May 31, 2007

Colapietro wins one in state Senate

Press release from Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who represents the 31st District:


Hartford - Today, in an 18-to-18 bipartisan vote, a tie broken by an affirmative vote from Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele, state Senator Thomas Colapietro (D-Bristol), co-chair of the legislature’s General Law Committee, led the Connecticut Senate in approving an amendment to legislation banning zone pricing in the state. The bill later passed in 20 to 16 bipartisan vote.

The legislation would prohibit geographical zone pricing of gasoline and force petroleum producers and refiners to sell gas at the rack price to help stabilize the state’s gasoline prices.

“This bill says that you cannot discriminate against anyone purchasing gas,” said Senator Colapietro. “This will create a free market for retailers to compete with a level playing field for each gas station, to the benefit of the consumer.”

Stortz and the Republicans

It says something that most of the Republican ticket came together in the hope that incumbent GOP Mayor William Stortz would call it quits this year.
Joe Geladino, who is running as a Republican in the 2nd District City Council race, said Thursday he'd been talking with the party chairman since January about the possibility of leaping into the fray. He got in because he liked what Ken Johnson, a GOP mayoral hopeful, had to say.
"I'm thrilled that Joe responded," Johnson said.
Johnson has assembled a ticket that includes council contenders Geladino, Ken Cockayne and Bob Merrick. He's also on good terms with incumbent Republican Councilor Mike Rimcoski, who is seeking another stint in the 1st District.
What's interesting is that nobody in the GOP seems to know if Stortz will run again, and the mayor himself remains mum on the topic.
Johnson said he sent Stortz a note recently. He hasn't heard back yet.
Johnson said, though, that he's hoping to avoid a Sept. 11 primary with Stortz. The Republican Town Committee is likely to back Johnson, since it's never had any great love of Stortz (who had to get the mayoral nomination in 2003 by defeating an unknown that the party picked over him).
Republican Chairman Art Mocabee said he doesn't have any idea whether Stortz intends to seek another term. He said the mayor will probably decide at the last second.
Geladino said he personally "values the mayor's friendship" and doesn't have any criticism to level at Stortz.
"He's done the best he could" given the Democratic-controlled council, Geladino said.
But what Bristol needs, both Johnson and Geladino said, is "a team of business people" in order to offer voters something different than what they've seen at City Hall for a long time.
Mocabee, who's working closely with Johnson and the candidates who have declared so far, said that he's been trying to recruit candidates who are "Bristol-first kinds of folks."
He said he wants candidates who are ready to compromise in order "to move the city's agenda ahead."

May 30, 2007

Special Olympics to return in 2008

Word is that the Northwest Regional Special Olympics competition will again be held in Bristol next spring. But after that, it's likely to move on to another locale.

May 25, 2007

Mayor seeking board members

Another press release from the mayor...


Bristol, CT, May 25, 2007 - Mayor William T. Stortz announced today that he continues to seek names for positions to City boards and commissions. “For a true representation of the City of Bristol, it is important that commissions and boards reflect the diversity of the City,” said Stortz. “We know there are qualified citizens out there that have a great deal to contribute to the growth and well being of our town.”

Recommendations from the public are welcome and encouraged. While appointments are made on a regular basis throughout the year, early submissions will allow for greater flexibility in determining the appropriate match.

If you are interested in applying for a position, you are asked to submit a letter of intent stating your reasons for applying and any qualifications or experience you feel you have that would be of assistance to this board or commission. Please direct your correspondence to Office of the Mayor, 111 North Main Street, Bristol, CT 06010, Attention: Board and Commission Appointments.

You can also contact the Mayor, directly, by using the email This email address gives the public more direct access to the Mayor’s office and can be used for submission of names for these appointments.

If you have any questions about board or commission appointments, please contact the office at

Former Press editor makes the news

Note: this piece contains a curse word. If you are easily offended, don't read it.

My old boss, former Bristol Press Editor Frank Keegan, got arrested late Wednesday in Baltimore for allegedly pointing a shotgun at his next-door neighbor and his family.
According to reports in the Baltimore papers, Keegan, 58, was roused after 11 p.m. by someone pounding on his door. It was his row house neighbor, angry that Keegan's cigarette smoke was wafting through the windows or walls enough to make his 3-year-old daughter ill. The man's wife and daughter were with him.
Keegan, who may or may not have known who was at the door, called out, "You fucking lunatics, get away from my door."
At that point, the papers said (quoting from a police report), that the neighbor shouted back, "Look at what you're doing to my daughter."
The neighbor then told police he saw Keegan holding "what appeared" to be a long gun. Keegan "racked the gun in a manner consistent with a shotgun and shouldered the weapon, pointing it at the entire Ayers family from inside the house and behind the glass of the first-floor window," the report said, according to press reports.
The neighbor, who was holding his daughter, "reportedly raised his right arm and said, 'Whoa Whoa!' and backed away."
Keegan wound up in handcuffs.
Now I can attest that Keegan has a temper, but I can't imagine him deliberately aiming a shotgun at a little girl.
The other part of this tale is that Keegan's paper, the Baltimore Examiner, has been ripping into police overtime lately. So I suspect the cops were only too happy to have the editor in their clutches.
In any case, I'm on Keegan's side. The man is an old school editor, gruff and temperamental. But he's a damn good journalist and a solid citizen.
If you want to read more, here's the Baltimore Sun's story

May 23, 2007

Sewer rates going up

A new press release from City Hall that reports what we already knew....

May 23, 2007

Increase To Sewer Usage Fees

The City’s Water Pollution Control Division of Public Works is a special operating fund at the City of Bristol. The Division is required to pay for all of its operations, equipment replacement and loan payments from revenue collected from sewer usage fees.

In order to fund its current operation and the upcoming projects, the Sewer Authority has determined it will be necessary to implement a 6 ½ % increase to the sewer usage fee. The last rate increase was three years ago in July 2004. The new rate will increase the average resident’s quarterly sewer bill by $2.73 or $10.92 per year.

The Division has recently begun a number of large projects to improve its ability to cope with the high flows it experiences during heavy rains. The projects include upgrades to its pumping stations at Broad Street and East Main Street and the main pumps at the treatment plant. The Division is also in the early stage of a project to find and eliminate sources of clean water entering the system from leaking joints in mainline sewers, privately owned service laterals to homes and businesses, illegal connection of sump pumps, yard drains and roof gutter down spouts.

The new rate structure will also include increases to the sewer connection fees for new connections to the sewer system. A full listing of the new rate structure was published in the Bristol Press and can be viewed in the City Clerk’s Office or online at the City’s web site: and select the link for Increase to Sewer Usage Fees.

