Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Outstanding items as of Oct 1 (hWg 41)

Per town staff, the following items are outstanding:

1. Insulation of about 15 lineal feet of piping. This is the last actual physical work that WB will be doing directly.
2. Final water distribution balancing will be done by sub this week, report to follow.
3. Buderus rep to issue certification and provide warranty.
4. Riello rep to fire up two remaining burners (Wed) and get the other two boilers on line, and provide certification.
5. As-Built drawings.
6. Training for Education Dept Staff.

Presumably these items will be discussed at tomorrow's PBC meeting (Wed Oct 1). Hope you can attend. And remember:

"Light and liberty go together." - Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe, 1795

No word on whether deadlines have any relevance to this project. Regardless, I'm sure:Tim White

Sound money = confidence, credibility

The NYTimes' reports on yesterday's House vote on the bailout (By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and MARK LANDLER):

The Federal Reserve has stretched its resources to the limit. Before the crisis began in August 2007, the Fed had about $800 billion in reserve, nearly all in Treasury securities.

But because of all the new lending programs for banks and Wall Street firms, analysts estimate that the Fed’s balance sheet now has less than $300 billion in unfettered reserves.

The central bank can expand its reserves at will, because it controls the money supply and can create more to buy things like Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities.

“We have a lot of money to play with,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an international economist at Harvard. “As long as foreigners have a lot of confidence in our ability to solve our problems, we can borrow the $1 trillion to $2 trillion we need to solve it.”

But Mr. Rogoff cautioned that the real limitation for American policy makers is whether they can maintain the government’s long-term credibility. “The real constraint is not a bookkeeping one,” he said. “It is a sense of faith on the part of foreigners that the U.S. government will repay its debt. Our most precious asset is that credibility.”

It's all about confidence in the US Dollar and the credibility of the US government. Sound money, not fiat money, would address this.

Tim White

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month

The Human Services Committee is working to increase public awareness that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more info, visit CheshireCares.org

Tim White

Projected state deficit growing

The AP is reporting on state government cutbacks:

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is ordering a second round of midyear budget cuts, this time slicing nearly $35 million from state agencies and commissions.

The latest reductions come a week after the governor's budget office announced that the projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year had nearly doubled to $300 million, mostly due to a decline in state tax revenues.

Rell already has reduced state spending by about $140 million in recent months. She also has imposed a state hiring freeze and travel ban.

A hiring freeze and travel ban.

Governor Rell has attempted to be frugal with our tax dollars recently. A hiring freeze, a travel ban... and there were restrictions on gasoline consumption.


Any takers on an over / under on Tuesday November 4 being the day that Williams / Amann / Donovan announce next year's tax hike? I'll take the over - any date after November 4.

Tim White

Monday, September 29, 2008

Norton boiler almost done - hWg 40

The Council liaison to the PBC, Matt Altieri, gave an update on hotWatergate today:And here's some related PBC minutes:

Tim White

Murphy & Courtney on bailout

Courtesy of Genghis Conn over at CTLP:

CT-5 Congressman Chris Murphy (D) on his support of the bailout vote:

“Since Friday, two major U.S. banks have failed, money market accounts have been put at risk, and the Dow has dropped another 500 points. People’s retirement and jobs are at risk of disappearing. This is the hardest vote I’ve cast since coming to Washington, but I simply cannot allow my constituents’ retirement and jobs to be put at risk by Congress refusing to act.

“This legislation, though far from perfect, is a completely different bill than the three page proposal initiated by the President. It makes sure that Wall Street bears the burden of paying for the program, puts real limits on pay for CEOs that participate in it, and limits the amount of taxpayer money made available for the program. It wasn’t an easy vote, but it was the responsible vote.

“As a Member of the Financial Services Committee, I stand ready to go back to the table to come up with a new proposal that can gain the support of a majority of the House.”

CT-2 Congressman Joe Courtney (D) on his opposition to the bailout vote:

“Despite the best efforts of Congressional Leaders to improve the unprecedented request from the Bush Administration for a $700 billion blank check for Wall Street, I believe the Financial Rescue Package falls short of effectively addressing America’s financial crisis. I voted against the measure today.”
“The stubborn refusal of President Bush and Secretary Paulson to provide a meaningful solution to the home-mortgage foreclosure crisis means that the underlying cause of this financial disaster will continue unabated. I cannot in good conscience vote to borrow $700 billion in taxpayer money for a plan that does not stem the downward spiral in the real estate market, nor invest in economic stimulus that will help struggling middle class families.”

Tim White

It's about "confidence"

IMO, this bailout problem has a root cause: a lack of confidence.

Confidence in the US dollar is low. And the government is trying to prop up the dollar and rebuild confidence. But I took this from the NYTimes Online today (link no longer available):

“People are starting to think, ‘hang on, this is a rescue package but it’s designed to forestall a complete collapse, not stimulate a rally,’” said James Chirnside, who manages $65 million at Asia Pacific Asset Management in Sydney.

That pretty much speaks for me. And until we restore confidence in the dollar, the collapse will be looming.

Anecdotally, I have two stories to share on global confidence in the dollar:

First - I recall living in Vietnam. While I was there ('95-'98), people accepted Vietnam Dong, but preferred US Dollars. And for the most part, that's all I ever saw exchanged. But after I lived there a while and started learning the language and reading the newspapers, something caught my eye.

I was looking at "houses for sale" and noticed that everything was quoted in "vang" or "gold pieces." It kinda confused me. I wondered if it was a special name for a large "dong" denomination. So I asked a local friend about it.

He explained quite clearly that no one would ever accept such large quantities of Vietnam Dong or US Dollars. In fact, who would do that? Gold has value. No one knows what'll happen with that paper stuff.

Second - Last week I was speaking with an Indian colleague of mine. And since she grew up in India, I asked her about her home country. I said "if I was in India and offered someone dollars or gold (same value), what would they take?" She matter-of-factly said "the gold."

My point is that there's trust in gold. And while there's trust in the dollar, it's insignificant when compared to gold.

To get through this ongoing financial mess, there are many things that could be done in the short term. But in the long term, we need to return to sound money.

Tim White

Chamber activities 9/29

Some activities mentioned in the Chamber's weekly newsletter:

Keep your calendars open for our Oktoberfest which will be held on Tuesday, October 21st at 5:30 p.m. at The Watch Factory Restaurant. Invitations will be mailed shortly and will include more details. Be sure to reply early as this is always a sell-out!

The Cheshire Chamber of Commerce is coordinating a "Cheshire Night" mens hockey game at Quinnipiac University on Saturday, November 1st at 7:00 p.m. Quinnipiac is hosting UConn at their new sports complex. Watch for the insert in the upcoming Quarterly Mailing for complete information.

The Chamber of Commerce and League of Women Voters are co-hosting a Candidate's Forum on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.

