Sunday, October 22, 2006

State Senate Roundup

With just a little over two weeks to go, state senate races are heading into the final stretch. Let's check in on some of the races we've been following.

Senate District 7 - East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor (part), Windsor Locks

In my home district, State Senator John Kissel got the nod of the Hartford Courant, despite a few of the stands he's taken:
We haven't agreed with all of Mr. Kissel's stands. He was a leading opponent of legislation for civil unions, a law that has given same-sex couples some of the rights enjoyed by married men and women.

Even so, Mr. Kissel has been willing to take stands that put him at odds with his own party. He was one of the first Republicans to urge former Gov. John Rowland to resign during a face-to-face meeting. (Re-Elect)
The paper accused Bill Kiner, Kissel's Democratic opponent, of being "knowledgeable and passionate to the point of combativeness."

Kissel's stand on civil unions is a major problem for me, but I like his pragmatic views on campaign finance reform and the legislative process. I am undecided.

Senate District 16 - Cheshire (part), Southington, Waterbury (part), Wolcott

This has become a very combative race. The Waterbury Republican-American put out a piece today taking Democrat David Zoni to task for a recent mailer:
Negative ads may be a fixture of political campaigns, but Dave Zoni's latest mailer in his race against former Waterbury mayor Sam Caligiuri has critics both inside and outside politics saying the Southington Democrat has hit a new low.

The mailers, sent out in the past week, show a woman clutching a teddy bear next to headlines reading "A Shocking Crime" and "A Stunning Deal." On the inside of the ad, a girl wearing shorts and a T-shirt is shown in a fetal position, her head buried at her knees, and holding a stuffed animal.

A passage above her tells the reader that Caligiuri "cut a deal" that allowed former Waterbury Mayor Phil Giordano to keep his salary, benefits and title at the taxpayers' expense after Giordano was charged with sexually molesting children in 2001.

The ad also accuses Caligiuri, a Republican who then served as the president of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen, of "calling in political favors" to get the board to narrowly approve his decision not to impeach Giordano and shows Caligiuri's face above Giordano's police mug shots with the headline "Sam Caligiuri: His Friends Get Benefits." (Sheyner)

Senate District 18 - Griswold, Groton, N. Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, Voluntown

So far, the race to succeed outgoing State Sen. Cathy Cook (R) has not been the most exciting race. But now that the election is nearing, something appears to be happening over recent state-backed requirements that homes near the Thames River and Long Island Sound install expensive storm shutters:
State Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell approved Andover's request for the shutter requirement, but, after public outcry, put a 90-day moratorium on the issue for further study. The delay and original backing of the plan have led some politicians to call for Cogswell's ouster.

Andrew Maynard, the Democratic candidate for the 18th District state Senate seat, held a press conference Wednesday in Mystic to do just that.

He's sending a letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell asking for Cogswell's immediate replacement.

"Despite all the headlines and outcry, there hasn't been any action," Maynard said. "It's kind of been radio silence from Hartford since September."

Maynard criticized his opponent, Republican Lenny Winkler, for not taking a harder stand on the issue, saying Winkler asked Rell to "consider asking the commissioner to resign."

Winkler, who is a state representative from Groton, said she asked for Cogswell's ouster and will do so again soon if no action has been taken. (Wallheimer)
Gov. Rell has so far refused to consider the request, calling it "counterproductive."

Senate District 20 - East Lyme, Montville (part), New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook (part), Salem, Waterford

Chris Oliveira (R) and Sen. Andrea Stillman (D) clashed at a recent debate:
“Well, you certainly didn't disappoint me this evening,” [Stillman] said at one point. “I was expecting you to say something outrageous.”

Stillman was referring to Oliveira's allegation that she had not done enough to amend eminent domain legislation because her New London-based company, an office supply store, has done business with the New London Development Corp. and the city of New London, entities whose use of eminent domain led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005.

“That probably inhibited you from acting,” he said.

“How dare you,” Stillman fired back, to applause and hollers from many in the crowd. She later added: “The point is, you have made allegations that are absolutely outrageous. That is absolute hogwash. How dare you.”

Oliveira maintained that his allegation was based on fact, that Stillman's business had earned money through the entities while she was a public official. (Crompton)
According to the article, the two candidates didn't differ in a significant way on many issues.

