May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

For the 60th consecutive year, Fran Mullins will line up this morning to walk in Bristol's annual Memorial Day parade.
While his longevity is unusual, his commitment to honor our nation's fallen warriors -- and pay respect to those who survived, tool -- is typical of a town that has never faltered in support of its men and women in uniform.
Bristol's parade is at 9 a.m. and Forestville's follows at 11 a.m. Bristol's is the more somber event.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 28, 2010

Police union: Don't blame us

The police union said that it will not be used as a scapegoat for Mayor Art Ward's decision to cancel plans for fireworks during the city's 225th anniversary celebration next month.
According to a press release sent out by the union last night, neither Police Chief John DiVenere nor any other city officials talked with the union before the mayor announced he would cancel the fireworks show on June 12.
"The membership of the Bristol Police Union was never even offered the opportunity to work the event," according to the release from Peter Kott, the union president.
When the police union learned of the supposed staffing problems, it expressed a willingness to talk with city leaders to find a solution, the union said.
"Whatever the real reasons behind the cancellation of the event, "we can assure the residents of the city of Bristol that the Bristol Police Union is not the impediment here."
"We have a long record of community involvement and we recognize the historic nature of this event," the release said. "The union will not be used as scapegoats."
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 27, 2010

Brickley lashes out at Larson

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

Hartford, CT --Ann Brickley, the Republican endorsed candidate for the First Congressional District said today that in the past five years Congress has spent billions funding the development of a fighter engine that would compete with the Pratt and Whitney engine which powers the Joint Strike Fighter.
Congressman John Larson did his usual song and dance by stating that the funding is a as “a prime example of wasteful spending,” (Hartford Courant, May 27) while he continues to donate thousands of dollars to the campaigns of fellow congressmen who are voting in favor of the alternate development funding. He has already contributed to more than 80 campaigns for the 2010 election. “We have now witnessed the same scenario for five years,” Brickley said. Much of the money he is contributing came from Connecticut residents supporting his campaign PAC. 
The Air Force doesn’t want the alternate engine, the Navy doesn’t want it and the Secretary of Defense said publically said it would be a complete waste of tax dollars, yet the congressional charade goes on.  “If we keep funding development there will certainly be an effort to use the engine.  This would be a catastrophic loss to Pratt and Whitney and Connecticut,” Brickley continued.
“As the number four leader in the House of Representatives, Congressman Larson should be able to stop this obscene waste and the stop should have come in the Armed Services Committee that voted to include $485 million dollars for further development of the alternative engine last week,” Brickley concluded.

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

Larson speaks out against 'wasteful' engine



Press release from U.S. Rep. John Larson, the East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol:
LARSON SPEAKS ON FLOOR AGAINST F-35 EXTRA ENGINE
Stands with President, Sec Gates and Military in opposing wasteful program
Washington, DC – Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) made the following statement on the floor in support of the Pingree Amendment to strip funding for the wasteful and unnecessary F-35 Extra Engine Program from the Defense Authorization Act. (As prepared for delivery.)
“All across America families are tightening their belts - making-do with less. They expect the same from Congress. Imagine their utter frustration when they hear Congress is pushing forward an unwanted and unnecessary $3 billion program.
“Only in Washington, DC could a company that lost the competition in the private sector, and already controls 88% of the military engine market, come seeking a government-directed subsidy and call that competition. I guess competition in this town means buying two of everything with taxpayers’ money.
“The Marines, the Navy, and the Air Force have all said they don’t want it. They don’t need it. The President has called this program an example of the ‘unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe.’ Why are we moving ahead with it?
“If we can’t cut spending here, where can we cut it? If we don’t make tough choices to rein in wasteful spending now, when will we make them?
“This is about whose side you’re on. Are you on the side of excessive spending? Or, are you on the side of saving taxpayer money and supporting our troops?”
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Community ready to pitch in for fireworks, but show fizzles anyway

Hoping to ease the financial blow that fireworks would mean for the city, a group of volunteers fanned out yesterday to collect as much cash as they could so the show could go on.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said that within 24 hours, they had more than $3,000 worth of pledges -- half the money needed to pay overtime for police officers to provide security.
Cockayne said he thought this morning that it was all going to work out.
Then the plug got pulled.
The city's 225th anniversary committee met and decided to cancel the fireworks, Cockayne said.
Mayor Art Ward said it wasn't about the money. It was about the manpower.
He said the city couldn't get enough police officers to make sure the public would be safe during a fireworks show taking place so close to homes and businesses.
Ward said Police Chief John DiVenere is writing an extensive memorandum today explaining exactly why it's not possible.
It's not clear whether the chief or the city has asked the police union what, if anything, it can do to help clear the way for the fireworks to go on. Nor is it clear why the city can't use private duty officers from other towns to cover the fireworks or the car show earlier on June 12 or ask St. Anthony's to rely on officers from other towns to patrol its carnival the same day.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 26, 2010

