Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Random stuff...

The Solid Waste Committee met last night. There's not going to be a bulky waste pickup this year, but town staff are looking at opening the transfer station for residents to drop off their stuff.

BOE member Tony Perugini stopped by on another post earlier today and left the following comment:

the next BOE Business Meeting is Thurs July 8th at 7:30pm in TC chambers. One topic will be the appointment of a design firm for the design phase of the Turf field.

And also want to mention that I expect posting to be light for the next month or so. Besides being buried at work, I've got a bunch of family visiting beginning now and extending into August... and I have to say that as much as I enjoy blogging, the kids are definitely more fun.

Tim White

Krugman: America's Third Depression

From his Sunday NYTimes editorial, Paul Krugman writes:

Recessions are common; depressions are rare. As far as I can tell, there were only two eras in economic history that were widely described as “depressions” at the time: the years of deflation and instability that followed the Panic of 1873 and the years of mass unemployment that followed the financial crisis of 1929-31.

Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline — on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.

We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.

I disagree with his prescribed medicine -- that more government spending is the right policy -- but his diagnosis is fair.

Tim White

Monday, June 28, 2010

Solid Waste Committee agenda - June 29, 2010

7:30 P.M., TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010


1. Roll Call.

2. Pledge of Allegiance.

3. Transfer Station.

4. Bulky Waste Collection.

5. Recycling/Single Stream Recycling.

6. CRRA funds status.

7. Status report on the Wallingford Regional Solid Waste Project and Covanta.

8. Adjournment.

One thing I've been investigating is engaging in a relationship with RecycleBank. I think residents would appreciate it as Recyclebank's business plan is to literally weigh your recyclables, then pay you for them.* At this point though, it appears highly unlikely that anything would happen with them in the near future for a number of reasons. But maybe the Council could touch base with them again in a few years. Regardless, if we can at least move toward single-stream recycling, that would be a huge win for the environment and something I've wanted for a while.

Tim White

* The payments are in the form of vouchers to local stores.

Energy Commission - June 28, 2010

The Energy Commission met tonight. One of the lengthiest discussions related to an extension of the household energy audit program. The basic idea is that the energy audits that happened about a month ago were funded with $27,000 of stimulus money... and there's about $10,000 remaining. About 650 houses were audited back then and the EC hopes to audit another 400 with a $25 discount off of CL&P's $75 fee... so the cost to you would be $50. More details to come, but it'll probably begin soon.

There was some discussion about retrofitting some school light poles with more efficient lighting.

Chris Halpin of Celtic Energy continues working with the town and schools on the RFP for a townwide energy conservation plan... that may be funded with a performance contract. Again though, I'm not too concerned about engaging in a performance contract. My goal is to address the town's energy consumption in a comprehensive manner... and to finance it the best way possible. Details mentioned tonight were that the project has been scoped out with probably four buildings being included... but the project is intended to be scalable. In other words, the town could engage an energy services company for four buildings initially... but expand that contract to all two dozen buildings, if it makes sense. The four buildings that will likely be included are: Town Hall, PD, CHS & Dodd. The RFP should be ready by the end of July with responses being received by September... which is great news. I'm hoping this addresses the $4 million CHS retrofit project.

And the pool was discussed.

Tim White

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dodd cashing in on the way out?

The HuffPost's Ryan Grim sure makes it sound like that... with Dodd & Obama looking to exclude The Little Guy thru a backdoor deal in the financial regulatory reform bill. Thankfully, the Conference Committee Chairman Barney Frank took the apparent sellouts to task.

If Russ Feingold wins reelection, I hope he primaries Obama in 2012.

Tim White

Cheshire RTC meeting - June 24, 2010

The Cheshire Republican Town Committee met tonight. Several candidates were there:

Al Adinolfi - State Rep. 103rd
Richard Abbate - State Rep. 90th
Joe Markley - State Senate 16th
Len Suzio - State Senate 13th
Matt Jalowiec - Probate Judge

And several campaigns were represented:

Sam Caligiuri - CT-5
Linda McMahon - US Senate
Tom Foley - Governor

We discussed a few of the hot topics in town... pool and turf.

