Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blog traffic

I've had several people ask me about the level of "traffic" at this blog. So here January's daily traffic activity:And for some explanation... this is the number of "unique visits" per day, not "unique visitors." Based on my review of IP addresses, there are 60 to 100 unique visitors per day. And that includes people outside of Cheshire who happen to google things like "Obama monetary policy," which drives people here.

I'm guessing that this blog gets about 50-80 unique Cheshire visitors per day. That includes the press, Town Hall, Council members, Town Committee members (R&D) and... most of you who are in no way related to any of those groups... you're just concerned about your town.

Finally, those 50-80 visitors do not visit every day... some of you do, but many of you don't. So the total number of people who visit on a regular, but not daily, basis is something north of that... probably a few hundred unique Cheshire visitors stop by on a weekly basis. But these are guesses, I can't speak to any of these numbers with absolute certainty.

And speaking of the blog... if any of you have topics of interest, I'm happy to have front-page guest posts.

Tim White

Gov. Rell to prep state for budget cuts

From the Courant's Capitol Watch:

For the first time in more than 4½ years in office, Gov. M. Jodi Rell will make a live, televised address to the state Monday night to warn citizens about impending cuts in the state budget.

Rell has asked the major television networks for time to speak during the 6 p.m. newscasts, and she expects to receive permission from them all.

Tim White

BOE begins shuffling the budget along

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The Board of Education’s Finance Committee voted unanimously Thursday to forward a $60.59 million budget proposal for 2009-10 on to the full board for further review, but not before hearing from residents about where — and whether — cuts should be made.

Tim White

Town resident has cure for America's ills

President Obama has tasked Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke with "fixing the economy." Sure we all know that Geithner doesn't how to use turbotax. But I'm sure he'll do a great job "fixing the economy."

Regardless, who cares about the economy?

We need to focus on healthcare, since no one can afford it. Heck, even former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle had trouble affording his health insurance I gather... so much so that, like Tim Geithner, Daschle couldn't afford to pay his taxes.

But we need not wait for Geithner, Bernanke and Daschle to cure the country's ills. A town resident emailed me today with this brilliant suggestion that could fix the economy and seriously address the high cost of healthcare by the end of the year:

I'm not paying anymore taxes, because I forgot, used bad software, my dad was sick and it cost too much.

All kidding aside... are Dodd and Lieberman actually going to vote to confirm Daschle? They both voted for Geithner. And why is Obama sticking with Daschle?

Tim White

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dodd gets indignant, needs an english lesson

Senator Chris Dodd is getting indignant over executive compensation. From The Caucus' Kate Phillips:

Senator Dodd earlier this afternoon fired a warning shot at Wall Street firms who doled out those bonuses, despite the financial crisis and mega-bailout plan, saying they would be summoned before his committee if taxpayer money were involved in any way.

“Whether it was used directly or indirectly, this infuriates the American people and rightly so,” Senator Dodd said, referring to the
findings of an annual report released on Wednesday by the New York State comptroller. “So I say to anyone else who does it, if you do it, I’m going to bring you before the committee.”

Uh-oh... I'm sure all those highly paid executives are quaking in their boots! They may have to go before the committee!

All kidding aside, I don't see what the executives should fear.

Last fall I was convinced that The Chief Architect of The Bailout had failed with his bill... and I didn't even need to read it. But now that Dodd is getting all indignant, I felt compelled to research his "bill with safeguards." So here's the text of his "safeguard against excessive executive compensation."


(a) APPLICABILITY.—Any financial institution that sells troubled assets to the Secretary under this Act shall be subject to the executive compensation requirements of subsections (b) and (c) and the provisions under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as provided under the amendment by section 302, as applicable.


(1) IN GENERAL.—Where the Secretary determines that the purposes of this Act are best met through direct purchases of troubled assets from an individual financial institution where no bidding process or market prices are available, and the Secretary receives a meaningful equity or debt position in the financial institution as a result of the transaction, the Secretary shall require that the financial institution meet appropriate standards for executive compensation and corporate governance.

The standards required under this subsection shall be effective for the duration of the period that the Secretary holds an equity or debt position in the financial institution.

(2) CRITERIA.—The standards required under this subsection shall include—

(A) limits on compensation that exclude incentives for senior executive officers of a financial institution to take unnecessary and excessive risks that threaten the value of the financial institution during the period that the Secretary holds an equity or debt position in the financial institution;

(B) a provision for the recovery by the financial institution of any bonus or incentive compensation paid to a senior executive officer based on statements of earnings, gains, or other criteria that are later proven to be materially inaccurate; and

(C) a prohibition on the financial institution making any golden parachute payment to its senior executive officer during the period that the Secretary holds an equity or debt position in the financial institution.

(3) DEFINITION.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘‘senior executive officer’’ means an individual who is one of the top 5 highly paid executives of a public company, whose compensation is required to be disclosed pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and any regulations issued thereunder, and non-public company counterparts.

(c) AUCTION PURCHASES.—Where the Secretary determines that the purposes of this Act are best met through auction purchases of troubled assets, and only where such purchases per financial institution in the aggregate exceed $300,000,000 (including direct purchases), the Secretary shall prohibit, for such financial institution, any new employment contract with a senior executive officer that provides a golden parachute in the event of an involuntary termination, bankruptcy filing, insolvency, or receivership. The Secretary shall issue guidance to carry out this paragraph not later than 2 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and such guidance shall be effective upon issuance.

(d) SUNSET.—The provisions of subsection (c) shall apply only to arrangements entered into during the period during which the authorities under section 101(a) are in effect, as determined under section 120.

(Emphasis mine)

Can anyone find Waldo find the safeguards? I see the part that mentions the five highest paid executives. But that's it. Furthermore, my take on this is that the Tax-Cheat-in-Chief Treasury Secretary is supposed to decide on reasonable compensation levels?

Yeah, I'm sure Geithner will do what is in the best interest of the American people and not what is in his own best interest. I'm so happy Dodd and Lieberman voted to confirm Tim "I'm above the law" Geithner!

Dodd is out of control. Don't get me wrong though... I don't want my tax dollars going to pay for Wall Street bonuses. But first things first.

Our senior Senator needs to return to kindergarten for an english lesson he never had. He needs to learn five simple words:

"I screwed up. I'm sorry."

But instead, he gets indignant... just as he did last fall when he blamed everything on Bush and didn't take one iota of blame... even though he had moved to Iowa and enrolled his daughter in school, instead of minding the ship.

Dodd is even more full of himself than Lieberman.

Tim White

2008 grand list numbers

Here are some of the high-level numbers for the 2008 grand list:Tim White

Significant factors impacting 2008 grand list








CONN LIGHT & POWER: +7,767,701
BOZZUTOS +1,319,460




Tim White

Town Hall announces Oct 1, 2008 grand list

Earlier today, the Council got this from Town Hall:

Town Manager Michael A. Milone announced that the net Grand List for October 1, 2008 is $2,821,979,070 which is an increase of $291,419,744 or 11.52% over the October 1, 2007 Grand List.

The growth in the net Grand List is reflected in the following components: Real Estate grew by $293,191,904 or 13.18%, Personal Property increased by $7,359,757143 or 7.21% and Motor Vehicles decreased by $9,131,917 or 4.47%.