White House defense liaison to speak in Bristol Sunday

Press release from Mayor Art Ward:
On Sunday, May 30, 2010, a special breakfast will be held at the American Legion Post #2 at 9:00 am with the guest of honor being Michele S. Jones. She is a female veteran who will be speaking to youth groups and female veterans about her service in the military and her role as Defense Liaison to the White House. The 6th Annual Bristol Veterans Council Memorial Day Weekend is dedicated, this year, to female veterans. The breakfast is open to all female veterans in the City and any youth groups that would like to hear her speak. If you are interested in attending, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 860-584-6250. After the breakfast, the exhibits and other events will open on Memorial Boulevard. If you would like more information on the event, you can find it on the City of Bristol website at www.ci.bristol.ct.us.
Michele S. Jones was appointed as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense White House Liaison on July 20, 2009. She is responsible for the management of the Department of Defense staffing, recruitment, vetting and clearance process for political personnel, and boards and commission appointments. She serves as the principal DoD contact with the Presidential Personnel Office, White House Military Office and is the principal DoD liaison for the White House Political Affairs Office, White House Intergovernmental Affairs and the President’s Council on Women and Girls. Ms. Jones is responsible for special projects as determined by the Offices of the President, Vice President, First Lady and other White House agencies. She coordinates with White House staff, Members of Congress, senior DoD officials, and top officials in other agencies. Additionally, she conducts the final review and approval of all Office of the Secretary of Defense, Defense Agencies, Army, Navy and Air Force experts and consultants.
Ms. Jones served as the 9th Command Sergeant Major (CSM) of the Army Reserve from October 2002 through August 2006. She retired on March 1, 2007 after 25 years of service in both the active and Reserve components. As the CSM of the Army Reserve, she was the chief advisor on all enlisted soldier matters. She was an advocate for Army Reserve enlisted soldiers at all levels within the Army, Department of Defense, Congress and the media. She served on multiple councils, boards and testified before congressional committees and subcommittees that made decisions, recommendations and legislative changes affecting soldiers and their families.
She distinguished herself as being the first woman selected as class president at the United States Sergeants Major Academy (Class 48), the first woman to serve as a division CSM, and culminating as the first woman to serve as the CSM of any of the Army’s components, active or Reserve. Prior to her retirement, she held the highest Noncommissioned Officer position of any woman in the Army.
A career Soldier, Ms. Jones held many positions of leadership from squad leader, section leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major. Some of her career highlights include assignments to 78th Division, (Training Support), Edison, NJ; United States Army Special Operations Command (Airborne Troop Program Unit), Fort Bragg, NC; United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) Fort Bragg, NC; 82~ Airborne Division, Fort Bragg; 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, CO.
She has served during every major contingency operation including Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope, Provide Comfort, Joint Endeavor and Nobel Eagle.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Final charter hearing slated for Thursday

A final public hearing on proposed city charter changes is slated for 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
The Charter Revision Commission plans to suggest two significant overhauls to the city government’s blueprint – 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 number of minor revisions are also on the table.
The hearing allows members of the public one last chance to sway the seven-member panel before it issues its report to the City Council. It is under orders to finish by June 1.
The most controversial item is the move to give mayors, city councilors, registrars and a few minor elected officers twice as long between elections.
Instead of running every two years, they would only have to face the voters every four years, if the proposal is ultimately approved.

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

May 25, 2010

Ward: No to fireworks

Don't miss reporter Jackie Majerus' story about Mayor Art Ward's decision to cancel the fireworks planned for the city's 225th anniversary celebration.
After the police chief said he couldn't get enough officers to cover the event, Ward decided to KO the show that city councilors recently approved and the 225th Anniversary Committee had arranged.
One of the committee members, Tom Dickau, quit in disgust. He said the fireworks were the linchpin of the entire weekend (June 11th to the 13th).
A car show, a soap box derby race and more remains of the weekend plans, but there won't be any rockets roaring up from the former mall site -- unless residents create some fireworks of their own.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Del Mastro makes case for unseating Nicastro

Press release from Peter Del Mastro, the Republican state House candidate in the 79th District:

Del Mastro Gets GOP Endorsement For 79th District Race
Bristol, Connecticut - May 25, 2010  -   At its nominating convention last evening, the Bristol Republican Town Committee overwhelmingly endorsed Peter J. Del Mastro as its candidate for the 79th District seat currently held by Frank Nicastro, the Democrat incumbent.
During his acceptance speech, Del Mastro acknowledged beating Nicastro is a difficult task, but outlined a strategy that he believes will lead to victory in November.
Del Mastro’s campaign will have a two-pronged focus: Returning prosperity to the people of Connecticut, and returning fiscal discipline to the Legislature. He stated that we must have good paying jobs with great benefits if we are to bring prosperity to the State. In addition, we cannot allow government to take an increasing portion of taxpayer dollars. Otherwise, it will prosper at the expense of the people.
Del Mastro made his case, in part, by pointing to the two huge revenue streams that came on line in the 1990s - Slot Machine Revenue and Income Tax Revenue. Both have since been completely absorbed by tremendous increases in State spending, putting Connecticut back into financial distress.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Firefighters lose big on contract arbitration

City firefighters got burned in a long-awaited arbitration decision on their pending union contract.
Over a four year period stretching back to July 2007, firefighters will get raises totaling 6.5 percent – half of what they were looking for.
They will also see their cost-sharing for health care rise from 5 percent of the tab to 9.75 percent in the final year, by far the highest of any city workers. The police union, the next highest, is due to pay 8.25 percent in the same fiscal year, which begins July 1.
In addition, new retirees in the fire department will also have to pay the same percentage of their health care as active duty firefighters.
Mayor Art Ward said the arbitrators clearly “recognized the economic crisis that municipalities are faced with at the present time” and took it into account in awarding contract terms.
City Comptroller Glenn Klocko said the city had socked away about $600,000 to pay off the firefighters’ back pay in the worst case scenario. Because the city won most items, about half the money will likely be returned to the rainy day fund.
Firefighters failed in their bid to change their work schedule so they would work 24 hours in a row and then get three straight days off.
The city has 25 days to reject the decision, but Ward has no plans to ask the City Council to consider it.
The city spent at least $130,000 on lawyers to handle the case.
Here is a summary of the decision prepared by Diane Ferguson, the city's personnel director.
I'll have more on this Wednesday.

