Thursday, February 23, 2006

Open Forum

State Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Cheshire) had a big day yesterday. The chair of the DCCC, Rahm Emanuel, paid him a visit, giving a boost to his campaign for the 5th District congressional seat. Because both Paul Vance and Bill Curry bowed out (Curry, technically, never bowed in) of the race this week, Murphy is the nominee-apparent. Emanuel and Murphy highlighted the shortcomings of the confusing new Medicare program, which Johnson helped to create, as a possible weakness for the longtime congresswoman.

Senators Dodd and Lieberman debated the Iraq War yesterday--except that apparently they didn't say much of anything. Also, I didn't see this initially (My Left Nutmeg posted this earlier), but apparently Dodd has called Ned Lamont's primary challenge "harmful," and is strongly backing Lieberman. "Harmful?" I really dislike that line of thinking. Either democracy is a good thing or it isn't. Besides, "party unity" never seems to help Democrats anyway.

There's an interesting article in the Journal-Inquirer about the timing of a ballot question about calling a constitutional convention. We'll probably get that question in 2008.

Lastly, legislative Democrats are mulling over ways to pass a contracting reform bill that the governor will sign. A hint: drop the privatization language. Really.

What else is going on today?

59 comments:

Rick Melita said...

Why should Democrats drop prizatization reform? Rell has said that her only issue with the bill as passed was that it would hurt non profits ( a lie of course) but now that that provision is dropped- she has found new reasons to oppose the bill.

The real reason that Republicans dislike this bill is that every year, hundreds of millions of state dollars are funnelled to private contractors, contractors who in turn funnel money back into the Republican party. The work that those contractors perform is sometimes substandard, but yet they receive new contracts every year.

The bill is not about saving state employees from layoffs from contracting out, they already have some protections in their contracts from that, but about saving taxpayers from getting gouged by corrupt and incompetent vendors.

This bill would call for a study of whether it makes sense to spend more money for outside services than it would to do the work in house... in other words to require the Republican adminstration to follow the precepts found in any management 101 text. The reasons that state government is reluctant to do this simple step are :

1) Knee jerk right wing ideological beliefs that the private sector is always better and cheaper than the wasteful public sector

2) More contracts to more vendors means more money to shake down for campaigns- non appointed state employees don't have to give to keep their jobs, contactors have to pay to play.

3) Top level managers close to retirement favor outsourcing because they see it as a lucrative 2nd career. They enter the revolving door- give work to contractors, retire with a nice pension, get a higher paying job with a contractor because "they understand how the system works" get more contracts from their old buddies at the agency they used to work at who are nearing retirement. And the cycles repeat. Over and over.

4) A Republican bias toward busting unions, lowering the value of work actually performed, while enriching top managers and owners of the privatizing firms. If you look at the wages/benefits for white and blue collar workers doing privatized work it is generally less than what public employees earn , but private sector managers usually pay themselves much more that what public managers earn. That is especially true among the non- profit sector.

This bill interupts the cozy relationships between contractors and the Rowland Rell adminstration. It won't stop privatization but will force state managers to be more accountable with state taxpayers dollars.

Joe Sixpack said...

If it's all about cleaning up contracting and not job protection, then why have the privatization portion in there at all? It would effectively prohibit ANY use on non-state employee union personnel because the supposed cost-benefit analysis requires that the private companies factor in salaries and benefits at the level the state pays. In contracts with only personal services, the only way to save money would be in lower salaries and benefits. To mandate that the pay be equivalent to state employees means there can never be any savings and thus, no privatization.

It also had some language requiring collusion between the state and any group of employees they sought to replace with private workers. So it prohibits any contact between the state and possible contractors, but requires the state to work with the employees so they can present their bid. So getting in bed with contractors is evil, unless the contractor is a union. Please.

Dems should run the two pieces as separate bills, rather than continue to play politics with the issues. If clean contracting is so darn important, pass it. Then the D's leadership can go back to picketing WalMart.

