Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dill to return to old post?

If you read this piece by the NHRs Luther Turmelle on the possible return of Sheldon Dill to his old Council seat representing Cheshire's 1st district, you'll probably agree that it seems somewhat likely. After all:

Sheldon Dill, who is president of the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, has the backing of Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ernie DiPietro.

Tim White

Changing academic requirements for extracurriculars?

From the MRJs Jesse Buchanan:

The Cheshire Board of Education is considering closing a loophole in academic requirements for athletic and extracurricular participation as a way to send a message that academics come first, according to members of the board....

The Cheshire school board last week announced it would consider changing the rule requiring students to maintain a C average to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, which is already stricter than state rules. Alan Sobol, the policy committee chairman, said the committee might increase the time of academic probation from a marking period to an entire semester for students whose grades have fallen below a C....

Gerald Brittingham, a Cheshire Board of Education member, is in favor of the change to a semester-long probation, saying it would emphasize to students, parents and teachers that academics come first.

Tim White

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday parties

Someone asked me if Everybody's is having their annual party, so I asked when I stopped there tonight. The girl working the cash register thinks it's happening, just a week or two later than usual. Anybody know the details?

Elim Park's Christmas Festival is definitely set for Dec 6 from 9am to 3pm. I've been in the past and really enjoy it. Any event at Elim Park is sure to be nice.

Tim White

Who owns the waste-to-energy plant?

Covanta is considering buying the plant.

CRRA is considering buying the plant.

And the five towns could buy the plant.

So who gets the money? Who owns the plant?

Tim White

The revaluation and government spending

Anyone happen to notice the Herald cover story this week discussing the sale of the Wachovia building? In particular, the winning bid on the bank was $326,000... while the recent revaluation placed it at $457,570.

I'm sure that's a confidence builder for everyone who's questioning their reassessment.

Keep in mind though... ignoring this Council's affinity for ever-bigger government... if the town did another reassessment today, all values would change. And even if a particular property's reassessment drops 10%, taxes on that property could still increase... if all other properties dropped by more than 10%.

IMO, the main issue is spending. And the town government is no different from the federal government. We need to avoid waste, mismanagement, fraud and programs that duplicate the intent of existing programs.

Tim White

Possible abandonment of F&S Oil biofuel plant

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The court-appointed receiver overseeing the liquidation of assets of a now-defunct Waterbury heating oil company said he will ask a Hartford Superior Court judge next week to allow the abandonment of a biofuels plant the firm was developing in Cheshire.

Carlton Helming said he will make the request of state Superior Court Judge Grant Miller because the plant “is not economically viable to maintain.” The judge will meet with Helming and representatives of Cheshire Investment Corp., which owns the land on Sandbank Road on which the biofuels facility is located, on Wednesday in Hartford.

Helming had sought earlier this month to turn the plant over to Citizens Bank, which is owed more than $9 million by F&S Oil, which abruptly went out of business in March. But Helming said Wednesday that officials from the bank have told him they are not interested in taking control of the property.

Tim White

Friday, November 28, 2008

ABC explains Recycle Bank

Here is ABCs three minute clip on Recycle Bank, explaining the environmental and financial benefits to residents:
If you get a chance to watch it, I'd love to hear your comments.

I think something like this could work in CT, but I have no idea on the logistics of making it happen.

Tim White

Elim Park Entertainment Series

Some details of Elim Park's upcoming Entertainment Series:Tim White

Cheshire Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking 11/25

Here's the CCSUD newsletter from Sarah Bourdon, dated November 25:

A group of seven parents completed the Courageous Parenting 101 workshop series earlier this month. It was well received and I am planning on offering it again in January - stay tuned for the dates. This free workshop series focuses on communicating with your children about substance use as well as becoming as familiar with the current trends. Dinner is provided.

Look for our new Social Marketing Campaign " Don't Provide, Don't Excuse, Don't Ignore" posters up around town soon - we are very excited about this new way of getting information out to parents in the Cheshire Community.

Copies of the Parent and Student Surveys are still available - please email me if you would like a copy. There is lots of info in these reports that parents should be aware of!

Did You Know?

26% of our 11th and 12th graders surveyed said that they had ridden in a car with a drunk driver in the past year? BUT 88% of parents surveyed whose child was in 11th or 12th grade said that never happened in the last year........

Mark your calendar - the second community meeting of the CCSUD will be on January 15, 2009 at 7pm in Town Hall. There will be a panel presentation on the state drinking age - should it remain at 21 or should it be dropped back to 18???? Panel presenters will be announced soon.

Tim White

The proposed ND and government spending plans

While there are reports that the commercial mortgage business may soon be approaching its own meltdown:

Even as the holiday shopping season begins in full swing, the same events poisoning the housing market are now at work on commercial properties, and the bad news is trickling in. Malls from Michigan to Georgia are entering foreclosure. Hotels in Tucson, Ariz., and Hilton Head, S.C., also are about to default on their mortgages. That pace is expected to quicken. (AP, by Matt Apuzzo)

including related reports here in the Cheshire area...

Governor Rell is preparing for the Obama printing press public works package to start sending money to CT:

Rell directed the departments of Public Works, Transportation and Economic and Community Development to prioritize any "shovel ready" projects. They may include road, bridge, rail, and public buildings projects, and economic development and housing initiatives in the final design stages. "I want them ready to go, so if the money comes through then we're ready to put the shovel in the ground," Rell said Friday. (AP, by Susan Haigh)

I could easily see this expedite the Rte 10 / Rte 322 reconstruction project. Frankly though, I think the country would be a whole lot better off if the printing presses simply got turned off. We've already set the stage for hyperinflation. Do we really need to exacerbate the problem?

Tim White

Cheshire wins Apple Classic 9-7

The MRJ reports here on the football team's win.

And the NHR is reporting:

Now, it’s playoff time... The semifinals are Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the site of the higher seed. The championship games are on Saturday Dec. 6 at times and sites to be determined.

With Cheshire making a semifinal:

No. 3 Cheshire (9-2) at No. 2 Hamden (9-2): Hamden last made the semifinals in 1998 and appeared in the final in 1996 before losing to, ironically, Cheshire. Cheshire lost to the Green Dragons in this year’s season opener. The Rams last made the field in 1997.

Tim White

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for still having my family, particularly my mom & dad (married since 1961!)... and getting to live near them. I'm thankful for my health and my job.

I'm thankful that I get to live in a peaceful, stable country (I watched Hotel Rwanda this week). I'm thankful for my freedom.

I'm thankful for all the support I receive, even though I'm imperfect and am not always right. I'm thankful that He watches over me.

I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving.

Tim White

MRJ on Marilyn Bartoli's new role

From Jesse Buchanan:

Marilyn Bartoli is the new head of the Republican Town Committee, replacing three-year chairman Stephen Carroll after he resigned on Nov. 14....

"Some have painted the Republican Party as an adversary of the people," she said. "That's been one of the downfalls - that we haven't been communicating with the town."