Cockayne issues statement on his reasons for running for council

Recently I announced my intent to run for Bristol City Councilman in the 2nd District. As a self-employed downtown Bristol businessman for the past 17 years and a 4th generation life long resident of Bristol, having graduated from Bristol Central High School in 1986, the time for me has come to give back. Kenny Jr. is my 7 year old son and it is with his future and the future of Bristol kids his age in mind that I have decided that the time for me to make a difference for our community is now.
Having watched from the outside over the years as our city has changed, there have been some very disturbing issues observed. Taxes have gone up and families have moved out. The same core group of politicians has led our government for roughly the past 20 years. Each year, especially the last years, politicians worked to position themselves for the next election, instead of taking care of our city, a city today that has a much different look from the city I remember growing up in. While I am proud of Bristol, I feel the time has come to move Bristol forward to insure the pride of the next generation in this town.
As many of us often do, I voiced my concerns and displeasure from the outside. I complained about the inaction of our politicians and thought, “It’s time for a change!” Not yet ready to completely leave my seat on the sidelines, over the last few years I slowly became more active in Bristol politics.
I began attending town council meetings on a regular basis, I became active with the Bristol Republican Town Committee and I served on the Robert’s Property Board. After getting acquainted with the Bristol political scene, I decided I was no longer content to voice concern from the outside.
My decision to run for City Council has not been a quick one. After many months of deliberation with close friends and family, I feel it is time for me to be a person of action and make a difference in Bristol. I do not consider myself to be a politician, rather, I am a concerned tax paying citizen in Bristol that is tired of politics as usual. We have recycled leaders from previous regimes, and it’s not working. The rhetoric is still the same and their inability to move Bristol’s Downtown project is symptomatic of the problem. Actions speak louder than words!
Bristol is facing many critical issues in the near future. Although, they may be painted as new, they have been critical issues for years. Addressing educational needs, improving infrastructure, creating a business friendly environment, public safety, and pumping economic life into our downtown are current issues every year.
This election, unfortunately the issues are the same except that we have now added the expense of two new schools to consider. These issues did not sneak up on Bristol. They have been present for years and were not addressed accordingly by the current administration and those before it. Many of the same ideas have been tossed about year after year, but very few have been acted on. Maybe it is time for term limits and referendums to guard against career politicians and spend happy administrations.
Your support and your vote for me as Councilman in the 2nd District is what I will work hard for over the course of this campaign and beyond if elected. Look at our city today and imagine it in another 20 years. Will we be considering the same ideas then? Will we be increasing taxes annually without seeing improvements in our city? Will career politicians still be making decisions for all of us without our input? It has become the norm and it is not acceptable.
I often hear people say Bristol needs a change. I’m offering you a change, someone who is not willing to accept things the way they are, someone who has voiced an opinion from outside before, but is now willing to take action. I am not okay with the direction this city is heading in, are you?It is time to move forward with new people and fresh ideas to bring a vision of Bristol that our children will be proud to carry on. Let’s take action and make a change that will make Bristol an attractive place to move into and not out of.
Thank you,
Kenneth Cockayne
2nd District Bristol GOP

A messy situation for housing authority

May 22, 2007

Ragaini may run in 2nd, too

Former city Councilor Tom Ragaini said Tuesday he's also eyeing a City Council run in the 2nd District. He said he'll decide by late June, perhaps sooner.
Ragaini served as a councilor in the 3rd District until he lost a 2001 primary -- held on Sept. 11th, which made for a distracting day at the polls.
After that, his Upson Street home was shifted into the 2nd District as part of the redistricting needed after Census 2000.
Ragaini, a parks commissioner, has remained active in Democratic politics. He's well-regarded by most everyone.
At this point, two Democrats are already in the 2nd District race: incumbent Kevin McCauley and newcomer Bruce Lydem. For the Republicans, there's only Ken Cockayne so far.

Comments are welcome

This blog allows readers to add comments after my posts. But they won't show up until I've approved them.
I'm not allowing free reign because, frankly, I don't want to see the scurrilous, anonymous attacks and potentially libelous slurs that have mucked up too many other internet message boards.
That doesn't mean readers can't criticize me, the newspaper, political leaders or other public figures. It's just that you have to do it with at least a modicum of intelligence and flair.
I won't bother approving comments such as "Zoppo sucks" or "Stortz is a moron" -- two that I've already deleted -- because they add exactly zilch to the community discussion that a democracy demands.
You do not have to use your real name to post comments, but I do encourage that. Words are more powerful when we know who is saying them.
I especially encourage candidates to weigh in to amplify or furter explain whatever I've reported. We all understand that a news story can only contain so much detail. A blog post can say as much as you'd like.

Another council candidate joins the fray

Carpenters' union official Bruce Lydem, who's been active in Democratic politics for years, said Tuesday he's going to run for a 2nd District City Council seat.
Lydem said he didn't make an announcement at the town committee session Monday night because he had a few more people to discuss the move with before disclosing his plans.
Lydem would be on the ticket with first-term Democratic Councilor Kevin McCauley, assuming no other candidates emerge.
The Democrats have an opening for a council slot in the district because third-term Councilor Ellen Zoppo opted to run for mayor this time around.
Lydem, who lost a council primary in 2003 to Tom Lavigne (who, in turn, lost his seat in a 2005 primary to McCauley), is widely respected in Democratic circles for his campaign efforts, grace in defeat and calm demeanor.
Lydem said he doesn't know if others are interested in running as well.
But, he added, "I hope there is no primary."
One Republican challenger has emerged in the district, Ken Cockayne, who has served on the city's Roberts Committee since its beginnings back in the Nicastro administration.

Link to Bristol Press story today on mayor's race

Ken Johnson, from The Bristol Press.

Zoppo, Johnson in mayoral race

Ellen Zoppo, from The Bristol Press.

Patti Ewen is NOT running again

Honestly, I can't remember if I mentioned in my story for Tuesday's paper that City Treasurer Patti Ewen was seeking re-election. But I certainly thought she was.
I heard her start talking as I bolted from the Democratic meeting to reach the Republicans.
And I committed a journalistic sin: I assumed she was running for re-election.
It turns out, though, that Ewen is not going to run for another term as the city's part-time treasurer. I hope my mistake didn't get in print.
In any case, Ewen's held the post for a long time, generally garnering high marks. Her absence at City Hall will make a difference.

