:

The Islander East is back in the news as it gathers permits locally for pipeline which will run near Thimble Islands down to Long Island and

A coup, for the Cheshire Youth Baseball League to secure a sponsor willing to ante up $800,000 (Any idea on the donor?)

One more reminder that the Chamber will be having a lunch at Elim Park on Friday with keynote speaker Chris Murphy. I'll have to take a half day from work, but I'm hoping to attend.

I think the state Senate has renewed the old "Heart & Hypertension law." Now HB6956 is up for a House vote. If I have this correct, this bill will effectively reinstate the old heart & hypertension law... a costly law. I think Cheshire now has an annual reserve of a few hundred thousand dollars to pay for costs related to this law.

What else is happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

"The View" on Ron Paul

My guess is that many of you know Rosie O'Donnell is gone from The View. Interesting to me, I think her departure started here in this clip in which they discuss Ron Paul's views on "blowback." (Views shared by the CIA.)

Also, you'll notice at the end of this ten minute clip that they all agree on one thing... regardless of what Ron Paul's comments were during the recent debate... he had a point... that we should reevaluate our foreign policy. (Although there was no consensus on making any changes.)

Tim White

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Open forum 5/31

Chris Murphy will be the keynote speaker at the Chamber of Commerce lunch at Elim Park on Friday. Tickets are $20. For more info, call 272-2345.

Luther Turmelle recently reported in the NHR that the Town Manager, Michael Milone, agrees with me that the town should investigate the possibility of getting a discount on the pool consultant report. Unfortunately, I doubt my idea to return the report and keep the $20,000 will go anywhere.

And today's NHR reported that CVS is hoping to build a store on the Damon's/McPhee lot near Richard's Corner.

With the legislative session ending on June 6, the Courant has written a scathing editorial on the seeming inaction of the supermajority.... again, I'd like to extend an invitation to all of our legislators to our next Council meeting (June 12). There they could tell us about the recently completed legislative session, as well as their plans to ensure:

1) that Cheshire is reimbursed the $26,000 in CPD overtime expenses for I-84; and

2) that fiascoes similar to I-84 do not occur again.

Anything else happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Council committee update

Here's a list of much of what is on the agenda for each of the six Council committees:

Budget - Ecke

Fund balance policy

Planning Committee - Visconti

Strathmore dam (public hearing scheduled for June 26, 2007)
Boulder Knoll farm
Naming of park
Public Safety Commission sign waiver request
Acceptance of Mountain Brook as public road

Strategic Plan

Ordinance Review Committee - Esty

Volunteer firefighters’ pension (jointly with Personnel on June 5)
Review of responsibilities of the Public Safety Commission
Maintenance of Code of Ordinances & tracking amendments
Ordinance book fee increase

Status and future administration of elderly tax freeze

Personnel Committee - Altieri

Volunteer firefighters’ pension (jointly with Ord Review on June 5)
Personnel changes in 07-08 budget

Town Manager’s goals & objectives and performance review (jointly w/ Council)

Solid Waste Committee - Visconti

Status of Transfer Station
Bulky Waste program

Audit - White

Nothing

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Questions on fund balance policy

This weekend, I got to thinking about one of the recent Council topics... it's a topic that goes by several names, including:

1) general fund reserve
2) fund balance
3) rainy day fund

My concern was no different than my concern raised during previous budget meetings... in an effort to improve our debt rating, are we taxing people more than we are saving them (in reduced interest expense on debt)? I'm not sure yet, but want an answer because...

It occured to me that in the 3 1/2 years that I've been on the Council, the Town's general fund reserve has increased from approximately $5million to $8million. Thus, residents have paid an additional $3million in taxes in three or four years.

So what's the benefit? Well, the likely main benefit that may be related was a $1million ($940,000, I think) savings when the town refinanced existing debt. But would taxing $3,000,000 to save $1,000,000 make sense? (As well, while this refinancing may have related to an improved debt rating... I think it also related to falling interest rates... which would be independent of the Town's debt rating.)

And I have another question... on an annual basis, what additional taxes and savings are assumed by residents to maintain the currently targeted 8% fund balance, instead of the former 5% fund balance? (5% was the target when I got on the Council.)

For purposes of explanation only, here's what I mean...

Assume the town has a $97million budget in year 1 and a $100million budget in year 2. Thus, the budget increased $3million ($100m - 97m) in one budget year. And if the budget increases $3million, then maintaining a 5% fund balance would require additional taxation of $150,000 ($3m x 5%). And maintaining an 8% fund balance would require additional taxation of $240,000 ($3m x 8%).

Thus, maintaining the fund balance at 8%, instead of 5%, requires additional annual taxation of $90,000 ($240k - 150k).

So the next time the budget committee meets to discuss the general fund balance policy, my questions will be:

1) Does our improved debt rating (and commensurate lower interest expense) offset this increase in taxation?

2) What savings have the taxpayers received to offset the $3,000,000 increase in the general fund reserve?

I don't know the answers. And I suspect that my explanation here is simplistic... and may even be way offbase... again, I don't know. But I feel that in representing the taxpayers, I'm obligated to get answers to these questions.

As well, I'm glad to know that during prior budget meetings, I've gotten the support of Elizabeth Esty... despite what I felt was resistance by Town Hall to answer these questions. It was suggested by staff that there are many intangibles related to the increased debt ratings. And that's fine. But I also feel that as a policy board, the Council must know those intangibles and pass judgement on them before we continue down this path.

Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

I-84 probe to expand?

Already involved in legal actions over the I-84 fiasco is the construction company (LG DeFelice), the inspection company (Maguire Group) and the regulator (Dept of Transportation). And now there's talk about the involvement of the design firm (NHR, by Greg Hladky).

On a related note, at the Memorial Day parade I had the opportunity to speak with state Senator Tom Gaffey. I was glad that I had the opportunity to personally thank him for opposing the Governor's nomination of Ralph Carpenter as DOT Commissioner.

Tim White

Monday, May 28, 2007

Rte 42 update 5/29

I'm still looking for answers on the delays faced by the Rte 42 project. (Click on the two inset images to see the DOTs May 11 response to a December 21, 2006 inquiry.)












For me, questions 4 & 5 were the most important questions:

Questions 4 & 5 - What criteria are used by the State Department of Transportation to determine eligible projects? Once these projects are deemed to be "eligible," how are these projects prioritized?

Answers 4 & 5 - All proposed improvements to the State's transportation infrastructure (including roadways, bridges, mass transit, etc.) may be considered "eligible" projects. While there is no formal "prioritization" process, clearly improvement projects that address serious safety deficiencies (support by accident data) warrant the department's immediate attention.


