May 22, 2015

Rumblings! Strike a Pose!

1. Who was absent from the most important council meeting of the year, the one where the city budget is explained? Treasurer Quentin Phipps! Why should the city's chief financial leader show up to only 1 meeting a year? $4,800 stipend to be City Treasurer of Middletown while living & working the the Bronx, not too shabby!  But Que made it back to Mtown to strike a pose front & center in the St. Sebastian Feast Parade!

2. How many times can Mayor Drew pat himself on the back at the budget hearing?  And how many times can he thank the public for coming to watch his spectacle? How many times can he thank the public for giving him the privilege of having a public forum in which to pat himself on the back? Well, you get the idea.

3. Knock knock. Who's there? Its just Mayor Drew patting himself on the back again. 

4. The audits in and Sodexo is costing taxpayers way more than inside services would. BOE  member Linda Syzinkowicz told us so over a year ago btw.

5. Councilman Grady Faulkner, on behalf of the NAACP believes no African American police officer should ever be allowed to exercise free will and leave the force to take another job, perhaps even a better one, outside of Middletown ever. Huh? He said so at the Councils budget meetings.

6. The recently passed budget increases spending by $5 million, gives each Council member a raise of $1,200 and makes the mayor's salary to $90k but it managed to cut taxes slightly. So what's missing? Can you say appropriations?

7.  The Democrats on Planning & Zoning were too cheap to request money be spent on a master plan for the riverfront because they all are planning experts and feel they are more than qualified to do it themselves. In the first sign of the Apocalypse a red heifer was born yesterday and Democrats exist who are against spending money. Luckily, the floating zone idea was recently flushed by the R's like the floater it was.

8. Rumor has it trustfund shoe fortune heir Wesleyan Grad & former National College Dem leader Ben Florsheim will be part of the D's p&z ticket. Will he put his money where his mouth is & bring jobs and have his family open a flagship shoe store in Middletown? 

9. Democrats want to appoint Lisa Santangelo Registrar. That's impartial right? Having the elected Town Committee Chair running elections?

10. Councilwoman Kasper got a break on her property taxes because she says her house is haunted. We wish we had made this up. Call Board of Ass.Apps. member Sal Micchula  if you think we're kidding.

11. Next Law & Order SUV Piddletown: A liberal elitist college jock sues his female assault victim for slander after his conviction.  Mariska Hargitay as Sgt. Olivia Benson & Charlie Sheen's exoskeleton as his wealthy CEO of a nonprofit health center father who just wants to clear up the misunderstanding with a little green. Guest starring convicted Dr. Tory Westbrook from the CHC as "Dr.McFeely."

12. Ed4Ed gets to hold a meeting in the high school auditorium to rally parents to reasons  as to why the BOE should pass the budget. Who pays for the janitor & police overtime? Not Ed4Ed that's for sure. If a GOP board member wanted to hold a public meeting at the same venue to discuss reasons not to pass the BOE budget with parents, who do you think would pay if even such a notion were even to be allowed? Its Ed4Ed campaign 2.0. Its an election year after all people! For the kids!!

13. Screw ups pay. Name that city employee who hired an individual for an unfunded position and is down for $10k+ bump in salary in the newly passed budget.

14. Inland Wetlands is illegal as far as party affiliation of membership which means all decisions are illegal. So nows the time to fill in that big swampy area while its open season.

15. I got 90 problems and they are all grievances by city employees. I thought we were ending lawsuits?

15 1/2 .Problems? What's going on with NEAT?

16. Suddenly Ed4Ed and Dr. P Charles are traffic engineers and have redesigned the road in front of Farm Hill School. The idea was wrapped in last years $1.8 million road bond referendum.  Never an issue suddenly is a crisis.  For years buses approached on the side of the school but because Public Works Director & Serra Cousin Bill Russo needs to flex his muscle, a plan that worked forever is getting tossed for a crazy concept infringing on private property. Quick: Suspend logic and start beating the "it's for the kids drums"!! What's it based on? The Complete Streets cut & paste manifesto lead by John Hall.

17. God bless Councilman Bauer & the R's for asking for an amendment to keep a rumored  specially created position for the good Reverend/Arm Chair Biologist/Jonah Bologna Center Dude/Wife Killer Defender John Hall  out of the budget before it was passed.

