Monday, November 30, 2009

Likely committee liaison assignments

This is probably a pretty good idea of what to expect when the "unofficial" Chairman of the 20th Council announces his liaison assignments to the various boards / commissions / committees:

Beautification - Michael Ecke
BOE - Andy Falvey
Cable Advisory - Tom Ruocco
Economic Development - David Schrumm
Energy - Tim White
Environment - Anne Giddings
Hist. District Commission - Anne Giddings
Housing Authority - Anne Giddings
Human Services - Justin Adinolfi
Inland Wetlands - Justin Adinolfi
Library Board - Andy Falvey
Park & Rec - Tom Ruocco
Performing Arts - Michael Ecke
Public Building Commission - Jim Sima
Public Safety - Andy Falvey
Prison Advisory - Jim Sima
PZC - Jim Sima
Retirement Board - Tim White
WPCA - David Schrumm
Youth Services - Justin Adinolfi

Tim White

Schiff on gold vs. US dollar

Here's a five minute video of Peter Schiff (Senate - R) explaining his take on gold vs. the US dollar:

If you're interested in meeting Peter, he is scheduled to attend the Hamden RTC meeting this Thursday, December 3 - 7:30pm at the Hamden Senior Center.

Tim White

The unofficial Council Chairman - Tim Slocum

The NHRs Luther Turmelle reports on the unofficial Council Chairman - Tim Slocum:

Although the newly elected Town Council won’t be seated for another week, its seven Republicans have already decided unofficially to make Tim Slocum chairman of the panel for the next two years.

Good luck Mr. Chairman!

Tim White

Blumenthal suing the CRAs for "negligient, reckless and incompetent work"

As I mentioned earlier this year, Attorney General Blumenthal is not a fan of the credit rating agencies (CRA) - the same CRAs on on whose advice the Town's fund balance policy is predicated. And now AG Blumenthal is joining Ohio in a suing the CRAs:

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Connecticut plans to join Ohio in suing credit-rating companies for “negligent, reckless and incompetent work” in grading debt purchased by state pension funds, according to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Good. I'm so tired of hearing about the virtues of the CRAs... and how Cheshire is "financially sound" because The CRAs said so! Listening to that line is like listening to Chris Dodd say he's done a good job as banking chair in the past year... hello?!... McFly?!... TBTF, anyone?!

The CRAs are at the heart of the mess. Whether they were too hard on towns or too soft on corporations, they have almost no credibility as far as I'm concerned.

Tim White

Rosa DeLauro has some GOP challengers

According to Heath at CTLP, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has three Republicans who want to challenge her in 2010:

Jerry Labriola

Peggy Sayers

Boaz ItsHaky

I don't see Rosa losing. But all these GOP challengers does seem to be an indication that Rs are feeling pretty good about the overall prospects next year.

Tim White

Dan Esty returns to Colbert

Cheshire's own Dan Esty is scheduled for a repeat performance on Colbert today. No doubt he'll get beat up, but hey... Colbert is unfair with everyone! I'm guessing the video will be online in the next day or two.

Tim White

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Food stamp use increasing

The NYTimes' Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff report on the increased use of food stamps in America since the economy tanked:

With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

This interactive map shows that in New Haven county, 10% of us use food stamps. And that's a 20% increase in the past two years.

Tim White

GOP staffer on Dodd's banking plan: "the issues are much too complex"

I applauded Senator Dodd for his recent call to partly defang the Federal Reserve by eliminating its regulatory responsibility - a responsibility at which it has failed miserably.

But now comes the hard part.

What now fills that function?

Senator Dodd seemingly wants to create a whole new regulatory environment. Needless to say, I'm certain it will also fail in time because it will be far too complex. But even before a new regulatory environment fails, it must be created.

In an effort to create it, the Senate Banking Chairman has formed bipartisan working groups within his committee. And while that sounds nice, it won't make a difference in the long run of proper regulation... and it may not even help in the short run in the creation of the new system.

But don't take my word for it. Time Magazine's Massimo Calabresi reports:

In theory, the process could succeed. "We have points of agreement," says one top GOP staffer. But he adds: "The working groups may not work because the issues are much too complex."

Exactly. The issues are too complex, particularly the issue of leveraging. That's another way to say creating money out of thin air. That's exactly what the Federal Reserve System does. It creates money out of thin air. And the leveraging is what led to all these problems.

Nonetheless, America needs a strong regulatory framework to ensure the stability of our banking system. As such, I offer Senator Dodd a solution aimed at stabilizing the banking system by ending the creation of money out of thin air:

The Congress shall have Power... To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures (Article I, Section 8)

But legalizing the Constitution is not about to happen anytime soon. So in the meantime, I suggest Senator Dodd continue moving the ball down the field by beginning a national dialogue on:

1) fractional reserve banking vs. full reserve banking
fiat money vs. honest money
the existence of the Federal Reserve

Tim White

Dog Park status update - November 2009

If I recall correctly, the dog park currently sits with the planning committee. Here are a couple recent documents to provide you with a status update:Tim White

Peter Schiff (R - Senate) in Woodbury, CT

Here's a November 19 video of Peter Schiff, US Senate candidate.

If you're interested in speaking directly with him, he'll be at the Hamden RTC meeting on Thursday December 3 at the Hamden Senior Center.

Tim White

Borosage on the Senate's Bernanke reappointment hearing

Over on the HuffPost, Richard Borosage opines on the hearings set to begin on Thursday December 3 - Bernanke's reappointment as Fed Chairman.

Borosage writes:

Two months ago, Bernanke looked like a lock. But now unemployment is over 10% and rising, while Wall Street bankers are stocking up on vintage champagne, ready to celebrate the highest bonuses in history. As head of the Fed, Bernanke committed trillions to bail out the banks while Main Street got left behind.

He continues with a fantastic analysis of Bernanke's history as Fed Chairman and earlier. You can probably guess the vein in which he paints Bernanke - Sancho Panza to Greenspan's Don Quixote.

Near the end of the piece, as Borosage goes through a litany of greivances he touches a topic that seems relatively basic to me. He proposes a question that should be asked of Bernanke:

You've expanded the Federal Reserve's balance sheet by $1.2 trillion. You've lent vast sums to private financial institutions against what you knew was dubious collateral. Others were turned away at the door. You claim that revealing who got what, why, on what terms would constitute a "takeover of monetary policy." What does this have to do with monetary policy? How do you reconcile the Fed's secrecy and powers with the Constitution?

Frankly, I have no idea why the Senate Banking Chairman seems supportive of President Obama's reappointment. Suffice it to say, I don't feel as though Senator Chris Dodd represents me... though I'm sure his supporters on Wall Street are thrilled with him.

