June 16, 2009

Strange politics at play

Taking into account that Gov. Jodi Rell is a Republican, it's strange that she's taking aim at a Bristol technical school championed by GOP stalwarts.
There are no shortage of state institutions in Democratic districts, after all, and the logic of the proposed closure of the Bristol Technical Education Center is shaky at best. The $2 million savings Rell anticipates almost certainly don't exist.
The school is located in state Rep. Bill Hamzy's 78th District. Hamzy, a former state GOP chairman, is an increasingly respected figure within state Republican circles who doesn't appear to have any personal conflicts with Rell.
He's also a big backer of the school.
And the head of the state's technical high school committee is yet another Republican with ties to Rell: Bristol's Beverly Bobroske. She's also a strong supporter of the school.
Throw in the insistence by the Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce and a host of businesses throughout the region that hire the school's graduates and the political logic of targeting it gets even more odd.
The school has bipartisan backing, to be sure. Democrats say they love it, too, and have shown over the years that they mean it.
So what's the deal with it? The only critics of the place only argue that if something has to close to save painful cuts somewhere else, then shut it down.
But if there are no real savings from closure and political powerbrokers on both sides of the aisle want it to stay open, what's really going on?
It's hard to believe that Rell would, in the end, stick it to the Republican lawmaker who represents the school and shutter a school whose overseer is one of her GOP allies. That's just not how politics works.
*******
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

45 comments:

Poboy said...

This is the type of local leadership we are getting on the Bristol Tech issue.
Quote from the Bristol school superintendent in a Bristol Press article dated May 29 -

Streifer said the state’s vocational education system has to share in the sacrifices.
If that means closing the Bristol technical school, Streifer said, “so be it.”

Quote from Frank Johnson, director of the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut in the same article-

Closing the school is “one of the ideas that has to be looked at if you’re going to cut state spending,” Johnson said. “It’s not an inexpensive venture to have that satellite school there.”

No appeals or ideas brought forward to keep the school open from either of these so-called leaders of the community. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Close the damn school already . Tear it down , turn the earth with salt , so idiots won't be tempted to waste our money in the future .

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

What's even more surprising is how both Hamzy and Bobroske have not been as vocal in their opposition to the closing.

Hamzy has made comments but not as much as other local representatives.

And Bobroske is speaking up on this for the first time now. After the issue has been out there for weeks.

Are they not being as vocal out of party loyalty? Even if Rell isn't necessarily showing such support herself.

Anonymous said...

You have a dim view of politicians. There are some who are there to do what they think is best, not to blindly follow the party line. You have Jodi Rells, and then you have Tom Colapietros.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible the Republicans are starting to self implode locally, too? You betcha!

On the other hand, Grammy Rell isn't making any friends these days. It's also possible she's on her way out. No mention of another bid for the Governor's Mansion, yet.

Anonymous said...

It will certainly cause an increase in students in Bristol Public Schools and that means Streifer gets more money for teachers and busing. Tom O'Brien never did like it so perhaps that's the reason they are closing it. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Anonymous said...

Re: Poboy comments

I think both "leaders" said what they think, close the school. You may not agree with their positions, but that does not make them wrong, you wrong, them right, you right, just everyone's opinion.

My opinion, Rell is doing what she needs to do to keep taxes in check. Face the facts, services will have to be cut to save money. I give Rell credit for doing what I believe is correct, albeit unpopular. It's the old saying, cut everything, but not what I like, want or need.

Anonymous said...

I think they picked Bristol because it's one of the two smallest VoTech's in the state and would therefore affect the fewest people by closing. This may be an instance of politics NOT at play, when it very well shouldn't be. People want lower taxes yet they want to cling to every last public service and institution. Sorry, but lower taxes = smaller government. And by lower taxes I mean reasonable tax hikes, since revenues have plummeted through the floor due to the economy. Get used to services disappearing left and right... next year will be worse.

Anonymous said...

How much can we save by closing the tech school? The students who attend the tech school will just be shuttled back to bchs or behs. You'll have to pay for their education anyway as taxpayers, and the school system will have to find the classroom space for them. am i wrong in thinking that its six of one, half dozen of the other when it comes to these kids and where they go to school? they need an education and we have to pay for it. didn't steve post in a prior blog entry that it costs just over $18K to send each high school student to school and the price difference between tech school kids and regular school kids is nominal? its clear that this doesn't help bristol any. i'd like to see a clearer statement of exactly how this improves the state government's finances. if our tech school is going to be axed, it should be a big enough line item that it actually impacts the budget in some significant way.

Concerned Conservative said...

