Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Some thoughts on Election 2009

Over the past few months, many people told me that the economy was their number one concern. And based on exit polling data, huge numbers of voters had "anxiety" over the economy.

I'm sure that anxiety played a role in yesterday's election in town, but I think it was a fairly small part.

I looked at the cover of the NHR today. The left column on the front page, above-the-fold read:


Ansonia - Volpe (D)
Branford - DaRos (D)
Cheshire - Republicans
Clinton - Fritz (D)
Derby - Stafferi (R)
East Haven - Capone Almon (D)

The list continues, but it seems that most towns in the area did not change ships. And it's also worth noting that many Dems were reelected.

I conclude that while Cheshire's election was marginally impacted by national trends, the results were largely due to local issues - police, pool, personnel, public works, turf, etc. The list goes on and on.

Cheshire's local election was not about President Obama. Like all elections, it is a referendum on the incumbent. And I think the voters of Cheshire sent a very clear message yesterday.

Here are the updated Council at-large results:

Tim Slocum (R) – 3643
James Sima (R) – 3485
Justin Adinolfi (D) – 3270
Sylvia Nichols (R) – 3259

Anne Giddings (R) - 3227
Michael Ecke (D) – 3151
Matthew Altieri (D) - 3064
Joe Bartoli (R) - 3049
Kerrie Dunne (D) - 2725
Michael Evans (D) – 2501

I'm not surprised that Justin Adinolfi* received the most votes of any Democrat. But it is interesting to me that as a non-incumbent, he was the only Dem to win. All incumbent Council Democrats lost. And that appeared to carry all the way down ticket... with the notable exception of BOE Chairman Steve Mrowka.

Speaking of the BOE Chairman... I'm guessing there will be a new Chairman next month. It may be Steve again. Or it may be a member of the GOP caucus - Brittingham, Dixon, Pavano, Perugini or Sobol.

And while on the topic of Chairmanships, I'm guessing that Sean Strollo will remain the PZC Chair. He currently chairs the nine member PZC with a six member GOP caucus. And since only one PZC member changed (Republican Veleber to Republican Linder), it seems likely that Sean will continue chairing the PZC.

Again, I conclude that Cheshire's local election was not about President Obama. Like all elections, it is a referendum on the incumbent. And there are two fundamental questions that are asked:

1) Should the incumbent be fired?
2) Is the alternative credible?

As much as I personally like some of the losing candidates, the voters of Cheshire answered those two questions very clearly yesterday.

What do you feel were the major issues in yesterday's local election?

Tim White

* no relation to former state Rep. Al Adinolfi


Contoured Views said...

Just curious Tim, do you think some voters thought Justin was related to Al so they voted for him?
Would love to know how much he spent on advertising and who donated to his campaign. Is that public record somewhere?

If the town knew that he was a paid consultant to the people wanting to build the monstrosity in the north end, they may not have been so eager to vote for him.

Anonymous said...

The losing town Democrats blame their defeat on the economy, and this is part true. What they don’t acknowledge is their failure to address it.

There was a sense among my neighbors (like me, mostly independents) that the previous council was too fast to spend and too slow to belt- tighten, especially with the 13% teacher raise. The council was more concerned about turf and other favored projects than with the closing of P&W and the imminent loss of revenues. The LOCAL economy was a factor - the Democrats did not take it seriously and the Republicans did.

Their putting up Matt Bowman underscored these perceptions and dragged down their ticket townwide. He is widely distrusted as self-interested. Also, in my part of town (DeCaprio’s district), people felt that she offered more excuses than results.

Anonymous said...

I think many Democrats crossed over and voted Republican this year, turned off by Altieri, Ecke, DeCaprio, and Bowman especially.

The Dems have only themselves to blame for the overwhelming GOP victory.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of spoiled are a few excerpts from today's Herald:

Ecke: He thought the “town would pay dearly” as a result, but said he and Ecke would “try the best we can.”
“I think budgets will be slashed and there will be a massive cut in services. It will be very devastating to the town,” Adinolfi said. “With a 7-2 Council, we’ll be lucky if we will even be allowed to speak, but we will try our best.”

