October 24, 2007

Overview of The Great Debate

In the final scheduled mayoral debate of the campaign, Republican hopeful Ken Johnson came out swinging.
Vowing to bring greater honesty and integrity to government, Johnson said that he is "not satisfied that all contracts are done properly and completely above board" at City Hall.
Democrat Art Ward, who’s served on the City Council for 14 years, said he took exception to the charge.
It’s unclear what caused Johnson to question the propriety of municipal contracts, but he said after the debate at the Little League complex that he would provide specific information on Thursday.
During the faceoff, sponsored by the Democratic and Republican parties, both candidates sounded themes and touched on issues they have rehashed frequently during the campaign, but a few intriguing, new items came to light as well.
Among the new issues raised were whether to collect extra conveyance taxes, whether to build a public safety headquarters, how to avoid a decline in the city’s fortunes and how best to deal with an open government complaint filed last summer challenging a “scripted” city meeting in January that led to the creation of the downtown corporation.
Johnson said he would “do away” with the extra conveyance tax charged when property is sold, a move that would immediately drain more than $1 million from the city’s revenues.
Ward said the money is needed for costly, one-time purchases and that failing to collect the money would hurt most taxpayers.
Though both candidates said there’s a growing space crunch at the police and fire departments as well as City Hall, Johnson’s answer for the problem was to seek a creative answer that would mesh together with downtown planning.
Ward said that he believes it is time to consider a police and fire safety complex that would combine the headquarters of both the police and fire departments.
Both Ward and Johnson, who face the voters on November 6, said that Bristol is at a crossroads.
“We are at a very, very critical junction," Johnson said, because Bristol is no longer a little town.
"It would be very easy for us to slide down that slippery slope" and face the woes that afflict New Britain, Waterbury and Meriden, he said.
The way to avoid it, Johnson said, is that “we must aggressively market the city of Bristol" to attract new businesses to expand the tax base.
"Perception becomes reality," Ward said, adding that is why revitalizing the mall site and opening the new industrial park are so important.
Ward said they would bring jobs, places to shop and more "along with preserving our neighborhoods."
He also said he wants to take up the "clean and green" policy of former Mayor Gerard Couture that focused on neighborhood improvements.
Johnson said that he would like to see the Freedom of Information complaint filed against the city over the meeting last winter that city Councilor Ellen Zoppo “scripted” beforehand.
He said the pending FOI complaint "does not serve the best interests of the people" and was only intended "to poke a stick in the eye" of Zoppo, Ward's primary opponent.
Ward said he is committed to open government.
But Johnson zinged Ward for participating in another “scripted” session in 2005 before the approval of a new housing code. Ward did not respond to Johnson’s prodding on the issue.
More details of the debate are available online on reporter Steve Collins’ Bristol Blog at bristolpress.com.
The debate is going to be shown twice on cable channel 21 by Nutmeg TV, at 6 p.m. Sunday and again on Monday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.


*******
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure sounds as if Johnson was protecting Zoppo much of the night. I am sure Ellen thinks working with Johnson is in the best interest of the city, but she needs to remember - WE VOTED HER OUT! Johnson needs to stand up on HIS OWN and stop being the feel good approach. If you are such an assest as you claim then why did you get fired after 21 years of service to a company?

Anonymous said...

Of course Ken Johnson wants to get rid of the conveyance tax. It hurts his bottom line when he sells a piece of property.

Anonymous said...

Not only that, but how does he see that the FOI complaint does not servie the people of Bristol? If there was a violation, which I am sure it will be ruled there was, is Johnson saying that people don't have the right to know or should file an FOI?
Taking away my right to vote for members on the BOE, taking away my home if he thinks it best for the city? NO THANK KEN JOHNSON - I LOVE MY RIGHTS & FREEDOMS!

Bob Boudreau said...

To Anonymous at 5:05a

Do you have FACTUAL proof that Johnson was fired from his position at CL&P?

Or is this another case of heresay and gossip?





To Anonymous at 8:09a

Actually correct me if I am wrong,

The conveyance tax is something that the BUYER of property has to pay, NOT the Agents brokering the deals.

