February 28, 2010

City budget hearings start Monday

The budget hearing schedule follows:
March 1 – City Clerk, Building, Code Enforcement, Tax, Assessor, Board of Assessment Appeals, Treasurer, Probate, Aging and the Bristol Development Authority.
March 4 – The Bristol Down Development Corp., West Cemetery, St. Vincent DePaul Society, School Readiness, Personnel, ROV, Corporation Counsel, MIS, Purchasing, Youth and Pine Lake Challenge Course.
March 16 – Library and Parks.
March 25 – Police, Animal Control, Fire.
March 29 – Education.
March 30 – Water, Water Pollution Control, Public Works.
April 7 – Five-Year Capital Improvement, Social Services, Veterans, Mayor, Comptroller, Debt, All Others.
April 12 – Workshop.
April 20 – Workshop.
April 27 – Board of Finance budget adoption.
May 17 – Joint Session of City Council and Board of Finance for budget approval.
Budget hearing dates are subject to change. Before planning to attend, check the city’s website or call the city clerk’s office to make sure the times or dates haven’t been shifted.

All of the public hearings are slated to occur at 6 p.m. and take place in the City Council chambers on the first floor of City Hall. They are open to the public.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Courant charges more for legals ads than the LA Times

It's this kind of greed that undermines the solid case newspapers can make for continuing to require traditional legal advertising. George Gombossy deserves credit for highlighting the issue.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Can you help a struggling artist?

Former Tattoo great Joe Bun Keo, who grew up in Bristol and graduated last year from the University of Hartford after studying art, is having his first solo show soon at the Bristol Historical Society. He's a great young man with a real passion, and talent, for art.
Jackie and I have had the joy of watching Joe grow up, through high school and college. We know his wonderful family. We love the guy, really, so I can't claim to be dispassionate in rooting for his success. [Here are his Tattoo cartoons, by the way, which hold up pretty well over the years.]
But I can't fund his show or buy his supplies because, well, reporters get paychecks that amount to diddly squat.
These sorts of shows cost a lot of money, of course, so Joe's looking for financial help. If you're in a position to help, please do. And if you can't anything more than show up and see Joe's work, that's great, too. His show is slated to open March 19, though I'll keep you updated.
Here's a letter that Joe is sending out now looking for help:

To Whom It May Concern:
 My name is Joe Bun Keo. I’m an artist hailing from Bristol, CT. I have a solo show coming up in the next few weeks (MARCH 19TH) and I’m looking for some assistance.
 Being an artist, making art, and showing art is mostly a self-funded endeavor, but sometimes one needs to go out and solicit outside resources.
 Currently, the economy isn’t seeing the best of days, but nonetheless the arts seem to still be thriving.
 My show is being showcased at the Bristol Historical Society and Museum in Bristol,CT. The Young Artist Series at the Bristol Historical Society (YAS@BHS) has special opportunities for interested candidates for Sponsorship of the show.
 There are 2 levels of Sponsors:
 Primary Sponsor: $500 or more
 Co-Sponsors: $250
 Though any amount or donation is welcomed and highly appreciated to further assist the costs of the event (materials, refreshments, maintenance, etc.). 
 If you’re interested please contact the following:
 dadanotprada@gmail.com/ 860-940-8588 -Joe Bun Keo, Exhibiting Artist
lindsayvigue@gmail.com/ 860-919-8009- Lindsay Vigue, Chairwoman of YAS@BHS
 Checks can be made out to:
 The Bristol Historical Society and Museum
 If you know of other organizations or persons that would be interesting in helping out please forward them this email.
 Thank You,
 Joe Bun Keo
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SHOW DETAILS
 Bristol native, JOE BUN KEO, a graduate of the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, will be kicking off the 2010 season of YAS@BHS with his first solo exhibition: "Youth Vernacular".
Joe was a Sculpture major with a minor in Art History. He works mostly in installation art, interactive situations, and altered/non-altered found objects.
"Youth Vernacular" will launch the next chapter of YAS@BHS by ushering in some contemporary flare into a beautiful and historical Victorian house located in the hills of Downtown Bristol.
Keo works with everyday objects, breaks down the structure of language as we know it, and at the same time finds a way to throw in some clich├ęs, puns, punchlines,one-liners and clever humor for good measure. 
Joe believes that even the mundane and mass produced consumer products of our daily lives carry a story, deeper meanings and alternative utility. All it takes is a new light and a second chance.
http://joebunkeo.blogspot.com
Musical Performance by String Theorie
http://www.myspace.com/stringtheorie
http://www.facebook.com/stringtheorie
stringtheoriemusic@gmail.com
The YOUNG ARTIST SERIES debuted at the Bristol Historical Society & Museum (YAS@BHS) in 2009 under the direction of Bristol's own, Lindsay Vigue (an established photographer in her own right). 
The program/series looks to highlight the artistic energy and creative community of young and emerging Bristol artists. 
YAS@BHS aims to showcase homegrown talent to its resident and those beyond Bristol's town line.
Past Installments of the YAS@BHS included the following artists:
Kenneth Lundquist, Jr. http://www.kljinc.com
Jennifer Lepke
Ryan Casey http://www.favoritemedia.net
Lindsay Vigue http://www.lindsayviguephotography.com
The BRISTOL HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM:
The mission of the Bristol Historical Society is to promote an interest in local history and encourage an appreciation for its importance. The Bristol Historical Society collects, preserves, and interprets significant historical resources to enhance the present community and provide a historical context for future growth.
Sustained by the work of staff and volunteers and supported by the generosity of the community, the Bristol Historical Society strives to:
1. Develop and operate a vigorous center for a variety of community educational activities.
2. Collect, preserve, and interpret a collection of local historic artifacts and records.
3. Promote community events of historical significance with public appeal.
4. Encourage the preservation and restoration of the community’s historical assets.
http://bristolhistoricalsociety.org/index.html
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Charter Revision goes online

