Friday, June 09, 2006

What's Wrong With The Race For Governor?

Campaigns tend to resemble the battlefields of ideas that only the campaigners seem concerned about. Oh sure, they run focus groups and polls, listen to ardent supporters and activists and distill the cacophony to positive spinology with a side dish of attack the other guy. But in the end, the bullet point driven spiel sounds hollow to most voters because it lacks authenticity.

Take Rell’s elimination of the car tax proposal. On the surface a good idea. Anyone can see that there is something inequitable when the owner of Honda Civic in Bridgeport pays 3x the car property tax than the owner of the Honda Civic in Greenwich. The opposition to the idea formed its battlefield along the “who’s going to pay for it” line and the idea, the part about the inequity and more problematic the inefficiency of the tax got lost in the battlefield.

The interesting thing was that prior to the proposal, there was no groundswell of people clamoring for it’s repeal. Plenty of people don’t like it, or think its to high, but it wasn’t even near the top of the list of what concerns most residents.

Likewise, healthcare. The Malloy and DeStefano campaigns released plans to address and issue that really doesn’t affect most residents. Like the car tax, people don’t like that their health care costs too much, or that they have to wait for doctor appointments, or change primary care physicians with each insurance plan or employment change. But it’s not near the top of the list of what concerns most residents.

So why aren’t the campaigns talking about what really concerns residents most? Part of the answer, is that they don’t really know. To know what the majority of the state’s residents are concerned about means that you have to listen to concerns expressed by people and companies that don’t vote. Part of the answer is also that they do know, but since there are no clear cut answers to these problems they simply ignore them. Somehow, I don’t think the guys who sat around the oak table plotting the American Revolution thought that way.

So what is the biggest problem facing Connecticut? Simple. Gridlock. Our state, despite its many virtues, is completely and totally hampered by the difficulty in moving people, goods and services efficiently and cost effectively. Our roads and highways are commuter parking lots, our parking lots are overflowing, our train infrastructure has little intrastate capabilities, and we have failed to compete economically with our neighboring states. There are no cheap internet services. There is no investment in optimizing government through regionalization and technology adoption. There is no education strategy for adapting our workforce to new needs.

You can’t expect job growth without addressing the brain drain of this state. When young people can’t afford to live and work in the same town, they move to where they can. When companies can’t attract top shelf talent, they move to where they can. Only a few years ago it was difficult to manage a workforce that was decentralized. Today its not. Tomorrow it will be even easier. Without location based amenities to compete with against other states, Connecticut will creak to a standstill, becoming a larger land-based Nantucket where home renovations and tourism fuel a seasonal economy with imported workers.

With the capital markets in New York City and the intellectual markets in Boston, Connecticut is in the perfect position to grow the next generation of industry leaders. Without the political will to address the ability of people, goods and services to flow freely within the state as well as to New York City and Boston, it won’t happen.

Will any of the candidates for Governor speak to the future of Connecticut in the information age? Somehow I doubt it.


GMR said...

Here's something that I have long pondered, but am unsure of what a good solution is.

Right now, lower Fairfield county -- Greenwich, Stamford, etc. -- is filled with people who commute on the trains every day into NYC.

It is my understanding that these people pay income tax to New York state, and thus don't pay much of any income tax in Connecticut, as New York rates are higher than Connecticut rates.

Yet Connecticut pays large subsidies for Metro North so that these people can work in out of state jobs and not pay any income tax into the State of Connecticut.

Now, I realize many people take the train from NY to CT or from one CT town to another, but I'm sure that overall, CT supplies more commuters to NY than NY does to CT.

Is there anything CT can do about this? Probably not, but it just doesn't seem right

I think that traffic is a huge issue in this state. I just don't think that we can really widen I-95, from an economic and engineering point of view. Well, we could engineer it, but it'd be expensive. Large swaths are elevated, and it goes through expensive territory.

You could widen the Merritt, but would have to remove the historical bridges. But the state owns the land around the highway aleady.

I-84 is being widened in parts between Waterbury and Hartford now.

I don't know much about I-91 or I-395.

BRubenstein said...

