We have a new participant at TWL - Lloyd Hamilton. Here's his (unedited) take on the pool:
Cheshire Pool Evaluation and Remediation Report
I evaluated the current operation of the Pool Complex this spring prior to the pressurized dome being removed. Currently, the functionality of the building is extremely problematic and the building has deteriorated significantly. The leakage of warm moist air from the pressurized dome into the permanent structure creates a high vapor pressure within the permanent structure and the inner surfaces of the roof and exterior walls constantly condense the vapor during the winter. The rain inside the permanent structure during warm days in winter is from condensate that froze on the underside of the roof deck that melts in the warmer ventilation air. This condensate creates ideal conditions for the growth of mold. All of the sheetrock was removed from the building due to mold damage and contamination. The roof needs replacement due to rot.
The permanent structure can be made able to withstand the high vapor pressure without mold growth and without structure failure. I began the design process with the assumption that the building must be able to withstand wetting without damage as elimination of the moisture is not possible. I then addressed the vapor load and designed a significant reduction of the leakage rate through the existing pressure barrier while providing a direct route out of the building for the rest of the leakage. This will lower the daily vapor pressure while making the building able to withstand blasts of high leakage, such as during a swim meet. The net result will be a building that is able to function with the pressure dome while reducing energy consumption and increasing comfort.
My first task was to design a roof system that would withstand the moisture while keeping the inner surface warm enough to prevent condensation. I chose Advantech sheathing for its ability to withstand repeated wetting without failure. (The first time I saw it used on a job it was used as sub-flooring that remained exposed to the weather, without a roof, for three years with so little deterioration that it did not have to be leveled for installation of the wood floor.). On top of the Advantech Carlisle CCM-705 air and vapor barrier will be installed to create an impervious layer that also serves as a drainage plane for the roof. The moisture from within the building will be stopped by this layer with only a few molecules able to squeeze through. On top of the impervious layer, R-60 of insulation will be installed to keep the roof deck warm and keep the condensation point well away from the deck under all conditions. The moisture will go elsewhere to condense.
The roof intersects with metal stud knee walls on top of the inner masonry walls. In the lobby area these stud walls are more extensive, but built the same. These walls are currently draining their internal condensation down between the inner and outer masonry walls. The exterior walls are showing a lot of effervescence, a tell tale sign of excessive moisture movement through the wall. With the roof system no longer condensing most of the moisture, the walls will condense much more so my next task was to make the framed walls able to withstand the conditions. Again, preventing condensation is the key design criteria. The wall/roof interface is a critical point so I paid close attention to it. There are short knee walls, built of metal studs, where the barrel roof crosses over the inner masonry wall and by insulating them on the outside I can bring the insulation up to the roof and seal the interface with caulk and tape. I have specified Dow Metal Building sheathing for this air/moisture/thermal barrier.
The lobby has large framed walls with windows in them. These will need to have the windows and outside finish removed down to the metal studs. The side walls that are currently covered with metal, on the ends of the barrel roof, will also need to be stripped down to the metal studs. The Dow system will be installed over the metal studs, the same as the short knee walls and then a STO exterior insulation and finish system will be installed over all ofthe Dow product to complete the wall assembly.
The advantage to this make-over is that the building will no longer rain inside during the winter. Condensation will still occur at times, but it will be limited to the exterior masonry walls where the moisture can do little damage. This way the building can withstand any level of moisture intrusion from the pressurized dome without component failure and the condensation that does occur can be easily dealt with. If the existing masonry cladding system was also removed and the STO cladding system was installed, along with new windows, with insulation down to the footing, then none of the walls will ever condense.