Tim White

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Governor, unions talk concessions

It's been reported that this fiscal year (July 1 2008 to June 30 2009) the state is currently projecting a nearly $400 million deficit in an $18 billion budget. Next year the deficit nears $3 billion... and it exceeds $3 billion the following year.

Now the WRAs Paul Huges is reporting:

State unions and Gov. M. Jodi Rell are talking softly about the delicate subject of concessions.

This year's state budget is running a projected deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and the latest estimates are predicting shortfalls in the billions in the next couple of years.

Meanwhile, the state government is spending $4.7 billion out of an $18.4 billion budget on salaries, health care and pension benefits for state workers and retirees.

Times are tough. I won't be surprised to see state taxes increase, but spending has got to be reduced somewhere.

Tim White

America's Hank Paulson to Weimar's Freidrich Ebert: "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

From the NYTimes (By EDMUND L. ANDREWS):

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury announced $800 billion in new lending programs on Tuesday, sending a message that they will print as much money as needed to revive the crippled banking system....

"they will print as much money as needed"

From Wikipedia:

The government printed money to deal with the crisis; this allowed America Germany to pay China for Iraq war loans and reparations with worthless dollars marks and helped formerly great industrialists to pay back their own loans. This also led to pay raises for workers and for businessmen who wanted to profit from it. Circulation of money rocketed, and soon the Americans Germans discovered their money was worthless.

Btw, that's excerpted from a to-be-written piece on the history of 2008 America piece on the history of the Weimar Republic.

The NYTimes continues:

All told, the government has assumed at least $7 trillion in direct and indirect financial obligations in the form of Wall Street bailouts, emergency lending and government guarantees on bank deposits, inter-bank loans and home mortgages.

Our national budget is $3 trillion. Our GDP is $14 trillion.

At first, I thought Paulson and Bernanke may have actually believed the Bear Stearns, Fannie/Freddie bailouts may maintain a semblance of a free market. But at this point, I find it hard to believe that they can believe their own fairy tale.

Monetary policy matters. Too bad Bush / Obama refuse to allow any alternative* viewpoints to be considered in those policy decisions.

Tim White

* alternative [awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-] - (adj) - meaning rational, clear-thinking

Options beyond CRRA, Covanta and Wallingford

Yesterday I offered some of the Council analysis of the two most-discussed options for Cheshire's trash disposal:

1) CRRA managing the Wallingford waste-to-energy facility and

2) Covanta managing the Wallingford waste-to-energy facility.

But we don't need to use the Wallingford facility. We could take our trash anywhere, such as Ohio. Or we could find a place closer than Ohio, but more distant than Wallingford. See some details here:There are a lot of factors in considering these options, such as:

1) garbage trucks carry different weights (from 8 to 25 tons)

2) garbage trucks get 3 to 5 mpg

3) Cheshire's current waste hauler (AJ) currently uses 3 staff on a truck, but that could change to one person with a big "arm" that automates the collection

4) traffic jams on the highway, etc.

My feeling is to avoid these issues and try to move forward with Covanta... though the CRRA proposal to buy the plant is still an unknown (and unexpected) factor to me.

Besides, if it is possible to move toward a more sustainable society by increasing our recycling from our current 20-25% (by weight) to 50% or more... then the discussion becomes increasingly less important.

Tim White

A feelgood credit card bill

Although this may sound a bit unusual, I was pretty happy today when I got my credit card bill. It arrived with a balance of $0.00. I think it was last February that I realized I had six grand in credit card debt and soon after made the decision to eliminate much of my unnecessary spending (i.e. eating out, cable TV) and stick to gasoline, food and a/c on a few muggy July nights.*

And now I'm reading a NYTimes piece by an anonymous banker (and published by Joe Nocera) on the looming credit card crisis:

Today, we are bailing out the banks because of their greedy and deceptive lending practices in the mortgage industry. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. More is coming, I’m sorry to say. Layoffs are being announced nationwide in the tens of thousands. As people begin to lose their jobs, they will not be able to pay their credit card bills either. And the banks will be back for more handouts.

If you read the whole article, it paints a very troubling picture of the not-so-distant future. The past ten years of 0.00% APR** junk mailers will soon come back to haunt America.

Tim White

* I recall splurging once (under $100) to go camping in DC for a weekend attending a Ron Paul rally.
** introductory for up to three hours. Then it will adjust to our low 24.9% per day interest rate.

CRRA, Covanta both want trash facility

Like the biofuel plant, the saga of the trash disposal plant only gets stranger.

Without getting into too much detail, based on the following analysis:

it appears to me that CRRA and Covanta are both nearing a deal as the proposals are starting to make sense.

Of course, I think any of you reading this will immediately agree with me that the Covanta proposal is the obvious proposal to accept. But there's a hitch.

As was reported by Luther Turmelle this weekend, last Friday CRRA announced their intention to buy the plant... whether or not the five town consortium supports the idea:

It's unclear to me what "assets" belong to CRRA. I certainly hope it's not the $45,000,000 kitty that I understood to belong to the five towns, including Cheshire.

As for my openness with the post tonight... unlike past meetings, we didn't enter executive session tonight. So all of our discussions on Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, Covanta, Wheelabrator, etc. were open to the public.

Lastly, I commend Solid Waste Committee Chairman Matt Altieri for a well-run meeting tonight. For a topic that has been both voluminous and fairly complex, he came prepared, kept the meeting on track and allowed everyone to get the questions answered (to the best of staff's ability). I also commend the TA and TM for having been prepared. Frankly, I didn't care for the initial track the Council took... but at this point, we appear headed in the direction of Covanta. And based strictly on the above numbers, I think my homework investigating alternatives (for instance, see here and here) paid dividends. I was convinced a while ago that a free market approach made the most sense.

But then... who woulda thunk CRRA was going to propose buying the plant without municipal support? Not me.

Tim White

NYTimes offers nonsense, Ron Paul offers truth

While the NYTimes' Floyd Norris is offering his nonsensical analysis that America currently has no choice, but to stay the course of bailout after bailout:

Even if Citigroup is the last bailout, the Bush administration... will leave a trail of socialized risk.

But that trail may not be at an end. The auto companies want billions in bailouts, and other industries are lining up.

And as the nation’s obligations rise into the trillions, at some point investors may begin to question whether a government running huge deficits can also credibly promise that the dollar will not lose its value....

But those are problems for another day.

Congressman Ron Paul's piece entitled "The Bailout Surge," proves he continues to speak the truth and make sense:

It won’t work. It can’t work. We need to cut our losses and get back on course. There is too much at stake for too many people to continue down this road. The bailouts thus far to AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie, and TARP funds amount to around $1.5 trillion. Considering our GDP is $14 trillion, and our Federal budget is already $3 trillion, this additional amount will significantly eat into our future lifestyles. That amounts to an extra $5,000 that every person in the country needs to somehow produce just to keep up. It is obvious to most Americans that we need to reject corporate cronyism, and allow the natural regulations and incentives of the free market to pick the winners and losers in our economy, not the whims of bureaucrats and politicians.

