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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Moving Day

Connecticut Local Politics is officially moving to its new site, located at www.ctlocalpolitics.net, as of today, Wednesday, January 17th, 2007. This is the final new post that will be made on the current Blogger-powered site, as we are moving on to a new host and to new blogging software (WordPress).

The site you are reading now will continue to exist as an archive, but all new posts will be made at the new site. Please update your bookmarks to:


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Thanks to everyone for their participation in this site, and I hope you will join us at our new URL for more of the same quality content you've come to expect from Connecticut Local Politics.

Thanks especially to the Sunlight Foundation for providing the grant that made this move possible.

Second Anniversary

(Cross posted at the new site--comment here or there)

Hard to believe, but it's been exactly two years since I put up the first post on this site.

It's fitting, then, that we migrate to our new site today.

Thank you everyone who has stuck by this site over the past two years. I've gone places and done things I never imagined, and I've met many, many incredible people. Thanks especially to those who have contributed to the site, either here on the front page or in the comments. I'd just be talking to myself without you.

I can't wait to see where the next year takes us.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Goodbye Blogger Open Forum

Tomorrow the move to our new site becomes official. If you haven't already done so now is a good time to register at our new site and forum.

Use this thread to reminisce about your favorite posts, comments, and characters.

May Elections: Nominating Conventions This Week

Political parties in towns that have elections this May are holding nominating conventions this week and next to determine their slates. All endorsements must be certified by town or city clerks by 4:00pm on Tuesday, January 23rd.

Towns with elections on May 7th, 2007:

Andover
Bolton
Bethany
Naugatuck
Woodbridge
Union

There are also May 7th elections in the following boroughs (parent town in parentheses):

Bantam (Litchfield)
Danielson (Killingly)
Fenwick (Old Saybrook)
Groton City (Groton)
Jewett City (Griswold)
Litchfield (Litchfield)
Newtown (Newtown)
Stonington (Stonington)
Woodmont (Milford)

Primaries, if there are to be any, will be held on Monday, March 12th.

(more information can be found on the Secretary of the State's website)

Chris Dodd

The Courant suggests that Chris Dodd may be a long shot candidate.

The Connecticut senator will need all of that effortless charm, that eagerness to engage people and that passion for Democratic causes as he launches his campaign for the nation's highest office.

Conventional wisdom says the 62-year-old senator is a second-tier candidate for the presidency. He barely registers 1 percent in most polls, when he registers at all.

Many political observers have deep doubts about Dodd's candidacy. They say he may not be able to raise the enormous amount of money he'll need. They say that he's a New England liberal and that he can't distinguish himself and his views from better-known candidates. But others warn he should not be counted out.

"This race is pretty wide open," said Joseph F. Keefe, a former New Hampshire Democratic chairman. Keefe supports Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry, but his sister, Maura, is a key Dodd strategist.

Dodd could have traction, Joe Keefe said, because "there are concerns about each of the major candidates." Is New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton electable? Is Illinois Sen. Barack Obama ready for prime time? Can people see John Edwards as a wartime president?

Chris Dodd, the former general chairman of the National Democratic Party and a 32-year congressional veteran, is bilingual and has international experience. In short, he has a golden resume. It's "a big positive," Keefe said.

Dodd knows where he stands and is happy to roar about it. "One succeeds when one learns to be oneself in politics," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is running Dodd's Connecticut campaign. "That's what Chris Dodd is able to do."


Before Dodd's announcement last week I took some time to research his positions and voting record. Democrats could do a lot worse. But he's also got to show us something. Announcing on Imus didn't help, nor did his appearance on Meet the Press this weekend.

Is anyone here excited about Dodd yet? What would he have to do/say to catch your interest?

Source
Lightman, David. "Dodd's Quest: A Long Haul". Hartford Courant. 1/17/07

Monday, January 15, 2007

Krayeske Open Forum

We're a few days behind on developments on the Krayeske affair. Forgive me in advance for a link heavy post.

This video shows Rep. Mike Lawlor and Ken Krayeske's attorney Norm Pattis speaking about the case. Hat Tip to Scarce and TrueblueCT for this one.



Also, in case you missed it, last week Lawlor live blogged over at MLN about Krayeske and other issues.

According to the Courant there will be a hearing. It's being held by the Public Safety Committee and will also include testimony about the recent Internal Affairs report about trooper misconduct.

Feel free to include any links that I may have missed in the comments section.