Anonymous said...

"The real reason that Republicans dislike this bill is that every year, hundreds of millions of state dollars are funnelled to private contractors, contractors who in turn funnel money back into the Republican party." could also read:

"The real reason that Democrats like this bill is taht every year, hundreds of millions [actually billions] of state dollars are funnelled to state employees and their unions, who in turn funnel money back into the Democratic party."

Anonymous said...

Did Murphy do the classy thing and invite Vance to the luncheon?

That would be telling, Vance did the right thing-- was the favor returned?

jimmyhoffa said...

Let's stop the bull $hit...The Democratic party has become the stooges of the unions and this privatization plan is all about further empowering the Unions. The Democrats are not concerned with the average joe busting his hump to make ends meet, they just need to serve their union masters regardless if services can be performed cheaper and better by going to the outside. Sorry Dem's, Jodi is not going to sucker for this one!

Rick Melita said...

Dear Mr. Sixpack:

Privatization standards are such a problem for people on the right because it demonstrates their willingness to use government to drive down wages for working families, and calls the question is it the role of government to undercut wages and benefits or to prop them up? Minimum wage opponents trot out the arguments that raising standards hurts the economy every year, and fortunately for working families ( the real joe sixpack types) they lose at the state legislature.

The bill calls for using the entry level salary in a job title as a cost comparison to prevent-say a landscaper who hires undocumented day laborers at minimum wage rates from saying that he is cheaper than a state employee maintainer making about 30k a year with health care... In that case they only way a private contractor is cheaper is by paying poverty wages and following the destructive Walmart race to the bottom model. In white collar jobs- like engineering- consultant hourly salaries are higher than state employee, and despite the fact that right wingers like to say that government is inefficient, their adminstrative and fringe rates tacked on to salaries are in fact higher than state employees.

During the corrupt Rowland regime- he tried to outsource the entire state Information Technology system. The union challenged him to name one project done by private contractors that was done on time and on budget that actually worked. We're still waiting for one example...

This bill simply says if you want to outsource state work- the state should show that work will be done better and on time, and is cheaper than using state employees (without screwing workers in the privatizing company by paying them low wages or denying them health care). Past performance of vendors , not just their campaign contributions. should also be taken into account.

If state employees aren't afraid of fair competition , why is the adminstration? I know that vendors don't want to be held accountable for their work, but I thought that Republicans who are supposed to be so careful about spending taxpayers money are so willing to waste even more and more money outsourcing work to their friends....

As for anonymous- any reality based research would show that corporate interests' contributions to republican campaigns dwarfs the amounts coming from labor Pacs. Consultants and vendors gaive millions to Rowland and were lavishly rewarded.

Anonymous said...

And in light of full disclosure, Rick Melita is the spokesman for the CT State Employees Union. There you have it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:05,

True but let's keep this debate on message and not about the messenger. Melita's arguments are compelling. Let's see somebody counter without letting this get personal.

Anonymous said...

Its nothing personal.. i'm all for the debate, i just think that it should be known that he has a giant barking dog in the fight.

Joe Sixpack said...

My Good Friend Mr. Melita -

First of all, aren't we all members of "working families"? Even us professionals making more than $30k per year?

Second, one of the biggest problems with state government is its vastness. There are way too many state employees. How many exactly, no one is quite sure. You get different answers from DAS, the Comptroller, and anyone else you ask. The anti-privatization language prevents any savings to taxpayers (also known as "working families")from cutting into those numbers. And it will only get worse as all the state employees head off into retirement with full health benefits and nice pensions, all at the expense of the working families tax dollars. To preclude even the POSSIBILITY that some money might be saved by outsourcing some traditional state employee jobs to a more effective private sector is doing a disservice to state taxpayers.