However, simply making the building withstand the moisture is not a full solution to the problem. Reducing the amount of moisture intrusion must also be accomplished. This requires sealing up the existing pressure barriers so that they will not pass the huge quantities of air they now do and providing a direct vent to the outside to create a ducted route out of the building for the air and moisture. The air lock on the lifeguard side of the building will have a duct installed to the outside to vent the airlock and the center hinge door needs to be replaced. The walls and ceiling also need to be sealed at every seam. This will eliminate most of the air coming in through this opening in the concrete wall. On the public side, the revolving door needs to have a much better air seal and the wall and ceiling area that separates the pool area from the permanent structure will have to be sealed up air tight. The main corridor doors need to be repaired and have weather stripping installed. This will create an inner air lock that can be vented to the outside through a duct. The result will be that almost all of the leakage will be removed or vented which will keep most of the moisture from the building interior.
I have also discerned that the pressure inside the dome is kept at a 1.25”-1.5” of water column (wc) all of the time, when it only needs this pressure during a storm. The dome remained fully expanded at .75” wc and did not start to sag until the pressure was less than .5”wc. The pressure can be reduced most of the time which will also reduce the total leakage through the pressure barrier and help keep the permanent structure dry while reducing the energy used to keep the dome pressurized and warm.
The lobby area will still be susceptible to moisture at times, such as a swim meet, and therefor needs a vent to the outside. Because the need for this vent will vary based on the use of the building, it will have a manual control to vary the speed of the fan. The lifeguard side also needs have a vent with the same properties as the lobby vent. These vents, in conjunction with the existing locker room vent, can be operated to put the lobby and lifeguard areas in slight negative pressure relative to the outside, which will bring in dry outside air to replace the moist air from the dome and will help keep the building dry. When the building becomes too wet, the existing portable commercial dehumidifier can be used to remove the moisture.
The surfaces that were covered with sheetrock will be recovered with DensArmor Plus mold resistant interior drywall panels from Georgia-Pacific. Mold resistant paint will be used. This will make sure the drywall is not able to grow mold, no matter what the moisture load of the building is.
It is through a combination of making the building able to withstand moisture, reducing the moisture load by closing the leakage paths between the dome and permanent structure and providing ventilation in the right places that will make the permanent structure work with the pressure dome. This is not a band-aid approach, but rather a comprehensive, building science based, re-engineering of how the building functions to allow it to work with the pressure dome. The energy savings from this comprehensive approach should be at least 30% due to the reduction in outside air used to keep the dome pressurized and a reduction in the energy load of the pool and permanent structure, combined with better operation and utilization of the energy control system already installed.
90 Primrose Hill Road
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Comment away! And as I mentioned about ten days ago, I have very little time for the blog right now... so back to my paper on the economic meltdown... fun, fun!!! Currently debating if I should address the symptoms (Wall Street) or the disease (Washington, DC).
Friday, April 30, 2010
We have a new participant at TWL - Lloyd Hamilton. Here's his (unedited) take on the pool:
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tonight - Andy Falvey led a neighborhood meeting about Mixville. Topics discussed included:
1) dredging (DEP prefers "sediment removal") and dam improvements; and
2) other park improvements, i.e. new structural posts for the pavilion.
M&M explained their work on the dredging process. Depending on the timing of approvals from both the CT DEP and Army Corps of Engineers, this is expected to occur in the Sept to Nov timeframe of either 2010 or 2011. And the dam improvements would likely occur at the same time.
As for other park improvements, a variety were discussed. But the next step is for any volunteers to be at Mixville on May 15 for work session. And there's plenty more details than that, but I don't have time to write much right now. Feel free to contact me or Andy Falvey for more details.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Just last week, Congressman Ron Paul reminded us yet again that the Bush / Obama foreign policy is a creating a disaster:
I hope most of the Rs and Ds get booted in November. Then I hope their politically-appointed staff get canned too, as they drive America's pigheaded policies from war to Wall Street. The whole swamp needs a good cleaning.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I think the meeting went extremely well. The PBC Pool Committee Chairman, John Purtill, made a fantastic presentation on the two pool building options. I thank everyone... not just John, but the other PBC members Keith Goldberg and Mark Nash... Jimmy Sima from the Council... Rich Ogurick and Dave Gavin from the Energy Commission... town residents Bill Kunde and Kevin Wetmore... and others.