The current Real Estate Grand List is the result of the State-mandated Property Revaluation. The Town of Cheshire hired Total Valuation Services LLC. to assist the Assessor’s Office in performing this Revaluation. All assessments are based on 70% of market value as of October 1, 2008.

It should be noted that there is an additional $35,321,978 in personal property and vehicles, an increase of $5,866,977 over last year, that is identified, but not added to the Grand List, because it is exempted under a State Statute which provides property tax exemptions for manufacturing machinery and equipment and heavy duty trucks. However, the State provides a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to compensate municipalities for a majority of this tax loss.

Property owners wishing to appeal their 2008 Grand List real estate, business personal property assessment, or their 2007 supplemental motor vehicle assessment before the Board of Assessment Appeals must submit a written application to the Board on or before February 20, 2009. These forms are currently available on and from the Assessor’s Office in the Town Hall at 84 S Main St. By state statute, an appeal can be heard only if the written request has been submitted on the prescribed form to the Cheshire Board of Assessment Appeals by February 20, 2009.

For more information on the assessment appeals process, the public should contact the Assessor’s Office at 271-6620.

Tim White

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pool bubble study meeting 1/30

Just a quick post to add the link to Jesse Buchanan's take on last night's pool bubble study meeting.

Tim White

Geithner continues opposing transparency

Bloomberg News continues their quest for open government by holding President Obama to his word that he will have the most transparent and accountable administration in American history. Unfortunately for Obama, only a week into his administration and his actions don't meet his words. Frankly, he looks a bit hypocritical.

The problem?

Tim Geithner. As I've explained (here, here, here, here and here), Geithner dislikes operating in the open. He seems to believe his actions need not be known to the public.

From Bloomberg's Mark Pittman and Alison Fitzgerald earlier today, January 29:

Bloomberg News asked the Treasury Department Jan. 26 to disclose what securities it backed over the past two months in a second round of actions to prop up Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. Department spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Jan. 27 she would seek an answer. None had been provided by the close of business yesterday.

As Congress debates an $875 billion economic stimulus bill, the guarantees represent a less publicized commitment. The public’s stake has grown along with assurances tying the Treasury to the fate of corporate loans and securities backed by home mortgages, car loans and credit card debt....

Late yesterday, Geithner’s office put hundreds of pages about the fund on the department’s Web site. They did not include documents describing the guaranteed assets.

But don't worry... I'm just a little overboard with this transparency stuff. I almost forgot that The Fed need not disclose information when "trade secrets or national security" is at risk. Yup. I guess Geithner just figures that the first $350 billion in bailouts relates to national security.

Each day I learn more about The Fed. And each day I get closer to echoing the call "End the Fed!"

Who does this guy think he is? James Bond?

Tim White

p.s. Thanks to Pittman and Fitzgerald for following this. The Gang of 535 is obviously useless on this issue.

Obama's stimulus package for Cheshire schools

Yesterday the US House passed the Obama Stimulus Package. According to the House website, the bill includes:

$168,800 for school construction costs in 2009
$543,400 for IDEA in 2009
$625,700 for IDEA in 2010

Here is the IDEA website. From the website:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.

Btw, we all know that this money will get appropriated and get spent however the BOE pleases. So I think it's fair to say that while this money will do squat to "create jobs," it will likely maintain a bunch of teaching positions.

Tim White

Sindland on Rep. O'Rourke and Sinisgalli death

Shelly Sindland is asking questions about what happened the night state Rep. Jim O'Rourke was the last person to see Carol Sinisgalli alive.

Tim White

Esty to host "What's brewing?"

From the NHR:

State Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Cheshire, invites residents to meet with her from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Greenwich Coffee, 209 W. Main St.

“What’s Brewing?” is an opportunity for residents to share thoughts and concerns with Esty, ask her questions, and get help.

You can also call her at home or email her at:

Elizabeth.Esty at

And visit her website at

Tim White

BL Companies lays off 25, proposes on Town project

BL Companies in Meriden laid off 25 people. BL may be unknown to many of you. At least I had never heard of them until recently when they responded to the town's RFP for a building infrastructure review... a review that got proposals with price tags in the six figures.

Btw, that review came up at the Energy Commission on Monday night. And though this review had been billed (to some degree) as an alternative to a townwide energy audit... when discussed by the EC... the energy component of the RFP was believed to be less in scope than a comprehensive energy audit. So I'm not happy about that because I got the sense that this infrastructure review was supposed to include a comprehensive energy audit. And not that the town needs to do everything right now... but why the lack of communication? I mean, what's the point of having the Energy Commission if they're not in the loop on energy issues?

If we're going to discuss energy issues, particularly townwide energy issues, then the EC ought to be part of the process.

The lack of communication is ridiculous. And in fairness, I'll point out that the EC didn't meet for the past two months (they never meet in December). But they first discussed the infrastructure RFP (probably) last spring or summer. So if the RFPs energy component was not a last minute addition, then there was plenty of time to get it on the ECs agenda.

Alternatively, I suspect it was a last minute addition... which is not necessarily bad. But it would raise the question... why the poor planning? And who's responsible for the poor planning?

I'm so tired of this Council's complete incompetence at the confluence of energy and engineering.

Tim White

Saving money thru energy conservation

Tonight's forum on reducing your energy bills went well. There were a few attendees, besides the speakers. No press showed up, but how could they? There was a pool meeting tonight! Haha... actually, I didn't go to the pool meeting. So I have no idea if any journalists were there.

Here's the handout that Carol Wilson was using as a guide for easy energy conservation:For other cost-savings ideas, you can compare electricity prices at the CTEnergyInfo website here or find other ways to save energy at the CL&P website here. And of course, please visit the new Cheshire Energy Commission website built by EC member Peter Takizawa.

I'll try to post the video by this weekend. In the meantime, I'm guessing that Henry Chase will replay it on Channel 14... unless he's running a PZC meeting.

Tim White

Ordinance Review agenda - Feb 5

There's an Ordinance Review Committee meeting next Thursday at 7:30pm in Town Hall.

Here are the agenda items for discussion:

3. Video-streaming on website.
4. Aquifer fees ordinance amendment.
5. Volunteer firefighters’ tax abatement extension.
6. Public Building Commission ordinance revision.
7. Demolition delay ordinance.
8. Historic District fees.
9. Massage parlor ordinance.
10. Parking tickets and alarms fines ordinance.

Two of the items jump out at me. First is the videostreaming - I support it 100%. Second is the massage parlor ordinance. I don't know the details of the proposed ordinance, but I really dislike the idea of fingerprinting every masseuse in town. It's too much big brother for me.

Tim White

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday's energy forum: saving money

The Cheshire Energy Commission will be sponsoring an energy forum dedicated to helping you reduce your home energy costs. The forum will be Thursday January 29 @ 7pm in Town Hall.

Scheduled presenters include:

Carol Wilson - Wilson Educational Services & Vice-Chair of the Energy Commission - speaking on home heating fuel conservation

Pam Hall - CL&P - speaking on electricity & natural gas conservation

Michelle Piccerillo - Cheshire's Youth & Social Services Department - speaking on Operation Fuel and low-income heating assistance

I hope you can attend. If not, you should be able to catch it on Cox Channel 14.