Ecke said. “Honestly, I am very disappointed. Some very good Councilors won’t be back, and that’s unfortunate. I don’t think we deserved to lose.”

Crying over spilled milk...maybe these people should consider an alternative career in comics...they can draw those cheesy partisan cartoons. What a bunch of...babies.

Ecke: You didn't legitimately win your seat...Anne Giddings beat you but had to forfeit her seat to you. Just based on your comments and crybaby reactions to the election, it's obvious Anne should be sitting on the council and not you.

cedar lane said...

I agree that the local economy was a big factor, and not the national economy, Obama, or any of the other excuses the Dems are giving. Cheshire voters are pretty smart when it comes to distinguishing between local and national issues.

The Dem leaders were in deep denial of the real concerns of the voters, which is why the voters tossed them out. They are still in deep denial of their own failures as responsible for their overwhelming defeat.

Girl 69er said...

I wonder who you republicans are going to blame in cheshire when things don't go the way you want. Will you blame your own party. Fat chance Well I guess it will be quiet now.

Anonymous said...

I feel that Obama or Washington had anything to do with the Dem loss. The main reason the Dems lost were: nothing done to fix the pool, pushing for turf, outrageous teachers contract. We now have three surrounding towns where teachers have taken a wage freeze for 2010: Southington, Berlin and Plainville. North Haven has taken a 1% increase. Let's see when this years school budget is put forth and the teachers come to the council and cry that cutting the budget will ultimately hurt the children. I don't think the residents of Cheshire are going to be too sympathetic. It's time for Cheshire teachers to reopen their contract and give the town a break (let's see if they come to the plate).

Anonymous said...

The spending has to stop. That's my message. We can't spend what we don't have in our personal lives and the town should run the same way. We want concrete solutions to the issues facing Cheshire (especially the money pit of a pool)and if these new town council members don't have any we'll get new ones next time. The town of Cheshire collects A LOT of taxes and we want it spent wisely.

Anonymous said...

Its quite obvious that the elections in Cheshire were performance and issue based. I believe that if the Repubicans are moderate and balanced with their decisions they will be in control for a long period of time. If they are too severe with cuts and service eliminations they will be ousted just like their predecessors. Moderation is key and we all wish you much success!

Anonymous said...

The developers got "Mall Man" Adinolfi elected, but all he'll be is a nuisance. All talk and no substance.

And Ecke, not a CPA and not trully elected. He and Adinolfi can sit together and whine.

Anonymous said...


We have the best people in the majority and we don't have to worry about any hidden agendas.

It's really bad that Ann Giddings who actual won had to give up her seat to Ecke due a stupid Chart requiement. She is so smart and experienced, what a shame.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder who you republicans are going to blame in cheshire when things don't go the way you want. Will you blame your own party. Fat chance Well I guess it will be quiet now."

See, this the problem with the democrats. They see things in terms of things they want...not what CHESHIRE ACTUALLY WANTS.

The Republicans are out for the best interests of Cheshire, not their party. Wake's not about the democrats, it's about the good people of Cheshire. As such, the Republicans will be very successful.

Anonymous said...

If Anne Giddings resigned her Republican registration and became an independent, might she qualify to be seated on the council??

Contoured Views said...

11:29-Girl 69er
Do you remember making this bet?

From 10/27/09
"hey cry me a river, i bet you a gift certificate to In the Mood in Meriden if Matt Bowman, Laura DeCaprio and Peter Talbot do not win." -- you owe someone a gift certificate, you weren't even close.

Lets see if we hear from all the others who thought the GOP was done. They were obviously blind to what the public opinion of the current council really was.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how much the democrats spent on this campaign? I heard they spent over $30,000 while the Republicans spent under $3,000. Ouch! That's got to hurt.

Anonymous said...