The estimated initial cost of the Open-Aire structure?
The estimated 40 year life cycle cost of the Open Aire structure?
The estimated initial cost of the KBE butler building?
The estimated 40 year life cycle cost of the KBE butler building?
The estimated initial cost of Bubble 2.0?
The estimated 40 year life cycle cost of Bubble 2.0?
So what do you think?
Monday, April 26, 2010
The WRAs Lauresha Xhihani is reporting on the fundraising efforts of Turf Committee:
A group charged with raising money to put artificial turf on the main field at Cheshire High School has raised $80,000 in less than a month of fundraising.
But deeper into the article, Lauresha offers Chairman Slocum's take on the possibility of a new turf field:
The artificial turf field has been a pretty divisive issue. Some say the town needs it mainly for the many sports teams at Cheshire High, while others think it will only cost the town money in the long run.
In November, a council still controlled by Democrats who lost majority just weeks before voted to appropriate money for the turf, but the Republicans — who generally oppose the project — wanted a condition put in. Councilman Timothy Slocum, the current chairman, offered the motion for the condition, breaking ranks with his party.
Slocum said he does not foresee the current council voting to spend any taxpayer money on this project.
While I acknowledge there would be benefits to a turf field, I'm far from being sold on it. On balance, the long-term liability (the replacement costs) weigh more heavily than the additional service time each year to me. And there are also the unanswered environmental questions.
From a Wyoming newspaper:
To the editor:
I object and take exception to everyone saying that Obama and Congress are spending money like a drunken sailor. As a former drunken sailor, I quit when I ran out of money.
Bruce L. Hargraves
And here's a clip of my hero - Ron Paul! In ten minutes he touches on his son Rand Paul's race for the US Senate in Kentucky, the ability of Sarah Palin to be POTUS, the Tea Party movement, sound money, America going bankrupt, moral hazard and where he sits in the midst of it all.
Chris Mathews wraps up the interview asking Ron Paul about the possibility of Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and others winning in November. RPs response?
There's a revolution goin' on, Chris.
I love this guy!!!
Labels: Ron Paul
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Cindy Kleist's Underground Town Hall is back from a short hiatus. She's got an interesting list of town employee overtime for FY 2009/2010. I'm not sure of the reasons driving any particular OT. But I'm guessing some of the Police OT is related to the two month long Deegan suspension.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Cheshire Police Union President Kerry Deegan is retiring. The NHRs Luther Turmelle offers his take on Deegan's retirement here. And the MRJs Jesse Buchanan also has a piece about Deegan's April 30 retirement.
Jesse asked me for my thoughts on the retirement:
Town Councilor Tim White said he didn't think Deegan's retirement would alleviate much of the tension within the department, rejecting the idea that the conflict was between Deegan and the chief.
"This is not about Deegan," White said. "It was the union that voted ... I believe (Deegan's retirement) will have very little impact."
FWIW, although staff angrily denied problems at the PD two years ago... there were acknowledged "concerns" by last summer.
And what were we told last summer and into the fall?
It's Deegan vs. Cruess. It's Deegan vs. Cruess. It's Deegan vs. Cruess!
So I guess everything is hunky-dory at the PD now. Right?
Unfortunately, that's not the case. And the Council should act to address the problems.
But the Council has no reporting relationship with the Police Chief or any officers. Rather, the Council has a reporting relationship with their boss. So I encourage the Council to deal with him and let him solve the problems at the PD.
Oh wait... he has had two years to do that and has failed to do so... most of the time denying any problems existed. He's had plenty of time to deal with this... and don't forget that he has a six-figure Personnel Director who has a job description that includes mediation.
It's time for the Council to address this situation in terms of the failures of the TM:
1) the failure to acknowledge the problem; and
2) the failure to mediate the problem.
Time for a change.
Danbury's long-time Mayor, Mark Boughton, is trying to get the GOP nod to run for Governor this fall. You can see his website here.