Tim White

Arrest at Dodd Middle School

From the MRJs Jesse Buchanan:

Police arrested a 13-year-old on Thursday at Dodd Middle School for possession of a weapon on school grounds, third-degree assault, threatening and second-degree breach of peace.

According to police lieutenant Jay Markella, the student swore in class, and was sent by the teacher to the principal's office.

Tim White

Monday, November 24, 2008

Avoiding a reinvention of the wheel on UHC in CT

From the WRA:

Hawaii has pulled the plug on its government-run health-insurance program for children after only seven months because parents who could "afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," according to the program's administrator.

CT is losing its current House Speaker Jim Amann. And while Jim "You want turf? I got turf!" Amann annoyed me with his love of slush funds, he also suffered from one of the most comedic cases of foot-in-mouth disease that I've ever seen - an attribute I always enjoyed. In other words, I'm gonna miss his one-liners. But on the political front, he had another attribute that many of CTs moderates may miss. He also has a reputation for being a moderate Dem.

His successor, Chris Donovan of Meriden, does not have such a reputation. As such, I simply suggest the Speaker-to-be proceed with caution on issues, such as Universal Health Care.

There are now several states that have gone down this road. So hopefully, CT will learn from their experience instead of reinventing the wheel.

Tim White

Objection to transfer of biofuel plant

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

An attorney representing the landlord of a Sandbank Road biofuels plant that has been the subject of a bankruptcy auction is objecting to efforts to turn the facility over to a major creditor.

Attorney Stuart Margolis of New Haven filed the objections earlier last week with Superior Court Judge Grant Miller in Hartford on behalf of his clients, Cheshire Investment Corp.

Tim White

Making Hugo Chavez proud!

From the APs Jeannine Aversa:

The government unveiled a bold plan Sunday to rescue troubled Citigroup, including taking a $20 billion stake in the firm as well as guaranteeing hundreds of billions of dollars in risky assets.

The action, announced jointly by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is aimed at shoring up a huge financial institution whose collapse would wreak havoc on the already crippled financial system and the U.S. economy.

The sweeping plan is geared to stemming a crisis of confidence in the company, whose stocks has been hammered in the past week on worries about its financial health.

Maybe when President George W. Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson are out of work in January, they can buy a plane ticket to Venezuela. I hear there's a lot of job growth in Venezuela's "government sector." And I'm pretty sure that Bush and Paulson have basically the same governing philosophy as the ruling regime in Venezuela.

Seriously though... Bush can't go soon enough. I'm just so tired of all the fear mongering that's being perpetuated by the administration. I mean, I'm certain the members of the White House press corps don't have slew of degrees in economics. So how do they get their stories? They're doing the same thing that's happened for decades - they go to the White House and get the story, then they go to a "senior member" of the opposing party. In this case, they may very well be going to Chris "first I was for the bailout, before I opposed it" Dodd... who has virtually no useful knowledge of monetary policy. And therefore does nothing, but act as an uneducated supporter of the banks who sponsor his campaigns.

I am so sick of this administration's fear mongering being fed to the public... and of the drought of useful reporting on this year's meltdown. And I'm confident that Obama will be absolutely no different from Bush when it comes to monetary policy.

Tim White

Proposed ND: likely delay until summer

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

It will probably be next summer at the earliest before the Massachusetts developer that has proposed building 146 condominium units and 500,000 square feet of retail space near Interstate 691 goes before municipal planning officials for the third and final round of approvals needed for the project.

W/S Development had been scheduled to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission this fall with detailed plans for The Shoppes at Cheshire. But the dramatic decline of the nation’s economy has meant the developer has had to rethink its timetable for the development, a project manager for W/S Development said Friday.

“We continue to hear nothing, but positive comments from retailers about this project,” said Jeff Curley of W/S Development. “But we haven’t been able to get the retailers to commit to the level of detail we need to have in order to bring it before the town for the final round of approvals.”

Tim White

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CRRA plans to buy plant...

...plans to buy the plant, regardless of the interest level of the five town consortium?!?

From Luther Turmelle at the NHR:

The board of directors of the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority approved a plan Thursday under which it would buy a trash-to-energy plant in Wallingford with or without the participation of the five communities currently served by the plant.

The decision by the authority’s board comes even as two of the five communities — North Haven and Wallingford — appear to be throwing their support behind a counter-offer made by the New Jersey company that is responsible for the facility’s day-to-day operations. The plant, which is owned by CRRA and operated by Covanta Energy, serves Cheshire, Hamden, Meriden, North Haven and Wallingford.

“We’re going to buy the plant, with or without the MSAs (municipal service agreements, which commit the towns to provide specified minimums in terms of tons of trash),” said Thomas Kirk, president of the CRRA.

Strange. Very, very strange.

Tim White

Preliminary analysis on revaluation

Some early comments from the Town Manager to the Council regarding the revaluation assessments that we all just got:

As you know the company performing the Town wide property revaluation has sent out notices to property owners relative to the proposed change in property values from Oct. 1, 2003 to Oct. 1, 2008. Town Assessor Mario Panagrosso notified me this morning that the median increase in residential real estate values is 9.2 % while the median increase in commercial real estate is 21.8%. If you recall, when we had the last revaluation, residential real estate increased by about 48% while the commercial real estate increased by 21 %, which caused a tax shift from the commercial property owner to the residential property owner. Based on this recent data, such a shift has not occurred with this preliminary information.

Mario indicated that the median is a more reliable measure of the increase than the mean, and is the measure that is used by the State as well.

If these numbers hold true, then... if you assume spending does not increase... homeowners would see a tax cut, while commercial property owners would see a tax increase as the tax burden gets shifted from residential to commercial.

Separate from the revaluation shifting of the tax burden is the all-too-likely cut in state funding.

Without researching it, I'm fairly certain state funding (your tax dollars) given to the town is in the $12,000,000 - $14,000,000 range... out of a total operating budget of $95,000,000 or so.

Tim White

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Energy Commission 11/24

Energy Commission member Peter Takizawa has set up a new website for the Cheshire Energy Commission. Check it out here. I thank him for his efforts.

Also, as usual the EC will be meeting on the last Monday of the month... and at this point, that means their next meeting will be this Monday. Here's the agenda:Tim White

Another waste disposal option

From CCM Magazine:

Stamford has become the first Connecticut municipality to adapt of new method of trash disposal.

Its waste, approximately 1,200 tons a week, is being shrink-wrapped in plastic and shipped to an Ohio landfill under a contract with a New Jersey company, Transload America, Inc.

The city is paying about $69 a ton for the service, in the first year, compared to the $80 a ton it had been paying for disposal at the waste-to-energy plant in Bridgeport

I'd still like to increase recycling, regardless of where our trash goes.

Tim White

Gold is the global safehouse

While Helicopter Ben believes his Helicopter Money will save the world, most people in the world realize the absurdity of his apparent belief that gold is no longer relevant in today's "global economy."