Another "Power Grab"

Well, state Democrats are at it again. State Representative Tim O'Brien (D-24) has introduced a bill to strip the governor of her executive powers to appoint Connecticut's Senator in Congress in the event of a vacancy. Following proposals last week to strip Governor Rell of her agenda setting authority on the bonding commission is the second attempt to by the Democrat controlled legislature to take away the governor's authority as the state's chief executive.

Senate Republican Leader Louis C. DeLuca had this to say:

"This is another power grab by the Democrats that threatens to weaken Connecticut's system of checks and balances." said Senator DeLuca. "This trend of partisan and careless legislative proposals is evidence of the arrogance of this majority which seeks to control not only the branch of government to which they've been elected, but the executive and judicial branches as well.

"Connecticut Democrats campaigned against this kind of heavy handedness in the fall. Now just two weeks into this new legislative session they are governing quite differently."


I happen to agree. The Republicans in Congress attempted actions in the Senate just a few short years ago and I was just as disgusted with them. Governing is not a matter on convenience but is about fairness and compromise. They call it balance of power for a reason. It appears that many Democrats no longer think this balance matters. I guess that's what a veto-proof majority will do to them.

This post is also up on our new website, ctlocalpolitics.net

Sources:

Press Release, Connecticut Senate Republicans, January 12, 2007

Proposed Bill No. 5034

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Open Forum

I've been busy over at the new site. Go check out the updates, or chat on the forum.

What else is happening this weekend?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Possible Downtime Saturday, Sunday

I'll be moving files over to the new site (http://www.ctlocalpolitics.net) on Saturday and Sunday. I will try to do this during low-traffic periods, but be aware that there may be some downtime.

If this site goes down, come on over to the new site or to the new forum for news and chatter.

Pay Raise Possible for Legislative Leaders

Here's a sure-to-be-popular idea:
The independent Commission on Compensation of Elected State Officials and State Judges is studying the possibility of better compensation for legislative leaders.

The board's chairman, Lewis. B. Rome, said that while the legislature is a part-time entity, the top leaders essentially hold full-time jobs, the Republican-American of Waterbury reported.

Rome said there is a big discrepancy between the workload of leaders and other lawmakers. (AP)

At least one leader, Speaker Amann, seems opposed to the idea, although Amann's spokesman did say he might be interested in "a modest, across-the-board increase for all legislators."

Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca disagreed:
"I don't think there should be a pay increase for anybody," Senate Minority Leader Louis C. DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said. "If we are going to have a part-time legislature, we have to keep the pay commensurate with a part-time legislature." (AP)

I think all legislators, including the leaders, should have a raise in their pay. Here's why:

  • The legislature is becoming less and less part time. There have been special sessions almost every year for a long time, and the legislature is certainly more than a full-time pursuit when it's in session.
  • Find me a job, other than lawyer, which allows its employees to be gone for half of the year, not to mention extras like hearings, special sessions and campaigning. There are very few--and almost none of them are jobs that most middle-class people have.
  • $28,000 is not enough to live on if being a legislator is one's only career.
  • Therefore, it's no wonder the General Assembly is thick with lawyers and members of the upper class. I couldn't afford to be a member, and neither could a lot of others.

There's something to be said for the ideal of the citizen-legislator, who works a regular job and has a life outside the Capitol. This model made sense a century ago., but I don't believe it does now.

Public financing of campaigns will help to open the General Assembly to people who wouldn't otherwise consider running. A better wage for legislators would help to open it even further.

What do you think?

Should our legislators be given a pay raise?
Yes
No
I'm not sure
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Source
"A Collection of Briefs From the State Capitol." Associated Press 12 January, 2007.

SOTS Agenda: Election Security

The Secretary of the State's office has released its legislative agenda:
Hoping to make Connecticut a national model for safe elections, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz unveiled a proposal this week calling for mandatory annual audits of one-fifth of all polling places.

Other pieces of Bysiewicz's 2007 legislative agenda include:

* Requiring all cities and towns to adopt a municipal code of ethics.

* Creating a new "do-not-call" list for households that don't want to receive automated telephone calls containing political messages. The bill would make it illegal to place calls to such households, a system already in place in Connecticut to restrict commercial marketing calls.

* Returning the deadline for candidates looking to petition onto the state ballot without major-party affiliation to one month before the primaries. (Phaneuf)

That last one matters. Joe Lieberman could file to run as an independent the day after the primary--the new rule would move the filing deadline back to a month before the primary, which is where it was before the primary was moved to August.

The audits are a good idea, as is the code of ethics.

And sign me up for a political "do not call" list! I swear, if I never hear Bill Clinton coming out of my answering machine again, I'll be very happy.

