Friday, September 30, 2005

Open Forum

Municipal elections are starting to get more interesting. A lot of municipal candidates have websites this time around (far too many to list here right now), and I'm even starting to hear some radio advertisements for candidates. I heard one today attacking the mayor of Middletown for messing up a new high school project.

One of the pieces of campaign finance I hope will pass (if anything passes) is the option for municipalities to use public financing of campaigns. There can be some pretty large disparities at the local level.

What else is happening today?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Special Session Called

Gov. Rell is calling the legislature back into session next month to work on campaign finance reform. It isn't too much to say that this is probably their last shot:

A tentative bill being offered by Rell would include a system for publicly funding campaigns in Connecticut. It also would impose immediate bans on campaign contributions from lobbyists, state contractors and their political action committees.

Candidates also would be barred from using lobbyists, state contractors and their political action committees to solicit donations. (AP)

We'll see if the legislators and their leaders can overcome their reservations and pass a workable bill. I hope so. If campaign finance reform isn't passed now, it may not get a chance again for a long time.

"Rell Calls Legislators Into Special Session." Associated Press 29 September, 2005.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Vance: Johnson Should Give DeLay Money to Charity

A quick response to the DeLay indictment from 5th District congressional hopeful Paul Vance:

"Perhaps some good can come out of today’s news, that is why I am asking Rep. Nancy Johnson, who in the past voted for Rep. DeLay for Majority Leader and accepted campaign contributions from Rep. DeLay to give those contributions to the Red Cross to aid the families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

"This may be the only way," said Vance, "that the dirty money Rep. Johnson accepted can become clean once again."

Vance also called in his press release for the Republican Majority Leader to resign.

This is not the first attempt that's been made to tie Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and Chris Shays to Tom DeLay and George Bush. So far, that strategy hasn't worked well for challengers.

However, if Republican scandals and miscues at the national level continue to appear in the news, they might have more of an effect. We'll see. For now, though, Johnson will stay as far away from DeLay's troubles as she can manage.

Bring Back County Government?

Revived Counties, Increased Regionalization Offered as Solutions to High Property Taxes

In 1960, Connecticut abolished its eight county governments, citing them as antiquated and redundant. Counties have been reduced to lines on a map for forty-five years. Now a group of Fairfield County politicians have proposed bringing them back.

The region's municipalities should devise a strategy to work together to leverage state government for what they need, because they're not getting it now, several area chief elected officials said Tuesday at a Greater Bridgeport Regional Business Council breakfast.
[Bridgeport Mayor John] Fabrizi believes that county government is one way to help promote regional cooperation.

A form of county government — which was abolished in 1960 — would enable towns and cities to share vital emergency management resources and streamline what can be expensive local programs, he said.

In fact, Connecticut is one of the few states without county government, putting it at odds with a federal government set up to work with — and give money to — counties.

So the state's towns and cities lose out on funding that could ease local property taxes, the officials said.

"I truly believe that [county government] is an issue that needs to be explored," Fabrizi said. (Drew)

The basic problem is that Connecticut is split up into 169 little fiefdoms, each with its own structure of services. Regionalization of some services could eliminate redundancy and help to lower high property taxes. Cities like Bridgeport, which have a high demand for services but a shrinking property tax base, would benefit the most from such an arrangement (see my earlier post for more detail: Hartford Demand for Services Outstrips Revenue).

Counties sort of work this way. However, counties' primary function is to oversee and provide services to territory that isn't governed by municipal governments. For those who have lived in New England all their lives the thought of land that isn't safely within a town border is alien, but most of the rest of the country functions this way. Incorporated towns become a rarity west of the Hudson River, replaced by a confusing (to us) tangle of counties, various classes of city, boroughs and villages.

Our counties, such as they are, probably shouldn't be revived. For one, they're just too big. Hartford County is a good example of this. What does Enfield have in common with Rocky Hill? If we are to head towards regionalized services (and possibly some sort of regional governments) they should be appropriately sized for our dense, closely-packed population. Hartford and its inner ring suburbs of Newington, West Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor, South Windsor, East Hartford and Wethersfield could pool services, and it would make a lot of sense (you could expand the region to include New Britain and Manchester, too) because those towns are already tightly interconnected.

Secondly, county lines split communities that might otherwise work well together (like Meriden and Southington, for example). If we're going to try regionalized services, we should do it in a way that makes sense for the 21st Century instead of following lines drawn on a map three hundred years ago.

Is this an answer to our property tax problems? It could be part of one. It might be worth trying, although getting towns to surrender even an inch of their soverignty to regional governments would be difficult at best. The alternative is to watch property taxes continue to climb as the demand for services increases, with no end in sight.

Drew, Daniel. "Counties could be regional strategy." Connecticut Post 28 September, 2005.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Open Forum

Saturday, October 1st, is the day that a host of new laws passed by the General Assembly this sessions, including civil unions, goes into effect across Connecticut. Other new laws include keeping kids in car seats until they are seven and the elimination of the disparity in the requirements for being found guilty of possessing crack and cocaine.

What else is happening around the state?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Charitable Corruption

Courant: House Speaker Uses Position to Raise Funds for Employer

In an article that ran this weekend in the Courant, columnist Kevin Rennie accuses House Speaker Jim Amann's use of his considerable influence to raise money for the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

This wouldn't be so bad if Amann weren't employed by that charity to do just that. They pay him $60,000/year, in fact.

This winter, spring and summer, Amann, members of his legislative staff and a select group of lobbyists helped raise money for an MS fund-raising event honoring Gov. M. Jodi Rell and singer Michael Bolton July 13...
He admits that he solicited lobbyists and their clients during and after this year's legislative session. Among those helping him were state Rep. Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, and lobbyist Shelly Rubino, who are colleagues at the Hartford office of law and lobbying firm Brown, Rudnick. Cafero and Rubino also were listed on literature for the Wallingford event as members of the planning committee.
Ignoring lines and guardrails that the law constructs, Amann hosted at least one meeting of fundraisers and others in his Capitol office.
Amann says that his subordinates did help him raise money for his employer, but that it was "strictly voluntary." In the pyramid of power, helping the boss succeed at his civilian job is usually not a choice.