That is a serious flaw in the DOT. Their department is so big, they should have criteria by which they formally prioritize their projects. The legislature should force the hand of the DOT and demand they begin using criteria to prioritize their projects.

Regardless, based on the DOT response I'm not surprised that the Rte 42 project continues to be delayed year after year (I think it's about ten years now). Perhaps the only way to make the Rte 42 project happen is to do what does not seem to have happened... have someone advocate for it.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

At my request, my dad gave me some thoughts about Memorial Day:

Memorial Day is a solemn, sacred day of remembrance and mourning. This national holiday and patriotic anniversary commemorates those who lost their lives in military service to America. (Remember that holiday was originally "holy day" and sacrifice means to make sacred.) More than 1,000,000 American men and women made the supreme sacrifice in 10 major wars and twice that many conflict situations since our nation began.

On Memorial Day we do not honor war. Rather, we recall with respect the battles and the wars which the heroes of our nation fought to preserve our American heritage. Our national observance involves laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The U.S. flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon in honor of the deceased men and women who defended our nation and in honor of those who are still missing in action, then raised to the top of the staff. When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be raised again to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

Formerly known as Decoration Day, this holiday began in the Spring of 1866 with a small spontaneous ceremony in Columbus, Mississippi. Three women often went to Friendship Cemetery there to tend the graves of soldiers who had died in Columbus Military Hospital in the early years of the Civil War. The example set by these three Miss Moreton, Mrs. Fontaine and Mrs. Hill led others to join them in a public procession on April 25th.

The long procession made its way to the cemetery. First came the young girls, all in white. Then, in black, came the women who were married or who had lost their husbands. Last, in carriages, came the elderly. Everyone carried a bouquet of spring blossoms. They halted by the graves and formed a square. They heard an address and then laid their flowers as badges of honor upon their dead.

Some 1,400 Confederate dead lay there; somewhat apart from them were the graves of about 40 Northern soldiers who had died in Columbus as prisoners of war. The women of Columbus, Mississippi, with a single generous impulse of heart, also laid flowers on the Yankee graves.

The news spread everywhere. In Ithaca, New York, a lawyer named Francis Miles Finch heard the story. He wrote a poem entitled "The Blue and the Gray" which Atlantic Monthly printed the next year. It was reprinted in newspapers, and memorized and debated. Steadily, like new grass growing over a battlefield, the generous example of the women of Columbus, and Finch’s eloquence, spread across the nation, healing the bitterness of conflict.

In 1868, John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a general order (see next section) designating May 30 "for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion." Logan did this "with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year." General James A. Garfield, who later became President, spoke at the first Memorial Day ceremony, saying, We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue.

In 1882 the Grand Army changed the designation to Memorial Day. Various states had already made it a legal holiday; others followed suit and soon it became a national holiday. Later it was extended to honor all U.S. war dead. In 1971, by an act of Congress, Memorial Day was fixed on the last Monday in May.

The Original Memorial Day Order

Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic
Washington, D.C.
May 5, 1868


General Orders
No. 11

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion. What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a face in chains and their deaths a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism or avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remains in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the nation’s gratitude the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.


By command of
John A. Logan,
Commander in Chief

N. P. Chipman, Adjutant General

Misplaced recreation priorities

Based on these two pieces from the Courant, I've got to say that our state's priorities seem to be a bit misplaced when it comes to funding recreation and leisure. While local projects seem to get funding, the Courant is reporting that state parks and the Bushnell don't receive nearly enough funding.

I visited Kent Falls and Mt. Tom state parks yesterday. And they seemed nice, but I was astounded to read that Hammonasset no longer has a visitor's center. I loved the visitor's center when I was a kid.

Hammonasset attracts 1.7 million people annually and was the location McCarthy chose for a summer season-opening celebration Friday morning. But Hammonasset has no visitors' center. The spot where the visitors' center stood, near the midpoint of the 2½-mile beach, is now a sandy gap between twin stands of pine trees set in concrete beds. The one it once had was demolished several years ago after it was deemed beyond repair, said Paula Schiller, a Friends of Hammonasset board member. "If you show this to anybody who used to use the beach a lot, they go, `Huh?'" Schiller said one day earlier this month, gazing wistfully at the gap. (by Joel Lang)
"Huh?" My thoughts exactly.

And the Courant is also editorializing on funding for the Bushnell, going so far as to write
The arts in Connecticut need a decent, reliable stream of money and a fair way of distributing it so it doesn't end up mostly in the hometowns of political leaders.
I wonder what they mean? Certainly they're not referring to Jim Amman's Music Hall of Fame.

Tim White

Removing dams in Watertown

I'm uncertain if this would have any relevance to the Strathmore dam, but Watertown is considering "taking down two dams to address long-standing pollution and dam safety issues." (WRA, by Jonathan Shugarts)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Open forum 5/26

Cheshire will soon be getting a new church at 174 East Johnson (WRA, by Lauresha Xhihani).

This WRA editorial tattoos John Edwards. Personally, I'd prefer to see the Democratic party nominate Gov. Bill Richardson... or even (although I know very little about him) Mike Gravel. If you're interested in Richardson, he'll be on Meet the Press tomorrow morning.

The CT sales tax exemption on clothing under $50 may disappear. I'm not sure how strongly this would adversely impact those least able to afford the sales tax. But to some degree this would hit poor people, unfortunately.

Barite mines are back in the news. Although I didn't get to testify back in January, I did go to the legislature that day to testify because they are an important issue.

Calcagni's linear trail crosswalk signs went up this week (at least on Mt. Sanford).

If you get HBO, Ron Paul, M.D. was on Bill Maher's show last night. So I'm sure it's now available on On Demand.

What else is happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, May 25, 2007

Saturday morning happenings

9:30am - Darcey School - Challengers baseball game (Diane Visconti invited Council members... I'm guessing that anyone would be welcome)
10am - The Green - Memorial Day weekend event honoring veterans (I'll be here helping my dad)

Tim White

WRA on DOT staff

Hats off to the WRA for this editorial on the I-84 fiasco, particularly the closing:

It's plain from the audit that the DOT doesn't need to be reorganized; it needs to rid itself of employees who are unwilling to or incapable of functioning under the old organizational structure.
I'm not sure if I agree totally though:
It is puzzling and troubling that Gov. Rell and other state officials persist in treating the DOT as if its employees were above reproach, focusing virtually all of the public's attention on stationary targets such as the L.G. DeFelice construction company and the Maguire Group inspection firm.
Taxpayers should know about the problems caused by DeFelice and Maguire, particularly of work that was given "to inspectors of dubious qualifications." With people such as William Fritz, son of Cheshire's state Rep. Mary Fritz, being used as Chief Inspector... despite his lack of qualifications... and with Maguire executives knowing of his lack of qualifications... all parties involved, including the DOT, need to be held to account.