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

Ward pens the deal with Renaissance


Here is one of the pens used to sign today's landmark agreement between the city and Renaissance Downtowns. Mary Suchopar, the mayor's assistant, brought in a wood and glass display case that she uses at home to display her fountain pen collection. She emptied it out for the big occasionan so it could be loaded up with a handful of Art Ward campaign pens, which were handed out to the officials signing the deal.
There's no word yet on whether any of the pens are now on eBay.
Here, by the way, is reporter Jackie Majerus' story on the signing.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Aging walkers find Bristol deadly

For the elderly, taking a stroll in Bristol is more dangerous than in almost any other town in the state.
A new study released today shows that Bristol is the second most dangerous city in the state for older residents to walk.
Three of the four pedestrians killed in the city between 2006 and 2008 were elderly, the report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign determined. Only Waterbury proved more dangerous for seniors on foot.
Three cities tied for third – New Britain, North Haven and Norwalk. In each, two-thirds of pedestrian deaths during the three-year period involved older residents.
Mayor Art Ward expressed surprise at the report but said he couldn’t comment on it until he has a chance to review it.
Police Chief John DiVenere and Public Works Director Walter Veselka also said Tuesday they could not comment without more information.
Connecticut as a whole saw 107 pedestrian deaths during the three-year period, with 40 percent of those killed 60 or more years old, according to the study.
For the complete story, follow this link.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Fitzgerald makes her case for 77th District seat

Prepared speech by Jill Fitzgerald for delivery at last night's 77th District Republican convention:
To my fellow Bristol residents;
I am honored to accept the nomination to be your candidate for the State House Seat in the 77th district.
It was a desire to serve my community and a concern for our children’s futures that motivated me to run in 2008. As I went door to door, listening to my fellow Bristol residents I quickly found that many of us share the same concerns and frustrations and I made a connection with the people that has stayed with me.
Over the last two years, circumstances have become more difficult, and I have become more frustrated and determined to become a part of the solution to the problems we face in our city and in our state.
- As our daughter heads off to college in the Fall I wonder if there will be opportunities here for her and will she choose to come back here and live because statistics show our young people are not.
- For the first time in our 25 years of marriage, my husband, Shawn spent 7 months of the last year unemployed and we quickly realized our problem was as much a spending one as a revenue one
- In my own business, as I handle bookkeeping and process payrolls for small businesses and professionals I hear their concerns for the future and I see hard decisions being made
- In our city we are facing property tax increases close to 6%, and our State continues to burden the cities with unfunded mandates.
This leads me to question whether our representatives are even listening to our concerns. Our own representative, since taking office in 2009, has voted “yes” to depleting the rainy day fund; “yes” to a proposed extraordinary tax increase to Bristol’s own ESPN; and most recently, “yes” for a biennial budget adjustment that includes $1.5 Billion in tax increases; $300 Million increase in General Fund spending; $50 Million cut in municipal aid; and the borrowing of $1.3 Billion. This is just to name a few votes.
Abraham Lincoln said “you cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Yet this is what we continue to see happening and it is frightening. It is not a stretch to believe that we can do better than this, but we cannot continue to vote in the same people and expect different results.
I am an independent thinker who places a high value on hard work, personal responsibility, giving back to your community, individual freedom and liberty; and I understand that we must have all the government we need, but only the government we need.
Once elected,
• I promise …you will not find a better listener and advocate for the greater good of the people and for the City of Bristol.
• I promise …To apply the same common sense we use in our own homes: if we can’t afford it, we can’t have it and to operate with the most efficiency we can.
and
• I promise …To always remember that I am a public servant and that serving is a duty, not an entitlement.
This is a year of great opportunity for the people in the State of Connecticut, for this is the year we can bring balance, responsibility and common sense back to our State Legislature.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Colapietro seeking another term in state Senate

Press release from state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat:
Bristol Senator Tom Colapietro received the Democratic nomination for State Senate Monday night. A moderate crowd filled the town council chambers as thirty-six delegates made their unanimous decision.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome of tonight. I fight hard to make sure that my constituents get their fair share and I know that in all my years in office, I’ve been a strong advocate for my district,” said Senator Colapietro. “Receiving this nomination is proof that the people of the 31st agree and would like to see experience and leadership continue to stand on their behalf.”
The nomination was made by Harwinton First Selectman Frank Chiaramonte and seconded by State Representative Betty Boukus (D-Plainville).
“Tom has always been there to help whenever Harwinton needed something,” said First Selectman Frank Chiaramonte. “He helped coordinate resources to fix the entrance to Harwinton Cemetery and also secured a grant for $420,000 for renovations and construction of an additional building for the Harwinton Volunteer Ambulance Association among many other things.”
“I have worked with Tom for a long time and have appreciated his communication whenever something needed to be done. He always picked up the phone and included me when it came to Bristol. I have a deep respect for the work that he has done and look forward to continuing our work together.” said Representative Boukus.
Senator Colapietro stated that while the last two years have been tough, with budgetary and fiscal restraints compounding the process, he expects the next two to be even tougher. “I understand the situation we are in and think that we all may have to hurt a little to get through it. People want results and are anxious for the economy to improve,” said the Senator. “I’m not the type of guy to run from a challenge and while I am actively campaigning for reelection, I still have a job to do in Hartford. I’m ready for the difficulties that face us in the future and stand prepared with my sleeves rolled up.”
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Zydanowicz declares intention to primary

Republican congressional hopeful Mark Zydanowicz told local business and government leaders this morning that he intends to ask grass-roots GOP voters to select him as their candidate to face U.S. Rep. John Larson in November.
"I'm making it official here that I will primary," Zydanowicz said.
Zydanowicz, a West Hartford dairy executive, will face Ann Brickley, a Wethersfield business owner who is the party's nominee, in an Aug. 10 primary.
Zydanowicz spoke at an Egss & Issues breakfast sponsored by the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce.
Zydanowicz got a shock last week when the 1st District congressional convention tapped Brickley as the Republican standard bearer against Larson, an East Hartford Democrat who has represented the district since 1998.
Bristol's delegation stuck with him, though. He got unanimous backing from its delegates.
He is an Iraq veteran, where he helped rebuild Baghdad's infrastructure, who works for Guida Dairy, which his grandfather started decades ago.
For more, see Wednesday's Press.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 24, 2010

Primary for Democratic registrar looms

Democrats will face a primary in the race to pick a successor to their party’s registrar of voters.
Though Democrats voted 37-14 Monday to endorse Elliott Nelson, the city’s Democratic chair, the final decision will be made by rank-and-file Democrats in an Aug. 10 primary.
Mary Rydingsward, who fell short in when party loyalists voted, said afterward she would seek to overturn the decision by reaching out to ordinary Democrats.
“I didn’t expect as an outsider to get the nomination,” she said.
Rydingsward and Nelson will compete for the right to take the $46,000-a-year job that Bob Badal is giving up when his term ends this year
See Tuesday's paper for more. Here is the link.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