That being said, why must the two issues be inextricably tied together? Because the D's have zero shot of getting their union protection bill into law unless they can try and tie it to the evils of the Rowland administration. But it will end badly as Governor Rell once again vetoes a bill and steals the thunder by continuing her executive order accomplishing ALMOST all that this bill provides for. It's a game of chicken that will go on ad infinitum because the unions will never allow the D's to drop their flag in the name of clean government.

And if you ever saw my beer gut, you'd appreciate the nom de plume....

jimmyhoffa said...

Thanks for that disclosure...what a real surprise, huh?...lol

Anonymous said...

As Bill Curry used to point out the Rowland administration waived competitive bidding and as I like to point out they did it with the full knowledge of the Democrats in the legislature. The state ignores the spending cap when it is convenient so why pass anymore watchdog legislation for them to ignore. Better to elect competent legislators but that ain't gonna happen either.

sanity said...

How does the ban on state contractor contributions provision of CFR, as well as the provision permitting umlimited in-kind contributions play into the debate over the contracting bill?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:22-

The messenge is political spin from a professional union messenger in an election year. Wake up!

Anonymous said...

Why must the state employees union, I mean the legislative democrats, require that everyone has the same Cadillac benefit plans offered to their members? Talk all you want about job creation, but putting such a burden on businesses will drive them all off. Expect the state employee ranks to continue to swell, since they will be the only employer left in the state.

Anonymous said...

A better question about CFR is how will it clean up CT government because it won't!!

Chris MC said...

It would be ironic if it weren't so commonplace that someone (Republican hack) without any substance posts under Anonymous and tries to "out" Melita, posting under his actual name and no stranger to anybody around Hartford. Wow, you really broke it down there!

Thanks, Rick, for showing up with some game.

It would be great if someone from the opposing view would post something besides the usual pseudo-logic of the cult of supply-side economics. There are arguments to be made, aren't there? Or aren't there?

BTW, speaking as someone hiring minimum wage workers in the private sector, let me tell just how big the impact of the rise in minimum wage was on us: zip. Wasn't even a topic of conversation. I can't hire every person I'd like to who is eager to work at $7.40 per hour. Your economic theories are bullsh*t.

Anonymous said...

Or Venezuela.

the wandererrr said...

The state and municipal employee Cadillac limosine employee benefit plans are enjoyed by the legislators of both sides of the aisle and they have already drievn businesses out of the state. Requiring businesses to provide the same plans might allow CT to declare bankruptcy; then a judge could put it up for sale and maybe North Carolina would submit a bid.

the wandererr said...

Jodi's Blog from her campaign website appears to be only one way with no open comment section. Hmmm. What's with granny?

Anonymous said...

The democrats are floundering around looking for a way to define themselves.

Rell= blowout, beware to those on the bottom of the ticket, this one could be a close shave.

Shays= gets a W, JDS does nothing for #s in the 4th.

Simmons= toss-up

Johnson= the Medicare strategy is not enough for young Murphy, not with millions of $ to overcome.

Anonymous said...

Melita -
I haven't heard your dulcet tones wafting in the Hartford air with the sounds of "ENRON, ENRON."

Your are the epitome of a classless union goon. How much have you made off the state for providing no service to the citizenry?

Anonymous said...

If CT goes on the auction block, I'd suggest it be put up for sale in the Bridgeport Probate court so Paul Ganim can get his piece of the action.

retired said...

Rick.. You lose credibility when you let Dems off the hook when they privatize services. Why no outrage when Susan B outsources development of CFIS and voter registration. Both are great examples of disasters that help your cause.

Why no blasts at Nancy W. when she sole sources to Core-CT. Yeah.. yeah.. I can hear the response that Core-CT wasn't sole sourced, but ask what the cost of the second vendor was for Core-CT implementation. There isn't one. $100M to Accenture and we'll never know what competition would have meant.

I know you have blasted Core-CT but you always conveniently leave the Comptroller office out of it.