Tim White

Windpower in Watertown

Despite opposition, a 50ft windmill received approval (WRA, by Jonathan Shugarts) for a Watertown home.

Tim White

Thursday, May 24, 2007

PZC meetings start

Here is the Herald's take on Monday's PZC meeting (by Shannon Becker) on the proposed ND... or more precisely, the proposals for a zone text change and a plan of conservation & development change.

Based on the article, I may have been at the meeting for only a few minutes, but caught the most salient points in a previous post... the comments made by Commissioners about their sense of the proposal... that being the comments by Tim Slocum and Paul Ranando.

Adding one more point though from the Herald's article... I disagree with one commissioners comments:

Martin Cobern said there should be only one question in the minds of the commissioners when they consider whether or not to allow mixed use in the Interchange Zone. “Is it an improvement to the life in Cheshire?” he asked, adding that if it’s not, then they should vote against it.
My feeling is that all nine members were elected to use their best judgment. And they (both Democratic and Republican) don't need to be told "the question." And if I'm offbase here, then I'd say that, at minimum, such comments should either come from the Chairwoman, Patti Flynn Harris, or the paid professional staff. In other words, he may even be right... but his comments were unnecessary.

Finally, some have made comments here about the lack of these meetings being televised. For what it's worth, I believe that back in Nov. 2005... the new Chairwoman of the PZC, Patti Flynn Harris, made a decision. She decided to televise public hearings, but not meetings. I know that may seem like semantics, but there is a difference. And if that's true, then there's no inconsistency in the lack of these meetings being televised... it just happens to be a rule that was established before WS' proposal came to be. Can anyone confirm this? By the way, if anyone wants to videotape the meetings and post them on the web, I'd definitely link to them.

Tim White

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

School redistricting

I noticed another article in the NHR recently about the BOE talk of redistricting. Can anyone give a status update?

Tim White

Ron Paul for President 5/23

Ron Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Howard Caspar Paul (1904–1997), the son of a German immigrant, and Margaret Paul (1908–2001), who owned a dairy farm outside Pittsburgh. He was the third of five sons born during the Great Depression. In his early years, Paul worked at his parents' dairy, delivered newspapers and worked in a drugstore. (wikipedia.com)

Tim White

Chris Murphy as Speaker

I think Congressman Murphy is on CSpan right now as acting Speaker of the House.

Tim White

Local use of biofuels

An e85 fueling station opened in Boston (Boston Herald, by Jerry Kronenberg). It's the first e85 station to open in New England.

As well, I've been told that the MRJ recently reported on a biodiesel fueling station opening up next door in Southington.

Finally, the City of New Haven announced on Monday that they're going to use B50. B50 is a fuel blend consisting of 50% biodiesel (often made from soybeans, french fry grease or chicken fat) and 50% petroleum-based diesel. Cheshire began using B5 in January. B5 is 5% biodiesel and 95% petrodiesel.

Tim White

Open forum 5/23

The DOT continues to have moving people around because of the I-84 mess (NHR, by Greg Hladky). The shuffling of staff doesn't seem to me to be of much significance.

Madison rejected some capital projects (NHR, by Abbe Smith) at referendum (senior center and ambulance project), while Harwinton approved some projects (WRA).

The legislature is thinking about reinstating a law similar to the old Heart & Hypertension law (Courant editorial).

And with gas prices rising, more and more people are asking me if I like my Civic hybrid. The answer YES. I love it, particularly since I'm getting about 45mpg and just got my $2100 federal tax credit back!

What else is happening?

Tim White

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Council mtg 5/22

The meeting was fairly quiet. One thing did cross my mind though after the meeting...

Since Cheshire is currently getting shortchanged $26,000 in relation to CPD overtime on the I-84 project... and since the legislative session is nearly complete (June 6, I think), I suggested to Matt Hall and Michael Milone that the Council invite Cheshire's legislative delegation to the next Council meeting.

We could request their assistance in getting reimbursed for the police overtime and, more generally, what they intend to do about ensuring no similar fiascoes recur. And of course, we could get an update on what happened in Hartford this year.

As for details on the $26,000, I don't have much details on it. The first I recall having heard about it was in the Herald last week.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

More I-84 problems in Cheshire

The NHR continues to do some great reporting on the I-84 scandal (by Greg Hladky). This time around, the story relates to a DOT employee who lives in Cheshire. And it's the first action taken against any DOT official:

DOT spokesman Judd Everhart confirmed L. Brian Castler of Cheshire "has been reassigned" to work at the agency’s Rocky Hill laboratory. Everhart declined to comment on the reasons for Castler’s loss of his administrative position. Informed sources within Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration say Castler’s demotion was related, at least in part, to questions about his involvement in the I-84 project.
The article's other paragraph of particular interest to me was
Spokesmen for Defelice and Maguire Group have denied any wrongdoing in connection with the I-84 project. Garcia said the DOT appears to be overstating drainage and other project problems. He insisted any problems would have been corrected if Defelice hadn’t gone out of business. Garcia called it "very peculiar" the independent auditors hadn’t interviewed any Defelice or Maguire Group officials.
Very peculiar? Well, let's not forget that the project's lead inspector doesn't seem to know how this mess could've even occurred. William Fritz, son of Cheshire's state Rep. Mary Fritz, has been described in the press as saying that he didn't know how the problems arose.

Tim White

Monday, May 21, 2007

Our state legislators

While reading this week's Herald article on the Maguire Mess & Fritz Fiasco, I noticed this at the end of the article:

Town Manager Michael Milone said he is hoping to receive reimbursement from the state for the extra police coverage the town provided during the project. A claim was made to the insurance company to reimburse the town $130,000. Currently, the town will receive all but $20,000. Milone is hoping the town will receive that additional money.
I don't want the town's taxpayers to have to foot the bill for the state's problem. And I'm also keenly interested in learning what our legislators intend to do about the fiasco. So maybe the Council should invite our legislators to the next Council meeting for a discussion on those topics. What do you think?