Source
Phaneuf, Keith. "Secretary of the state would make Conn. national model for election security." Journal-Inquirer 12 January, 2007.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Medicare Drug Negotiation Act Passes House

Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy co-sponsors and supports bill.

This afternoon the House passed H.R. 4, a bill requiring the government to negotiate for lower Medicare drug prices. One of the bill's Co-sponsors was Connecticut's own Rep. Chris Murphy. Earlier today Murphy spoke with reporters (and bloggers) via a conference call about the importance of HR4's passage.


The Bill before us today, H.R.4, which I'm co-sponsor of and I'll be one of the first people to speak on the house floor on, will give the power, in fact will mandate that the federal government through the Secretary of Health and Human Services negotiate lower prices with the drug industry.

Today's vote is an important first step forward and I'm going to be incredibly proud to stand on the house floor this morning and speak on it's behalf, and then to vote for it later this afternoon.


Next the bill heads to the Senate, and if it passes it heads to the President's desk where it faces a possible veto. While emphasizing the bill's bi-partisan support Murphy did talk about the possibility.

I think there will be bi-partisan support for it, in fact one of the primary co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate is a Republican Senator from Maine. I think you'll see Republicans supporting this bill today and though I don't know whether there will be enough votes to override a potential presidential veto, I think there will be certainly a willingness to take that up... If the President wants to veto this I think it's a signal that he's still captivated by the same special interests that we have broken free from.


The Congressman spoke with pride about what the 110th Congress has achieved so far, and well as what he expects to pass next.

I think this has been just a monumental first week and a half for this Congress. Not only have we passed landmark ethics reform legislation but we've already moved forward on stem cell research, on securing the nation through implementing the 9/11 recommendations, and then today on Medicare prescription drug reform. And we're not done yet. Next week we'll pass legislation cutting the interest rates for student loans which will help families and students throughout the country. We'll also pass legislation that will start to build an energy policy based on renewable and alternative energy by removing some of the massive royalties that we've allowed to go to oil companies and turning that around into renewable energy sources.


On an unrelated, but interesting note, Murphy expressed support for Chris Dodd's recently announced Presidential run.

I'm enthusiastically supporting Chris Dodd for president. I think in very trying times like this we'd be lucky to have someone with the domestic and foreign policy experience that Chris Dodd has, sitting in the White House. I think he has a very realistic shot, and anyone who has ever listened to Chris Dodd out on the stump or listened to him expound on important issues of the day know that he is a very powerful communicator. And that's what the Democratic party needs right now and I think that's what the country needs right now.


For those who are interested in reading the bill in it's entirety Spazeboy has it up on his blog. Thanks also go to Spazeboy for reminding me about the conference call this morning.

CT Republicans - Let The Transformation Begin

The much anticipated and certainly most definitely needed transformation of the leadership at the CTGOP has begun. With openings all across the board, and no where for the party to go but up, the next few weeks should define the next 5 to 10 years of the Republican party as we know it in Connecticut.

From today's Hartford Courant:

With the resignation of "Mama Jo" McKenzie and two other GOP stalwarts, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has the chance to place her stamp directly on the state Republican Party by filling the organization's most important positions.
...
McKenzie's departure comes at the same time Connecticut's other Republican National Committee member - Charles Glazer of Greenwich - is stepping down after being nominated by President Bush as ambassador to El Salvador.
...
[George] Gallo, too, will be leaving soon as the party's chairman, and he has already accepted a position as chief of staff for the state House Republicans. But Rell has asked him to remain in the position until a new leader is selected, which could occur in the coming weeks. He said it is historic that the three leaders will be replaced virtually simultaneously.

"These positions are coveted by a lot of our Republican base," Gallo said. "To have all three of these open at the same time is a unique situation. It's a unique opportunity for our governor to put a stamp on Connecticut Republican politics."
...
Longtime party insider Patricia Longo of Wilton is already campaigning for McKenzie's seat, which must be filled by a woman under the national committee rules calling for one man and one woman from each state. Longo now serves as the state party's vice chairwoman, and her elevation would open up another leadership post to replace her.



Longo should get one of the RNC spots. She has earned it. The article mentions State Rep. John Frey as a potential successor to Glazier. I have also heard Chris Healey, who ran Rob Simmons' campaign and is State Central Committee member, as a possibility for Glazier's seat but there may be other plans for him.

As for the Chairmanship; I would personally like to see Simmons get it. As I have posted on more than one occasion before, his work ethic and likeablity (amongst many other qualities) would certainly help the state GOP who despite Gallo's best efforts are in need of a big boost of energy and make-over. Simmons would provide just that.