I haven't thought much about the Governor's race yet, but have to get thinking about it. I met Mayor Boughton a few years ago during a political event and he seemed very creative at problem-solving (something to do with education) in those few moments. So I had a favorable view of him back then. And I still like him today.
As I sort through my wish list of traits in our next Governor, I'm thinking that Chief Executive experience is a good thing. In other words, I'm favorable to any of the Mayors who are running. He's also proven himself electable by having been served as a Republican Mayor in one of CTs cities for probably a decade now.
Anyway, I'm an alternate to the convention in May. So I'll need to make a decision for Governor by then. But in the meantime, I'm still undecided... though I do like Mayor Boughton.
And here's the Mayor in his own words:
Thursday, April 22, 2010
US Senate candidate Linda McMahon visited the Cheshire Republican Town Committee tonight. I was upfront with her and told her that I'm with Peter Schiff, but I really liked her a lot. I had a chance to speak with her one-on-one after she gave her stump speech and she struck me as very down-to-earth and just a regular person. And frankly, I'm pretty sure I've never met a gazillionaire before.
Anyway, I really liked her. Heck, she was even gracious enough to wait until the end of the meeting to take questions after all the other candidates (Guv, US Senate, Probate, state Senate, state House, etc.) were finished speaking. But I think the best part for me was that my mom was there, so I grabbed her and introduced her to Linda. And although my mom isn't a delegate to the May convention, I'm convinced she'll be supporting Linda from now until her race is over... be it May, August or November.
How do I know?
Two simple reasons.
Policy issues don't matter.
So what does matter?
Linda's been married for 43 years and she likes the UConn girls and Geno! No, no... I'm kidding. Policy issues matter, but Linda is very personable. And unlike many elections, I could definitely vote for her and not just vote against someone else. Though in all fairness, that's nothing negative toward anyone else. I just have a very positive view of Linda.
And here's Linda in her own words:
Other attendees tonight:
Peter Schiff - US Senate
Mark Boughton - Governor
Oz Griebel - Governor
Al Adinolfi - 103rd House
Richard Abbate - 90th House
Peter Bowman - Probate
Matt Jalowiec - Probate
Tim Lenox - 13th Senate
unknown - 13th Senate
Sam Caligiuri - 5th Congress
Mark Greenberg - 5th Congress
I can't recall who else was there. But there definitely were way more people at the RTC tonight (and over the past few months), than you normally get at a Town Committee meeting. Also nice to see people there who are younger than me. That's a rarity. But it's usually the youngin's who staff the campaigns. And there's definitely money flying around the state in this cycle... enough to hire paid staff.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The agenda for next Tuesday's meeting:
TOWN COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING
JOINT WITH PUBLIC BUILDING COMMISSION FOR ITEM # 5
7:30 P.M., TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, TOWN HALL, 84 SOUTH MAIN ST., CHESHIRE, CT
1. Roll Call.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. West Main Street Streetscape status report.
4. Dodd Kitchen project status report.
5. Public information session on Community Pool proposals.
6. Call for public hearing on appropriation for Community Pool.
7. Personnel issues, possible executive session.
And on a blog-related note, I'm about to get buried in some school-related end-of-semester work. So I doubt I'll be posting daily over the next week or two. In the mean time, anyone wanna do a front-page post? Anyone is welcome with any well-written viewpoint.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Ron Paul discusses current happenings, including the bipartisan support for Keynesianism and fiat money. But I agree with Ron Paul that we need to turn off the printing presses - rejecting Keynesianism and fiat money - and return to some form of sound money.
Here's a very brief analysis of class size. It ranks each of the past ten years in the far right column.You can find my source for student population here and my source for certified staff here, if you want to review the data or perform some other calculations.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The shot heard round-the-world occurred on April 19, 1775 in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The Siege of Boston (April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776) was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War, in which New England militiamen—who later became part of the Continental Army—surrounded the town of Boston, Massachusetts, to prevent movement by the British Army garrisoned within. The Americans, led by George Washington, eventually forced the British to withdraw from the town after an 11-month siege.