By the way, if you haven't seen the actual suit brought forth by AG Blumenthal, here's a link. Included in the text:
The actions of all the defendants were egregious, unfair, immoral and unethical and have damaged the State and its taxpayers beyond money damages.
Among the defendants is William Fritz, son of Cheshire's state Rep. Mary Fritz.

Tim White

Council agenda 5/22

The agenda includes:

1) setting the public hearing for Strathmore Dam (date TBA).

2) CYB lease agreement - not sure what will happen with this.

3) a variety of other items... but I doubt any of them will generate much discussion.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Town Hall 5/21

Lotsa meetings at town hall tonight. The main meeting was the Council/Personnel meeting. We began the annual review / goals & objectives for the Town Manager. I arrived at the meeting a minute or two late though. So I'm uncertain if it was held in executive session. And if it was, I don't want say anything other than my own sentiments. Which are...

I've had some pointed differences with the Town Manager this year. But I don't feel it's appropriate for me to discuss that any further right now. One other point though... I made it quite clear that I felt we should have town meeting videos on the internet. And that investigating that possibility should be a high priority.

Also had an Energy Commission meeting. I think it's fair to say that the EC was upset that they had not yet received a copy of the pool consultant report. So I tried to allay their concerns by telling them I'm asking for a refund. One member asked me to mention that, with respect to energy, their report was probably better than the pool consultant report... I still can't believe we spent $20,000 on that thing... the EC also discussed the possibility of issuing an RFP for energy services townwide. I support that idea. If done well, we may be able to save money and energy... and wouldn't that be great?

Finally, there was an Historic District Commission meeting and a PZC meeting.

I didn't see much of the PZC meeting, but did catch some interesting comments from two members (Slocum, R & Ranando, D). Both of them asked questions which seemed as though they did not support the residential aspect of the development. And if you're counting votes, PZC is nine members with a 5-4 Democratic majority.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Some Maguire history

1988

According to the state's CGA website, a Sebastian Amenta was working at the McGuire Group nearly 20 years ago (webpage dated March 11, 1988):

REP. MAZZOTTA: Okay. Sebastian Amenta of the City of Meriden.

SEBASTIAN AMENTA: Good afternoon, my name is Sebastian Amenta. I represent the City of Meriden and this is regarding House Bill 5996, Item Section 1, B15, The raising of the Broad Brook Reservoir. I'd like to speak in favor of this project. We, I'm an engineer with McGuire Group, we've been associated with the city for eight years now in trying to improve their water supply situation and we are involved in numerous projects with the city and have been and we feel that the Broad Brook Reservoir raising is a significant project and that the additional 300,000 gallons a day is more than worthwhile based on the cost and that would service approximately 3,000 residential customers.(cass 5) We appreciate the support of Representative Fritz on the project and I can allay her concerns and the Committee concerns that the roadway improvements will be done such that access to all areas will be maintained at all times and I think it will be no problem at all to take care of that aspect of the project.

1989 - 1995

I came across this legal link in which Maguire is mentioned. Included in the text of the case United States v. Aldi (findlaw.com):

Aldi served as City Manager of the City of Meriden, CT from 1988 to 1993. He and Joseph Franco, the City Engineer, were tried for conspiring to solicit and accept bribes. On April 24, 1995, Aldi was convicted on all seven counts of the corruption indictment. Franco was acquitted of all three counts of his corruption indictment. Aldi was separately indicted for bank fraud. On June 5, 1995, Aldi pled guilty to Count Four of the bank fraud indictment....

Between 1989 and 1991, Aldi received $24,000 in illegal cash payments, and all-expense paid trips to a New York Jets football game and the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Aldi was given these payments by Sebastian Amenta of the Maguire Group, an engineering company. In return, Aldi awarded contracts to the Maguire Group in violation of city procedures for selecting contractors.

2007

And according to this North Haven website, four Maguire employees donated to a North Haven political campaign on March 17, 2007. On the linked spreadsheet, you'll see:

Alan P. Asikainen, 48 Nuthatch Nob, Glastonbury
James Fritz, 39 Carrier Court, Southington
Sebastian Amenta, 1166 Woodruff Street, Southington (not available on whitepages.com)
John Treichel, 39 Court Street, Cromwell


(Addresses are blocked on the link. So I called the blogger, Robert Wechsler of North Haven and he provided me with the blocked addresses. As well, he said these s/s's were obtained from North Haven Town Hall.)

Tim White

Maguire's misrepresentations

The months long audit of the I-84 fiasco is officially progressing with its release on Friday. Reported in Saturday's NHR (by Greg Hladky):

According to the audit, Maguire officials misrepresented Fritz’s qualifications to inspect the project. Shortly after the project began in fall 2002, Maguire officials requested that the DOT pay Fritz at the level of chief inspector, and claimed he had been certified as such by the National Institute for Certification of Engineering Technologies.

But that institution notified Fritz in December 2002 that it was rejecting his application for that certification because he had "violated the NICET Code of Ethics," the auditors found. The violations involved misrepresentations of his work experience, according to the report, which stated that Maguire executives were aware of Fritz’s lack of certification.

"This left a Maguire Group employee in direct control of the inspection (who) did not meet the requirements of the job and was misrepresented as doing so," the auditors found.

The auditors reported that "additional requests for pay increases for Mr. Fritz were approved (by the DOT) in August 2004 and September 2005.

Fritz, whose mother is House Deputy Speaker Mary Fritz, D-Wallingford, could not be reached for comment Friday. A request to Maguire Group officials for comment also went unanswered.
Might there be some relevance to my most recent post "I-84: Fritz family fiasco?"

Why would Maguire executives misrepresent someone's qualifications for such an important job?

Finally, here are the thoughts of another interested party:
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the audit "reveals outrageous and far-reaching failures at every level in the I-84 expansion project.""These project failures were pervasive and purposeful, and anyone responsible should be penalized," Blumenthal said.
(Emphasis mine.)

Tim White

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Residents' thoughts on ND

By special request of Al Sanders and with the permission of Alan Bisbort, here's their thoughts on the proposed zone text changes in the north end. First, Al Sanders:

The discussion about the proposed shopping center seems to be dominated by the side that supports it. However, there are compelling reasons to question the rationale of building a 500,000 square foot shopping mall, as well as 160 residential units on this land. Perhaps it is time that we pay some attention to the arguments of the other side. The bottom line to this is: once a shopping mall is built, it is built forever. You can't un-build a shopping center. Since a decision of this magnitude can affect how the 400 interchange acres are developed, it is incumbent on the town to examine the issue from all sides, good and bad. A real impact study, prior to changing the zoning, would make the residents more confortable with the process. Right now there are many residents in town who are not comfortable with the speed and manner in which this proposal has moved ahead. The letter to the Meriden Record Journal is an example of some concerns about the process and what can happen to their town.
And here's a letter from Alan Bisbort:

As for me, I'm comfortable that Planning & Zoning will make a decision that is in the best interest of Cheshire. I do have to say though that my current understanding of the residential doesn't leave me feeling as though it will do much of anything to address CTs brain drain... at least not with the 18-28 yr old group. I really wish there was something done by someone to stop the brain drain.