Want to talk about how the city's nearly 100-year-old charter should be changed? Take a look at a new Facebook forum set up to discuss that very issue. It's a great idea for which we can thank former city Councilor Craig Minor, who's one of the new Charter Revision Commission's seven members.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 27, 2010

Don't miss the CPTV documentary about the Press

Be sure to put on your calendar for this week to watch John and Rosemary Keogh O’Neill's documentary On Deadline: Is Time Running Out For The Press? It airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on CPTV and again at 10 p.m. Friday.
It's heavily focused on The Bristol Press and its near demise a year ago. The only downside? Too much of me in it. The bright side? Jackie Majerus of the Press and Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie are also in it.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 26, 2010

Charter panel ready to get down to business

In a lickety split meeting today, city councilors replaced a Democrat on the Charter Revision Commission with an unaffiliated voter. Now it's ready to do whatever it can do in three months, which isn't likely to be much.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

An economist takes on Colapietro

Edward Peter Stringham, a visiting associate professor of American business and economic enterprise at Trinity College, took note of state Sen. Tom Colapietro's arguments against Sunday liquor sales and proceeded in The Hartford Courant to demolish them.
He said in the column that "Colapietro seems to have fallen off the deep end on this issue."
Stringham said the senator, a Bristol Democrat, doesn't grasp that Connecticut is losing revenue because residents are buying alcohol out of state on Sunday. It amounts to millions of dollars in lost cash for the state's depleted coffers, the economist argues.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 25, 2010

Fitzgerald may run again

Republican Jill Fitzgerald may take another shot at winning the 77th District state House seat.
Fitzgerald said this morning she is "think about it" and will likely make a decision within a few weeks.
Two years ago, Fitzgerald lost a contest for the open seat in northeastern Bristol to Democratic newcomer Chris Wright, who is seeking a second term this year.
This time around, Democrats are unlikely to have the same sort of groundswell of support that stunned GOP candidates in 2008, which could make Wright's reelection anything but certain.
Fitzgerald said she hopes to make a choice about whether to run as soon as March 8, though it could take longer.
The Republicans haven't yet come up with another candidate to challenge Wright.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Von Gootkin to take slot on charter panel

A special City Council meeting is slated for 5 p.m. Friday to accept the resignation of Bruce Suchinski from the Charter Revision Commission and to fill the resulting vacancy. Councilors plan to pick Regina von Gootkin, who would be the only woman on the seven-person panel.
Von Gootkin was selected by city Councilor Kate Matthews.
Mayor Art Ward said the original picks for the panel included too many Democrats.
Von Gootkin (formerly Regina Forker) is apparently an unaffiliated voter, though I haven't had a chance to check.
But I can see that she graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School in 2009, has written two books on controversial cases in Connecticut history and studied journalism as an undergraduate at UConn.
Unlike me, she had enough sense to become an attorney. I went to law school and then became a journalist. Now how dumb is that?
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 24, 2010

Welch calls for pro-business agenda in Hartford

Press release issued a few minutes ago by state Senate hopeful Jason Welch, who's running as a Republican in the 31st District:

Welch for State Senate Attends CBIA Connecticut Business Day
and Signs Open Letter to Legislators
BRISTOL, CT – Welch for State Senate announced today that Jason Welch attended the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s Connecticut Business Day in Hartford.  There he signed CBIA’s Open Letter to state legislators calling on theto make the economic climate more competitive and to take actions to balance the budget without harmful tax increases.
CBIA’s call for a more competitive economy are consistent with the cornerstones of Welch’s campaign: (1) eliminating mandates on businesses and towns that stunt growth and discourage employment; (2) reducing government fees and taxes that are barriers to entry and employment; (3) reducing Connecticut’s unfunded liabilities through fiscally responsible measures.
Jason said that “It was great to spend a morning with so many people committed to changing the anti-business and anti-jobs culture of Hartford. There is still time to turn this ship around and make Connecticut a great place to live and work again.
Jason Welch seeks to be the Republican nominee to the State Senate race for the 31st District, which includes Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth and parts of Harwinton.

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

Mike Zoppo died yesterday at age 78

Mike Zoppo, an accountant, former Board of Finance member and a longtime treasurer for the city's Democratic Party, died yesterday.
He was always pleasant to me -- not always easy for people in his position -- and always displayed real concern for his community.
My sympathies to his friends and family, particularly his daughter, former city Councilor Ellen Zoppo.
Here is the obituary:
Michael C. Zoppo, 78, husband of Mary Ellen (Tracy) Zoppo, died February 23, 2010 at Bristol Hospital following a brief illness. Born August 11, 1931 to Angelo & Rosa Zoppo, Mike grew up on the North Side and attended local schools, graduating from Bristol High School in 1949. He earned an accounting degree from the Hartford School of Accounting, and went on to operate his accounting firm for over 40 years. Locally, he served as the treasurer for many community organizations over the years including the Bristol Democratic Town Committee and the Cedar Lake Owners Association. He served as a member of the City of Bristol’s Board of Finance for over 20 years, and as a member of the St. Joseph’s Parish Finance Committee. He was a past member of the Bristol UNICO Club, the Bristol Historical Society, the Bristol Federal Hill Association, and St. Joseph’s Church. In addition to his wife of 44 years, he is survived by his daughter Ellen Zoppo and her husband Peter Sassu; his cherished grandchildren Michaela, Zachary, and Carson Sassu; his son Michael Paul Zoppo of Geneva, Switzerland, a brother, Joseph C. Zoppo of Bristol, and two sisters and brothers-in law, Jack & Patricia Mullin of Bristol and Jack & Paula Baker of Convent Station, New Jersey, and many other relatives and friends. Calling hours will be from 5 to 8 PM on Friday, February 26th at O’Brien Funeral Home, 24 Lincoln Ave. Forestville. Funeral services will be held on Saturday February 27, 2010 at 9 AM from the funeral home to St. Joseph Church for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10AM. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions be made in Mike’s memory to two programs that he enjoyed greatly: the Boys & Girls Club and Family Center Rookie League baseball program, 105 Laurel Street, Bristol; or, the Bristol Historical Society’s Third Thursday lecture series, P.O. Box 1393, Bristol CT 06011-1393.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