Amann staff members - some of whom already have reputations for being especially aggressive in their constant pursuit of contributions for political and other causes - made calls during the legislative session that included this subtle incentive: The speaker is waiting to hear if you are going to contribute to his event.
The speaker of the House has flouted the law with the assistance of plenty of accomplices. Subpoenas should fly. (Rennie)

I have no problem with charitable giving. But this is clearly a conflict of interest and probably a violation of ethics rules. Does Amann forget how he got his position? He wouldn't be Speaker if Kevin Sullivan hadn't been bumped up to Lt. Gov. following John Rowland's resignation and Jodi Rell's assumption of the governorship.
(Correction: Not true. Amann was not in the line of succession, but was elected after Moira Lyons left.)

Is this the sort of thing that could lead to Amann's ouster? Probably not. That guy's like a barnicle on the side of the Capitol. However, legislative Democrats can't afford to let this one go. Investigate. Censure. Vote him out of the leadership. Democrats are steadily losing the moral high ground they had after Rowland's departure, and Amann's poor leadership and questionable ethics are partly to blame.

I, for one, won't be sorry to see him go, if it comes to that.

Rennie, Kevin. "For Speaker, Charity Begins With A Shakedown." Hartford Courant 25 September, 2005.

New London Wants NLDC Out

City to Gain More Control of Fort Trumbull Project

Last week, the New London city council expressed no confidence in the Fort Trumbull project, and demanded that the New London Development Corporation's leadership be replaced. This is seen by many as the first steps toward the city reasserting its control over the Fort Trumbull redevelopment project and perhaps even disbanding the quasi-public NLDC altogether.

On Tuesday, the New London City Council voted unanimously to express no confidence in the development authority. It ordered the corporation to dismiss its president and chief operating officer, and threatened to dissolve the agency within a week if it did not do so.

The vote came after the corporation angered state and local officials by sending orders to vacate to five Fort Trumbull residents living on property being seized for a hotel and office space. The corporation rescinded the notices under pressure by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. (AP)

Perhaps this should also raise a larger question about the role of partially private development corporations in cities. The problem with the NLDC is that it has never been directly accountable to citizens, and its relationship with the city council is complicated, to say the least. The city can dissolve the NLDC, but it would be complex, legally speaking, to do so. The NLDC isn't, strictly speaking, run by the city. This, as New London is finding out, can be somewhat problematic.

So why have a quasi-public agency?

"You create an entity whose sole purpose is to do these development projects, so their sole purpose is getting these projects done, and done on time," Michael Cicchetti, the undersecretary of the state's budget office, told The Day of New London. "Instead of having city employees take on that responsibility, setting up an entity whose sole purpose is getting these done just streamlines the process." (AP)

In essence, when the city doesn't have the money or the staff to oversee such a big project, they can create a private corporation to do it for them. This is part of a larger national trend away from "big government" towards the private sector. This trend has existed since the early 1970s, and peaked in the 1990s. President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security is one of the results of this trend.

Outsourcing government functions to the private sector can sometimes bring good results, but sometimes not. Either way, it's more difficult for the public and its representatives to exert control over private companies than government agencies, and therefore much harder to hold them accountable. The tradeoff is that they don't use as much taxpayer money as public agencies.

Is trading money for control worthwhile? New London, burned by seven years of slowdowns and public ire, is starting to think not.


"City of New London wants to take control of Fort Trumbull project." Associated Press 26 September, 2005.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rell Planning a Run

No surprise here.

Rell convened a series of strategy sessions this week and offered at least one operative a role in a campaign for governor in 2006, the first concrete signs that Rell will seek election to the office she assumed July 1, 2004, upon the resignation of John G. Rowland.

On Friday afternoon after a speech in Stamford, Rell told reporters for the first time that her mind is set about 2006 - though she declined to elaborate. (Pazniokas)

Put those two together, and we should have an announcement some time next week.

That's when the questions will begin, such as:

1. How will she raise enough money, considering the head start her Democratic opponent will have? Does she have to raise a lot of money to win?

2. What is her economic plan for the state? Is there one?

3. Will hard core conservatives accept her? Will it matter?

4. Will the national party campaign for her? Will we see her alongside President Bush?

5. Will public perception of her change now that she is actually running for something? How will Governor Rell be different from Candidate Rell?

And so on. I think we can assume at this point that Richard Blumenthal and Kevin Sullivan are not running, and that Gov. Rell's likely opponent will either be Dan Malloy or John DeStefano. DeStefano looks like the front-runner at this point, but that could change.

It will be interesting to see what form the announcement will take, when it comes. It will also be interesting to see what sort of web presence she will establish.

The most pressing question for the governor at present is whether she'll be able to translate her current high approval ratings into votes next November. She begins in excellent position, but thirteen and a half months are an awful lot of time for that to change.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Rell's Eye Is On The Prize." Hartford Courant 24 September, 2005.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Open Forum

Summer has come and gone, with no indication from the governor about next year's election. One has to wonder what she's waiting for.

Municipal elections are starting to gear up. I've seen yard signs sprout here and there. I do love election season.

What's happening in Connecticut today?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Campaign Finance Reform: What We Might Get

Panel Endorses "Framework" for Legislation

The campaign finance reform working group has finally endorsed an outline for broad campaign finance reform legislation. However, major sticking points such as bans on lobbysists and contractors, were not resolved.

Here's the basics of the system endorsed by the committee:

Wednesday the working group unanimously recommended public financing of legislative races in 2008 and statewide races in 2010. The grants would vary by office:

# State House: $8,000 for primaries; $25,000 for general election.

# State Senate: $50,000, primaries; $150,000, general elections.

# Statewide offices other than governor: $375,000, primaries; $750,000 general election.

# Governor: $1.25 million, primaries; $3 million, general election.

To qualify, candidates would have to demonstrate a degree of public support by raising certain amounts, relying on small contributions. The qualifying levels would range from $5,000 for the House to $250,000 for governor. (Pazniokas)

While this still means that candidates have to raise money, it's better than the system currently in place. The problem with the system is that it's voluntary: wealthy candidates or candidates who know they can raise more than the system would give them could opt out. To keep pace, their opponents would opt out to raise more money, too--and we're back to square one.