The siege began on April 19 after the battles of Lexington and Concord, when the militia from many Massachusetts communities surrounded Boston and blocked land access to the then-peninsular town, limiting British resupply to naval operations. The Continental Congress chose to adopt the militia and form the Continental Army, and unanimously elected George Washington as its Commander in Chief. In June 1775, the British seized Bunker and Breeds Hills, but the casualties they suffered were so heavy that they could not break the siege.
And from Schoolhouse Rock:
As I mentioned yesterday, class size is a concern for many. And it is also a simple equation: total students / total certified staff.
If you want to see the total number of certified staff (a.k.a teachers) in the Cheshire Public Schools over the past decade, click here. But if you want to see the recent history of Cheshire's student population, click on this image:I'll add some of the basic calculations tomorrow. But obviously, you can already start calculating class sizes with these two posts.
My view is that if the student population declines from 5165 (7 yrs back) to 4333 (7 yrs forward), then the BOE should take that into account during the long-term budgeting / staffing process.
From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:
Town officials and the attorney representing suspended police union president Lt. Kerry Deegan are close to reaching an agreement in which Deegan would agree to retire at the end of the month, but would be able to keep his full pension.
And deeper into the article:
A settlement, if handled properly, would help dial down the controversy surrounding the Cheshire Police Department that has raged since last fall’s no-confidence vote.
If a retirement happens, I'm not so sure there'll be much tension relieved. After all it was basically a unanimous vote. And as for what's happening beyond that... ya got me. As far as I'm concerned, I'm tired of talk and want action. Anything short of actual tangible action is meaningless. The Council should take a long, hard look at management and reassess if we have the right team in place. I conclude that we do not.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Class size is a concern for many.
Average class size is a pretty simple formula: total students / total teachers.
So in an effort to shed some light on the recent historic numbers - and while acknowledging the past when school boards couldn't count how many teachers we have - I offer some the numbers here in the first of a three part series. Here are the number of teachers (a.k.a. certified staff) in the Cheshire Public Schools over the past decade:The sheet "as of June 2005" was the Superintendent's post-Council vote budget for the 2005/2006 school year. And the sheet "as of January 2010" is the Superintendent's pre-BOE vote budget for the 2010/2011 school year. So although they look similar, they were snapshots of two different moments in the annual budget process. Therefore, I offer a possible explanation of some obvious discrepancies...
You'll notice some differences in the 2005/06 staffing numbers between the two sheets. I presume those changes were made between June 2005 (BOE budget adopted) and September 2005 (start of school)... and that they were possible because of things like teacher retirements. For example, a 30 year teacher may make $90,000/yr and give his/her notice in August 2005. Then the Super can go hire two new teachers, each for $45,000/yr... again... that's just an illustration of what may have allowed the staffing numbers to increase by 13 (615 to 628) in just three months.
Next I'll post the student population, then do the calculation and show the average class size over the past decade.
The NHRs Luther Turmelle offers this post-budget vote article that includes a video of the Superintendent of Schools in his own words. He explains that his proposed reduction of 17 teaching positions is based on the Council's adopted budget. In other words, the BOE reduced his proposed budget by $950,000 and the Council reduced the BOEs proposed budget by $360,000... and that $1,300,000 reduction led to the Super's proposed budget changes... which includes a total of 17 fewer teaching positions.
P.S. I couldn't find an embed link, so you'll need to click thru to see the video.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Last week I brought to your attention the fact that our unelected Town Manager went to Hartford to advocate for a regional sales tax, saying “It’s far better to share a tax, than to not have the benefit of a tax at all”
As John Q. Public, I’m not too concerned about the TMs words. But he wasn’t speaking as John Q. Public. He was speaking as the TM. And I got a bit peeved about his use of the title for his own personal political agenda. So I asked him about it. Here’s his response:
Couple of points on this four minute exchange… he says:
“I was asked to make that presentation.”
OK. Who asked? It wasn’t the Council. So IMO, he shouldn’t have been there.