18. Speaking of God, Mayor Drew ended the practice of honoring National Prayer Day at City Hall, but couldn't even admit he caved to pressure from leftist progressive constituents. Instead, Drew  made participating clergy scape goats claiming they wouldn't allow other denominations. Funny, all other years the event was non denominational for multi faiths. And a month later, he marched  with clergy at the St. Sebastian Feast parade with Quetin, an event attended by hundreds of city faithful. Guess your belief in a secular society only matters to you when the event won't be widely photographed enough for your liking.

19. Just in time for Memorial Day: Bet you didn't know Mayor Drew gave the temp buildings housing the Veterans Museum the boot from the Eckersley Hall lot. Charming way to treat folks who fought for freedom ! Drew banished the veterans to a glorified cardboard box by modular building co. Mod Space ( follow the campaign $) at Vets Park. Thankfully the vets objected and are funding their own real ground up building with real walls, glass windows. and um insulation fancy that.  Also off the table is the dog park at Vets Park. Good job vets for finally getting the message across to Mayor Drew that excrement doesn't mix with a memories of heros'. Keep that sh*t confined to City Hall. And God Bless our veterans.

May 6, 2015

NO NEW CT TAXES! Sign the Petition & Add Your Testimony to the Budget Hearings

If you have not read the whole list of new industries the Democrats are proposing to tax click here

Dear Citizen,

I too am very concerned about the new taxes proposed on our small businesses and what it will do to those employees and their families. Because of this, I and my colleagues are working hard to speak out against all the tax increases proposed by the legislature's Finance Committee. Here is how you can speak out against them - this information will be going out on my e-newsletter shortly:

SIGN THE PETITION
If you agree that more taxes would be bad for our state, and you want your voice to be heard – please sign our petition atwww.NoNewCTTaxes.com. *

SPEAK OUT AT PUBLIC HEARING
Senate & House Republicans will also host a Public Hearing on the proposed tax hikes and new taxes on Monday, May 11 at 1:30pm in Room 1E at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave. Hartford. To submit your testimony fill out the form on NoNewCTTaxes.com, directly below the petition. We encourage you to attend the hearing to voice your opinion.

Together, we can make Connecticut better!

*The Republican alternative budget, A Blueprint for Prosperity, does NOT call for any new taxes.http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BlueprintProsperityShortForm.pdf

Thank you for all you can do to speak out against these proposals. We are hoping if enough residents join together, we can minimize or eliminate as many of the new taxes as possible.

Sincerely,

Art Linares

State Senate

Democrats Propose New CT Services Taxes! See the list of ADDED Industries!

Did you know that the CT Democrats are proposing the following taxes on certain services which have NOT had a public hearing! Are these figures even accurate? Industry insiders beg to differ, but will never get their say since no public hearing has been held or is scheduled.These added taxes will undoubtedly cripple the economy even more and hurt businesses of all kids. Democrats even want to tax vet services!!  Taxes on museums, sports venues, engineers, architects, graphics designers, musicians and artists just t name a few. A tax to file your taxes? In some ways yes; CPA services for tax preparation is proposed as a new tax!

See the list below from the CT Senate Republican's website. Do you work in one of these industries or use the services? Speak up and speak out!  Sign the petition




April 8, 2015

Riverfront Zoning Text Amendment on P&Z Agenda Tonight

Tonight the Planning & Zoning Commission meets at 7 pm April 8th in the Council Chambers to hold a public hearing and vote on a floating zone text amendment for zoning of parcels near the riverfront. A copy of the agenda and proposed text amendment is available on the city website here:
http://middletownplanning.com/

April 3, 2015

Middletown GOP Chair to Mayor Drew: Obey the Law Fill Committee Seats

It isn't for lack of willing citizens that's behind unfilled city committees.  Local Middletown Republican Town Committee Chairman Ken McClellan recently sent a letter to Mayor Dan Drew and copied to media outlining the mayor's lack of attention to state statute in filling empty committee seats in a timely manner and with legally required balances of majority and minority political party representation. McClellan states he tried to work with the Mayor's aide Joe Samolis and City Treasurer Quentin Phipps to get the matter resolved on several occasions. to with no results. McClellan also describes instances where individuals were encouraged to change political parties to fill seats. These instances, McClellan points out, Mayor Drew acted immediately to put that individual on a committee.  (That's some dirty sh*t.) As McClellan points out, this puts any decisions by committees in violation in jeopardy of not being legal; and lawsuits for the city costs us the taxpayers money! Didn't Drew campaign on ending lawsuits?