As for the sticking points, it's the Democrats who are once again dragging their feet:

In a series of partisan votes, however, the group could not agree on the timing and extent of restricting or banning contributions from lobbyists, state contractors and political action committees. Republicans want immediate restrictions on those sources, while Democrats said the fund-raising rules should not change until after the 2006 election. (Pazniokas)

Obviously Democrats want to keep the current system going as long as they can, or for at least one more election cycle. There is little danger of Republicans capturing a majority in either chamber any time soon, but Democrats want to protect each and every one of their seats:

"PACs can give unlimited amounts of money ... and we are going to tell the people we have reformed the system?" asked Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield. "Give me a break."

But Democrats said they need to assure rank-and-file legislators, especially those in poorer districts, that they'll have a stream of cash for their campaigns until the public funding system is up and running - 2008 for legislative races and 2010 for statewide races.

"You can't expect a virtually 2-to-1 majority in both the House and the Senate to commit political suicide," said Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford. (AP)

By opposing campaign finance reform, however, Democrats are, if not committing political suicide, at least shooting themselves in the foot.

Compromises on these issues will probably be hammered out if a special session is called this fall, and we'll end up with a new campaign finance system that isn't perfect, but will be better than the system we have now. For legislative races, at least, the playing field will be somewhat more level (if not entirely so: incumbents will be able to raise the qualifying money much faster). Bans on lobbyist and contractor contributions will help ease corruption in that specific area, although it will doubtless crop up somewhere else in time.

A special session has yet to be called to deal with the matter.

"Working group finds some common ground in reform report." Associated Press 22 September, 2005.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Campaign Reform Edges Ahead; Details Unresolved." Hartford Courant 22 September, 2005.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Audrey Blondin Stays In: For Now

Democrat Audrey Blondin is keeping her campaign for Secretary of the State running for the time being, despite current SOTS Susan Bysiewicz dropping out of the governor's race and announcing she'd be running for re-election instead.

From the Blondin campaign newsletter:

For the past two weeks, I have been speaking to supporters and political leaders around the state, and I am very grateful to all those who have reached out to our campaign. We all know that there are major leaders on both sides of the aisle who have yet to make their decisions. The political situation statewide is tenuous and fluid, and is not the atmosphere in which a serious statewide office seeker can make an informed decision about next year’'s political races.


So far, Landino and Fleischmann have bowed out, Blondin is staying in, while Mantilla, Nussbaum and Rodriguez-Reyes haven't said a word.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Newton Pleads Guilty to Three Felony Charges

If there was any doubt, this ought to erase it:

Newton, who resigned Monday, acknowledged in court that he accepted a $5,000 bribe in exchange for helping the director of a nonprofit job training agency secure a $100,000 grant.
Newton also admitted filing false tax returns and diverting $40,000 in campaign contributions for personal use over five years, which is considered mail fraud because the financial reporting forms were mailed.

Prosecutors said Newton used the money as his personal piggy bank, writing checks for services that weren't actually performed and then having those checks signed over to him. (Apuzzo)

Newton, as is often repeated, rose to the State Senate from the poorest neighborhood in Bridgeport. He's been a constant champion of the poor, and is still widely admired in his district. But he succumbed, in the end, to... what? Greed? Power? Madness?

Newton is a tragic figure, more like Jason or Macbeth than the Moses he claims to be. Even now he is at once noble and wicked: his plea deal is sparing another from prosecution. Newton, corrupt though he was, fell on his sword for someone else. Unlike the dramatic fall of Governor Rowland last year, Newton's resignation and conviction brings neither satisfaction nor triumph... only relief.

...The special election to replace him has been set for November 14th. Newton will be sentenced December 19th.

Apuzzo, Matt. "Newton Pleads Guilty." Hartford Courant 20 September, 2005.

Rell Still Popular: SurveyUSA

Rell's Popularity High Among All Except Youth

Jodi Rell is the second-most popular governor in America, according to a SurveyUSA poll released today. According to that poll, 75% of Connecticut residents approve of the job she is doing as governor, while only 21% disapprove.

Her approval ratings have remained consistently high for a year, ranging from the mid-60s to over 80%.

Rell did very well with all segments of the population, according to the broken-down results. The only group she didn't score above 60% approval with was adults 18-34, who gave her a 58% approval rating and a 36% disapproval rating.

SurveyUSA is not known for having the most reliable polls, but their polls about Rell have been very consistent thus far.

Town Proposes Eminent Domain Restrictions

Norwalk Ordinance Change Could be a Model for Other Towns, State

Norwalk's Common Council is considering changing town ordinances to severely limit the town's eminent domain powers:

Common Councilman Michael Coffey ... placed on the agenda an ordinance limiting the city's powers to seize private property solely to build public facilities, such as schools or roads; to preserve open space; or to address health or safety hazards. (AP)

This proposal comes as eminent domain returns to the front burner in the wake of the issuance and quick withdrawal of eviction notices to Fort Trumbull, New London residents. Such a limitation on eminent domain powers could provide a model for other communities looking to safeguard property rights in the wake of the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision.

Perez Defends Economic Usage of Eminent Domain

There are plenty, however, who feel that the use of eminent domain for private development is necessary for urban revitalization. Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez is one of them.

Perez told lawmakers that legislation that hamstrings local and state governments' ability to use eminent domain would undermine economic-redevelopment efforts.

Eminent domain "is a powerful economic development tool used sparingly that helps cities create jobs, grow business and strengthen neighborhoods. No locally-elected official whom I know would use eminent domain to undermine the integrity of or confidence in homeownership in his or her community," Perez said. (Watts)

Very reassuring, especially given Hartford's sledgehammer approach to redevelopment.

If I were running for office in any town in Connecticut this fall, I would take the language of the Norwalk resolution and promise to propose such a measure for my town. People may not understand the finer points of economic redevlopment, but they do understand that private property ought not to fall victim to profit.

"Councilman proposes severe restrictions on eminent domain." Associated Press 20 September, 2005.

Watts, William L. "Limits urged in eminent-domain authority." MarketWatch 20 September, 2005.

Newton to Plead Guilty

WTIC-AM is reporting that former Sen. Ernest Newton, who is in federal court in Bridgeport today will plead guilty to an unspecified offense this afternoon as part of a plea deal.