The Cheshire Community YMCA is holding its 2nd Annual Ladies Holiday Shopping Evening on Tuesday, December 2nd from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at The Farms Country Club. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, desserts and holiday shopping.

Tim White

Glenn Beck interviews Ron Paul

I've heard of Glenn Beck, but don't really know anything about him... though I'm guessing he's supposed to be conservative. Anyway, here's an excerpt from Beck's noontime interview with Ron Paul today:

GLENN: The banks around the world, I mean, I love how this is the failed Bush policies. I don't believe it's the failed Bush policies. I mean, I think he was part of it. I think Chris Dodd was part of it. I think Barney Frank is an abomination when it comes to what's been going on. But it's more than that because it's happened all over the world. The Netherlands, what did they nationalize 49% of their banks over the weekend? Another bank bombed in England over the weekend. This is not us necessarily spreading it overseas. These kinds of things have been happening, the same kind of behavior here has been happening globally. True or false?

RON PAUL: Well, that's true. But we have to understand why. This has been building since 1971 when we gave up on the last link to the gold standard under Bretton Woods, we devised a dollar standard. We were the most powerful economic group as well as a military power and therefore they accepted the dollar and they had more trust in the dollar than it deserved. So we were privileged to print the gold and spend the money and the people accepted it around the world. So we are responsible in the sense that we had license to spend and borrow and inflate and we lived beyond our means and that is why it's worldwide because essentially all central banks hold a lot of dollars and that's why they inflated in their economy as well. So there's a lot of malinvestment and debt worldwide. But it's the dollar phenomenon. It is the international monetary system.

The long term solution is a transition from fiat money back to sound money. Even Alan Greenspan questions the long term viability of fiat money.

Tim White

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A bailout for banks on Wall Street and mansions on Main Street

As I mentioned on Thursday, I emailed the following to the Senate Banking Committee:

We all have bills to pay. And in my efforts to pay off my credit card debt, I cancelled my cable TV about four months ago. And I’ve done a number of other things to try to reduce my expenses, such as reducing my cell phone plan from virtually unlimited calling ($50/mo) to 50 peak minutes ($20/mo).

My questions about the bailout:

Of the people facing foreclosure, how many still have cable TV? How many have cell phones with unlimited calling? How many could afford a 1,000 sq ft house on a quarter acre with a fixed rate prime, but bought 1,800 sq ft on a half acre with a variable rate subprime?

I’m comfortable helping those in need. But of the millions facing foreclosure, how many are living within their means?

My guess is some are truly in need, living on the margins and just scraping by… so happy to have moved from renting to owning a small home that they can call their own. But I’m also guessing that some people have been living (and continue to live) beyond their means.

As for how to define "living within one's means," well... that's the trick of drafting good legislation. My only suggestion would be using an income-based test, such as the so-called "poverty level" or something similar, perhaps a multiple of it.

I really do not want my tax dollars bailing out either Wall Street or someone who lives in a mansion and drives a Porsche.

I give credit to whomever came up with the talking points about "bailing out Wall Street, but not Main Street." It's a great sound bite.

Too bad The Washington Establishment doesn't mention that while there are needy people on Main Street, there are also mansions on Main Street. But I'm guessing that doesn't fit well with the Bush / Paulson / Pelosi / Reid / Dodd / Frank love of ever bigger Government for the rich and powerful. Besides, it's probably more politically palatable to blame "deregulation," than it is to demand personal responsibility.

Furthermore, if this crowd blamed a lack of personal responsibility on John Q. Public... then John Q. Public may turn the tables and ask these Washington Insiders why they're so fiscally irresponsible.

I still say no to this bailout. It's tantamount to price fixing. And even Bernanke acknowledged last week that price fixing was a major cause / aggravator of The Great Depression.

Tim White

Upcoming BOE meetings

I don't see any mention of the turf committee.

By the way, did anybody else notice the Council liaison for turf is a combination of Council Chair and Planning Committee Chair DeCaprio? Wouldn't it make sense to ask the Council's BOE liaison (Sima) to act as turf liaison?

Tim White

Palin / Couric interview

Multigenerational families and globalization

ABCNews ran this interesting piece about multigenerational families on Sept 23 (by Barbara Pinto):

Janis and Andy Mink got married, raised a daughter, sent her off to college, but are still not empty nesters. Three years ago, Janis' 87-year-old mother, Marie Hendrickson, moved in.

The Minks are just one of the 3.6 million American families making room for older parents, according to numbers released today by the Census Bureau. With more Americans struggling to keep a roof over their heads, some parents who need care or have outlived their savings are moving in with their adult children.

That's 3.6 million, up from 2.1 million in 2000.

The story (and video) continue:

"I really think we are going to see an increase in multi-generational households, based on need -- based on what's happening in our economy on foreclosures, on people having more difficulty staying in their homes or maintaining their homes," said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, an advocacy organization.

I think it's nice when families live together. But I also see it as an indication of the global redistribution of wealth that is ongoing... also known by its other name - globalization. And this bailout is just another attempt by Washington Insiders to lull the American People into a sense of safety.

Thing is, the federal budgets' ballooning deficits have been financed by China (and others) for years. At some point, America is going to have to pay back the loans.

My guess is that this significant increase (67% in seven years) of multigenerational homes is a direct result of this global redistribution of wealth.

Tim White

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cavuto: Ron Paul is a genius

Neil Cavuto says Ron Paul is a genius.

Ron Paul says any deal is worse than no deal.

Pain now or pain later.

I say take the pain now and oppose the bailout to avert a potential collapse of the dollar.

Tim White

They don't understand the bailout, but it must happen!

From the Sept 23 NYTimes (by David Leonhardt):

Most members of Congress have no expertise in the byzantine details of mortgage finance — or even have aides on their staff with such expertise.

“The problem here is none of us has that kind of advice,” Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, who knows more about Wall Street than most of his colleagues, told me.

From the Sept 25 NYTimes (by David Stout):

The chairman of the committee, Senator Charles E. Schumer, said that all but “a few outliers” among lawmakers agreed that some version of the plan to rescue the American financial system must be approved, and soon. But he said it would not be passed without adequate safeguards.

So Schumer admits that most members of Congress don't understand the details of the bailout, yet desperately want to throw away another $700 billion (to help their buddies working in I-Banks on Wall Street and friends living in mansions on Main Street). And he also admits that several members oppose the bailout.

I can't help wondering why Congress doesn't stop listening to President Bush and start listening to some of the members of Congress who are opposed to the bailout. Perhaps they have sound reasons to oppose it?

Election Day can't get here soon enough. I hope America throws these bums out.

Tim White

Dave Cappiello addresses CHS students

I took a day off from work yesterday for a number of reasons, including to attend an event at the high school.