More talk on the downtown deal

The agreement provides "maximum flexibility" to Renaissance while ensuring the city is protected, said Edward Krawiecki, Jr, the city attorney.
After the signing of the deal, slated for Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., Renaissance bears the responsibility for doing all the studies associated with the property.
And now, 40 minutes into the meeting, the council weighs in...
"Great job," said city Councilor Cliff Block.
"Job well done. I think the agreement came out very nice," said city Councilor Kevin Fuller.
"We're not in the developing business here. We're in the government business," Krawiecki said.
City Councilor Kate Matthews said that keeping the council updated in executive sessions has been useful.
"It really is quite a contract to try to read," Matthews said.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne asked when Renaissance will open its City Hall office.
Krawiecki said the city is looking at its space. The contract said it has to be open within 90 days, Krawiecki said, with staff here, not just a kiosk.
Cockayne said he "heard it getting a little heated" during some closed-door sessions in recent months.
City Council Kevin McCauley said the contract answers most questions. It is detailed, he said, and understandable.
Mayor Art Ward calls for public participation now...
Tom Cosgrove, who is vice chairman of the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., said that after three years of meetings, the council and mayor "were very helpful to our commission while we did our work."
Cosgrove said that city officials have been helpful all along, which bodes well for Monti.
"The city of Bristold can be very proud of its government and its politicians and its commissions," Cosgrove said.
Ward said that he is proud of the BDDC's work. He pointed out he was the last holdout for creating it, but has seen it approach the deal well.
Gardner Wright, another BDDC commissioner, said there may be concerns that it will take two or three years to have things happen. But, he said, given the economy, the deal has "relatively short timeframes" for Monti to get things in place.
"We have a good plan, a good project," Wright said.
And that's it for audience comment.
McCauley said there will be new councilors over the time of the deal. That does help assure the process continues.
Ward said he got an email from former Mayor William Stortz with many questions, most of which have been answered tonight. He said he would send Stortz a written response.
The mayor thanked Monti "for having the faith in the city of Bristol."
Monti is now at the podium, thanking the BDDC, the mayor and council.
"This has been a very professional and a very thorough process," Monti said. He said in 35 years of developing, he sees a need to commend everyone.
"We are all very excited," Monti said.
Monti said that after 120 days of negotiations, he is "even more excited" because there are some great things afoot.
"Bristol is about to create something here that is going to be recognized across the country," Monti said.
"I look forward with much enthusiasm to living up to your vote of confidence," Monti said.
And now, a unanimous vote to approve the deal.

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

Downtown plan under review by City Council

To begin the City Council session on the proposed agreement with Renaissance Downtowns, the city attorney, Edward Krawiecki, Jr, gave a short lecture on how the city got to this point.
The negotiations since January focused on creating the milestones the preferred developer would need to meet.
Krawiecki said the scope of studies for the concept plan are a key element, slated to be ready by June 25. The city would have a month to review them.
"That's the first major milestone," Krawiecki said.
Krawiecki said the piece that is "probably the most significant" comes by Feb. 25, when the developer has to provide site-specific conceptual planning, including the relocation of McDonald's; what to do with the grocery store; the layout proposed uses and potential tenants, layouts of walkways, roads and the like; the possibility of a transportation center; and more.
It should provide the overall vision for the site and the greater downtown area, since Renaissance can reach beyond the city-owned 17 acres where the mall once stood.
At the same time, the developer would propose the phasing sequence for getting the work done.
He'll also have to give an idea of what the construction and infrastructure improvements may look like.
Don Monti, the owner of Renaissance, has said he doesn't intend to spring anything on the city. He said he views it as a collaborative effort, Krawiecki said. There will likely be meetings, open houses, hearings and the like as part of the process.
The city has agreed to rent Monti space at City Hall, Krawiecki said. That should be up and running "in very, very quick fashion."
The final concept plan approval is slated for May 25, 2012, a point where either side can terminate the deal.
That's "the drop dead date" where the final plan will be clear, the attorney said.
A project plan is due to the state Department of Economic and Community Development by April 25, 2011. It isn't clear yet how much involvement the state will have, since nobody knows what the state's role may be.
"There's a lot of players involved in this," Krawiecki said.
Renaissance will supply the final concept plan based on all of its research and planning. The city then gets 45 to comment and suggest revisions.
But, of course, the city hopes to have been involved all along so there shouldn't be any serious surprise at that point.
Krawiecki said the best developments have continuous discussions and a cooperative spirit throughout.
Once the final plan is in place, the initial closing date must occur by May 25, 2014 -- four years from now.
"There's an awful lot of work that goes in" before the closing can happen, Krawiecki said.
Assuming there is an initial closing, whenever that happens, there is a requirement that subsequent purchases take place in 12 month increments.
"Our primary concern is that we want a vibrant downtown developed," Krawiecki said, so officials want to ensure "that whatever we do with Renaissance is something we can all be proud of."
If no construction occurs by May 25, 2015, either party could, again, terminate the deal.
In addition, there are a lot of detailed issues within the agreement.
The sale of the property is probably of the most interest.
To value the property, we will appraise it at the time of the final concept approval. That includes the fair market value.
Krawiecki said Renaissance and the city each hire appraisers. Assuming the numbers are within 10 percent, "we will work it out." If it's more, then the two appraisers pick a third appraiser and "we'll live with that."
The price then is the fair market value or $2.1 million, whichever is higher. That number comes from a 2007 valuation at $150,000 an acre. a It's now worth 30-40 percent less, Krawiecki said, given the market turnaround.
The $2.1million also comes from the mixed use idea that Monti initially suggested -- 750 housing units, a small hotel and office and retail space.
The key conditions for a closing require the developer to show it has the funding to cover the project's costs, that environmental necessities are met, that permits are in place and that construction can begin within 90 days.
All told, Krawiecki said, the city is doing all it can to protect its interests in this deal.
The city lawyer said the minimum project for first phase would be least 200 housing units, 10,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space and other amenities, along with sufficient parking.
"We would be able to see a substantial beginning" before closing the deal, Krawiecki said.
So far, nobody has talked except Krawiecki.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Dodd fielding questions in Hartford