GC..what's wrong is that none of the 3 contestants are inspiring.

FrankS said...

For Malloy and DeStefano it's still a race for the August 8th democratic nomination!

This apparently this leaves them little ability to focus on Rell's preformance. Explaining the lack of progress in transportation improvement is falling to others that don't receive widespread media coverage on complicated issues.

CC said...

BR: Could not agree more! To be sure, the candidates do differ significantly on the "hot button" issues, namely, gay marriage and the death penalty.

I would take issue with the argument made in the main post that gridlock is the number one problem the state is facing. IMHO, the number one issue -- not surprising coming as it does from a Republican -- relates to enormously high property taxes. Did anyone see the most recent economic prospects for New England? New Hampshire and Connecticut fared the best. What do the two states have in common? Well, New Hampshire does not have an income tax, and CT did not have an income tax until 1991. (Thanks Lowell Weicker.) Taxes matter as evidenced by the fact that 1,000 people move to Florida (no income tax) every day.

Derby Conservative said...

I could be wrong here or my information may not be current, but regarding CT residents who commute to NY…I don’t think that they avoid paying CT income tax. On top of paying income tax to both CT and NY, they pay a commuter tax to NY. Plus, many of these folks take the train, hence doing their part to reduce greenhouse gasses, so the least we can do for these folks is make sure that their commute is pleasant by providing reliable rail service.

Anonymous said...

GMR: Ct provides affordable housing for NYC employers and has done it for years but before Johnny became Governor CT split the cost of metro North ops with New York state 50/50; now it's 65% from CT and 35% from new York State...but the gridlock issue as truffy has framed it is non exostent as the issue is about congestion...long ago I posted this linkto the SWRPA Congestion Mitigation System Plan -
Vision 2020
to address the issue from greenwich to Branford along the soutern coast of CT but unfortunately nobody in government wants to listen to professionals...

superD said...

As a former commuter, and the spouse of a current commuter, I can assure you that those who commute from CT into NYS pay CT income taxes and a non-resident NYS tax, and if we work in NYC, a non-resident NYC tax.

Anonymous said...

CT residents get a credit on what they pay to NYC and NYS when they file their CT state income tax return...ask a cerified public accountant not a commuter....

Anonymous said...

BTW there turrffyy, I know you support DLC Dan but the only guy who has been able to articulate what you have done quite well BTW is JDS...I just haven't quite yet figured out if I buy in to what JDS wants to do about the future...or if he even has a plan....

Genghis Conn said...

I live in CT but commute to Springfield, MA, every day. Both my wife and I work in MA. We get a credit for our CT income taxes--meaning we don't pay a cent to the state.

Instead, we're paying twice as much as we would have to Connecticut to Massachusetts. Which sucks.

turfgrrl said...

Gridlock is not just a traffic/congestion issue. It's also is the state that we find ourselves in with a local towns trying to manage regional problems without the umbrella of a statewide/northeast corridor vision.

Personal taxes are high because there is no diversification of the tax base. There's no diversification of the tax base because corporations seek workforce attractive locales. Our current workforce isn't attractive to corporations because our population densities are widely scattered into "affordable zones" away from corporate parks and urban business centers.

turfgrrl said...


I've known JDS for many years. His ability to change stripes is what I question. New Haven prospers under the benevolence of Yale. Were it not for Michael Moriarty, Yale would not have invested in cleaning up and developing large swaths of New Haven. In the late 90's, JDS' plan to rehabilitate New Haven was all about constructing a mall, Longwharf Mall, where Ikea sits now. That was it, with all the usual suspects of developer relationships and players lined up to pocket what they could.

But something happened along the way, the small downtown merchants fought the mall, and Yale decided that it was time to buy out the slumlords and expand its influence beyond the stone walls that ensnared its students in safe zone.

So despite the JDS rhetoric, his track record suggests otherwise. New Haven has less of a business base than it used to, and relies more on Yale and state aide. Other than an electric trolley, and a rail station on state street, there have been no major improvements to the intra-city transportation. Union station sits isolated, away from the downtown area, and parking is short supply. Even the last vaunted bio-tech corridor has failed to materialize. There are many admirable things abotu New Haven, and in many ways it is a much more livable city. I just don't credit JDS with providing the necessary execution to make it sustainable.