Tim White

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Day on Hartford's December 15 special session

The Day editorializes on Christmas presents for state legislators when they meet on December 15 for a special session:

Many members of the General Assembly deserve lumps of coal in their holiday stockings, nothing more...

Rather than close the budget gap left over from last year, they agreed to borrow nearly $1 billion, precluding more borrowing now...

The budget approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor this past summer was a farce. Now it's time to deal with reality.

Tim White

Nader for US Senate in 2010?

The Manchester Journal-Inquirer's Keith Burris wants Ralph Nader (Populist - CT) to run against Chris Dodd (Political Class - CT):

Dodd used to be the Senate’s leading Democratic deregulator, but is now a born-again regulator. Nader wants to keep edging Dodd in that direction but knows that it will take pressure, which may include an opponent from the left — maybe himself.

Nader should run. Imagine Nader on the Banking Committee.

I agree. Dodd carries the water for Wall Street. I'd be thrilled to replace Dodd with Nader on the Banking Committee.

Burris continues:

He should run — in a Democratic primary, not as a third or Green Party candidate. If he runs in a primary, he has nine to 11 months to discuss the issues; to make the case for re-regulation of the financial system. Win or lose, he pushes his cause forward.

But Nader could actually win this race. And he could win it as himself, on his own terms.

(Click here for the entire editorial.)

I think Burris is onto something. I love the idea. And as unlikely as it sounds, Nader may be able to win the primary, then the general.

Plus... if Ralph did win the primary, he's much more likely to jumpstart the conversation for which I long - a national dialogue on the Constitution:

The Congress shall have Power... To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures (Article I, Section 8)

A Senator Nader is certainly no less likely than a Senator Dodd to begin a national dialogue on regulating the financial system by discussing:

1) fractional reserve banking vs. full reserve banking
fiat money vs. honest money
the existence of the Federal Reserve

Go Ralph!

Tim White

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Tree lighting - Sunday Dec 6

The NHR has a list of area Christmas Tree lightings, including Cheshire:

6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6
tree-lighting and carol sing
caroling begins at 5 p.m.
Town Green
(rain date is Dec. 7)

Tim White

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bernanke reappointment process begins Dec 3

For all Ben Bernanke fans who were unaware, Connecticut's own Senate Banking Cheerleader Chairman will begin the process of Rubber Stamping Advising and Consenting the reappointment of Bush's Obama's Fed Chairman:

Dec 3 at 10:00 AM Nomination Hearing

The committee will meet in OPEN SESSION to conduct a hearing on the nomination of The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Though the Banking Committee is stocked with Political Class Rubber Stampers , I expect Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) to probably ask some useful questions. Maybe Bernanke's reappointment will even get derailed. Then President Obama could appoint a new Fed Chairman - Ron Paul!

Tim White

Likely Council Committee assignments

Here's an idea of what you can expect for the Council committees:

Audit - Michael Ecke*, Andy Falvey, Tim White

Budget - David Schrumm*, Tom Ruocco, Michael Ecke

Ordinance - Anne Giddings*, Jim Sima, Justin Adinolfi

Personnel - Tom Ruocco*, Anne Giddings, Michael Ecke

Planning - Jim Sima*, David Schrumm, Justin Adinolfi

Solid Waste - Andy Falvey*, Tim White, Justin Adinolfi

* Chairperson

Tim White

Cheshire wins Apple Classic

From the MRJ:

The Cheshire Rams finished the regular season with a record of 9-1 with a 24-11 win over Southington in the Apple Classic Thursday morning.

Tim White

Topitzer selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Luther Turmelle reports on CHS student Matthew Topitzer:

Most teenagers would be excited about the opportunity to meet the president of the United States.

But Matthew Topitzer, a Cheshire High School senior, was taking the prospect of meeting Barack Obama in stride Monday morning when he learned he had been selected to take part in the U.S. Senate Youth Program.

See the NHRs video here:

Tim White

A Prayer of Thanksgiving by Fr Mychal Judge

Thank You, Lord, for life. Thank You for love.
Thank You for goodness. Thank You for work.
Thank You for family. Thank You for friends.
Thank You for every gift because we know
that every gift comes from You,
and without You, we have and are nothing.

As we celebrate this day of thanksgiving to You,
keep our hearts and minds open. Let us enjoy
each other's company, and most of all, let us be
conscious of Your presence in our lives, and
in a special way, in the lives of those who have
gone before us. Thank You, God, for life.

(spoken by Fr. Mychal Judge during his Last Homily on Sept. 10, 2001 at the dedication of a new firehouse in NYC)

Congressman Grayson questions Bernanke on Fed loans to foreign central banks

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) asks some appropriate and absolutely necessary questions of Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board's (The Fed) Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). It's about five minutes long and Bernanke's answers are IMHO absolutely astounding, eye-opening and worse-than-troublesome. If you have five minutes on this holiday, I hope you take the time to watch it.

I think the most easily understood, troubling line of questioning by Grayson was:

The Constitution says "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." Do you think it's consistent with the spirit of that provision in the Constitution for a group like the FOMC to hand out a half a trillion dollars to foreigners without any action by this Congress?

America's monetary policy is wrong, wrong, wrong. I still don't understand how someone like Senator Chris Dodd (Political Class - CT) actually defends it. But at least America has people like Rep. Grayson (Populist - Orlando) and Senator Bernie Sanders (Populist - VT) who are willing to fight the well-heeled special interests and demand the truth.

Tim White

h/t to MJR for this clip that I had missed!

Gaffey on the State of CT and the economy

The MRJ ran this opinion piece by State Senator Tom Gaffey. Senator Gaffey is presently serving his eighth term representing residents of the 13th District, which includes Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield and Middletown. Here is an excerpt:

For twenty years Connecticut has experienced zero job growth. Numerous recent business stories confirm and quantify what is self-evident throughout Connecticut: economic recovery remains elusive and many residents are reeling after layoffs and laggardly job growth. New jobless claims continue to outpace new job creation.

The fallout from this threatens stability in our cities and towns. The state's official unemployment rate has climbed to 8.8 percent, less than the 10.2 percent national average but distressing nevertheless. Delinquent mortgages and foreclosures in our state hover near 7 percent, again less than the national average, but still the high water mark over the past 30 years.

It is obviously time to do things differently.

I wonder if Senator Gaffey wants to eliminate some of the bonding he champions Under the Gold Dome?

Tim White

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slocum setting an agressive agenda for action

With the holidays upon us and some big issues facing the Town, the person to likely be the Council's next Chairman is setting an aggressive agenda.

Some key dates coming from Tim Slocum include:

Sunday 12/6 Swearing in

Monday 12/7 Organizational meeting

Tuesday 12/8 Regular meeting – Town Council

Wednesday 12/9 Joint meeting – Personnel Committee & Town Council

Thursday 12/15 – Special meeting – Town Council – Town Manager Budget Overview

I look forward to taking action on some long overdue issues.