"I Hate Bristol, CT"

Somebody on Facebook started an "I Hate Bristol, CT" page on Sunday. It already has 289 fans, mostly teenagers who live in Bristol.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 23, 2010

Ward backs Malloy

Bristol Mayor Art Ward hailed Democratic gubernatorial contender Dan Malloy this week as the best choice for the state's top job.
"He's been here for us," Ward said, "and now we need Dan Malloy as governor of the state of Connecticut."
Ward said Malloy posted a tremendous record during his 14 years as the mayor Stamford, where he added jobs, cut crime and held taxes in check.
"We're going to need someone who has experienced the ground floor" in the governor's seat during the next term, Ward said, because he has the roots to tackle the state's obvious financial woes.
Ward is in his second term as mayor. He served on the City Council for 14 years before moving up the political ladder.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Box factory cleanup creeps forward

Turning the former Mills box factory site into a municipal parking lot, a project that attracted the first federal stimulus money to Bristol last spring, is about to take another crucial step toward completion.
Robyn Bugbee, the city’s grants administrator, said the city will hire an expert to create the final remediation plan for the polluted site on School Street in May. It is seeking proposals next month. CLICK HERE FOR STORY

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

City, Renaissance about to begin hashing out terms

The city is scrambling to complete a proposed agreement with Renaissance Downtowns that would lay out what the Long Island developer should do in coming up with solid plans for the 17-acre former mall site downtown.
Officials said they hope to present the developer with a finished draft of the deal next week that would become the starting point for closed-door negotiations detailing exactly what should happen with the city-owned site in the months ahead. CLICK HERE FOR STORY
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Bristol a key city for both parties in state election

Bristol is one of the hottest battlegrounds in state politics.
Because it has relatively high voter turnout in state races and a more conservative bent than most cities in the state, its votes are up for grabs to a degree rarely found.
In the 2006 gubernatorial race, when Republican Jodi Rell defeated Democrat John DeStefano, Bristol provided the 10th highest vote total for Rell and also the 10th highest number of votes for DeStefano.
Most municipalities leaned more to one or the other.
West Hartford is probably the top battleground. It provided the second highest tally for DeStefano and the 5th most votes for Rell, who won the town.
Only Norwalk, Stamford, Waterbury and West Hartford gave more votes to both Rell and DeStefano than Bristol did.
Though Bristol leans Democratic in local races, it's no sure thing for either party in any given year. Rell, for instance, won the city easily with 11,129 votes compared to 6,741 for the Denocrat.
The city that gave Rell the most votes was Stamford. New Haven, not surprisingly, gave DeStefano, its mayor, his highest tally.
New Britain, by the way, gave DeStefano only a couple hundred more votes than Bristol did because of its lackluster turnout. Rell, however, got 5,000 fewer votes in New Britain than Bristol.
Given Bristol's capacity to swing races to one side or the other, it's surprising that it's not on candidates' radar screens to a greater degree than it has normally been.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Original study on rail versus busway never considered Bristol

I've been trying for awhile to find a copy of the original $800,000 study from the 1990s that found the busway a better option than commuter rail.
So far, no luck,
But I did find Mike Swift's story in the Hartford Courant in 1998 that laid out a bit of what's in it.
Apparently, the study found that the busway between Hartford and New Britain would cost $75.3 million compared to $156.5 million for a commuter rail line.
The busway supposedly would attract about 7,500 transit riders a day or 8,820 when the extra riders from Plainville were factored in.
The story doesn't say how many rail passengers were likely, unfortunately.
But here's the funny thing: the rail line they considered would have run between Plainville and Hartford. Bristol wasn't even considered as part of the whole equation.
Yeah, you got that: when they did the original study, they never even looked at what might matter for Bristol.
If anyone's got that original study, I'd love to see it. All I've read is a meaningless executive summary.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Main Street streetscape to be finished this year

When we look out the window at the new office of The Bristol Press, we see a pretty tired, deadly landscape, including the empty lot across Main Street where the mall once stood.
That's going to change soon.
The city plans to put the long-talked-about streetscape project out to bid in a couple of weeks and to hire a contractor to overhaul Main Street by autumn.
We'll get new walkways, with lots of bricks, pretty lampposts and a few shrubs or something to spruce up the appearance of the historic street. The street itself will be narrower, with bumpouts and designated parking.
At the very least, it should look a lot nicer.
Thanks, taxpayers.
I'll write up the details later in the week. [Update: Here's a link to the story.]
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Here's one argument for the busway

Here's a pro-busway piece from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's blog. Be sure to read the comments, too.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

West Hartford state senator fights for rail

State Sen. Jonathan Harris, a West Hartford Democrat who is exploring a run for secretary of state, said Monday night that critics of the proposal to have commuter rail between Waterbury and Hartford are "just blowing smoke."
Harris, whose town is one of four that line the proposed $573 million busway from Hartford to New Britain, said it is possible to "reprogram" the money from the busway to a new rail service.
The only way to pull it off now, said state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat, is to fight the busway plan "tooth and nail" in Hartford and Washington.
"You gotta say no," said Nicastro, who vowed to lead the charge for commuter rail instead.
Harris said the busway would use a crucial right of way between Newington and New Britain that a rail service would need.
Without that stretch of track, Harris said, "It's going to be double as hard if not impossible to do railroad. It's wrong."
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Mike Nicastro: Stop busway