Some excerpts from a November 19, 2008 Reuters article by Frank Tang:

Global demand for gold jumped 18 percent year-over-year to 1,133.4 tonnes in the third quarter, reversing a weaker trend earlier this year as investors hoarded gold bullion coins and bars and jewelry buying rose, the World Gold Council (WGC) said Wednesday.

FWIW, distinguishing between jewelry and bullion / bars is, in part, irrelevant. I lived in Vietnam for three years and have spoken with many non-native born Americans, particularly from China and India. Many people around the world buy jewelry for both the beauty and the investment.

The story continues:

Inflation worries and a drop in gold price during the third quarter have triggered strong buying of physical gold coins and bars, leading to shortages among bullion dealers in many parts of the world, WGC said.

"A lot of people see these different bailout rescue plans as having major inflationary implications for the big economies of the world, particularly in the United States but in Europe as well," Milling-Stanley said.

Helicopter Ben apparently subscribes to The-Inside-the-Beltway-School-of-Thought that people are stupid and will do as they're told. Furthermore, it seems most central planners central bankers from the "developed world" have the same arrogant attitude.

But they're wrong. Around the world, people know that money doesn't grow on trees... and when it does, they brace themselves.

Fiat money doesn't work. We need a return to sound money.

Tim White

Veterans names added to Cheshire Memorial

Here is the list of names added to the Cheshire Veterans Memorial in 2008:

Friday, November 21, 2008

The trash plant and recycling

Reported by the MRJs Dave Moran:

WALLINGFORD - When it comes to the future of trash disposal in town, Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. believes the best bet would be placing the operation in the hands of the for-profit, New Jersey-based energy-from-waste corporation Covanta.

I tend to agree, but a related and equally important concern is increasing recycling in town. Offering financial incentives is one idea (of several) suggested by the GAO in a 2006 study:

Further, several of the recycling coordinators with whom we spoke believe that providing a financial incentive to recycle is one of the most important features of their recycling programs. In cities such as Austin, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle, residential garbage collection fees are based on the size of the garbage can used. Through recycling, residents can produce less waste, use smaller garbage cans, and thus lower their garbage collection bills. Cities such as Minneapolis and Philadelphia offer different types of financial incentives to recycle. Minneapolis residents who actively participate in the city’s recycling program through processing, sorting, separating, and bagging their recyclables receive a $7 credit in their monthly garbage bill. In Philadelphia, households selected to participate in a pilot program called “Recycle Bank” can receive up to $25 per month in coupons—based on the weight of their recyclable materials—that can be redeemed at major retailers. Academic studies we reviewed found that charging residents a waste disposal fee based on the size of their trash container could positively affect the amount of material being recycled.

I like the idea of the Recycle Bank, where you get a gift certificate for major retailers. I'm guessing though that the administrative side is something else.

Tim White

Upcoming school meetings Nov / Dec '08

I'm not sure when there will be another artificial turf meeting.

Tim White

Bankruptcy for Brass Mill Center in Waterbury?

From the WRA:

The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday the Chicago company, which owns the Brass Mill Center and Commons in Waterbury, had hired Sidley Austin as bankruptcy counsel.

Tim White

Human Services Committee 11/13

Just a quick note because it's late, but I keep forgetting to mention last week's Human Services Committee meeting. I don't have my notes handy, but there was discussion about the number of people requesting assistance with both food and fuel - it's higher than ever. And the HSC continues looking for new ways to help fund the food bank and the fuel bank (Operation Fuel).

I also got a chance to mention my next energy forum. The holidays make scheduling difficult, but I'm hoping to make something happen in January... or maybe late December.

The reason I mentioned the next energy forum is that I want to cover both energy conservation and heating assistance programs.

The heating assistance programs are where the HSC is involved. Operation Fuel is a local assistance program. I'd also like to get representatives from both the state and federal governments to speak to their programs. Congressman Murphy spoke on the LIHEAP (federal heating assistance) program about a month ago in Meriden. I'm hoping to get him to speak, but I doubt he'll be in Cheshire in January... hence the possibility of scheduling it for the last week in December.

Tim White

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2010 Dem CT-5 nomination to Elizabeth Esty?

Yesterday I mentioned the plausible scenario in which Chris Murphy challenges Chris Dodd for the 2010 Dem Senate nomination.

If that happens, the CT-5 is an open seat.

Democratic names that (I believe) reside in the fightin' fifth:

Bill Curry - former candidate for Governor - 1994 & 2002
Jim Maloney - former Congressman for the former CT-5 - 1996 to 2002
Mary Glassman - former candidate for Lt. Governor - 2006
Elizabeth Esty - a "little known" state Rep-elect from Cheshire - 2008 to date

At first blush, I think anyone who doesn't know her would laugh. But most of you know her. She alone could raise boatloads of money and make it look easy. But imagine if Dan Esty becomes Obama's EPA Administrator... in a sense, she'd be running as a Washington incumbent. And while I hate the lobbyist money as much as anyone... it's a reality. I'm just pointing it out.

I think this scenario is entirely plausible... and would make elections in Cheshire alotta fun!

Alternatively, she may choose to challenge Dodd directly... which would be fine with me. I think the question there would be the same question facing Chris Murphy... can you raise $1,000,000 in 2009? Frankly, I think either of them could do it... though it'd be grueling.

Tim White

C4Ls Bob Murphy on Paul vs. Bernanke

Here's a crosspost from Bob Murphy over at the Campaign for Liberty:

I'm sure most readers have by now seen the wonderful grilling Dr. Paul gave to Fed Chairman Bernanke. In his reply, Bernanke assured Dr. Paul that neither he nor other central bankers even discuss the idea of switching to gold, in the event that the fiat dollar system collapses.

Isn't that rather shocking? Doesn't the Pentagon have all kinds of contingency plans, like, "Here's how we'd invade France if for some reason the president ordered us to"? So you're telling me that with all of their staff economists, it never occurs to anyone in the Fed to draw up a contingency plan in case, say, China dumps its dollar assets and causes a global run?

What's worse--if Bernanke is telling the truth or lying?

Tim White

Dems - unions - guns = trouble in 2010

John Dingell (D-MI) has been a member of Congress for 50 years. He's been the Chair of the House Energy Committee since 1981. Today, he got ousted by Henry Waxman in a contest that pitted advocates of climate change and the environment against advocates of unions.

You may also recall that in 1999, Dingell was credited with having delivered votes to the GOP on legislation that was considered favorable to gun owners.

Speaker Pelosi best tread carefully here.

Her silence on this contest was viewed by many as tacit support of Waxman. If she doesn't deliver the bailout to Detroit, this may be the first shot across the bow in a looming fight with both unions and gun owners.

Although this leadership battle has absolutely nothing to do with the GOP... if Nancy Pelosi wants to still be called "Madam Speaker" in two years, she best proceed with caution.

Tim White

Congratulations to Marilyn Bartoli!

The Republican Town Committee met tonight. Following last week's surprise resignation of the Chairmanship by outgoing Steve Carroll,* the main news for the night was the election of Marilyn Bartoli as Chair. Congratulations to Marilyn!

