June 30, 2010

Foley cuts commercial

Tom Foley, an hour ago, making a television commercial.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

More pictures from the future Foley commercial

Now it seems a generic politician gets a turn to kick the red cans down our sidewalk. Here's a couple of pictures:

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Foley commercial shoot featuring a cute kid and a red can


Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Is my neighborhood going downhill or upscale?

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley is going to be kicking a can down the street out in front of my house soon.
A horde of television commercial people have camped out, setting up for the former ambassador to come shoot an advertisement today.
They told me he's going to kick a can down the street to symbolize the way politicians in Connecticut have been kicking the deficit from year to year to year.
Somehow they've arranged for perfect weather and even managed to get the lawn care companies that are always causing some machine to roar nearby to go away.
I'll let you know if Foley can kick a can accurately or not.

11 a.m. update - They must not have trusted Foley to kick the can.
Instead, there's a telegenic kid doing it.
And it's the loudest can I ever heard.
Foley's coming later. He'll probably pick up the can or something and tell us how he's different than all the politicians who came before him.

11:05 a.m. update -- Oh, those advertising gurus.
It's not one can, folks. It's a bunch of them.
They're all red.
And each time the kid kicks one along the sidewalk, it gets bigger. Get it? That's clever.
For this year's deficit, he'll probably be pushing a great big giant one.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Watch my boss ring the bell to open the New York Stock Exchange

Press owner Michael Schroeder opened today's trading session at the New York Stock Exchange by ringing the bell along with a bunch of young people and a few other guys whose faces are too blurry on my screen for me to identify. One of them, though, is Mike Suchopar of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club.
You can watch the video of it here.
If the markets soar today, we're definitely taking credit. If they go south, though, it doesn't reflect on us one iota.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Voters to choose on six charter change proposals

Though half the City Council opposes doubling the length of time elected officials serve between elections, councilors unanimously agreed Tuesday to let voters decide this fall whether to make the change or not.

“I strongly believe the public should have a say,” said city Councilor Ken Cockayne.

The proposed charter changes that councilors agreed to put on the Nov. 2 general election ballot also include requiring mayors to ensure top city supervisors are evaluated annually and a few items that are not considered controversial.

All of the suggested changes by the Charter Revision Commission were backed without dissent, ensuring that six proposed revisions to the city government’s blueprint will find a place on the ballot.  Click here for full story.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 29, 2010

CL&P: Don't blame us

When Officer Robert Mosback drove his police cruiser into a utility pole on Riverside Avenue late Saturday, it caused two separate electrical circuits carrying nearly 28,000 volts to fall on top of a line that normally carries 4,800 volts, according to Connecticut Light & Power.
The resulting power surge, which affected more than 800 customers, blew out computers, appliances, phones, wall sockets, televisions, microwaves, washing machines and more.
Though the electrical lines went dead almost instantly, the surge created by the accident sent more than six times the normal voltage through the area before getting cut off, a utility spokesman said Tuesday.
Mitch Gross, the power company’s spokesman, said customers who suffered damage to electronics from the surge caused by the accident should phone City Hall to get a claim form to seek reimbursement.
To file a claim, call the city’s claims office at (860) 584-6155.
Read Wednesday's Bristol Press for more.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 28, 2010

The great electronics meltdown

Shortly after a Bristol police officer ran into a utility pole on Riverside Avenue Saturday night, an electrical surge burned out computers, televisions and other equipment in many homes and offices.
The electronics meltdown may wind up costing City Hall a hefty tab if officials ultimately determine that the city is responsible for the widespread damage.
William Brownstein, a Carleton Place resident, said in an email to city officials that his neighbors and others on Federal Hill saw “the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars of electronic equipment” because of the power surge.

Read the first draft of the story here.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Brickley blasts Larson fundraising

Press release from Republican congressional candidate Ann Brickley:

Brickley Calls for Ban On Leadership PACs
Republican candidate for CT First Congressional District cites Rep. Larson’s questionable leadership PAC expenditures as example of flaws in system.