In a straightforward op-ed piece in today's Hartford Courant, Mike Nicastro, head of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, lays out the case against the busway. While it's possible to disagree with him, his facts are pretty much on the money. Read the column here.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Malloy favors rail, doubts busway

The proposed $573 million busway between New Britain and Hartford suffered another blow last night when Democratic gubernatorial contender Dan Malloy told Bristol Democrats he prefers rail.
"The busway leaves you guys out, which is really inexplicable," Malloy told the Democratic Town Committee.
"I want a railroad," Malloy said that would run from Waterbury to Bristol to Hartford -- and beyond.
"That's what we need," Malloy said.
Later, Malloy told me that while he likes buses, he loves railroads.
He said a rail line from Waterbury to Hartford would be a lot cheaper than the proposed busway and serve more people.
But he stopped short of saying he'd pull the plug on the busway.
Malloy, a former mayor of Stamford, said he would follow the lead of state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, a New Britain Democrat, about how best to proceed.
"I'm going to listen very closely to him," Malloy said, because DeFronzo -- a rail fan -- is extremely knowledgeable about the state's transportation needs.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Colapietro angry about home show

State Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat, said last night he was pretty upset to see the Republicans handing out pencils at the Bristol Home and Business Show this weekend.
Colapietro said the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce's show allowed the GOP to have a booth beside the veterans on a busy hallway, providing the Republicans with a unique base at the popular show.
"I'm a little put out with that," Colapietro said.
Republican state Senate contender Jason Welch said Sunday that he met Colapietro for the first time at the home show. Welch was at the booth handing out pencils and meeting potential voters.
Colapietro said he didn't like seeing that.
Colapietro told the Democratic Town Committee that as far as he knows the home show has always been off-limits for politics for its 25 year existence. "It's never been political -- never," the senator said.
"We didn't even know about it," Colapietro said to a packed room of Democrats at City Hall.
The party's city chairman, Elliott Nelson, said that it's hard to get volunteers to stay with a booth over a weekend.
But he said the party would have a booth at the Mum Festival in September. He said he'd sign Colapietro up to be there.
When the senator spotted me listening to his comments, Colapietro declared, "That was all off the record."
As I shook my head no, much of the room laughed.
Sorry, Tom, but nothing's off the record unless we agree beforehand. Let that be a lesson to all of you in the political racket.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 22, 2010

Wright seeks reelection, no opponent yet

State Rep. Chris Wright is seeking a second term as the 77th District's representative in Hartford. The Bristol Democrat doesn't have an opponent yet.
Click here for the story.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Welch taps a Bobroske to organize campaign

Press release from Jason Welch, Republican state Senate candidate:

Welch for State Senate Announces TiBroboske as Campaign Coordinator
BRISTOL, CT – Welch for State Senate announced today that Harwinton resident Tim Broboske will serve as Campaign Coordinator.  Tim will help organize campaign team members, messages and events.
Jason said that “I am very excited that Tim is an integral part of the team.  He has a lot of experience campaigning for this seat with Beverly Broboske’s 2004 and 2006 runs, and he brings much wisdom from that experience.”
Tim said today: “A lot of people in Hartford just don’t get it.  Jason does. Our state has the highest taxes in the nation; the Hartford area has lost jobs 19 out of the past 20 years; and we now have $60 billion in unfunded liabilities.  All of this happened on Colapietro’s watch.  Jason has the smarts and the guts to make the tough decisions to turn Hartford around.  When the campaign approached me to be involved it was a no brainer.

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

"On Deadline" panel at Twain House features Bristol Press

Press release from the Mark Twain House:

FILM SCREENING, PANEL OF JOURNALISTS AT THE MARK TWAIN HOUSE & MUSEUM FOCUSES ON THE FUTURE OF NEWSPRINT JOURNALISM
“The Death of My News May Be Greatly Exaggerated,” a Collaboration with Connecticut Public Broadcasting-CPN/WNPR, Includes Screening of Important New Documentary, On Deadline: Is Time Running Out for the Press? Panel Discussion Follows with Key Local Media Figures
 “I tell you I have been in the editorial business going on fourteen years, and it is the first time I ever heard of a man's having to know anything in order to edit a newspaper,” Mark Twain wrote in his immortal essay “How I Edited an Agricultural Paper Once.”
Nowadays, editors do need to know something, and one of those things is the way newspapers must cope with declining readership and advertising – and how to get the same quality news onto the Internet somewhere, distinguish it from the general run of Internet rubbish, and above all, pay for it to be written, photographed or videotaped, designed and produced.
The Mark Twain House & Museum is collaborating with Connecticut Public Television and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio on Tuesday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m., for a two-hour event, “The Death of My News Is Greatly Exaggerated.” It includes a screening of a critical new documentary on the future of newspapers by John and Rosemary Keogh O’Neill, On Deadline: Is Time Running Out for the Press? followed by a panel discussion led by WNPR's John Dankosky along with key players in this changing trade.
Tickets are $15 ($10 for Mark Twain House & Museum and CPTV and WNPR members) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.
On Deadline focuses on the near-demise of the Bristol Press and New Britain Herald two years ago, with an update to the present story, along with interviews with key figures of the news business, many of whom have brought news coverage online in serious, thoughtful and sustainable ways.
Participants on the panel, some of whom are important players in the documentary, include:
--Michael Schroeder, Editor and Publisher of The New Britain Herald and The Bristol Press, whose intervention in 2008 helped rescue those papers;
--Steve Collins, Staff Writer, The Bristol Press, who helped beat the drum for the newspaper’s plight in the Bristol community;
--Naedine Hazell, Editor, The Hartford Courant, which has been trying an unusual fusion of newspaper, television and online news presentation;  
--Christine Stuart, Editor/Owner, CTNewsJunkie.com., which for the past four years has been covering the state government and other events like a blanket;
--Mark Pazniokas, Capitol Bureau Chief, CTMirror.org., the star state reporter who has developed this new news website with fellow ex-Courant hands Mike Regan, Bob Frahm and others.