And for anyone interested in attending the Oath of Office ceremony:

Tim White

Caligiuri running for the CT-5

In case you hadn't heard, Cheshire's junior state Senator - Sam Caligiuri - is switching gears. He's no longer running for Senate. He's now running for the CT-5.

I wanted Sam to run for Senate and even encouraged him to run for Senate in the fall of 2008. But considering the last Q poll had him at around 4% in a five-way race, this makes sense for anyone who believes s/he will make a positive difference and is willing and able to run. I'm glad he made the switch.

There is an obvious difference though between the two races. Chris Dodd is poised to get himself fired next year. Chris Murphy is not in the same situation politically.

Sam could be Cheshire's next Congressman. But if Murphy loses, that'll be more because of the globals... not because Murphy was leading the charge to bailout Wall Street or maintain the secrecy of The Beast The Federal Reserve.

As I've mentioned, it could get much more interesting if Dodd retires and Murphy steps up... despite the likely Senate candidacy of AG Blumenthal.

And all of this is set against a backdrop of at least two or three other declared GOP candidates vying for the CT-5 nomination. However, I can only name one - Justin Bernier - so I don't get the sense that the other candidates are particularly serious.

What I like best about this is that my support for the GOP Senate nominee is now easy.

Peter Schiff!

But that support may only go as far as the May 2010 convention. If you don't get 15% there, then your name will likely not appear on the primary ballot in August 2010.

If Schiff's team knows CT electioneering, they ought to be able to get the 15% at convention. But I doubt they'll get that far. And it probably ends up being a Simmons / McMahon smackdown either at the convention in May or the primary election in August.

Tim White

Warfare & welfare: The spending never stops

The NYTimes' Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt report:

President Obama said Tuesday that he was determined to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, and his aides signaled to allies that he would send as many as 25,000 to 30,000 additional troops there even as they cautioned that the final number remained in flux.

And last weekend was a vote for cloture to move forward on the $900 billion healthcare debate?

All of this at a time when even American pop culture is feasting on President Obama for being a spendthrift:

And we get all of this from the man who ran as a "fiscal conservative."

Tim White

Monday, November 23, 2009

20th Council & the artificial turf

The NHRs Luther Turmelle reports on the thoughts of some of the incoming Council members on turf.

Jimmy Sima questioned the accuracy of the costs of natural turf:

Sima said that some of the cost estimates contained in the committee’s report are “very suspect, hocus pocus numbers.”

And Tom Ruocco and Andy Falvey seemed to doubt the fundraising numbers:

“I just don’t think this whole idea has been properly vetted yet,” Ruocco said.

“I just don’t see them coming up with $20,000 a year, every year,” Falvey.

Tim White

NHI follows Linda McMahon at the Yale Bowl

The New Haven Independent's Ben Johnson caught up with Linda McMahon as she campaigned with tailgaters at the Yale - Harvard game. When asked if she supported the healthcare bill, the NHI offers the following response:

That pricetag’s too high, McMahon told voters outside the Yale Bowl Saturday...

“I think the bill is just overwhelming, too much big government, with or without the public option,” she said.

Read the rest here.

Tim White

Ron Paul on CNBC today

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Wizard of Cheshire

In a recent post I detailed a question I posed to State Rep. Mary Fritz (D-90). I asked about the criteria used to prioritize the allocation of the annual $36,000,000 discretionary fund in Hartford.

Rep. Fritz replied:

"They are not slush funds. It's called negotiations."

Frankly, I kinda felt as though I was being reprimanded by The Wizard of Cheshire. It's almost as if the next sentence could've been:

Pay no attention to that man negotiation behind the curtain!

I have a feeling, L. Frank Baum may agree.

Tim White

An apology related to the Election Day emails

Either on Election Day or the day before Election Day, there were some emails distributed that were effectively endorsing certain candidates. Those emails also seemed to some to be a representation of the views of non-profit organizations.

I just spoke with the gentleman who sent out an email related to the pool. He apologized. I'm a believer that we all make mistakes and I felt his apology was sincere. So speaking only for myself, I accepted his apology. For me, that's the end of it.

Tim White

BOE Chairman?

Anyone know the next BOE Chairman? I don't know who it is, but I am curious.

Tim White

Sen. Dodd leads: TARP bailout funds used against taxpayers

From the HuffPo's Julian Hattem:

Twenty-five top recipients of government bailout funds spent more than $71 million on lobbying in the year since they were rescued, an extensive review of federal lobbying records by the Huffington Post reveals.

A year after taxpayers forked over $700 billion to help rescue the biggest names in banking, insurance and the automotive industry, those same institutions are using portions of the cash to influence legislation with a direct impact on taxpayers.

As Banking Chairman, Senator Dodd was a leader on TARP. He also led on the AIG bonuses by giving Tim Geithner the kitchen sink. And Dodd has led the opposition to transparency and good government by opposing the Ron Paul / Alan Grayson / Bernie Sanders / Jim Demint quest to audit the Fed.

America needs leaders. I'm just not sure that this is the type of leadership I want.

Tim White

Populists Paul & Grayson on auditing the Fed

It's Sunday morning. If you've got 15 minutes to kill, I highly recommend watching these two YouTube clips of Congressmen Ron Paul and Alan Grayson. Despite the fact that Washington's Political Class has directed them to cease & desist, they continue! I'm so glad these two Americans are on the House Financial Services Committee. Maybe someday the whole world will know of the $13 trillion that got printed by the Fed last year... and who got it, including foreign central banks.

Tim White

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Move along, move along...

At Tuesday's Turf meeting, I asked to know the criteria used to priortize the allocation of Hartford's annual $36,000,000 slush fund discretionary fund. Though my question was for State Rep. Mary Fritz, BOE member Bob Behrer also weighed in by saying "it has moved to the next phase."

It would've been truly priceless if the words chosen were "it has moved along to the next phase."

FWIW, I like Bob and thought he did a pretty good job on the BOE. For example, I recall him last year at a Council meeting voicing his opinion that the teachers' contract was too big. But I do disagree with him (and most of Cheshire's elected Dems) for effectively giving Mary a free pass on explaining the slush funds discretionary funds in Hartford.

Tim White

Ron Paul: WSJ front page, above-the-fold!

I think this April 17 post was the first time I mentioned HR 1207 - Audit the Fed! At the time I mentioned it I had serious doubts about it actually getting traction. After all, I knew it was a shot across the bow of Washington's Political Class. I doubted too many people would see it that way, but I knew the significance of Dr. Paul's legislation.