WETHERSFIELD, CT (June 24, 2010) – Ann Brickley, the Republican-endorsed candidate for the First Congressional District, has called for a ban on  Political Action Committees formed by leaders of Congress  due to the lack of accountability and their use as huge slush funds.

Brickley cites Democratic House Caucus Chairman John Larson's (CT-1st) “Synergy PAC,” which recently hosted one of the most lavish events of the season at the Mohegan Sun Casino, as an example of the types of questionable activities for which these PACs are used. In the invitation to the Mohegan Sun event, donors were invited to a "New England Summer Golf, Spa and Concert Retreat".  They could "learn to gamble from the pros," enjoy the music of James Taylor and Carole King and get a "legislative update" from Larson.  The cost was $5,000 per person. 

While FEC regulations prohibit Larson’s Synergy PAC from "directly" supporting his congressional campaign, it can provide "indirect" support, i.e. travel, political consulting fees, polling, etc.

“It appears that the regulations are worded so that congressional leaders can do just about anything without violating the law.” Brickley said.  “The allowable use of Leadership PAC’s is to help fund other candidates’ campaigns.  In effect, Larson is using the Synergy PAC to secure the support of his colleagues to maintain his leadership position.  I feel this practice should be illegal but it is permitted,” she continued. 

In the 2008 election, Larson's Synergy PAC raised over half million dollars, and distributed 55% of the funds collected to other campaigns.  Synergy also reported payments to American Express ($44,000), Mohegan Sun ($41,200), Waverly Group ($32,400), Walt Disney World ($25,400), Disney Resort Destinations ($16,099) and Foxwoods Resort Casino ($13,200).  For the 2010 election cycle, less than 50 percent of the expenditures have been spent on other candidate campaigns. 

Brickley believes that Larson should explain how these items legally qualify as indirect support for his campaign.  If he cannot provide such an explanation then these expenditures could represent a violation of existing laws in regards to leadership PACs.

“Congressman Larson's use of his Synergy PAC illustrates my point that we should get rid of these incumbent political slush funds,” Brickley said. “They are another example of Congress regulating what everybody else can do, but exempting themselves from the rules.”

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Nelson gets backing from Malloy, Wyman and Ward

Press release from Elliot Nelson, the Democrats' endorsed candidate for registrar and the party chair in Bristol:

Elliot Nelson kicks off his run for Democratic Registrar of Voters with being endorsed by three prominent Democrats-Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Malloy, Lt. Governor Candidate Nancy Wymann and Bristol Mayor Art Ward. Nelson who received the Democratic Party endorsement in May by a nearly 3 to 1 margin has pledged to work closely with the elected officials in Hartford to ensure that the changes that need to be made in the Registrar’s office are implemented to create a much more user friendly environment that the people of Bristol can be proud of. He will now face his opponent in an August 10th primary.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 27, 2010

City Council to vote Tuesday on charter ideas

City councilors agreed to vote Tuesday on the Charter Revision Commission's report. Catch the story here.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Dog park opens at Rockwell Park

The first time anyone mentioned a dog park in Bristol in my memory was back in 2001. By 2006, a committed group of volunteers was raising money and pushing for a site. Yesterday, the new B.A.R.K. Park at Rockwell Park officially opened. You can read about it here.
It's kind of a a neat spot for an off-leash dog park, with lots of trees in the middle of the woods. That's so much nicer than most dog parks, where shade is either non-existent or paltry.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Route 72 extension to open in November

I wrote a handful of stories about the Route 72 extension for today's paper. Here they are:

Route 72: You've come a long way, baby

Traffic on Route 72 will face 'some challenges'

Bristol plans for development of new corridor

I don't see this little piece online so here's another:

How much will it cost?
Pegging the cost of the new Route 72 extension is inherently problematic because so much has been spent over the course of decades that’s not figured into the bottom line from the state.
Manafort Brothers, the New Britain-based general contractor, won the right to build the road three years ago with a $39.7 million bid.
But the state has also spent millions acquiring rights of way, moving utilities, making plans, holding hearings and more.
During groundbreaking for the project, transportation officials guessed that the total tab probably amounted to $61 million over the course of decades. It may even be more, they admitted.
There isn’t a solid figure because the money has come from different transportation accounts, some of which don’t even exist any longer.
But state officials said the construction project is coming in pretty close to budget.
All told, it appears the new road cost a little less than $30 million a mile – or half the per mile cost of the proposed busway between Hartford and New Britain that’s slated to get underway next year. 
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 22, 2010

Ann Clark steps down in Fairfield

Former Bristol School Superintendent Ann Clark retired this month from what may be her final job as Fairfield's gazillion dollar a year school chief. Here's a report from her retirement dinner.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Charter revision session on Thursday

City councilors will take up proposed city changes next week that could include longer terms for elected officials.

The recommended changes from the Charter Revision Commission are slated for discussion at a 5:30 p.m. council meeting Thursday at City Hall.

If councilors back the commission’s report, its recommendations will wind up on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. Voters will get the final say on whether to change the city government’s blueprint.
There are two significant overhauls to the charter included in the charter commission’s report: increasing the terms of office for elected officials to four years instead of two and adding a requirement that mayors ensure performance evaluations are carried out for many top municipal officials.
A few minor revisions are also on the agenda.  Click here for more.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 21, 2010

Tme to push for a sports museum in Bristol?

I know ESPN will hate the idea of creating a sports museum in Bristol, but this may be just the right time to push for it.
The powerful sports giant recently declared that it was shutting down ESPN Zone restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington and maybe some other places. All of them are stuffed full of sports junk that fans would gladly come to Bristol to ogle.
While there's no doubt that Bristol has gotten a great deal by having ESPN make it home - thousands of jobs, tons of taxes and very little danger or expense for the community.
But as a tourist destination, let's face it, ESPN is a dud. It's got some cool satellite dishes outside, but there's no way to go in and not much chance of running into Chris Berman let alone Tiger Woods.
A sports museum in Bristol would fill an obvious gap.
The best option, of course, would be to have the ESPN Sports Palace with an overflowing volume of sports stuff and some nifty 3-D cameras and screens for visitors to pretend they're on SportsCenter.
But even if ESPN doesn't want any formal connection to the place, a Bristol sports museum could still thrive just because it's in Bristol and so is ESPN. And it's possible the network might loan or give a new community museum some interesting tidbits to put on display. If not, well, maybe Mayor Art Ward can lift some cool stuff next time he's wandering around inside ESPN.
I don't know if it's possible, of course, but at the moment, ESPN has more sports-related displays than even it can do something with. Maybe there's a chance for Bristol to put it on display and pull some of the millions of ESPN fans to visit the Mum City.
ESPN has made sports and Bristol inseparable. The city should find a way to make some money out of that.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

New Yorker takes note of ESPN's new network

The New Yorker comes to town to take a gander at ESPN's new 3-D network.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 18, 2010

City cracks down on Marine Court blight

After 18 years of threats, the city began cleaning up part of Francis "Frankie" Kerr's property on Marine Court yesterday.
Kerr is by most accounts a bright, kind man who clearl has a penchant for collecting all the junk he can drag to his land, where it is jammed into collapsing sheds and seemingly filling up his dilapidated house as well. I counted more than two dozen broken bicycles sticking out of piles of debris, not even counting the handful I watched D'Amato's cranes drop into a dumpster.
Kerr is no ordinary pack rat. He's in a league by himself, at least in Bristol. He reminds me of some folks I ran across down South who had barn after barn loaded to the brim with bric-a-brac -- old bottles, rusty tools, cars in various states of disrepair and farm equipment that hadn't been used in decades. They never threw anything away.
Kerr, on the other hand, not only never throws anything out, he picks up whatever he can from the debris that others put out at the curb.
I don't know the answer for dealing with people like Kerr. Surely throwing him in jail would be both pointless and cruel, no way to treat a Vietnam veteran who grew up on the property and then filled it with the tossaways of others.
On the other hand, I saw a collapsing shed only a few feet from a nice little home. That's not OK either.
You can read reporter Jackie Majerus' story about the situation here and her sensitive blog post about it here.
This story isn't over.
The city is going after Kerr's house as well. You can see why from this picture, showing the view in from a rear window:
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 17, 2010