Finally, I believe the first PZC meeting (not public hearing) on the proposal is scheduled for Monday night (5/21) at the Town Hall. Can anyone confirm that and provide a time?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I-84: Fritz family fiasco?

William Fritz, son of Cheshire's state Rep. Mary Fritz, is apparently not the only Fritz at the MaGuire Company.

(But first to recap... MaGuire was the inspection company hired for the I-84 fiasco that may ultimately cost CT taxpayers millions of dollars... not to mention that, according to the Feds, driving that stretch of highway may now be dangerous due to potential highway collapses. William Fritz was the Lead Inspector for MaGuire on the job. He is now being sued by AG Blumenthal in relation to the debacle. Also see this week's Herald for a good synopsis, including their "spot on" editorial.)

Anyway, I was over on the North Haven Info blog and came across this interesting post on the relationship between one of their local political races and MaGuire executives (posted by Robert Wechsler). He wrote:

four Maguire Group employees have already donated to the "Kopetz for First Selectman" campaign: John Treichel (VP, but listed as "engineer"), Alan Asikainen (VP of the water resources division, but listed as "engineer"), James Fritz (executive VP, but listed as "engineer"), and Sebastian Amenta (VP, but listed as "engineer").
I was curious. Of interest to me was what I found when I googled "James Fritz Maguire." According to that webpage, there is a "James Fritz" who works for McGuire and lives in the zip code 06489... Southington. And this website lists an Executive VP of the Maguire Group with the name "James Fritz."

Does Maguire employ a James Fritz of Southington as an Executive VP?

Then I clicked Whitepages, and saw only one address in 06489 / Southington with a "James Fritz." He lives at 39 Carrier Ct... also living at that address is a Carolyn Fritz. Peoplefinders.com lists a Carolyn Fritz of Southington (age 57) with two possible relatives named James Fritz (ages 58 & 34).

Is James Fritz (of the Maguire Group) related to Carolyn Fritz?

The Carolyn Fritz of 39 Carrier Court has donated to state Rep. Mary Fritz' election campaigns. As well, a Camille Fritz of Cheshire has donated to Rep. Fritz. (click on images to enlarge):















I then googled "Carolyn and Camille Fritz" and found that state Rep. Mary Fritz has two sisters-in-law named Carolyn and Camille (cga website).

Is this the Carolyn Fritz of 39 Carrier Court, Southington?

Does Rep. Fritz have a brother who works as an Executive VP at the Maguire Group?

If so, is the I-84 fiasco a Fritz family affair... with Maguire employing both a nephew as the lead inspector and an uncle as an Executive VP?

Unlike many other state legislators, Rep. Fritz does not appear to have yet made any public statements regarding the I-84 debacle... at least not on her official state website, nor during (what I saw of) today's CT-N televised press conference in Hartford.

Nonetheless, I'm eagerly awaiting her plans to rectify the situation going forward, ensuring that no more of these projects go so drastically wrong. And I hope that statement comes soon. While the DOT claims there are no short term safety concerns... they no longer have any credibility on this issue. So action needs to be taken expeditiously.

Having said all that, I still can't understand why the Governor has yet to terminate DOT Commissioner Ralph Carpenter.

Also see Friday's WRA for I-84 light polls that may fall at any time (by Mike Puffer) and calls by legislative Democrats for the report on this fiasco (by Paul Hughes). I don't know much about state Sen. Don DeFronzo (D-New Britain), but based on what I know of him... I like him.

Tim White

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Town saves on electric rates

Both The Day (by Ted Mann) and The Courant (by Mark Peters) are reporting that AG Blumenthal is investigating unfulfilled promises to towns & schools of electric rates lower than that of the standard service providers.

Supporters of increasing government regulation of Connecticut's electric market say Wethersfield, Cheshire, Farmington and other towns are getting a bad deal when they buy electricity. Consumer advocates and legislators who are trying to reignite interest in energy reform bills before the General Assembly on Tuesday accused power supplier Constellation NewEnergy of wooing town governments and school systems with promises of lower prices that didn't materialize....

But Baltimore-based Constellation rejected the allegations by Swan and others, which were based on an analysis done by state Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect, of select monthly electric bills for 12 towns or school systems. Constellation said it is providing savings, and more important, a stable price to towns, cities and school systems across the state. (Courant)

Reading that Cheshire was involved, I immediately considered the accuracy of this article and the related analysis. And while I recalled the town had recently inked an agreement with TransCanada, I was uncertain if that agreement covered all of the town. As well, I wasn't certain of the schools' electric supplier. And wanting to know if we were achieving the desired savings, I asked questions.

As it turns out, the schools are currently in a three year contract with Constellation, but the town buys its electricity from TransCanada. So from a town perspective, I'm confident that we are achieving the desired savings.

However, from a school perspective, I was still wondering if we were achieving savings or if we were paying more than necessary. I haven't yet been able to ascertain the accuracy of the analysis, but have been forwarded an email from the schools' energy purchasing consortium. The consortium notes that Rep. Nardello's study was "flawed" for several reasons, including:
The rates used by Vice Chairman Nardello are the rates that were in effect in January of 2006, not January of 2007. The January 2006 rates used are more than 2 cents/kw lower than the CL&P standard rates currently in effect, further skewing the analysis.
Is that true? I'm really not sure. I trust that this issue will receive a proper vetting in the public forum. In the meantime, I was just wondering if our recent town-side electric contract was saving us tax dollars. And it appears it is.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Underfunded state pensions

I got an email from Councilman Matt Altieri today. In it, he wrote that it was "a step in the right direction" to support HB6141... a bill that I understand is intended to further fund the currently underfunded teachers' pension fund.

I agreed with him that properly funding our liabilities is important. However, I also mentioned that we have other underfunded long-term liabilities, including the state employees pension fund... on top of our general debt for capital projects.

I believe the teachers pension fund is (actuarially) estimated to be $7billion underfunded. And the state's other long-term liabilities are underfunded by another $25-30billion dollars or so.