But first some background:

In recent years, two teachers (Kas Hoag and Bill Eaton) and some CHS students have made great strides involving many CHS students in the political process. They've done this by organizing two clubs - Young Democrats and Young Republicans.

Having organized the groups, they've begun organizing events, such as this debate last June between the Young Rs & Young Ds and an informal session with Matt Hall and me last fall before the local election. Now this fall, they've organized three forums for three candidates for the CT-5:

Harold Burbank (Green)
Dave Cappiello (Republican)
Chris Murphy (Democrat)

On Friday Sept 26, Dave Cappiello addressed students for one hour beginning at 10:30am. Though he didn't get to all the answers (kids had to go to their next class), these were the questions he began answering:Bill Eaton told me that the substance of these questions came from the students of Civics classes. I think that's great, just as I think the forum itself was a great idea.

The two final forums are also scheduled for 10:30am with details here:

- Tuesday, October 7th in the Cheshire High School Commons -Harold Burbank
- Friday, October 24th in the Cheshire High School Auditorium - Chris Murphy

And on one final note... as a sign of how the stakes in many races for elective office have been ratcheted up with the web... I saw a member of the audience videotaping the event yesterday. I was told he worked for Chris Murphy.

Tim White

Lenox hosting VP debate watch party Oct 2

State Senate candidate Tim Lenox is organizing a Veep debate watch party for Central CT Republicans.


“Time to be heard. Let me be your voice!” – Tim Lenox
Sponsored by the Republican Town Committees of the Central Connecticut Region

Anyone know if the Dems are doing anything in Cheshire or the area?

Tim White

Meeting minutes on town website!

WALLINGFORD - While the town has catching up to do to meet a state requirement that meetings minutes be posted online, other municipalities have questions about the new mandate.

The mandate, which takes effect Wednesday, requires towns and cities to post meeting minutes for all public agencies on their Web sites, so long as the sites are "available." The minutes most be posted within seven days of the meeting.
(MRJ, by George Moore)

Lo and behold, Council meeting minutes are now on the town website! And while I don't know if this was because of my efforts for increased transparency or the new state mandate, one thing is for sure - it wasn't staff acting at the direction of the current Council majority:

Tim White

Charter revision deep-sixed

The NHR had an article in yesterday's paper about the Ordinance Review Committee quashing the possibility of a Charter revision. Council Vice Chair Ecke said something about a lack of leadership among Republicans. That's a fascinating viewpoint.

At least Ordinance Chair Esty had the good sense to take action on an item on her agenda... unlike a certain Budget Chair who promised to place "performance contracting" on his agenda on August 30 2007, but has failed to do anything with the agenda item since December 17 2007.

Tim White

House GOP revolt?!

Many press reports have given credit for killing / stalling this $700 billion bailout to House Republicans. But just how bad is it?

(A member of the House GOP leadership) Mr. Cantor acknowledged, “People want to see a deal made, no question about it.”

Yet, at the same time, it was becoming quite obvious that some House Republicans no longer saw themselves as an extension of the Bush White House.
(NYTimes, by Carl Hulse)


For example, in advance of the president’s speech Wednesday, Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, a member of the Republican leadership, sent out this statement expressing his pique: “Who’s giving the Republican response?

Tim White

AP on the 9/26 debate

By Liz Sidoti:

Liberal and Democrat vs. conservative and Republican. Taller, younger and black vs. shorter, older and white....

The only similarities: a lack of specifics, a reliance on campaign-trail sound bites and an inability to answer a question directly.

I agree almost entirely, except for their apparent agreement that some bailout should happen. No. They're both wrong on that. We need sound money.

Tim White

Burbank, Winn excluded from CT-5 LOWV debates

The Courant confirms my understanding that the CT-5 will have four candidates on the ballot:

Democrat Chris Murphy
Green Harold Burbank
Republican Dave Cappiello
Unaffiliated Tom Winn

The Courant's Mark Pazniokas reports:

The only thing harder than getting on the ballot for G. Scott Deshefy of the Green Party is getting on the stage of the Garde Arts Center. On Oct. 7, Deshefy will be the only ballot-certified 2nd Congressional District candidate absent from a televised debate at the Garde in New London. The League of Women Voters notified all minor-party candidates this week that they are unwelcome at the league's debates in the 2nd, 4th and 5th congressional districts. The league has no debates scheduled for the 1st or 3rd districts. In the league's view, none of the minor-party candidates met its criteria of broad voter and financial support and a sufficient effort at reaching out to voters.

With four candidates, the field is larger than I thought. And I certainly don't want to see 100 people sitting down for a one or two hour debate. That would be a waste of time.

But I assume it takes some serious effort to get your name on the ballot. And if that's true, then the League of Women Voters should include them in these debates. I don't believe that four people will dilute the value of the debates a great deal. Rather, I bet they'd only enhance the debates with more views.

Tim White

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lenox challenges Gaffey's campaign

I got the following press release earlier today:

Tim Lenox, the Republican Candidate for the 13th State Senate District seat, filed a formal complaint today with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission against his opponent, State Senator Tom Gaffey (D), for using official government resources in his re-election campaign.

Lenox filed his complaint when he learned that the website address displayed on the Senator’s campaign lawn signs, http://www.TomGaffey.com
, immediately redirects visitors to Gaffey’s state government profile page at http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Gaffey.html, which was designed strictly for legislative use.

“In doing this, Senator Gaffey is using state taxpayer funding to promote his campaign and giving the voters the false appearance that he is being endorsed by the Connecticut State Legislature,” Lenox stated. “Taxpayers throughout the entire state are, in effect, donating to Senator Gaffey’s re-election campaign without their knowledge or consent. This violates the entire spirit of the public campaign finance laws.”

Lenox has requested a full investigation into Sen. Gaffey’s campaign finances and practices by the SEEC to determine the full extent of his unethical use of state resources for personal gain. Lenox also asked the Commission to advise the Senator to “immediately cease this activity”.

Respectfully yours,

Mark R. Mnich, Campaign Manager
Tim Lenox for State Senate 2008

Tim White

McCain / Obama - round 1

I know their differences on war policy. I wanted hear their differences on monetary policy.

I didn't hear any differences. And since they both advocated balanced budgets, I appreciated Jim Lehrer pressing for the cuts they would make to offset the bailout of those living high on the hog. Unfortunately, there was no Ron Paul straight talk - cut the IRS, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, etc. Agree with him or not, at least he says what he'll cut.

Generally, as I expected Obama was a better speaker. And I preferred his repeated comments about agreeing with Senator McCain... over McCain's repeated comments about how Senator Obama didn't understand. But on one close-to-substantive comment, Senator Obama said that the bailout would require the federal budget be trimmed with "a scalpel, not a hatchet."

I disagree.

If we're shelling out $700 billion and the annual federal budget is $3 trillion, then I think we need a hatchet... or maybe an axe.