Moylan and Peterson can stay... if city councilors want them

Let’s go back to the early days of Mayor Frank Nicastro’s administration – but not literally.
When Nicastro claimed the mayor’s office in 1993, one of his first moves was to oust the longtime leader of the powerful Board of Finance, Dick LaMothe.
LaMothe had long used his perch to hold sway over many of the issues facing the city.
With LaMothe no longer in the picture, John Letizia stepped up to fill the seat, determined to maintain the tight-fisted tradition of the fiscal oversight panel.
For Nicastro, Letizia appeared too ready to try to become a rival power in city government. So when Letizia’s term expired, the mayor said he would not reappoint him.
The decision caused an outcry and a majority of the City Council, including then-Councilor Art Ward, refused to endorse a replacement for Letizia. They said they would not vote for anyone but Letizia to fill the seat.
For a year, Nicastro refused to reappoint Letizia and the council refused to give its backing to a successor picked by the mayor.
Until a replacement could be picked, officials agreed, the city charter was clear: Letizia could stay on.
One councilor, Joe Wilson, said he read the charter to require that councilors go along with whoever the mayor nominated for the finance board.
But others, of course, disagreed.
In the end, the city attorney, Richard Lacey, issued a ruling that said councilors had the right to vote for or against the mayor’s nominees for the finance board.
Lacey, after many hours poring over old city documents, concluded that finance board choices ''require both nomination by the mayor and concurrence by the city council.''
Lacey said in his legal opinion that early documents from the period when the finance board was created in 1932 show that officials ''placed great importance'' on maintaining the full membership of the oversight panel.
Initially, in fact, the finance panel itself could fill vacancies if the mayor and council failed to appoint someone to fill an empty slot.
Seven years later, changes were made so that only the mayor and council would have the power to fill vacancies and make new appointments.
“There was no intention to make appointments the sole prerogative of the mayor,'' wrote Lacey after studying a special committee's report from 1939.
The committee's recommendations that year were approved except that the council rejected a proposed two-term limit for finance panel members.
With nothing specific to bolster Wilson's contention, Lacey wrote, the normal legal rules for interpreting charters come into play.
And there, he wrote, the rule is that mayors appoint and councils confirm unless the charter specifically says otherwise.
With Lacey’s ruling in hand, and the impasse likely to linger unless someone gave in, Nicastro decided to endorse Letizia after all.
Why does it all matter now?
Because Ward, who is in his second term as mayor, has told two finance commissioners he won’t reappoint them. Their terms expire this month. He plans to nominate two replacements for Janet Moylan and Mark Peterson next month.
But councilors don’t have to go along with it. That’s been clear since 1995.
So if Ward nominates successors, the council is free to back them or not. If councilors want Moylan and Peterson to remain on the finance board, they can keep them there simply by following the lead that Ward helped establish 15 years ago.
If councilors don’t stick with Moylan and Peterson, it’s because they, too, want them gone.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Brickley lashed Larson on health care vote

Press release from Ann Brickley, the endorsed Republican congressional candidate in the 1st District:

Brickley Assails Larson Vote to Keep Mandate Requiring All Americans to Purchase Health Insurance
Republican challenger calls on incumbent to explain support of requirement to force all citizens to purchase insurance or face new tax penalties.

Washington, DC – Ann Brickley, the Republican Nominee for the First Congressional District, decried Congressman John Larson’s (D-1st District) recent vote in opposition to a proposal that would have eliminated one of the most onerous aspects of the Health Care Reform initiative that requires all individuals to purchase health insurance coverage.