Ken Cockayne, GOP council hopeful, speaking to Republicans

Here's Ken Cockayne's speech to the Republican Town Committee:

I believe many of you already know me but for those who don’t my name is Ken Cockayne. Tonight I’m announcing my run for councilman in the 2nd district. I ask for your endorsement and support.
I’m a self employed insurance agent with my office located downtown for the past 17yrs. As a 4th generation life long resident of Bristol raising my 7yr old son, I have watched our downtown deteriorate and the West End quickly turning into slums. I’ve watched as tax paying families have moved out of Bristol only to move one or two towns away. I’ve watch our politicians positioning themselves for the next election instead of taking care of our city! It’s time for this to stop!!
I commend the current and past administrations for their time, often listening to nothing but complaints and criticism. However it’s time for a change. It’s time to bring a business attitude to the city instead of politicians!
My decision to run has not been a quick or easy one. Only after many months and meetings with Ken Johnson and Bob Merrick have I decided, together we have the same goals and outlook for our city. I’m honored to be part of a team that I believe can make a huge difference in the future of Bristol. A town we can all be proud of, not only for us but for our children.
As we sit here tonight Bristol has many issues on the horizon. We have a downtown mall that is costing tax dollars each day it sits vacant! There has been discussion of a couple new schools costing around 100 million dollars! These are just a couple of issues facing our city. With the right people in office, once again we can make Bristol an attractive place to move into and not out of! With Ken Johnson, Bob Merrick, Councilman Rimcoski and myself we have a great start to a team that can make this happen!!

Council contender Bob Merrick's speech to the GOP town committee

Address to the RTC
My name is Bob Merrick. I offer my candidacy for councilman for the 3rd district. I ask for your endorsement and support.
Many of you may not know me as I am a relative newcomer to Bristol in comparison to many of you who have lived in our city for generations. I have been a resident of the Forestville section of Bristol for the past 11 years. I have a background in domestic and international business as well as in education and currently teach mathematics at Chippens Hill Middle School.
Many of my friends and neighbors have expressed that they have lost faith in our city’s leaders’ ability to address the challenges our city faces and to get things done on behalf of the people of Bristol. Several of my friends and neighbors have left the city altogether targeting communities that have demonstrated their commitment to education, business development, fiscal responsibility, and creating a safe and enjoyable environment that is responsive to the needs of its residents.
I say that it is time to put the people of Bristol first. Our city already offers many of the aforementioned desired attributes and more. Bristol is a city undergoing change, working out its new identity. It’s time to re-engage the people of Bristol and bring them into the process of helping to define the community they desire, a community they are proud to be a part of and their children are proud to call their home.
My candidacy is about helping to develop a mission for our city that creates a stronger sense of community in the eyes of the people. I am offering you the opportunity to replace the self-serving agendas of a select few with actions that address the needs, desires, and opportunities asked for by the people.
The city we desire is up to all of us. If we want to move Bristol forward to be a leader in 21st-century living then we need to use 21st-century thinking. I have reached out to members of the community not willing to accept business as usual and am proud to be running as part of a team along side Ken Johnson and Ken Cockayne.
I do not claim to have all the answers to the challenges faced by our community. My commitment to you is to act as an agent of change reflective of the needs and desires of the people I serve. My name is Bob Merrick, and I ask for your endorsement and support in my candidacy for 3rd-District City Councilman.

Zoppo's speech to the Democratic Town Committee

Here's what city Councilor Ellen Zoppo told the Democrats in announcing her mayoral bid:

History is part of the fabric sewn into our lives.
I think about my great-great grandfather James Tracy, who came from Ireland in the 1850s and along with other Irish immigrants, threatened to strike at the copper mines unless the workers were allowed attend Mass on Sunday. He went on to have 8 children, and opened a corner store on upper North Main St., where he was working in 1915 when he suffered a stroke and died.
I think about my Italian grandfather, Archangelo, who couldn’t speak English when he came to America and enlisted to fight in World War 1 in order to become a naturalized citizen. He eventually returned to Italy and brought his pregnant wife, his sister and her children, and other relatives to America in 1929. In Bristol they pursued the American Dream during the Great depression with Archangelo working at many of the factories that lined North Main Street, eventually opening a shoe repair shop on the bottom of the brick tenement building on North Main Street where they lived.
Today, I serve on the City Council representing the North Main Street neighborhood that began my family’s story in Bristol.
Why is this relevant?
For a couple of reasons. Its important to know where a person comes from to know where they are going, and where they might lead you.
And second, North Main Street is the perfect example of how much Bristol has changed, and also what the challenges are going to be for the future.
Let’s talk about the brick tenements that lined upper North Main Street, home to waves of immigrants that came here to work in the factories. Children walked home from school, relatives lived near each other, and if you ran out of a grocery item, you walked to the corner store.
Neighborhood Schools.
Owner-occupied multi-family housing with built-in family support networks.
Corner Stores.
Bingham School, known as the North Side School when it was built in 1916, is slated to close.
Absentee landlords have a tight grip on our neighborhoods.
There are no corner stores.
Some of the factories still stand, some obsolete, others have been renovated for other uses.
So what is the future of North Main Street?
Some things have not changed – it’s a major thoroughfare. At one time thousands of people walked the street each day to go to Ingraham, Horton, New Departure, American Silver and other factories that provided jobs and stability for families. There were social outings, company stores, and sports teams.
Today, thousands of people drive down North Main Street to reach the government center or to the dozens of professional and medical offices that now occupy the former New Departure Administration building.
The streetscape project has given new life to North Main Street. The beautification project has now created a gateway, as well as a stage to showcase community events. With the millions of ball bearings that were made on North Main Street, and which contributed to Bristol’s connection to General Motors, I find it nostalgic to a degree that one of the most popular events on the new North Main Street is the Auto Club car shows. I wonder how many of these cars we see and admire have ND ball bearings in them?
Author John Kotter wrote "Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there. They cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there."
Ever since I heard this quote, I have been struck by how much it fit with my vision of what Bristol could be, from what it was at the age of the industrial revolution.
All along I have said that I had an obligation to complete the projects I am involved in before turning my attention to elections. To me, the knowledge that projects are finished, funded or substantially complete is more important than my political plans. I did not want to be advocating for these projects and have my name be followed by the ever-present comma and phrase "who is running for Mayor." The projects were too important to be compromised in that way.
Earlier tonight we approved the budget for next year, which represents the future. And tonight, I have made the decision to seek the Democratic nomination for mayor, and I ask for your support.
So now the work begins. The first question is…
What is our Democratic Agenda?I believe in the New Deal philosophy that government is an instrument for improving people’s lives. I believe we need a Call to Action and that its time to get it right.
I believe that strong communities build strong neighborhoods, strong families and a positive quality of life, and that investing in these issues will pay dividends. Not investing in these issues will create more problems that require even more money to solve.
And I believe we have seen a failure in leadership to deal with these issues.
Leadership is needed to focus on completing projects, and new projects need to be evaluated for financial impact and long-term benefits. I have been involved in many projects over the last few years of which I am very proud:
The investment we have made in the new state-of-the-art library, which came in on time and under budget last year.
The commitment we have made to fully funding education and targeting student achievement
I am proud of the work done to finish the work of the Roberts Property Committee since the city purchased the property in 2001, and all the people who passionately participated in the process of discussing the merits and deficiencies of that plan.
I am proud of the commitment we have made to refocusing the Public Works budget on investing in our infrastructure after years of neglect, as well as the infusion of new equipment and safety upgrades that took place at the Fire department under my watch.
I am proud of the work that the Park Revitalization panel has done this past year to push the City to begin restoring Rockwell Park to its former glory, as well as the revitalization of Brackett and Stocks.
I am proud of the work we have done to establish an effective code enforcement program over the last five years, which has departments working together and sharing information, which is paying big dividends to cracking down on blight, nuisance issues and building code violations. Coordinating the efforts of 12 different departments has been a delicate and labor-intensive process but seeing the Code team activated and at work, as it has been over the last several months, has made it all worthwhile.
I am proud of the reorganization of the community promotions and tourism piece that I spearheaded that now provides competitive grant funding for our assets and attractions, which in turn bring people to town that shop and dine here.
From the Library Building Committee to the informal group of city employees that meet monthly to work on code enforcement issues, to the citizens who were instrumental in developing the park and Roberts Property plans, I am especially proud of the positive working relationships that I have created to get things done.
If these are the projects and initiatives that qualify me as "someone who likes to spend money on big ticket projects," then I plead guilty, with a clear conscience. These are projects that this community deserves, and it is a record in which we Democrats should take pride.
The alternative, not investing in all of these areas, is not an option for me and brings us back to John Kotter.
"Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there. They cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there."
I think back to the era of Albert Rockwell, Charles Treadway, Edward Ingraham, and the first Wallace Barnes and I marvel at what this group of industrialists did for Bristol, from their philanthropic gifts to the formation of the Board of Finance, the Fire Dept and the Water Department, and Memorial Boulevard, to name a few. They did sacrifice, they had convictions and they created a foundation of prosperity that made Bristol what it is today. Our role is to honor that legacy as well as show leadership for the future.
Tonight, here are three themes that I want to touch on briefly.
I want people to have faith and confidence in the ethical standards of their elected officials. In keeping with my past campaigns, I will again state on the record that I will neither solicit nor accept campaign contributions from city department heads or any individual or company doing business with the city. Maintaining the ethics standard is an essential component of leadership.
My professional experience gained in 15 years of working in the Chamber of Commerce setting will be an asset in dealing with the most important issue we will be facing: responsible economic development that includes resolution of the Mall issue, completion of the industrial park as well as promoting an aggressive plan for business recruitment and business retention, as well as a one-stop shopping function for businesses who are looking to expand and relocate. Economic Development should be the Number One priority of the Mayor’s office.
My educational background with a Bachelors Degree from Providence College and a Masters Degree in Public Administration is an asset in evaluating how government works and how we can do it better. The Task Force on Government Efficiency I chaired identified several areas where cost saving and efficiencies were realized, as well as relied on employee input as to how we can make government work better.
To that end, I believe its time to re-examine the City Charter that was adopted in 1913 and move to a city manager form of government. My masters program at UCONN trains people to become government administrators and city managers and I have worked with some of the best. I think I am best qualified to lead this discussion and identify whether it is in Bristol’s best interests to move in this direction over the next few years.
A friend was aghast that I would decide to run for Mayor and in essence promote an agenda that would result in the elimination of the job as it is currently structured. Again, this falls into the Kotter philosophy of leadership. Sometimes sacrifices must be made.
Lee Iacocca recently wrote a book called "Where have all the leaders gone?" in which he defines characteristics of leadership…..
-Curiosity – to step outside your comfort zone and hear different ideas
-Creativity – to think outside the box. Leadership is about effectively managing change
-Conviction – to have the passion for getting the job done.
-Courage – taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes
-Charisma – inspire confidence so people trust and follow you.
-Competence – assembling and surrounding yourself with the best team
These will be the guiding forces on the roadmap to success for the Democratic Party this November. One of the biggest disappointments that I have encountered over the last 18 months is the lack of teamwork to tackle city issues. I don’t think the mayor has served the city well by attempting to keep all of the issues and decision in his office. The spirit of bipartisanship that the majority of us offered to him in 2005 was real. The fact that he spurned our efforts to be partners in policy and chose instead to go it alone has resulted in failed policies, missed opportunities and wasted time.
We have lost our compass and spend way too much time playing the blame game. Instead, we need to focus on responsibility, accountability, and community spirit.
Having served under three mayors in my three terms on the Council I can promise you that I have seen the best and the worst of management styles and will be working hand in hand with members of the City Council and department heads to get things done.
I look forward to receiving endorsement at the July meeting. I would like to thank everyone for their support to date and am enthusiastic about having a positive debate of issues. I do not think anyone benefits from a negative campaign and I have adopted the Bingham School oath that prompts the students to ask the following questions before taking an action "Is it necessary? Is it kind? Is it right?"
And now its time for you to hear from some of the other members of the team we have put together for this election cycle. Please allow me to introduce four people who will be critical to our success in November. Their roots, their personal experiences and their commitment to being a part of the solution for Bristol will be important threads in the fabric of the teamwork we need to win.

May 21, 2007

Candidate announcements

Just a quick update:
City Councilor Ellen Zoppo declared her intention to run for mayor.
Democrats who are running with her on a Democratic "dream team" include council incumbents Craig Minor and Kevin McCauley and council hopefuls Rich Kilby and Cliff Block.
On the Republican side, Ken Johnson said he's running for mayor. His speech is already posted below.
Three GOP candidates announced their plans to run for council: incumbent Mike Rimcoski and newcomers Bob Merrick and Ken Cockayne.