On Deadline will be aired on CPTV on Thursday, March 4, at 8:00 p.m. (with a repeat on Friday, March 5, at 10:00 p.m.).  
The event is one in the museum’s continuing series of Mark Twain 2010 Centennial Celebration events . The Hartford Financial Group, Inc., is the Mark Twain House & Museum’s Centennial Sponsor.
The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author’s Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.  In addition to providing tours of Twain’s restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain’s literary legacy and provide information about his life and times. The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m.  For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit www.marktwainhouse.org. Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
*******

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

CCRPA seeking $1 million for study of rail and more

The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency is looking to do a $1.25 million study of the area's transportation needs that may answer whether or not commuter rail is a viable option. For the story, click here.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

This time it's official: Colapietro seeking reelection

State Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat, said he’s not ready to quit yet.
Colapietro said he is seeking re-election to the 31st District seat he’s held since 1992 because he likes the job.
“I got a big mouth and I carry a big stick, too,” said Colapietro, a 69-year-old former factory worker. For the story, click here.

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

Ward looking for volunteers to serve on city boards

Press release from Mayor Art Ward:

BRISTOL – Mayor Arthur J. Ward said recently he is continuing to seek names for positions to City boards and commissions.
“True representation of the City of Bristol is important and I want our commissions and boards to reflect the diversity of the City,” said Ward in a press release “We know there are qualified residents out there that can contribute to the growth and well being of our town.”
Recommendations from the public are welcome and encouraged by the mayor. While appointments are made on a regular basis throughout the year, early submissions will allow for greater flexibility in determining the appropriate match. At this time, there are openings on the Mayor’s Task Force on Energy Conservation, Bristol Transportation Commission, the Zoning Commission, Code Enforcement Committee, The Historic District Commission, Library Board and the Bristol Transportation Commission.
Anyone interested in applying for a position, should submit a letter of intent stating reasons for applying and any qualifications or experience that would be of assistance to this board or commission. Correspondence should be sent to Office of the Mayor, 111 North Main Street, Bristol, CT 06010, Attention: Board and Commission Appointments.
Residents also may also contact the Mayor, directly, by using the email mayorsoffice@ci.bristol.ct.us This e-mail address gives the public more direct access to the Mayor’s office and can be used for submission of names for these appointments.
For information about board or commission appointments, contact the office at 860-584-6250.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 18, 2010

Feds shut out Connecticut for transportation stimulus $$$

CT Mirror: Feds give out $1.5 billion for transportation projects. Connecticut gets NOTHING.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

City may lose out on millions in state grants

For the second consecutive year, Gov. Jodi Rell is aiming to wipe away $5.8 million worth of earmarks designated for projects in Bristol.
Among them is a $4 million grant that would cover more than half the tab for Rockwell Park’s ongoing renovations.
Also on the chopping block is a $1.5 million allocation for the American Clock and Watch Museum, $200,000 for Indian Rock Nature Preserve and $83,170 to help the Bristol Community Organization expand Head Start.
All of the grants earmarked for Bristol were promised years ago and have languished since.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Lamont skeptical of busway

Catch reporter Jackie Majerus' story about Ned Lamont's stance on the busway (and more) by clicking here.
Lamont, a Democratic gubernatorial contender, told the chamber that if he's elected in November, he would “hit the pause button” on the proposed busway from New Britain to Hartford.
“I would like to re-evaluate,” Lamont said. “I would like to look at it in a broader context.”Chamber officials must be elated.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Colapietro says he won't bend on Sunday liquor sales

Though the pressure to drop Connecticut’s ban on Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor is growing, the state senator who has blocked its repeal for years is determined to hold the line for as long as he can.
“If you can’t satisfy your quench for alcohol on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday and you need it on Sunday, then you need help,” said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat.
Colapietro, co-chairman of the legislative committee that has jurisdiction over liquor sales, said allowing Sunday sales would neither generate more revenue for the state nor create more jobs. Click here for the rest of the story.

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

Welch calls for spending, tax cuts to spur job growth

A jobs plan offered by Democrats this week isn’t enough to lure businesses to Connecticut and put money in the pockets of its residents, Republican state Senate hopeful Jason Welch said Thursday.
Welch said a plan state Sen. Tom Colapietro touted “is kind of a Band-Aid when what we need is an organ transplant.”
Welch, a 37-year-old lawyer from Bristol, is aiming to knock Colapietro from the 31st District seat a Bristol Democrat has held since 1992. See the rest of the story by clicking here.

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

February 17, 2010

Foley, Colapietro and other pols hit Main Street

Reporter Jackie Majerus had it all today. Check out her blog piece here. And a good story about a nice man's struggling to keep his business afloat here. And another one here, about Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley's visit.
Jackie seems to have drawn the short straw this week and got stuck with the politicians.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Mills: Fight the busway