Senate District 21 - Monroe (part), Seymour (part), Shelton, Stratford (part)

Daniel Debicella (R) crashed a press conference his opponent Chris Jones (D) was holding about a controversial land development.
Debicella crashed the press conference, along with state Sen. John McKinney, the Republican Minority Leader Pro Tem, and state Rep. Lawrence Miller, a Republican whose district includes the parts of Shelton and Stratford affected by the AvalonBay Shelton I proposal.

They said they were there to challenge what Jones and Williams had to say.

Debicella would not say who told him about the press conference, only that he heard it "through the grape vine."Musante)
Weirdly, both candidates oppose the development, but used the occasion to attack one another over affordable housing laws.

If you have any news about these or any other state senate races, please post it here!


Crompton, Karen. " Oliveira, Stillman Clash In First And Only Debate." New London Day 18 October, 2006.

Musante, Fred. "Candidates clash over AvalonBay." Stratford Star 16 October, 2006.

"Re-Elect Sen. John A. Kissel." Hartford Courant 19 October, 2006.

Sheyner, Gennady. " Zoni's mailer draws ire of Caligiuri, others: 'Despicable' use of girl images in reference to Giordano blasted." Waterbury Republican-American 22 October, 2006.

Wallheimer, Brian. " Insurance plan causing uproar among homeowners along major waterways." Norwich Bulletin 19 October, 2006.


Waterbury Insider said...

Interesting to note that in the Zoni/Caligiuri article, Kelly Cronin's, ED of Waterbury Youth Services, organization receives its funding from the United Way, of which Sam is the President. Any one else find that a bit suspicious? Perhaps Caligiuri called in another “favor”???

Frank from Fairlawn said...

Yes I find it rather suspicious that she was outraged by a "stock" photo as reported, but didn't address the substance of the allegations-Caligiuri protected a pedophile, to me that's what is outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Susan Cogswell who came from the insurance industry and has remained a friend of the insurance industry as Commissioner was a holdover from Rowland that Jodi kept on in her cabinet. Does anybody living within 3/4 of a mile of the Sound or a River that dumps into it need any better reason to vote for DeStefano than an elimination of the ruling to allow Andover - and undoubtedly those who would follow - to demand storm shutters. There are little cottages at the beach that have been around for 75 years with the same windows.....

Anonymous said...

Are the Caligiuri allegations true? If so, that's really damming.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:09-What allegations??

MikeCT said...

Three of the Republican candidates noted above - Kissel, Caliguiri, and Oliveira - are supported by the Family Institute, our local pseudo- Christian Coalition devoted to stripping away human rights for gays and lesbians, and controlling women's bodies and reproductive choices. Yick. I hope it's the kiss of death for them. Kissel comes into this with an anti-choice and anti-gay voting record, including opposition to adoptions by gay couples.

In the 26th disrict (Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton), Democrat Craig Schiavone has put a lot of her own money into her campaign and has vastly outraised incumbent Judith Freedman (though even without her own money, she had nearly matched Freedman last quarter).
Schiavone: $62,205, cash on hand: $53,688
Freedman: $13,325, cash on hand: $15,504
They'll be in a candidate forum on October 26. A few weeks ago, Freedman cancelled a debate, saying she was just too busy.

The numbers weren't available when Genghis last made an update, but Steve Berry is making a respectable showing in fundraising in his campaign to oust Republican incumbent Tom Herlihy.
Steve Berry (D): 15,420, cash on hand: 12,843
Tom Herlihy (R): $26,580, cash on hand: 12,380

Anonymous said...

The truth is Caligiuri made sure Giordano left the Mayor's offce for good ASAP and couldn't return if he was granted bail.

As for the rest of Zoni's charges, well I'll side with Ms. Cronin.

Empty men run emoty campaigns. Zoni's is a vacuum

Stratford Dem said...

In yet ANOTHER showing of the Jones' campaign incompetence, there was an article in the Stratford Bard this week where Debicella blasts Jones for making a "push poll".

Jones' doesn't even respond in the article-- rather, it just has Debicella's side of the story. Which is that Jones' is push polling people with "lies about Debicella's record" and should stop. The article used words like "dishonest", "disgraceful", and "lies" to describe Jones. Debicella comes off smelling like a rose.