U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, top and left, with Associated Press reporter Susan Haigh in Hartford today.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Council weighs in on downtown today

Check in this evening for live blogging of the 5:30 p.m. City Council session about the proposed deal between the city, the Bristol Downtown Development Corp. and Renaissance Downtowns. Councilors will listen to public comments, field questions and then decide whether to go along with agreement hashed out during the last several months on how to handle the revitalization of the city-owned former mall site on North Main Street.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Blumenthal still way up in polls

With the conventions over and a freshly minted apology, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal appears to have weathered the storm created by a New York Times story that pointed out occasions when Blumenthal falsely claimed to have served in the Marines in Vietnam.
Polling done on May 19 and 20 for the candidate finds him still well ahead and still well liked in Connecticut.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 23, 2010

Walter Shapiro on Vietnam, lies and plutocrats

When a real pro like Walter Shapiro weighs in on Connecticut politics, it's worth reading.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Democrats back openly gay comptroller candidate


Kevin Lembo, left, and his spouse, Charles Frey, on their wedding day last year.

One little-noticed aspect of this weekend's conventions is that the Democrats nominated Kevin Lembo as their state comptroller candidate.
Lembo is the first openly gay candidate to gain party backing for a statewide office.
There will surely come a day when that's barely worth noting, but it says something about Connecticut that Democrats are pretty sure that a gay, married candidate can run for office and probably win.
Lembo, who served as assistant comptroller for seven years, is the state healthcare advocate. He's held the office since 2004.
To learn more about Lembo, check out his website here.
Lembo will face Darien businessman Jack Orchulli, the GOP's endorsed candidate. Orchulli is a former U.S. Senate candidate.
Lembo initially aimed at the lieutenant governor's slot, but switched to running for comptroller when Nancy Wyman agreed to run on the gubernatorial ticket with former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy.
For what it's worth, I only mention that Lembo is openly gay because it's something new to  the top tier of Connecticut politics. I also have no doubt that some officials during the state's long history were privately gay, but that doesn't undermine the significance of the social change involved in Lembo's situation.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 22, 2010

Foley gains the nod; Fedele, Griebel can primary

Republican Whit Betts, who's running in the 78th District, talks with Oz Griebel during the convention vote to choose the party's gubernatorial candidate.

Setting up a possible three-way primary for governor on the Republican side, both Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and businessman Oz Griebel secured enough votes at the convention today to allow them to primary by right.
That means they can challenge former Ambassador Tom Foley, who won a slim majority, in an Aug. 10 primary.
Bristol Republicans, who mostly backed Griebel, said they were happy with the result.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley fields questions from the press.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Bristol GOP backs Griebel

Bristol's Republican delegation threw most of its support to Oz Griebel, a businessman.
Its initial vote was 11 for Griebel, four for former Ambassador Tom Foley and one for Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. The city also has two superdelegates, Art Mocabee and Gary Schaffrick. They each backed Foley.
It appears that the first ballot is pretty split in the GOP gubernatorial race, but Foley is clearly in the lead.
Photo is of Griebel talking to delegates Friday night.


Bristol delegates at the Republican convention: T.J. Barnes, left, with Jill Fitzgerald looking on just to his left.

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

O'Brien: Blumenthal 'has some work to do'

Though Democratic U.S. Senate contender Richard Blumenthal "has some work to do" to rebuild the public's trust, he can wrestle GOP Senate nominee Linda McMahon to the ground, state Rep. Tim O'Brien, a New Britain Democrat, said.
"I hope people will reject the kind of Wall Street, insider politics" that led the Republicans to tap McMahon, an inexperienced multimillionaire, as their nominee, he said.
He said Democats can win with Blumenthal by making the case that they are fighting for average, working people while the GOP is counting on winning with a candidate who can "dump tens of millions of dollars to buy an election."
O'Brien said Blumenthal still has the support of veterans who remember how much he's done for them over the years.
He also hailed the party's gubernatorial choice because Malloy will push for property tax reform and a more fair system of school funding.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Malloy defeats Lamont

Former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy defeated businessman Ned Lamont for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination by a 2-to-1 margin. It's not yet official, but soon will be.

Update at 11:19 - Malloy got 1,232 votes. Lamont collected 580.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

On the scene at the Democratic convention

There's no doubt the Democrats are the more animated party.
This morning, while bleary-eyed delegates wandered in to the Connecticut Exposition Center, collecting a bagel and a cup of coffee from Dan Malloy's campaign on the way, they had to maneuver between chanting hordes for both Malloy and Ned Lamont.
Lamont even had a drum corps with dancers. As one delegate told me, "There's something awful about hearing a loud BOOM-BOOM-BOOM after a night of drinking."
Bristol delegates, though, appeared pretty eager to get down to the business of voting.
Terry Parker, one of the delegates from the Mum City, said the cheering outside reminded him of competing crowds at a football games.
"I just want the game to begin," Parker said.
Mayra Berrios Sampson, a former city Democratic chair, said she loves "the whole process" at state conventions, where she sees lots of old friends.
Mary Rydingsward, another Bristol delegate, pictured above, said this is her first convention.
"I've got to have fun or I'm not doing it again," she said.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 21, 2010

McMahon gives Simmons a smackdown

Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons put up a fight, but in the end he proved no match for the millions that newcomer Linda McMahon could pour into the campaign.
McMahon managed to squeeze delegates at the Republican convention until enough of them fled Simmons and businessman Peter Schiff to deliver her a first ballot nomination as the GOP's U.S. Senate candidate.
That sets her up to take on Democratic Richard Blumenthal in the fall for the seat that U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd is vacating.
Schiff is said to be eyeing a primary. Simmons might, too, though even many of his supporters said they don't see how the former congressman could topple McMahon.