City Councilor David Mills sent this to me this afternoon:
When I decided to run for public office last year, I committed to the principle of “What is best for Bristol” I read the article in the Bristol Press concerning the proposed busway and in my opinion, it definitely is not what is best for our city.
The plan is shortsighted and will continue to keep our city isolated from the rest of the state and definitely hinder our ability to connect to the major cities in the area and the country.
After attending the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency meeting a few weeks ago, it was apparent that Bristol would once again get the “Short end of the stick.” Our needs were totally overlooked and despite a terrific presentation by Chamber of Commerce President, Mike Nicastro on the benefits of rail, the Agency completely ignored his presentation.
Let’s look at this proposal and see how it affects Bristol, then you decide if it is best for us.
Does anyone really think that many people will drive to Forestville to get on a bus that will go to New Britain and then on to Hartford?
Is it worth nearly $60 million per mile (for only 4000) new riders to remove some traffic from route 84 and the surrounding highways?
The busway is supposed to facilitate the trip from Bristol to Hartford. What if a person works in a location in the other direction? How about if they wish to go to Waterbury, Bridgeport, Stamford, or New York? Does the busway allow for that? Is it short sighted for the people of New Britain to believe the only direction they wish to travel is to Hartford, and that Bristol residents only want to travel to Hartford
What about our commitment to ESPN and their need to have their employees traveling to New York on a regular basis?
Will the busway enable people to walk to the station and connect with the entire country? This could be especially important if our Depot Square project is a success. With housing for an entirely new demographic of our community, i.e. the young professional, will the busway benefit them? They will have disposable income and supply new talents our city will need. It also increases the value of the properties surrounding the station.
Will the busway enable freight to be transported into the region, therefore making use of storage facilities along the route? Think of all the potential warehouses between Bristol and Bridgeport or NYC that could be utilized. Also think of how many trailer trucks would be off the roads  on I 95, 91, and 691, making it safer and easier to drive.
There is the potential for federal money to spend on alternative transportation projects now. The thought process from our Congressional leadership appears to be that because this project is “ready to go” it should be built even though it does not benefit our entire region .It will create much needed jobs, but will it be what’s best for Bristol and the surrounding towns?
Lastly, we must realize that if the busway is constructed, it will replace a portion of the rail line needed for rail service. This will forever diminish the value of rail service between Waterbury, Bristol New Britain and Hartford. Is this what we want? Is this what is best for Bristol?
I say no!
*******

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

Charter revision panel needs overhaul

Mayor Art Ward said this morning he goofed on the makeup of the newly appointed Charter Revision Commission, accidentally installing one Democrat too many.
Though the law allows for only four of the seven members to hail from one party, the City Council approved a panel that has five Democrats.
Ward said he's asked for the resignation of the last person picked for the commission -- Bruce Suchinski -- and intends to replace him with an independent woman chosen by city Councilor Kate Matthews.
A special council session will likely be called next week to ratify the change.

Update: Here's a link to the story.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Why not Bristol?

Right now, Google is considering which communities in America will be chosen for its trial high-speed fiber optic broadband network that would offer internet speeds that are blisteringly fast.
Until March 26, cities and towns across the country can request they be chosen as one of the sites where Google rolls out the service. It promises a competitive price in hopes of showcasing what a next generation internet can do.
It should be obvious that wherever this happens will gain an immediate competitive advantage over everywhere else because there are so many businesses that would love to have internet speeds 100 times faster than cable.
Google plans this year to identify one city to give this a shot.
Obviously, most people figure it's going to go to someplace a whole lot more technically sophisticated than Bristol -- maybe a Seattle or Pittsburgh or Madison or Austin.
But if Google truly wants to show what a new internet can do, it will pick a place like Bristol instead, a city that can brag about ESPN but certainly isn't on the cutting edge.
With this, though, it could be.
It's also perhaps a great opportunity for some regional cooperation. A joint bid that included  some nearby towns might be even better, allowing Google to showcase how this would work in a wider range of neighborhoods. Perhaps New Britain, West Hartford, Farmington and Plainville would be interested in jumping on board?
If Google wants to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots, why not Bristol or the wider area?
Community leaders ought to look into it at least and see what it would take to be in the running.
There's no reason that, for once, Bristol can't be in the lead.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 16, 2010

Wright, Nicastro back newspaper legal ads

Press release issue today:
STATE REPRESENTATIVES WRIGHT AND NICASTRO SUPPORT PUBLICATION OF PUBLIC NOTICES IN NEWSPAPERS, OPPOSE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL THAT WOULD CURB PUBLIC NOTICES IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS

“Public’s Right To Know Is Primary Concern”

State Representative Christopher Wright (D-Bristol) and State Representative Frank Nicastro (D-Bristol) oppose a proposal by the Governor that would allow cities and towns to publish important public notices on town web sites rather than be published in local newspapers.
“The public’s right to know far outweighs any possible cost savings,” Rep. Nicastro said. “Keeping legal notice information from citizens is a dangerous precedent that we should avoid. Who knows what comes next?”
“I spend a great deal of time going door to door talking with constituents one on one and I am very much aware that not everyone, especially our seniors, have computers,” Rep. Wright warned. “Let’s not forget them and anyone else who may not be able to access the internet.”
“Elected officials and government at all levels must be accountable to the public and one way that’s accomplished is public awareness of local meetings and legal notices that impact public policy,” the Bristol legislators said.
The legislators understand that governments at all levels are dealing with tight budgets and that unnecessary spending must be constrained, “but, curbing the public’s access to public notices that affect there lives is not a way to go. Taxpayers need more information  about what there government is doing, not less.”


Update: Here's the link to the story in the Press.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Busway battle not over yet

Though U.S. Rep. John Larson made his position clear -- favoring the busway -- critics of the $573 million project still hope to sway a skeptical legislature in Hartford.
For those who'd like to read more, here is a PDF containing the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce letter to Larson and the congressman's own letter to the Federal Transit Administration. And here is the response from the FTA's administrator.
So the battlefield moves to the Capitol, where rail backers hope to convince enough lawmakers to block the required bonding to complete the busway's financing.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

February 15, 2010

More Rosenthal emails to Matthews

Here are a few emails from last week's exchange between Jonathan Rosenthal, the city's economic development director, and city Councilor Kate Matthews that I didn't have on Friday:


From Rosenthal to Matthews
8:24 on 2/11

Subject: Fwd: Re: BDA issue re Tom Read 151 High Street Grant/Lien
Perhaps you might consider that I am following instructions of the mayor. [Emphasis in the original.]
Again i might suggest that this might have transpired a bit more smoothly if it had begun with a personal phone call to me.  I am actually a friendly and helpful person but I also have rules and orders to follow.  I would ask that you please give that some consideration in your judgment of me.