The call for the repeal of the insurance mandate was under a “motion to recommit” which is a parliamentary procedure used to change bills on the House Floor.  Larson was one of 230 Democrats voting against the measure which was defeated by a vote of  187-230. Brickley pointed out that 21 Democrats did vote in favor of the rolling back the requirement.

“There are certainly many aspects of the Democrats’ health care law that should be rolled back,” Brickley said. “This is probably the most egregious one as it makes every American citizen choose between paying for government-approved health insurance or pay a new tax if they choose not to.”

As Brickley travels throughout the First Congressional District, many individuals, including small business owners have expressed their frustration about the new health care reform law, because it fails to address the primary problem with our national health care system – rising costs.

“The healthcare mandate allows Washington to dictate any private purchase they deem in the best interest of the country…with no restrictions,” Brickley said. “It appears that John Larson and our state’s other congressional representatives want the mandate to remain in place endangering our constitutional rights.  I would like to know why he has put Washington’s legislative demands ahead of what is best for Connecticut’s residents?"

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 15, 2010

City saves on heating costs

Thanks to new boilers at City Hall and a decision to turn down the thermostat in municipal buildings, the city shaved nearly $200,000 off its winter heating bill this year.

A reasonably mild winter also helped, officials admit.

City Councilor Cliff Block said heating costs a year ago totaled $396,000. This year, the cost fell 49 percent to $203,000, he said.

The new boilers are responsible for $134,000 of the savings, Block said, while turning down the temperature for city offices produced the rest of the savings.
“It goes to show we can save money just for turning a thermostat down,” Block said. Click here for the complete story.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Recycling pickup days to change

Press release from the city's public works department:

The City’s Joint Board approved the first phase of full implementation of single-stream recycling for the remainder of the City over the next three budget years. The City of Bristol recentlyreceived a grant that will fund single-stream recycling for 760 additional Bristol homes beginning in early fall 2010. In addition, the City plans to convert another 3,850 homes to single stream recycling over late fall 2010 and spring 2011 as we receive the automated trucks needed for collection. The remainder of the City will follow over the next two budget years.
The implementation of single stream recycling creates the need to shift residents recycling day so that both solid waste (rubbish) and recycling barrels are not out at the curb on the same day. Several areas of the City do not have enough curbside frontage for both rubbish and recycle barrels on the same day. Consequently, the City of Bristol Board of Public Works has revised the solid waste and recycling collection schedule for all residential homes within the City to shift the normal collection of recyclable materials to the next working daybeginning Monday August 2, 2010. (i.e. Monday rubbish collection will have Tuesday recycling collection during your regularly scheduled recycle week).
If you have questions, please contact Public Works at 860-584-6125 or 860-584-7791.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 14, 2010

Debate rages over finance board firings

Two of the three Board of Finance members who voted against the budget last month are getting the ax.
Mayor Art Ward said he told the pair, Janet Moylan and Mark Peterson, they would not be reappointed. Their four-year terms end this month.
Though the mayor insisted his decision had nothing to do with their performance, political foes said there’s no way the pair’s desire to see a lower property tax increase didn’t play a big role.
"If it looks like a goat or smells like one, it usually is one," said TJ Barnes, the city’s Republican Party chairman. "The whole thing kind of smells like politics to me. Click here to read the entire story.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Did you get the boot?

A whole bunch of Bristolites woke up to find their cars booted, unable to move until their property taxes are paid and a $175 fee handed over to remove the contraption.
It's a tough world out there -- and it just got harder for many.
On the other hand, we all have to pay our taxes.