The Bristol Tech School (operated by the State of Connecticut) is small and not in a centralized location (compared to Kaynor and Goodwin) and is also in between the afrementioned schools and Wolcott in Torrington. So why is anyone suprised this is on the table in this bad economy and in the midst of a state dominated by big-spending, progressive liberals (Legislative Democrats) who are bankrupting Connecticut?

Anonymous said...

At least the unions are secure with their golden benefits, oh that and the wealthy don't have to worry about tax increases. Everyone else (which is most of us) gets screwed by all these calls for sacrifice.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Since when did our education system become as expendable as every other "public service" that Republicans want to put on the line.

And whether or not you agree with the closure the facts remain that it's one of the few technical schools where enrollment has gone up.

You may think you don't need a public service. But you'll need an electrician.

Concerned Conservative said...

Anonwestconn-liberal-coolaide-drinking-stooge:

Seeing the teacher unions are just about the only public union people that are actually demanding pay raises in this economy, your statement is total hogwash.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - June 17, 2009 9:37 AM

The trick here is that the state doesn't have to and won't give Bristol another plug nickel to educate these kids at bchs or behs. That headache belongs to Striefer and O'Brien who already came out against Bristol Tech publicly. It's falls 100% to Bristol taxpayers who have already set a budget. Game-set-match.

Anonymous said...

So Donovan comes to town and snookers all the republicans into disagreeing with Governor.

Do the math. $2,000,000 divided by 110 students is over $18,000 per student. We could send them all to another school in limousines for that cost.

Another look at the math. If there is a staff of 30 at an average salary of $60,000 plus benefit costs of about 40% (yes that is what state employee benefits cost) that is $84,000 per staff person or $2,520,000 per year.

Since there are undoubtedly teachers in the vo-tech system that took the retirement offer these staff people would go to other institutions to back-fill open positions in order to avoid hiring replacement staff. No matter how you cut it, there is an overall budget savings.

The Bristol whine squad refuses to entertain the idea of cuts that actually affect Bristol. Where should the cuts come, in the other 168 towns?

Close the New Britain DMV, most of it can be done on-line or when the bus visits Bristol.

Close the court & clean up downtown.

Close the vo-tech and end this luxury we can no longer afford.

The alternative from the Democrats is to tax every business out of business. Then there will be no jobs. Brilliant.

Tim Gamache said...

CC: Can't you just ONCE make your point without that childish name calling?People might take you more seriously.

Anonymous said...

Re: 4:01 PM

Bravo!

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Concerned Conservative:

Oh really. PROVE IT! Show me where the teacher's unions are supposedly asking for a pay raise. Or keep your union bashing bs to yourself.

Anonymous said...

So CC how much are you willing to give back ?

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

4:01 -

No one is arguing there would be budget savings. The question is that would that be beneficial to a city that has lost so much in public services to begin with.

Should the cuts come from the other 168 towns? Hell Yea!

Bristol is a CITY. Almost 60,000 people. To suggest that a city of 60,000 should be deprived of access to a DMV, Courthouse, Unemployment office, Social Security office, Vo-tech school, Social Services office, AND adequate public transportation is beyond insane.

This is what I can't understand about the "small government" crowd. When all is said and done you can close all the public services you want, you'll still be paying taxes and it'll just go to someone else's benefit.

"Starving the Beast" and "Yo-Yo" economics does not work!

And Bristol needs to look out for the sake of its own community needs.

Anonymous said...

While the tech school is important,and DMV in New Britain is important, I would like to see and hear more about local issues.
We do have a municipal election in less than 5 months.
What about the Court House, the Mall, cuts in the local budget, will there be a defecit and so on.

Anonymous said...

Bristol is finished in five years only union people will be herethen lets watch them suffer like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

EVEN VALLEY BANK IS FALLING APART THET CANT EVEN KEEP QUALIFIED PEOPLE IN POSITIONS. TRY TO DO BUISNESS WITH THEM. SOON CARPENTER WILL HAVE MORE VACANT SPACE DOWN TOWN.

Anonymous said...

Bristol is shutting down quick. Schools banks stores and officesand restraunts going away.

Anonymous said...

Bring Stortz back!

Anonymous said...

June 17, 2009 4:01 PM

"Do the math. $2,000,000 divided by 110 students is over $18,000 per student. We could send them all to another school in limousines for that cost."

Of course a technical school costs more per student. The technology itself is certainly more expensive than textbooks and supplies used in a regular classroom of 25 students. The technology also needs to be regularly updated to keep up with changes in the "real world."

