Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cheshire's census data: mapping income

While the US Constitution calls for an actual enumeration of Americans, the enumeration (basically the US Census) no longer includes income data.  It's now conducted via the American Community Survey.

If you're interested in learning more about Cheshire's income, you can click here.  It's a map that shows Cheshire as five neighborhoods:  northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest & east (central).  The "neighborhoods" generally mirror Cheshire's four Council districts and have median household incomes as follows:

Northeast:  $124,000

Northwest:  $112,000

Southeast:  $98,000

Southwest:  $112,000

East (central):  $99,000

So I guess I live in Cheshire's "poor neighborhood."  j/k.  There certainly are some people in need, but I don't think any 20% segment of Cheshire can be considered poor.

Tim White

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Cheshire election history (1979-2012): CEO turnout

In the continuing series on Cheshire's election history, here you can see three data points for Cheshire's elections for POTUS:

1 - voter registration

2 - voter turnout (total # of voters who cast a ballot); and

3 - votes for President (total # of voters who cast a ballot for President.

Here are the equivalent data for Gubernatorial races:

Due to my inability to manipulate excel, I separated the two trends into two different graphs. Furthermore, I matched the voter registrations to the year of the election. As a result, the voter registration trends for POTUS and Governor are different.

And here's the graph that I thought may be of most interest to you, % turnout by year. Again though, I faced system constraints with excel. So I coupled two successive elections together for each point on the horizontal axis. Anyway, you can see here that about 80% to 90% of Cheshire voters typically turnout for a Presidential election... while 60% to 70% turnout for Gubernatorial elections.

And of course, you can find my source data here.

Tim White

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

CCM vote: Forget R vs. D, think Authoritarians vs. Populists

As I noted in a recent post, some Council members were surprised by -- and concerned about -- a recent TM vote at a CCM meeting. And the concern did not fall along party lines.

Council members David Schrumm (R) and Peter Talbot (D) were quite comfortable with the TMs vote. Some Council members -- including Patti Flynn Harris (D), Tom Ruocco (R), Jimmy Sima (R) and Chairman Tim Slocum (R) -- were not happy with the TMs vote because he spoke for the Council without ever having received any Council guidance. One Council member, Mike Ecke (D), saw "both sides" of the issue.

This non-party line view reminded me of a little discussed concern that was addressed in 1824 by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Henry Lee:

Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties:

1. Those that fear and distrust people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.

2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist; and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves.

Far too often the public discourse focuses on Republicans vs. Democrats. But much of the time, I feel that the less discussed issue -- authoritarianism vs. populism or aristocrats vs. republicans / democrats -- is the more important issue.

In this situation of the TMs vote, it seems likely to me that you have a possible window into the authoritarian / populist tendencies of Council members.

And as Jefferson wrote that I would... I declare myself as an aspirant for belonging to the second group.

Tim White

Monday, February 04, 2013

Cheshire election history (1979-2012): The power of incumbency

From 1979 to 2012, we've had 17 local elections.  We've also had four Council districts (1st District2nd District3rd District, and 4th District) since Cheshire got a Charter with elections beginning in November 1971.  So since 1979, we've had 68 Council district elections.

Of those 68 elections, only four elections have seen elected incumbents defeated:

1991 -- 3rd District, George Bowman (D) defeated Gil Leslie (R)

1995 -- 2nd District, Tom Stretton (D) defeated John Perotti (R)

2003 -- 4th District, Tim White (R) defeated Lynn Salzer (D)

2009 -- 3rd District, Andy Falvey (R) defeated Laura Dicaprio (D)

There have been a number of appointed incumbents defeated at the polls.  But my point here is about the power of incumbency for elected Council members.

So only four times in 68 elections* have elected incumbents lost reelection.  Elected incumbents normally win.  And two times, elected incumbents were not even challenged:

2001 -- 1st District, Sheldon Dill (R)

2011 -- 1st District, David Schrumm (R)

Before I began this study of Cheshire's election history, I knew that the federal and state levels reelected incumbents about 95% of the time.  Now we know that the same holds true for local elections in the Council districts.

And one last tidbit... of the four challengers who won, three of them won on their first time out.  Who was the stupid one who thought he could beat the odds even after losing once?  Me!  :)

Tim White

* Of the 68 elections, I'm not really certain that it was all elected incumbents who ran in the 1979 contest.  And I did find the 1971 to 1977 election records in the Town Clerk's Office, but they're not a high priority for me.  So that data collection will wait.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Council views on Town Manager's CCM vote

In a January 17th post I raised an issue related to the unelected Town Manager who, during the prior week, went beyond his authority at a CCM meeting in which a vote was taken on gun control.

Following the vote, on January 16, the MRJ printed this article in which the unelected TM opines on the measures:

I think that they were very reasonable

This caught my attention because the elected Council had not deliberated gun control during a public meeting. So I posted the following question intended for elected Council members:

Did you publicly, or privately, either individually or collectively, direct the TM to advocate for this?

And thanks to the press, we're beginning to understand the views of elected Council members, particularly on the extent to which the unelected TM has authority to speak as a representative of Cheshire. The MRJ kicked off our understanding with this January 17 piece:

Ruocco (R) - “It’s frustrating when you get emails from people who are upset. They feel like they’ve gotten sidestepped"

Flynn-Harris (D) - said Milone shouldn’t have cast the vote if it was viewed as representing town government’s position on gun policy.

Talbot (D) - had no issue with Milone’s vote, saying the town manager is asked to represent the town at CCM.

The Cheshire Patch largely rehashed the MRJ talking points, but the WRA added some new insights on the unelected TMs authority to use his office to advocate his own personal political agenda without any guidance or direction from elected Council members:

Ecke (D) - sees "both sides"

Slocum (R) - the Councilman named in the WRA piece "Manager chided for vote"

Separate and apart from the above news pieces:

Sima (R) - agrees with Ruocco and Slocum that the TM overstepped his authority

Schrumm (R) - agrees with Talbot that this vote represented the personal view of the TM, not the view of the Town

Falvey (R) - unknown

Nichols (R) - unknown

Interesting to me is that these responses regarding the TM's vote do not fall along party lines.

But perhaps the most telling comment so far came from our northern border via the MRJ:

Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback was present at the meeting but abstained from voting. “My job is not to participate in policy discussions,” he said. “My job is to implement.”

Tim White