Contoured Views said
Lets see if we hear from all the others who thought the GOP was done. They were obviously blind to what the public opinion of the current council really was.

They're all too busy either polishing up their resumes to look for work in the (gasp!) private sector, or posting obscene comments (on the other thread).

Anonymous said...

RE: I'd like to know how much the democrats spent on this campaign? I heard they spent over $30,000...

Democrats dont 'spend' money, they 'redistribute' money to those less fortunate, like turf dealers, Bowman, consultants, real estate developers, teachers union (13%), Zullo, the Herald, etc

Anonymous said...

What a close race between Mr Adinolfi, Ms Giddings and Ms Nicols. Imagine if they spent half the money that Mr adinolfi spent?

Anonymous said...

We actually spent 23,000 and the Dems spent a little less. Tim Slocum had 3000 signs. It worked we won.

Anne Giddings said...

Tim Slocum had a lot of signs from previous campaigns. Many of his had the office he was running for covered, because they were from before he first ran for the Town Council.

I spent $500.

Anonymous said...

The Dems outspent the Reps 10 to 1. For all the money Adinolfi spent himself, only about 50 votes separated him from Anne and less than 20 from Sylvia.

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty outrageous that Adinolfi tells the Herald that "budgets will be'll be devastating to the town."
FYI - the economy is still a mess! The Dems reduced the education budget overall by $1.3 million yet they had the audacity to try pushing through their turf field project which will be over a million and more down the road.
The Dems cut out the bulky waste pickup and even wanted one less police officer.
Mr. Adinolfi - stop looking into your crystal ball, stop whining - you'll have a chance to come up with an "alternative budget." We'll see what great ideas you have.
It's about needs not wants - that is why the dems lost the election. They have their priorities all screwed up.


Anonymous said...

Both Ecke and Aldinolfi have managed to tick off and offend a lot of residents with their remarks in the Herald today. They're only further hurting themselves at this point and playing the victim is falling on deaf ears. If they have nothing good to say they should keep their mouths shut. Otherwise contribute in a positive manner and follow through on the "Working Together" slogan they pitched during the election...which based on their recent actions was a bunch of lies anyway.

Bill said...

Adinolfi ran because when the Dems won the majority he was to be the Chairman of the Town Council. Now him and Ecke have to suffer through two years in the minority. If all 9 were smart they would figure out what is right for the Town, not for their own interests, special interests or agendas based on political parties. So for members of the new Council, we will be watching to see if egos, power and insanity suddenly affects your true desire to run this Town for the best interest of the Town. Do not be mistaken Rep's; this was not a mandate for your own agenda, it was a vote to make a change where the residents are expecting sound financial leadership, based on values and needed improvements, not agendas related to political positions.

Anonymous said...

Tim Slocum had 84 the beginning. 50 were the new translucent variety, the balance recycled from 2003 and 2007. I ran 5 ads over 4 weeks. I spent about 49 cents per vote.

I worked the niegborhoods when I could with Tom Ruocco, Jimmy Sima, Tim White, David Schrumm and Andy Falvey. Anne used a bike and I don't have one (and could't keep up anyway) and Sylvia and I missed the opportunity due to scheduling conflicts.

Our victory was a lot of sweat equity focused on issues that were in touch with the voters current expectations. Despite our critics we presented two budgets over the last 2 years that like the Dems included approx. 70% for the board of Ed and the balance for the town gov. side. There was a difference of about $200K.

The notion Republicans are going to gut education is utter nonsense and tired theatrics. If this was the case our alternative budgets would have returned the education money to the taxpayers urging parents to home school.

As for the editorial comment in today's Cheshire Herald that Council Republicans have a stranglehold over the Democrats is folly. While meetings may be shorter now their voices will be welcome. Mr. Ecke and Mr. Adinolfi are experienced leaders and their leadership is anticipated and is absolutely welcome on the new Town Council.

This new council is comprised of 9 people that care very much about Cheshire. No economy stays down forever. But we do have big challenges ahead. We have an excellent opportunity to solve problems, spend taxpayers money more wisely and make the appropriate investments in town infrastructure.