I saw Charlie Gibson tonight. He was reassuring the public that the $700 billion is a loan that will be repaid. And he has a point, but is it absolutely true? I'm not sure.

Consider the BP gas station. It may currently be valued at $1 million. But what if remediation costs $3 million? Is the property worthless? Or perhaps it's a liability of $2 million? No one knows. And while I doubt that "environmental hazards" or similar impairments would be particularly widespread, I have no clear knowledge of the extent of that situation. Nor does the US Senate Banking Committee... I emailed them last night and they acknowledged that there is no way of knowing that at this point.

And then there's Bernanke's comments about today's "fire-sale" prices being far less than the "hold-to-maturity" prices. Interesting analysis by Helicopter Ben. But what if his "time-of-maturity" is ten years from now? Twenty years from now? Shall I just continue paying the interest expense to China for all those years?

So why are we doing it?

Because for the most part, our elected officials have no idea of what's happening. And they'd rather "do something" than "do nothing." So they listen to a gazillionaire and former Goldman Sachs CEO, Hank Paulson, and his Wall Street buddies.

Tim White

DEP says BP spill impacted soil, not water

The MRJs Jesse Buchanan gives this update on the BP gasoline spill:

The state Department of Environmental Protection confirmed Friday that all the oil that leaked from a BP station tank went into the surrounding soil, and that neither groundwater or drinking wells were contaminated, according to Dennis Schain, DEP spokesman.

"We believe it went into the soil," Schain said. "There's no evidence that any drinking wells have been affected.

Tim White

Nutmeggers sour on Dodd & Lieberman

The Courant's Mark Pazniokas offers new polling data that comes as absolutely no surprise to me:

Connecticut voters have soured on Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman and Christopher J. Dodd

The article continues:

The telephone survey of 500 people was conducted Sept. 19 to 23 by Pulsar Research and Consulting of Vernon. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

When asked to rate the jobs they are doing as senator, Lieberman and Dodd each drew higher negatives than positives, with Lieberman faring the worst, said Chris Barnes, the poll's director.

Tim White

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mary Fritz has an opponent - Peter Votto (CFL)!

While I believe she'll win, I was pleased tonight to hear that state Rep. Mary Fritz has an opponent this year. Peter Votto from (I was told) Peck Lane. And best of all, he's running on the Connecticut for Lieberman Party line.

If memory serves me, Mary supported Joe after he lost to Ned Lamont in the 2006 primary. And supporting Joe after he lost the primary rubbed a lot of CT Dems the wrong way.* Additionally, the CFL party recently endorsed Barack Obama.

According to the "Official Connecticut for Lieberman Party Website/Blog":

The Connecticut for Lieberman Party (CFL) rejects the fraud perpetrated on the members of this party and the citizens of Connecticut by Joe Lieberman when he used the creation of this party to get on the general election ballot in 2006. The CFL is an independent, anti-war, anti-corruption, pro-fiscal responsibility, pro-democracy party, that stands for individual liberties and real problem-solving in government.

Anyone know anymore about Mr. Votto? I hope he gets invited to the Cheshire & Wallingford debates. Although I don't know anything about him, I put Mary Fritz in the same category with a lot of other long-time elected officials... time for a change.

Tim White

* Jim "Crusher" Amann exemplifies this schizm among CTs Dems.

My Q&A with Sen. Dodd's Banking Committee

In my continued efforts to stop the rescue plan for Main Street bailout for Wall Street, I called Dodd's DC office today. His phones were still busy.

So I called his Hartford office and got thru. I voiced my concern:

We all have bills to pay. And in my efforts to pay off my credit card debt, I cancelled my cable TV about four months ago. And I’ve done a number of other things to try to reduce my expenses, such as reducing my cell phone plan from virtually unlimited calling ($50/mo) to 50 peak minutes ($20/mo).

My questions:

Of the people facing foreclosure, how many still have cable TV? How many have cell phones with unlimited calling? How many could afford a 1,000 sq ft house on a quarter acre with a fixed rate prime, but bought 1,800 sq ft on a half acre with a variable rate subprime?

I’m comfortable helping those in need. But of the millions facing foreclosure, how many are living within their means?

My guess is some are truly in need, living on the margins and just scraping by… so happy to have moved from renting to owning a small home that they can call their own. But I’m also guessing that some people have been living (and continue to live) beyond their means.

His Hartford office suggested I call the Banking Committee office in DC.

So I did and reached a staffer. His name was Hartley. I repeated my thoughts.

He was very gracious, but also honest. He couldn't answer my question and suggested I email it to the Banking Committee. So I will.

On a side note though, I asked him if he was from CT. (I was figuring as Chair, Dodd gets to dole out lots of Banking Committee jobs.) He said he's a Nutmegger. So I asked him if he was related to one of my favorite state Senators - Joan "I represent the voters, not Don Williams" Hartley. He said it was him mom. I loved it. Joan Hartley was the Dem Senator who began shining the light on Gaffey and his lobbyist girlfriend.

Back to my point though... I need to go email the Banking Committee to ask them if, under the auspices of Congress' populist rhetoric of "supporting the taxpayer," my tax dollars are about to go support someone who is living in a mansion and driving a Porsche.

Tim White

Banking continues...

As reported by the AP:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Inc. acquired the assets of Washington Mutual Inc.'s banking operations Thursday after federal regulators seized the ailing thrift, the country's largest...

The Seattle-based thrift has roughly $310 billion in assets and was searching for a lifeline after piling up billions of dollars in losses due to failed mortgages.

And Warren Buffet just dropped a cool $5 billion for a stake in Hank Paulson's former firm, Goldman Sachs. Which btw, I do wonder... has Buffett spoken with Paulson in the past week?

I'm still opposed to the Wall Street bailout.

Tim White

Shelton 35, Cheshire 34

Reported by the WRA:

A conversion kick by Jamal Mitchell in overtime was the difference as No. 8 Shelton defeated Cheshire on Thursday afternoon in a Southern Connecticut Conference game in Cheshire.

Tim White

Sam Caligiuri has an opponent

Word at the Republican Town Committee meeting tonight was that Sam Caligiuri has an opponent. It's not a Dem, but perhaps a write-in? Not sure. The details were fuzzy.

Anyone happen to know who it is?

Tim White

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Alan Greenspan on fiat money & The Fed

Some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money which is produced - either a gold standard or currency board or something of that nature - because unless you do that all of history suggests that inflation will take hold with very deleterious effects on economic activity. - former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, October 2007 (on FOX Business)

Ludwig von Mises used to say that governments will always try to get people to focus on prices when thinking about inflation. But rising prices are a result of inflation, not inflation itself. Inflation is the increase in the money supply. If we understood inflation that way, we would instantly know how to cure it: simply demand that the Federal Reserve cease increasing the money supply. By focusing our attention on prices instead, we are liable to misdiagnose the problem, and we are more apt to accept bogus government
"solutions" like wage and price controls, as in the 1970s.
- Congressman Ron Paul, May 2008 (The Revolution: A Manifesto)

Bush's solution - printing more money and inflating the money supply - is not the answer. It's masking the problem... America is living beyond its means.