 McClellan does the job that the Council Clerk ought to be doing outlining which committees are in violation.  Marie Norwood, Council Clerk, a position that was upgraded to over $90K a year in salary, is on the Technology Committee and in charge of keeping council meeting minutes & therefore up to date records of committee appointments as made by the Mayor and approved by the Common Council. These should be made available on the city's website. The City website operates on circular logic with no conclusions. The city site has links to committee lists under the "Community Involvement", however; no lists are attached, only outdated meeting minutes for some of the committees.

What's with all the sloppy practices?  As mayor, Drew also set forth an official rule that all committees were to meet after 7 pm so that members of the working public could better attend. Many committees, such as Design Review & Historic Preservation (DRHP) meet much earlier in the day violating the decree. Harbor Review hasn't met in months, despite recent attention to riverfront redevelopment. Redevelopment Agency & the Riverfront Redevelopment Committee have taken several months of hiatus for unknown reasons, much to the disadvantage of the public. Here is a link to the yearly meeting schedule of the Riverfront Comm. which basically says it will meet when "needed" which from the looks of it means never. DRHP and others are permitted to operate outside of Robert's rules, issue rulings without legal quorums, and don't keep accurate meeting minutes. Speaking of representation, Mayor Drew often names committees "task forces" to attempt to thwart the state statutes of minority representation- 'ala the Task Force on Government Efficiency. Try getting meeting minutes, schedules or agenda's from the City's website and one will find many committee's minutes are several YEARS out of date.  Despite the progress to decommission the City sewage plant and allow new development of the riverfront, the Riverfront Comm., according to the city website last met in May 2014- almost a year ago. As McClellan points out, the last minutes for Redevelopment Agency are from 2011! Who knows what meets when or what goes on! 

Unfortunately this thwarting of the law is nothing new.  McClellan has been attempting since 2013 to get accurate committee lists directly from city hall and he hasn't been the only one . Also, in a 2013 via an official FOI request filed with the Town Clerk MRTC Vice Chair William Wilson tried to obtain list of vacant committee seats & active members from Norwood whom indicated to Wilson the lists of committee members could not be provided because they "did not exist." Wilson's FOI letter can be read here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Middletown Republican Town Committee

PO Box 1121

Middletown, CT 06457

March 30, 2015

Mayor Daniel Drew

City of Middletown

245 DeKoven Drive

Middletown, CT 06457

Subject:  Board and Commission Appointments

Many appointed commissions are out of date or out of balance without the representation required by the state statute.
This non-compliance means that some commissions are not properly constituted, and opens any decisions rendered by those commission to challenges.  In the case of Inland Wetland Commission, whose decisions have a financial impact on home owners, businesses and developers, it opens the possibility of lawsuits challenging decisions.

Since February of 2013, I have tried repeatedly to get a current list of appointments, and to work with Mayor Drew to ensure that all boards and commissions are properly and fully staffed.  Mayor Drew, on various occasions you asked me to work with Joe Samolis and the City Treasurer, Quentin Phipps, to bring the list up to date, and to receive recommendations on minority party appointments.  Neither has responded to my requests for information, and the mayor has acted extremely slowly on the recommendations that I have made.  You did, however, act quickly when an individual, after a lifetime as a registered Democrat, changed party affiliation to Independent, and was appointed to a minority seat on a commission within 2 weeks.  While possibly legal to appoint someone that quickly after a change in party affiliation, it definitely violates the spirit of minority party representation required by the state statute.

The ‘current’ appointment list published by the city does not match the member lists published for various commissions or the city website.  Neither list matches the members listed in Meeting Minutes published by the various committees.  So it is not possible to know who the members are, what political party they represent, or what actual vacancies exist, in order to make nominations to fill those vacancies.  It makes it difficult to determine if the individuals attending meetings and voting on issues were properly appointed.

The Inland Wetland is an example.  The current composition of the commission, according to the city website, is:

Joe Carta  (Dem)
Robert E. Whitney Jr.  (Dem)
Hector Bartoli (Dem)
Fred J. Terrasi (Rep)
Trevor H. Davis Jr. (Dem)
David Pritchard (Dem)  (Listed as Republican on official appointment list.)
Daniel Paul Pelletier (Rep)
Paul Henry Turenne (Dem)
Member – Vacant
Member – Vacant
Alternate – Jack Pieper (Dem)
Alternate – Gabriel Russo (Dem)
Alternate – Vacant
Alternate – Vacant
Alternate – Vacant

David Pritchard is listed as a Republican on the list of members, however, the David Pritchard on the committee is a registered Democrat.  His son, of the same name and address is registered as a Republican.  If this is a mistake on the part of the Mayor, it is certainly a careless error.  The result of this error is that, with two vacant seats, and both Alternates being Democrats, the commission has a de facto 8 to 2 membership, even though the state statute requires 1/3 membership be non-majority party, which would be 4 members.  As such, this commission is currently not legally constituted under the state statute, and any decisions rendered are subject to challenge.  