Tony Perugini (BOE) told us that the BOEs annual end-of-June-budget-transfer meeting will occur on Monday at 7:30am. I'm not sure what will happen this year, but typically money gets moved from the teachers' salaries account to operations & maintenance. At that meeting, the BOE will likely vote on something turf-related.

When the pool was being discussed, someone mentioned voting against the pool partly due to the Town's Management. -- Why keep spending money when the same Management will be handling the structure? -- In support of that comment I was given the floor by RTC Chairman Adam Grippo. Then when echoing those concerns, my esteemed colleague Mr. Schrumm began speaking over me,* hrr-umphed, stood up and began to walk out of the meeting. Frankly, I wasn't too surprised. David and I do not see eye-to-eye on the Town's Management. And while it was only a year ago that I was applauding his words, my colleague's sentiments seem to have changed between then and now. I wonder what changed?

Here's a brief update from Sam Caligiuri's campaign manager, Greg Cogswell:

Finally, speaking of Sam... on August 10th, Cheshire's GOP will have at least four primary elections on the ballot:

US Senate
US House of Representatives
Probate Judge

Tim White

* He shares this trait with the TM -- neither are particularly respectful of others. However, they do recognize the power of the TV camera. So you won't see such things happen while watching on television.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chief Cruess - thank you for your service

Cheshire Police Chief Michael Cruess is retiring. I thank him for his 30 years of service.

Excerpted from the Chief's emailed statement:

The Town of Cheshire gave me an opportunity as a young man in 1980 to become a member of the Cheshire Police Department. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of the Police Department during my 30 years.... When I started this career I planned on staying for 30 years. It is now 30 years and I just feel that it’s time to leave.

And here's the take from the NHR, MRJ and WRA.

Tim White

WPCA public hearing on the future of sewers

The WPCA held a public hearing tonight to listen to concerns about the 20 year future of Cheshire's sewer system. I saw several resident speak, including Matt Bowman:Tim White

Ron Paul discusses current events - June 23, 2010

Tim White

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Public hearing on the future of the sewers

I understand the WPCA will be holding its 20 year review of the Town's sewer plans tomorrow night -- Wednesday, June 23 @ 7pm in Town Hall. And the forum is a public hearing. So if you're concerned about sewers, this is an appropriate time to voice your opinion.

Tim White

Pool vote results and next steps

The pool structure was rejected by a margin of 2572 to 1621. That's 61.3% of the voters opposed to the $7,068,000 expenditure and 38.7% supporting it... with no "blank" votes.

I was wondering if there would be any blank votes as one person asked me if that would qualify for "fill-it-in." When I told her I doubted the Council would interpret her vote that way, she decided to vote "no."

As for my vote -- and as I said before -- I voted "no." Though I am glad the voters had the option of voting on the structure. I've spent years in a consensus-building effort to defund the bubble. But that hasn't gained any traction. So I figured "surging" ahead with the structure was my only course of action because it was still a better option than the bubble.

Frankly though -- and quite unfortunately -- I had one reporter tell me that another Council member has already begun discussing shelving the structure for future use. Unreal!

Some people just don't want to take no for an answer... reminds me about all the original pool votes that got rejected until one finally passed. But even worse, the comment reminded me about yesterday's Rasmussen poll that basically suggests voters simply don't trust politicians. Anyway...

Next step?

I'll continue in my efforts to defund the bubble and make it summer-only. And at that point -- and only at that point -- I would be willing to consider supporting a regular-sized pool... 25 meters and six lanes... no more of our local version of Too Big To Fail. And that's exactly what our pool is. With failed referendum after failed referendum, former Councils continued making more and more promises to everyone... until it was all-things-to-all-people. Then, and only then, did it pass.

And I'm the first to say the pool we have is nice. And the structure would be nice. But then, it would be nice if Social Security began at age 37 and I could retire today!

The fact is government can't do everything.