I'll update this post as we find out more.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Open Forum

Ernest Newton submitted his official resignation today around 1pm. A special election for his replacement will take place during the first few weeks of November. Because voting machines are sealed for two weeks following an election, and state elections cannot by law take place on the same day as municipal ones, it may be difficult to get voting machines. Perhaps Hartford, which isn't having elections this year, can loan them some.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan stopped by the city of President Bush's birth and college education yesterday. Sheehan drew about 1,000 people or so, according to estimates; apparently none of them city or state leaders.

What else is going on?

NLDC Taking on Water

Development Corporation Losing Support on New London City Council

The New London Development Corporation was supposed to save New London. Instead, it may leave the city much worse off than it found it... and it may leave soon. Tonight, the city council of New London will hold a vote of no confidence in the the NLDC's leadership.

City officials have said that the Fort Trumbull development can not go forward unless the current agency leaders step down.

The president of the agency said it would rescind notices telling Fort Trumbull residents to leave properties being seized by eminent domain.

Michael Joplin agreed to pull back the notices after a meeting with state officials last week on a same day Governor Rell had demanded that the agency rescind the notices it sent to residents telling them to vacate the properties within 90 days. (AP)

The NLDC seemed like such a good idea when it was formed back in the mid-1990s. The city didn't have any money to spare for redevelopment (it still doesn't), so they decided to create a quasi-public "development corporation" to oversee and raise funds for New London's rebirth. The NLDC hit its stride when eccentric Connecticut College president Claire Gaudiani headed up the organization. Development plans were drawn up, and neighborhoods crossed out.

A major move forward came when Groton-based Pfizer located offices near Fort Trumbull: the city and the NLDC figured it would only be a matter of time before the economic engine of Pfizer combined with a new retail, hotel and entertainment complex nearby to get New London moving again, and to protect the city from the loss of a big chunk of the defense industry it had previously depended on.

Fort Trumbull proved to be a bigger stumbling block than they figured, however. The move was never especially popular (many of the city council members who voted for the resolution were not re-elected) and residents began to dig in their heels. Some of these residents were irate Connecticut College faculty, who put pressure on Gaudiani in their own way.

Gaudiani, who had become unpopular on and off campus, left in 2000, and the NLDC has remained mired in Fort Trumbull since. A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to vindicate their position, but the national outcry was so strong that the city and the corporation found they had to tread lightly. Gov. Jodi Rell and others put pressure on the developers to include the remaining houses in the plans.

A turning point came last week when the NLDC issued eviction notices to the remaining residents without notifying the city or, indeed, anyone else. The city and state reacted angrily, prompting the NLDC to rescind the orders. But the damage had been done. Few in New London have confidence in the NLDC's leadership, and tonight that leadership may find itself out.

What will happen if the no-confidence vote passes? The NLDC will continue to exist, and the development probably will still go forward (although perhaps in a very different form). However, the city will have reasserted control over both, which could lead to better accountability and a decline in the NLDC's authority.

What may come out of all of this (besides a hotel complex no one needs) is a revision of state eminent domain laws that would make it much more difficult for large-scale private redevelopment projects like Fort Trumbull to go forward. Perhaps, if we're lucky, such a revision will finally force city officials to realize that a city's problems can't be solved by high rises, movie theaters, hotels and convention centers.

"City Council schedules 'no confidence' vote." Associated Press/WFSB 19 September, 2005.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New Polls


First one is about campaign finance reform, which has been delayed until next week. Second is about Bysiewicz's withdrawal from the governor's race. Feel free to defend your answers here.

Open Forum

Campaign finance reform still hasn't happened. Maybe next week...

As for some of the issues brought up in the last open forum: Anonymous posts, while sometimes a bit confusing, will remain for now. The alternative is a registration system, which is a barrier to participation. However, if you are an anonymous poster, you may want to consider checking the "Other" option when you comment, and filling in a handle. It just makes it easier for others to talk directly to you. This is not a requirement, but a suggestion.

Newton Places Blame Elsewhere

Apparently, when Sen. Ernest Newton resigned, he blamed everyone but himself.

The media, the racist FBI, and racial injustice in general took the brunt of his invective.

A choice Newton quote: "I have been the Moses of my people and all I've ever asked for is to let justice be served." (Pazniokas)

"Moses?" I'm not sure what to make of the racial elements of Newton's speech. Does he really believe that race played a part in the FBI "targeting" him? ...Did it? I have a hard time believing that, especially following Warren Godbolt's admission that he bribed him.

As for who will replace him, the Connecticut Post has interviews with many possible candidates, including Bridgeport NAACP chair and Newton supporter Carolyn Nah, community activist Cecil Young, Rep. Robert Keeley (D-Bridgeport) and others.

A special election has to be called within 56 days of Newton's resignation letter being delievered to the Secretary of the State. Late October/early November are the most likely times, although a state legislative election can't take place on the same day as a municipal one.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Newton Resigns

State Sen. Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport) resigned today. He has been the focus of a federal corruption investigation, and has been under pressure to resign for some time. From the AP article:

"I want you to understand that I gave it up. My family needs me and they mean a lot to me and I have to be there for them," Newton told supporters at a news conference on the steps of city hall.
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said that Newton's seat would likely be filled by through a special election. (AP)

Newton is trying to salvage his pride, of course, by claiming that he wasn't forced to go. He also apparently made no reference to the scandals surrounding him.

He did the right thing, but why now? This was a very sudden announcement. It could be that a major break in the investigation is going to come out soon.

In any event, he is now gone. What will become of him after this is anybody's guess.


"Embattled Newton says he'll resign from state Senate." Associated Press 15 September, 2005.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Open Forum

There's a nice breakdown of Jarjura's loss in Waterbury last night here.

Also, there was an article by Fred Lucas in the Danbury News-Times today about the governor's race. Basically, the article is saying that the Democrats don't have a prayer without Blumenthal:

"The people with the most political notoriety and visibility have withdrawn from the race," said Gary Rose, political science professor at Sacred Heart University. "I don't want to use the term sacrificial lamb, but I do think the Democrats are starting to concede."