“I was asked my opinion and I offered my opinion… I have to say that… ya know… I think my job is to represent the interests of the town and there are issues that come before me that have never been discussed with this Council and that I have to provide opinion on and that’s what I did.”
Again... “I have to provide opinion”
Really? Who says? Who pays his salary?
As the TM, he reports to the Council and as Chairman Slocum made clear, the Council did not direct him to advocate a regional sales tax… nor did the Council direct him to attend this event. So… no. The assertion that the TM "(has) to provide an opinion” is simply untrue.
He shouldn't have even attended a forum to advocate regionalism... without first receiving guidance from the Council... which he knows he wouldn't have gotten. So it's probably a case of "easier to ask for forgiveness, than ask for permission."
But not only is our unelected TM not required to advocate his personal agenda of regional taxation, his own words demonstrate that he’s not required to comment on important local issues even when asked by a reporter.
Who can forget this October 13 article by Luther Turmelle? In it, the CPD Union President stated that the TM was "misleading" the public about his true actions when he was supposedly mediating the conflict at the police department.
And how did the TM respond to claims that he was misleading the public?
The TM said he didn’t have time to respond.
But he has time to go to Hartford to advocate John Destefano's regional sales tax?
It seems to me that the TM has certain priorities. A top priority is the creation of a regional sales tax. A low priority is mediating the conflict at the PD.
I wonder… was that a vacation day he spent in Hartford? Or is the TM allowed to just take off willy-nilly advocating his own personal agenda whenever he wants... on the taxpayers' dime?
I love it!!!
From Rasmussen yesterday:
Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.... A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds Obama with 42% support and Paul with 41% of the vote... Ask the Political Class, though, and it’s a blowout. While 58% of Mainstream voters favor Paul, 95% of the Political Class vote for Obama.
I've done a few things in my life. But having driven to New Hampshire to help on RPs 2008 Presidential campaign was definitely one of the better moments of my life. I lost my voice on the night of Sunday January 6, 2008... two days before the Tuesday NH primary. I was leading the chant "Ron Paul r3VOLution, legalize the Constitution."
As RP is fond of saying "revolutions don't happen overnight." So I'm fine with him losing. I never expected him to win. But with time, it seems that people are either starting to see that Ron Paul is actual change - though he is a radical. Or that America's presumptive assassin, King Obama, is little more than Bush on steroids.
Go Ron Paul!!!
Btw, his son Rand Paul - who is running for a US Senate seat from Kentucky - just got endorsed by the outgoing Senator, Jim Bunning. And polls indicate that Rand may actually win both his GOP primary and the general in November.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Along largely party line votes, the Council adopted the annual operating budget tonight. There were two non-party line votes:
1) My motion to cut spending by $160,000 by way of defunding two positions (one vacant and one unnecessary) was rejected by a 2 to 7 vote. Anne Giddings joined me in attempting to save money; and
2) In an 8 to 1 vote, I opposed the pool budget... which would've saved another $400,000.
Any other comments about tonight's budget? I'll probably try to post more, including some video, over the next few days. It's bedtime for me though now.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Though the Town's budget for
travel & entertainment conferences & seminars has been questioned for at least two years, with Anne Giddings on the Council we're finally seeing some movement. Tonight the Council was given some details of this budget item:I thank Anne for her efforts. And no, it's not the biggest line item. But times are tough. Spending needs to be reduced.
Also two budget proposals were sent to the Council tonight. One was brought forward by Councilman Ruocco, the other by Councilman Ecke. Most of the details have been widely disseminated. There was one exception though that I don't think anyone had noticed until tonight.
Ruocco's budget proposes a transfer of $500,000 from the CRRA fund to a to-be-created OPEB fund. And Ecke's budget proposes a transfer of $729,433 from the CRRA fund to a to-be-created OPEB fund. But it's not only the dollar figure that's different. Ruocco's proposal is intended to include all OPEB beneficiaries, but Ecke's is intended to exclude teachers. And since most of the $22 million OPEB benefit will go to the teachers... I guess Tom is actually quite pro-education... while Mike is anti-education??