However, if anyone was still doubting the significance of HR 1207, the doubt should have disappeared on Friday as it was the lead story of the WSJ... front page and above-the-fold:(Read the full story here.)

Dr. Paul's efforts at good government are finally paying dividends. Too bad Washington chose to wait until our economic collapse before they would even consider Dr. Paul's ideas.

Regardless, things are moving in the right direction. But I don't intend to slow down my efforts. The Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd (Political Class - CT), is already on the record saying he opposes an audit of the Fed. So Team Paulista is fully aware that our work is cut out for us.

And on a related CT note, I understand that Congressman Jim Himes from Greenwich was one of the 26 members opposed to the Ron Paul / Alan Grayson amendment highlighted by the WSJ. In other words, Jim Himes voted against transparency. But perhaps that should come as no surprise since he is a former employee of The Great Vampire Squid.

Tim White

CBS' Dennis House is blogging

I just stumbled across a blog written by CBS' Dennis House. I'm not sure when he started it, but it seems interesting. His current headline story is about the likely 2010 candidates for Governor. And speaking of CT-based TV anchors, I can't forget to mention my fave and her blog - Sarah French.

Tim White

Senator Gregg - Thanks for retiring! We don't need you.

I'm thankful America is getting rid of another member of Washington's Political Class. We need to expunge the swamp of them, particularly those who equate Congressman Ron Paul's actions to pandering. I mean, Senator Gregg has got to be kidding me if he thinks Ron Paul is going to bother pandering to anyone.

From the website of Senator Judd Gregg (Political Class - NH):

Senator Gregg stated, “Yesterday’s passage of the Paul Amendment by the House Financial Services Committee is a dangerous move by this Congress to pander to the populist anger currently directed against our central bank, the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s very public role in combating the financial crisis has heightened interest in and criticism of this vital institution. But, make no mistake; this move to bring the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy under the control of Congress is a grave threat to our economy. Congress has demonstrated time and again its inability to manage the nation’s fiscal policy, illustrated by our staggering national debt in excess of 12 trillion dollars, so how can anyone think that its involvement in monetary policy would be good for the country?”

So Senator Gregg believes that since he and his 99 cohorts have failed America on fiscal policy... then we shouldn't trust the Gang of 100 with monetary policy?

Three points:

1) The Paul Amendment (HR 1207 - Audit the Fed) does absolutely nothing to impact monetary policy. But that's just more lies being spewed by The Political Class.

2) Perhaps instead of accepting defeat, you could fight for good government? Oh no... you can't do that. After all, your Political Class colleagues would then close that increasingly lucrative revolving door that promises you millions of dollars after you leave office. And you can't have that. Nope. You'd rather complain about spending (how much complaining did you do during the Bush years?), then conflate your own fiscal failures with a straightforward good government effort by Dr. Ron Paul... no doubt an effort that will reap you huge rewards in your retirement.

3) Congressman Paul has been introducing HR 1207 to Congress every year for about three decades now. He doesn't pander. He says what he believes. Even Barney Frank had the decency to acknowledge this fact when he flip flopped on Dr. Paul yesterday and supported the anti-transparency Watt Amendment in the House Financial Services Committee.

Then on top of all that, Senator Gregg has the audacity to invoke a Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, and begin discussing central banking (defending the existence of the Fed) without acknowledging the problems of money growing on trees fiat money. Senator Gregg's words do a disservice to the American public.

This is the problem I have with Washington Republicans. Most of them leave me feeling that they are there for themselves... and they're a bunch of hypocrites... just like most of the Democrats.

They all just need to go. And I'm grateful that Senator Gregg is making his departure sooner, rather than later.

Tim White

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rep. Fritz: "They are not slush funds!"

On Tuesday, the Council was discussing the turf. During the discussion I had an opportunity to ask State Representative Mary Fritz to help us understand the grant allocation process in Hartford. It was a question I began asking more than a year ago.

I started by offering some background:

In the news media there have been reports that there are these “discretionary funds” that actually total about $36,000,000 which are dedicated or allocated at the discretion of the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President on an annual basis. So they each have $12,000,000 discretionary funds.

In January or February of ’08, you were quoted – if I recall correctly – in the (Cheshire) Herald that the money for this turf grant came from the Speaker of the House’s discretionary fund.

I finished by asking the question I had waited well more than a year to ask her on camera:

What are the criteria used to prioritize the allocation of these discretionary funds?

Representative Fritz answered:

They are not slush funds. It’s called negotiations.

Please note that I did not mention the phrase "slush fund" at Tuesday's meeting. It was Rep. Fritz who started talking about slush funds in Hartford.

Tim White

Audit the Fed passes a hurdle today

Despite the Political Class' fighting HR 1207 - Audit the Fed - with everything they got... Campaign for Liberty is reporting that Congressman Ron Paul's bill passed a significant committee vote today by a 43 - 26 margin.

End the Fed!

Tim White

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CRTC hears from the "Linda" campaign

Senate candidate Linda McMahon made her presence felt tonight at the Republican Town Committee meeting. Cheshire native, Matt Laconte, is working on her campaign and he spoke on her behalf.

He fielded questions extremely well, including my own:

What's her stance on Roe, the 2nd amendment and the Federal Reserve?

If I recall correctly, he said:

1) She's pro-choice, but opposes late-term abortions.
2) She supports the 2nd amendment.
3) No known position.

He also elaborated on 1) in relation to the Stupak amendment.

But my point was more that she should make her views known on those issues. I've gotten enough of her mailers to know that I agree with her on many issues, such as no more bailouts.

I also suggested to him that she really should take some positions on the Federal Reserve, monetary policy and banking policy. After all, Senator Dodd is the Banking Chairman. So I'm pretty sure that banking will be an issue next year.

Anyway, tonight I saw firsthand the value of being able to throw mucho dinero at an election.

Tim White

Southbound Rte 10 traffic may worsen next week

In case you were unaware, the ConnDOT has a pretty useful traffic update email distribution list. You can sign up here. I mention this because of the update I got today:

Daytime Blasting Operation Scheduled to Start on November 24, at the Intersection of Route 10 and Westwoods Road in Hamden

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing that traffic will be halted for up to ten minute intervals along Route 10 and Westwoods Road to allow for a blasting operation to remove rock in the construction area.

I know it's been bad lately and I've been going over Bethany Mountain to get to the Merritt. But it sounds like the south bound morning commute out of Cheshire may get even worse next week.

Tim White

BOE to vote on turf tonight

The BOE was supposed to vote on the turf tonight. Anyone know the outcome?

Tim White

Genghis Conn Appreciation Night!

After nearly five volunteer years of pretty much daily content updates, Genghis Conn (a.k.a. Chris Bigelow) is retiring. His creation, CTLocalPolitics had become a must-read for not only CTs hyperinformed policy wonks (the bloggers), but also for the pols.