Ken Johnson address to Republican Town Committee

Ken Johnson
Address to the RTC
My name is Ken Johnson. I offer my candidacy for mayor and I seek your endorsement and your support.
Voter turnout for municipal elections in recent years has been abysmal. More residents are registered as Independent vs. Republican or Democrat. The number of eligible voters who aren’t registered at all is alarming. You and I see and hear rumbles of discontent all around us. Who’s to blame for this?
The citizens aren’t to blame. Could the politics of negativity be to blame? Is it the ‘same old’ noisy partisan politics that is keeping people away from the polls in droves? I believe that the citizens of Bristol are entitled to have a good reason to come to the polls. This campaign is about the disenfranchised voter. For too long the voice of the mainstream citizenry has been ignored in the administration of city affairs. There are caring people among us with good ideas who don’t speak up because they believe no one is listening. I want to reach out to these people. If my candidacy can serve as a catalyst to increase voter registration, to re-engage the citizenry in dialogue about our city, our educational system, our young people, our future, then I will rest peacefully at the end of the day.
My candidacy is about choice. I am offering you the opportunity to choose to replace acid tongues with open ears. I am offering you an opportunity to choose diversity of thought instead of single-mindedness. My campaign and my administration will not be about tearing down but about building up. Herein, though, lays the bad news about my candidacy…
If you are looking for me to pick a fight with Bill Stortz or the Democrats, you will be sorely disappointed. If negativity consumes you, you are not going to like what I have to say. If you seek a leader with anger in his eyes or a finger-pointer ready to assign blame, then I am not your man. God bless you, but be on your way. I am looking to surround myself with people of positive thought; people who believe we can do better than to accept mediocrity and the status-quo; people who understand that it is productive to consider a new idea and an alternative point of view. If you are one of these people then join my team. Roll up your sleeves and help with our campaign. Go out and tell your friends and neighbors to register to vote. Come run for Council with my team. I am excited that Ken Cockayne and Bob Merrick are likewise committed to these principles and have already joined the team and I fully support the candidacy of Mike Rimcoski.
Do you believe that it’s time for change? Do you believe it’s time for Bristol to seek a new brand of leadership? You decide. The cornerstones of my leadership philosophy are these:
Honesty- my parents taught my bother and sister and I one way to live; for better worse, what you see is what you get
Integrity- a handshake is a compact; I owe political favors to no woman and no man; I believe in the leader-as-servant model and that above all is the people
Diversity- diversity of thought and constructive debate leads to better decision making; divergence of opinion is a good thing and our strength is rooted in our diversity
Civility- we must restore civility to public discourse and to political debate; the tone and tenor of my team’s campaign will demonstrate the tone and tenor of the conduct of my administration
Before I close, I’d like to acknowledge the contributions Bill Stortz has made to our City. I want you all to understand very clearly that I consider Bill a friend. I have great respect for an individual who steps forward and offers his time and talent to the often thankless task of public service. Bill’s passion for his home town, dedication to community service and willingness to serve his City is beyond question. I do not know, Bill, if you intend to run again and that has not been a factor in my decision to run. It is my sincere hope, Bill, that you and I will find a way to work shoulder to shoulder for the best interest of Bristol.
I do not profess to possess any special gifts or powers that would entitle me to serve as your Mayor. Nor do I pretend to be smart enough to have all the answers. I do, however, believe that the answers lie in this room and in this City. My pledge to you is that I will reach out and open doors to those of you who have the will, the energy, and the determination to create positive change. I stand before you humble and grateful for the opportunity to serve. I am determined and proud to be a citizen of Bristol; I am ready to listen and energized to lead. Thank you for listening. My name is Ken Johnson. I offer my candidacy for mayor and I seek your endorsement and your support.

Mayor: Public hearing re mall on June 4

Mayor William Stortz issued a press release moments ago about a public hearing on the mall property on Monday, June 4th.
Here it is:


Bristol, CT, May 21, 2007 – In a prepared release, Mayor William T. Stortz announced that there will be a Special Meeting of the newly formed Bristol Downtown Development Corporation at 6:30 pm on June 4, 2007 in the City Council Chambers.

This meeting will be the first of many, where public input regarding the use and development
of the Mall site will be actively solicited.

Stortz said, “The BDDC has had two organizational meetings to date, where the focus has been on organization and housekeeping. While there is still some additional work to be done in those areas, we do want to start the public participation process.

I strongly believe that to make this project successful, it must be what the people of Bristol want, and will support. The way to accomplish that is to listen to, to hear from the people.”

Stortz continued, “There are no set ideas at this time. We will work with the site available, and listen to ideas surrounding it. We will work with existing regulations or modify them if appropriate.

While the main goal is to have the project be self-supporting, with minimal use of tax dollars, hearing what the people want, will provide the direction that the BDDC will take.”

Stortz concluded, “This will be the first of many opportunities for public input. Consideration is being given to having input sessions with select demographic groups: Seniors, youth, etc. so as to allow for more directed input. I encourage people to attend if only to hear what is being, or will be considered.”

A busy night in Bristol

By the end of the evening, we should have a much clearer picture of who's running for what this year.
We're likely to see city Councilor Ellen Zoppo declare her candidacy for mayor to the Democratic Town Committee and Ken Johnson make his formal announcement to the Republican Town Committee.
In addition, city Councilor Mike Rimcoski, a Republican, is likely to say he's running for re-election. The two Democratic councilors who are incumbents who haven't said for sure what they'll do - Craig Minor and Frank Nicastro - might disclose their plans as well (though I suspect Nicastro will wait until the General Assembly is over).
Already in the running is Democrat Art Ward, a longtime councilor who's seeking to move up to the mayor's office.
City Councilor Kevin McCauley, a Democrat, has already said he'll run again.
Rich Kilby and Cliff Block are likely to tell Democrats tonight they'll run for council in the 1st District, hoping to unseat Rimcoski and claim the seat Ward is giving up.
At least a couple of Republican council candidates in addition to Rimcoski are also likely to throw their hats in the ring. I've only heard rumors about who they might be so I'll refrain from mentioning names.
I'd be stunned, by the way, if Mayor William Stortz says anything about his intentions for the campaign for at least another month. He's got a long history of waiting until the last minute to make up his mind (or at least to tell everyone else that he's made up his mind).
As for me, I'll be running between the Democratic and Republican meetings, hoping to catch all the action or at least make sure I know what's happened!
The Republicans are meeting at City Hall. The Democrats are at the Board of Education.

May 19, 2007

New masthead

Though showing the mall in this blog's masthead may irritate politicians from both parties, it seems fitting.
The mall is the key ingredient to fixing downtown, or failing to do the job. There it sits, month after month, rotting. It is a symbol of everything that's wrong with the city -- but also the centerpiece of hope for better days ahead. Making the mall site thrive is the test of leadership here. And it's my job to keep a close eye on how our leaders are passing that test, or flunking it.

Stories today about Ken Johnson's run for mayor

Clearing up confusion and Ken Johnson to run for mayor.

May 18, 2007

Feed address for Bristol Blog

Here's the address for those of you who want to get a feed for this blog:

Ward vows to be on November ballot

So I phone city Councilor Art Ward this morning to find out what he thinks about the latest mayoral news.
"Hey, I'm reading your blog right now," he answers.
Oh, boy.
So it's been discovered. I knew it had to happen.
For those who wonder, I don't know if it will keep going or not. Some of that is my choice and some of it will be my editor's decision. I only have so many hours to devote to work each week and my hope was that this blog could be done usefully on less than 15 minutes a day. I think it may work out, but we'll see.
Anyway, Ward said that Ken Johnson is "a good guy."
But, he said, with Johnson's leap into the race, “I guess it means that he’s not going to be at my pasta fundraiser.”
Ward semi-dodged the other question about the campaign: whether he'll run as an independent if he doesn't win the Democratic mayoral primary.
“My intentions are to be on the ballot in November,” Ward said. “Basically, I fully intend to be a candidate on the ballot as a choice for the voters in the November ballot.”
“I believe I still represent the view of a majority of Democrats in Bristol and I will carry that forward,” Ward said.
I'm pretty sure that means he's running as an unaffiliated candidate if city Councilor Ellen Zoppo beats him in the Democratic primary. But feel free to interpret it differently if you like.