You make a lot of good points but you’d be better served laying the blame on both parties where appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Senator Dodd that a primary with Lieberamn would be "harmful" to the Democratic Party. I live in Enfield, which is a very important town for Joe Courtney and former State Rep. Bill Kiner who almost beat Sen. John Kissel in 2004 and will most likely beat him in 2006. Sen. Lieberman's money can be used for headquarters and other resources all over the state. If Joe Lieberman faces a primary challenge, he will have to put his money towards that. Although I disagree with the Senators position on the war, I feel that a Primary challenge will end up hurting the democratic challengers in CT.

Anonymous said...

...and what's wrong with that?

Genghis Conn said...

Anonymous,

I'd say that primaries generate media attention and interest in the election, and it's never really been proven that a primary hurts other challengers from the same party. The money that goes to the primary wouldn't necessarily go to other challengers.

On topic for Enfield, though, I have also been hearing that Bill Kiner plans to run again. He should--he ran a good race last time, and Kissel is one of the most endangered Republicans.

Another Enfield rumor I've heard is that the GOP is after Greg Stokes to run again against Rep. Kathy Tallarita in the 58th. I haven't heard a thing about who will run against Rep. Steve Jarmoc in the 59th.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

daily kos has one of their anti joe posts up and they refer to an abortion law in north dakota. only problem is they should be referencing south dakota. further, they chastize NARAL and Planned Parenthood for writing letters in support of our pro-choice senator joe lieberman, yet moveon has sent out a letter asking for financial support for sen byrd who voted to confirm alito in the actual vote. one would expect a little consistency from such a highly regarded forum if (mis)information.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

genghis, i think the point that anon from enfield was trying to make is that in years when dodd or lieberman run for re-elect, they raise most of the money for the ct coordinated campaign which provides for such things as HQ's, mailings, ID and GOTV called, etc etc. due to the current primary, lieberman has to focus on his own primary now instead of raising money for this ct coordinated effort so in this case it is proven that a primary is deflecting money from other CT dems.

Anonymous said...

The issue of the war in iraq and its attendant issues must be discussed and will be ina dem primary wether you DINO's want it or not....frankly no one will be "hurt" by some open discussion and droves of anti war folks could get an opportunity to vote and be part of the process...

Anonymous said...

Kissel will be tough to beat this year. Kiner had his chance last year. It's Jodi's year and people aren't going to be going to the polls the way they did in 04 because Bush isn't running. Courtney does not excite people and the Lieberman race shouldn't even be called a race.

People need to strart using common sense on this board instead of posting with their heart strings.

Genghis Conn said...

I see your point, PMD--but what a lousy reason not to have a primary. Besides, I have a feeling that Lieberman will still raise plenty of money for the combined effort.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I agree with you that people need to use common sense when posting comments, and I agree with you that the Lieberman race probably will not be much of a race, but I do disagree with you on the Kiner, Kissel race. I have heard rumors down in Hartford that the Senate Dems will target Bill Kiners race. I can not remember a time when the Senate Dems have lost a targeted race, and especially supporting a former 16 year State Rep like Bill Kiner. I look forward to seeing how this race turns out. This will be the third time that Kiner and Kissel will run against each other. In 1990 Kiner beat kissel by more than a 2:1 margin, and in 2004 Kiner lost by 600 votes out of 42,000 to a 12 year incumbent. From what I am hearing, I will bet that Kiner will take round 3.

disgruntled_republican said...

Anonymous 116 & 148-

Kissel will be near impossible to beat. As 148 said, no Bush on the ticket and Rell will pull votes Kissel's way. Besides, the critisism of Kissel has been where is he...he realized that and has been everywhere...plus the Democrat Mayor giving him kudos in this weeks paper over prison poop cant hurt either. And then there is money...my understanding is he is already sittin on over $10,000...tought to top that as a challenger. Kiner is boring too...almost looks angry at times.