Another possibility is a Simmons/Healey team at the top. If Longo gets the RNC spot the Vice-Chairman position would open up and Healey could slide right in. Makes sense as they worked well together on the campaign trail and share a similar Republican philosophy. I think either option would be the right medicine for a deathly sick elephant. Only time will tell.

Source:
Hartford Courant, January 12, 2007; Rell To Fill GOP Posts, Christopher Keating

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Legislative Updates

Some legislative ideas published recently by the Associated Press:

You may also be interested in a discussion held with Rep. Mike Lawlor, who is head of the Judiciary Committee, on My Left Nutmeg yesterday. A lot of the conversation is about the Krayeske situation, but Lawlor also talked about the search for the next Chief Justice and other issues.

Open Forum

A Reader Note on Interfering with an Officer

The following comment came in via email from reader CG (edit for format only):

All this talk about Ken Krayeske’s recent arrest for interfering with a police officer and breach of peace got me thinking about what, exactly, it means to interfere with the police.

In a Hartford Courant article that you may have missed right before the holidays, Lynne Tuouhy wrote about a recent unanimous Connecticut Supreme Court decision that allows any person who peacefully refuses to show identification to a police officer to be arrested for interfering with an officer. The law, which is Connecticut Statute 53a-167a states that Interfering with an officer is a Class A Misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in prison). A person is guilty of interfering with an officer when, “such person obstructs, resists, hinders or endangers any peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or firefighter in the performance of such peace officer’s, special policeman’s or firefighter’s duties.”

The Connecticut Supreme Court last week reversed a unanimous Appellate Court decision and declared that peacefully existing on public property and simply refusing to show identification is either obstruction, resistance or hindrance punishable by up to a year in prison. I’m not sure which colorful verb they believe it falls under! The case, State v. Aloi, centered around a man who was suspiciously standing near a fire truck on public property near his home. Granted, he had been in legal trouble before for messing with the fire truck, which created loud noise and was a nuisance near his home, yet the precedent set by this case is somewhat startling.

I’m not sure exactly what this information adds to the conversation over Mr. Krayeske’s arrest, but I thought it might be interesting for your readers to know just exactly how easy it is to be arrested for interfering with an officer. I know that many “known protestors” visit your site regularly, so they may want to know that apparently doing anything contrary to exactly what you are told to do by a police officer anywhere in Connecticut is able to land you in jail, if not just until the last glass of champagne is poured at the Governor’s ball, then possibly for up to one year.


The statute in question, Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-167a, is available here.

The decision in State v. Aloi is available here.

So, what do you think?

Dodd on the Run

So it's official.

Sen. Dodd announced his candidacy for president this morning on Imus in the Morning, which seems a strange place to launch a campaign from. Why, for example, didn't he do this in Connecticut?

He'll be heading to Iowa and South Carolina soon, there to tout his experience, his opposition to the Iraq War, and the fact that he's a nice guy who isn't Hillary Clinton. He will be relying on his affable, personable nature and strong talents as an orator to rise above the crowd there.

There's a website: ChrisDodd.com, with plenty of multimedia, plays on the word "Dodd" (for example, the Dodd Pod seems to be a collection of podcasts) and the obligatory campaign blog. There are already some issues posted, although a quick glance shows little that separates him from the rest of what is becoming a crowded field.

There's also money: about $5 million in the bank. That may be the only plus so far.

What there isn't, at least yet, is any kind of buzz about the campaign. Kevin Rennie called Dodd's bid a "busman's holiday of a campaign" and suggested that state Democrats were less than thrilled with it.

This will be the most difficult campaign Dodd has ever run. His chances, let's admit, are not good. Even Joe Lieberman began the last cycle in better position, and he ended up in a three way tie for third in New Hampshire. There's no evidence Dodd will fare much better than that.

Which begs the question: why is Dodd actually running? Is it, as Rennie suggests, simple vanity? Is he really running for Vice President, or for a Cabinet post in President Obama, Edwards or Clinton's administration? Or it could just be a nice way to cap a long and generally distinguished career.

Then again, maybe he actually believes that he can win.

In any event, our senior senator is now officially running for president. What's your reaction?

Dodd is running for president!
Oh, boy!
Should be a fun ride
Eh, it's sort of exciting
Call me when he gets above 1% in the polls
Zzzzzz
Someone really needs to chain our senators down
Who?
Free polls from Pollhost.com
You can also go post about it in the forum.