Kidding!!! Neither of my Council colleagues are anti-education. And neither are anti-taxpayer either.
But I do think it's a notable difference.
Any other comments on tomorrow's budget vote?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
As I've been saying, I hope to further reduce spending on the Town side. In particular, I want to defund the positions of:
1) Personnel Director / Assistant Town Manager; and
2) Zoning Enforcement Officer / Asst Town Planner.
But talk of tax cuts is easy. Acknowledging the services that are impacted by spending cuts is the harder part. So I offer staff's defense of the ZEO / ATP position:Also worth noting is that the ZEO / ATP position is currently vacant.
For some of you, the defunding of this position may appear to be a no-brainer. And IMO, if the position is unfilled for another year "the wheels won't fall off" of Town Hall. So this may seem to be a perfect place to reduce spending. But I also know that there are some Council members who are quite supportive of these two positions. So I'm simply continuing in my defunding efforts by addressing the needs to:
1) find five votes; and
2) navigate the parliamentary procedures.
And though I've not yet been able to count five votes to defund the two positions, I also recall that my efforts on:
1) performance contracting;
2) eliminating defined benefit plans; and
3) the pool structure
all went nowhere for a while and took time to build support. So that may be the same approach that I need to take with the defunding of these two positions. And that's fine with me. I understand things don't always happen overnight.
Btw, the defunding of these two positions would also allow for an additional mill rate reduction of 0.05.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Politico's Andy Barr reports on a new Gallup poll on congressional reelects:
The poll, released late Wednesday, shows a strong anti-incumbent swing just in the past year, with the percentage of those who said most members do not deserve reelection spiking from the low 50s up to 65 percent.
“Voters' anti-incumbent mood is like nothing Gallup has seen in the past four midterm election cycles,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad wrote in her analysis of the survey.
“While that could have a negative impact on incumbents from both parties, the greater exposure of the Democrats by virtue of their majority status means greater risk for their candidates,” she wrote. “Additionally, both parties have seen their majority control of Congress wiped out in midterm elections with less anti-incumbent fervor than is seen today.
Yippee! Throw them all out! With the exception of my hero - Ron Paul - I'd be thrilled to see the rest get tossed. Unfortunately, as Tom Clancy correctly explained in The Bear and the Dragon and as Ron Paul correctly explained in End the Fed... staff drive the policy. So the newly elected officials would still need to ensure the staff get booted too.
And a related note... I believe Lydia Saad is a Norton graduate!
I said it then and I say it now - President Bush was wrong to use waterboarding. And he got excoriated for it by some quarters. So we got the hopey-changey stuff.
Glenn Greenwald at Salon and the NYTimes are reporting that King Obama has now publicly acknowledged that he's comfortable with assassinating an American:
No due process is accorded. No charges or trials are necessary. No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations... Instead, in Barack Obama's America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens -- and a death penalty imposed -- is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone's guilt as a Terrorist. He then dispatches his aides to run to America's newspapers -- cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which they're granted -- to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist.
This is an insane policy. Where does he draw the line? What about when Joe Sixpack makes some offhand comment wishing someone simply dropped a bomb on "The Swamp" and got rid of all of them? Obviously, it's not right to say it. But I doubt Joe Sixpack is a terrorist and it certainly appears that The Chosen One believes he can read minds.
Frightening stuff IMO.