It would appear that you have your information incorrect on the conveyance tax

Anonymous said...

So now, based on the first post here, Art Ward's inability to debate and answer questions goes back to Ellen and how she must be helping Ken? That's a stretch don't you think?

I think what the debates this week point out is that Art Ward is alot smarter than I gave him credit for. If he can't handle Ken Johnson in a debate, there is no way he would way survived a debate with Elen. Good move on his part ducking them.

Anonymous said...

Conveyance taxes hurt homeowners not Realtors!!

Anonymous said...

Steve,
I attended the debate last night. You deserve kudos for the succint and immediate reporting of the event. I can't understand how you can type up a synopsis of statements and listen to all that's going on at the same time. You definitely deserve a raise!

Anonymous said...

Ward won for sure on the debates because the first thing Johnson did was come out attacking Ward. Proves Ken is a hot head and will say anything to get voted in. Sorry but that snake oil man already came by 2 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Lets see if we can get some of Johnsons "ways" right:
1. Do away with the conveyance tax.
Sure pass the shortfall onto the rest of us. Create a shortfall so other services maybe cut.
2. Go to an appointed BOE.
Sure take my right as a parent away for me. Take away my right to vote.
3. FOI was to "Poke a stick in Ellen's eye"
Hey Ken it was Ellen's stick!!
Clearly you cannot see the difference with the agenda in 2005 and the one where the FOI was filed on her.
In her word: "We don't want any leaks", "Don't let Art see"
Ken you SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS SCRIPT? You need to stop taking acting classes and attend Common Sense 101.

You need to be honest with the voters Ken the information you were provided was not your research, it came from Ellen. At least try to be honest with yourself.

Anonymous said...

It's okay through for Art Ward to receive a script and participate in the scripted meeting when the Housing codes were imposed on homewoners.

That's okay right Dems.

You can't have it both ways. You are all like Ward flip flopping like a fish on hot tar.

Anonymous said...

You guys are absolutly right Art Ward has a ton of experience.... at doing nothing while being elected for the past 14 years. Time for change is now, any educated voter would understand this sentiment Johnson for Mayor '07

Anonymous said...

Johnson didn't do a very good job keeping his promise to hold a clean campaign.

He has done nothing but bash Ward and thrown out accusations and inuendo since Ward didn't vote to re-appoint him to the Water Board.

This shows that he is another person that you don't want in office because if he doesn't get his way he will try to stomp all over you.

Anonymous said...

There goes Johnson's promise of running a clean campaign. All that Ward bashing...shame on you Kenny! Now I know why everyone thinks Zoppo's involved. Johnson is using her tactics.

Anonymous said...

Ken Johnson has run an extreamly clean race thus far. He has said nothing against Ward except for the plain facts everybody knows about. Voters deserve to be informed on these truths, and I hope Ken keeps spreading them.

Anonymous said...

Steve, c'mon - what is the purpose of posting that last comment about Johnson using Zoppo's tactics? HE basehd HER, not the other way around! These posters are really rewriting history and history is what it is. THE PRIMARY IS OVER! I am so sick of all the "poor Artie" whining.

Anonymous said...

Oh and the Ward people NEVER attacked Zoppo.

Yeah Right

Anonymous said...

"But Johnson zinged Ward for participating in another “scripted” session in 2005 before the approval of a new housing code. Ward did not respond to Johnson’s prodding on the issue."

See Art ... you live by the sword, you die by the sword!

Anonymous said...

maybe, this,like all of Johnson's other unsubstantiated, blow-hard insinuations, they can't be accusations because then he would have to prove them, ward realized the unfounded stupidity of the subject.
Wake up Ken, election day is coming upon us and you will need to either put up or be shut up on November 6th.

Anonymous said...

wateched that debate which was held at the Little League center this week - ward definately won this one, he had it all over Johnson and had him flustered a couple of times about issues such as his wanting to expand the city council and his contact with that Municipal Energy firm.
I know why I am voting for Ward.