The party's gubernatorial prospects are "grim," said Rep. Robert Godfrey, D-Danbury. He said Blumenthal is the only candidate who could beat Rell.

"Those of us who have been in this business for a while are befuddled by the current circumstances," Godfrey said. "We have not won a governor's race in 20 years, and there is a general lack of enthusiasm to run for governor against Rell."

Still, Godfrey thinks Blumenthal could enter the race, even though he is moving slowly.

"He's been telling leadership very quietly he was (running)," Godfrey said. "But he seems in no hurry before the local elections. If he's not running, I wish he'd do us all a favor and let us know."

Blumenthal said he had "no idea" what conversations with legislative leaders Godfrey was referring to. (Lucas)

Sheesh. For the last time, waiting for Blumenthal to descend from his perch and save the Democrats is about as productive as waiting for Godot. I also disagree that it's over. Rell may be strong, but situations can change.

Lucas, Fred. "Democrats wary of challenge to Rell." Danbury News-Times 14 September, 2005.

What else is happening? This is an open forum, too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Primary Results

Post primary results here. A few results are trickling in here and there. Post them as they come in!

In what will probably be the big story, Mayor Michael Jarjura of Waterbury lost to challenger Karen Mulcahy. Story here and here.

Apparently Joyce Chen won in New Haven.

Update 9:44pm

From the surprisingly helpful Norwich Bulletin:

Canterbury Board of Selectmen (R)
The top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot
Neil Dupont 295
Christopher Johnson 326
Leslie “Lee” Wrigley 241
Wayne Fletcher 211

Stirling Board of Selectmen (D)

John Firlik 67
John Folco 55

Putnam Board of Selectmen (R)

The top four vote-getters will appear on the November ballot.
Frederick Hedenberg 85
Owen Tarr 75
Carol Bazinet 51
Cynthia Peterson 46
Shirley Serafin 46

(Looks like a tie for the last one: recount time)

Plainfield Board of Selectmen (D)

Top two will be on the ballot:
Kevin Cunningham 424
Scott Charlwood 397
Donald Gladding 389
Albert “Bert” Brunsdon 404

Cunningham defeated incumbent First Selectman Donald Gladding.

10:00pm Update

From theHartford Courant

Stratford Mayor (D)
James Miron 1,046
Dennis Broedlin 587
Robert Calzone 563

Stratford Mayor (R)
Dominic Costello 1,119
Thomas Moore 987
Edward Goodrich 755

10:36pm Update

From Hamden Daily News:

Craig Henrici wins Hamden mayoral primary over Mayor Carl Amento with 61% of the vote. No numbers yet.

Several incumbent town leaders (Jarjura, Amento, Gladding) defeated tonight.

It was close in Waterbury:

Mulcahy: 3300
Jarjura: 3046

See comments for more results.

DeLauro Endorses DeStefano

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-3) endorsed Mayor John DeStefano for governor today on the Capitol steps in Hartford, according to a press release from the DeStefano campaign. DeLauro became the first major Democrat to endorse a gubernatorial candidate, significantly improving DeStefano's chances of winning the nomination next year and all but confirming that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal out of the mix. DeLauro's action comes just days after Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz formally dropped out of the race.

DeLauro represents New Haven in Congress, so her endorsement of DeStefano seems logical. It's worth noting that Middletown, Susan Bysiewicz's hometown, is also in DeLauro's district. The timing of this announcement isn't coincidental.

Up to this point, most major Democratic figures have stayed out of the governor's race, waiting either for a frontrunner to emerge or for Richard Blumenthal to declare his intentions. DeLauro's action could indicate that DeStefano is very much becoming the frontrunner, and that at least some Democrats don't want to wait for Blumenthal any longer.

What does this mean for Dan Malloy? Perhaps not much. DeLauro is backing a favorite son: Fairfield County politicians may soon do the same. However, this may also be the beginning of the end for his campaign. If Democrats start to think that the chips are falling in DeStefano's favor, money and support for Malloy may start to dry up. Democrats would be thrilled to avoid a costly and possibly nasty primary next year.

The DeStefano press release states that "Today's endorsement will be the first among many key endorsements that will follow in the weeks to come." This could mean that several Democrats are already lined up behind DeStefano, or that the campaign hopes to secure their support soon.

Whatever the case may be, DeStefano is emerging as the man to beat. Malloy needs to move quickly to prove that he belongs in the same league as DeStefano, or else he'll start feeling pressure to bow out of the race entirely.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Municipal Primaries Tuesday

Election Alert: Municipal Primaries September 13th!
Results Here

Municipal primaries will be held all over the state on Tuesday, September 13th. The Courant has a nice overview of some of the important races, and has a full list of which towns are holding primaries. My list, which is incomplete, lists a few of the cities and towns and the politicians running for office. I got most of them.

The most intresting primary by far is being held in Stratford, where three candidates from each party are contending for the mayoral nomination. This is the first time a mayoral election has been held in Stratford, and apparently the race is hotly contested.

Another primary to watch will be the Democratic mayoral race in Waterbury. This is what passes for the general election in Waterbury, long dominated by Democrats (although the opposition Independent Party has made strong gains of late). A slate of challengers led by mayoral candidate Karen Mulcahy is taking on Mayor Michael Jarjura.

For those interested in New Haven politics, contentious primaries are being held for aldermanic seats all over that city.

Hartford is not having primaries this year, as the new city charter provides for four-year terms instead of two. Hartford is one of the few Connecticut municipalities to have four year terms for its elected officials.

I will post results as they become available on Tuesday and Wednesday. I encourage you to post the results that I will inevitably miss.

Campaign Finance Reform: What We're Not Getting

The bipartisan campaign finance reform working group is set to present its recommendations to the governor this Thursday. We'll see what proposals the group actually comes up with, and if the deadlock over campaign finance reform will be broken any time soon.

In the meantime, here are a few things we're definitely not getting:

Public Financing for 2006

It's too late for this, so we can all stop bugging candidates about whether they'll return campaign donations next year. The earliest implementation date I've heard is 2008--and I'm not convinced they'll even be able to do that. Rell may have to content herself with 2010.

Enthusiastic Support from Democrats

Nobody in the legislature really wants to see this bill happen, but no Democrat wants to be on the record against it, either. Look for lukewarm support from a lot of incumbent Democrats who are perfectly happy with the current gravy train, thank you.