I can only speak for myself in saying... funding all pensions is important... and each are equally important.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ron Paul, M.D. vs. Rudy Giuliani

Who won the Ron Paul - Rudy Giuliani exchange?
Ron Paul, M.D.
Rudy Giuliani
It was a draw
Ron Paul is over the top
Rudy is naive
It's more complicated
pollcode.com free polls

I think it's a bit more complicated. Although I tend to agree with Ron Paul in that our decades-long military presence in the middle east is the single biggest part of the problem we face. Hence... we should increase CAFE standards, increase production and efficiency of alternative fuels and increase drilling within US borders immediately.

On a local note, we were supposed to begin the Town Manager's annual review tonight. Meeting was cancelled though. New date TBD.

Tim White

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ron Paul for President 5/14

Excerpted from Wikipedia: Ron Paul advocates the limited role of government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He has earned the nickname "Dr. No" for voting against any bill he believes violates the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill - members of United States Congress and their staffers. He has never voted to raise taxes or congressional pay. He has consistently voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the Iraq War. (wikipedia.com)

Check out Ron Paul, M.D. in the Republican primary debate on Tuesday night.

Tim White

Emergency mtg 5/14

I think this was our third emergency meeting in less than two weeks. Much of the discussion was held in executive session. The Herald was there though for the vote, so there'll probably be an article in this week or next.

Anyway, we voted on a resolution related to the situation in the north end of town... the culvert/tunnel/aqueduct situation. The motion passed 6-2 (Schrumm, White opposed; Visconti not present for executive session, so she did not vote).

I explained my view on the situation as dualfold:

1) the emergency excavation aspect (which I supported two weeks ago)
2) who pays for it?


I strongly supported taking action two weeks ago because of the emergency nature of the situation. However, I opposed the action tonight because I felt it was essentially a vote for this $530,000 project to be fully funded by government. And as I said before... with rights (to develop land) come responsibilities (to protect land). The owners of the property should be paying for at least a portion of this project.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

WRA on pool costs

The WRA wrote this editorial about the pool. Needless to say, I agree with their analysis, particularly the conclusion:

The lone dissenter on the Town Council, Republican Tim White, made the most sense: Reduce operating costs by keeping the pool open during the summer only. Eventually, town officials will have to admit the pool was a costly mistake and do whatever they must to cut taxpayers' losses.
Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pool consultant recap

Received May 1, 2007, the pool consultant report has been delivered (Herald, by Leslie Hutchison). Some quotes and my thoughts...

p. 10 - "This report is part of an entire facilities report that will deal with... possible expansion." Maybe I missed this... did someone request expanding the pool?

p. 14 - "Approximately 10% of the municipal stakeholders take advantage of the facility to date. It is necessary to look at new marketing strategies to bring this closer to 20%." What a great idea! They go on to write "The current facility has an... operational expense of approximately $700,000 (estimate)." Huh? Maybe they should've taken the estimate from the budget?... and finally "we need to seek higher attendance and increased fees for the facility." That's a creative approach. I'm sure no one else has thought of that.

p. 58 - "The town of Cheshire has locked into installing a natural gas fired United Technologies fuel cell..." For what it's worth, on March 27 (more than a month before this report was issued), it was announced that the fuel cell idea had passed into history (click here for recap).

p.64 - The report wraps up with a recommendation to install a permanent structure. They suggest building a "long span, prefabricated steel building... with a concrete covering from the deck up to 5 feet." Boy... that sounds as if they did an analysis of "lifecycle costs."

In all fairness, I do believe that the pool staff are trying hard and giving it their best effort. Unfortunately, they've been dealt a bad hand.

Looking forward, I can't wait to hear the analysis of the report. In providing the analysis, I wonder if we'll again hear that we have "40,000+ pool users annually?" If so, maybe I'll ask if Cheshire now has "10,000,000+ residents annually?"

All kidding aside, one serious question does come to mind... since they missed the deadline, can we get our $20,000 back? This contract should have had a deadline clause, since it was publicly stated that the intent was to use its recommendations in the budget.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

4th district bike tour

I went on a bike tour of the 4th district today. The Council and residents were invited, but only Town Manager Michael Milone and P&R Director Bob Ceccolini accompanied me.

We started at Lock 12 and first visited an abandoned house up on Prospect Ridge, accessed via Roaring Brook. I'd never been there before, but had known about the house since I was kid... I could always see it (during the winter) from the hike up to the falls. Anyway, it's in disrepair and is now frequented by kids... which isn't good with who-knows-what going on and windows getting smashed. Should the town knock it down? I don't know, but there are problems. My thought instead was to try to find someone who would live there (even free of charge), as long as s/he fixed the place up and maintained it... so if you know anyone, pls mention it. Do consider though... there are lots of downsides to the place.

Rode up Higgins and cut across the linear trail, returning to N. Brooksvale to visit Norton School... where the town is thinking about building a sidewalk from Farmington to Norton, on the north side of the road. This would be good for Norton walkers. But then I remembered the sidewalk cut thru from Farmington to the back of Mr. Verrilo's kickball field, behind Norton. So maybe the sidewalk isn't really necessary?

We stopped by firehouse #3. Construction has begun. We rode thru the back of Southwick to Cherrywood to see the drainage system back there. Then it was up Cook Hill, around Fenn, back to Ives Corner and up South Brooksvale before getting back on the linear trail to Lock 12.

One thing that I had been wondering about... does anyone know why the tiny little house at Ives Corner (the one b/w S. Main and Harrison) got torn down? I'm wondering if it's related to a possible additional turning lane (out of S. Brooksvale, turning north), but I'm not sure. Someone recently told me the DOT is working on that... but who knows what happens when it comes to the DOT.

This tour included only the 4th district. I'm not sure when the "5th district" portion of the 4th district will be covered. Geographically, it probably makes sense to cover part of the fifth with the first district, and part of the fifth district with the third district. Can you say the word... "gerrymander?"

I believe Elizabeth Esty will be leading a bike tour of the 1st district next week. And rumor has it the press is going to be there. We'll just have to wait n see.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Do you know...

any moms? Hope you wish them well today!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ron Paul 5/12 (debate I)

Here's an eight minute clip on Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. It's his comments in the recent MSNBC debate.

I think there's another debate scheduled for Tuesday 5/15. If you're undecided, I hope you'll listen to him and consider him.

Tim White

FEMA on April 15 flood

Excerpted from an AP article:

President Bush on Friday declared a disaster designation for parts of Connecticut following last month's powerful nor'easter that dumped up to 8 inches of rain in the state.