Again -- and as I stated publicly a few years ago -- I would consider supporting a year-round pool. But not if it's TBTF... because as Senator Bernie Sanders made clear with the banks... if it's TBTF, then it's Too Big To Exist!

Hopefully, we'll soon move past the bubble. Then the Council and voters can have a rational discussion about an affordable pool.

My thinking is fairly simple. The pool would be open year-round for 12 hours per day. It would be open to:

1) the public from 8am to 2pm year-round;
2) the boys swim team from 2pm to 8pm for their three mos season;
3) the girls swim team from 2pm to 8pm for their three mos season; and
4) the Seadogs from 2pm to 8pm for the other six months.

Would that make everyone happy?


But government is lying when it says it can be all-things-to-all-people. It's simply unsustainable.

Finally, the local roundup on the pool results, include the NHR, WRA, and MRJ.

Tim White

Malloy's debate performance sounds good to me

Capitol Watch's Christopher Keating reported on tonight's debate between two Democratic candidates for Governor . And here's one reason why I think Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy makes more sense in the general in November:

Regarding raising taxes, Malloy said, "That should be a last resort. ... We've lost more manufacturing jobs than any other state in New England or the mid-Atlantic."

And another reason is that he seemed to successfully defend his claim about shrinking Stamford City Government during his 14 year tenure:

For the employees under Malloy's direct control, the number went down by 107 employees or 8.4 percent, said Roy Occhiogrosso, the campaign's political strategist.

Tim White

Monday, June 21, 2010

Remember to vote on the pool @ Cheshire High School !!!

And please remind your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to get out to vote too!

If you want to know how the vote went, maybe Chairman Slocum will announce the results live during tomorrow's Council meeting?? With only one polling station and the new machines, the results should be tabulated pretty quickly.

And if I get the results tomorrow night - I'm confident the press will be reporting it - I'll try to mention it here.

Tim White

Peter Schiff will be on the GOP ballot in August

The CT Mirror's Mark Pazniokas is reporting:

To qualify, Schiff, 47, the president of Euro Pacific Capital, had to collect signature from 2 percent of the registered Republicans in Connecticut. Bysiewicz said the registrars of voters reported validating 8,697 signatures, just 429 more than the required 8,268 names.

The other way to qualify for a primary is win the the support of at least 15 percent of the delegates at a state nominating convention.

So Linda McMahon, Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff will all be on the GOP ballot in August. I hope there's a few debates.

Tim White

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Council agenda - June 22, 2010

7:30 P.M., TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010


1. Roll call.

2. Pledge of allegiance.

3. Salaries for Registrars of Voters.

4. Proposed FY 11 budget reallocations for the Library, the Water Pollution Control Department and the Planning Department.

5. Job description for Environmental Planner.

6. Job description for Zoning Enforcement Officer/Wetlands Agent.

7. Non-union pay classification plan for FY 10-11.

8. Non-union Personnel Rules and Regulations.

9. Settlement of Heart and Hypertension claim, executive session.

10. Adjournment.

Also on Tuesday will be the pool vote. Please remind your friends to go to Cheshire High School to vote!

Tim White

Finding that happy medium with the blog

As some of you may have noticed, I've been doing less blogging this year than in the past. I mentioned it back in January when I went back to school and started seriously considering going for an MBA... which btw, I got an A+ in the class I took... kinda struck me as funny actually. I thought most grading systems max'ed out at A... otherwise it'd be possible to get higher than a 4.0 GPA. But hey, I'll take it!

With regard to the blogging, I've definitely found more of a balance... also getting other stuff done... which is good. And on a related note, I'm now thinking along the lines of an MBA with a focus on energy / environment / engineering-related stuff. No decisions yet, but that'd be more up my alley than banking.

Tim White

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Herald's week of pool LTTEs

Except for Uncle Al's opinion piece, every letter-to-the-editor and the editorial were about the pool this week. I won't be posting much this weekend, so this will probably be my last piece on the pool until Monday or Tuesday. And remind your friends to get out to vote next Tuesday at Cheshire High School!