She came with a plan tonight and will definitely get the Cheshire Republican Party moving forward, regardless of the difficulties that may face the national party.

Any word on who will be the new 1st District Council member?

Tim White

* Steve got a well-deserved standing ovation tonight.

Helicopter money

Bear got it. Fannie got it. Freddie got it. AIG got it. Now Detroit wants it.

Here's an excerpt from an email I got today on the problem inherent with Helicopter Money:

94% of American workers still have jobs and still have paychecks. What they lack is confidence and expensive gimmicks aren't going to get the buyers to quit the picket lines about buying houses and cars. Forget "hope" and "change"; the real election is being held with consumer's wallets and they have voted decisively for "none of the above"

I agree. It's all about confidence. And while I'm not an economist and don't know all the possible answers... a return to sound money or some variation on the gold standard seems good... though certainly painful... to me. Our current alternative to sound money - fiat money - doesn't work.

Bush decided to turn on the printing presses. And it seems that Obama's new found desire for deficit-spending starts with overtime pay for the guy running the printing press.

I now realize that my parents were untruthful with me.

Money does grow on trees.

Tim White

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2010 Dem Senate nomination to Chris Murphy?

Senator Chris Dodd has got political problems. Forget about the polls, he comes up in conversation all the time and even Dems are angry with him. So I'm convinced he may not get reelected in 2010. And if the Democratic Party's intelligentsia come to the same conclusion, they may begin to get concerned about losing (what has been for a few decades) a reliably Democratic Senate seat. And if that's the case, I'm guessing they'll start quietly looking for a credible Dem to primary him.

Obviously there are lots of possibilities, but one in particular comes to mind for me - Congressman Chris Murphy. He's certainly got the energy and ability to pull off an upset (though I'm not sure this'd be an upset). And while he's been elected to four different positions (PZC, state House, state Senate, US House), he's never held any of those positions for more than four years. So he clearly likes jumping into the thick of things and challenging himself personally.

I have differences with the Congressman, most notably his support of the bailout. But if the Democratic Party wants to keep their CT Senate seat past 2010, they'd be wise to encourage someone to primary Dodd. My suggestion is Chris Murphy.

Tim White

Trash disposal plant meeting 11/24

A meeting of the full Council and Solid Waste Committee has been scheduled for next Monday, November 24 at 7:30pm in Town Hall. I don't know if it'll be held in executive session.

Tim White

CHS air conditioning installation "kickoff meeting"

I was cleaning the house a bit today and came across this gem:So the "kickoff meeting" for the CHS air conditioning installation and heating retrofit project was on July 17, 2008. Even though we voted to proceed with this project in on March 27, 2008?

Nevermind the Charter-defined deadline for the Council to receive the annual capital budget proposal is July 15.

And yet the Council was surprised that the engineer had not completed his work by August 28?

As I've said before - at the confluence of energy and engineering, the Council majority is completely incompetent.

Tim White

Ron Paul after questioning Bernanke - 11/18/08

Congressman Ron Paul explains the incompleteness of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee yesterday:Great stuff. He makes economics and the problems of the bailout understandable.

Tim White

Firefighters sponsor food drive event

Tip-A-Firefighter Event to benefit the Cheshire Food Drive

“Come to eat, so others can too.”

This year, more than ever, there are Cheshire residents in need of food. The Cheshire Food Drive helps these individuals and families put food on the table through food vouchers and they need your help and support. On Thursday, November 20, 2008 the Cheshire Fire Department is teaming up with the Victorian House in Cheshire to host a Tip-A-Firefighter event from 5:00—9:00 PM. Cheshire Firefighters will support the wait-staff helping serve dinner. Please come to the Vic House and Tip a Firefighter - all donations go directly to the Cheshire Food Drive. We are asking Cheshire residents to help fellow Cheshire residents, while coming out for a nice dinner at the beautiful:

Victorian House Restaurant
226 Maple Ave
Thursday, November 20, 2008
5:00 - 9:00 PM

Cheshire Fire Department
Tip-A-Firefighter Event

Obama: "The Fiscal Conservative"

Having flip-flopped on FISA back in June, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by President-elect Obama's comfort with leaving his Senate website intact. I took this text directly from his website today - Nov 19, 2008:

Commonsense Budgeting Practices

Senator Obama believes that our current budgeting and borrowing practices are fiscally unwise and unsustainable. This is why he strongly supports and has voted for commonsense “Pay As You Go,” or “PayGo” rules, which would require any new increases in discretionary spending to be offset by a reduction in other areas of spending.

Federal Debt, Deficit Spending

Senator Obama voted against the most recent effort to raise the national debt limit. The current national debt has exceeded $8.6 trillion dollars, and nearly $4 trillion of that debt is now held by foreign governments. Our national debt and annual budget deficits effectively tax all Americans by adding to the amount of interest paid to service U.S. borrowing; Senator Obama would rather invest these hundreds of billions of dollars into national priorities, such as securing our homeland, improving our schools and providing needed benefits to our veterans.

Classic about-face I guess. Run on fiscal responsibility, get elected, then speak on the completely contradictory views you will use to govern. Unbelievable.

Here's an image of his Senate website as of today - Nov 19, 2008:
What I really don't understand is how President-elect Obama ran on a platform opposing President "Bush's failed economic policies."

What exactly is Obama doing differently?

Like Bush, Obama is clearly comfortable ignoring monetary policy and allowing the billionaire bankers to inflate the money supply and devalue our hard-earned dollars. And on fiscal policy, I guess Obama was suggesting that Bush's grossly irresponsible fiscal policy of deficit spending needed to be exacerbated?

Tim White

Deluca criticizes legislature

From the Courant's Christopher Keating:

Former Senate Republican leader Louis DeLuca lashed out Wednesday, saying that legislators were hypocrites for investigating his misdemeanor conviction last year and refusing to investigate numerous Democratic lawmakers regarding drunken driving, sexual abuse, engaging in a bar fight, witnessing a bribe, forging an application for public campaign funds, and having an affair with a legislative liaison.

Lou DeLuca needed to resign or get booted from office. But he's also 100% correct to point out the hypocrisy of the legislature.

Of course, the problem wasn't so much that the legislature wanted to boot him.


The legislature was comfortable ignoring his problems. They (both R & D) only pressured him because of the immense public pressure coming to bear on the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil Gang of 187.

I'm glad DeLuca blasted 'em though. They absolutely deserve it.

Tim White

F&S Oil biodiesel plant may go to Citizens Bank

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The court-appointed receiver overseeing the liquidation of F&S Oil has filed a motion in Superior Court to turn over a biofuels plant the firm had been developing in Cheshire to Citizens Bank after failing to auction off the plant for a fair price.

Though the plant had been set for auction several times over the past few months, the auction finally opened on October 23 to non-stellar results:

The Oct. 23 auction produced one approved bidder for the entire plant: Total Energy Solutions, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based home-heating oil and gasoline provider. Total Energy Solutions offered $75,000 for the plant, plus a percentage of the profits over a 10-year period.