It's Ken Johnson, not Frank

In one of those sadly-shake-your-head production goofs, today's Bristol Press carries a front page headline that says "Johnson runs for mayor" or something akin to that. It directs readers to page 6 for the story.
Unfortunately, upon arriving on page 6, readers will find a tale about a Southington boy.
The story about the mayor's race is nowhere to be found.
GOP Chairman Art Mocabee said this morning he's getting a barrage of phone calls from people wondering which Johnson is running and how they can find the story.
Perhaps it'll be online later.
These things happen, even at The New York Times. There's nothing to be done except apologize for the confusion and try not to let it occur again, even though we all know it will. Let's just hope it's later rather than sooner.

Mocabee weighs in on campaign

Republican Party Chairman Art Mocabee said that the GOP's candidates are entering the fray "late out of the gate," but not too late.
At the party's monthly meeting Monday, Ken Johnson will let us all know why he's running for mayor, perhaps taking on incumbent Republican Mayor William Stortz in the process.
But we'll also learn who's running with him.
Mocabee said a few City Council candidates have been holding sessions with Johnson, and probably others, during the winter and spring "to come up with some ideas and some themes" for an agenda that will appeal to voters.
“These people have met for a long time,” Mocabee said, and kept their plans “under wraps” for awhile.
He said they include "a bunch of new faces" but wouldn't say more. I guess that means Steve Coan won't be running again this year.
The Republican Town Committee is going to have some choices to make, another refreshing change for anyone who cares about politics.
“The town committee will be put to a test this year,” Mocabee said, adding that "I cast the deciding vote in event of a tie," which can only mean the GOP boss sees at least a potential for a close decision when nominations are made in July.
“I don’t think we’ve had this much debate over Republican candidates in a long time," Mocabee said.
Mocabee hinted that the Republicans are not entirely on the same page.
He said that "personalities are going to have to mesh a bit" before the campaign is through, but "a core" of the candidates is working together well.

Johnson jumps into mayoral race

It doesn't look like the story I assume is in today's paper made it online (we're currently supposed to post most news at, but the reality is something less than the ideal, as in most things).
So here's the story:

By Steve Collins
The Bristol Press
BRISTOL – In an unexpected twist in an already chaotic political scene, Republican Ken Johnson said Thursday he plans to declare his candidacy for mayor next week.
Johnson, a water commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2003, said he will make the announcement at Monday’s Republican Town Committee meeting.
He said he has already mailed letters to GOP committee members to tell them of his plans.
“There’s nothing here that I’m going to deny,” Johnson said, adding that he wants to wait until Monday to lay out his rationale for seeking the city’s top job.
It isn’t clear yet whether Mayor William Stortz, also a Republican, will run for re-election this year. Stortz, who also served as mayor in the early 1990s, won the post again in 2005 by ousting Democratic incumbent Gerard Couture.
Stortz has repeatedly declined to say what his political intentions are this year. He has often over the years waited until the last minute to either enter a race or refrain from jumping in.
City Republican Chairman Art Mocabee said he’s spoken with Stortz, but doesn’t know what the mayor plans. “He’s just not committed one way or another. He may run. He may not run,” Mocabee said.
“My gut feeling is that he will do what he normally does, to make a decision on that question at the last hour,” the GOP boss said.
“It’s just a situation where the process is going to have to wean its way through,” Mocabee said.
“In the meantime, our process is carrying on. People are not going to be held hostage or wait and wait and wait,” he said.
Mocabee said that Johnson and “a few council candidates” have been working things out for a joint campaign during the past several months to come up with ideas and themes that will reflect their vision of how “to make our community better positioned to be a great place to live.”
Mocabee said he doesn’t know if Stortz will seek re-election and isn’t taking sides in the mayoral contest yet.
Mocabee said. Stortz “knows the game. He knows the ropes. And I trust he will respond appropriately.”
Johnson said that he considers Stortz “a friend.”
“I would appreciate his support,” Johnson said.
There may be other GOP contenders eyeing a possible mayoral run as well.
“I never rule out anything,” said Zoning Commission Chairman Frank Johnson, one of those who admit to considering the idea. He said he is still watching closely from the sidelines.
On the Democratic side, longtime city Councilor Art Ward is already running for mayor. Another councilor, Ellen Zoppo, is expected to join the contest Monday.
Zoppo said that she will let the Democratic Town Committee know Monday what her political plans are for the year. She could still choose to run for council again.
“There is an electoral process in place and it’s flexing its muscles at this point,” Mocabee said.
Johnson and Stortz were once allies, but it took the Democratic-controlled council to keep Johnson on the Water Board recently after Stortz moved to oust him for missing too many meetings.
Johnson is a licensed real estate broker and owner of A Buyer’s Market. He is also president of Municipal Energy Consulting Group, which was hired by the city to help it fight for more money from Connecticut Light & Power’s billing mistakes for street lights over the years.
Johnson, who worked for Northeast Utilities for 21 years before resigning to start his own business, is a 1976 Bristol Eastern High School graduate. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1980.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children.
Mocabee said that voters are going to be happy with the new Republican candidate lineup that will be unveiled shortly.
“It’s good growth for Bristol Republicans. It’s exciting,” he said. “And I think the public will be pleased with what we’ve been working on all winter long.”


May 16, 2007

Carros Endorses Stortz (if he runs, Stortz that is)

Email from Alex Carros, Republican loyalist, to many GOP activists today:

I support the candidacy* of two-term (non consecutive) and incumbent Bill Stortz for Mayor of Bristol.
Thank you.
*when and if he decides to run

Open government?

It might not be a violation of the state's open government law, but it certainly violates the spirit of the statute.
At its first meeting, the new Bristol Downtown Development Corp. talked about creating a budget committee. John Leone, a former mayor who serves as a director, even suggested the panel consist of Mayor William Stortz, Frank Johnson and Gardner Wright.
But the corporate leaders, who are operating under the state Freedom of Information rules, didn't formally establish the committee.
Last Friday, though, Stortz got Wright and Johnson to join him in the mayor's office for an 8 a.m. session to set up a preliminary budget for the new company.
That meeting, Stortz said Wednesday, "was not posted."
At the downtown company's second meeting -- on Monday night -- the directors established the committee AND took its recommendation for a $350,000 budget to get things going.
Stortz said he doesn't think the open government law was broken by the gathering in his office.
"Technically, I don't believe we ever formed a committee" whose meetings would have to be posted, he said. "I don't believe we officially formed it."
That's nitpicking, though, since it's clear the panel existed and that its actions at the Friday meeting were ratified three days later by the nonprofit corporation.
"We were trying to do things right," Stortz said. "We're not trying to hide anything."
That's probably true, too, since everything the three directors decided was discussed openly a few days later.
It may be that this is one of those no harm, no foul situations. But the company's directors, and the mayor, need to make sure they're not skirting the letter of the law. They should err on the side of open government.