As for my basic opinion...

more services = higher spending


fewer services = lower spending

The Open-Aire structure (which I like, especially when compared to The Bubble) would provide 12 months of "services," while a summer-only facility would provide 4 months of "services." But the bottom line is that Open-Aire would provide more services... and would result in higher spending.

Of course, there's an offset to that: gate receipts.

It's possible that the Open Aire building would result in higher revenue that would more than offset the higher spending.

But I have no idea what would happen on the revenue side. My guess is that more people would use the pool in the winter, but fewer people would use it in the summer. So who knows?

Regardless, I'll be voting no. And while I'm disappointed that the Council has failed to discuss a summer-only option, I'm glad that an alternative to the bubble is finally coming before the voters. I thank Jimmy Sima and John Purtill in particular for their efforts.

And one last thing, don't be fooled by the repeated statements about how the Open Aire structure would reduce the pool's operating costs. That's a factually true statement, but it's also misleading. In effect, you'd simply be moving costs from one bucket (pool operations) to a different bucket (pool debt payments).

My suggestion to you... if you like a 12 month / year pool and you are willing to pay taxes toward it, then vote yes. Otherwise vote no.

Opine away...

Tim White

Lock your cars...

The MRJs Jesse Buchanan reports:

"We've been getting hit with thefts from motor vehicles big time," said Police Lt. Jay Markella. He credited the warmer weather and the economy with the increase of thefts compared to last year at the same time.

Tim White

Is Chris Dodd going Main Street on Wall Street??

Apparently this is breaking...

The HuffPost's Ryan Grim is reporting:

The Senate will accept an expanded Federal Reserve audit proposal from the House as part of Wall Street conference committee deliberations, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told the panel Wednesday evening....

The details of the final proposal are still being worked out, but momentum is with advocates of Federal Reserve transparency. Depending on the specific language, however, Fed critics are worried the House proposal will still allow the Fed to keep information secret by keeping certain operations ongoing.

Ignoring the fact that the Fed may very well still be allowed by Congress to shroud itself in secrecy... Go Chris Dodd!!! He's on his way out, but he may finally be seeing the light!!!

Tim White

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge (part 2)

Here are a few more details on the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge that recently got approved for 14 CT towns, including Cheshire:Regarding the 14 towns, they fall into four clusters:

Cluster 1: Bethany & Cheshire

Cluster 2: East Haddam, East Hampton, Glastonbury, Portland & Wethersfield

Cluster 3: Lebanon, Mansfield & Windham

Cluster 4: Ridgefield, Weston, Westport & Wilton

Just today, Governor Rell issued this statement on the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge.

And if you want to participate in the discussion about where / how the $4.1 million is spent in the 14 towns, I encourage you to join this Facebook page dedicated to the energy improvement initiative.

Tim White

Open forum - June 16, 2010

Jimmy Sima's Council Planning Committee discussed the turf tonight. Anyone have an update?

The Red Cross will be collecting blood at St. Thomas Beckett (across from Norton) on Friday from 1:30pm to 7:00pm. I won't be able to make it, but do need to donate soon. Due to my vacation last summer, I can't donate for a year. But I did just get a call from the Red Cross. They need my type-O negative in a big way... so if you have O negative... please try to donate soon. They have a serious crunch.

I started an FB event page Remember to vote on the Cheshire Pool. Hope you get out next Tuesday... and remind your friends and neighbors as well.

What else is happening?

Tim White

Intro to the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge

Last Friday I mentioned that the 14 Nutmeg Towns that were included in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge were awarded their $4.1 million grant that had been requested. To bring you up-to-speed, here is a bried intro to the program:Tim White

# of classroom teachers for 2010 / 2011

From the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

Superintendent of Schools Greg Florio said Monday the district is eliminating 15 positions it can’t afford next year with the $60.37 million budget the Town Council approved in May for 2010-11. But because of a combination of factors, including teachers taking jobs in other school districts and retirements, only seven people will be laid off, Florio said.