Read reporter Jackie Majerus' story here.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Matthews explains her opposition to paying some pothole claims

At the most recent City Council meeting, two councilors, Kate Matthews and Kevin McCauley, voted against paying a couple more claims related to a South Street pothole. Matthews explained in detail her opposition. Here is her prepared statement about it:

I will be voting against approval of this Claims Report, and I want to take a moment to explain to you why I am doing so. 
At our last City Council meeting, this body voted to pay a claim that arose out of a car versus pothole incident on South and Union Street on March 13, 2010, brought by Ms. Santorso.  For reasons that I have stated previously, I voted against paying that pothole claim, because I believed that the Claims Committee ignored the relevant procedure in making their recommendation to pay the claim, and because I objectively believed that the City was not liable to this particular claimant. 
This Claims Report includes two new claims that have arisen out of incidents involving the same pothole, during the same time period.  They allege essentially the same facts.  In my opinion, the Claims Committee recommended that these two claims be paid because of the previous decision that had been made regarding Ms. Santorso’s claim.  That decision created a line in the sand, and now the Committee has become entrenched in their position. 
This is a problem. 
Claimants have 90 days from the date of the underlying incident to notify the City of Bristol of their claim.  If a claimant brings his claim on the 100th day, or even the 91st day, the City will have no liability.  This is based on State law.
Claims on this particular South Street/ Union Street pothole will not close until June 13th.  As of this evening, therefore, there are still five days for a claimant to make a claim regarding this pothole.  The City has compromised our position by paying Ms. Santorso’s claim, and now we have a domino effect taking place.  Claims for incidents that occurred at this pothole after Ms. Santorso’s claimed incident will likely be paid, and claims for incidents that occurred prior to Ms. Santorso’s claimed incident will be denied.  Paying Ms. Santorso’s claim during the middle of the claims period has resulted in a situation where we have arguably admitted liability for all claims arising during a certain period, but we have no idea of who those claimants might be, what their particular claims are, or how significant their alleged damages are. We are flying blind.
For example, in this scenario that befalls us this evening, the two claimants after Ms. Santorso have small claims, totaling approximately $1,100.  Consider, however, what would have happened if one of those claimants had alleged that they had suffered a personal injury, such as to their back or neck?  That claimant would have demanded a lot more from the City – potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It is easy to see that making claims decisions during the middle of the claims period can easily cause us to shoot ourselves in the foot. 
My proposal is this:  the claims committee should adopt a policy whereby, when a particular claim comes in, we ascertain the date of the alleged underlying incident, and then table a decision on the matter until 91 days from that date.   During this 91 day period, we will hold our usual hearings and invite claimants to explain their claims to us.  During this 91 day period, we will be able to determine the full spectrum of all possible claimants, so that we can understand the magnitude of the claims that are being asserted against the City, and make fully informed decisions regarding those claims.  We will have the full benefit of knowing that all potential claimants have been identified.  We will have had an opportunity to hear from the claimants if they wish to speak with us, and to consult with relevant departments, such as public works, or the police, or the water department, to better understand what our potential liability is in a given matter.
This proposal is a fiscally responsible, no-cost solution to a problem that has the potential to cost the City a tremendous amount of money.
Although I have already consulted with City Attorney Richard Lacey and he has indicated to me that he sees no legal obstacle to implementing this proposal, I would refer this question to the Corporation Counsel’s office for further investigation, and request that they report back to the City Council by the next City Council meeting.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Zydanowicz calls for strong support for Israel

Press release from Mark Zydanowicz, a Republican congressional hopeful in the 1st District who is angling to grab is party's backing from endorsed candidate Ann Brickley:


WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (June 11, 2010) -- Republican First Congressional candidate Mark Zydanowicz today said he steadfastly believes the United States must support Israel and push for a peaceful resolution to the Gaza blockade situation.
"My thoughts and prayers are with those families who have lost loved ones -- which included an American citizen -- as well as those related to the injured Israeli commandos," Zydanowicz said, "but the United States must show strength and foresight."

Zydanowicz expressed concern that U.S. Rep. John Larson, despite being pressed by the media for his views on the situation, remains silent.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The raid was justified because the shi
ps were headed to breach Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, which it imposed to stop the flow of weapons to the territory. The ships ignored repeated Israeli warnings to turn back and offload their cargo at the port of Ashdod for truck delivery to Gaza after a security check."

Zydanowicz, an officer with the Connecticut National Guard who has served in Iraq, stands by Israel.