Tim White

BP gas spill update

Reported by the WRAs Lauresha Xhihani:

Cleanup of a gasoline spill at a BP station at 901 West Main St. could take several years to complete. It's not known if the station will ever open again.

After searching the ground and the company's records, the Department of Environmental Protection determined that 10,000 to 11,000 of gasoline had leaked into the soil. Station owner Warex Equities of New York reported the gasoline missing on June 20.

In a first phase cleanup, 4,000 cubic yards of "heavily contaminated soil" was removed from the site starting in late June.

Tim White

I still oppose the bailout without "sound money"

Reported by the APs Jennifer Loven:

President Bush on Wednesday warned Americans and lawmakers reluctant to pass a $700 billion financial rescue plan that failing to act fast risks wiping out retirement savings, rising foreclosures, lost jobs, closed businesses and even "a long and painful recession."

A couple of things:

1) $700 billion? It was $30 billion for Bear Stearns. Then it was $200 billion for "the penultimate" - Fannie / Freddie. And tack on AIG's $85 billion for good measure... among other recent bailouts.

And the war in Iraq was supposed to be $50 billion, right? And, ignoring the future rebuilding of the military, how many hundreds of billions have already been spent? And wasn't the war supposed to be financed with Iraqi oil?

And with this rescue plan for Main Street bailout for Wall Street, we're told that it'll pay for itself?

With all due respect to the President, he has no credibility on this. Nor does Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson... former CEO of Goldman Sachs and reported by Forbes to have been worth $700 million in 2006.

Sorry. I bought what you sold in the past. Not anymore.

2) failing to act fast risks... "a long and painful recession." Ok. Is he suggesting we're not in a recession? And while I can accept the theory that this bailout is supposed to make this recession less like the 1930s and more like the 1970s... I didn't hear the POTUS say the recession will be milder with this bailout. Reminds me of Tom Ruocco's saying "there's a recession everywhere... except in government spending."

3) The root cause of the problem is fiat money. That is, our money has no intrinsic value. The US Dollar has lost the confidence of many people. So those people are "selling" their dollars and "buying" commodities. That's what happens when you turn on the printing presses (or simply issue trillions of new debt). To turn our economy around, we need sound money. Alan Greenspan explains the problem of fiat money here.

4) I keep hearing about the "assets" that will be purchased by the federal government. Here's the rub... of those so-called assets... how many are liabilities? Is the BP gas station buried in one of those "mortgage-backed securities?" What's the value of that "asset?" Or should it be considered a liability? And how many such liabilities or environmental hazards are about to be purchased?

5) In my efforts to pay off my credit card debt, I cancelled my cable TV about four months ago. And I've done a number of things to try to reduce my expenses, such as reducing my cell phone plan from virtually unlimited calling ($50/mo) to 50 peak minutes ($20/mo). Of the people who are facing foreclosure, how many still have cable TV? How many have cell phones with unlimited calling? How many could afford a 1,000 sq ft house on a quarter acre, but bought 1,800 sq ft on a half acre?

Frankly, I don't know if it's even possible to answer all those questions. But if people answer yes to those types of questions... I don't have much sympathy for them. I go back to the simplest answer to address Wall Street's problem:

Oppose the bailout.

Tim White

AIG insurance offer

I guess the US Government is now AIG is still selling insurance:
And I also got another offer for 0.00% APR on a new credit card today.

I always wondered how they could keep giving out those pre-approved credit cards. Now I understand. The rules were designed to grant everyone credit, regardless of one's creditworthiness.

Laws cannot be written ex post facto. But if any laws were broken, I hope the individuals will be held accountable.

Tim White

Keep calling! Dodd's getting swamped with calls

I received this email today:

I called them all today - spoke to their aides. gave them hell and let them know that what they are doing is unconstitutional and against every oath of office they have taken to preserve and defend the constitution, and why on earth are we allowing our men and women to die in other countries fighting for our Constitutional rights when these elected officials are trampling all over them! Dodd's phone you could not get through it was non-stop busy. I spoke to Larson's aide and Lieberman's aide.

(name withheld)

Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D- CT)
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (ID- CT)
Representative John Larson (D - 01)
Representative Joe Courtney (D - 02)
Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D - 03)
Representative Christopher Shays (R - 04)
Representative Christopher Murphy (D - 05)

Whether or not you support or oppose the bailout, I encourage you to call. And remember, Shays & Murphy are on the House Financial Services Committee. So you can expect them to be questioning Bernanke & Paulson this afternoon at Barney Frank's meeting.

Tim White

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Altieri email requesting info on PC at pool - 2

A few hours later, I responded to Councilman Altieri. Here is the text of my response to his Sept 6 email:

"At this point I have some information that relates to the topic"

That's great to hear. But for information specifically related to performance contracting and pools, see here:


And as I mentioned to you a few months ago, I'm confident you could google a few key words and find lots more information on pools and performance contracting.

I'll continue the email chain tomorrow... perhaps with images of the emails. But it's late tonight, so a cut'n'paste is all I'm doing.

Tim White

Questions on the Bush / Dodd bailout proposal

1) With Congress screaming at the Administration for creating this mess, why is Congress asking the Administration to fix this mess? (Btw, they're all complicit.)

2) Why spend $700 billion on bankrupt companies when you could spend $700 billion to end our "addiction to oil?" (The $700 billion is going to be "miraculously" printed by The Fed. Increasing the money supply is inflation. Inflation will continue the skyrocketing prices at the pump. Is that what voters are requesting? Higher gas prices? Oh, I forgot! This bailout isn't for you or me, it's for their campaign donors, personal friends and VIPs.)

3) Why should my taxes increase because someone bought a 2,000 sq ft house, instead of a 1,000 sq ft house? Or someone who bought 3 acres, instead of a half acre? (I do have sympathy for someone who moved from renting to owning... but little sympathy for someone who simply bought beyond their means.)

As I've said, it's pain now or pain later. And IMO, there's only one safe bet to minimize the pain over the long term...

If there is a compromise bill that includes sound money - a gold standard (or some other commodity) - then I (and perhaps Alan Greenspan) would consider supporting it. Otherwise...

NO to the Billionaire Bankers' Bailout!

Tim White

Ron Paul's opposition to the bailout scheme

In reference to The Great Depression, Ron Paul explains:

I am afraid that policymakers today have not learned the lesson that prices must adjust to economic reality. The bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the purchase of AIG, and the latest multi-hundred billion dollar Treasury scheme all have one thing in common: They seek to prevent the liquidation of bad debt and worthless assets at market prices, and instead try to prop up those markets and keep those assets trading at prices far in excess of what any buyer would be willing to pay.