“Most of the people affected are relatively early in their careers,” Florio said of the seven who will be losing their jobs. Two of the teachers being laid off are from Cheshire High School, another two work at Dodd Middle School and three come from the four elementary schools, he said.

With about two weeks left in the school year, Florio said it’s possible that additional changes might result in a reduction of the number of layoffs.

Tim White

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

The cost of the pool referendum

The costs of the pool vote:Despite an additional cost... with a $7 million price tag, I think the polling should have happened at all seven regular polling places. That's the way it happened for the 2008 Presidential primary. And during that election there was no need for district voting. Yet we still had all seven polls open.

Tim White

BP and the public outrage

According to Politico's Mike Allen:

President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies plan a major new push for a broad global warming bill, fueled in part by public outrage over the BP disaster, according to top aides.

“The oil spill is intensifying the public’s desire for clean energy investments and increased regulation on corporate polluters,”
(wrote Joel Benenson) on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters.

I'll be interested to see if President Obama incorporates any of Dan Esty's Plan B. It wouldn't surprise me.

Tim White

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Congratulations to Coach Altieri and his team!

Former Councilman Matt Altieri maintains his winning ways his Sheehan High baseball team.

Tim White

Remember the pool vote - Tues June 22 @ CHS

Regarding the pool vote, I've been getting phone calls from residents. They're concerned that people may forget about the $7 million pool referendum on Tuesday June 22 @ Cheshire High School. One resident told me he was going to make a cardboard sign to remind people. And as you can see by these pix, the signs are already going up:I've started a Facebook page to remind people... feel free to say you'll be attending "the event." Maybe it'll go viral and remind people to vote.

Tim White

CT Mirror: A job posting and Murphy's dilemma

If you're looking for work as a reporter, the CT Mirror is hiring for coverage in both education and healthcare.

And speaking of the CT Mirror, Deirdre Shesgreen recently reported for them on a quandary facing Chris Murphy:

During a recent meeting with labor leaders, Rep. Chris Murphy was pressed by the head of an influental teachers' union to support a $23 billion education rescue package pending in Congress...

Murphy was sympathetic to the teachers' concerns, but he didn't make any promises. After all, he's also under pressure from another constituency: voters in his 5th District who are worried about runaway federal spending and spiraling deficits.

"I've got cities in my district about to lay off 135 teachers-New Britain, for example-and class sizes could balloon to 40 kids per class," Murphy said in an interview Wednesday. "At the same time, I represent a very fiscally conservative district, and I'm reluctant to support additional funding that's not paid for."

If Chris votes for the proposed spending, I hope he upholds his 2007 "pay-go" promise and cuts elsewhere... maybe he could start with all the war funding?

Tim White

Friday, June 11, 2010

We won the Neighbor to Neighbor energy award!!!

Holy wow Batman!

EarthMarkets and the CT Clean Energy Fund (among others) prepared a bid to participate in an energy grant program. I first caught wind of this back in December.

And now the DOE announced that Cheshire (among 14 CT towns, including Bethany & Cheshire as one of four CT groupings) and the CT grant application are among 20 applications that were awarded $60 million! That includes over $4,000,000 for CTs Neighbor to Neighbor challenge!

Special thanks to Kerry O'Neill, Bryan Garcia and Bob Wall for making this happen. Oh, and also Congressman Chris Murphy's office helped move this forward when the whole process seemed to be falling off the rails. So thanks Chris!

More details to follow, but it's late.

Tim White

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strawberry Festival on Sat - Relay starts tomorrow

The Congregational Church's annual Strawberry Festival is on Saturday. I plan on attending and asking for extra juice on my shortcake... yummm...

And the Relay for Life starts tomorrow night.

Tim White

I met a hero of mine - David Walker

I didn't get to mention it at the time, but a few weeks ago I got to meet one of my heroes - David Walker. I've mentioned him here before, but not in a while. And his crusade is IMO among the most important facing America today - our reckless fiscal policy.

Why is Mr. Walker a hero of mine?