The disaster designation, sought by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the state's congressional delegation, makes Connecticut eligible for federal funds, helping cover some of the $43 million in expenses incurred by state and local governments and property owners from the April 15 storm....

Homeowners and renters could be eligible for grants and low-interest loans, and businesses could qualify for such loans.

I couldn't help but notice that FEMA is offering two options: grants and loans.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Emergency mtg 5/14

Excerpted from an email I received yesterday from Town Hall:

There will be an emergency meeting regarding the emergency remediation of the collapse of the stone arch on the Ten Mile River to continue discussion on the license and reimbursement agreement with Tri-Star Development. The meeting is set for Monday, May 14th @ 7:30 p.m. in Room 207.

I'm guessing that much of the meeting will occur in executive session.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, May 11, 2007

State bonding

This link will take you to a fairly brief analysis of where the state allocates some bonded tax dollars. This $1.1billion spending bill includes such programs as the:

Small
Town
Economic
Assistance
Program

STEAP is a $20,000,000 program. The West Main streetscape project is $500,000 of that $20million.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

District matchups

District 1
unnamed Republican
Elizabeth Esty
other or neither
District 2
Tom Ruocco
Justin Adinolfi
other or neither
District 3
unnamed Republican
Diane Visconti
other or neither
District 4
Tim White
unnamed Democrat
other or neither
pollcode.com free polls

Couple of things... first, I placed Republicans above Democrats because that is how the (old) ballots worked... top line always went to the party of the Governor... I have no idea how the new voting machines are going to work... about the matchup in the 2nd... word on the street is that Justin is going to run again... I have no idea if that's true. I haven't spoken to Justin about it.

Any other good election gossip out there?... either with the districts or any other races?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Open forum 5/11

Here's the Herald's take on the Monday's PZC meeting (by Leslie Hutchison) and on the Council visit to the collapsing aqueduct (by Leslie Hutchison).

And as I mentioned a few days ago, I'm not comfortable with government (federal and state) paying for 100% of this culvert/aqueduct project. I understand there is a community aspect to this collapsing aqueduct, but my basic philosophy is that with rights (such as the right to own and develop land) come responsibilities (such as the responsibility to address the collapsing aqueduct). I don't mean to paint this particular issue with such a broad stroke, but this is my personal governing philosophy.

The Council will be having a "bike tour" meeting on Sunday at 9am. We'll meet at Lock 12 parking lot (the one adjacent to Rte 42). Residents are welcome to attend this "meeting." It will be tour of the 4th district and is intended to be the first of four tours that will cover each of the four districts. I like the idea of this... and credit goes to the Town Manager for it.

State Rep. Al Adinolfi was mentioned in this week's Hamden Journal. Again, the topic was "plan B." (by Ken Hoffman)

Recently I had someone mention to me that the state is six months behind in paying its bills. Does anyone happen to know if that's true? If so, this could have a direct impact on the state's cash flows and, in turn, artificially inflate the size of the so-called budget "surplus." Maybe I'll give Nancy Wyman a call. (Btw, I say "so-called" because we are so underfunded in terms of our long term liabilities, IMO, there is no surplus... just irresponsible elected officials in Hartford.)

State Senator John McKinney (R-Fairfield) is back pushing his bill to ban trans fats (AP). Based on the article, the bill does not appear to address land use issues... a shortcoming that could haunt the US if there were a nationwide ban on the use of trans fats in restaurants.

I was glad to turn on CSpan last night and see the Energy Security Leadership Council testifying in front of the US Senate. I hope the US Congress will compromise, accepting something similar to their comprehensive reform proposal and move forward on both increased use of alternative fuels and increased drilling in North America (as well as increasing CAFE standards)... the situation (in the middle east) is too serious for partisanship.

MLB is in fullswing. Of the teams that I know are represented on the Council, the Sox and Mets are doing pretty well... can't say the same for the other two teams cheered by Council members... and although I can't publicly wish the Yankees well, I'm pretty sure that I'm allowed to wish Matt Altieri's Athletics well... that AL central division is looking good though... as usual, the AL wild card will be tough to win.

What else is happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blog update

Couple of random thoughts on the blog...

Some of this stuff is getting to be a bit much. Please temper your comments. And if you don't, one thought going through my mind... I may start deleting more comments, particularly ones that include names of people who are not elected officials. For instance, if you want to comment on a sitting Council or BOE member... or someone who is a candidate for office (I now believe the party caucuses are in July), then I would consider that more likely to be "fair game," rather than someone who is simply a resident here in town... I don't want to have to start "moderating" comments... that would require me to review comments before they get posted. And since I have a job, I wouldn't normally be able to post comments right away... and the conversation would get slowed down significantly... detracting from some of what I believe is the benefit of a blog... the immediacy. Ok... sorry for ranting, but I do feel that we can do a better job of policing ourselves... so no "trolling."

And now back to the blog... you'll see to the left that I separated blogs from websites. As well, I added a few blogs... some of local interest, some of state interest. I'm not concerned if it's a left-leaning blog, right-leaning blog or simply a blog Lost in Space. I'm just trying to do some stuff to liven it up a bit... sorry... still haven't gotten a video camera, but do intend to buy one relatively soon... maybe next month. But at least I've figured out how to upload from youtube to blogger. Now I just need to figure out how to upload from a dvd to youtube... shouldn't be too tough.

And finally... if you're interested in getting your thoughts posted on the front page, feel free to send me stuff. I'll probably be more than happy to post it. And I'm not too concerned about whether I agree with you. Please do though make it original content. If it's just a copy and paste job, I'm much less likely to want to post it. And if you become a regular front page poster, maybe you could help take on the administrative duties... for what it's worth, many blogs have taken on a life of their own... with numerous front page posters and administrators... but my concern is that Cheshire doesn't have the critical mass to do that... although it certainly seems as though traffic is picking up lately.

Tim White

Ron Paul for President (part I)

Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul (born 20 August 1935) is a 10th-term Congressman, medical doctor (M.D.), and a 2008 presidential candidate from the U.S. state of Texas. As a Republican, he has represented Texas's 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, and had previously served as the representative from Texas's 22nd district in 1976 and from 1979 to 1985. (wikipedia.com)

Tim White

p.s. Ron Paul is currently THE most searched item on Technorati... watch out... here he comes!