Additionally, the government's actions encourage moral hazard of the worst sort. Now that the precedent has been set, the likelihood of financial institutions to engage in riskier investment schemes is increased, because they now know that an investment position so overextended as to threaten the stability of the financial system will result in a government bailout and purchase of worthless, illiquid assets.

Using trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to purchase illusory short-term security, the government is actually ensuring even greater instability in the financial system in the long term.

Tim White

Murphy & the barite mines

Reported by the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, D-5, said he is hopeful that some federal money may become available to help remediate abandoned barite mines in the state like the one the one that caused a 20-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep sinkhole in one Cheshire resident’s backyard in October 2005.

Murphy met with Sheridan Drive area residents Monday morning...

“It was introduced to this Congress and passed the House but not the Senate,” Murphy said. “So we’re going to introduce it again.

I wonder if Dodd & Lieberman supported or opposed the proposal. Or maybe they were too busy addressing the needs of Wall Street?

Tim White

Green Harold Burbank for CT-5

Buried deep in an old post, we got the following comment today:

Hello. I am Harold Burbank, CT Green Party candidate for US House. Yesterday the CT League of Women Voters barred all CT Green Party US House candidates from their debates. We want to enter (v. Murphy and Cappiello in my case). Please call CT League of Women Voters at Hamden, 203-288-7996, to demand entry of CT Green Party US House candidates in League of Women Voters debates.

Thank you,
Harold Burbank
Burbank for Congress '08
CT Green Party, 5th Dist.

I called both Harold (his number is on his website here) and the LOWV tonight. However, I didn't get an answer at either number. So I haven't confirmed this yet. But frankly, the exclusion of non-major parties just seems to be par for the course. So I figured I'd mention even before confirming.

IMO, there simply should be more debates on more issues for all offices. That way there wouldn't be any bogus claims of limited time for candidates to express their views... just engage on a weekly basis. With Congress, but even moreso with the POTUS... don't the people deserve to hear lots of views on lots of issues?

I don't think it's too much to ask. I think it's more a matter of candidates wanting to avoid inadvertently giving candid answers on "tough" questions.

I think Harold is the only non-major party candidate in the fifth district. If I'm correct, I seriously hope he gets invited to participate in all the debates that are already scheduled between Chris Murphy and Dave Cappiello.

Tim White

Altieri email requesting info on PC at pool - 1

For easier reading, the text follows:

Hello fellow Council Members

As you might know we are going to be holding a meeting (Sept 16 730 Room 210) to discuss the details of our Pool Subcommittee report. I have attached a general outline of the topics that would be presented and discussed at the Council (date not yet set late September most likely). I would anticipate that our presentation would be a visual in the line of a PowerPoint and it would include some data and baseline information with a focus on options for an alternate for the cover.

If anyone has any thoughts or comments that they would like to suggest please let me know as soon as possible, as we are going to try to finalize our presenation at that meeting.

Councilman White and Sima if you could forward to me any information you have researched or found in regard directly to pools and performance based contracting that would be very helpful. At this point I have some information that relates to the topic but our task is the pool, so we are looking for that specific information.

Best to all

Matt Altieri

I'll continue posting this email chain that began on Sept 6. I found it enlightening.

I especially appreciated how Councilman Altieri attempted to frame the debate around me and Jimmy... as if all responsibility for information on performance contracting falls on us... not any other Council members... and certainly not staff because we all know who directs this Council:

Tim White

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dollar down, oil up despite bailout

"I think they made the right decision," Dodd said in a television interview. "You could have had not only a national but a global meltdown" if Bear Stearns had been allowed to declare bankruptcy - (WSJs Market Watch, by Greg Robb) - Senator Chris Dodd on April 3, 2008

So I guess $30 billion was supposed to do the trick?

Freddie and Fannie seemed to be like the penultimate, that they had to be rescued. - Fox's Neil Cavuto on September 17, 2008
And this past weekend, "everyone" agreed on the "need" for another $700 billion bailout.

And what's being reported tonight (Sept 22) by the APs Patrick Rizzo?

Elation in the financial markets over the $700 billion bank bailout plan evaporated Monday and was replaced by all-too-familiar anxiety, pummeling stocks and sending oil prices to their biggest one-day gain.

Worries that the rescue package would cost too much, drive up inflation, swell the already-bloated deficit and hurt the ailing economy also led global investors to flee the U.S. dollar.

I completely oppose this bailout for Wall Street. President Bush and others can try to tie this Banking Bailout to Main Street, but the benefit is going to Wall Street. And IMO, all of these talking head bailout supporters have been discredited. It's one bailout after another. Their billionaire banker buddies can't get enough of the US Taxpayer.

The 2008 Billionaire Bankers' Bailout is already up to $2 trillion. And the $30 billion for Bear Stearns was supposed to avert this meltdown?

Yet with this weekend's $700 billion bailout, money is still fleeing the US dollar for commodities, such as gold* and oil.

I expect a fairly serious recession will occur with no bailout. But the collapse of the dollar would be far worse. And when the Fed & Treasury decide we need a few more trillion dollars to bail out Wall Street... well... eventually the rest of the world will catch on and the dollar could collapse.

Tim White

* People aren't fleeing gold because it has 3000 years, not 30 years, of value.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Town take home vehicles - 22 total

To recap the number of take home vehicles in the town government:

Building Department - 1
Parks & Rec Department - 2
Police Department - 6
Fire Department - 6
Public Works Department - 7

For a grand total of 22.

And they all get unlimited, free gasoline. Don't worry though. I first touched on the "vehicle use policy" (on TV) only seven months ago:
So I'm sure the Budget Committee simply hasn't yet had time to consider this... but will be taking this up "shortly."

I have no idea how many take home vehicles fall under the BOE.

Tim White

Ron Paul on CNN today

Tim White

"Disgusted" is putting it mildly

Reported by the NYTimes (by Jenny Anderson, Vikas Bajaj and Leslie Wayne):

Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

And as the blogger EastHartfordTaxpayer mentioned over at CTLP, make sure you go delinquent on your mortgage ASAP... if you want to take advantage of America's new "grant program" that eliminates your mortgage! And for people who have paid off their mortgage, perhaps you could quickly take out a loan. Then expand your house by a few thousand square feet, refuse to repay that loan and eventually have the US government pick up the tab... while you live comfortably in a newly expanded home!

Hey... the US Government has decided to turn on the printing presses. So we may as well all take advantage of these new "grants." Right?

But seriously, I encourage you to contact your representatives on this trillion dollar bailout:

Senator Chris Dodd
Senator Joe Lieberman
Representative Chris Murphy

Tim White

Monetary policy matters

For years, candidates for both Congress and POTUS have discussed war policy at great length. And they pay lip service to fiscal policy (the two most common economic theories are "tax n spend" or "borrow n spend"). But there's scant attention paid to monetary policy.