In the meantime if you want some ideas to begin saving on energy costs, check out this Courant article by Lynn Doan.

Tim White

Obama's economic plan explained

President Obama's stimulus package got through the first vote in the House:

The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama's frequent pleas for bipartisan support.

I'm glad Obama is reaching out to Rs, but I'm also glad the GOP is standing their ground... even though their credibility was largely destroyed last fall when they supported Bush's Bailout. Nonetheless, there are a few Rs who are still credible as fiscal conservatives, such as John Shadegg, Jeff Flake and Ron Paul.

Anyway, I opposed the Bush Bailout and I oppose the Obama Stimulus Package.

But what is Obama's real plan?

ABCs Jake Tapper explains in this report on a meeting between Obama and House Rs:

the president said the stimulus is just one leg in a multi-legged stool to get economy going. Other legs include getting credit lines moving, cleaning out troubled assets, restoring confidence to lenders and dealing with the housing market more aggressively. The idea being that the stimulus bill is just the first step.

Can someone explain to me how Obama's policies on getting credit lines moving, cleaning out troubled assets, restoring confidence to lenders and dealing with the housing market are different from President Bush?

Oh wait! Obama is going to be more aggressive!

For instance, the WaPo reports that $700 billion wasn't enough. It seems Obama thinks that Bush was fiscally restrained when it came to his Billionaire Bankers' Bailout. Now Obama wants to up the ante!

Ahhh... anyone remember the Good Ole' Days when the $200 billion Fannie / Freddie bailout was going to fix everything?

This government interference was a catastrophe last fall and it continues to be a catastrophe. Propping up overpriced assets doesn't work. The malinvestment needs to be liquidated. No one wants to take the hit, but that'll be the quickest path to recovery. Liquidation, though painful, works.

Here's an anecdote that speaks volumes:

On Sunday I spoke with a friend of mine who lives in Phoenix, the heart of the mortgage meltdown. Last week he bought a house there. The house sold for $220,000 in April 2007.

How much did my buddy pay?

Just a tad over $60,000. Yup. He bought it off foreclosure. And I'm sure a bunch of people took hits on that - the former occupant, the mortgage lien holder, the city (when he challenges his property value), etc. But the bottom line is simple...

The malinvestment had to be liquidated.

Too bad we don't have people in Washington with the courage to speak the truth. As I said last fall, pain now or pain later. I say pain now.

Tim White

New president for police union

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

Members of a union representing 39 of the 44 officers of the Cheshire Police Department have chosen Lt. Kerry Deegan as their new president.

“Because of my experience, I think I can bring a lot to the table,” he said. “I’ve held every position in the union.” Deegan said he and the union’s leadership team expect to meet with Town Manager Michael Millone soon to discuss the union’s goals for the next two years.

Tim White

Milone & MacBroom's turf study

From the AP:

Cheshire-based Milone & MacBroom Inc., an engineering, environmental and landscape architecture firm, studied synthetic turf so it could inform clients about any safety issues, said Vincent McDermott, a senior vice president of the firm.

Milone & MacBroom's clients have included Yale University and other schools that installed artificial turf fields, as well as schools that have opted for natural grass fields. The firm release the study's findings last month, and it found no health risks.

"At this point, based on the data we have before us, we are not going to say to stop using this product because of health problems," McDermott said. "What we published is really totally unbiased, in my opinion."

Nancy Alderman of North Haven-based Environment and Human Health, questions Milone & MacBroom's conclusions and the firm's objectivity. The nonprofit group, which includes doctors, has concerns about artificial turf's impact on children's health and says more studies are needed.

"I think it's important to know that they are installers of those fields," she told the New Haven Register.

The M&M report can be found here. And since several of you mentioned it to me today, I quote the press release:

the cost of the testing was totally paid by Milone & MacBroom, Inc. and that the synthetic turf industry has had no involvement whatsoever in our testing program.

Tim White

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ron Paul on "Morning Joe" - 1/27/09

Ron Paul seems to have been on TV quite a bit lately, but this particular clip jumped out at me because he got to mention not only "sound money," but also "fractional reserve banking" - a major enabler of all the ridiculous bank leveraging that grew, collapsed and got a bailout.

Ron Paul was on Morning Joe this morning for ten minutes:

But why should America care about sound money?

Here Alan Greenspan explains the problem with America's fiat money, the opposite of sound money:

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.

Sound money is the "mechanism" of which Greenspan speaks. Without it, money grows on Bushes and Obama Trees.

And Wikipedia offers this explanation on fractional reserve banking:

Fractional-reserve banking is the banking practice in which banks keep only a fraction of their deposits in reserve (as cash and other highly liquid assets) and lend out the remainder, while maintaining the simultaneous obligation to redeem all deposits immediately upon demand.

I hadn't ever heard of fractional-reserve banking until RP ran for POTUS. And I didn't bother understanding it until the bailout... I just figured it sounded too complicated. But now that I've taken the time to understand it... it's really quite concerning to me. I don't know that it's inherently bad. But I'm convinced it's running wild... and is, in a sense, money growing on trees. And we all know money doesn't grow on trees. So it's got to be brought under control.

Without returning to sound money (in some form) and controlling fractional-reserve banking, our economic woes will continue... even if they slow down for a time... they will return with a vengeance.

Tim White

Bysiewicz is running for Governor

The Courant reports that Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is running for Governor. Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy is also running. And presumably former Speaker Jim "Crusher" Amann is running too.

Comptroller Nancy Wyman has been rumored to be considering it. And AG-for-life Bloomie could get the nod, but I doubt he'll go for it.

Anyone else I forget?

I don't know her politics, but I suspect that Susan B has the best shot at winning both the primary and the general.

Tim White

CEFs science classroom project kickoff

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

Parents and a local nonprofit that supports the school system Monday night launched a campaign to create science classrooms in the elementary schools.

The campaign to raise $275,000 from private donations is expected to take two or three years, said John Capone, chairman of the Cheshire Education Foundation, the nonprofit that raises money to supplement school programs.

Tim White

No raise for TM, will Councilman Spendthrift object?

From the MRJs Leslie Hutchison:

Municipal leaders are lining up to take a wage freeze on their salaries for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Town managers in Cheshire and Southington have announced they will voluntarily freeze their wages for the year that begins on July 1, 2009.

Cheshire Town Manager Michael Milone told the Town Council's personnel committee last week that he would not take a salary increase

It's a start. I appreciate the TMs offer, but the spending cuts (or non-increases) are going to be much more widespread. I mentioned rollbacks in staffing hours a couple months ago. No other Council member said as much during the December Council meeting... heck, I even recall one member of the majority talking about how we need to continue spending on all our "priorities." But he lives in a dream world where Crusher gives him turf for free.

I hope our spendthrift Council members wake up and join the real world before we vote on the budget in April.

Tim White

The real reason for inaction on Gaffey

From the WRAs Paul Hughes:

The investigations of two Democratic senators have put Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, and his caucus in a prickly spot.

Williams and the Senate Democrats may soon have to decide whether to initiate investigations that could result in Senate sanctions against their colleagues.

The article discusses Senators Gaffey and Crisco. And the article mentions "Democrats" twice in the first two paragraphs. But keep in mind, this is the same Gang of 36 that pretended as though Sen. Lou Deluca had done nothing wrong. In fact the NYTimes described that situation by writing on June 24, 2007:

Nearly all legislators had nothing but sympathy and praise for Mr. DeLuca.