Easy... he resigned his 10-year appointment as the our country's top accountant (Comptroller) to tackle his current job running the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and trying to return some fiscal sanity to Washington. In other words, he gave up guaranteed job security in order to do the right thing.

Anyway, the meeting in Bridgeport was relatively small... only about 20 or so attendees. And the intimate setting afforded me the opportunity to ask how I (as a local Councilman) could help impact the issues facing our country. His answer was to simply increase transparency at the local level. He probably meant talking about stuff like Cheshire's new $20 million OPEB liability. But I'm already working on that! So after the meeting concluded I asked him one more question:

Can I get you to speak in Cheshire?

He made no promises, but gave me his card:

Now I have to see if I can convince him to come here. I think it would be great way to help remind people about the magnitude of the fiscal problems facing us.

And here's a 30-minute condensed version of his 2008 film I.O.U.S.A.:

And if you intend to watch the video in full, make sure to expand the video to the full size of your monitor!

Tim White

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The town's energy benchmarking tool - annual energy consumption by building

At last night's meeting, I mentioned the Energy Commission's desire of participating in a state plan called 30% by 2015. The program's goal is to reduce municipal government energy consumption by 30% by 2015. Additionally I mentioned that the Town now has a fairly comprehensive database from which to benchmark our energy use - in both costs and consumption - so measuring a 30% reduction is possible.

Anyway, I'm not sure of the timeframe over which the following numbers were measured, but the town's annual energy budget is somewhere between two and three million dollars. So I'm guessing this actual $2.2 million is for a period of twelve months... though I'm not sure which twelve months... and the website doesn't make it obvious:Tim White

Pool referendum: absentee ballots available

Per Town Hall, absentee ballots are now available for the June 22 referendum. You can get either the ballot or application for the ballot in the Town Clerk's office.

And while on the topic of the pool... last night I again heard a pool use statistic that I never considered useful: pool day use passes.

The number of pool day use passes mentioned was 43,000 per year. So I did an analysis.

If there are 43,000 pool day uses, then Cheshire must have about 10 million resident day uses. Then I calculated pool day uses as a percent of resident day uses:Obviously, this statistic is ridiculous. But it's no more ridiculous than the Council allowing the intellectually-lacking, summer-only pool budget to remain unquestioned.

Btw, I think the Pool Committee did a great job on their structure vs. structure vs. bubble 2.0 analysis. It's the Council's silence on - and the effectively passive support of - the summer-only budget that I find troubling.

Tim White

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Open forum - June 8, 2010

The pool referendum date - June 22 - is fast approaching. Get your absentee ballots, if you'll be out of town!

With the pool structure moving past the Council, I've asked the Planning Committee Chairman Jimmy Sima to revisit an old request of mine to improve one of the more haphazardly-run parts of town government:

using staff's recommendations, the Council should vote to establish the criteria used in prioritizing improvements to roads (along with sidewalks, curbs and perhaps tree trimming)... then the Council should set the budget (subject to voter approval at referendum) and there should be no deviation from those lists unless there is an emergency.

School is almost out.

The post-convention period in which one can gather signatures to force a primary ended today (I think). It'll be interesting to see who gathered enough signatures. I'm guessing Schiff will be on the ballot. But Simmons is regardless. So that guarantees a statewide GOP primary... along with the Governor's primary. And there's definitely going to be a Malloy / Lamont statewide Dem matchup. I hope Malloy gets the nod.

Maybe I'll do something on the Council meeting tomorrow night.

Anything else happening?

Tim White

Monday, June 07, 2010

Politico on the battle between pols and unions

Seems that Cheshire is not alone in some of the concerns being raised by taxpayers regarding Cheshire's current Teachers' Union contract. Politico's Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman are reporting on a similar sentiment that they report is nationwide:

Spurred by state budget crunches and an angry public mood, Republican and some Democratic leaders are focusing with increasing intensity on public workers and the unions that represent them, casting them as overpaid obstacles to good government and demanding cuts in their often-generous benefits.