As David Schrumm said this past Tuesday night, "We have no excuses now". He's right and we all know it.

Thank you Cheshire voters for partcipating in this historic voter statement.

Tim Slocum
Cheshire Town Councilman at-Large.

Pro Teacher Anti Stupidity said...

Mr. Adinolfi and Mr Ecke continue the partisan, childish, snide remarks that have we have come to expect from members of Cheshires Democratic Party. DiPietro, Coburn, et al are so bitter they just can't see straight any more.

What they have done is leave the new council with a giant turd for the next two years - in the form of a 3-year teacher contract that we now know we cannot afford. In the year since Cheshire's generous award to the teachers union, no other municipality has agreed to a contract that even approaches Cheshire's. That contract alone will require taxpayers to cough up an additional $1.5mm per year - each and every year - just to maintain the status quo.

Please Mr. Adinolfi and Mr. Ecke, put your vitriolics away and try to repair some of the harm your predecessors have left behind.

Anonymous said...

Based on other Towns teachers contracts(freezes and furlough days) around Cheshire our teachers should make consessions.

Contoured Views said...

Tim S.
I didn't think you could have had 3,000 signs or I would have seen a lot more of them. I am sure that was a jealous democrat posting.

Dave Schrumm is correct with his comment that you have "no excuses now". I feel confident that this town is in good hands and I know, though they may be tough, the right decisions will be made.

I am totally insulted by the remarks of Adinolfi and Ecke. If they don't feel they would be able to speak, then perhaps they should give up their seats to people who could help this town. Totally disrespecting the TC before it even begins.

I know that whoever is the new chair, will not try to cover up important documents from other council members, he won't take direction from the town manager, and he will allow all council members the opportunity to give their view points. It will be a breath of fresh air.

I hope that they will also command respect from ALL council members when others are speaking, whether it is town residents or other members of the council. Too many times over the past 2 years I saw TC members talking amongst themselves or with others in the hall. I also would see members rolling their eyes, huffing and making sarcastic statements. There is no place for that in the Town Council.

I congratulate you all for a huge win.
There are a lot of tough issues before you and I know you will work hard to resolve them.

I feel this blog played a major roll in the victory and it shows that this town demands transparency. Lets hope this council will realize that and not try to keep things hidden from the public or eachother. We wouldn't want to be "blindsided" by anything.

Anonymous said...

"Cheshire Herald that Council Republicans have a stranglehold over the Democrats is folly."

What an outrageous statement. There is no stranglehold, they are not even in office.

How two faced. When did the Herald ever complain about the Dems who had absolute control of the council for years and their voting in lockstep on just about everything. And, during that time the Herald constantly went out of it's way to support the Dems even when the issue was not in the voters interest. The Herald has had a history of supporting the special interests and that was probably because of the big ad revenue they get from W/S and the local developer/realtors.

It's time for the register to act like an impartial newspaper and stop attacking people whose interests are not align with the Herald's bottom line.

It's time for the Herald to rethink its strategy and be on the side of the residents, rather than with the special interestgroups.

Anonymous said...

Dear Contoured Views,

I do not know who you are, but I have greatly appreciated your commentaries during the past months, and I’m sure many feel the same.

Your perspectives have been most insightful and well articulated. Hope you won’t be a stranger to these pages.

Anonymous said...

Local Non-Profit organizations, violated the IRS code for 501(C)3 organizations; they committed a criminal offense and should lose their tax exemption. They should not apologize to the public but should notify the IRS of what they did; and ask to be given another chance. We the Taxpayers are paying for their illegal endorsement of political candidates for office. Why aren’t town officials, the town clerk, and election officials reporting this complete disregard to the IRS rules?

Anonymous said...

If it's not too late to put in my 2 cents, I would like to echo what cedar lane said. In my case the 2009 Cheshire election has nothing to do with national politics; I voted for Obama myself. Apples and oranges.