Republicans are in for a surprise: this bill probably won't help them. The GOP has been using lack of funds as an excuse for not running or actively supporting a candidate in many districts: if this bill is implemented they'll just have to face up to the fact that they are a sad rump of a party with no message, focus or broad appeal. We should see more Democratic primaries, however.

Lots of Fresh Faces in the Legislature

The boundaries of the districts (especially the House districts) are so drawn that almost all incumbents have a big advantage over challengers from the party opposite. Until the state changes the way it draws legislative districts, this won't change.

Sad, Out-Of-Work Lobbyists

I wish. They'll find ways to be just as influential, despite new rules.

So why have campaign finance reform at all? What will we be getting? How will it improve our democracy?

More on that on Thursday, when the committee makes its report.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Open Forum

For non-Bysiewicz related chatter!

Governor's Race a Hot Potato

I remember a skit from Saturday Night Live in 1991, which was a send-up of a debate between Democratic contenders for president. It was called "The Race to be the Guy who Loses to Bush," and each candidate explained why he would be a terrible nominee and why the guy next to him should be the choice, instead. It was funny at the time, because no one thought President George H. W. Bush, fresh off a victory in Kuwait, could lose.

And then, of course, he did. But the fear of a race that seemed like a guaranteed loser kept a lot of big-name Democrats out of the race, enabling a guy who had only been known on the national scene for giving a long and deadly dull speech at the 1988 convention to win the nomination and then the presidency. The lesson here is that conventional wisdom has its moments, but it can become meaningless very quickly when the situation changes. Those Democrats who saw 1992 as another loser of a race and stayed away may have missed out on their party's only chance at presidential victory between 1976 and 2008.

Is the 2006 governor's race a loser for Democrats? Susan Bysiewicz thought so. IN her statement, she said: "It has been a difficult decision, but the timing is simply not right for me." (AP)

Translation: I'm going to lose. I'd better get out before I do.

Richard Blumenthal probably thinks so, too, although it's hard to tell what's on his mind. He is very much like Mario Cuomo in 1992 and 1988: everybody pinned their hopes on him, but he wavered and vacillated until finally taking a pass. Blumenthal is staying true to form, at least so far. Couple an uncertain race with the fact that Jodi Rell has been stealing a lot of his spotlight, lately (she has visibly attached herself to both of the state's high-profile lawsuits, the NCLB case and the Bradley Air Guard case), and his chances of getting in the race seem much diminished. He may yet surprise us, but history suggests that he won't.

Is Jodi Rell, then, a foregone conclusion next year? No. Here are some bits of conventional wisdom that could be overturned by reality during 2006:

1. Jodi Rell is running

Are we sure of that? She hasn't announced, and Rell can be very unpredictable. Her health, which appears to be fine at the moment, could become a deciding factor for her. This one, however, seems pretty safe.

2. Democrats will tear each other apart in the primary

If Blumenthal stays out, and Malloy falls far enough behind in fundraising to realize that he doesn't really have a chance, there won't be a primary and John DeStefano will be the nominee.

Of course, if Blumenthal gets in, the others might decide to get out. In any case, Bysiewicz's departure makes the threat of a primary much less likely.

3. Rell's approval ratings will remain strong

They've been consistent so far. Most people have had a chance to form an opinion of her by now, and they like what they see. But public opinion is fickle. A few missteps on Rell's part, an economic downturn, national trends towards Democrats or a very good challenger could help her leave the governor's chair early.

No statewide race in Connecticut is hopeless for Democrats, not when there are so many more of them than Republicans (and Republicans are so weak, as a party). The trick is getting Democrats to actually vote for a Democrat, and to get independents to do the same. It's not easy, but it's doable.

The dynamics of this race are going to shift and change a lot before the conventions next year. Bysiewicz may find herself wishing she had stayed in just a little longer.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bysiewicz Out

Will Seek Re-Election to Secretary of the State

Landino Drops Out

Susan Bysiewicz is dropping out of the governor's race, and will seek re-election to her current position of Secretary of the State, the Courant is reporting. (Thanks to Paul for the heads-up!)

What does this mean for the governor's race, and for the very crowded Secretary of the State race? One Democrat has already dropped out:

One of the contenders for secretary, Bob Landino, said Bysiewicz informed him Wednesday morning of her decision. He said he would not challenge her.

"She is a friend and great public servant," Landino said. (Pazniokas)

So who else might drop out? Audrey Blondin is close to Bysiewicz, and may defer to her. The rest? At this point, it's impossible to say. Fleischmann, who already has a lot of money, may feel compelled to stay in... but maybe not. I bet a lot of them get out. Don't expect any high-profile Republicans to enter the race, either.

The primary for governor is now a two-person race, barring the entry of Lt. Gov. Sullivan (who has backed off lately) and Attorney General Blumenthal. It's John DeStefano's race to lose, right now. Bysiewicz, with her intimate knowledge of the political system, was his strongest challenger. I like Dan Malloy, but DeStefano is picking up a lot of momentum and press and is outraising him by a wide margin at present.

Bysiewicz fans (those who exist) should not be disappointed: I have a feeling she'll resurface. She'd make a great Lieutenant Governor nominee. DeStefano/Bysiewicz would be a decent ticket.

In the meantime, watch for Democrats jumping out of the Secretary of the State race like rats from a sinking ship.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Bysiewicz Reported Out Of Governor Race." Hartford Courant 7 September, 2005.

Connecticut's Congressional Delegation Responds to Katrina

What are our representatives in Washington doing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist?

Sen. Chris Dodd (D)

Sen. Dodd has mostly been busy dealing with the aftermath of Rehnquist’s death and President Bush’s sudden elevation of associate justice nominee John Roberts as his replacement. Dodd, along with New York Sen. Charles Schumer, has been trying to convince Bush to persuade Sandra Day O’Connor to stay on until January:

Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said President Bush should ask Sandra Day O’Connor to rescind her retirement and perhaps become chief justice.

"Asking her to stay on, at least until January, gives the president a bit more time to think this process through, rather than trying to jam decisions," Dodd told Fox News Sunday. (AP)

Dodd also turned up at the State Armory in Hartford yesterday to visit with volunteers.