"Just like any other nation, Israel has the right to protect her borders and thus ensure the security of its citizens," he said. "It is imperative the United States fully support Israel now, or be prepared to react later when tensions escalate and become unmanageable in the region."

The U.S. should not, Zydanowicz believes, just be an observer to a situation that carries such massive ramifications.

"When a country is being attacked by an extremist group like Hamas -- who controls the Gaza strip -- a calculated response for the region should be sanctioned," said Zydanowicz. "The Obama administration needs to have direct involvement with peace negotiations in the area. Sadly, these are not circumstances simply dissipate. This must be addressed and done so sooner, rather than later."

Zydanowicz will primary Ann Brickley on Aug. 10.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 12, 2010

Car show postponed?

I hear the car show downtown today has been postponed. I can't swear that's true, but you might want to know.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 11, 2010

Moylan, Peterson get the boot

Mayor Art Ward said Friday that he told two Board of Finance members they would not be reappointed.
Ward said that he told both Janet Moylan and Mark Peterson that he'd be happy to tap them to serve on other city panels if they're interested, but not on the finance board again.
"There's nothing against their performance," Ward said.
He said he has seen a surge in interest from people hoping to snag a spot on the nine-person finance panel, which has eight volunteers and the mayor as its members.
The mayor said he wants to bring in new people to "bring some new insight" to the board, which oversees city spending and borrowing.
Ward said he wants to interview those wishing to serve to make sure he can "get a real good mix on all the boards."
Ward said his meetings with Moylan and Peterson this week were "very amiable."
He said their ouster has nothing to do with their opposition to this year's budget.
Moylan sent this message about the decision:

The mayor offered me the chance to serve on any other board if I wanted to.  I told him I was not prepared to pick another board and that I thought the expertise I brought to the table was in the finance area.  He said he had other people interested in serving on the Finance Board and he was not re-appointing me.
I feel that the powers that be did not like being questioned or pushed to make hard decisions.  In the last two weeks of the budget process that pushing caused in excess of a million dollars to be cut from the budget and when the mayor wanted one more vote for the budget they managed to find another $420,000 to get the mill increase down to 1.25.
By not reappointing Mark and myself this because a very inexperienced board with John Smith and Rich Mize having the longest tenure.  That means the same people will be pushing the budget again next year.  They will not start early and they will not make the necessary cuts to keep the mill rate down.  Until the issues created by the unions and previous administrations are addressed there really is nothing else left to cut in the budget.  The controller's office has done a three year projection and
unless something serious is done there will be mill increases for the foreseeable future.
I felt I did a good job for the city and I am disappointed that my doing what I believe is the right thing to do was met with disapproval because it did not agree with the wishes of the powerful.  I will continue to be interested in what happens in the city and hopefully will find a way to contribute.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 10, 2010

Rydingsward forces primary for registrar

Left to right: Laura Bartok, Mary Rydingsward and Denise Merrill

Press release from Mary Rydingsward, a Democratic candidate for registrar:
Rydingsward Qualifies for Democratic Primary for Registrar of Voters Position
Mary Rydingsward qualified on Wednesday for Bristol’s Democratic Primary ballot.  Rydingsward needed to obtain signatures of 685 Bristol Democrats in fourteen days.  Her campaign team turned in 893 valid signatures.  Rydingsward’s bid for the Democratic Registrar of Voters position is now official. 
Rydingsward also received support Sunday from Denise Merrill, House Majority Leader and the Democrats endorsed candidate for Secretary of State.  Merrill walked with Rydingsward door-to-door Sunday on Burton Drive chatting with local residents.
Local Registrars of Voters work closely with the Secretary of State who administers, interprets, and implements all state and federal laws pertaining to elections, primaries, nominating procedures, and voting rights.  Merrill’s support, along with that of over 1,100 Bristol residents, is a great start as Rydingsward gears up for her primary campaign.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Malloy warns against wiping out tax credits