Yet Deluca was a Republican.

So what's the reality here?

As the NYTimes continues:

Why are they so silent? The short answer is that Mr. DeLuca has been an insider for decades, and, more than anything else in the government of this small state, relationships rule.

That is the root of why the State Legislature has proved so reluctant to pass laws that would deter corrupt behavior: Lawmakers are afraid that such proposals might hurt their friends — not just themselves. In addition, because state laws are so weak, Connecticut can’t effectively police itself; it is dependent on the competence and aggressiveness of federal authorities to expose corruption.

So look no further than the Deluca "non-issue" to understand Williams' confusion over concerns with Gaffey.

Tim White

Some upcoming meetings

The Energy Commission met tonight. More on it later, but in the meantime... check out Peter Takizawa's new CEC website.

On Thursday, there's going to be another energy forum at 7pm in Town Hall. The topic will be saving money on your home energy bills.

Next Tuesday Feb 3, the newly composed Ordinance Review Committee is tentatively scheduled to meet. Videostreaming of Council meetings will likely be on the agenda. I intend to be there.

And on Wednesday Feb 4, the Pension Board will be meeting.

Tim White

Monday, January 26, 2009

FoxNews' Shelly Sindland has a blog

Shelly Sindland has a blog. I'm not sure when she started it, but she does seem to be breaking news there. So thought I should mention it. Here she discusses the indecision of Senate President Don Williams' on the ethically-impaired Tom Gaffey.

Tim White

Cheshire Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking 1/26

An update from Town Hall staff on the happenings of the CCSUD:

Last Thursday night we held the Drinking Age 21 or 18? panel at the library. We had a nice turn out and there were a number of interesting exchanges. Thanks to Dr. Barnard from St. Joseph's College, Officer Mark Ecke, Jennifer De Witt and our two local students for participating.

Our next Coalition Community Meeting will be on March 19, 2009 at 7pm - location TBA. Chris Brown, Cheshire Resident will be presenting the Teen Brain, Alcohol and other Risky Behaviors.

The Town wide PTA will be sponsoring a workshop on Bullying and Cyber Bullying on March 11, 2009 from 7 - 8:30pm at Dodd Middle School. Scott Driscoll will be the presenter. Please mark this important presentation on your calendar as well.

Speaking of schools, anyone happen to go to tonight's open house on CEFs Science Center?

Tim White

Geithner gets it, transparency takes hit

As I've tried to demonstrate, Tim Geithner has openly opposed open government... forcing journalists to FOI The Fed... and Geithner continues to fight them. So I conclude Tim Geithner opposes open, transparent, accountable government.

Yet tonight he became America's newest Treasury Secretary, replacing his buddy, gazillionaire Hank Paulson.

Nonetheless, America has some Senators who believe in good government... Senators who opposed Geithner's appointment.

Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Jim Demint (R-SC) are among the Senators who support good government and have opposed all these bailout / TARP boondoggles from the beginning.

Unfortunately, we don't have 100 Senators who, like Feingold and Demint, had the courage to oppose the Geithner nomination. Among the Senators who apparently felt Geithner's opposition to transparency is NBD... Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.

I'd be perfectly happy if CT loses all of its "Senate seniority" in 2010 and 2012. Maybe Peter Schiff will run in 2010?

Tim White

Looney & Harp want to revisit drug laws

When it comes to prison crowding... in Cheshire most of us know of the back'n'forth between the co-Chair of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, Rep. Mike Lawlor, and the Governor, Jodi Rell, that occured over the past 18 months.

Now state Senators Martin Looney and Toni Harp are advocating an issue that may impact prison populations.

From the Courant's Daniela Altimari:

According to a report produced in August by the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Research, there were about 10,000 prosecutions in 2007 for possession of controlled substances, including less than 4 ounces of marijuana. About 35 percent of the cases resulted in convictions. First-time offenders face up to a year in prison, as much as a $1,000 fine or both; subsequent offenses can result in up to five years in prison, a fine of as much as $3,000 or both.

But critics say there's more at stake than money. "We're starting down a slippery slope," said Anthony Salvatore, police chief in Cromwell and legislative liaison for the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.

I agree that it's a slippery slope. And this issue would need to be addressed carefully. But the bottom line to me still is that I want violent, predatory offenders behind bars... and personally I don't care if an adult wants to get stoned... though I think it's pretty stupid would discourage friends from doing so.

Tim White

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Peter Schiff on Kudlow

January 20 - Peter Schiff speaks with Larry Kudlow on the banking sector:

I'm hoping Peter Schiff runs for US Senate in 2010 here in CT.

Tim White

Cheshire's share of the CRRA reser

Here is a real brief summary of the general reserve fund that had been accumulated by CRRA:Using the total tonnage of garbage "tipped" at the plant as a measurement tool for distribution of the fund, Cheshire would get about 12% of the $44 million. The other $8 million is a specific reserve fund that is basically unrelated to Cheshire.

Tim White

The cost of Cheshire's shovel-ready projects

Tim White

Spreading the wealth (around the world)

The redistribution of wealth is here. No, I'm not talking about "spreading the wealth" here in America. I'm talking about the global redistribution of wealth from the developed world to the developing world. It is significant and it is directly impacting our quality of life in America... and it will continue to have a deleterious impact on our quality of life for years to come.

We all know about the jobs that have moved from America (and the developed world) to China (and the developing world). This happened over the past couple decades. And more recently we've witnessed the outsourcing of white collar jobs, including highly trained radiologists. But the outsourcing of jobs was, IMO, the tip of the iceberg.

Now on the heels of the bailout comes the bigger whammy. Our central planners central bankers (Bernanke & Geithner) are selling America's gold. And again, the transfer is reputedly to China and the rest of the developing world. It seems to me that this sale of gold is a direct attempt to lower the price of gold by flooding the market.

But what does this mean?

In a few years time, America is going to look back and see two significant happenings:

1) the printing presses ran 24/7, inflating the money supply and devaluing the US dollar; and

2) our gold supply will be greatly diminished

At that point, people around the world will have lost a great deal of confidence in the US dollar and they will look for alternatives to use for trade. Keep in mind, there's little backing the dollar, except the "good faith and credit" of the United States. And if people's confidence in the dollar is diminished, then they'll demand more dollars for fewer goods. And we'll then be able to really see the impact of the ongoing global redistribution of wealth from the developed world to the developing world.

FWIW, the solution I offer is a return to sound money - something backed by gold, silver or anything that cannot simply be printed when our elected officials want to increase spending, but avoid risking the wrath of the voters with a commensurate tax hike.

Tim White

Brass Mill Center not closing

Despite their parent company hiring bankruptcy counsel, Waterbury's mall (Brass Mill Center) emphatically rejects the notion that they're closing up shop.

Tim White

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some events at Elim Park in 2009

Tim White

The boys are back in town!

Or should I say... though Ron Paul lost the primary, the internets have enabled us to continue organizing with relative ease. Next up?

Peter Schiff for Connecticut's US Senate in 2010!

First stop on The Freedom Express?

The Schiff Money Bomb on February 21!