Rell is going down said...


When the coliseum comes down, the downtown area will be expanded closer to Union station. DeStefano was instrumental in tearing it down, and has taken a ton of heat for it. As far as biotech industry, have you ever heard of the building that sits on 300 George Street. It's the biggest office building in the city, and is filled almost exclusively with bio-science companies. He leveraged Yale the same way Malloy has leveraged his proximity to NYC, and both mayors should be applauded for it. I agree the mall was a bad idea, but you should acknowledge the good he's done. I mean, we'll need support of good dems like you come August 9th.

turfgrrl said...

Rell is going down said,

JDS came to the conclusion that the coliseum needed to be removed only after the last mall idea gasped its final breath when developers pulled out of the old Macy's plan. And yes, I am quite familiar with 300 George street and all the fits and starts that building went through after SNET pulled out.

JDS does not leverage Yale, Yale dictates to the JDS what it is that they plan to do. You seem to forget that JDS had to distance himself from all the development work after he was almost brought down because of loans and kickback scandals from the sleazier people of his 90's administration. Shall we revisit any of these gems? JDS has more skeletons in his closet than Rowland and the last thing we need is a perpetual corruption machine.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

turfgrrl said... "
JDS has more skeletons in his closet than Rowland and the last thing we need is a perpetual corruption machine.


Having owned a business in New Haven I can assure you that you're 100% correct.


LitchfieldAngelina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GMR said...

One thing I do not understand about Metro North, and many other public transportation systems as well, is parking.

Public transportation systems cost a huge bundle to build. The ticket sales never nearly cover the costs, but the government builds these systems to take cars off the road, help the environment, etc.

Parking garages are relatively cheap, yet just about every metro north station on the New Haven line has no available parking.

Billions have been spent to build the railroad, so why can't we spend a few hundred thousand and build a few parking garages?

In Darien a few years ago, the local residents stopped the expansion of a parking lot because having more people take the train would increase traffic. Of course, under this logic, having more people take the train increases traffic, but of course if fewer people take the train, that will also increase traffic.

Chris MC said...

That's an interesting point about Darien, GMR. I think it butresses turfgrrl's analysis. The reason is that the traffic they are concerned with is the people who don't live in Darien. In other words, it is a NIMBY issue.

Having lived in that very neighborhood, I can tell you from experience that people are quite concious of which side of the tracks they live on and guard their prerogatives very jealously. This is also closely related to the issue of non-resident access to the town-controlled shorelines. Try getting near Rowayton or Darien's waterfront. You can't do it.

And you can't park in Rowayton without a borough-issued permit. There is a big event each year when the Rowayton (which is part of Norwalk) section of town does its permitting. People start lining up at about five in the morning and the line snakes all over the place.

When South Norwalk opened, it was a boon to commuters. If we built out service and stations up the Danbury line and the Valley line, it would do something to relieve the burden, which is just astonishing.

Personal anecdote. My wife used to work in the building across from the railroad station in Stamford. She could leave Sandy Hook (Newtown) at seven in the morning and be at her desk by 8:30, with traffic. Last week I attempted this trip for an 8:30 AM meeting, and by 8:30 was still in stop-and-go traffic in Southport. I'd estimate it has gotten roughly 30% worse in lower Fairfield County in the last five years. I can be in midtown Manhattan during rush hour in two hours.

Rell is going down said...

This thread is proof that Malloy will go negatve first. Turfgirl, nothing has ever been proved regarding these allegations that you link. Paul Bass has been very favorable towards DeStefano lately. If you are going to say that Malloy has been vindicated because he was cleared fter an investigation, then why won't you do the same for the rumors about DeStefano? If The Advocate wanted to "out" this corruption, they would have. What you are doing is disgusting, and proof that Malloy needs to go negative first in order to win.

Chris MC said...

You have a rather quaint notion of what going negative is, RIGD, if you think that examining the candidates' respective records in office is out of bounds.