With guest live-blogs from people, such as Congressmen Chris Murphy and Jim Himes... to Lt. Governor Mike Fedele... and non-regular commenters, such as State Reps. Mike Lawlor and Tim O'Brien... and countless lurkers who work Under the Gold Dome... Genghis created a masterpiece in open government. He created a place where conservatives and liberals gathered to keep'em all honest.

Tonight we showed our appreciation with a pretty good turnout from across the CT blogosphere:

On the right we had:

Don Pesci

On the left we had:

Jonathan Kantrowitz

and of course, the organizer of the event... and one of the best bloggers I read... ever-funny with his biting sarcasm... CTBob.

Here's a brief show of appreciation from Bob to Genghis:

And also offering a thank you during his visit tonight, an exploratory candidate for Governor in the Democratic field - Dan Malloy:

I wished Mayor Malloy the best of luck as he explores the possibility of running for Governor.

A few others attended. There was a representative from the Rob Simmons campaign, Raj. And most surprising to me was seeing Dennis House:

I actually met Dennis once before. It was about ten years ago and he was doing "man-on-the-street" interviews in Hartford. I didn't talk much to him then, but did speak with him tonight. He was a really nice guy who clearly knows CT politics.

But I think the most fun of the night for me was talking shop with some of the most active activists in the state.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you Genghis Conn! And even more important... thank you Mrs. GC for having shared him with us!!

Tim White

Audit the Fed - fighting for the truth has many hurdles

One of the hurdles was detailed in today's HuffPost by Ryan Grim:

As the debate over an audit of the Federal Reserve intensifies in the House, one camp is trotting out eight academics that it calls a "political cross section of prominent economists."

A review of their backgrounds shows they are anything but....

Grim continues to tell the truth about the lies being spread to wrongly Defend the Fed. Essentially, The Bad Guys The Fed Defenders are telling the truth... but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Typical. They commit lies of omission, not lies of commission:

But far from a broad cross-section, the "prominent economists" lobbying on behalf of the Watt bill are in fact deeply involved with the Federal Reserve. Seven of the eight are either currently on the Fed's payroll or have been in the past.

The Fed connections are not outlined in the letter sent around to committee members on Wednesday, but are publicly discernible through a review of their resumes, which are all posted online.

Guys like Congressman Mel Watt are the problem with Washington.

Tim White

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My new hero: Congressman Pete DeFazio

"[Obama] is being failed by his economic team," DeFazio concluded. "We may have to sacrifice just two more jobs to get millions back for Americans." (Huffington Post, by Sam Stein)

- Congressman Pete DeFazio speaking on the future employment of Larry Summers and "Timmy" Geithner.

Go get'em Congressman! And may I suggest you add Ben Bernanke to your list?

Tim White

Lame duck turf talk

Anyone see tonight's meeting? You know, the final meeting of the lame duck Council.

Frankly, much of the meeting baffled me. Why a lame duck Councilman would begin to discuss the criteria* he wanted for compromise with the Council's incoming Chairman was beyond me.

Sure I knew that on November 3rd there were several Dems who incorrectly blamed President Obama for their losses. But I thought that by now they would've acknowledged that the 2009 local election was an election like just about every election - it was a referendum on the incumbent.

So seeing these discussions during a Council meeting seemed almost surreal. Oh well. They have not yet acknowledged their own shortcomings, but at least I won't have to sit through anymore discussion on agenda items that were based on fairy tales.

And there was plenty of it tonight, including the 19th Council's mythical rules of order which I've explained in the past.

Getting Rep. Fritz' long-awaited response to my question about Crusher's annual $12,000,000 slush fund discretionary fund was LOL funny.

More on that later. I'm going to bed now... but so you know, I fully intend to post the video of Rep. Fritz explaining "the criteria used to prioritize the allocation of discretionary funds." That was priceless.

Tim White

* Representative Fritz offered an interesting explanation of the word "criteria" tonight... more on that later.

Murphy should step up regardless of Dodd's wishes

Everyone knows about the polls and Chris Dodd's political challenges in a 2010 general election.

With so many problems in his general election polling... and with real policy problems with his liberal Democratic base... I don't see Congressman Chris Murphy jumping into a Democratic primary for Governor.


I'm back to where I was a year ago. I think Murph should primary Dodd next year. Consider - a recent Quinnipiac poll gave Dodd 55% of Dem primary voters against 22% for Merrick Alpert. But that also shows that 45% of Dem primary voters don't want Dodd.

I hope Chris goes for it... though I'm also hoping Sammy drops his Senate bid and jumps to the highly winnable CT-5! And for the record, I encouraged Sam Caligiuri to run for Senate in the fall of 2008. But after a year of campaigning and polls at 4% in a GOP primary, I'm beginning to doubt he can win the GOP nomination next summer... though I'm still confident he could get the 15% at convention.

Tim White

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One year later: Bernanke's gold prediction wrong

One year ago, I mentioned that Ben Bernanke claimed:

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

2) central banks are selling their gold.

I also mentioned the counterpoint offered by, perhaps, the only elected official in Washington with the intellectual capacity to engage in a philosophical discussion on economics with Benny - Congressman Ron Paul:

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.

Fast forward one year and we see Kim Kyoungwha reporting:

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Gold climbed to a record for a second day this week on speculation that central banks and investors will boost holdings to guard against a further decline in the dollar and the threat of rising inflation.

The International Monetary Fund said this week it sold 2 metric tons of gold, valued at about $71.7 million, to Mauritius. The sale followed India’s $6.7 billion purchase of 200 tons, which was announced earlier this month. The IMF plans to sell a total of 403.3 tons to bolster its finances.

“Sentiment continues to be very upbeat,” said Stefan Graber, an analyst with Credit Suisse Group in Singapore. “We are likely to see more central banks stepping up gold purchases. Gold prices could extend their rally into yearend.”

Bernanke needs to go.

Geithner needs to go.

Summers needs to go.

And if President Obama won't fire them - and start gearing his monetary policies, banking policies and economic policies toward the American people - then President Obama will definitely need to go in 2012. Obama's economic team does not have America's interests as their #1 priority. They need to be fired.

Tim White

Monday, November 16, 2009

And the Council Chairman is...

Wikipedia's Wikiuser7777 is reporting that the next Council Chairman and Honorary Mayor for the Town of Cheshire, CT will be...

drumroll, please...

Tim Slocum!

Obviously nothing is official until the organizational meeting on Monday December 7. But I think Wikiuser7777 knows his/her stuff. And for the record, I have no idea about the true identity of Wikiuser7777... though based on the contributions, s/he certainly appears to have some connections to India.