From Rosenthal to Matthews
12:05 on 2/11

I REPEAT that I did exactly as instructed by the Mayor.
I responded to you the way I was told to. [Emphasis in the original.]
Following instructions is the way I typically carry out the duties of my position.
I regret that my following instructions would be interpreted as being impolite, negative or worse.
I have absolutely nothing to gain by ticking you off.  I agree that it is unfortunate.
I would ask that you consider for just a moment that I am actually stuck in the middle?
Perhaps we can start over.  May I suggest that we start our communications with a phone call when you need something from this department.  My direct number is 860-584-6185.  May also suggest that emails not be broadcast to the entire Council unless there is a particular reason to do so?  Perhaps you can appreciate that when the email is sent out to everyone in the first place that I might wish to communicate my version to those same people.
I would like to start over.  How about meeting face to face at your convenience? OR a phone call?
Jonathan


From Rosenthal to Matthews:
12:28 on 2/11

Subject: Fwd: Re: BDA issue re Tom Read 151 High Street Grant/Lien
The information given to the Mayor.  (The same information that the Mayor said he wanted to provide to you.)
Mr. Read came in Monday morning at the about the time I received your email.
Mr. Read became threatening.
I called an attorney in to look at his request.
Mr. Read upon questioning said that signing the grant agreement was his free act and deed.
While the agreement may or may not constitute a "lien" it is an "encumbrance."
The attorney, after listening to Mr. Read's explanations for more than an hour said the bank is not legally prohibited from giving Mr. Read a second mortgage loan because of the grant agreement.
We wrote a "To Whom it May Concern" letter for the benefit of his lender explaining that he was in compliance and the terms under which the encumbrance is forgiven on an annual basis along with the schedule.
It was also explained once again that Mr. Read could ask for a waiver from the BDA Board on February 22, 2010 and provide them with reasons sufficient to determine his cause for release.  (This is by no means guaranteed.)
If the bank insists that the encumbrance be removed , he also has the option of paying off the encumbrance today at $3,250.
In the future I will insist to the Mayor that I be allowed to share the information desired.
It is my continuing desire to be forthcoming whenever possible.

By the way, I edited one of the emails to remove Rosenthal's direct line at City Hall and put his office phone line instead.

*******

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

February 13, 2010

Rating Bristol's restaurants


Here is a website that's beginning to get enough action to make its reviews of Bristol eateries mean something. Take a look.
It also has ratings for bars and cafes in town.
Another rating service that's a lot more popular nationally is Yelp. Here's what it has for Bristol so far -- but you can always help out by adding in your own ratings.

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

February 12, 2010

Matthews-Rosenthal spat plays out in emails

The following are copies of emails sent back and forth this week between city Councilor Kate Matthews and Jonathan Rosenthal, the city's economic development director. I can't say for sure that I have copies of all of them, but I obtained at least many of the relevant emails. I have a Freedom of Information request filed for all of them, just in case.
The entire back-and-forth was CC'd to the entire City Council, city lawyers and others. Many people have copies.
Now all of you do, too:

From Kate Matthews 2/8/2010 8:53 AM
To Jonathan Rosenthal, economic development director; Mayor Art Ward; and Debbie Shapiro (BDA)
Gentlemen and Ms. Shapiro:
On Saturday, I received a phone call from Tom Read, of 151 High Street in Bristol. He obtained a grant from the City in 2004 to help him reroof his historic, Federal Hill home. Now, he and his wife seek to refinance their home, but are apparently unable to do so because the City has a "lien" on their home, arising out of this grant. According to Mr. Read, he has sought from the BDA (through Ms. Shapiro and Mr. Rosenthal) a "subordination" of this lien, which could clear title to the property and enable the Reads to take out a second mortgage. Mr. Read has represented to me that there is substantial equity in the home, approximately $45,000 even after the refinance, sufficient to provide the City with security for the $2,600 lien (which reduces by 10% every year the Reads occupy the home and will extinguish itself in four years).
Based upon what I've been told by Mr. Read, as set forth in his attached letter and grant document, this seems like a reasonable request to me. Subordinating the lien won't cost the City a dime, but will have a tremendous positive effect on the lives of Mr. and Nrs. Read, who are long-time Bristol residents who plan to live out the rest of their lives in their High Street home.
Mr. Read has informed me that time is of the essence, as the Reads had originally planned to close tomorrow afternoon. As you can see in his letter, he requested that a subordination be executed by the end of the day today. I advised Mr. Read that City government requires time to deliberate issues like these, and that his deadline did not appear to me to be feasible. Nevertheless, I wish to convey to you the urgency of the Reads' position.
Mr. Mayor, for your information, Mr. Read told me that he planned to stop by your office today to discuss this matter with you.
Thank you for your assistance. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. As well, I would appreciate it if you could keep me informed as to the status of this matter.
Sincerely,
Kate Matthews

From Jonathan Rosenthal 02/08/10 2:26 PM
Dear Councilwoman* Matthews:
I met with Mr. Read this morning and the Mayor Ward this morning and the matter has been dealt with.
Jonathan Rosenthal, AICP, CEcD
Executive Director
Bristol Development Authority
*The official title is Councilman but it seems impolite to me.