Saturday morning update: Simmons is eyeing a primary. Schiff told reporters he plans to primary, too, though he'll need to collect some 15,000 signatures since he failed to get 15 percent of the delegates to side with him.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Griebel says he could win nomination for governor

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Oz Griebel said Friday he's not worried about getting enough votes to allow him to primary.
"I haven't ruled out winning the thing," Griebel said.
He said he feels confident about the race and detects a momentum going his way.
Griebel said he knows he'll trail in early voting, where former Ambassador Tom Foley, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and others are going to grab some support.
But, he said, as delegates start to weigh options, his star may rise.
"People are taking this very seriously," Griebel said, and are looking at what's possible.
"A lot can shift" as the voting gets underway, he said.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Martha Dean: Too tough to lose

As the Democratic political landscape shifted this week, three or four new Republican contenders leapt into the race for attorney general.
"They only want to do what's easy," said Martha Dean, who's been seeking the GOP nomination for the attorney general's post for months.
The newcomers, she said, may perceive the race is easier now, but they're not taking into account one important thing: they have to get past Dean.
Dean argued that she proved in 2002 that she can pull 50,000 or more new voters to the Republican side and she is confident she can take it to the Democrats this time around.
Dean said she is not about to roll over and let one of the politicians who have jumped in grab the nomination now.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Mocabee email might have done in Zydanowicz

A tough guy email from former Bristol GOP leader Art Mocabee to Wethersfield congressional contender Ann Brickley may have played a key role in propelling her to victory Friday in the Republican 1st District convention.
The email more or less ordered Brickley to quit the race so the party's chosen candidate, West Hartford dairy executive Mark Zydanowicz, could waltz to the nomination.
Brickley proved she, too, could play hardball.
She sent Mocabee's email to all of the district's Republican delegates.
Several party insiders said the blundered attempt to force her from the race probably swayed many undecided voters to her side.
Joe Visconti, the West Hartford contender who ran two years ago, said delegates basically wanted to send a message to their party leaders.
The final vote, which Brickley won easily, showed "a lot of backlash against the establishment," Visconti said.
Chris Healy, the state GOP chair, said that Visconti should take his medications.
He said Brickley "obviously did a great job" and will be a tremendous candidate. He said she's a neighbor of his and her family is friends with him.
Healy said the party helped Brickley with the process of running just as it did with Zydanowicz.
But when Zydanowicz announced his candidacy, both Healy and Mocabee, the 1st District leader, were present. When Brickley declared, they were absent.
Brickley avoided the controversy when I talked with her.
She said the delegates made their choice.
Photo shows Zydanowicz talking to Gary Schaffrick, a GOP state committee member.
Update: Here is the story about the 1st and 5th District conventions from Saturday's Press.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

On hand at the Republican convention

For local delegates, it helps to have someone from Bristol planning the state convention.
Bristol's delegation is sitting directly in front of the podium, in the second and third rows, with only Barkhamsted and Berlin grabbing closer views.
It doesn't get much better.
The city's GOP delegates are excited about the imminent start of the convention.
"It's going to be a good one," said T.J. Barnes, the city Republican leader. "When was the last time the Republicans had this? It's a new feeling for us."
Tonight, both parties will pick U.S. Senate candidates at their respective conventions in Hartford. The GOP is at the Hartford Convention Center while the Democrats are at the Connecticut Exposition Center a couple of miles to the south.
The Democrats are almost certain to nominate Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for Senate, despite his travails this week. The Republicans are trying to pick from among three contenders - Linda McMahon, Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff
"Linda will squeak it out," predicted Brock Weber, the youngest GOP delegate from Bristol. This is his first time attending a state convention as a delegate.
Barnes said the Democrats' choice is "all hype, no action" since Blumenthal has it in the bag.
Weber said the weekend is going to be exciting.
Tomorrow, both parties will pick their state candidate slates.
For Weber, the tough one to decide about is the governor's race.
He said that until a week ago, he backed former Ambassador Tom Foley for the state's top job. But now he's thinkinig he may support businessman Oz Griebel, who carries the endorsement of Wally Barnes, the city's most senior delegate.
Weber said he likes Griebel's views on privatizing some state functions. He said he plans to ask Foley later tonight what he thinks about the idea.
"Right now, I'm 50-50," Weber said.
Here are Wally Barnes and former mayoral contender Mary Alford inside the convention hall:


So how did Bristol get so close? Gary Schaffrick, a former city GOP chair, was the primary planner for the state convention. He works now for the state Republican Party.
Update at 7 p.m. -- Schaffrick said he had nothing to do with the seating arrangements.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Guard dogs at the park

Interesting email exchange:
From Mayor Art Ward
To: Edward Krawiecki, city attorney
Cc: Park Director Ed Swicklas, city Councilor David Mills
Sent: Thu, May 20, 2010 6:35 am
Subject: Guard Dog
Ed, the potential of acquiring a guard dog for securing the perimeter of the an area such as the inside of the Page Park swimming pool was raised at last evening's Park Board meeting; would appreciate it if you could review/provide details as to any possibilities and/or any problems which might be associated with the idea.

Mayor Ward

From Mayor Art Ward
To Park Director Ed Swicklas
Sent: 5/20/2010 6:37 AM
Ed, please forward to members of the Park Board so that they are aware of the action to address the issue.
Thank you,
Mayor Ward


From: Lori DeFillippi, park commissioner
To: Park Director Ed Swicklas
Sent: May 20, 2010
Ed,

I am happy the Mayor is at least exploring the idea of enclosed guard dogs- after cutting me off during "discussions" on this matter, as the Mayor so rudely did at last nights Park Boad meeting. As Commissioners, we volunteer our time and commitment to the welfare of our City, as such, our time and comments should be fully respected. I felt the Mayor dismissed my discussion on this topic by moving ahead without allowing me to finish. I am not sure if this is the norm for the Mayor at board meetings when he feels its warranted. I afford the Mayor his time, his opinions, and his discussions during the Park Board meetings and  I feel he should afford the same to me, and all the Park Board Commissioners.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Betts taps Hamzy & Krawiecki to manage his campaign