But at the auction, which included a piecemeal sell-off of all the components of the plant that netted only about $54,000, the decision was made to keep the sale open for another three weeks.

During that time, Helming said, it has become evident that “a confluence of issues — landlord interference, declining economic conditions, declining fuel prices and rapidly developing technology” make it impossible for him to sell the plant for anything approaching the $4.3 million that was spent by F&S developing the plant.

I hope this saga comes to a close soon... and prepaid customers get back something... though I'm guessing it'll be less than what they are owed.

It'd also be nice if the plant could finally open and create some jobs. I'd much rather spend my money in Cheshire, than in Saudi Arabia.

Tim White

Another $45,000 spent on the pool

The MRJs Jesse Buchanan reports on the continued unnecessary spending at the pool:

While some projects in this year's capital budget are on hold due to uncertainty about the state and town budgets...

The roof will receive $45,000 worth of improvements to combat leaking and other problems associated with the pool - issues that the town has been battling for years.

"We've tried to deal with them incrementally as we could afford to deal with them," said

I wonder how much money has actually been spent for the perpetual reconstruction of the pool?

"When you have a pitched roof that connects to a flat roof, we have a problem," (staff) said. "We can fight the flat roof forever and it still has the inherent problem."

Staff are doing their job. They've been dealt a bad hand.

The failure here is in leadership. This Council wants to ignore the pool at all costs... including this $45,000 repair job.

As for my alternative, I say it becomes a summer-only facility or gets an energy-efficient utilitarian structure with a rapid payback. Too bad the Council majority spends all their time looking for bureaucratic support instead of bipartisan support.

Tim White

State budget woes increasingly serious

Today's MRJ has a piece on the current projections for the state budget deficit for this year and for the next few years.

State lawmakers grappled with reality Tuesday when two state budget agencies presented sobering projections for this fiscal year and the three that follow....

Revenue sources are below what was initially projected, and the state's 2008 surplus is experiencing a decline, budget officials said, noting that the there is a projected deficit in capital gain and non-withheld income tax.

A rising unemployment rate, a slow housing market and a declining stock market also play a role, said Robert L. Genuario, the governor's budget director....

"It could very well get worse," Genuario told a subdued group of lawmakers, adding that the state might have to make difficult decisions several times before the fiscal year comes to a close - much like it did in 2002. (by Amanda Falcone)

A few weeks ago, the Council was being told to not expect any mid-year funding cuts from the state. Regardless, we all knew there was an election and few incumbent politicians will be 100% candid and direct about bad news before an election. So I still suggested an immediate hiring freeze for the town... rather than hiring people today who may get laid off in six months. I also applauded Councilman Ruocco's call for a mid-year budget review and continued calling for spending controls on stuff like the unlimited gasoline for the town's nearly two dozen take home vehicles and a clamp on the overnight travel for conferences and seminars around the country.

And what changes have been instituted?

(insert crickets here)

Tim White

Obama signalling choice for EPA Administrator?

In today's NYTimes, there's an article about Daschle and HRC as Secretaries for Obama. Further into the article is this:

On other fronts, the Obama transition team on Wednesday named seven policy working groups that will help to transform campaign promises to specific initiatives. Among the group leaders will be a... former director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Carol M. Browner, for energy and the environment. All four of those served in the Clinton administration. (By HELENE COOPER and PETER BAKER)

Does anyone here speak Washington-speak? Is this Obama signalling his intention to appoint Carol Browner as the next EPA Administrator? I'm still hoping that Dan Esty gets it.

Tim White

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ron Paul vs. Ben Bernanke 11/18/08

Here is Congressman Ron Paul's five minutes of speaking time during today's House Financial Services Committee meeting:

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke makes two interesting points:

1) the dollar is now strong and considered a safe haven by foreign investors.

2) central banks are selling their gold.

On the surface, I think Bernanke's arguments seem reasonable enough and one may conclude that American monetary policy is working.

But elsewhere today, Ron Paul offered two counterpoints:

1) the dollar only appears strong momentarily as foreign investors by US dollars as a prelude to buying US assets, such as factories and buildings. So it's not that "smart money" wants US dollars... they want US assets.

2) selling gold is a short-term tactic, not a long-term strategy, to build confidence.

As for my view on central banks selling gold, their argument is nonsense. I read an article recently about a huge increase in "gold jewelry" sales in India. The author opined that gold as an investment vehicle was old-fashioned and no longer used.


I lived in Vietnam from 1995 to 1998. Did they buy/sell houses in the local currency? No. Did they buy/sell houses in US dollars? No.

They bought/sold houses in gold! And just last month (at my current job) a Vietnamese coworker of mine said the same thing happens today... no one in their right mind would accept US dollars for a house in Vietnam. Similarly, in India and in China the gold jewelry that so many people wear... well... sure it's jewelry... but it's also an investment! And those two countries are... what? About a third of the world's population?

Gold hasn't lost its value as the defacto reserve currency for the world. But a bunch of central planners central bankers may have lost their mind if they think gold is irrelevant.

Tim White

Corruption arrest in Shelton

SHELTON — Federal agents arrested prominent local developer James Botti Monday morning for allegedly bribing a public official to get support for Bridgeport Avenue development projects. (NHR, by Michelle Tuccitto Sullo)


There's corruption alleged in Corrupticut!

I'm surprised that state Rep. Vickie "subpoena power is a nuanced issue" Nardello isn't jumping up and down demanding that States Attorneys be given the power to investigate political corruption!

Even more astonishing is that state Rep. Mary "I'm just going to ignore the I-84 fiasco" Fritz isn't taking action!

It's painfully true that our state has earned its nickname.

I feel like my expectations are so low for CTs elected officials that I might actually vote for someone who runs on a campaign slogan of "I'm not corrupt!"

Btw, also pay close attention to who made the arrest - federal agents. In Corrupticut, you'll never need to worry about state law enforcement having the ability to prosecute you.

Tim White

A letter from the Engineer, P.E. (hWg 45)

I got this letter from Norton Boiler Project's "consulting engineer"* yesterday:I also have a copy of the punch list. I may add that tomorrow, but figured I'd let you start by digesting this.

Tim White

* I use the phrase "consulting engineer" to indicate that he's not a town employee.

Al Adinolfi on CTs "Clean Elections"

Here's a five minute clip that profiles several 2008 State Legislative candidates and their views on public funding for their campaigns:
Al is featured about a minute or two into the video.

Tim White

Obama supports increasing deficit spending

As anyone with TV probably already knows:

The United States government should not worry about deficits over the next two years while spending money to jumpstart the ailing economy, President-elect Barack Obama said in a television interview that aired on Sunday. (Reuters, by Jeff Mason)

The Audacity of Hope?!

More like The Audacity of Failing to Recognize the Significance of the Double Whammy of Grossly Negligient Monetary Policy and Exacerbating Egregiously Irresponsible Fiscal Policy.

While President-elect Obama continues to ignore the advice of the founder of his party (Andrew Jackson), he intends to create an even bigger problem by following FDRonomics and increase deficit spending. And while I totally disagree with that approach, I add that America and the US dollar are in a much more precarious situation than in 1933.