If you believe that America needs to stop running up its credit card and turn off the printing presses, then you will be interested in hearing Peter's ideas. Here's a great little montage of some of Peter's TV appearances over the years:

Tim White

Ron Paul on fiat money

They must be running

Senator Chris Dodd appears to be gearing up for a 2010 Senate run. CTLPs Genghis Conn reports on Dodd's healthcare forum today in East Hartford:

Sen. Chris Dodd, accompanied by Rep. John Larson and a panel of health care experts, held a town-hall style forum today at Goodwin College’s beautiful new riverside campus in East Hartford. The forum was the first of several planned events on Dodd’s health care “listening tour,” which is an attempt to gauge public opinion and need before Congress and the administration undertake a major health care initiative.

Similarly, Senator Joe Lieberman appears to be gearing up for 2012 Senate run. The MRJs Andrew Perlot reports on Joe's "announcement" of grant money for a firetruck for Meriden:

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman visited the Pratt Street fire house Friday morning to present the Fire Department with a $220,000 grant to purchase a new pumper truck.

Too bad for America. I think we'd be better off without either of them.

Repeat after me... Peter Schiff for Senate - 2010.

Tim White

Friday, January 23, 2009

WSJ online on Geithner's taxes

The WSJ online currently has some great letters that speak the truth about Obama's Treasury Secretary-designate, Tim Geithner.

My strong opposition to Geithner is based on his opposition to transparent, accountable government. But I do appreciate this letter in particular:

I think Mr. Geithner's plan to boost the economy is perfect. Forget TARP and forget choosing which politically favored banks and industries to save. Simply tell each taxpayer to forget to pay some taxes. This will have a direct impact on spending and will boost consumer confidence

Paul Dembry
Los Gatos, Calif.


Tim White

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Trash hauling contract 1/21

Though we just finished a long process sealing a new trash disposal contract... now the Town's trash hauling contract is about to expire on June 30 2009.

So to recap some critical numbers, we generate about 8,000 tonnes of residential trash per year:

And the hauling fee for that 8,000 tonnes is:My question - do we bid the service?

My immediate reaction was to suggest we go out to bid. As I said last night... particularly with all of the controversy (think Gallante) surrounding this service... my automatic reaction is to go to bid. And we obviously need to do that, but not necessarily this year.

Because on the flipside, extending a five year contract by one year is not necessarily bad*... though in this case, I'm much more hesitant in doing so... for the above mentioned reason.

I asked staff if there were administrative reasons to extend the contract for one year. The answer was "no, we can make the bidding process happen in a timely manner."

So the answer seems simple - go bid it right now. But...

As many of you know, the commodities market has tanked. In other words, the recyclables market has tanked. I mentioned this in early December 2008.

Therein lies a potentially costly issue.

According to our current hauler, AJ Waste, residential garbage includes about 1,000 tonnes of paper and 500 tonnes of plastic... above and beyond the 8,000 tonnes of garbage. They elaborated saying that paper sold for $60/ton one year ago and now costs $30/ton to dump. Likewise, plastics have had a similar but less dramatic swing in the $50/ton range... rather than a nearly $100/ton swing.

So the two possibilities currently under consideration:

1) If we stay with AJ for one more year, they would give us about the same rate that we currently have... with a bump up.

2) If we go out to bid, prices could come down. But the recyclable component may add a significant new cost to the program.

Obviously, the Council needs to confirm some of these recycling numbers. So staff is going to make that happen.

In the meantime, I'd really like to hear from you... particularly in light of the Gallante stuff... must the Town go out to bid this year? Or would it be appropriate for the town to extend this contract one year in light of the volatility of the recyclables market?

And there's one more possible consideration... if we bid for a new contract to begin on July 1 2010, then we could incorporate automated collection in the bid. That means you'd get a 96 gallon bin that could be picked up with a big arm. This would reduce the staff on the truck from three to one. So over the course of time, AJ would reduce staff costs and get the payback on the new equipment. But if we go out to bid right now, that's likely off the table for July 1 2009 because of time constraints... as well as the realities of the credit markets.

My gut reaction is to always go out to bid. But in this case, considering:

1) the recyclable aspect
2) the possibility of moving to a more automated pickup
3) the well-known budgetary constraints facing the taxpayers this year

I'm leaning toward extending it one year.

What do you think?

Tim White

* The Council extended the most recent former auditors contract by a year or two

Also want to mention that the Solid Waste Chairman, Matt Altieri, did a good job guiding this meeting... as he did with the trash disposal discussions.

Retirement Advisory Board 1/21

The Pension Board met last night. It was a special meeting convened to determine one thing.

Of the town's ten or so funds, one fund (UBP) is offering a redemption tomorrow. And the redemption is only offered once per quarter, tomorrow being the critical date.

In a nutshell, the issue is that the fund falls under a larger umbrella company. And there is concern that the umbrella company has other funds related to Madoff.

In the long-term this shouldn't be an issue as the pension money is not supposed to be touching any Madoff funds. Nonetheless, if there's a "bank run" then the funds could be tied up indefinitely. So the Board voted unanimously (of the three members present) to redeem the funds.

Tim White

Ubinas on Amann and his resume

The Courant's Helen Ubinas comments on Crusher:

Amann said he wasn't sure what he was going to do next. Try to get a job, he guessed.

Here's a thought. Print your resume on some nice paper and try finding a job just like the thousands of other state residents who've already lost theirs.

Tim White

Town Hall meetings

The Retirement Board, Solid Waste Committee and Personnel Committee each met tonight.

There was a lot of interesting stuff, but it's late... update tomorrow or this weekend. I just had to get that stuff about Geithner off my chest. I think Obama has a lot of potential. But he's making a big mistake with Geithner.

Tim White

If Geithner thwarts open government, does Obama really support transparency?

In the past, I've spoken favorably of our new President. He was an advocate of good government. He wanted transparency and accountability.

And as he takes office, he continues talking the talk. See his reinvented

Also see today's NYTimes piece by Brian Knowlton:

President Obama moved quickly on Wednesday to lay some touchstones for the “more responsible, more accountable government” he has promised, ordering a salary freeze for senior White House staff, tightening rules on lobbyists and establishing what he said was a new standard of greater government openness.

I applaud President Obama for his efforts.

But I have one question for you Mr. President.

Have you mentioned any of this transparency stuff to your Treasury Secretary-designate, central planner central banker Timothy Geithner?

I see this January 12 headline in Bloomberg News:

FOX Business Network Sues the Federal Reserve over Non-Compliance with Freedom of Information Act Requests

And I'm reminded of some of my recent posts (such as here, here, here and here) in which I mentioned news agencies had filed FOI requests from The Fed* and / or The Treasury.**

Unfortunately for the journalists, they were asking Tim Geithner for information. And this guy apparently believes that he's the CIA... and everything that happens on his watch deals with "sources and methods" and thus cannot be revealed.

And ignoring how he pulled a Rowland and "forgot" to pay half his taxes even after the IRS came knocking...

Just today during his confirmation hearing... as live-blogged by the NYTimes:

1:20 p.m. TARP strategy: There is a refrain running through the questions for Mr. Geithner, and it has to do with the focus of the government’s bailout plan. That question, already asked several times in various forms, is this: Should the bailout program return to its originally stated plan of buying up toxic mortgage assets, or continue to focus on investing directly in banks?