Redevelopment Agency:   Joseph Tine is currently listed as a member, on the city web-site, although he passed away last year.  The most recent published minutes available on the website for the Redevelopment Agency are from May 2011.

Conservation Commission
The member list in the meeting minutes do not match the members listed on the city website, and does not match the report I received from the council clerk.

Website Members
March 15 Meeting Minute Members
Kate Miller(Chair) (D)
Sheila Stoane(Vice-Chair) (U, Former D)
Liv Baker
Jane Brawerman (D)
Ellen Lukens (I)
Steven Ladd (D)
Lee Sawyer
Jonathan Morris
Joan Liska (I)
Diane McGrath
Vacancy
David O'Brien (alternate) (D)
Vacancy(alternate)
Vacancy (alternate)
Chairperson Kate Miller (19)
Vice-Chair  Jonathan Morris (17)
Shelia Stoane (16)
Diane McGrath (17)
Steven Ladd (16)
Jane Brawerman (19)
Joan Liska (20)
Lee Sawyer(17)
Liv Baker (16)
Eric Mosher (15)
Ellen Lukens (17)
Alternate: Michael Singer (16)
Alternate: David O’Brien (19)
Alternate: Vacancy (16)

Eric Mosher is listed as a member whose term expires this year, but he’s not listed on the website member list.  Michael Singer is listed in the minutes as attending meetings, but is not listed in the City website as an appointed member.  Are these two legally  members or not?

In addition, Shelia Stoane was registered as a Democrat until shortly before she was appointed to a ‘minority’ seat on the Conservation Commission.  She changed her party affiliation to Independent and was quickly appointed to the Conservation Commission by Mayor Drew.  I also understand that she spoke to Mayor Drew about an appointment before changing her party affiliation.   Her appointment violates the spirit of the minority representation provision in the state statute.  Several Republicans have requested and have been recommended for appointments to the Conservation Commission, all of which have been ignored.   The current composition of the commission may be technically legal, but  could be open to challenge in court.

Citizen’s Advisory Committee
Website Members
March 15 Meeting Minute Members
Deborah Kleckowski (Common Council Seat)
Grady Faulkner (Common Council Seat)
John Rumberger (Middletown Housing Authority Seat)
Vincent Szynkowicz (Planning and Zoning Commission Seat)
Robert Blanchard (At-Large Seat)
Linda Szynkowicz (At-Large Seat)
Ronnie Bantum (Low/Moderate Income Seat)
Harvey Cushing (Elderly Seat)
Richard Pelletier (Disabled Seat)
Sean King (Westfield Seat- Census Tract 5412, 5413, 5414)
Jessica Broderick (Westfield Seat- Census Tract 5412, 5413, 5414)
Pat Murray (Downtown Seat- Census Tract 5411, 5415, 5416, 5417)
Karlene Duplessis (Downtown Seat- Census Tract 5411, 5415, 5416, 5417)
Howard Reid (South Farms Seat -Census Tracts 5418, 5419, 5420, 5421, 5422)
Susan Owens (South Farms Seat- Census Tract 5418, 5419, 5420, 5421, 5422)
D Kleckowski
G Faulkner
R Rumberger
V Szynkowicz
R Blanchard
L Szynkowicz
R Bantum
H Cushing
R. Pelletier
S King
J Broderick

K Duplesis
H Reid
S Owens

Pat Murray is listed as a member on the city website, but are not listed in the meeting minutes, either as present or absent.  Is this a valid vacancy or an oversight?  Party affiliation is also not available, making it impossible to determine if the commission is properly constituted.

The examples above are not the full scope of the issues with appointments to boards and commissions.  There are other problems, both with vacancies and non-compliance with party affiliation requirements.  As I said earlier, I, as Chairman of the Republican Town Committee have tried to work with Mayor Drew, and at his request, with his designated representatives, with no positive results, which has prompted me to write this letter.  

But the real danger of not filling the commission seats properly, in accordance with state statute, and by not complying with minority representation, as required by the state statute, is the liability to which the city is exposed.  If the commission is out of compliance, that brings all of its actions into question, and an aggrieved party could cite this as a basis for appeal and potentially, a lawsuit.  And lawsuits, as the Mayor has told us, are not good for the City of Middletown

I would like to continue to work with you and your staff to correct these discrepancies, and would appreciate your response.