Tim White

Surveillance cameras for Bartlem Park?

There's consideration of placing surveillance cameras in Bartlem Park. The NHRs Luther Turmelle reports:

Town officials are investigating whether they can come up with enough money to purchase a video surveillance system that would be used to deter vandalism and other illicit activity in Bartlem Park.

The catalyst for the decision by Town Manager Michael Milone and other officials is a recent spate of vandalism at the park. Obscene graffiti written on the town’s Youth Services building near the entrance, as well as at the skateboard park and a building that houses restroom facilities, cost $2,000 to cover over, Milone said...

“We’d need about $15,000 to purchase a system,” he said. “The Youth & Social Services Department has about $2,500 in grant money and the police department has about $5,000 we could use, but we’d have to find some way to come up with the rest.”

I've got several concerns about this, including cost. The cost strikes me as high. I figure if I can upload video to the web with a camera that cost a couple hundred bucks... with the recent improvements in technology, this stuff shouldn't cost so much. But I'm comfortable hearing more about the idea.

Tim White

Congressman Chris Murphy for Governor?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but there's a great new website about all-things-CT-politics:

CT Capitol Report

That's where I noticed a piece by The Day's Ted Mann speculating on Chris Murphy running for Governor. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see him jump and run for the open seat. Consider his history:

1997 to 1998 - Southington Planning & Zoning
1998 to 2002 - State Representative
2002 to 2006 - State Senator
2006 to present - Congressman

He obviously likes a new challenge. And he's got the fire in the belly. And there certainly seems to be something of a growing anti-incumbent sentiment toward Washington. So Chris may not want to run as the incumbent Congressman next year.

But on the flip side, he'd have to have some serious doubts about winning a Dem primary with both Susie B and Ned in the mix.

Tim White

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turf meeting on Tuesday

With the turf meeting scheduled for Tuesday November 17, I couldn't help but notice something.

At last Tuesday's meeting, the Personnel Chair made it clear that the PD issues should be delayed until the new Council takes office on Sunday, December 6. And since the Budget Chair was at the PD meeting, I presume he agreed with the Personnel Chair that the PD issues should be delayed.

But obviously the Budget Chair feels that the turf cannot wait until the new Council.

Does that suggest the Budget Chair feels the turf is a higher priority than the PD issues?

Tim White

Forget about human rights, just keep the money flowing


When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in many ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay his respects to his banker...

unlike his immediate predecessors, who publicly pushed and prodded China to follow the Western model and become more open politically and economically, Mr. Obama will be spending less time exhorting Beijing and more time reassuring it.

China wants to know how we're going to pay for the healthcare plan because they assume they'll be financing it.

Therein lies the Catch-22.*

Do you support national healthcare - financed by China - at the expense of demanding improved human rights for all?

I think the idea of healthcare for all is noble. But I don't want to further balloon the national debt at the expense of both future generations of Americans... and the loss of the moral high ground when it comes to human rights.

Tim White

* Catch-22 is one of my all-time favorite books... up there with Vonnegut. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It's funny as heck.

Ron Paul on recent developments in US monetary policy

I know monetary policy can put many people to sleep. But if you care about freedom and the future of America, I encourage you watch this eight minute clip of Congressman Ron Paul giving his thoughts on current developments in US monetary policy.

Whether you agree with Dr. Paul is secondary to me. My primary goal is that America will begin to have a serious discussion on monetary policy for the first time in decades. It's a discussion that is long overdue. And IMO, it directly impacts our freedoms and the very existence of America as we know it.

Tim White

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Turf meeting rescheduled, agenda revised - Nov 17

The new turf meeting agenda:

AMENDED 11/13/09
7:30 P.M., TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009


1. Roll call.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Presentation of Turf Study Group report.
4. Possible appropriation of the $525,000 State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Cheshire High School Turf Field Grant.
5. Adjournment.

I'm not sure if this will be televised. But I do find this to be a rather interesting development for a lame duck Council meeting.

And for some clarity on terminology... in July 2008 the Council voted to "accept" the $525,000 turf grant. So this is for the "appropriation" of the money.

To the best of my memory, as a Council member I have almost always voted on the "acceptance" and "appropriation" of grants funds simultaneously with only one exception: the turf.

Tim White

Big mistake: Obama Administration defends Fed

On November 10, Senator Dodd was right to propose eliminating the regulatory role of The Beast The Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration continues their fearmongering that civilization will end if any group other than the Fed regulates "systemic risk."

From Bloomberg's Robert Schmidt and Sandrine Rastello:

Two Obama administration officials stood up for the Federal Reserve after a key senator proposed stripping the central bank of its authority to supervise banks.

Austan Goolsbee, a White House economic adviser, and Neal Wolin, the deputy Treasury secretary, said the proposal by Senator Christopher Dodd would weaken the nation’s ability to guard against future financial crises.

Nothing particularly shocking about this. But Senator Dodd's banking committee spokesman, Kirstin Brost offered a great counterpunch to the Administration's delusional claims about the wonders of the Fed:

“The Federal Reserve didn’t exactly do a stellar job handling systemic risk -- just look at how they failed to act on subprime mortgages,” Brost said.

I'm far from agreeing with Senator Dodd's 1,100 page bill fully though. So while America's financial system needs to be righted, I propose the strongest regulation possible:

The Congress shall have Power... To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures (Article I, Section 8)

Perhaps Senator Dodd could begin a national dialogue on regulating the financial system by discussing:

1) fractional reserve banking vs. full reserve banking
fiat money vs. honest money
the existence of the Federal Reserve

Tim White


While I was growing up in CT, I doubt anyone knew that word. Though we all know it now.

The MRJs Jason R. Vallee reports:

Southington police have responded to 25 motor vehicle accidents in the past year involving a deer. Just next door in Cheshire, police records show 85 accidents involving deer over the past 22 months.

Statewide, the Department of Environmental Protection estimates 15,000 to 18,000 deer die in motor vehicle accidents annually.

Early Tuesday on Interstate 691 the driver of a Bozzuto's tractor trailer truck swerved to avoid hitting a deer and hit an overpass abutment, causing the truck to burst into flames. The driver was injured, but is expected to recover, according to state police.

Tim White

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dorgan was right; Dodd & Lieberman were wrong

Regarding the financial meltdown, the Huffington Post's Dan Froomkin offers a necessary review of history:

He got it right last time.

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, was one of eight senators who stood up to oppose the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act in 1999. That repeal, which was signed into law by President Clinton exactly 10 years ago today, broke down the barriers between commercial banking and investment banking, and led to the growth of behemoth financial firms that were able to take enormous risks with impunity, because they were "too big to fail."

"I think we will in 10 years' time look back and say we should not have done this," Dorgan said back then.