During a campaign stop in Bristol today, Democratic gubernatorial contender Dan Malloy said he's heard that primary challenger Ned Lamont plans to call for the state to get rid of the many tax credits it has piled up over the years.
"That's probably the most dangerous thing we could probably do," Malloy said.
Malloy said repeatedly that the state has to find ways to lower the cost of doing business in Connecticut.
As best I can tell, Lamont hasn't called for tossing out tax credits yet.
But he did say in a business plan unveiled this spring that the state awards more than $300 million in corporate tax credits annually "yet we haven't created a single net new job in those 20 years" that the GOP.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 9, 2010

Brickley zings Larson on airplane engine vote

Press release from Ann Brickley, the endorsed Republican congressional candidate in the 1st District, which includes Bristol:

Brickley Cites Larson’s Lack of Leadership in Failure to Stop Funding For Alternate Engine on Joint Strike Fighter
Despite major leadership position, Larson fails to deliver House votes to kill funding for rival to Pratt and Whitney’s superior Joint Strike Fighter engine

Hartford, CT - Ann Brickley, the Republican endorsed candidate for the 1st Congressional District, is questioning Congressman John Larson’s effectiveness as the fourth most powerful leader in the House of Representatives, for his failure to stop funding for the wasteful development of a multi-billion dollar alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. 

During the past five years, Congress has spent billions funding the development of a fighter engine that would compete with the Pratt and Whitney engine.  Last week, the House defeated (231-193) an amendment that Larson co-sponsored that would have prevented funding of the alternate engine and saved the taxpayers $485 million.  “In effect, Larson struck out on this issue”, Brickley said.

“President Obama, the Air Force, Navy and Secretary of Defense have publically said they don’t want or need the alternate engine and it is a waste of taxpayer dollars.  The Democrats have overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate, as well as the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.  If Larson can’t win under these conditions, something is clearly wrong.  The entire vote looks like a political shell game and should be investigated”, Brickley said.

Congressman Larson offered this hollow defense of his lack of success on eliminating this funding, saying “Where else but in Washington, DC could the Secretary of Defense, Navy, Air Force and Marines say we don’t want this.  It’s unnecessary.  But Congress goes blindly ahead.” 

“Based on these comments, one would think he was an outsider trying to oust an entrenched incumbent,” Brickley said.  “Apparently he is running against Congress. And Congressman Larson is right - Congress is a big problem, but by simply looking in the mirror he can see what is wrong with Congress.  He is a 12-year incumbent, chairman of the Democratic caucus, working with huge, unhealthy Democratic majorities in the House and Senate with a Democratic administration.  What else could he possibly need to pass an amendment if in fact he really wanted it?”

Brickley also points out that at present, the manufacturer of the alternate engine, General Electric is the top contributor to Larson’s 2010 re-election campaign.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

GOP congressional hopeful sees shift in primary results

Press release, just issued, from GOP congressional hopeful Mark Zydanowicz:


WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (June 9, 2010) -- Republican First Congressional candidate Mark Zydanowicz today said the results of Tuesday's primaries convey a rejection by the American people of the constitutional violations of Democratic policies supported by U.S. Rep. John Larson.

"It appears the mood of the country has shifted," said Zydanowicz, "to a more commonsense approach to how we want to be governed at the federal level -- and I suspect the same message will be sent to Hartford in November as well." 

Zydanowicz believes a vast majority of the population is fed-up with the management at every level as demonstrated by President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid -- all of whom have been heartily supported by Rep. Larson.

"Blanche Lincoln's stunning success on Tuesday signaled a clear rejection of the Obama administration by her defeat of a big labor-backed candidate who was supported by Obama," said Zydanowicz.

"The Lincoln victory sent a message, and there's no question Reid is all too aware of how the Tea Party boosted Sharron Angle's triumph in Nevada," he said. "People are taking notice and the message is loud and clear: Republicans are poised to defeat incumbents in November."

Zydanowicz will primary Ann Brickley on Aug. 10. 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


I was sick last week -- nothing serious, as it turns out -- and am still catching up. I'll have some new stuff on here later today.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com