And what are some of the financial concerns?

the very real financial obligations imposed by their salaries, health benefits and—especially—their traditional, defined-benefit pension plans

I'm glad that - despite staff's ability to drive policy through inaction - I kept pushing on the elimination of DB plans for future non-union hires. And when Sheldon Dill returned to the Council, I finally found five votes to end that one small piece of a much bigger pie.

Furthermore, I'm still hoping that the current collective bargaining process will lead to the elimination of DB plans for future union hires. I'd consider that a significant victory for future generations as we would no longer be kicking the can down the road and telling them to deal with the risks associated with DB plans.

Politico continues with some comments that I'm guessing will resonate with many in Cheshire:

The revenue crunch coincides with a bipartisan national resistance against teachers’ unions and the power they wield over classroom instruction...

Continuing with:

The recent revenue crunch, though, has given governors and big-city mayors new leverage. The early initiatives have largely been stopgap measures: everything from furloughs in the two biggest states, New York and California, to initiatives like...

Furlough days. Interesting.

It then offers The Governator as Ground Zero for pension reform:

Now, though, Schwarzenegger – in his final months as governor– is gearing up for what he views as a final, climactic battle over public sector pensions. And he told POLITICO in an interview that he feels the time is now ripe for elements of the fight he lost five years earlier.

“The atmosphere has changed,” Schwarzenegger said. “People understand that they have to lay off their workers or they don’t have the money for their family. What they don’t like is when there is a certain group that doesn’t like to make the sacrifices.”

Schwarzenegger said he “will not sign” a budget without pension reform.

It's a worthwhile read.

Tim White

There's a turf war over tomorrow's agenda...

The MRJs Jesse Buchanan is reporting on disagreements between Ds and Rs over tomorrow's agenda:

An update on fundraising for the high school's artificial turf field won't be on the agenda for tonight's Town Council meeting and at least one council Democrat believes the exclusion is a delaying tactic on the part of the Republican majority...

Democratic Councilor Justin Adinolfi said Republicans oppose the project and are trying to stall by sending it to a Republican-dominated committee.

No stalling on my part. I simply don't support it until I see a plan for funding the increased long-term liabilities.

One interesting point in this article though, I can update my May whip count:

Slocum - yea
Adinolfi - yea
Ecke - yea
Giddings - ???
Sima - nay
Schrumm - ???
Ruocco - nay
Falvey - yea
White - nay


Tim White

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Council agenda - June 8, 2010

The agenda for Tuesday's Council meeting:Tim White

The source of "special knowledge"

The MRJs Jesse Buchanan wrote a piece last week on Cheshire's use of a program named "Fish" to improve employee morale. The linked piece is abbreviated, but I read the full article at the library this week.

Highlighted in the article were comments from me, the TM and Chairman Slocum.

Town Councilor Tim White, a Republican, disagreed, calling the Town Hall a 'hostile work environment' where new ideas were not welcome by (the TM)....

(The TM) denied the existence of a hostile work environment...

Shocking! The TM denies it.

Chairman Slocum was then quoted:

"I think people are accustomed to whining and bellyaching," Slocum said. "I don't understand how Tim White has special knowledge of how it's a hostile work environment... I've never heard of anything pervasive.

Ok, I'll elaborate.

The source of my "special knowledge" is fairly simple. From the day I was elected in 2003, I refused to follow this school of thought in which a Council member defers exclusively to Management for insight on town government operations. I find that school of thought to be absurd. It'd be akin to only asking Liz Birnbaum if MMS has been doing a good job monitoring BP.

As a result, I consistently solicit / obtain feedback from residents, including all levels of staff.

It is town residents who have given me this "special knowledge."

Keep in mind that in August of 2009 - two months before the 'no-confidence' vote - when there was nary a public word from any of the 18 people running for Council, I voiced concerns:

So I'm confident that my "special knowledge" is a fair assessment of the current work environment.

Furthermore, I think it's human nature that some people control their anger well... while others do not.