This is the best Chris Jones can do? Some underhanded "push poll"? Isn't this a tactic that Geroge W. Bush used against John McCain in the 2000 primaries?

Rather than run a real campaign (say, with signs, TV ads, and mailers) like our State Rep candidate Dave Mooney has, Jones has decided to use underhanded tactics-- and Debicella called him to the mat for it.

Debicella has this thing all wrapped up, and I might have to up my 56-44% prediction if Jones keeps screwing up.

Anonymous said...

Stratford Dem:

Push polls are the Senate Dems standard approach. Zoni hired some outfit out of MA to do his back in the summer.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:06- That is totally untrue. Giordano was allowed to keep the title of mayor while in jail!! Half his pay and benefits, that's not getting rid of him!

Anonymous said...

from another blog

Zoni crossed line

I can't imagine what Dave Zoni was thinking when he approved the literature described in this article. (WRA, by Gennady Sheyner)

Tim White
State Rep candidate
Bethany, Cheshire & Prospect

Anonymous said...

Push polls are done the week or so before the election, not 3 months before when no one is payng attention except inside people.

GMR said...

Susan Cogswell who came from the insurance industry and has remained a friend of the insurance industry as Commissioner was a holdover from Rowland that Jodi kept on in her cabinet. Does anybody living within 3/4 of a mile of the Sound or a River that dumps into it need any better reason to vote for DeStefano than an elimination of the ruling to allow Andover - and undoubtedly those who would follow - to demand storm shutters. There are little cottages at the beach that have been around for 75 years with the same windows.....

There's a competitive market for insurance in this state. If an insurance company demands a certain behavior from you to get covered or get covered at better rates (e.g., install storm shutters, don't smoke, don't drive a Ferrari, etc), that should be their perogative. If you don't like it, you can always buy insurance from someone else.

If Andover's rates are much better than other companies', but if it requires storm shutters, then each individual homeowner will need to assess if the savings are worth it. If Andover isn't cheaper than other companies, but it still requires storm shutters, then people will simply shift their policy to someone else.

I just don't see why government intervention should be required here, unless Andover is attempting to break existing contracts (i.e., you have a policy, it still has a few months or years left on it, but now Andover is changing the rules in midstream).

Different insurance companies may require different things to get a better rate or to get covered. That should be their right, and competition will allow you to select a company that meets your risk profile.

Anonymous said...

I'll defer to that Republican PR firm known as the Washington Post
regarding what really happened

Waterbury to Block Mayor From Office
By Kathryn Masterson
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2001; 12:03 a.m. EDT

WATERBURY, Conn. –– City officials approved a deal with the city's jailed mayor that would prohibit him from returning to office but allow him to keep his title, benefits and half his pay.

The city's Board of Aldermen chose the settlement over trying to impeach Mayor Philip Giordano, who has been imprisoned since July 26 on federal child sex charges. He has brushed aside calls that he resign as mayor of the state's fifth-largest city.

Several aldermen said impeachment would be too expensive and would probably not conclude before Giordano's term expires Dec. 31. The board voted 9-6 to accept the deal, which Giordano's lawyer, Andrew Bowman, was expected to sign Tuesday.

Acting Mayor Sam Caligiuri had asked for a unanimous vote, but some aldermen said they wanted a resignation.

"It's easy to go for blood, but going for Phil's blood doesn't help the people of Waterbury because we're going to shed blood too," Caligiuri said. "We're saving money and we're saving the city's reputation."

So what part of "prohibited from returning to office" do the Zoniacs not understand?

Particuarly since Giordano was trying desperately to get bail and would have gone right back to the Mayor's office in a nanosecond without being forced to relinquish power.

In United States District Court here, Andrew B. Bowman, a lawyer for Mr. Giordano, tried to persuade Judge Alan H. Nevas that Mr. Giordano should be released before trial because he would be neither a flight risk nor a danger, as the government says.

Anonymous said...