Measured by any economic metric of which I'm aware, there's little similarity between 2008 and 75 years ago. We're already in way over our heads:

Tim White

Monday, November 17, 2008

PBC Chairman on Norton boiler conclusion? (hWg 44)

Here is the PBC Chairman speaking to the Council at the November 12 meeting: So is the Norton Boiler project finally done? Will the door finally be shut on hotWatergate?

To be continued....

Tim White

The crack of the gavel

This video:has generated quite a few comments. And though I mentioned this before, I want to mention it again... as I was sitting there I didn't get the sense that the Superintendent was suggesting that I (or anyone else in Council Chambers) was a crook selling "interest only mortgages," etc. And he did apologize to Councilman Ruocco after the camera was turned away. So he was very much a gentleman. However, I can see why Councilman Ruocco inferred that, even though I didn't take it that way.

And not to defend Chairman Hall's choice of words, but one thing that is somewhat lost in the video is the crack of the gavel. I recall it being louder than what is captured in the video. I guess my point is that the atmosphere of the meeting isn't really captured in the video. It definitely felt much more tense while I was sitting there, than it is watching it online from the comfort of home.

Tim White

Dog park discussed

The Herald's John Rook offers this piece on Thursday's dog park discussion.

Plans for a new dog park in Cheshire continue to move forward as interested residents attempt to make the idea into a reality.

Currently, the group hopes to secure the old landfill site off of Route 70 — adjacent to Artsplace — and utilize approximately four acres of the land.

The initial cost of the fence is expected to be approximately $8,700, estimated Meyerjack, who added that $25,000 would be needed to truly get the project off the ground and running. “That would mostly go towards fencing, parking, and infrastructure,” he commented.

Tim White

Detroit bailout may fail, but we're still on the wrong course

The AP has a writeup on the increasinly unlikely bailout for Detroit:

Bailout fatigue has set in at the White House and on Capitol Hill, where many in both parties have spent the past few weeks being berated by constituents for agreeing to the $700 billion Wall Street rescue. (By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS)

That's fantastic news, if true. Unfortunately, just because they correctly avoid making a bad monetary policy decision doesn't mean they will make a good monetary policy decision. A return to sound money would be far too painful for most Beltway Insiders.

But America needs sound money - a gold standard or something similar.

As Alan Greenspan wrote in 1966:

In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.

"Confiscation through inflation... gold stands in the way of this insidious process."

What I find most sad about the insidious inflation tax is that the ones hardest hit are those most in need. America needs to stop the bailouts of these mismanaged companies, instead using the little political capital that exists in Washington to begin the painful process of a return to sound money.

Tim White

Informal notes on today's "state of the State"

This info was included in an email I received today. The bullet points are notes taken from a "state of the State" given today by the executive branch:

- Revenue declines (state sales tax, corporate tax, casino revenues, etc) are all trending downward at an “alarming” rate.

- The Dow is down roughly 35% from a year ago, the financial industry no longer exists as we once knew. Declines in Wall St. revenues, including year-end bonuses, will have a significant negative impact on Connecticut revenues.

- Since July 1, 2008, state revenues have declined by $370 million (from projections).

- Declines are evident across all industries, bar none.

- We are not in a period of low-growth income (personal), we are in a period of no-growth income.

- Every indication that this trend will continue. Economists do not believe that we will see the “bottom” until 3rd or 4th quarter of 2009.

- The state is projecting a deficit of $2.6 billion and $3.3 billion in the next two fiscal years – for maintenance only budget (i.e. no new spending).

- Unemployment in CT rose from 6.1% to 6.6% in one weekend (last week).
State has not seen this sort of decline since the Great Depression.

- On Monday, Nov. 24, 2009 special session will convene to address current budget shortfalls. This will be the “easy” part.

- State is scrutinizing all aspect of budget (expenditures), talking to unions.

- Rainy day fund is at $1.2 to $1.3 billion, not nearly enough to cover shortfalls.

- Governor feels any tax increase is the worst thing the state could do at this time.

So I guess I wasn't too far off when I suggested CT may experience actual wage reductions over the next few years. As of today, we apparently have no income growth.

Tim White

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The reality of this "global economic summit"

I know economics bores most people, including me. But I found this five minute clip by Ron Paul to be an easy-to-understand explanation on the meaning / history / future of Bush's G20 economic summit. I hope you watch it. The issues involved (the value and very existence of the US dollar) are far more important to the future of the republic, than anything happening here in Cheshire:
My solution for American economic woes is fairly simple - legalize the U.S. Constitution:

The Congress shall have Power To... coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standards of Weights and Measures.

A well tailored suit costs about $800 today... or one oz. of gold. 100 years ago*, a well tailored suit also cost about one ounce of gold.

We need to return to sound money.

Tim White

* 100 years ago was before the creation of America's current central bank - The Fed.

Anybody else notice the signs on Route 10 near the center of town:

Looks like one-stop shopping for both youth and adult sports. Anyone know who is behind it?

Tim White

Turmelle on demolition delay ordinance

The NHRs Luther Turmelle wrote this piece on the Historic District Commission's proposed demolition delay ordinance.

Tim White

Even liberal-leaning Courant questions travel

Even the liberal-leaning Hartford Courant has begun to question the need for all of the faraway conferences & seminars attended by municipal (Hartford) officials:

Majority Leader rJo Winch, for example, has taken at least four trips to conferences or other events since the summer of last year. This week she was in Orlando for a National League of Cities meeting. Reasonable travel for professional development is normally a good thing. But in these difficult times, travel should be cut back.

Don't worry about Cheshire though. Just as soon as the Council's Rubber Stamp majority is given authorization to question Cheshire's trips around the country, I'm sure they'll be all over it. Until then though, it'll continue to be considered heresy.

I guess the Jedi Mind Trick doesn't work on the Courant?

Tim White

Courant on Blue Back Square

The Courant suggests that Blue Back has been great for West Hartford.

I don't see any comparison to Cheshire though. Much of the article suggests that Blue Back is a success because of its integration with existing West Hartford's city streets. Cheshire's proposed north end development is, for the most part, not near existing Cheshire foot traffic.

Tim White

Some may call Speaker-to-be Donovan a "rubber stamp"

The MRJs Amanda Falcone did this piece on Speaker-to-be Chris Donovan of Meriden.

My favorite line in the article is from outgoing Speaker Jim "You want turf? I got turf!" Amann:

"Certain people may say he is a rubberstamp for unions," Amann said of Donovan. "He has to prove everyone wrong."

I can't believe someone would call a politician a "rubber stamp!" Oh wait, I forgot. US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi kinda called some other pols a bunch of rubber stampers. I guess the term is within bounds.

Current Speaker Jim Amann built some name recognition in Cheshire during the past year when he earmarked $525,000 of his annual $12,000,000 slush fund annual $12,000,000 discretionary fund for turf at the high school.