From Tom Read to Kate Matthews
Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 12:35 AM
Subject: Possible solution
Hi Kate,
I believe that I may have a possible solution to the impasse between me and the BDA. My solution is quite simple, but I'll need to speak with the Tax Collector tomorrow in order to confirm that it is a workable plan. What I have in mind is to advance pay our property taxes in the amount of $3250. This is a little less than two years advance tax payment. In the past, the Bristol Tax Collector would receive advance payments and keep them credited to the taxpayer's tax record so I don't believe that is a problem. Then, once each year I'll short pay our taxes in the amount of $650 until the tax surplus is extinguished in 5 years. The plan would require an agent of the City to be present holding a release upon the Grant agreement that was filed upon the Land Records of our home, and to accept the check for $3250.
I like this approach because my wife and I did qualify for the grant in 2004, and we are entitled to its full benefit -- one way or the other. I regret that I'll be paying interest upon my own money, but that is far better than giving it back to the BDA who have already said that if I did so in order to release the cloud upon our title it could not be refunded. Mr. Rosenthal may not like the solution because the funds are out of his reach, but I'm sure he can come up with a creative plan and instrument to place a cloud upon the Tax Collectors office. Meanwhile, the City has the funds in its coffers at all times. Mr. Rosenthal's personal inability to respect the common dignity, privacy, and property rights, of this family will not ever be an issue again.
My wife and I are highly stressed at this time. She fears that I may charge a windmill (I will not), and I am frustrated about all the difficulty that attempting to access our own ample equity has caused. As an example, my credit rating has dropped 10 points in the past month due to the credit report inquiries in December, January, and now February, that have resulted from our mortgage attempts. This plan would at least get this matter over, and we could conserve some measure of benefit from the so-called Grant.
Your reaction would be greatly appreciated if you have a few moments to comment. Thank you for your consideration.
Best Regards,
Tom Read

From Matthews to Rosenthal
2/10/2010 8:23 AM
Dear Jonathan,
In the future, I would appreciate it if you would provide a little more detail rather than summarily stating that a particular matter into which I have inquired has been "dealt with". That is not a sufficient response, especially when I have taken the time to address the matter in detail for your reference and convenience. Furthermore, it does not necessarily represent the "status" of the matter, which is what I asked for. By way of example, this particular matter has clearly not been "dealt with", as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Read sent me the enclosed email at 12:26 this morning. Please address and provide me with a brief but informative update. Thank you for your assistance.
Kate


From Rosenthal to Matthews
02/10/10 7:58 AM

Dear Councilwoman Matthews:
Perhaps it would interest you that Mr. Read came in here and presented himself in an intimidating manner. I reported that to the police chief.
You might find some of his history documented on the internet.
And although it would be much easier to remain silent on this matter, so please forgive me being straightforward, may I suggest, with all humility and sincerity, that a ppersonal phone discussion is the most appropriate way to address complex matters?
As with many complaints, there may be additional information that would be helpful to know before rendering an opinion.
The staff has acted appropriately and followed the both guidelines and precedent. I fully back the staff's handing of this matter.
The Chairman of the BDA Policy Committee has been fully briefed and is in support of staff responses.
Mr. Read had the ability to appeal to the Board which meets on the 22nd of month, and was advised so, a date which was not to his liking.
Regardless, I am sorry if you are unhappy with the response but if you would like more information you will need to speak to Mayor Ward.
Sincerely yours,
Jonathan Rosenthal

From Matthews to Rosenthal
2/10/2010 3:03 PM

Jonathan,
If your response requires a personal phone call, then I expect you to make it. Either you are or you are not available to answer questions posed directly to you by members of the City Council regarding BDA matters. I have no issue with how your staff handled the matter with Mr. Read. I am concerned solely with your conduct and the tenor of your recent e-mails. If there are further updates to be made on this BDA matter, I expect you - not the Mayor = to keep me apprised. After all, he is very busy doing his own job and should not also be burdened with the duties of your position.
Kate Matthews

From Rosenthal to Matthews
02/11/10 9:01 AM
Dear Councilwoman Matthews,
Please let me make it clear to you and all those you been sharing this with that I have responded to as instructed by the mayor. The MAYOR wanted to update you and it isn't my place to circumvent his wishes. When Councilman Cockayne called me I answered all his questions. I am both a helpful and responsive person who also tries to follow instructions. The Mayor became involved by the nature of your first email communication.
While I appreciate your desire for a more detailed response, I feel I am being placed in a no-win situation -- to follow the rules, respond as you wish, and to follow orders. I don't understand why this little drama is being played out before the entire City Council. It's really simple and I really do want to be helpful and I think
you really would benefit by speaking with the mayor as he suggested rather than suggesting anything about my conduct which has been above board and appropriate.
I called you and left you a phone message a few moments ago. I would have avoided an additional email but I think it's important that the other members of the Council know that I am trying to respond appropriately and that I really am responding appropriately to the citizen.
Thank you for your consideration. I would certainly like to do anything I can to repair this mis-communication. Please consider calling.
Jonathan Rosenthal

From Matthews to Rosenthal
Jonathan,
You put this email chain before the entire City Council when you hit "reply all" and sent your puzzling, condescending, and substantively inadequate email to me on February 8, 2010 at 3:26 p.m.
Respectfully, I have recently spoken to Mayor Ward, who has informed me that you should be responding to my direct inquiries in this particular BDA matter, as that is part of your job. You'll excuse me if I take him at his word.
I reported this BDA matter to you on Monday, February 8, 2010 at 8:53 a.m. In that email, I asked to be kept apprised of the status of this matter. As I stated in a prior email to you, if your response to my request requires a personal phone call, then I expect you to make it. Your attempt to call me for the first time today, after three days of antagonistic emails, and then report to the Mayor and City Council that you are being helpful and responsive, is both disingenuous and transparent.
I made a simple request. Not only have you failed to respond to my request, you've turned what could have been a polite and professional interaction between us into something less than pleasant. That is unfortunate.
I sincerely hope that your behavior and negative attitude, as evidenced by your emails, is not representative of the way you typically carry out the duties of your position.
Kate Matthews
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com