And what's the response from our most-Transparent-Treasurer-ever?

Mr. Geithner isn’t giving a direct answer, basically saying that he and his team will look at both approaches, as well as others, and take the best of the bunch.

Mr. Geithner isn’t giving a direct answer


But even worse is that this guy not only has been involved in the TARP from the very beginning... he's about to be given $350 billion of taxpayer-funded Monopoly money... and he can't give a straight answer.

Obama can talk all he wants about transparency and accountability. He ran a campaign on "Bush's failed economic policies." Yet not only is Obama continuing Bush's failed monetary policy of fiat money, he's worsening* Bush's failed fiscal policy of deficit spending.

If Geithner is as averse to open government as his record shows, then either he'll need to go... or President Obama will need to acknowledge he's not really a fan of open government.

Tim White

* Geithner is currently the head of The Fed's New York branch - the heart of the central bank
** Geithner likely soon-to-be employer
* worsening by Obama's own standard of opposing deficit spending

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Budget deficit nearing $1.5 billion

From the Courant's Christopher Keating:

With state tax revenues spiraling downward even faster than before, the state is now facing a projected budget deficit of nearly $922 million in the current fiscal year and as much as $8 billion over the following two fiscal years.

And if I'm following this fuzzy math correctly, that means the current year's deficit is around $1.5 billion... with about $600 million already addressed. And I think the rainy day fund was pegged at $1.4 billion last summer.

Between an increasing deficit and the refusal of Speaker Donovan and Senate President Williams to face reality, I'm guessing the whole rainy day fund gets eaten up before this year is out. Also worth mentioning... Governor Rell can only make budget reductions up to 5% (I think). And that means this budget shortfall needs to be addressed by the legislature.

Despite promises from the state... I'm still guessing that the state cuts town funding before the year is out. The budget numbers just don't work.

Tim White

Btw, anyone else get the same feeling I do... a year ago, $1.5 billion would have been big. And now... well... now money grows on trees, so it's no big deal? Oh wait... I'm Tim White, not Tim Geithner. I happen to be stuck here in the real world where $1 million is still a lot of money.

Crusher and Speaker Quid Pro Quo do believe we're that stupid

The Courant editorializes on the recently disclosed deal between Gubernatorial candidate and former Speaker Jim Amann Crusher and his replacement Chris Donovan Speaker Quid Pro Quo:

The whole incident makes you wonder how stupid they think the electorate is. Blatant cronyism doesn't play well at any time. But when people are out of work, losing their savings and relying on legislators to ease some of their pain, this deal was an insult and a trust-buster...

The Courant continues...

Both men owned up to their mistake. But Mr. Amann still doesn't get it. He actually admitted he was in it for the health insurance, but no longer needs the state coverage. The man who would be governor said he sought the job because he had been quoted prices as high as $17,000 a year for health insurance. Where has he been?

Too bad that's just an extension of another bogus argument. Crusher's wife works at St. Raph's. And Crusher claims to have worked on healthcare issues. Yet he says that it was only after his fraud was exposed that he learned he could get healthcare coverage through his wife at St. Raph's.

News flash to the Courant... Yes. Amann and Donovan do believe we're that stupid.

Tim White

Schools' TV capabilities get $35k grant

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The school district was recently selected as a recipient of a $35,000 state grant designed to improve broadcasts on the cable television access channel devoted to education programming. The grant money from the state’s Department of Public Utility Control is enabling the district to purchase a new computer server on which to store programs, as well as equipment that will standardize the quality of the recorded programming, said Mike Solimine, who works for the district as a video technician and wrote the grant request.

Tim White

Windmill advances in CT

At last summer's energy forum on stationary alternative energy, we were fortunate to get a speaker about wind, Dave Hurwitt. Dave works at Optiwind in Torrington.

They don't yet have any wind turbines in CT, but the WRA is reporting progress for them.

Tim White

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Town Hall meetings 1/21

6pm - Retirement Board - Discussion and action on the UBP strategy. Keeping my fingers crossed that I again hear these investments are untouched by Bernie Madoff.

7pm - Solid Waste Committee - solid waste / recycling collection contract... this should be AJ-related stuff... and unrelated to trash disposal.

7:30pm - Personnel Committee - Town Mgr's mid-year review, personnel negotiations, Councilman Turf's review of this blog.

Tim White

Local election 2009

2009 is here. And another local election is on its way.

The terms of all Council members are done... and many others will be up for election.

In the First District, I recall seeing comments (just last month) about Councilman Sheldon Dill running again.

In the Second District, Tom Ruocco is in his second term and is doing a good job. I really appreciate all of his efforts in offering alternative budgets. And just think... if the Council had agreed to his alternatives... the town would have saved over $1,000,000 in the past year alone.

In the Third District, Laura Decaprio is a freshman. And she seems to enjoy it. So it seems that she'd run again.

In the Fourth District... umm... well... I'm planning to run again. And according to one person I trust, at least one person (Bob Moran) has been telling people of his intention to run against me. Which is good. Though with comments like this,* I'm uncertain he'll get widespread support in his party. Such unsubstantiated comments usually don't sit well with anyone.

As for the at-large Council members, I'm pretty sure that Jimmy Sima and Tim Slocum both intend to run again. And about a year ago, Matt Hall stated that he wouldn't be on the Council during the next term. I'm not sure about Mike Ecke or Matt Altieri. And yes, during the Turf discussion Ecke made it clear how unhappy he is on the Council... but I'd put money on him running again. And as for Councilman Altieri... I don't know if he'll run again... but I know at least one person for whom I won't cast a vote.

Board of Ed has terms expiring for Mrowka, Behrer and Hellreich. That means a one seat pick up by the GOP flips the majority. Or a win by a non D or R could make things interesting.

I'm not sure about PZC. Best I can figure, there are three R seats with terms expiring - EJ Kurtz, Sean Strollo and Dave Veleber. So with a 6-3 majority, the Dems would need to pick up two of those seats. But I may have PZC wrong. I'm not sure when Marty and Lou Todisco's terms expire.

Anyone care to speculate?

Tim White

* The message is from November 25, 2008. And the click thru website is I didn't notice any problems when I used their website for the audio sharing service.

The Best Job in the World

If you're unemployed and wouldn't mind living overseas for a few months, Australia is hiring for The Best Job in the World. I bet it'd be fun... though I gather you'd have to want to get paid to live in tropical paradise... so it may not be everyone's gig.

Tim White

There will be no real investigation of Gaffey

State Senate Republicans are calling for an investigation of fellow state Senator Tom Gaffey (D-Meriden). Unfortunately for them, having sidestepped the Deluca arrest for six long months back in 2007... they have little credibility on this type of stuff.

Separately, the CTGOP Chairman is calling for the Chief State's Attorney, Kevin Kane, to investigate Gaffey:

"By his own admission, Gaffey has broken the public trust," Healy said. "Sen. Gaffey's casual disregard for the rules and his flagrant misuse of state funds and campaign contributions more than qualifies for further investigation and punishment." (by Amanda Falcone)

But there's a risk in Chairman Healy's request. As many regulars here know... the state's attorneys are handicapped in CT.