Technology education is a specialized education. If you compare it to the cost to educate a special education student many would consider it a bargain. Additionally, many of the students who chose a technical program are not engaged in the courses offered in the traditional public school classroom. They are much more likely to drop out or underachieve if not given the opportunity to select a program that matches their interests.

Technical school choices need to be expanded not contracted. The skills gained and the jobs associated with them are some of the few opportunities left in America that can't easily be outsourced to another country.

Concerned Conservative said...

Anonwestconn:

Anyone can contact any Board of Ed and get that information. Please do so to end your ignorance on this matter.

June 18, 2009 5:39 AM:

Unlike public teachers, I'm underpaid already.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

CC:

So when did you call them? And if you did how much more are they asking for? I'm sure we'd all like to know.

Anonymous said...

How come Ward isn't calling the democrat delegation to do something?

They have the votes!

useless delegation said...

probably because they are the same as the leadership of the house and the senate - not doing a dam thing. ward has done a lot more, with a lot less, than any of them.

Anonymous said...

6:51

Because the democrats want to use this as a political issue against Rell.
The D's don't care about the school or students, all they care about is staying in office.

strange said...

if you think that things are strange in hartford, how come the fire people weren't asked to give anything to the city for the budget but the rest of us had to - is ward catering to his fire union buddies again?

Anonymous said...

Lets have real news this crap is getting old our politians are doing shit and only care for headlines.

Anonymous said...

We need to clean house in the next election. Let's try a Republican majority; the Dems have been loading the taxes on us for years. We're done with them.

Anonymous said...

5:28 Is the school getting old in your eyes? You sound like CC. You are just looking for something to complain about as long as it isn't done by a Republican. You are too obvious. You are blindly partisan. I don't think any of you cry babys care about anything that happens in Bristol. Grow up all of you !

giveback said...

drive by a firehouse and you'll see why the truck bumpers are so shiny, the firefighters sit on them all day so they can't get dirty.

Anonymous said...

7:28 AM,

A paid fire fighter is an insurance policy to protect life and property in the event of a fire. A service that most people who choose to reside in cities and larger suburbs appreciate.

Rational people don't go crash up their cars just to collect on their collusion coverage. Similarly, rational people wouldn't expect fire fighters to commit themselves and expensive equipment to fight fires that don't exist. Are you saying we should have more fires because we have these fire fighters sitting around? You do realize that fire fighters "on-call" status is a documented high stressor since they could be called into a potentially life-threatening event at any given moment?

Thank you fire fighters and police officers. Your service is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

We need to clean house in the next election. Let's try a Republican majority; the Dems have been loading the taxes on us for years. We're done with them.

June 22, 2009 10:54 PM
Obviously this jerk doesn't remember when the so called know-it-alls like him were in the majority. They were useless and that's why their numbers keep getting smaller and smaller. Wise up and start thinking like the rest of the world they sure as hell don't think like you!

Anonymous said...

Close the damn school already . Tear it down , turn the earth with salt , so idiots won't be tempted to waste our money in the future .

June 16, 2009 7:23 PM
Republican idiology.
I rest my case.

Poboy said...

"if you think that things are strange in hartford, how come the fire people weren't asked to give anything to the city for the budget but the rest of us had to"

Firefighters are coming up on their third year without a conract.
Roll back your salary to 3 years ago and you can call it even. Actually, the budget does include an amount for anticipated increases in firefighter' pay, but it won't be paid out any time soon, if at all, so I guess in a way they are already giving back. If and when they do get an increase, the city will get to keep all the interest earned on the money they held back.

Anonymous said...

11:16

And all the interest is peanuts compared to what the city is losing by taking money from the Fund Balance!

Denmark odor said...

heard that maybe if the firefighters weren't so greedy there contract wouldn't be 3 years behind, everybody else's contracts are signed - why don't they go to the state?

Anonymous said...

11:16

And spent on lawyers!

Anonymous said...

"everybody else's contracts are signed"
... and then everyone had to give back under threat of layoffs. As close to bad faith bargaining as you can get.

"heard that maybe if the firefighters weren't so greedy"

Funny, I heard that Ward and Furgeson are rejecting firefighter proposals that will save the city thousands because their heads are so far up their butts thaey can't see the light of day. This, after these two incompetents ignored proposals that would take the entire burden of retiree health care off the backs of taxpayers. I guess you hear what you want to hear.

Anonymous said...

Anonwestconn:

Anyone can contact any Board of Ed and get that information. Please do so to end your ignorance on this matter.

June 18, 2009 5:39 AM:

Unlike public teachers, I'm underpaid already.

June 20, 2009 12:03 PM
Only according to you CC. You are the only one Alex that thinks your worth something . No faceless , gutless person like you is worth anything