Also worth noting... if you read the "updates" at the bottom of the piece, it certainly appears that Obama outright lied when he ran for President.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The MRJ and WRA were in the house tonight. So check there for meeting details tomorrow. In the meantime, I had three takeaways from tonight's meeting:
1) My esteemed Council colleagues - Mssrs. Ecke and Schrumm - enjoyed some highly philosophical jousting over the value of education spending vs. capital spending;
2) The TM is determined to retain $55,000 in funding for the currently unoccupied Asst Town Planner position. Anne Giddings attempted to gain Council support for defunding the position and keeping it unoccupied next year. For some reason though, the position remains in the budget. So if for no other reason than providing the public with clarity on the sentiments of elected officials, I expect that at next Tuesday's meeting I will be making a motion to defund the position. And if the motion is seconded, the voters should get to see "hands in the air" and draw their own conclusions about the Council's budget priorities; and
3) My suggestion to compromise with the Teachers' Union by exchanging value (OPEB funding) for value (no deferment on the promissory days) went nowhere.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
I'm guessing that many of you missed this March 16 article in the NHR by Mary O'Leary on Mayors seeking a regional sales tax. I know that Cheshire has no Mayor, but we do have a chief executive who decided to opine on the possibility:
“It’s far better to share a tax, than to not have the benefit of a tax at all,” he said.
Personally, I'm strongly opposed to our unelected "leader" speaking about this topic. In fact, when I was elected to the Council six years ago I was very clear with him. I asked him to "make the trains run on time." In other words, I wanted an administrator - not a policymaker. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to find four other Council members who are willing to challenge The Boss and direct him to do his job - nothing more, nothing less - and manage the town.
I wonder how Cheshire's current Town Council feels about him advocating a regional sales tax? My guess is that they are unaware of these recent comments advocating more taxes. So I'm not too concerned about their silence on the issue.
And while I believe the current Council is doing a good job on such issues as moving through the budget process in an open manner (h/t to Mr. Schrumm) and taking much needed action on the pool (h/t to Mr. Sima)... I don't understand why some Council members seem enamored with a TM who is at the heart of the problems at the CPD... particularly any Council member who loves to talk a good game about holding the line on taxes.
So on this particular topic, as it is with many other topics that involve the relationship between Cheshire's chief executive and the Council... as I was quoted in last week's Herald:
I think the Council is living in denial. They are protecting management, the Town Manager in particular, and I don't understand it.
p.s. My concern isn't about the appropriateness of a particular tax. In fact, annually the Council votes to request the state renew the conveyance tax on houses. And I'm sure I've voted for that in the past. Nope. That's not my point. My point is that unelected officials shouldn't be advocating significant policy issues without the direction of elected officials.
The NHRs Luther Turmelle wrote a piece on last night's public hearing on the proposed 2010 / 2011 operating budget.
Monday, April 05, 2010
It's too late for me to opine. Do you have any comments on tonight's meeting?
I remain steadfast in my belief that frontline teachers are more important than a back office Personnel Director. I will continue trying to build support to focus tax dollars on services that clearly benefit taxpayers.
I also offer that I bet Councilman Ruocco would have been proud of his daughter tonight.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
This is the night when Jesus Christ
broke the chains of death...
What good would life have been to us
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave
You gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God,
to see Christ rising from the dead!...
The power of this holy night
dispels all evil,
washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy,
casts out hatred,
brings us peace...
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Apparently, the naming rights to Cheshire's future turf field are up for sale to the highest bidder.
I wonder who might invest?
I can think of a few CT-based businesses that love shelling out cash for billboards up and down 91 and 95. Are those businesses eligible to buy the rights?
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I just happened to notice this in today's Herald:And can't help, but wonder: When did the BOE and / or Council vote to sell naming rights to a new turf field?
And if someone forks over $250,000: Who is the government official to sign the hypothetical contract?
And if the naming rights are the exclusive domain of the BOE: How will this project be funded in both the short-term and the long-term?
Robert Frahm's headline at the CT Mirror:
Public schools confronting 'catastrophic' budget woes--and the worst is ahead
And an excerpt from the story:
"It's a bleak picture," said Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of School Superintendents. Last year, about 1,200 teaching jobs were lost across the state. This year, Cirasuolo said, "I wouldn't be surprised if it's over 2,000."
As for Cheshire, if you trust the sometimes amorphous BOE budget numbers, we have 16 fewer teachers (a.k.a. certified staff) this year than we did last year:We aren't alone in our budget woes.