Tim White

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My concerns about the economy and the teachers' union contract

At this moment in time, I would very much prefer a one year contract. That's because I fear in the next few years that America's grossly irresponsible fiscal policy and grossly negligient monetary policy may come home to roost. As for the possible consequences of The Incumbent Party's failure of leadership for the past several decades, one particular economic concept and a real life example comes to mind:

hyperinflation and the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic

Btw, I'm astounded at how many times the Ruocco / Florio / Slocum video has been viewed - nearly 150. If you look at most of my video clips on YouTube, they're more in the 30 to 40 range. It must be because it front-paged over at UTH!

Tim White

Salary value of contemporaneously settled teachers' union contracts in CT

Here is the information that the Council was seeing on Wednesday night:As happens all too often, we got this info at the time of the vote. But between seeing the Middletown contract and hearing the comments from Council members Altieri and Esty, I quickly concluded that a one year contract may be both in the best interest of the town... and something that may get the support of five Council members. But I was wrong.

Tim White

Ron Paul on Cavuto 11/15/08

At the end, Congressman Paul comments that it is illegal for Americans to even know what US central planners central bankers even say to the politburo... no... central planners... no... the central bankers of other countries. If true, that's wrong on so many levels.

Tim White

Town Committee updates

I understand the Democratic Town Committee is meeting today to discuss their recommendation for the upcoming 1st District Council seat vacancy. Anyone know anything?

And the Republican Town Committee Chairman, Steve Carroll, resigned last night. I thank Steve for his years of service to both the Republican party and the Town. Steve served as a member of the Town Council from 2003 - 2005.

Tim White

Friday, November 14, 2008

Glad we have those "safeguards!"

Most regulars here know that I've been vehemently opposed to the bailout from the beginning.* I opposed it for a variety of reasons, including:

1) I didn't know what the Gang of 535 + Bernanke + Bush + Paulson was doing and

2) The Gang of 535 admitted
they didn't know what they were doing.

Nonetheless, they bragged about increasing Paulson's 3-page proposal to a 450-page proposal... thereby instituting "safeguards" for The People. Funny thing is, The People know the additional 447 pages are not safeguards, never were safeguards and are nothing but $150 billion of pork. Anyway...

Here is Congressman Chris Murphy's response* to my phone calls and emails from the runup to the bailout votes:

And now it's all over the press that Paulson is not buying those "troubled assets" (such as mortgage-backed securities - MBS'). Instead, he's buying banks.*

As I pointed out yesterday, I'm so pleased we have those well-designed safeguards that contributed to Congressman Murphy's support for the bailout. And, of course, he was also pleased to put a lid on executive compensation. And we all know how "well" that worked.

Seriously though... this bailout was wrong from the very beginning. It's fatally flawed because it's based on the theory that "money does grow on trees!" That's absurd and it will lead to inflation and more problems for all of us.

As for our Congressman, he was just reelected and I congratulate him. Furthermore, I believe that economics can be one of the most boring subjects in the world. Nonetheless, his freshman term is nearly finished. It's past time for Congressman Murphy to cowboy up and learn economics... learn about the competing schools of thought on monetary policy... learn about the differences between fiat money and sound money... learn about the phrase "not worth a Continental"... and learn about an issue that could destroy the republic.*

Tim White

* Unlike Dodd and Lieberman, Murphy responded promptly. And I still would support Murphy in a primary against Dodd for the Senate.
* One could argue that the banks are troubled assets, but I doubt anyone would fall for that spin.
* first mentioned on TWL on Sept 24.
* unlikely though it is in the near future

Taxes to increase 3%?

From the MRJ:

"I think next year will be a unique challenge in town," said Michael Ecke, budget committee chairman. "The reality is the budget can't grow by more than 3 percent because the people won't be able to afford it."

He addresses the budget - not taxes, not spending. But since most people don't speak in terms of affording town spending or affording town budgets... I'm guessing he's suggesting next year's tax increase will be no more than 3%.

Any other takes on his comment?

Tim White

Unpaid employee holidays

Someone called me tonight and offered me a cost-savings idea for the town:

unpaid employee holidays

The idea is simply to allow ee's to take days off without pay. I like the idea. I know I'd take advantage of it... not too often obviously, but most people have busy times and slow times.

I doubt (and hope*) there would (not) be too much savings here, but there may be some. So why not discuss it? Heck, if people took an additional six half days per year... that'd be three full days out of 250 workdays per year... or more than a 1% savings in the budget. And if the town's salary budget is $20 million... that's an annual savings of $200,000.

Alternatively, my company allows people to "buy" one week of vacation. In other words, if you make $52,000 / year... then you can buy five vacation days for $1,000. I take advantage of that option every year and love it.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this would impact the contractual agreement with a union. But I still think the idea has merit and should be considered.

Tim White

* If we have some people taking months off, one has to begin wondering if the town is overstaffed.

Teachers' union contract discussion heats up

Here's the five minute clip that everyone seems to be talking about:

I wonder if this one will get the link emailed and go viral?

Tim White

"Strict conditions" and "European-style" nationalization?

Some choice quotes from today's the NYTimes on Paulson's bailout and his Democratic Rubber Stamp Congress that foolishly claimed to have included safeguards (By EDMUND L. ANDREWS):

“The consequences of a collapse of the American automobile industry would be particularly troublesome,” said Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Mr. Frank said the assistance would come with strict conditions aimed at protecting taxpayers.

Some Republican lawmakers have already objected, saying the effort would amount to throwing good money after bad. But the White House on Wednesday left the door open to a legislative compromise with Congress.

Strict conditions? Just like those "safeguards" that Barney put in place?

Continuing on:

In September, Mr. Paulson went to Congress and urgently pressed for authority to spend as much as $700 billion to unclog the nation’s financial pipelines by buying up unsellable securities from banks and other financial institutions.

But by the time Congress approved the bailout law in early October, Mr. Paulson and the chairman of the Federal Reserve,
Ben S. Bernanke, were already shifting to a strategy he had actually opposed: buying equity stakes directly in American banks, a move that was reminiscent of European-style nationalization.

European-style nationalization?

Interesting analogy, but when it comes to nationalizing industry I have some other not-so-nice guys come to mind.

I'd love to see a bipartisan coalition of the unwilling emerge from this fiasco. Maybe Senators Russ Feingold and Jim DeMint should get together for a coffee. They seem to me to be among the few clear-thinking members of Congress remaining.

Tim White

Cheshire's pro-amnesty Republicans

Cheshire's four Republican Town Council members are all pro-amnesty.

While there are many grassroots Cheshire Republicans who oppose amnesty and don't believe books should be allowed to enter the library illegally, the four pro-amnesty Republicans voted last night to allow the return of undocumented books to the Cheshire Public Library without punishment.

From the MRJs Jesse Buchanan:

The fines on a long-overdue library book may be enough to bail out a small investment banking firm, but during second week in December, patrons will be able to return their materials without penalties.

The Town Council unanimously approved the fines amnesty week

And if you possess an illegal undocumented book, please return it!... along with some food for those in need.

Tim White