May 14, 2007

Ward holding June 21 pasta dinner fundraiser

Press release from Art Ward's mayoral campaign:

Tickets Are In - Limited Supply - Only 500 Available

WARD for Mayor 2007

Pasta Supper

Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 4pm to 8pm
Bristol American Legion
22 Hooker Court, Bristol, CT

Pasta & Meatballs - Free Soda & Coffee & Tea

Adults $10.00 - Seniors, Children 10 & under $5.00
Children under 5 - Free


We Mail, We Deliver, We Save & We Sell At The Door

"Together We Can"

Paid For By Ward For Mayor 2007 Committee, Robert Dunlap, Treasurer

McDonald's at the mall

I'm often asked what's going to happen to the McDonald's at the downtown mall.
The answer is: nobody knows for sure.
The restaurant there is in a unique position because it owns its land and it has an easement for cars to reach its drive-through window and parking lot. It's a little hamburger oasis in the barren mall property (though it would never rate among the company's finer franchises).
What's likely to happen, if ex-Mayor Gerard Couture and current Mayor William Stortz can be trusted, is that the McDonald's will vacate its spot in return for a guaranteed new place in whatever gets built on the 17-acre mall site (or perhaps a spot nearby). Rest assured, McDonald's will make out fine, because it has been cooperative and it fits in with most any development scheme.
What's less clear is how developers will incorporate in a drive-through window, which is clearly something that the restaurant owner would want to keep. But no doubt that will get worked out, too.
The Dunkin' Donuts site just past the western edge of the city's 17 acres might also wind up swallowed by whatever revitalization scheme is eventually adopted. That would put it in much the same position as the McDonald's.

May 11, 2007

Zoppo says she'll announce on May 21

City Councilor Ellen Zoppo said Friday she will decide next Thursday whether she'll enter the mayor's race or not. But she won't announce her plans until the Democratic Town Committee on Monday, May 21, which is being held at the Board of Education.
Zoppo said that she commissioned polls that she hoped to have done in March, but they had to be put off because of all the turmoil connected to mall and the "no confidence" vote that city councilors took to show their anger at Republican Mayor William Stortz.
She said, though, that the delay in polling did not effect her timetable for the campaign. She said she always planned to make a final decision about whether to run for mayor in May.
Democrat Art Ward, the longest-serving city councilor, is already in the race. Stortz hasn't said what he intends to do.

It's no picnic at City Hall

When Gerard Couture was mayor, he decided to throw a little party for city workers.
The workday shindig, featuring hotdogs and a few minutes away from the grind, proved a hit among employees and perhaps helped create some new personal bonds that might have made the city government run a tad more smoothly.
That's hard to measure.
But a handful of city workers, all women, thought it was a morale booster that ought to be replicated. So they set to work on the planning for another pre-Memorial Day picnic that would be paid for by the workers themselves.
Everything was rolling along, with plans coming together and posters announcing the event appearing all over City Hall.
Then, suddenly, the posters vanished.
Nobody wanted to say on the record what happened, but they all said that Mayor William Stortz could explain.
Stortz said he didn't really know.
"It's not my picnic," he joked, adding that "some things unforeseen came up" that made it impossible to have the much-anticipated event. He didn't elaborate.
"I'm always willing to go to a picnic, and help out, too," the mayor said.
But there's no picnic to attend.
And by all accounts, except the mayor's, morale took a hit at City Hall.

Colapietro slams "Mocababy"

It's no secret that state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat, hasn't got much use for the city's Republican Party chairman.
On Friday, he said he has a couple of nicknames for the GOP boss, Art Mocabee.
Colapietro called the Republican official "Mocababy" and "Mockery."

Emails tell the tale in Democratic mayoral fight

From Patti Ewen, city treasurer, to City Councilor Art Ward (cc'd to Councilor Ellen Zoppo)
Sent: Thu, 10 May 2007 8:49 AM
Subject: Elections
Last winter while I was in Florida, I informed Ellen and you that I was remaining uncommitted until a later date. I know you both well, have worked with you both for a very long time. I consider you both hard workers dedicated to Bristol's future. I have made the terribly difficult decision. I will support Ellen on endorsement night. I wish you well. I hope we conduct an admirable campaign that leads to a Democratic Mayor. We need no more terms like the present regime. And thanks for standing up for Jonathan.......p

From Ward to Ewen
On May 10, 2007, at 9:30 AM
That's the process

From Zoppo to Ewen (mistakenly sent to Ward)
May 10, 2007 4:56:08 PM
Subject: Re: Elections
Thank you for your endorsement.

From Ward to Zoppo
On May 10, 2007, at 9:33 PM
Ellen, is there a reason that I need to be E-mailed on your gratitude for Patti Ewen's endorsement, other than a gloating factor, but that the whole DTC shouldn't be?
I respect Ms. Ewen's decision, even though no reasons were stated to substantiate it, but Patti asked that we formulate an admirable campaign - your actions are less than positive in attempting to achieve that request.
I would suggest that if you are contemplating announcing your candidacy for seeking the office of mayor in the 2007 election cycle, that you stand up now and announce that fact rather than victimize people by your utilization of procrastination and less than credible methods, which are solely for your own political benefit. .
The issues are obvious, you just need to decide if you are going to run as a Democrat, an unaffililiated voter or, based upon your actions over the past 1 1/2 years, opt to serve as a Republican.
The voters have a right to know..

From Zoppo to Ward
On May 10, 2007, at 9:57 PM
Dear Art,
I am sorry you were offended by my thank you to she had addressed the original e-mail to you and cc'ed me, I had hit reply which sent it to you as opposed to her, prior to leaving my house for the Historical Society annual dinner tonight. My apologies.

May 10, 2007

Federal Hill arson plea

Within hours of the fire that destroyed a historic house at 380 Main St., former Republican City Council candidate Steve Coan was convinced it was arson -- and pretty damn sure who lit the match.
The city's fire chief, Denis Pieri, has come to the same conclusion. Pieri's asking for the public's help in solving the crime.
Though Coan's wise enough not to name anyone, he's doing what he can to convince the person he thinks is behind the fire to turn himself in.
At this week's council meeting, Coan took the podium during public participation to declare, "We have a lunatic loose in this city."
He said that he and his neighbors on Federal Hill are "afraid to sleep" at night for fear that a maniac could strike their homes.
Coan said that he hopes the arsonist will come forward.
"Turn yourself in," Coan said, aware the cameras were rolling. "Get some help."