  
Kenneth A. McClellan
Chairman
Middletown Republican Town Committee

Suzio: Good News About Fight to End Early Release!

From the Office Len Suzio State Victims' Advocate:

A few days ago I wrote to inform you that no public hearings on Early Release were scheduled for this Legislative Session.
Apparently so many of you responded to the news and contacted legislators that the Judiciary Committee has now scheduled a public hearing on Raised Committee Bill SB 1129
SB 1129 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO IDENTIFY AND TRACK THE HOMELESS, ADDICTED OR MENTALLY ILL PERSONS ENTERING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND CONCERNING THE EARNED RISK REDUCTION CREDIT PROGRAM.
How would  the proposed legislation affect the Early Release Law?
The proposed legislation will not repeal the infamous Early Release law, but it would reduce the number of criminals who would be eligible for early release by expanding the crimes that disqualify a criminal from eligibility to get a reduced sentence under the program.
Currently criminals guilty of only 6 crimes are not eligible to receive Early Release credits:
  • Murder
  • Capital Felony
  • Felony Murder
  • Arson Murder
  • Manslaughter First Degree
  • Manslaughter with a Firearm
The proposed changes would add the following crimes to the ineligible list for RREC's:
  • Assault on a pregnant woman resulting in termination of pregnancy
  • First Degree Sexual Assault 
  • Aggravated Sexual assault of a victim under 13 years old
  • Class A Felony Home Invasion
  • Persistent Dangerous Felony Offender or Persistent Dangerous Sexual Offender
The very fact that persistent dangerous sexual offenders, a crime with a high rate of recidivism, are currently eligible for Early Release underscores how dangerous the current law is!
The proposed disqualifying crimes for eligibility for Early Release fall far short of crimes should be ineligible for getting out of prison early, but it is a small step in the right direction.
The hearing is scheduled to start at 10:30 am in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building. If you can come and testify it would be great. But if you can't come, please send letters that you support the proposed changes - and keep the pressure up on the Legislature!! 
Call or write your State Rep and State Senator to support passage of this bill. Massive public pressure is the only hope for passage of this badly needed reform.

Please share with us any responses that you get for your State Rep or State Senator so we know where all legislators stand on this issue and let me know if you plan to go to the Hearing on Wednesday.

April 2, 2015

South Fire District Annual Charity Flower Sale

A Message from South Fire: Our annual Easter Flower sale starts Thursday April 2 at the firehouse on Randolph rd. The funds we raise help support local organizations like, Amazing Grace Food Pantry, Middletown Little League, Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center, and the Adopt-A-Family program. We will be there from 8am till 7pm Thursday through Saturday, hope to see you then!

March 26, 2015

Your Daily Spin from the Middletown Mess: Dubious Drewbious

"If your lips are movin', you're lie lie lying."
Today the Mess published an article copy and pasted from a press release from the Drew camp. Aside from a few added lines, its regurgitation of the talking points Drew is using to launch is campaign for a third term. Mayor Daniel Drew received an honor from the progressive organization called the New Deal org.  The New Deal is a "non profit" made of up liberal minded elected officials around the country headed by Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. Hickenlooper was co founder of the Community Health Center of Middletown back in his Wesleyan days, you can connect those dots..The Mess, oh so conveniently fails to mention what this group & award are really about. Must be an election year if the paper is already doing its due diligence as local Democrat's personal soapbox.

 Below are a few corrections to the congratulatory accolades Mayor Drew bestowed on himself in his auto- bio. http://www.newdealleaders.org/leader_drew_daniel

So what is the NEWDeal Org?? Basically a PAC founded by liberal democrats to give out fake awards to each other. Is it really news for politicos to give fellow politicos awards for towing the party line? The ND Org seems to be a millennial version of the Democratic Leadership Council, a '80s "non-profit" used to recruit young D's as future politicians & donors. A worth-the-click article explaining what this Democrat bank rolling machine is all about can be found here: http://www.vice.com/read/the-democratic-party-future-dark-money-fracking