Simmons is tough. Courtnety is a nice guy but people have hard time telling. He isn't very outgoing and is very boring. Simmons oozes enthusiasm is very likeable. Add to that the asaving odf the sub base, and they money he has brought in, especially in Enfield & Vernon...plus the FEMA grants for Enfield and things are going his way. He carried Enfield in 04 and 02 and I don't see that changing. If Joe is going to beat Rob, he needs to take Enfield, the largest town in the District.

Time will tell but I don;t see any changes coming.

About a month ago
said...
I agree with Senator Dodd that a primary with Lieberamn would be "harmful" to the Democratic Party. I live in Enfield, which is a very important town for Joe Courtney and former State Rep. Bill Kiner who almost beat Sen. John Kissel in 2004 and will most likely beat him in 2006. Sen. Lieberman's money can be used for headquarters and other resources all over the state. If Joe Lieberman faces a primary challenge, he will have to put his money towards that. Although I disagree with the Senators position on the war, I feel that a Primary challenge will end up hurting the democratic challengers in CT.

1:16 PM, February 23, 2006

disgruntled_republican said...

anon 218

The Senate R's are targeting this race as well. Both sides will do anything they can to win this as it holds the key to Democratic override in tghe Senate. Problem for Kiner is the redistricting added East Granby &* Granby to the 7th...huge Republican towns. Kiner will take Enfield, but by as large a margin, and Kissel will take every other town just like last time.

Kiner's time has passed...time to move on.

Genghis Conn said...

Simmons has been smart enough to pay a good deal of attention to Enfield. He has an office in the Thompsonville section of town, and has made a point of being visible here. Enfield has rewarded him by voting for him both times.

In 2002, however, Courtney brought former President Clinton to Enfield to speak at a fundraiser at Asnuntuck Community College. I stood out in the cold with a bunch of other shivering people to see his motorcade pass. I think I glimpsed him waving to the crowd, but maybe not. Hard to tell.

So that was something, although it didn't end up helping Courtney in the end.

This time Courtney is hoping local connections like Mayor Patrick Tallarita (who is also Courtney's treasurer, I think) will help him win the town. I don't think either can win without it.

Anonymous said...

Senate D's haven't lost a targeted race ever? Didn't they target Kissel in 2004 and lose?

disgruntled_republican said...

GC-

A lot of good the biggest name in the Democrat party did for him, wasn't it.

Tallarita was his trweasurer last time too...again, a lot of good it did him.

Anonymous said...

Disgruntled_Republican,

You are correct that Granby and East Granby are republican towns, however... I believe that Kiner will take Enfield by at least 3,000 votes and will also take Windsor Locks. Which are the two largest towns in the 7th sen. district. Speaking with some of the Democratic Town Chairs in the district, they tell me that Kiner is already on the campaign trail and is sharp, articulate, and convincing on the issues, and has learned from his 2004 defeat. Each town chair that I have spoken with is 100% behind him, and I would disagree that his time has passed. He is newly retired and will be a great help to the citizens of the 7th district, where he can devote his time. Like somebody else has said before, I would also be willing to put my money on Kiner in 2006.

Anonymous said...

Kiner will take Enfield by 3,000? That's 1,000 more than 2004...a Presidential year. I'm not sure about that!

What's the issue that will drive Kissel out? Is there one?

Anonymous said...

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Kiner anti-choice? If that's true, why are we even discussing him?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:09-

Put the bong down... 13,000 more people came out in 2004 and Kissel still won. You should look at some election statistics before you make such statements. Theo nly way Kiner wins is if Kissel doesn't run.

Anonymous said...

And Kiner didn't win Windsor Locks in the Presidential. Come on... you have to do better than that.

Anonymous said...

Kiner did win: Windsor, Enfield, and one of two voting districts in Windsor Locks. Anonymous 3:09 did not say he won WL in 2004, but will win in 2006 due to it being a Democratic district. Both Kiner and Kissel only spent about 40K in 2004. And no, neither The D's or the R's targeted the 7th in 2004.

disgruntled_republican said...