Giordano had a Venezulan passport (dual citizenship)so he was denied bail because he WAS a flight risk. Please stop spinning this in the republican"s favor The Board of Aldermen requested an OLR report, #2001-R-0643 (check it out), seeing if the mayor could be removed. The answer was yes for "...continued neglect or default of official duty or moral delinquency." The result was the mayor could have been removed at NO cost to the Taxpayers, but Caliguiri took care of giordano because he appointed Sam to the BOA in 1997. Spin that.

Real Democrat said...

So while the feds put Phil Giordno in jail to rot, Sam C made sure he continued to earn a paycheck? He continued to receive his benefits? He continued to sign Mayor under his name?

That's wrong. It's so wrong. It's very very wrong. Sam should be ashamed of himself.

Georgie Porgie said...

Republican PR firm??? you've got to be kidding. Haven't they run out of ink yet?

Anonymous said...

I forgot one thing from the OLR report- a simple majority was all that was required to remove him. The City charter was amended in 1931 and again in 1939 to allow this. This all available in the OLR report I referenced in my 4:22 post.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a sleaze Zoni is.

He's soiled his name forever, and he's still going to lose.

Anonymous said...

There are no allegations againsst Caliguiri - he cut the ddeal with Giordano when he could have impeached him within 48 hours as many people (see vote on deal) wanted to do is fact. Bottom line is he put thousands into the pocket of a child molester that Im sure went right to his defense fund. And did the little girls Giordano raped repeatedly in his office get the same health benefits that Sam made sure Giordano got?

Also, I can't believe the Republican Chairman had the balls to say that this mailer was why he couldn't field candidates. Oh no...couldn't have anything to do with Giordano or Rowland or Santopietro or people like Sam who helped them out. Clean your house, chairman.

Where's your moral outrage now, Republicans. You gonna stand up and defend the child rapist or stand up and defend the guy who he cut a deal with?

Anonymous said...

Washington POST a Republican PR firm? You need to educate yourself... MAYBE the Washington Times, nut not the Post. Besides, it is an AP story, not a Post story.

Judith Freedman is going to lose. She is a constant no-show.... I have lived in Ridgefield, Wilton and now Bethel -- all in her district. No one knows her. I've seen her once, maybe 10 years ago... Thank god we have decent state reps -- although they cover her.

Popular state reps in the district -- Boucher, Heatherington and Frey are all unopposed - so there is no real local campaign interest. Farrell has been active -- and is from the district, too. That, and the fact that Freedman has raised so little for a long term incumbant suggests trouble.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 4:37.

So pointing out what Sam did is worse than what Sam did? He is morally bankrupt. How could the R's not know that this was coming? Doesn't anyone in the party do background checks - hell, I found this in second by googling Sam.

Zoni would have been negligent if he didn't point out what Sam did for Giordano.

Save the taxpayers money? That's a copout - they could have gotten rid of him once and for all in no time and it is a just society's duty to make sacrifices to make sure justice is done.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the type of negative campaign democrats whine about?

Its fair to after the candidate, but the imagry is plain stupid. Zoni overplayed his card, and it backfired. Amatuer.

Anonymous said...

"Zoni would have been negligent"

About what, Sam saving a broke city beaucoup legal fees and moving on quickly to deal with restoring order to city government?

(RE: Bail...all the principals in the AWD federal trash case are out now despite the feds objection....of course Zoni already came out against reforming the trash industry )

I suppose when your sole experience is running a tiny print shop you are perfecting suited to question how to manage a large city in crisis

The bottom line is that if Zoni was a qualified candidate he would not need to stoop to this level

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:48- prior to knocking someone, use spell check if you've got problems spelling.

Too many Anons said...

Yeah, he ran a "large city in crisis" right into the ground. Come on, Sam's money and time argument aside (though the OLR report tells us otherwise), wouldn't an impeachment have been the morally right thing to do?

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 5:22, read my post from 4:10, he WAS a flight risk due to his dual citizenship and possessing a Venezulan passport.

BrassBoy said...

I'm glad this thread was somehow down for 3 days before I had a chance to see all of this nonsense. Most of the posts in here are so off-base it isn't funny.