May 9, 2007

Outsiders need not apply

Talking about politics the other day, Mayor William Stortz pointed out that for the past half century, and perhaps longer, Bristol hasn't elected a single mayor who didn't serve a stint on the City Council beforehand.
He said that he figures that outsiders have a hard road to haul if they haven't been on the council because it's not easy to build a political base. Councilors obviously already have one, of some sort.
Clearly, if voters are mad enough, they might look for someone untainted by politics to take the city's top job. But if they haven't been that angry in the past 50+ years, they probably aren't going to change their ways now.
What does it mean for this year's race? Maybe nothing.
At this point, the only declared candidate is Art Ward, a longtime Democratic councilor. Others who may run include Storz, a Republican, and Councilor Ellen Zoppo, a Democrat.
One other possible contender is former state Rep. Roger Michele, who dodged a couple of opportunities this year to deny his interest. Michele never served on the council, but he put in 12 years in Hartford before losing last year's campaign to Ron Burns, a Republican who had plenty of behind-the-scenes help from Democrats disenchanted by Michele.

Mayoral hopeful Art Ward's first "Position Paper"

Councilor Art Ward issued this statement late Sunday:

All citizens have a right to know where their elected officials stand on a multitude of issues, one of these being city spending and the residents tax dollars.
Our senior citizens, our Bristol residents who are on fixed incomes, those taxpayers whose incomes are void of any expendable income and all of us who contribute to the fiscal wellness of this community need to have the assurance that our governmental spending is prioritized, controlled and fiscally responsible.
Nary a month has gone by in this administration whereby the Mayor, the Board of Education or members of our City Council have not suggested, advocated for or speculated on the promotion of ideas such as a new, relocated city hall, new multimillion dollar school facilities, new synthetic ball fields or the creation of a new ultra-expensive sports complex on the Roberts property.
In and of themselves, most of these issues can stand on it's own merits but thrown together, creating only a web of personalized wish lists, not a one can be generated to become reality.
We, as the City of Bristol cannot afford to do them all nor can we afford all at once. I favor some spending but I do not favor all spending.
I have always favored the idea of prioritizing city projects based upon need and fiscal responsibility. Revitalizing and maintaining our existing parks, such as Rockwell park, must come before adding major additions to our park system in order to insure that we do not sacrifice our present park structure.
Undoubtedly, our school system needs to be addressed but not without the benefit of either public opinion or regard of the need for accountability of our board of Education. These recent plans of returning to a K-8 system of education have been dumped on the doorstep of the City Council in a very haphazard manner. Parents have not, in my opinion, had sufficient opportunity to express their preference for the retention of neighborhood schools or the return to the K-8 system and the effects of this proposal, such as the increased bussing of students. The dissemination of the merits or detriments of either approach has not been conveyed to the parents of our student population nor the general public. The Board of Education has not addressed the issues of prospective land costs associated with the potential proposed purchases of additional properties such as the Scalia or Crowley properties, right or wrong, needed or not.
The Bristol Board of Education needs to go back and conduct neighborhood meetings to instill a greater detailed understanding for these initiatives. City Planner Alan Weiner ran an excellent series of meetings on the impact of the proposed Route 72 for the public and the Board of education should do not less on this most important issue for our community.
As a Cochairman of the first Park Revitalization Committee, I was a proponent, along with the rest of that established committee, for the Brackett Park and E.G. Stocks projects followed by the revitalization of both Rockwell and Page Park along with the rest of our existing parks and then, and only then addressing the expansion of any proposed park property such as the Roberts property.
The revitalization of Rockwell Park was to be initiated through the availability of (4) four million dollars of state funding, which this administration did not pursue, resulting in the delay of any progress on this project and the need for the recent 5 Year Capital Improvement allocation of over (2) two million dollars of Bristol taxpayer's dollars. As a result, this administration has not delivered on promised programs such as the long awaited Skate Board Park or the proposed Dog Park. As Mayor, I will actively pursue the completion of priorities as these.
We should be responsibly looking at our long-term spending priorities and as Mayor, I will advocate that all departments, commissions and boards, including the Board of Education, envision their long-term needs with an eye on responsible fiscal planning and the establishment of long-term spending priorities.
Of the (14) fourteen budget processes which I have participated in approving, (5) five contained no tax increases, most increases were under a mil. Two years ago candidate Bill Stortz ran a campaign that professed that a huge tax increase would be necessary, only to realize after his election that a surplus existed demonstrating, despite republican rhetoric, that Democratic administrations promoted conservative, fiscally responsible budgets while delivering prioritized agendas of public service.
Working with respect, cooperation and in concert with the Comptroller's office and the Board of Finance, we will deliver sound fiscal management. In difference to the present administration, mutual respect for people will be the standard, not the exception.
Finally, fiscal stability and growth of revenue enhancement requires grant resources and economic development. We will recognize the value of our personnel, their expertise and their abilities to further the growth of the City of Bristol rather than allowing personal vendettas to tarnish the reputation and impede the progress of this great community. Prioritization will immediately center on development of both the Center Mall property and Southeast Industrial Park along with the continued revitalization of our city park system. TOGETHER WE CAN MOVE FOR-WARD.

An unexpected twist

Whoever made it happen knew what he was doing.
City councilors Tuesday approved the latest "Dave Lepore Volunteer of the Year" nominee, honoring a resident whose unpaid service on a municipal board or commission was exemplary.
This time around, they picked Joel Wulff, the former chairman of the city's Water Board, a man that Mayor William Stortz dumped from the panel after decades of service.
Until Stortz entered the picture after the 2005 race, city leaders had long hailed Wulff's leadership of the Water Board as exactly what they wanted. He knew the issues. He knew the players. Wulff, they all said, was the epitomy of a solid volunteer, willing to devote his time and energy to help the city.
Stortz, obviously, disagreed. And since mayors tend to win most of the fights they pick, Wulff was forced out.
But he got some recognition for his service, which is nice, and he got it because someone wanted to stick it to the mayor.
That happens, too.
At the same meeting that Wulff got the nod for the annual award, councilors also approved a new four-year term as water superintendent for Leonard Valentino, another guy that Stortz would rather see gone.
Valentino had planned to retire this year -- he's more or less working for free now because his pension would almost match his $100,000+ yearly salary -- but stayed on because he did not want Stortz to pick his successor. Look for him to retire if Stortz loses in November.

May 8, 2007

District 1 City Council race is underway

In the 1st District, Democrat Rich Kilby said he's planning to run with Cliff Block in this year's municipal campaign.
Block, who ran unsuccessfully for the part-time council seat in 2005, said he's not ready to say what his plans are this time around.
They'll be aiming to hang on to the seat that longtime Councilor Art Ward is giving up in order to run for mayor this year.
Republican Mike Rimcoski, who defeated Block two years ago, is likely to run again. But Rimcoski said he's also not ready to declare his intentions.
There is no word yet on who might run with Rimcoski.