They have no power of subpoena. So it could give credibility to claims of no wrongdoing... when we may actually have nothing, but an inconclusive answer.

Tim White

Amann's wish for a no-show job gets "crushed"

I guess there was enough outcry from both the media and the public this weekend that now the Courant is reporting:

House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden, and his predecessor, James A. Amann, said today that they have reconsidered Amann's appointment as a $120,000-a-year adviser to the speaker while he runs for governor.

Crusher gave some nonsense reason about not being able to vigorously campaign for Governor. But obviously that had nothing to do with it. Crusher just wanted one the reputedly many no-show jobs that exist in the state's perennially "bare bones" budgets.

Donovan also gave a nonsense reason claiming moral equivalency:

Other former legislators have returned to the Capitol in staff roles, including David Cappiello, a Republican senator who lost a congressional race last year. He is being paid about $100,000 by the Senate Republicans.

And while Chris "It wasn't a Quid Pro Quo! I didn't promise Crusher a no-show job in return for being Speaker two years early" Donovan has a legitimate gripe, arguments of moral equivalence resonate only with The Gang of 187. Anyone who doesn't live Under the Gold Dome sees this for what it is.

Now if we can only get Speaker Quid Pro Quo to apologize, then maybe we can move forward.

And compliments of CTNewsJunkie:

Tim White

Snow break

Has it been a full 24 hours with no snow?!

Mother Nature must've decided to finally take a nap. Thank goodness.

Tim White

Monday, January 19, 2009

Estys in Washington, Dodd being counseled

The MRJs Amanda Falcone is discussing the busy inaugural schedule of two Cheshire residents:

Elizabeth and Dan have a very busy two days ahead of them. Today, they will attend events hosted by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd.

I wonder if they’re among the group of people of whom Dean Pagani is referring when he discusses the future of Senator Dodd (and Senator Lieberman):

Ambitious birds of prey in both political parties are circling and watching for an opportunity. Many are betting Lieberman will not run in 2012 and others think Dodd may be persuaded to retire, to preserve his legacy as a senior statesman. It can be reliably reported, the conversations are taking place.

Always fun to speculate.

Tim White

The Herald and Council on the Mixville Pump Station

The Herald's Josh Morgan offers his take on last week's Council meeting in which we discussed spending $150,000 for a design of Mixville Pump Station... and that's the same pump station that had its $1,000,000 construction budget nixed by the voters only two months ago.

As I said, it seems that the Council doesn't need to simply say a $150,000 expenditure is necessary at this moment. While the project will need to be done at some point, we can:

1) break down the $150,000 cost into parts, taking one step at a time

2) wait until the voters approve the project at referendum

3) try to finance the project with a performance contract which means the project would not require any additional debt... instead it would be financed via energy savings.

I think to simply spend $150,000 after the $1,000,000 project was rejected... without taking a new approach to the project... is inappropriate.

Here's the Council discussion:

Tim White

Happy birthday bloggers! TWL is 3 years old.

I know it's a day late and a dollar short, but...

TWL turned three this weekend. I thank all of you for helping this community thrive. And yes, I've gotten both compliments and quite a bit of pushback on the very existence of this blog.

I realize that some people push the envelope too far, but the underlying goal of a more transparent and accountable government is worthwhile (even if this blog highlights my perspective ;)). And it appears that the courts are moving toward upholding the anonymity of blogging.

Just last summer the AP reported on Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron Steele's view on anonymous blogging:

Steele described the Internet as a "unique democratizing medium unlike anything that has come before," and said anonymous speech in blogs and chat rooms in some instances can become the modern equivalent of political pamphleteering...

Steele noted in his opinion that plaintiffs in such cases can use the Internet to respond to character attacks and "generally set the record straight," and that, as in Cahill's case, blogs and chatrooms tend to be vehicles for people to express opinions, not facts.

"Given the context, no reasonable person could have interpreted these statements as being anything other than opinion. ... The statements are, therefore, incapable of a defamatory meaning," he wrote.

So hopefully the blogosphere will continue with many more birthdays to come... again, happy birthday!

Tim White

Ideas for saving on energy costs

The Cheshire Energy Commission will be sponsoring an energy forum dedicated to helping you reduce your home energy costs. The forum will be Thursday January 29 @ 7pm in Town Hall.

Scheduled presenters include:

Carol Wilson - Wilson Educational Services & Vice-Chair of the Energy Commission - speaking on home heating fuel conservation
Pam Hall -
CL&P - speaking on electricity & natural gas conservation
Michelle Piccerillo -
Cheshire's Youth & Social Services Department - speaking on Operation Fuel and low-income heating assistance

I hope you can attend. If not, you should be able to catch it on Cox Channel 14.

In the meantime if you want some ideas to begin saving on energy costs, check out this Courant article by Lynn Doan.

Tim White

Gaffey is ethically impaired

I commented on the latest Gaffey scandal a few days ago. Now the Courant editorializes:

There's no question state Sen. Thomas Gaffey is ethically impaired. Revelations about his fast-and-loose accounting and double-billing, and complications surrounding his romantic attachments have caused the Senate repeated embarrassments...

A review of state records by The Courant shows he billed his political action committee and the state several thousand dollars for the same hotel stays and legislative conferences. Although the state reimbursed him, Mr. Gaffey failed to repay his PAC.

The Courant wants him censured, but considering his long history of impairment... would a censure mean anything?

Tim White

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cheshire Republican Town Committee on Facebook

The Cheshire Republican Town Committee's new Chairman, Marilyn Bartoli, invites you to join her on Facebook. Also, I forgot to mention it last month... the RTC has a new Vice-Chair, Corey Nash. Corey is a member of the Youth Services Committee.

Tim White

Bye Bush, Hello Obama party

There's an inaugural party tomorrow night at Eli's on Whitney.

Monday January 19th, 2008
5:30pm - ???
2392 Whitney Ave Hamden, CT 06518
(downstairs banquet room - dinner and drinks from menu available for purchase by guests)

Any other inaugural parties tomorrow or Tuesday night?

Tim White

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My thoughts on the senior tax relief votes

A resident asked me to further explain my thoughts on last week's senior tax relief program, so here goes...

I want to provide as much tax relief as I can to everyone*. However, I believe someone who makes $15,000 / yr needs more help than someone who makes a living wage. For that reason I prefer the senior tax credits over the tax freeze - as seen in my votes last week.

My explanations follow, but really piggyback on Tom Ruocco's comments:

The tax freeze simply freezes one's taxes. And if one was already paying more than one could afford, the tax freeze is not enough. However, Tom's comments make clear the value of the tax credits that have actually reduced the tax burden of some.

Here I explain my thoughts on how the tax credits are well-suited to helping those most in need:

Also if we focused on the tax credits for those making, say, $30,000 / yr... we could actually reduce their already burdensome taxload, rather than just freezing it.

Finally, here I offer my thoughts on the tax credits and compare them to the tax freeze:

I hope this helps people understand my thoughts on the senior tax relief program.

Tim White

* we all know spending is the real issue

Congressman Murphy supported paygo in 2007, what will happen in 2009?

Two years ago, Congressman Chris Murphy spoke of the need for balanced budgets. Not only did he issue this press release on March 29, 2007:

“I am proud to be part of a Congress that has restored sanity to our spending practices in Washington. We can balance the budget, help the middle class, and support government programs that work, and we did it today,” said Murphy...