The fact of the matter is this - The "deal" in question was "taxpayer neutral" to the city. The "deal" that the piece speaks of was the move that the Board of Alderman made to get rid of Phil Giordano in 2001. Under the charter, unless impeached, Mayor Giordano would have received his full salary and benefits through 12/31/01. An impeachment proceeding/trial, held by the Board of Alderman, would have been a costly and lengthy spectacle that Waterbury couldn't afford to go through at the time. The focus was to get rid of Giordano without costing the taxpayers money. Initially, Giordano actually phoned the Mayor's Office from prison to tell Caligiuri that he would "be back at his desk in a week" to resume his duties! Initially, Phil Giordano had no intentions of walking away without a spectacle.

Caligiuri and the rest of the majority caucus of the Board of Alderman voted to allow Phil to keep his benefits (he was the married father of three young boys) and 1/2 of his salary through the end of the term-- a period of approximately 6 months. Sam was aware of the fact that the taxpayers of Waterbury shouldn't be penalized in the pocketbook because of the depravity of Phil Giordano.

Caligiuri insisted that he receive no medical benefits of any kind from the city of Waterbury while he served as acting mayor. He received the other ½ of the mayor’s salary while he served. He took a leave from his law practice (and a significant pay cut) to serve as acting mayor in a manner which would cost the taxpayers nothing.

The bottom line is this “deal” was made in the best interests of the city at the time. It did not cost the taxpayers one penny and basically rid the city of Phil Giordano once and for all. It avoided a costly spectacle, allowed the government to move forward and continue its efforts to dig itself out of the financial mess it was in (the oversight board had just recently taken over) and, perhaps just as importantly, allowed the two young victims of that reprehensible crime to avoid testifying in any Aldermanic impeachment proceeding.

The mailer says none of this and simply makes it seem like Caligiuri gave his "buddy" Giordano a sweetheart deal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And don't hit me with the OLR Report or any of the Charter nonsense. Nothing would have prevented Giordano from suing the city and dragging it all out in court if they in fact tried to just simply remove him with some simple vote.

An impeachement wuold have been "morally right"??? Dragging it out, keeping it in the papers more than it needed to be, asking the little girls to come to yet another trial to testify??? Yes, how moral.

Anonymous said...

Giordano was in jail and Caliguiri didn't think he could pull off removing him from office under the City Charter? Caliguiri is a chooch!

Anonymous said...

Stratford Dem you have no clue. Debicella is running a very
negative campaign. See some of the disgusting posts his
people put on this site about Jones and you are upset about
push polls? You have got to be kidding me. The push polls were
not even that bad. I guess it is wrong to point out someone's
stance on the issues. Get outta here man. No clue No clue.

They are trying to swift boat a man who wore the uniform.
No way! I ask all Dems local Dems to stand up against this
nonsense and stand up for Chris Jones.

Stratford Dem said...

I haven't heard anything negative about Jones in the press, TV ads, radio, or mail that Decibella is sending out.

In fact, I don't hear anything about Jones at all! That's the problem-- your campaign in non-existant. Sorry, I wish it were different, but it's true.

I ask people down here in Stratford who they are going to vote for State Seante, and I get three answers:

1) Decibella
2) "The Democrat"
3) Doc Gunther (some people still don't know he's retiring!)

I have not had anyone outside of the DTC tell me they are voting for "Chris Jones" specifically.

Chris, you seem like a nice guy the few times I have met you, but it is game over.

Anonymous said...

Stratford Dem you have no idea. The game is not over.
Or maybe you do know and that is why you are saying
all this. I am keeping an eye on the store

People know who Chris is and his positive message
and you know that to be true isnhg.

Stratford Dem said...


Not sure what that message means...."I am keeping an eye on the store"?? What does that mean?

Are you going to send some mailers out? TV ads or radio? I have noticed you have some signs out now in Stratford, which is a good start. All feels a little too late though....

Can you put up signs where Dave Mooney has his? (He has a lot up in central Stratford).

I have no doubt Chris has a positive message that might ring true with voters....but if you don't run a campaign no one will know it!

Sorry to be so down on you, but I am disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Negative comments about Chris Jones? Where to even begin. How about a quiz-- two of the following three things are true. Can you pick them out?

Chris Jones was a cocaine addict in the late 1990's.
Chris Jones was caught last month at a strip bar.
Chris Jones hates babies.

Anonymous said...

12:17 You are hurting you Debicella's chances
big time with such comments. Has he approved your message? Well has he? I cannot believe Debicella
is allowing such posts.