From Reuters on Friday (by Jeff Mason):

Obama supported efforts by the Fed and the Treasury to work out a financial rescue package and said he would like to see the government adopt an emergency economic plan to help working families cope with rising gasoline and food prices.

Asked why he was not offering a plan of his own to address Wall Street's meltdown, Obama told reporters it has to be done in an "intelligent, systematic, thoughtful fashion."

"I'm much less interested at this point in scoring political points than I am in making sure that we have a structure in place that is sound and is actually going to work," he said.

This raises the obvious question of the ability of Obama (and his thousands of advisers) to craft a rational, responsible, intelligent monetary policy. But I haven't heard McCain's campaign offering any thoughtful policy initiatives either.

Furthermore, it seems everyone running for office wants to hear from the Administration. Yet this is the same Administration that is getting blasted for creating this mess. So who is dumber?

As I've been saying, I firmly believe any good monetary policy must include a return to sound money (a gold standard could work). As I understand it, that would prohibit the Fed / Treasury from issuing trillions of dollars in new credit... all of which will devalue the dollars that you and I currently hold in our bank accounts, etc.

I sincerely hope that during the upcoming debates, McCain and Obama are asked about their views on monetary policy.

Tim White

Upcoming school meetings

Tim White

The current cost of the bailouts

Back in March, I thought the $30 billion to bailout Bear Stearns was a lot of money. But the way these drunken sailors politicians are spending money, that seems like Monopoly money. The NYTimes' gives a recap of some bailout numbers here (by DAVID M. HERSZENHORN):

A $700 billion expenditure on distressed mortgage-related assets would roughly be what the country has spent so far in direct costs on the Iraq war and more than the Pentagon’s total yearly budget appropriation. Divided across the population, it would amount to more than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Whatever is spent will add to a budget deficit already projected at more than $500 billion next year. And it comes on top of the $85 billion government rescue of the insurance giant American International Group and a plan to spend up to $200 billion to shore up the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac...

A program to help troubled borrowers refinance mortgages — along with an $800 billion increase in the national debt limit — was approved in July. But financing for it depended largely on fees paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been placed into a government conservatorship.

So that's:

$30 billion - Bear Stearns
$200 billion - Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac
$85 billion - AIG
$800 billion - mortgage refi's
$180 billion - money markets
$700 billion - currently proposed


Just a smidgeon under $2 trillion so far. NBD.

And of course, even after the White House & Congress Rubber Stamp Paulson's current bailout proposal... there are no guarantees that China and others will have "confidence" in the US dollar.

What does that mean?

Well, if China (and others) is still uncertain about the dollar, they can sell their treasuries and get reimbursed for all the money they've been loaning us for years. And if they do that, the dollar could enter a free fall.

What does that mean?

$4 gas will look like a bargain.

Or Paulson's gamble may work and the dollar may stabilize. And while that sounds good...

Who is going to pay off that new $700 billion in debt?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

The Democratic landslide of 2006 didn't really clean house. Ignoring party affiliation, I hope a whole bunch more of the old-timers get booted this year.

Tim White

* Is this an accurate reflection of the bailouts? It's hard to keep track of them all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ron Paul opposes the bailout

Agree with him or not, at least Ron Paul can speak intelligently about the bailout. That's better than most elected officials in Washington who seem to be completely in the dark about what's happening.

Personally, I'm undecided on the existence / elimination of the central bank (The Fed) and that the problems associated with no bailout will be short-lived. But I tend to agree with Ron Paul on the rest of what he says.Tim White

Bailout compromise = sound money, transparency & prosecutions

Here's the gist of an email I just sent to Senators Chris Dodd & Joe Lieberman and Congressman Chris Murphy:

Dear Sir:

I oppose the $700 billion bailout as currently described in press reports. I recognize the complexity of the situation surrounding the Administration’s proposed bailout, but this simple bailout plan is unacceptable to me. Nonetheless, a compromise may make the agreement acceptable to me.

I suggest the adopted legislation include:

1) a return to sound money (gold works, but I’m not picky),

2) dramatically enhanced transparency at the Fed, and

3) prosecution of any potential crimes related to this mess.

Due to the ongoing discussions, I’ve cc’ed the House and Senate banking committee staffs. And finally, if you want further clarification, feel free to contact me or contact Representative Ron Paul. I’m confident that Congressman Paul would be happy to represent my concerns to you.

Thank you for your consideration.

Tim White, CPA
(address & phone number included)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Energy assistance offered

From the NHR:

Town officials will begin processing applications for the Connecticut Energy Assistance program starting Oct. 15.

The program, which will run through March 15, 2009, provides financial assistance to income eligible households in paying for a portion of their heating cost during the winter months. The Cheshire Youth & Social Services Department is overseeing the processing of the applications.

Applications will be taken by appointment only. Call 271-6690 to set up a time for an appointment.

Tim White

One trillion dollars and counting


The federal government already has pledged more than $600 billion in the past year to bail out, or help bail out, some of the biggest names in American finance. That includes the rescue of investment bank Bear Stearns in March, the takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) earlier this month and the takeover of the world's largest insurance company, American International Group, just this week.

And the story explains today's proposed bailout:

Struggling to stave off financial catastrophe, the Bush administration on Friday laid out a radical bailout plan with a jawdropping price tag - a takeover of a half-trillion dollars or more in worthless mortgages and other bad debt held by tottering institutions.

So that's a trillion or so dollars, give or take. NBD.

Btw, anybody happen to know the source of the money?

Best I can tell, it's simply being printed (or promised) by the Bernanke / Paulson duo.

And what happens when they "turn on the presses?"

Weimar Germany had a little experiment with the concept of hyperinflation.

From Wikipedia:

The main cause of hyperinflation is a massive and rapid increase in the amount of money, which is not supported by growth in the output of goods and services. This results in an imbalance between the supply and demand for the money (including currency and bank deposits), accompanied by a complete loss of confidence in the money, similar to a bank run. Enactment of legal tender laws and price controls to prevent discounting the value of paper money relative to gold, silver, hard currency, or commodities, fails to force acceptance of a paper money which lacks intrinsic value. If the entity responsible for printing a currency promotes excessive money printing, with other factors contributing a reinforcing effect, hyperinflation usually continues.

And this is precisely the reason that I agree with Ron Paul on a return to a gold standard (or some sort of commodity-backed currency). Though I'm undecided on his call to eliminate the central bank.

I think I may actually write Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman and Congressman Chris Murphy this weekend to tell them that their support of a bailout with my tax dollars is totally unacceptable. Although Murphy is really the only one to which the comment is relevant, since I'm already a believer that Dodd and Lieberman have been around too long and simply need to go.

