Sunday, March 13, 2005

Weekend Open Forum

Let's try something new. I've been getting some interesting ideas from readers through email, and I just don't have the time to do them all justice. So, on the weekends, I will post an "open forum" where you can discuss anything that catches your fancy. You can post anything from blatant blog plugs to insightful political analysis to the lousy weather we've been having.

I just ask that it be at least tangentially Connecticut-related, and that you not post offensive material. If this seems like something people like, it'll become a regular thing.


Anonymous said...

Genghis -

Love the site. Came looking for the municipal exec map, which I coulda sworn you had up. Where did it go?

Can you talk about how you created these maps (technically I mean)?

Anonymous said...

Here is are two sites with some local interest:

Genghis Conn said...

The "Town Council Control" map may be what you're looking for. See the sidebar, or click this link. I don't record who the first selectman/mayor of each town is, because usually the mayor or first selectman's powers aren't greater than the council or board or selectmen as a whole. Control of the council/board by a party is much more informative when trying to determine the political inclinations of a town.

The data for the maps comes from one of two places at the Secretary of the State's website: The municipal information comes from the list of Towns, Cities and Boroughs-Officers and Statistics. The general election information comes from the many election results pages that can be accessed through the Secretary of the State's homepage:

The maps began as blank templates or something like it. They were all originally images posted by the state (often from the Dept. of Economic and Community Development, which makes great maps), which I downloaded and then modified as bitmaps in Microsoft Paint. If you want to see the Excel files I created to determine margin of victory, there is an example here.

Is this what you wanted to know?

Genghis Conn said...

The District Watch sites are interesting. I hadn't seen the 5th District one, is it new?

stomv said...

Did you know that liberal Connecticut uses more oil in electricity generation per capita than 47 other states? Yip -- Hawaii at 74%, Maine at 36%, and Connecticut at 29%. For such a progressive state, the idea of using oil to generate electricity is mind boggling, and could be changed with political pressure.

I'm not suggesting that CT use more coal; rather, that a combination of improving energy efficiency and adding the generating power of natural gas or green-e (wind, solar, biomass, etc) could reduce the amount of oil used to generate electricity, helping to free Connecticut (and the USA) from the clutches of Mid-East oil.

Some maps I made can be found here. The data comes from an EIA report in 1999 and has been aggregated. The first map merely shows the percent of electricity that uses oil as a fuel. Few states use more than a percent or two (if any!)... a handful of states use substantially more, including HI, ME, MA, CT, DE, and FL. The second map multiplies the percent of electricity generated using oil for fuel by "efficiency" -- millions BTU energy consumed per person in the state. Admittedly, this is only a proxy for electricity usage, since it also includes gas heating, gasoline, and any other energy consumption. However, it's probably accurate to a first approximation. The idea is to point out that if two states are each generating 20% of their electricity with oil, but one state is far less effecient with its energy, than that state might find it even easier to reduce its consumption of electricity generated by oil, since they would likely find it easier to reduce all consumption. Here Connecticut does better, because it is generally more efficient than Maine. Hawaii's high efficiency is undone by their massive amount of electricity generated by oil, and Alaska is thrown into the mix due to their very inefficient usage of energy.

So, what's my point? Connecticut has pretty good public policy when it comes to the environment, and even within energy -- fairly high gas tax, renewable energy (10% by 2010), etc. However, generating nearly one third of all electricity using oil is simply inexcusable, on environmental and foreign policy grounds.

Scott Harris said...

I would say it is product of a State House and Senate dragging their feet on anything substaintial and a decade of Republican governors.

stomv said...

I think it comes from a lack of vision.

If a single legislator made this a real issue, and went after it, it would happen. I think lots of legislators would support this goal when it came time to vote... but none of them are willing to do the ground work to get the bill on the floor.