And you have a very weak standardo of "proof". Turfgrrl isn't working for Malloy, is she? This is a political blog, isn't it? There is nothing wrong with her post, now, is there?

Talk substance. Record. Accomplishments or the lack thereof. C'mon, I dare ya. ;-)

Rell is going down said...

I would love to. Stamford was a great city in 1995, when Malloy became mayor. He did a great job of staying out of the way and letting it grow. There is a lot to be said about that. New Haven was not in good shape when DeStefano took over in '94. There were 34 murders in '93. Last year, everyone talked about how violent New Haven was, and there was 15 murders. That's less than half of what was the norm before John took over. I've already posted statistics about New Haven's public schools, but if you want me to remind you, I will: 82% of graduates went on to college--that's higher than the state average. Dropout rate has been cut in half.

If Malloy supporters are going to discount the fact that DeStefano carried 76% of his last mayoral vote against Malloy's 51% because there are more Republicans in Stamford than in New Haven, then you have to admit that dropping a murder rate from 34 to 15 is much more impressive than reducing it from 3 to 1. Stamford was in good shape before Malloy took over, and it would have done OK if someone else was there. New Haven was in bad shape before DeStefano took over, when Malloy's supporter Mayor Daniels was in office, and John made things better.

I hope it comes down to record. There doesn't seem to be much of a comparison.

stamfordpartisan said...


I don't mean to sound like a Malloy flack, although I am a supporter:

Crime (Violent crime as reported to the FBI's Uniform Crime Stats program) is down about 2/3 during Malloy's tenure and Stamford has been in the top 10 safest cities for much of the last 7 or 8 years.

The City has received well over $100 million in federal money for transportation improvements, like the urban transitway now under construction near exit 7.

The City has built a state of fthe art sewage treatment plant for over $100 million -- on time and on budget -- that will make Stamford and its flushers leaders in cleaning Long Island Sound.

And for those who say that Metronorth is for taking folks to NYC to work, I say ride the train on a weekday morning. It empties out in STamford. There are as many people commuting into Stamford FROM THE SOUTH as leave the City for New York.

As to our biggest problem, I trhink that it is bot property taxes and congestion, and I would add affordable housing and economic development. These are all closely inter-related. Dan gets it, I think.

turfgrrl said...

Rell is going down,

First none of what Paul Bass wrote is inaccurate. Loans were given and forgiven. Brancatiis what he is. There's a nice FOIA trail anyone can google. But I don't have to dig all that far to to recall all this because I have plenty of firsthand New Haven style politics to draw from.

I don't accept Rell's arms length denial that she knew nothing about Rowland's corruption. And I don't accept DeStefano's reform schtick either. Yes, after Martin Looney challenged him in 2001, DeStefano had to clean up his administration. And by bringing Henry Fernandez in, things did get cleaned up. But without Yale, there is no economic development happening in New Haven. And Fernandez is not the guy that's running for Governor.

A Real Democrat said...

"I would love to. Stamford was a great city in 1995, when Malloy became mayor. He did a great job of staying out of the way and letting it grow."

You either were never in Stamford then, or you're just parroting Mayor DeStefano's talking points as a supporter of his, because this is wildly untrue.

Just do the research on crime, affordable housing units, tax increases before and after Malloy took took office. Hell - if you had been there in 1995, just go and take a stroll through their downtown. 10 years ago there was almost no foot traffic, now there are people walking everywhere. It is completely changed.

Anonymous said...

GMR: you are right about the parking at the train stations - and there is a lot of ignorance about it in every Fairfield county 'burb. SWRPA addresses the issue here that landscape architects need to be hired - instead of the ConnDOT bridge builders BTW - to design the garages in harmony with the town: it's done all the time in westchester County - even tony downtown Scarsdale has a garage at the train station tucked away....and turrffy is right about the governance issues but her girl Diane claims she was a regional leader on this when she wasn't...

turfgrrl said...