Press release from Whit Betts, the GOP state House candidate in the 78th District (the blue coloring is in the original):


Betts Announces Campaign Managers – Hamzy and Krawiecki
Whit Betts announced that Bill Hamzy and Ed Krawiecki Jr. have agreed to be his campaign managers for the upcoming election for the 78th District House seat.
“I am so happy to have the enthusiastic support and commitment of Bill and Ed who are good friends and whose legislative knowledge will be an enormous help to me.”
In accepting Whit’s offer to be campaign manager Rep. Bill Hamzy said       
 “I have been fortunate enough to have earned the right to represent the people of the 78th District as their state Representative.  I know what is required of a person who serves in this capacity.  There is no doubt in my mind that Whit has the passion, the integrity and the diligence to be a successful and honest representative of the people in this district.  That is why I have agreed to help manage his campaign to be my successor and look forward to helping him get elected in November.”
 Krawiecki said, “I am thrilled to have been asked to lend a hand in helping this outstanding civic leader in his effort to represent the people of Bristol and Plymouth.  Nearly 30 years ago, I was first honored with the privilege of representing the same district.  The work was long and difficult and the problems many.  Today we need a representative to replace Bill Hamzy, who did an outstanding job for the last 16 years, with problems that are growing by the day.  We have a deepening financial crisis which the next legislature must handle straight on.  There is no disagreement, the future will be a challenge and Whit Betts is the perfect candidate and individual to lead us as we search for sound fiscal judgment going forward.  Whit will devote his full time energy to the job.  Whit has the tremendous capacity to hear out everyone and all of their ideas.  Whit has a reputation that is above reproach and when the time comes to vote you can be sure that he will have considered all points of view.
I am honored to have the strong support of Ed and Bill, and to have them join John Letizia (Campaign Treasurer), a conservative democrat, on my campaign team. I will continue to invite and welcome the help of community leaders and people from both Plymouth and Bristol.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Downtown deal hearing on Monday

There doesn't seem to be much doubt about whether the City Council will go along with the terms of a deal with Renaissance Downtowns to develop the former mall site,
City councilors plan to vote on the agreement Monday after hearing from the public about the deal struck during three months of negotiations among the city, Renaissance and the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., which back the contract this week.
The council meeting, where the public can speak, is slated for 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Officials plan to sign the agreement at a press conference at City Hall at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Mayor Art Ward called it "a momentous occasion in the history of the City of Bristol, as it begins the revitalization of the downtown area, since the demolition of the Bristol Centre Mall over two years ago."
He described the expected signing as "historical."
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 19, 2010

No phones at City Hall

It took awhile, but I finally realized that the reason I couldn't get through to anyone at City Hall this morning on the phone is that the phones there are out.
When I finally reached someone who answered his cell phone, city Building Official Guy Morin, he told me the phones have been out all day.
He said he understands the city was switching carriers "and something went wrong."
So if you've been trying to call the city and getting messages saying the numbers are no longer valid, it's not a cost-cutting measure. It's just that something went awry and will, presumably, get fixed.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

A death in Charlottesville

Just got around to reading about the sickening murder of Yeardley Love, a fourth year student at University of Virginia, where I graduated a surprisingly long time ago. A former boyfriend  with a violent streak told police he kicked in her bedroom door and beat her head against a wall until she died. He, too, was a UVA student. They both played lacrosse.
It's impossible, of course, to make any sense of these things. They happen all too often, fueled by rage and alcohol. And there's nothing, absolutely nothing, anyone can do to make it right again.
A pretty, smart young woman who should have had a full life is simply gone.
Michael Suarez, a UVA professor, has an eloquent essay about what we can take from this horror. But I'm not sure there's much any of us can do save to commit ourselves once again to doing what we can to make sure women don't wind up dead just because they don't want to stay with some guy.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Blumenthal tumbles in the polls

A new poll taken last night shows Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal with a 48-45 lead over Republican Linda McMahon. That's 10 points worse than he did two weeks ago.
He leads Rob Simmons by 11 points now compared to a 23 point margin two weeks ago in the Rasmussen survey.
Since the poll was done Tuesday evening, the difference is almost entirely due to the breaking news about Blumenthal's failure to stick to the truth on his military service record.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 18, 2010

Bysiewicz on short end of unanimous court ruling

Susan Bysiewicz got a unanimous thumbs down from the state Supreme Court today in her bid to run for attorney general.
That's probably the end of the line for her campaign.
Bysiewicz put out this statement:
"I am tremendously disappointed with the court’s decision overturning Judge Sheldon’s ruling and I strongly disagree with the decision both on the eligibility and the constitutionality issue. However, I do respect the rule of law and will abide by it."
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Bristol Democrats stand with Blumenthal

In a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall jammed with reporters and television cameras waiting to hear what Richard Blumenthal would say about a flap that threatened to dismember his U.S. Senate campaign, two Bristol Democrats calmly waited beside the stage.
“We’re here to support Blumenthal,” said Elliott Nelson, the Democratic Party chair in Bristol.
He said that Blumenthal has always been there for Bristol “so we’re here to show our support for him.”
At his side was Jim Brown, a U.S. Air Force veteran who lost his kneecap in the service.
Brown, whose family has a long record in the military, said he’s seen Blumenthal speak at many veterans events over the course of years.
“He never, ever misspoke,” Brown said, and always described his six years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve accurately.
Given the attorney general’s strong stance in favor of helping veterans more, Brown said, he has no doubt of Blumenthal’s integrity.
“He’s a veteran in my mind,” Brown said.
He said that Blumenthal, under fire for claiming on a few occasions to have served in Vietnam, “probably made a mistake” in choosing his words.
But, Brown said, Blumenthal never intended to mislead anyone.
When the attorney general arrived, Brown sat in a chair at the end of the stage wearing his leather Disabled Veterans cap. Nelson had a better view.
Blumenthal gave no ground in his remarks, insisting that he had merely misspoken a few times out of hundreds of speeches he’s given urging better treatment for veterans.
He said he regretted the mistake, but deliberately stopped short of apologizing. Blumenthal said the errors were “absolutely unintentional.
Blumenthal criticized the New York Times story that sparked the frenzy for skipping past the six years he put into the Reserves, denigrating service in the reserves and levying the “completely untrue” charge that he pulled in favors to get into the Marines.
In fact, Blumenthal said, he called a Marine Corps recruiter in the nation’s capital to sign up and soon found himself on a midnight bus to Paris Island for boot camp – a long way from the White House job he held beforehand.
At the end, Nelson and Brown managed to shake the attorney general's hand before proclaiming that Blumenthal had successfully fended off the challenge to his campaign.
“He just made a mistake,” Brown said. “Everybody does.”