Byron Dorgan in his own words:

The US Senate's GLBA (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) roll call is here. Who were the eight voting nay?

Boxer (D-CA)
Bryan (D-NV)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Shelby (R-AL)
Wellstone (D-MN)

Among those voting yea:

Dodd (D-CT)
Lieberman (D-CT)

GLBA was a mistake. I'm glad to see the Banking Committee's ranking Republican got it right... though the rest of them were apparently out to lunch when this got discussed.

It's also worth noting that the Gramm in GLBA is Phil Gramm. He was an economic advisor to John McCain in 2008.

Tim White

Amann knows how to "fix" the budget crisis

“I guarantee no one would know how to fix the budget crisis except for me,” - former Speaker of the House Jim "Crusher" Amann (CTNewsJunkie, by Christine Stuart)

For those of you who are unaware, the $525,000 turf grant came from Crusher's annual $12,000,000 slush fund discretionary fund. Furthermore, the annual $12,000,000 discretionary fund exists for CTs Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President. That's a total of $36,000,000 spent annually by those three individuals without direct vote of the legislature on how the funds are spent.

Tim White

Q Poll: The GOP primary

Ignoring Senator Dodd for the moment, I found the Quinnipiac Poll on the GOP primary interesting. (Click here, then scroll down to question #3.)

Rob Simmons leads with 28%. Linda McMahon's snazzy flyers have bumped her from nowhere to 17%. Tom Foley is at 9%. Peter Schiff is at 5%. And I have no idea how Sam Caligiuri is polling at only 4%.

The two most surprising numbers to me are Caligiuri and Foley. I don't know a thing about Foley, yet he's more than double Caligiuri. And while I recognize that Sam should have greater name ID around here... I figured he views on Roe would be gaining him more traction - in terms of a GOP Primary. Go figure.

The Q Poll also includes a trend analysis for the GOP Primary.

Tim White

North block to be used only in emergencies

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The acting head of the state Department of Correction has reaffirmed that the vacant North Block at the Cheshire Correctional Institution will be used only in emergencies, Town Manager Michael Milone says.

Tim White

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Props for Senator Dodd! Ending the Fed's regulatory role

For the past year I've been wondering what happened to our Senate Banking Chairman, Chris Dodd. While TBTF have only gotten bigger, Senator Dodd seemed to have gone AWOL from his committee and taken up residence in the HELP Committee to craft a national healthcare plan.

IMO, Senator Dodd was wrong to jump into a leading role in the healthcare debate. But now he's released his 1,100 page banking plan. And in it, he's done something quite admirable - and nearly unthinkable. He's directly challenged President Obama's, perhaps, biggest failure to date.

Dodd is challenging the notion that The Beast The Federal Reserve should be a regulator for systemic risk! I take my hat off for Senator Dodd. He's not kowtowing to our very likeable President. Nope. To some extent, Senator Dodd is trying to do the right thing.

Bloomberg's Scott Lanman and Craig Torres report:

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve faces the biggest blows to its authority and independence in five decades under legislation championed by its lead overseer in the U.S. Senate.

The financial-regulation overhaul proposed yesterday by Senator Christopher Dodd would strip the Fed of its role as a bank supervisor and give Congress a greater voice in naming the officials who set interest rates.

This is great news for America because The Federal Reserve failed miserably in regulating the banking industry. Instead, the Political Class* chose to spend their time dining on fine china and "resolving" concerns over a bottle of Beaujolais.

The Fed has absolutely no business regulating banking. They have clearly demonstrated that they are a complete and total failure in regulating the banking industry. I'm glad that Senator Dodd sees them for the failure they are.

But while I think Senator Dodd has definitely taken a step in the right direction - eliminating the Fed's regulatory role - he's still missing the mark. By reinstating the Constitution, we could easily avoid much of the bureaucracy that would be created with Senator Dodd's monstrous bill... and still achieve the same goal.

America's financial system needs to be righted. I recommend the strongest regulation possible:

The Congress shall have Power... To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures (Article I, Section 8)

I would be thrilled to see Senator Dodd begin a national dialogue on regulating the financial system by discussing:

1) fractional reserve banking vs. full reserve banking
fiat money vs. honest money
the existence of the Federal Reserve

For another person's take on these issues, watch former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan discuss fiat money, honest money and central banking in this 2 minute YouTube:

Tim White

* Think Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Lloyd Blankfein, Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson and their cronies.

Yankee Institute fighting for transparency in Hartford

CT's conservative think tank, Yankee Institute, is being showcased by the WRAs David Krechevsky:

If you've ever wondered how the state spends every last penny of your tax dollars, the Yankee Institute for Public Policy will soon show you.

Fergus Cullen, executive director of the conservative think tank based on the Trinity College campus in Hartford, said Tuesday his organization is developing, a Web site that will make "every line-item of state spending" available to the general public.

That's great. With increased transparency, maybe now we can learn where exactly the "amorphous" annual $36,000,000 slush fund annual $36,000,000 discretionary fund exists within the budget.

Tim White

CT Senate - Q Poll due out tomorrow

I understand that there's a new Quinnipiac poll on the CT Senate race due to be released tomorrow. They usually post the polls on this webpage.

Tim White

Veterans Day 2009

There was a really nice turnout for today's Veterans Day event on the Green. Thanks go to my dad (VFW Commander) and Ernie Dipietro (American Legion Commander) for having organized the event. This year's ceremony included a brief Civil War reenactment.

And in case you are unaware, Veterans Day is intended to honor all of America's veterans. It differs from Memorial Day in that Memorial Day is intended to honor our fallen soldiers.

Tim White

Turmelle on the PD "no confidence" meeting

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The Town Council and its personnel committee heard from a pair of consultants Monday night, one of which may be hired to help resolve a dispute between Police Chief Michael Cruess and the police union.

I offered my take last night.

Tim White

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Council meeting - November 10

It was a pretty short meeting tonight. We entered executive session before 9pm.

The item that generated the most discussion was the BOEs request for $170,000 related to the bus contract. Ruocco, Sima and Slocum asked some questions about the process. While I was dissatisfied with the information initially provided to the Council by the BOE, I called CCM and got more information. Based on the additional information, I decided that following the process made sense. While I didn't care for the increased cost, I was satisfied that the proper process was used. The motion passed 7-2 (Ruocco & Sima opposed).

The other item that had some discussion was the call for a public hearing related to building permit fees. Jimmy was opposed to even having a public hearing. I respect his position. But I am curious to hear more about these proposed changes to building permit fees.

Tim White

Monday, November 09, 2009

Consultant discussion on the PD's "no confidence" vote

The Personnel Committee and full Council met tonight (Altieri, Ecke, Hall, Ruocco, Sima, Slocum and White were present. Falvey and Giddings also attended). The discussion was regarding possible consultants for the Police Department 'no confidence' vote.