"Since becoming mayor of Middletown in 2011, Mayor Drew has closed the $8 million deficit in the city budget and upgraded the city's bond rating with the lowest interest rates in city's history. (FALSE: All municipalities bond ratings have gone down in light of the economy! He created a deficit. Since he has been in office he has proposed & passed budgets increased by $13 million. Today there are more grievances being filed than ever before, 19 from Union 466 workers at the BOE alone, despite his campaigning to end the lawsuits. Also a record number of lawsuits by private citizens are being settled for big bucks instead of being contested, costing us all a lot more than they should. The City recently settled two for $250k and $400k that may have been disproved if they went to trial. But that would be bad publicity for Mayor Drew as the  "make nice" guy)He has also improved the efficiency and efficacy of City government by implementing large-scale re-organizations that will save taxpayers millions.(FALSE: This has never been proven with data presented to the public. In fact you can read here how in reality MORE money is being spent) Mayor Drew has restored highly competent leadership to the police department and added several new officers to the force. (FALSE: 3 officers have lawsuits for wrongful termination. Drew contested one officer's PTSD diagnosis. Since when is Drew an MD?) Several new businesses and manufacturers have opened or are under construction in Middletown. (where?)He has also enacted a senior tax relief program which will significantly aid seniors on a fixed income( most seniors don't qualify) in addition to a prescription drug discount program for Middletown seniors. (FALSE: Drew was against the Senior Center at Eckersley Hall and proposed it be crammed into the Council Chambers. The prescription drug program is independent of the city of Middletown, run by the state only low income seniors qualify for.)
In addition, he has re-negotiated a large energy service contract for the City of Middletown, saving taxpayers $1.4 million. (FALSE: Drew proposed budgets significantly raising the millrate each year he has been in office. NO savings of his attempts to consolidate departments have ever been shown.) Mayor Drew has saved taxpayers $800,000 by reducing pension fund costs. He also merged city and BOE finance operations, substantially increasing transparency. (FALSE: Outside legal costs are are at an all time high. Read it here)Mayor Drew graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2002. He will graduate from Columbia University in 2015 with an MA in social and organizational psychology.(Drew is attending college during work hours and still being paid, not too shabby, and why the hell not taxpayers sent him to CHINA once before)"

March 25, 2015

Suzio: Democratic Legislature Has No Intention of Reforming Early Release of Violent Felons

Len Suzio is CT's Victim Advocate, a
former state senator from Meriden, and leader in
 the movement to
 end the state's Early Release Program
 for violent felons.

Proposed Repeal of Early Release Program
Many of you have contacted me inquiring about the movement to end or reform Connecticut's scandalous Early Release Program. I have not written to you because I had hopes that our legislators would make a serious effort to repeal or reform this terrible program. But it is apparent that although legislation was proposed to prohibit criminals guilty of violent crimes from being eligible for Early Release the Democratic controlled Legislature has no intention of reforming this tragically flawed program.

What is even more disappointing is that there will be no public hearings where victims and citizens can express their desire to see this terrible law repealed. We knew from the get go that the Democratic leadership would not support the repeal of the law, but we had hoped that through a special legislative process there would be public hearings that would allow the public to put pressure on our lawmakers to end or reform this failed and dangerous law that shows more sympathy for criminals than for the victims of crime and their families.  Unfortunately no Legislator led the effort to petition for public hearings on SB 649, An Act to prohibit criminals guilty of violent felonies from being eligible to get Early Release credits.

We know now that the safety of our citizens is a low priority for our legislators. We are led by a Governor who appears to have more sympathy for our criminals that for their victims. And apparently no leader in the Legislature was willing to make a serious effort to call for public hearings to end this abominable law.

All is not lost - there is still a chance that Early Release could be changed by an amendment to other legislation
If you would like to express your strong support for the repeal of the Early Release law I encourage you to contact by phone or e-mail your state senator and your state representative. If you don't know who they are just e-mail me your name and voting address and I can provide the information to you. There is still a possibility a vote may happen if a legislator introduces an amendment to other legislation. So all hope is not yet lost for this year.

March 23, 2015

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

 
What do you think? 
Is Public Works being conscientious when it 
comes to spending your tax dollars?
                                Let the threads speak.


From: Billboy Baggins
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2015 7:09 AM
To: Russo, William
Cc:
Subject: Plowing
Dear Mr. Russo,
At 5:00 AM I heard a snow plow pass my house on East Main St. and saw another plow on Jenson Place.  Looking out at about 5:30, I noticed that the pavement in the driveway was still visible.  Putting on a pair of flip flops, I walked to the end of the drive and observed that the street had received no more snow than did the driveway and that it had been sanded and salted.  While outside, I could hear plowing going on around the neighborhood.
Less than an hour later, another plow passed my house; and again, at 6:55 another.  That is three times in less than two hours.  (Twice in the same direction)   The total snow accumulation in my driveway at this time, 7:08, is 5/8".
Mr. Russo, while it seems reasonable to sand and salt ahead of the 1 to 3 inches of snow predicted by the national weather service, I have a hard time understanding why our city's plow operators would think it necessary to have the plows on the pavement, when there is virtually NO snow on it.  It is also difficult to understand why, an hour later, with little to no accumulation, they would come back and plow what had just been sanded and salted, and an hour later, to do the same.
Operating plows under such circumstances does not seem to be reasonable.  The noise it creates unnecessarily disturbs people's sleep, (I'm up at that hour, anyway) and unnecessarily adds wear and tear to the plows and the trucks and leads to additional fuel consumption. (not to mention overtime)
I urge that in the future, city employees be restrained from using city resources in such a wasteful manner.
Very truly yours,
BillBoy Baggins