Congress today approved a budget that will restore fiscal discipline by assuring that any spending increases are offset within the budget, commonly referred to as “pay as you go”.

He repeated such comments at a forum at Elim Park on June 1, 2007. At that time, I complimented him for his remarks and actions on a balanced budget.

As we move forward with talk of trillion dollar deficits, I hope Congressman Murphy continues fighting the fight for balanced budgets.

Tim White

The $100 trillion note (now Zimbabwe, soon the US?)

Since he didn't have the scruples to pay his 2001 & 2002 taxes... even when the IRS caught him failing to pay his 2003 & 2004 taxes... and since he was integral to the creation of the Bush / Obama / Dodd / Frank / Bernanke / Paulson Bailout...

I'm confident that Timothy Geithner will be comfortable running the printing presses 24/7 until he can be the first Treasury Secretary to sign one of these - a $100 trillion note.

Hey... if Zimbabwe has them, shouldn't we? After all, money does grow on trees!

Tim White

Bailout financing billionaire bonuses

I just caught this article from the UKs Daily Mail today. It's from October 30, 2008 and covers a fairly simple topic - the Bailout.

Basically, it says that the Bush / Obama / Bernanke / Paulson bailout provided about $10 billion to Goldman Sachs. And Goldman gave an $11 billion in bonuses to its executives... although The Telegraph reported on December 12 that Goldman gave out $18 billion in bonuses.

And Hank Paulson left his job as CEO of Goldman to run Treasury.

And we now know that those safeguards that Dodd & Murphy bragged about were all a sham.

So from my perspective, I now see that my five elected officials in Washington (Bush, Obama, Dodd, Lieberman & Murphy) all approved of the Goldman's bonuses this year... though they all claim stupidity ignorance to the workings of the bailout. Well... I guess Bush doesn't claim anything... he's just trying to get outta Dodge as quickly as possible.

Of course, it's well-known that no one really knows where the $350 billion went. So perhaps the UKs press has it wrong... but I doubt it. And if they do have it right, then Obama should be embarrassed for demanding the additional $350 billion bailout... at the same time suggesting that we just need more transparency. I mean, just how would transparency address the issue of bailout money (our tax dollars) paying huge bonuses?

Tim White

Mark Davis reports on Gaffey's double-billings

Channel 8's Mark Davis gives this report on Gaffey's problems.

Tim White

Ron Paul on the dangers of money growing on trees

This three minute clip gives a great and concise explanation of the unlikely, but not impossible, scenario that is created when a government decides that money grows on trees (or on Bushes):

Tim White

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crusher continues porking the taxpayers

From the Courant's Christopher Keating:

Former House Speaker James Amann was hired Friday as a $120,000-per-year sidekick senior adviser to his successor, Speaker Christopher Donovan.

In his new position, Amann will help Donovan allocate the Speaker's annual slush fund of $12,000,000 on both administrative issues such as creating new, useless, $120,000/yr "jobs" and important pieces of legislation such as anything advocated by Councilman Turf. He will also be campaigning for Governor organizing regional meetings with both contributors business groups and letter writers advocates on a variety of wasteful spending opportunities legislative topics that benefit his cronies.

Wow... I almost forgot to strikeout a bunch of extra words that are not in the real article. And that's lucky for me because if I hadn't, I might get crushed!(compliments CTBob!)

Some of you may recall, while Councilman Turf spent years engineering his project... it was Crusher who actually approved the $525,000 from his $12,000,000 slush fund.

And the graciousness of former Speaker Amann should also be noted. In case you didn't know, the state House had a history of Speakers retiring after two terms (four years). That tradition was broken by the past two Speakers who served six years each. Then this past summer, Crusher announced his desire to return to the tradition of a two term Speaker... as he simultaneously let people know that he was running for Governor.

I'm sure there was no quid pro quo in which Crusher made a deal with incoming Speaker Donovan that he'd leave two years early in exchange for this $120,000/yr job. Right?

Here's the NHRs take.

Tim White

Explanation of Bush's Bailout

Click here and scroll down to see a simple-to-understand explanation on Bush's Bailout.

Tim White

Hot off the presses: pool locker room problems

From Town Hall this afternoon (Fri Jan 16 2009):

As a result of a louver malfunction in the boiler room at the pool, the temperature in the room dropped dramatically, and the water in the boiler froze and expanded, bursting the tank. At this time there is no running hot water in the bathrooms or showers; the pool water has not been effected.

We have two choices; to replace the broken parts if such a repair is even possible, which could take up to eight weeks; or, to install a replacement boiler at a cost of approximately $28,000 to $32,000. Most (if not all) of the costs of replacement would be covered by our insurance, and we have received authorization from our insurance company to proceed with the replacement boiler, so we have chosen that solution. The work is expected to take most of the day tomorrow. There is a heavy usage schedule tomorrow, so no activities are being cancelled, however, all patrons are being notified that there will most likely be no running hot water for the day.

Tim White

Thursday, January 15, 2009

$15,000,000 pension deficit, but defined contribution pension plans are "too expensive"

I know pension plans and long-term liabilities can be boring… though I suspect we’re all somewhat interested in them at this point. The following YouTube clip is of me giving my January 2009 liaison report for the Retirement Advisory Board:

And if you watch the clip, you know the Town’s taxpayers currently face a $15,000,000 deficit in the Town’s defined benefit pension plan.

This deficit is precisely why I’ve been encouraging the Council to move from a defined benefit plan (DB) to a defined contribution plan (DC)… for years now… to little avail.*

The current Council majority had the opportunity to begin the move from DB plans to DC plans in October 2006 via collective bargaining. The Council decided it was too expensive.

Fast forward to June 2008… I refined my argument for DC plans and suggested the Council eliminate DB plans for future non-union employees… again to no avail.

I wonder if they still feel it’s too expensive?

In my opinion, this inaction is a disservice to taxpayers and to employees… more on that next week.

Tim White

* Some ee's have DC plans, but far too few in my opinion.

Gaffey under investigation... again.

From the Courant (By JON LENDER And EDMUND H. MAHONY):

A veteran Democratic state senator double-billed the state and his own political action committee for thousands of dollars' worth of expenses for travel and posh hotels over a four-year period, state records show.

The payments to 14-year Sen. Thomas P. Gaffey, D-Meriden, are now under investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission...

This is not Gaffey's first expense-billing scrape. In 2002, it was revealed that he and another state legislator, then employed by the trash agency, collected state legislators' mileage reimbursements for their trips to and from their homes to Hartford in trash agency vehicles, but had lagged thousands of dollars behind in reimbursing the trash agency for their personal mileage on the same vehicles.

In addition, Gaffey received some unwelcome attention about a year ago when Courant columnist Kevin Rennie revealed that Gaffey was having an affair, confirmed in e-mails, with Connecticut State University System legislative liaison Jill Ferraiolo while he aggressively pushed a billion dollars in bonds for the university system. Rennie also wrote that Gaffey had long made incomplete disclosures on the use of the PAC credit card.

Anyone else reminded of that now-famous image of Duh Guvernator explaining his all-too-frequent encounters with women in his earlier days?

"Well... you know... where there's smoke, there's fire!"

Tim White