Rell no; Amann yes

I couldn't help but Laugh Out Loud at the end of this very surprising article about... Gov. Rell saying NO to a tax hike! (Courant, by Christopher Keating) Buried at the end of the article:

House Speaker James Amann said he is not satisfied to simply end the year with no tax increase. "We don't want to keep the status quo,'' Amann said. "With this new money, we can give more tax relief for the taxpayers. Let's give even more tax relief to more and more citizens.'"
So Speaker Amann is going to give us "tax relief?" And how exactly is he going to do that? Oh... I guess it'll be with "this new money." I guess that's what is sometimes called "free money." I believe it grows on trees in Hartford. LOL!!!

What I find most interesting though about this article is what I'm left wondering... and I hope everyone is watching... is this the moment in time when Gov. Rell is going to stop and pivot... turning to the legislative Dems and blame them for raising taxes?

Tim White

Dodging the I-84 fiasco

Gregory B. Hladky wrote this great piece on the I-84 nightmare (NHR). He sums up the fiasco quite well:

The Interstate 84 construction scandal has produced federal subpoenas, a state lawsuit against the contractor and consultant, and a gubernatorial call for reorganization of the Department of Transportation.

But in the 14 months since a state official first noticed a sinkhole developing along the section of highway between Cheshire and Waterbury, not a single DOT employee has been fired, suspended or even reprimanded.

Can you believe we drive on this thing and no one has been fired? Unbelievable. And even worse, the MaGuire Group continues to work on 27 other DOT projects. Astounding.

I'd recommend clicking through to this article and reading it in its entirety... with all of the "he said, she said" and "I don't know" comments, if the situation weren't so serious (in terms of both public safety and financial costs), I might find it comical.

Anyway, of interest to Cheshire... Mr. Hladky confirmed one thing...

William W. Fritz is now Clinton’s first selectman. But, until late 2005, he was the Maguire Group’s supervising inspector for the I-84 project and has been named as one of the defendants in the state lawsuit seeking damages from both Maguire Group and Defelice...

Fritz, who is the son of state House Deputy Speaker Mary Fritz, has said he doesn’t know how the massive drainage problems could have occurred without his knowledge.

Tim White

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Council mtg 5/8

It's late and I'm gonna fall asleep soon. Nonetheless, we did have a Council meeting tonight. So... any thoughts?

I thought Dave Borowy's presentation on the RWA was informative. Interesting to me, he touched on a topic I had intended to post about... for a month or more now, but I hadn't gotten around to it... the topic is the collaboration of RWA and Town funds to ensure the best possible use of limited funds when digging up and rebuilding roads (Towpath, Iris, Brentwood and one other).

The Town Manager touched on the pool consultant report (someone asked about this elsewhere on the blog). I believe Matt Altieri said he'll be inviting the P&R Commission to discuss the report. Although, I'm not too excited about it.

Finally, we discussed legal issues relating to the ongoing "culvert project." (Recall, this project relates to the partial collapse of a "waterway tunnel" on the property where the proposed ND is to go.) I'm not going to try to explain the motion... I heard a lot of legal-ease. Bottom line to me... I think we're heading down a path in which government (federal & state) are probably going to be paying for 100% of this project. And to me, that's not right... for a number of different reasons... and I'd explain those reasons, but I'm too tired right now. In the end, the motion passed 7-2 (Schrumm, White opposed).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, May 07, 2007

PZC public hearing ends

Both sides were out in force tonight. Here's an image of the buttons that were available as you entered the standing-room-only Council chambers... packed so much in fact that I just left, since it was easier to watch on TV.
The WRA ran this story on the "YES" and the "NO" sides (by Lauresha Xhihani) in today's paper. (Btw, I give an "A" for effort for whoever spent the time to make the "NO" buttons.)


As for my view, as you probably all know, I voted in favor of sending this to the PZC. And since I want history to be accurately represented, I also feel I should remind people of this letter that I authored (and the Herald printed) on September 8, 2005 (click to enlarge image and read letter):So, as "Bob" wrote in another post, do I think this proposal is a "great idea?" No, because as Tom Ruocco said tonight, there's no proposal yet. However, I am comfortable with the process continuing to move forward. And by that, I mean the PZC now begins to ask questions. And as I've said all along, I trust their collective judgement.

Anyone happen to know when the first PZC meeting is scheduled to be held? If it was mentioned tonight, I didn't catch it.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District
UPDATE: Here's Tuesday's WRA article on last night's PZC meeting, (by Lauresha Xhihani).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Council agenda 5/8

Here's the "7. new business" part of the agenda for Tuesday's Council meeting.

Don't forget about the PZC public hearing on the proposed ND (Monday, May 7 @ 7pm or 7:30pm at Town Hall).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Adinolfi on contraception bill

From The Day:

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to require all Connecticut hospitals to provide — either directly or through on-site intermediaries — emergency contraception to women who have been raped, dealing a defeat to a lobbying effort by the state's four Catholic hospitals (The Day, by Ted Mann).

Rep. Al Adinolfi, R-Cheshire, argued that the bill “forces Catholic hospitals to perform abortions in direct contradiction of their beliefs.”

Tim White

Pool consultant report summary














I found the pool consultant report and am including the one-page "executive summary"(to the left) and the one-page "fifth analysis"(to the right). The 5th analysis covers the topic of placing a permanent structure over the pool. Click on the images to enlarge them, if you'd like to read the text.

I'm also quite interested in reading the "fourth analysis" covering the "energy" concept of cogeneration. However, I haven't gotten to that yet.

Anyway, the entire report is 65 pages and includes five analyses. So I'm not sure if you can fairly judge the fifth analysis without reading the other four analyses. Nonetheless, you may want to take a read of the executive summary. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. (For a blog history of the pool consultant, click on both "recreation" and "pool" to the left.)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Open forum 5/5

The Council went on a tour of the collapsing aqueduct this morning. It's a really beautiful piece of engineering with, essentially, two rivers... one running perpendicular to the other... they just happen to be separated by a 40' vertical. It's really amazing to see the "highways" of the early 1800s. Sorry, no photos... I still need to buy some equipment for that.

I began thumbing through the pool consultant report. I read the executive summary (which breaks the report into five analyses) and, in particular, the fifth analysis... which covered the concept of a permanent structure. My initial thought... huh? The report really didn't even make much sense to me, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the report right now, so I can't offer anymore. Whenever I can find it though, I'll scan a few pages and post them here. That way you can make your own judgement.

While CL&P is proposing to drop their rates by 5% for the second half of '07, gas prices have steadily risen (AP) to $3 nationwide.

Gov. Rell continues to use the budget negotiation process to fight for a cap on property taxes (AP).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District