Anon 309:

IN 2004, a Presidential year, 19,797 people voted in Enfield and 17970 voted for Senate.

In 2002, a Guvenatoral year, 13,490 voted and 12,873 for Senate.

Please explain how Mr. Kiner is going to get 1,000 more votes than the 2016 he took Enfield by in this years election when we can assune that around 6,000 less people will vote?

Or is this Mr. Kiner?

Fact is Kissel has done his job the past 2 years so Kiner can put out his stupid little report card if he wants but i can't see people byeing into all the "F's" he is going to give.

disgruntled_republican said...

By the way, election numbers taken from www.enfield.org if you wish to check.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:28

You don't even make sense.. if Kiner didn't carry Windsor Locks in 2004 (Pres. Year/more D turnout), how could it be that he's going to miraculously carry it in a gubinatorial year with a Repub. gov who has an approval rating of 80%. I'm sorry but that doesn't make sense. And I don't think you have any idea whether or not Kissel was targeted.

jonesed_in_enfield said...

Anon 328-

It was a targeted by the D's but not the R's...I was Kissel's campaign manager, in case you are wondering how I would know.

Enfield_Dem said...

Haha, This is David Kiner. Son of Bill Kiner. I have been watching this. I do not want to get into it. But no Jason... The Dems did not target kissel either. Enjoy guys. I can't wait for this campaign to start. And there were a few more mistakes made too, but close enough.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Ralph kiner is running for state senate? thats terrific. let's go Mets!

Anonymous said...

To the various annonymous posts bashing Mr. Melita personally: shameful! This is the Tom Delay and co. tactic of attacking people personally, without a basis for doing so, when they are on the losing end of a debate. How about an independent thought for once? Why not add something to the debate? Why even contribute to a blog if you have nothing worthwhile to say?

Enfield_Dem said...

Hey disgruntled_republican, you wouldnt want to tell me who you are would you? I posted a few posts ago that I am the Son of Bill Kiner and definetly no hard feeling what so ever. I am just curious who you were. if you dont mind..?

jonesed_in_enfield said...

Hello David, look forward to a spirited campaign this time as well. From what we were told it was a targeted race and please correct me if I'm wrong but you did receive CT Dem monies, did you not?

More targeted than the $o and zero help we received, wouldn't you say?

Enfield_Dem said...

Hello Jason,
Well yes, if you put it that way. A few (d) Senators did contribute maybe a $1,000 or so from their pac's. But was not "targeted" by the Senate Dems. This year will be different. I as well look forward to a spirited campaign. But in terms of being officially "targeted" in 2004, no.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

All of his saves have come in relief appearances.
Ralph Kiner

All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium.
Ralph Kiner

Cadillacs are down at the end of the bat.
Ralph Kiner

Darryl Strawberry has been voted to the Hall of Fame five years in a row.
Ralph Kiner

I think one of the most difficult things for anyone who's played baseball is to accept the fact that maybe the players today are playing just as well as ever.
Ralph Kiner

If Casey Stengel were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave.
Ralph Kiner

You know what they say about Chicago. If you don't like the weather, wait fifteen minutes.
Ralph Kiner

jonesed_in_enfield said...

Well then my apologies, I stand corrected.

Guess that can take this as you announcing that your father is indeed running then, can't we?

Enfield_Dem said...

Well obviously I am not my father and I cannot make the announcement for him. There has been no official announcement yet, and you know. But it is my hope that he does decide to run again. The support is definitely there. Well got to go to dinner. So I will talk with you some other time Jason. Take it easy.

Light in the Loafers said...

Kissel better hope he's not targeted by the Senate R's...if he is, he can kiss his seat goodbye.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a disgruntled Senate Republican staffer or Senator. LOL