" Dodd wants O’Connor to rescind retirement plans." Associated Press 5 September 2005.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D)

Our junior senator has had a few harsh words for the federal government following their inept response to the disaster, and is planning to investiage:

"While it is too early to reach conclusions on the response of government to this catastrophe, it is increasingly clear that serious shortcomings in preparedness and response have hampered relief efforts at a critical time," U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Joseph Lieberman said in a statement.

Collins, R-Maine, is chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and Lieberman, D-Conn., is the ranking minority member. They said the committee will investigate actions before and after hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. (AP)

Lieberman and Dodd are also supporting emergency aid to poorer people in cold-weather states as high heating costs loom.

"Senate to investigate hurricane preparedness, response." Associated Press 2 September, 2005.

Rep. John Larson (D-1)

Larson is planning to introduce legislation designed to keep gas prices low.

Congressman John Larson says he'll introduce legislation next week to place a tax on oil companies that make excess profits.

"We need action now, we need to demystify this process, the public is demanding answers. It's time for the U.S. Congress to step forward," says Rep. John Larson, (D) First District. (AP/WTNH)

Larson was very quick to speak out against possible price gouging last week. His rhetoric may cool now that prices have apparently leveled off.

"Politicians advise on high gas prices." Associated Press/WTNH 1 September, 2005.

Rep. Rob Simmons (R-2)

Simmons went to Washington Friday to vote for emergency assistance for the Gulf Coast.

…Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, described on the House floor efforts in Connecticut to help Katrina's victims.

"Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, but this is not just a Gulf Coast calamity," he said. "I am proud that not only is the federal government stepping up to do more, but my home state of Connecticut is also taking action." (Lightman)

Otherwise, Simmons has mostly been talking about BRAC, instead.

Lightman, David. "Congress Backs Relief Package." Hartford Courant 3 September, 2005.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3)

DeLauro also had harsh words for the administration in the wake of the crisis.

"There are serious questions regarding the administration's competence in responding to this tragedy," said Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District. "In particular, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's incoherent response in the days following this disaster has been unacceptable." (Lightman)

She will also join John Larson in introducing anti-price gouging legislation.

Lightman, David. "Congress Backs Relief Package." Hartford Courant 3 September, 2005.

Rep. Chris Shays (R-4)

Shays had very harsh words for the federal government, and vowed to investigate:

"The bottom line is the whole thing is pretty shocking," said Shays, chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations.

Shays, who traveled to Washington Friday to vote on the $10.5 billion emergency relief package, said he plans to hold hearings on the government's stalled relief effort once the immediate crisis in New Orleans and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast stabilizes. "This is Third World stuff, and you'd like to think that we'd get right on it."

"This is a bit unsettling, frankly," Shays said, adding that years of preparation for another terrorist attack after Sept. 11, 2001, should have paid off after a natural disaster. "In the process of preparing for man-made catastrophe, we also knew that Mother Nature could do the same stuff."

The government should have had a plan ready to execute immediately if the New Orleans levees failed, Shays said. "I don't know if that plan existed, candidly," he said. "I thought it did, but based on the outcome, it makes you wonder." (Dalena)

Shays has so far been the most vocal critic of the administration in our Congressional delegation.

Dalena, Doug. "Shays, Lieberman vow probe into feds' response." Stamford Advocate 4 September, 2005.

Update: Apparently the House's hearings have been cancelled. A joint committee will investigate instead.

Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-5)

Johnson hasn’t done or said very much about the events of the past week. Here’s what I could find:

Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, R-5th District, was in her district, visiting the Farmington office of the American Red Cross to discuss local relief efforts. (Lightman)

…That’s it. Otherwise, she’s been doing other things.

Lightman, David. "Congress Backs Relief Package." Hartford Courant 3 September, 2005.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

CLP Store?

I'm sure that some of you will think I've gone over the edge, but today I had the idea of setting up a cheap-o CafePress store for blog-related swag. This may be a terrible idea, I don't know. However, I'm not trying to make any money from it: any and all commissions from the store will be donated to a Hurricane Katrina relief/rebuilding effort of our choice.

Here's the link:

I have created mugs and t-shirts, for those so inclined. What do you think? Should I forget it? Or is this not such a terrible idea after all?

Open Forum

Continuing the trend of online-only newspapers, Paul Bass is now publishing the New Haven Independent. The Independent joins Sharon Bass's Hamden Daily News and WestportNow as area-specific online news sites (CT News Junkie, of course, covers the whole state).
It's interesting to see small news outfits starting up online instead of in print. We'll see if they find more success than most hyper-local papers.

This is an open forum. Feel free to talk about anything, or to continue to yell at me for my (admittedly vague and too-hastily written) Labor Day comments.

Nov. Municipal Elections: Primaries Upcoming

Primaries for local races all over the state are only a week away. Here is a list of the primaries for mayor and town council/bd. of selectmen/bd. of aldermen that I know about. If there are others out there, or you can fill in some of the gaps in this list, let me know.

List of primaries by town

9/13 Update: Results Here

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day Open Forum

It's Labor Day, which is a good time to talk about labor issues in Connecticut. What's been happening that is of significance to labor, lately? Does organized labor have a future here? Remember that one of the more attractive things about Connecticut to the group of corporate scouts that came here a week or so ago was that Connecticut's workforce wasn't much more unionized than other areas of the country. 16% of our workforce belongs to a union (13% nationally).

I myself was a member of a union for three years (the CEA - the CT arm of the NEA, a teachers' union) and found them much more interested in selling me life insurance than making working conditions better for their members.

New Polls

Two new polls down on the sidebar, both about Katrina and its aftermath. Feel free to defend your responses here.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Leadership in Times of Disaster

As the grim situation in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast slowly and painfully improves, the incomprehensible unpreparedness of government for an entirely forseeable disaster becomes ever more clear. Americans from all over the political spectrum are sensing a failure of leadership when the country needs it most.

In times of crisis, such as natural disasters, people look to their leaders for guidance, reassurance and hope. Natural disasters have ravaged Connecticut from time to time, and the response of our leaders to those past crises may hold lessons for today's leadership on how to cope with the present one.