Several times - in public meetings, though never televised - the TM has lost his temper with me... raising his voice and making it quite clear that my input was not relevant to him. Again, these have been public meetings.

So I wonder... if he loses his temper with me, then when he's behind closed doors and speaking with a subordinate... what are the chances he'll control his temper?

Coupling the numerous employees stories of a hostile work environment with my own personal experiences, I think it's a perfectly logical conclusion that a hostile work environment has proliferated under the current Administration.

And I don't think that the "Fish" program is going to "fix" the interpersonal relations that have already been damaged beyond repair with the incumbent.

Tim White

Friday, June 04, 2010

21 years since "Tank Man"

From Wikipedia's Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 page:

The suppression of the protest was immortalized in Western media by the famous video footage and photographs of a lone man in a white shirt standing in front of a column of tanks which were attempting to drive out of Tiananmen Square. Taken on 5 June as the column approached an intersection on the Avenue of Eternal Peace, the footage depicted the unarmed man standing in the center of the street, halting the tanks' progress. As the tank driver attempted to go around him, the "Tank Man" moved into the tank's path.

Tim White

Federal tax dollars at work

From CBSNews' Brian Montopoli:

Rep. John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, today announced that he plans to introduce a resolution calling on Major League Baseball to reverse its decision not to award Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game by a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce with two outs in the ninth inning.

I wonder how much staff time - and tax dollars - will be consumed by this?

Tim White

Zentek Farms expands to West Main Street

The MRJs Jesse Buchanan reports:

Joseph Zentek, son of Zentek Farms owner Paul Zentek is running the flower stand on 831 W. Main St. formerly called Johnny Jacaruso's Flower Stand.

Paul Zentek said he bought the stand in January to give his son a chance at running a business - with family help - and getting another retail outlet.

Tim White

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Obama goes after GOP - please just be fair sir!

Politico's Glenn Thrush reported on President Obama's first election season whack at the GOP:

Obama went on the summer offensive, accusing Republicans of sucking up to corporations, hewing to a bankrupt economic ideology and peddling tried-and-failed tax breaks for the rich...

Interesting though that while he rightly goes after my party, he fails to mention his own party does the same thing. I mean, who could be a bigger sellout to Wall Street than CTs own Chris Dodd??

Thrush continues quoting the POTUS:

They gutted regulations, and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight.


Who employed Tim Geithner's Chief of Staff before the US Treasury??

President Obama nominated what "non-lobbyist" for Secretary of Health and Human Services?

Who was the President when Glass-Steagall got repealed in 1999 with the Financial Services Modernization Act??

What party was in the majority in September 2008 when the Bush bailout passed??

Again, he made some fair points in his speech, but Obama is making himself into a joke. For someone who was crowned the anti-Bush intellectual, he's quickly convincing me that he's either not-so-smart or intellectually dishonest.

Tim White

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Power of initiative: summer-only as an option?

We've heard numerous times that it's impossible to have a vote on a summer-only pool.

I disagree.

Perhaps a summer-only pool could be brought forward by a resident as an ordinance?I know the idea is outlandish. But the argument of bubble vs. structure as the universe in which we must operate is just as ridiculous. It's a false choice.

Tim White

Wish the pool debate could be reframed

I'm starting to get the pool-related emails. So the debate is ongoing. And no doubt will continue at least until June 22.

From my perspective though the whole discussion is unfortunate. It's been framed entirely as only two options:

1) a bubble; or

2) a permanent structure.

And the "payback" is discussed in terms of those two options.

And a summer-only option has been described as nothing more than a heavier financial burden than the proposed permanent structure. But that's based on:

1) inflated expenses for a summer-only pool; and

2) assumed revenue numbers.

And while we have no idea what future pool revenues will be, it's safe to say that no Council is going to staff a summer-only pool the way it's currently proposed... and therefore expenses would almost certainly be lower.

The expenditure side of the summer-only option seems to have not undergone the critical analysis necessary for it to meet with budgetary realities. I wish I had had the time to be more involved in the pool meetings during February and March as the current debate may have been framed differently.

Tim White