Update: Here's another story with local reaction to the Blumenthal saga.******* 
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Read the downtown agreement for yourself

Since the city is a little slow getting it online, here it is:Draft agreement between Bristol and Renaissance Downtowns
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Ward: Blumenthal told the truth around me

Bristol's mayor, Democrat Art Ward, knows what it was like to serve as a U.S. Marine in the jungles of Vietnam.
As a young man, he went to war there, coming home with a Purple Heart and the medals to prove his valor.
He's been involved in Bristol's thriving veterans community ever since, playing a key part in erecting one of the first Vietnam War memorials in the country.
But in his two decades in politics, during which he's shared the stage with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal many times, Ward said he's never heard Blumenthal claim to have served in Vietnam.
“He’s never given me the idea that he served in Vietnam. I always thought he was pretty public with the fact that he was in the Reserves,” Ward said this morning.
Ward said the first time he can explicitly remember talking with Blumenthal about their respective service in the Marines was back in 1998, when a replica of the Vietnam War memorial wall came to Bristol.
Blumenthal told a story then about serving as a corporal in the Reserves. Ward ended his active duty as a sergeant so he joked with Blumenthal about having once outranked him.
In the many years since, Ward said, he's heard Blumenthal speak at numerous veterans-related functions.
"He's never alluded to serving in Vietnam" at any of them, Ward said.
Ward said that the issue has not been the focus of any conversations over the years, but the two have talked about the Marines a number of times.
Ward said he's sure he would have noted if Blumenthal claimed to have been in Vietnam because it "a very sensitive subject" among veterans who have been in harm's way.
He said that given the raw emotions involved for those who were in combat, he would have paid attention had Blumenthal changed his story at any of those appearances.
Ward said that he's shocked that Blumenthal misrepresented his service at any public appearance, but added that perhaps there's a missing context the video or news story in The New York Times.
In any case, he said, Blumenthal has been straightforward to him.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Zydanowicz claims he'll win Republican nomination

Press release issued a few minutes ago by GOP congressional hopeful Mark Zydanowicz:


ZYDANOWICZ POISED TO WIN CONVENTION

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (May 18, 2010) -- 
Based on preliminary results, Republican First District Congressional candidate Mark Zydanowicz is quickly building support among Republican delegates who will select a nominee on May 21, according to Campaign Executive Director Angelo DiMatteo.faceshot

"Mark is out there listening, talking and building a consensus among delegates," said DiMatteo. "Our tactics are not about trying to change anyone's mind, or call in some old favors that other candidates in this race are trying to do."

Zydanowicz emphasizes the importance to talk with delegates and listen to their concerns regarding how the federal government functions.

"The more I listen the more I learn," said Zydanowicz. "Our delegates are involved in a very serious process of selecting who will represent them in Washington. They know what's at stake, but they have very important ideas and suggestions on what to do and I need to process those ideas into action for them."

Zydanowicz has been on the campaign trail since January visiting town committees and businesses as well as talking to citizens and community leaders.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

McMahon nailed Blumenthal?

On her website, Republican Senate hopeful Linda McMahon explicitly takes credit for the New York Times story zinging Richard Blumenthal:

McMahon Strikes Blumenthal In NYT Article

I suppose all those millions managed to turn up the video of Blumenthal talking to veterans, but who knows? In any case, it's remarkable that her campaign immediately credited itself for the story.
Even so, I can't help thinking it helps Rob Simmons more, given that he's an authentic Vietnam veteran who generally seems to understate what he did over there.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

May 17, 2010

City may hold public hearing on downtown deal Monday

A public hearing on the proposed deal between the city and Renaissance Downtowns is likely to be held Monday, with the City Council voting on the agreement immediately afterward.
Mayor Art Ward said that copies of the proposal will be available at the city’s libraries, the city clerk’s office and on the city’s website today.
He said that city councilors are eager to hear what residents have to say about the proposal that could lead to the revitalization of the former mall property purchased by the city in 2005 for $5.3 million.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said he’s sure some people will question whether the city is getting enough money for the 17-acre site, which has swallowed more than $8 million in municipal and state money counting the demolition of the mall, various studies and upkeep.
But, he said, he believes it’s nonetheless a good deal for the city and is “very confident” that the council will back it.
Frank Johnson, the head of the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., said he hopes to see the agreement given final approval Monday so it can be signed on Tuesday.
Johnson said Tuesday marks the end of 120-day period the BDDC established for reaching a deal with Renaissance.

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

McMahon violates copyright by reprinting New York Times story

When The New York Times published its blockbuster piece on Richard Blumenthal tonight, Linda McMahon's operatives wasted no time sending out a press release touting the news.
But instead of putting a link to the story, which is fine and dandy, she actually reprinted the entire story, which effectively eliminates the need to go read it on the Times' own site.
There's a word for that: theft.
McMahon ought to know better than to steal words that don't belong to her.
It's a violation of copyright law and it's just plain wrong.
Newspapers are struggling already. Swiping what we write so that we make not one single penny from it is a grotesque way to repay the Times for printing a story that will do so much to help her campaign.
The Times' policy quite clearly states that "copying or storing of any content for other than personal use is expressley prohibited without prior written permission" from the paper.
I strongly doubt that in the 30 seconds McMahon's campaign sat on the information before sending out its press release that she obtained that permission.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com