I am stunned that landscape architects aren't used for garage building. Then again, I should know better, the garage architecture we got in Norwalk is monolithic and bulky. I don't think Farrell is saying that she took credit for the SWRPA 2020 vision ting, care to cite something? But, if she agrees with that vision, and thinks that we must do something, you'll have to give her credit for speaking to the issue, because I certainly don't see Shays talking about roads, unless its' in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

go to her website, i am sure you will find it there...she is no better than Shays on leadership but Shays does get money when consnesus is there...and quite frankly under our goofy system here in CT consnesus was Diane's job...and she never challenged the goofy sysytem....

Anonymous said...

BTW turffy; Shays just got an earmark for severl million to widen the Seaview Corridor from I-95 to Remington Woods so the site can be developed where nancy DiNardo's family has a huge financial stake - it will even involve eminent domain of homes or front yards anyway - at the request of Mayor Fabrizi. I oppose the project on philosophical grounds as do many others even Diane Farrell on some days depending on which way the wind is blowing..

turfgrrl said...


Thanks for the tip, found this site. I found a $2 million ear mark in 2005. Is there something else? How is this connected to eminent domain?

Anonymous said...

eminent domain is required to widen the corridor....

Tony Anchillo said...

Rell is going down--

please admit you're a staffer b/c that voting stat is what all the DeStefano staffers say about DeStefano's re-election.

What they forget to tell people is DESTEFANO HAD NO REAL OPPONENT! The candidates who ran against him were unknown and the fact that he lost 24% of the vote means people are pretty much upset with him. That's pretty sad to lose 24% to people whose name recognition is next to zero. See for yourself:

What they also forget to tell people is that voter turn-out was terrible because there was no real race. The total number of voters that turned out in New Haven for that race was about 12,194, Malloy received more votes than that in a race where about double of that turned out. You can see that here:

And while 300 George Street is a big office building, it's not exclusively housed with biotech companies. I've been in there-- and Yale University occupies lots of space.

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fish said...

Neurolinguistic Programming

In the early 1970s in America Richard Bandler, then a young college student studied the work of Fritz Perls and later Virginia Satir and found that he could reproduce their high-level therapy skills to a degree that even surprised him. Bandler seemed to have a natural ability to mimic (model) the language patterns by Virginia and Fritz.

At the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bandler who was well versed in the teachings of patterns in mathematics and computers teamed up with a college professor, John Grinder to help him understand the processes that were at work. Soon Bandler and Grinder, who used what he knew about patterns in linguistics, created a new model for personal growth called NeuroLinguistic Programming.

Bandler and Grinder had set out to model the hypnotic skills of Milton Erickson. They had astounding results. They built a communication model about human "thinking" and "processing" and used that model of how we see images, hear sounds, reproduces smells and tactile experiences in our mind to track and model the structure of subjective experiences.

Sounds very complicated but really it works very simply. Here is an example as used by Paul McKenna - probably the best & most successful hypnotist in the world.

Close your eyes and think of a negative memory. Become involved in the situation as best as you can. Feel the emotions that you felt, see the things you saw and hear the things you heard.

Now take that memory and project it onto a mental screen seeing yourself in the picture. Put a frame around the picture and view it as if it is an old photograph. Next drain all the colour from the picture and shrink the screen to the size of a matchbox.

Have the feelings associated with the picture decreased in any way?

Another good example of NLP involves Anchors. Have you ever smelt a certain perfume or aftershave and had it remind you of a certain person or situation? Gone to a certain place that brings feelings long forgotten flooding back? Or been in any situation that creates emotional responses that would not normally be associated with it? Well if you can answer yes to any of these then you have experienced anchors. Some anchors are associated with positive feelings and some with negative emotions. However, you should be aware that anchors can be consciously installed or already existing ones altered. Here is an example:

Think of a time when you were really happy. If you can't think of one then imagine something that would make you feel really happy. See what you would see, hear what you would hear and feel what you would feel. Really get into the picture and try to experience it as though it were happening now.

Now brighten the colours and make them richer. Increase the volume. Make the picture bigger, brighter, louder. That's it and more and more....

Now press your first finger against your thumb and fully experience your happy feelings. Do this everyday for 2 weeks and you will create an anchor that will instantly recreate these feelings. Whenever you want to feel like that again just press your thumb and first finger together and wham the feelings will come flooding back! Don't believe me? Just try it and see!!! personal development plan

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