Two vendors made presentations.

The first proposer was from the ICMA or International City Management Association - an association of which the TM is a member. Generally, I thought they had something to offer. They suggested speaking with the principals. Then they would set out a timetable with benchmarks for a variety of issues, including operational improvements. That's exactly what I want to do. But I'd add consequences for failure to meet the goals.

On the flip side though, I believe that any investigation may ultimately include the TM as a principal. And if that's the case, I'm concerned about the independence of the ICMA. Furthermore, they have a former President of the International Association of Chief's of Police as a team member... but no former President of AFSCME. That seems a bit lopsided to me.

The second proposer was some sort of behavioral specialist. Frankly, this sounded a bit touchy-feely. I figure the TM and the Personnel Director have had a year to work on behavior management. I don't see the point in spending a bunch of time, money & energy going down that path.

After the two proposers were done, I offered a few thoughts...

I previously asked the TM to invite another proposer - an attorney from Waterbury - who worked on 'no confidence' investigations in PDs in Wolcott and Naugatuck. But he didn't attend tonight. So I asked why?

Unfortunately, the TM said that the goal for these proposers was to include ideas for both operational and behavioral improvements. Frankly, I don't recall the Council saying that we were looking for anything beyond a fact-finder. But then... maybe last Tuesday was a statement?

At the end of the meeting I asked the TM to compile a timeline of actions taken by his office over the past 12 months. I requested that the timeline include a general description of the actions and the principals involved. It seems to me that if the Council is to move forward, we need an historical context for the present situation.

Tim White

Bus contract vote & memo

Dr. Florio's memo regarding the bus contract:Tim White

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Council agenda - November 10

Here's the agenda for Tuesday's meeting:Tim White

Rell considers prison use, could impact Cheshire

The NHRs Luther Turmelle reports:

Cheshire officials are nervous that a request by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to have the state Department of Correction review the feasibility of consolidating some facilities could mean more prisoners in town.

Rell told DOC officials Friday that she wants acting Commissioner Brian K. Murphy to report back to her by Nov. 27 on whether a prison can be closed “with the safety of staff, the public and the inmates as a priority.”

Keep in mind that Cheshire's "north block" is vacant. So a shifting of prisoners could mean that Cheshire's 500 or so empty beds in the north block could become filled.

Tim White

Parents concerned about CHS locker rooms and flu

From the NHRs Sean Barker:

A group of Cheshire parents said they have had enough with conditions at the Maclary Athletic Complex locker rooms and are considering starting a petition for the allocation of additional funds from the “rainy day fund” to have an overhaul of the facility completed by Sept. 1, 2010.

Tim White

Saturday, November 07, 2009

If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist

Excerpted from a piece by Senator Bernie Sanders (Populist - VT) on HuffPost:

More than a year has gone by since Congress passed the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. The Federal Reserve has committed trillions of additional dollars...

Today, most of the huge financial institutions still standing have become even bigger -- so big that the four largest banks in America (JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup) now issue one out of every two mortgages; two out of three credit cards; and hold $4 out of every $10 in bank deposits in the entire country...

If any of these financial institutions were to get into major trouble again, taxpayers would be on the hook for another massive bailout. We cannot let that happen. We need to do exactly what Teddy Roosevelt did back in the trust-busting days and break up these big banks...

If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist.

Senator Chris Dodd (Political Class - CT) should have been at the financial wheel for the past 12 months. Instead, he decided to spend his time on healthcare. And while there is a lot of merit to reforming the healthcare system, Senator Dodd did not need to be leading the charge.

There were plenty of other Senators on the HELP Committee who could have - and would have - taken the charge. But Senator Dodd decided healthcare was his top priority... at the same time that the TBTF were getting even bigger.

Dodd's decision makes no sense to me.

As for Bernie's call for trust-busting, I would take a different approach to fixing America's monetary ills:

1) transition from fractional reserve banking to full reserve banking
2) transition from fake money
fiat money to honest money
3) end
the Federal Reserve

Tim White

The local papers' take on Election 2009

I had been meaning to link to the articles of the four local papers. Here they are:

GOP wins in landslide fashion, Herald by Josh Morgan

GOP wins big in Cheshire, NHR by Luther Turmelle

Republicans take back Cheshire boards, WRA by Lauresha Xhihani

Republicans take control in Cheshire, MRJ by Jesse Buchanan

My favorite is the Herald. I kinda like the pic. haha...

This wasn't a referendum on President Obama. As with all elections, this was a referendum on the incumbent.

And my take on the election? I continue to ponder the results and think there were a number of factors - police, pool, personnel, turf, teachers' contract, good government, council decorum... to name a few.

Tim White

Anne Giddings will join the Council

The final numbers are tallied and Anne Giddings will be seated on the 7-2 GOP Council.

And if history is an indication of when the new Council takes office, you can expect the following:

Sunday, December 6 - Elected officials take oath of office

Monday, December 7 - Council organizational meeting chaired by Carolyn Soltis, new Chair is elected

Tuesday, December 8 - First regular meeting of new the Council

Anyone have any thoughts on the selection of a Chairman? How about Committee assignments?

Tim White

Friday, November 06, 2009

The cost of renovating the boys' locker room

In case you are unaware, there is a process and timetable for creating the Town's capital budget. The process is something like this...

1) Springtime - Superintendent drafts a capital budget proposal;
2) June 1 - BOE adopts a capital budget proposal;
3) July 15 - TM drafts a capital budget proposal; and
4) September 1 - Council adopts a capital budget (allowing adequate lead time for referenda in November elections).

Anyway, some of you may recall my August 17 post discussing the BOE's finance committee recommendation for school renovations:By reading this, it sure sounds to me as though the locker rooms are supposed to cost $350,000.

But now I see the NHRs Luther Turmelle reporting:

School officials have estimated that renovating the existing boys’ locker room would cost $750,000, with an expansion of the space adding at least $250,000. Building a structure would allow for a larger boys’ locker room and would cost $500,000 to $600,000, officials have said.


Also worth noting is the capital budget's description:

Fixing the Boy's Locker Room issue is the number one priority at this time.

And Luther's article continues:

But with Republicans having run on a fiscally conservative platform and holding a majority when the new school board is seated in January, it’s not clear whether building a new locker room will get enough support.

“Let’s wait and see what happens,” said Peter Massey, the board’s Finance Committee chairman and a Democrat. “There are a lot of needs at the high school and this is just one of them.”

As the Finance Committee Chair, I presume BOE Member Massey agreed that the Boy's Locker Room is 2009's number one school renovation project. But maybe I'm missing something?

Tim White