On Thursday, March 5, 2015 09:31, "Russo, William" <William.Russo@MiddletownCT.Gov> said:

We wanted to make sure that everything was completely bare for school , which was going to start with no delay. When it comes to safety, especially for school children, I don’t believe we were unreasonable or wasteful.
  I’m very sorry we disturbed anyone’s sleep. Our driver’s haven’t slept home more than two nights in a row since the beginning of February
                          Bill

On Thursday, March 5, 2015 09:54, Billboy Baggins
  said:
Dear Mr. Russo,

Thank you for your courteous reply.  However, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment that that it is not unreasonable or wasteful to plow half an inch of snow.  And, having a granddaughter in 3rd grade at McDonough, (sp) I don't accept the "for the safety of the children" argument.

No less than eight times, perhaps more, (twice since I sat down to write this), since 5AM, have the plows come up and down my street with the plows engaged! There is less than an inch of snow on the ground, now, and at 5:00 there was only a dusting.

I can see sanding and salting ahead of the snow, but to sand and salt, then plow away the sand and salt and re-sand and salt makes no sense, at all.

How much has the city exceeded this year's snow removal budget?   While I appreciate the job the plow operators perform, I don't feel the least bit sorry for them not sleeping at home more than two nights in a row since the beginning of February.  With the overtime they are getting, they can all take a two week vacation to the Caribbean, on the taxpayer's dime.   

Bill

I received no further responses to the above.
Here we are 16 days later . . . 
On Saturday, March 21, 2015 12:39 PM, BillBoy Baggins wrote:


Dear Mr. Russo,
It is 12:12 PM, the sun is shining, the temperature is 34 degrees and the national weather service predicts an afternoon high of 43.  Is there a logical reason city trucks are plowing bare, wet-at-best pavement?
Does not the public works dept. have any regard for the prudent, responsible use of the city taxpayer's money?
Very truly yours,
BillBoy Baggins
There has been no response to this, yet.
If This sort of thing irks you, start speaking out!

 

March 13, 2015

And Justice for All: "Going for a Third Term" by John Milardo

 Going for A Third Term Issue 
And Justice for All #34 Opinions Of A Citizen March 1, 2015 
By John Milardo  
“And Justice For All” is a newsletter involving my opinions, views, and commentary as a life long Middletown resident. In my capacity as a former employee and staunch labor leader of City of Middletown (retired) for over 42 years, I have a different perspective regarding how and why public figures do what they do. 

I hope everyone is safely getting through this tough winter. Only a couple to a few more weeks and we’ll be on our way to warmer weather!

I see Dan Drew has announced he’ll be running for a third term as Mayor of Middletown, which is now a 4-year term of office. It’s sometimes funny to read how great some people believe they are. Dan Drew is one of those types of people. I don’t know if it’s a politician being deceitful or just plain arrogant! The following is from his January 15th campaign announcement.

“In the past three years, our community has come together to do incredible things,” Drew said in his statement. “We have increased economic development, increased public safety, cleaned the environment and ended the conflicts with the schools left by the previous administration, saving millions of taxpayer dollars.”

It would be nice if Mayor Drew would have made factual statements instead of the same old political rhetoric. Just like when he said his City department reorganizational plan would save the taxpayers money and increase productivity. We now have in place a reorganization Committee to determine what, if anything, came of the merger. I didn’t want to wait for what Drew’s committee has to say, so I took matters into my own hands, using the same public on-line budget information his panel will be utilizing. I’m simplifying all the information, so I don’t bore you with 100 pages of budgetary line items.

Now mind you, there haven’t been any significant employee increases, because three (3) of the City Unions have been without new contracts for the past few years. (Mayor Drew can’t claim wage increases have impacted the budgets.) Nor could Mayor Drew claim increased wage salary because of increased hiring, as he claims in another statement he has reduced the municipal work force. The 2014-15 budget was not used as it is currently in use and will not be completed until June 30, 2015.