Abraham Ribicoff and the Floods of 1955

Abraham Ribicoff became governor of Connecticut in 1955, following a close and bitter contest with incumbent governor John Davis Lodge.

When two hurricanes in 1955 caused massive flooding all over Connecticut, Gov. Ribicoff immediately took charge of the situation. He ordered in the National Guard, directed relief efforts from the State Armory and personally visited many of the flood sites.

After the floodwaters receeded, Ribicoff's recovery programs helped to get the state back on its feet. Ribicoff was always a popular politician in Connecticut, but his response to the floods, just seven months into his first term as governor, helped to cement that popularity. In 1958, he won re-election by a landslide, partially thanks to the success of his recovery programs.

Thomas Meskill Gets Snowed

In 1970, Thomas Meskill was elected as Connecticut's first Republican governor since John Davis Lodge (1951-55). His tenure was an unsteady and forgettable one, but it seemed in 1973 that he would probably be re-elected.

However, when a severe ice and snow storm struck Connecticut during the winter of 1973-74, Gov. Meskill was nowhere to be found. He was on a skiing vacation in Vermont, and apparently had decided not to return to the state. The image of the governor skiing while many in Connecticut huddled miserable without heat or electricity dropped Meskill's political fortunes like a rock. Not long after, he saw the writing on the wall and announced he wouldn't run for a second term.


Ella Grasso's political standing was at a low point in 1978, following three years of budget woes and a mounting state debt. She faced a primary challenger and dim prospects of re-election later that year.

However, Grasso demonstrated her leadership abilities when a paralyzing blizzard hit Connecticut that winter. She, as Ribicoff had, ordered in the National Guard, demanded assistance from Washington and flew to stricken areas all over the state, offering hope and promises of aid. In a notable moment that demonstrates just how visible she was during the storm, someone stamped "HELP ELLA" in large, visible letters in a field. She had obviously learned from Meskill's mistakes, and easily won re-election in 1978.

Lessons for Today

Governors of Connecticut since the 1970s have followed Grasso's lead in being seen as highly visible and active during natural disasters. A telling moment happened earlier this year, when Connecticut was hit by yet another blizzard in January. Gov. Rell, who was still recovering from a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery a month earlier, was seen at the Armory and with snow-plow drivers in South Windsor. According to the Courant, she recieved an email that read "You don't have to be Ella." People have long memories for such things.

The lesson seems to be that, during crises such as natural disasters, people want their leaders to reassure them and to take action at once. President Bush may find himself haunted by the image of vacationing while New Orleans drowned.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina: Connecticut Responds 2

Connecticut leaders and citizens are continuing to respond to the ongoing crisis sparked by Hurricane Katrina.

Relief Efforts

Businesses, government, schools and even political campaigns are doing what they can to support relief efforts.

A very positive story that has been happening all over the country involves the many thousands of college students who were displaced by Katrina. Colleges and universities all over the country are volunteering to take these students on at little or no extra charge. Connecticut schools are joining the bandwagon:

The University of Connecticut on Friday joined the four schools in the Connecticut State University system in offering to accept students from Connecticut displaced by the storm. Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport extended the offer to anyone from the Northeast.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she asked CSU's trustees to grant free tuition to students from Connecticut who were attending colleges affected by the hurricane. They would only need to pay room and board.
Mitchell College in New London was opening its doors to any student who was affected by the hurricane. The college also said it would work with students on financial aid.
State Rep. Donald Sherer, R-Stamford, the ranking Republican on the legislature's higher education committee, called several college officials on Thursday and asked them to get involved. He said it would be ideal to have schools across Connecticut waive their tuition so the students can commute to a nearby college and not miss a semester of education. (AP)

Colleges and universities will hopefully do all they can to support displaced students financially, including waiving tuition.

Hartford Public Schools will be accepting younger students displaced by the storm, as well.

Connecticut volunteers are training in local Red Cross centers, preparing to go to the affected areas as soon as next week.

Other organizations from around New England are doing what they can, as well.

Energy Costs

Energy costs are skyrocketing, most notably the cost of gasoline, which is above $3.00 in most parts of the state today. In Hartford this afternoon, I saw regular unleaded gasoline being sold for $3.39/gallon. The price has increased by as much as $0.75/gallon across the state.

Citizens are starting to complain about price gouging and profiteering. State leaders are trying to respond at both the national and state level:

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. John Larson said he would team with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro to introduce a bill designed to prevent what he called profiteering by large oil companies before and after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast and damaged key refineries.
"What's accounting for these spikes in price? Greed," Larson said.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, whose office was fielding "hundreds" of complaints from citizens, said he would welcome congressional hearings on oil pricing and the operations of the New York Mercantile Exchange, where oil contracts are traded.
Separately, Gov. M. Jodi Rell issued a statement Thursday expressing outrage at rising gas prices. She outlined plans for a meeting today with energy industry leaders to "get a handle on these absurd price spirals."

Rell is considering a temporary suspension of the gasoline sales or gross receipts taxes, as well as a possible ban on the practice of "zone pricing," which allows wholesalers to charge different prices in different areas of the state. (Moran)

Who is to blame for these price increases? Local retailers? Suppliers? Big oil companies? Oil traders? All of the above?

One thing is certain: if these high prices persist, the economy and those least able to pay will suffer greatly. If oil prices don't drop somewhat before winter, we will have a much worse problem on our hands.

The best thing to do right now is to limit unnecessary driving as much as possible to save gas. If you do have to drive, go a bit slower. It's worth noting that fuel efficiency drops after about 55mph or so. I noticed that a lot of people were actually going the speed limit or below on I-91 today: that's a good first step. It's also a sign that people are paying serious attention.

Conn. schools offer classes to students displaced by hurricane." Associated Press 2 September, 2005.

Moran, John and Gosselin, Kenneth. Gas Prices Spark Outrage." Hartford Courant 2 September, 2005.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Open Forum

A previous discussion about Chris Murphy and Paul Vance was mentioned in CT News Junkie today. Dan Levine does a great job over there.

Also, Roy Occhiogrosso, who helped run Bill Curry's horrible campaigns, is now working for Dan Malloy.

CT relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina are continuing.

What else is happening today?