Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Introduction & Changes in Torrington

As this is my first posting, I'll present a brief background that might serve to explain the direction and focus my future postings will have. I am a Torrington native, and have lived recently in Watertown, Avon, and Hartford. I currently attend Trinity College. I am involved with the Republican Party and its campaigns in the state, but my ideology leans towards Libertarian.

I'd like to occasionally spotlight a few interesting local political matters in Litchfield County, starting today with recent news out of Torrington. The 22-year-old Mayor there was elected last year after former Mayor Owen Quinn (distant relation) suffered from a series of minor scandals (including a DWI and losing his temper with a war veteran firefighter within earshot of a reporter). The Waterbury Republican-American reported today that Mayor Ryan Bingham is causing a small shake-up in city hall, as he fired long-time city attorney Albert G. Vasko.
"It was kind of surprising," Vasko said of being approached by the mayor. "I enjoyed serving the city of Torrington. (Parker)"


Mr. Vasko was a Torrington native and held the post for 16 years. That means Mr. Bingham was in elementary school when Vasko first took the job. Its noteworthy that the new Mayor isn't afraid to make changes to a bureaucracy that has been around far longer than his professional career.

The mayor also announced he has picked Ernestine Y. Weaver of East Hartford to replace Vasko. Weaver has been working as the director of development for the New Britain-based Central Connecticut Association for Retarded Citizens. Bingham's mother, Rep. Anne Ruwet, R-Torrington, is the CCARC executive director. (Parker)


His choice of replacement is interesting. It will only increase the questions raised about the nepotism and favortism in Torrington politics. This replacement would seem to indicate that Mayor Bingham isn't going to be held back by his lack of experience; on the other hand, it could indicate that he is going to allow himself to be controlled by his more well-heeled parents. An unusual situation, to be sure.

Source:
Parker, Chris. "Torrington's city attorney ousted by mayor" Waterbury Republican-American 18 April, 2006.

18 comments:

Genghis Conn said...

That is interesting. I've often wondered about Ruwet's influence over him.

How is Bingham doing, otherwise?

BDRubenstein said...

Dear GC and "progressive contributors"....this is huge..

Students For A Democratic SOciety..the largest and most militant student group in the Viet Nam War era has been re-conveined with a startup conference scheduled for 4/23/06 (sunday) at Brown University from 11-6 PM....There are now 100 chapters and several in connecticut. SDS will be very attractive to students from the liberal to leftist area and will be a huge force in the Movement once again.Some attention should be paid to them through this blog.

BDRubenstein said...

Anyone interested in SDS go to www.studentsforademocraticsociety.org

DeanFan84 said...

History repeats. Another Vietnam, and now another SDS. Will we soon have another Watergate?

goodbye said...

I don't know what the SDS has to do with Torrington but their is a huge difference between the SDS members of today and those of the Vietnam protest era. These days you can vote at 18 and you will not be drafted at most any age although Selective Service is still around. The SDS members in the '60's and '70's for the most part were too young to vote - the age was 21 - and many could be drafted unless they got their local draft board to agree to their conscientious objector schtick or at least get a note from thier doctor like Howard Dean did.

Patricia Rice said...

Look for big Republican victories across the state as long as the Democrats continue to outrage and inflame the left wing radicals of the party. ONLY a united Democratic party will be successful. Splitting up the Democratic vote will give the Republicans a big win in Connecticut and will destroy the state Democratic party. Not very smart!

goodbye said...

OK so now we are talking the statewide races well then here from the Stamford Advocate today is this opinion entitled Bush's impact on state GOP candidates

disgruntled_republican said...

red october-

I think Patricia Rice is referring to the state races in her post.

goodbye said...

I understand that, disgruntled, but the original post was about what was going on in Torrington. I was just being a wise ass.

BRubenstein said...

Pat RIce and Red October...

Make fun of SDS all you want...the implications for politcs in Ct and nationwide are huge with the re-emergence of a national SDS.

goodbye said...

I didn't make fun of SDS at all. I just tried to put things in perspective about the difference in membership then and now. Now the members can vote and they generally can't be drafted; in the sixties and early seventies they could get drafted when they could not vote.

Patricia Rice said...

The Advocate is wrong. Just look at Grandma Rell's approval ratings..Does it look like George Bush is hurting her? Like it or not Rell is going to help State Republicans in a big way. If the State Democrats continue to want to eat their own, this will only make it worse.

goodbye said...

Ms. Rice: you should write an opinion letter to the advocate then.

Power to the People! as the SDSers would say.

BRubenstein said...

Dear Red October...i admit the changed situation about the draft and voting, however...

SDS's re-emergence is more about the war in iraq...unfair Patriot Act and the illegal spying on US citizens by this very conservative administration and other issues...

SDS must be doing SOMETHING right..there are 100 chapters in only 5 months of organizing this..and hundreds more " in organization"

goodbye said...

I have problems with the Patriot Act and I in particular have problems with Kevin O' Connor, the idiot US Attorney who often acts like he is still in diapers, abusing it more than once here in CT because he has no idea what the hell it means to combat terrorism; I may have trouble with the terrorism surveillance program too but there are US Senators who don't know what it is so it's premature to say it is illegal but more than likely it is;

BUt get off my case about the SDS.

ctkeith said...

Quinn,

To get back to Torrington.

Believe it or not the Democratic Town Chairman and his old fart cronies are still in their positions even though a few younger guys wanted to take the reigns.

If these old farts weren't embarrased enough to step aside after getting ther asses kicked by a kid who who's barely through puberty I guess Torrington will have to wait for them to croak until it has another Dem.Executive.

MikeCT said...

Owen Quinn, the former Democratic mayor of Torrington, defeated by only 224 votes, is now town manager of Winsted, and apparently the local paper is very, very interested in the details of his employment:

He will receive health insurance with co-pay of 15 percent, one sick day per calendar month that will not carry over from one year to another and 15 days of vacation time per year that will also not carry over from one year to another.... Quinn will be able to take up to four personal days and up to three bereavement days per year... Quinn will also maintain a car travel allowance."

But who will purchase his own pens and pencils?

CT64 said...

Glad to see most of this blog was on Torrington and the Mayor Ryan Bingham. I'm sorry to see that no one can get past the fact that his mom is a State Rep and let Ryan be his own self. Everyone assumes because he is young that he must have someone who is controlling his every move. Wrong.

The fact is Ryan since taking office like he promised held his 100 days of listening so he could learn the basics of city operations along with the very inner workings that make the city operates on a day-to-day basis. He then went on to make his own appointments to the few positions that are at his will. Including most recently dismissing Al Vasko as Corporation Counsel because first of all that position is at the will of the Mayor and second his prior professional relationship with the new corporation counsel he felt it was right for the City of Torrington to make this change.

Ryan has moved to make positive changes in Torrington, including shaping a school budget that is meant to address the serious reality of Torrington High School loosing its accreditation next year. Reached a new contract with the city fire department (something Owen Quinn was stubborn and failed to achieve in his tenure for over a year).

Torrington has a lot of problems that need addressing (High School Accreditation, Fire Fighters Contract, Downtown Redevelopment, etc) which the Democratic Town Committee will never admit, Ryan Bingham has made a great start and is looking to improve Torrington on a daily basis one issue at a time. And everyday he continues to prove that he is own leader and his decision of Corporation Counsel is a perfect example and I can't wait when everyone else realizes what a great move bringing someone new and highly qualified was.