Reorganizing of the Parks Maintenance Division into the Public Works Department
The fiscal budgets for these two (2) individual divisions/departments in 2010-2011, prior to joining them together was $6,040,000. ($1.32 million for Parks, $4.72 million for Public Works) The 2013-2014 fiscal budget which is after consolidation of these two (2) departments is $6,214,000; an almost $200,000 increase to perform the same work as prior to the consolidation, with less personnel. The only difference is that the Public Works department doesn’t borrow equipment from Parks anymore, they now confiscate it. These figures do not include any additional expenses not included within the department budgets for work performed by private contractors.

Reorganizing of the Personnel Department into the Legal Department (aka Office of General Counsel) 

The Legal Department has always included the Risk Management division. The reorganization of departments consolidated the Personnel Department, (aka Human Resources).

Prior to the consolidation, the 2010-2011 fiscal budgets totaled $716,000 annually. $370,650 for Personnel, and $346,000 for Legal/Risk Management departments.

Post consolidation, the 2013-2014 fiscal budget totaled $903,430; an almost $200,000 increase to perform the same work. (This cost does not include any monetary awards which have been paid to plaintiffs.)

There are still private legal fees paid to outside lawyers to represent the City against lawsuits brought against the City (Mayor Drew) for various reasons. There are several outstanding suits which will probably cost the taxpayers big bucks in settlements.

As of right now, I can say the reorganization of City departments cost the taxpayer approximately $400,000 plus for the same or less service which they have received in the past.

Mayor Drew states he has saved the taxpayers millions of dollars brought on by the prior administration because of conflicts with the Board of Education. Show us! Legal fees were in the tens of thousands for both parties. Where have millions been saved? The Board of Education budgets have gone up every year since Drew was elected. It was the newly elected BOE who terminated the then BOE Superintendent and his administration to correct the problem. It wasn’t Dan Drew! He’ll take credit for it anyway. If millions were saved, why weren’t they passed on to the taxpayers?

Taxes have steadily increased since Dan Drew was elected Mayor. Luckily, the Common Council didn’t approve his City wide budget requests, they cut them, or the mil rate increases to taxpayers would have been double of what it has been!

I recently read a legal document regarding a City employee who has won a settlement award from the City due to an action taken by Mayor Drew and administrators of the City of Middletown’s habitually worst run department. If the Mayor was in fact dedicated to the citizens of Middletown and wanted full transparency in government, both of these department administrators should be terminated before they cost the taxpayers more than just money. But that won’t happen. Mayor Drew condones their actions. This same director and Mayor terminated a department employee a couple of years ago, for using threatening language. Just a month or so ago, another department employee used almost identical language, and received a light suspension. Why the discrepancy? Gender based, politically connected, or both? To all Common Council members, newsflash! This is why this department has so many problems! Issues in this department have always begun at the head of the snake! But y’all know that, just don’t want to do anything about it. Do yourself a favor and ask the Office of General Counsel for a copy to read.

On a positive note, the new Senior Center is up and running, and seems to be a welcomed improvement for our Senior citizens. I read in the newspaper when the new facility opened, how Mayor Drew couldn’t praise it enough, and felt it was long overdue. Maybe others don’t remember, but I do. When Dan Drew was a Councilman for a short period of time, thanks to Vin Loffreddo, Dan voted against the purchase of the of the building which he now praises. It wasn’t a priority at the time. One of the most important things a politician relies on is that “the voters have a short memory!”

Rumorville: Someone gave me a call a while ago, stating Mayor Drew was away from his office for 2-3 days a week back then. Rumor was Mayor Dan was attending classes at Columbia University on the City’s dime, and continued to receive his pay just as if he was working. This is a rumor as far as I know, and don’t know if it is true or not? If he did go to Columbia, more power to him. If he didn’t use earned time off to go, shame on him. Besides being unethical, it is a misuse of power and resources - perhaps the great Mayor should Google: Rowland, Ganim, and other Connecticut political leaders that were brought before the justice system for their deeds.

The next municipal election is critical as we will be installing a Mayor and Common Council to 4 year terms. Voter’s need to become educated beyond what a simple press release states. It’s easy and unfortunately all too frequent that politicians place themselves on grandiose pedestals touting records that are far less lustrous when you pull back the layers of fake gold and silver. Remember…. If all these glorious feats were indeed factual… why did our mil rate for general government go from 26.40 in 2011 to 32.70 in 2015???? `

Stay strong. Stay involved. Stay together. Wake up and seek the truth.