To say I'm disgusted is to put it mildly.

Tim White

Ron Paul Revolution lives

Here's an excerpt from an email I received today from a member of the NYC Ron Paul meetup group:

What: Battle the Federal Reserve
When: September 22, 2008 12:00 PM

As some of you are aware, I am putting together a little PR Stunt/ Protest at the Federal Reserve on Monday at 5pm. We are printing up Monopoly Money dollars w/ Ben Bernanke's face on it and handing them out to the public outside of the Federal Reserve. We'll all be wearing business suits (black preferably) and carrying brief cases full of Bernanke Dollars. I plan on sending out press releases and calling into radio stations to get some exposure.

With the financial melt-down in full swing, we have an opportunity to get a lot of press and exposure.

We need someone to design a back to the dollar that has the following:

The Federal Reserve is a private bank
The Federal Reserve has never been audited
The Federal Reserve prints money out of thin air
The Federal Reserve destroys your savings
The Federal Reserve uses your savings to bail out corporations
The Federal Reserve caused the financial crises
The U.S dollar is as valuable as a Monopoly money

Here is what
the paper will look like.

Needless to say, I love the enthusiasm and activism even though I don't necessarily agree with the entire message. The subject - monetary policy - is very relevant. It really does matter.

Tim White

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama 53, McCain 41 among Nutmeggers

RasmussenReports.com on The Nutmeg State:

Barack Obama still has a solid hold on Connecticut where he leads John McCain 53% to 41% in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state...

The first poll in Connecticut since the two men announced their running mates shows the race tightening very slightly, but voters in the state have mixed feelings about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. They’re evenly divided over whether McCain made a good choice, but while 46% have a favorable view of her, 51% regard her unfavorably.

Tim White

CHS air conditioning installation delay - Notice to Proceed

I've been explaining the CHS air conditioning installation and heating retrofit project for a while now. You can find the details here.

I think this is the final piece of the puzzle:And remember... the Council urgently voted on this project in March 2008 (a delay to consider performance contracting was unacceptable to the majority)... so we could issue this Notice to Proceed in... July?!?!

Tim White

CodeRED: emergency response system rollout

A few months ago the Town purchased an emergency response system called CodeRed. In the case of an emergency, the system can call you... but you need to go to the website and enter the data. For easier reading of the press release, click on the image to enlarge it.
Tim White

Suspected burglars arrested

From the MRJs Jesse Buchanan:

On September 10, two boys, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old, had the hood of their car up and appeared to have broken down. Police found that the boys did not have a license or registration.

"They were acting suspicious," said Lieutenant Kerry Deegan.

Police arrested the older boy on charges of second-degree burglary and burglary conspiracy, as well as driving without a license or registration. The younger boy was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary conspiracy.

Tim White

W2E competition: Covanta, Wheelabrator and others

The Herald's Josh Morgan is reporting on the trash disposal facility.

For my part, I'm trying to do my homework. As I mentioned in a previous post, at a Waste to Energy plant (W2E), our garbage is effectively a fuel. And as a fuel that generates electricity, there are a lot of people who would love to get their hands on our garbage as a consistent source of fuel. But there's a hitch.

CT has six W2E plants. And all of them would like to have a consistent source of garbage, such as a municipality with town pickup. But not all of them are as close as Wallingford. So I collected some numbers and ran them.

Key data:

Cheshire currently generates approx. 8200 tons of waste per year.

1 truck carries 8 - 16 tons of waste per load, but 11 tons is a common weight.

Alternatively, larger trucks carry 20 tons but need a transfer station.

3 people per truck**

5 miles / gallon

So if you use those facts and add a few assumptions:

Wheelabrator^ in Bridgeport has capacity on July 1, 2010

Bridgeport is a 45 minute drive from Cheshire

One handler costs $50,000 per year in compensation

Vehicle wear and tear equals the cost of fuel

Then you come to an additional cost per year of approximately $200,000 (very ballpark)

So while I had been assuming that "trash disposal" or "tipping" services were almost non-existent, I've made some phone calls and now know that's not the case. There is competition in CT. Or we could even ship out-of-state. And that's a good thing for Cheshire.

Tim White

* A transfer station would cost money and have significant siting issues. Keep in mind, AJs existing transfer station handles recyclables and construction materials... but is not permitted for trash.
** Automated trucks use fewer staff, but have a significant startup cost. And the focus of this post is on the disposal (not hauling) services.
^ Wheelabrator is a competitor of Covanta. Both operate W2E plants in CT.
^^ I'm ignoring rush hour traffic for purposes of this example.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I thank Marie Carolla!

In case you missed last week's Herald, there was a letter in there that mentioned me. It was written by Marie Carolla and I thank her!

Basically, she asked several Council members to begin answering questions. I couldn't agree more. Their obfuscation, strawmen and diversionary tactics are getting old.

Perhaps with a few more letters like that one... who knows?... maybe even the current Council majority will realize before the next election that, in fact, the taxpayers do want explanations on:

1) out-of-state conferences & seminars
2) the take home vehicles with unlimited gasoline
3) a comprehensive energy action plan
4) the pool
5) the corruption memo
6) the benefit of the tax hike fund balance policy
7) the lack of Council video on the town website

among other concerns.

Unfortunately, we still need to get past the disconnect in which my approach is to take direction from the voters... but the Council takes a different approach:

Tim White

DeCaprio's Mixville meeting

Laura DeCaprio's Mixville meeting went well tonight. The discussion continued, but some questions were answered. The next step is getting staff (Parks, Police & Public Works) to a meeting or two. Then they can explain their concerns / approach in their own words. Laura has not yet determined a meeting date, but I plan to keep you posted.

Overall, I think Laura's doing really well with this and have high hopes for improvements.

Additionally, state Rep. Al Adinolfi was kind enough to attend. Though Mixville is a local park, it's in the 103rd and he's always happy to look for ways to help.

Tim White

Dodd on the Bear Stearns Bailout

Dodd is chairing a hearing later this morning to examine the events surrounding the Bear Stearns bailout. "I think they made the right decision," Dodd said in a television interview. (WSJs Market Watch, by Greg Robb) - Senator Chris Dodd on April 3, 2008

Dodd said he opposed the government's decision to guarantee the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase in March. (Courant, by Eric Gershon) - Senator Chris Dodd on Sept 16, 2008

Tim White

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

CHS air conditioning installation delay - May 08 proposal

This is a continuation of my posts on the CHS air conditioning installation and heating retrofit. These images are of a proposal from the consulting engineer to the town. They are dated May 23, 2008 and mention a study from Sept 2007.

I'm curious to know what happened between the date of the Council vote (March 27, 2008) and the day this letter was written - specifically, what happened on what day that led to this May 23 letter?

Unfortunately, I'm sure that's one of those questions that I'm not supposed to ask.


Tim White