Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Please Consider Phil Salafia's Legacy

Below is a letter to the Editor, it may or may not reflect the views of the Middletown Insider staff and is published as a courtesy to readers. 
To whom  it may concern,
I am writing to those who have been involved in the canoe launch on the Coghinchaug. To my understanding this is the same property that the late Phil Salafia Sr. and his wife Angelina Salamone Salafia owned and wished to be gifted to the city upon their death.The land was owned by Phil Salafia Sr. since 1967. If not the same bounds exactly of where they actual launch will be, it is to my understanding that the launch property will in part be on the 20.8 acres of the gifted land. Phil Salafia, Jr. sold the city the property for $20,000, to the used as open space and for passive recreation, a price far below its value as a tribute to his decreased parents and sister Hunna Salafia.

I read in the report graciously prepared by the Jonah Center the canoe launch is going to be called the Coghinchaug launch or something to that effect. Also in the reports, were conversations individuals had in 2006 with Phil Jr. himself describing life on Catherine Street and enjoyment of recreation on this section of the River. Truly, the Johah Center, and the author of the report Dr. Walker, understand how much having their home here meant to the Salafia family, and I applaud the report for capturing that aspect.

Countless roads and parks in Middletown bear the name of the person who donated or gifted them in part to the city in some way.

It is surprising to see that no one since the initial preliminary planning of this project began in 2007 has thought to extend this courtesy and honor to Phil Salafia and name the boat launch and open space land in his honor. Humbly, Phil Salafia Jr.,as in true fashion of his father, has never made this request; but I am making it today because no one has brought it forward even six years later.
Phil Salafia Sr. was my great uncle on my paternal side, he still has many, many living relatives in the area and elsewhere including children who would love to see his legacy live on. Uncle Phil was a dedicated citizen of Middletown though his work with veterans, children and various civic engagements.

I would hope anyone involved who may disagree with my mother and I politically, perhaps, could put those feelings aside. I ask that Phil Salafia, Sr. be remembered as a man with a plethora of postive contributions to Middletown and that naming his donated open space area and boat launch after him is seriously considered.

With gratitude, sincerely, Molly Salafia LEED GA, Assoc. AIA
PZ Commissioner, and board member Historic Preservation and Design Review

Guestblog: When Did A House Become A Home? By Fred Carroll

Below is a guest blog by frequent blogger Fred Carroll. Views expressed are that of the author not necessarily the Insider staff. Dr. Fred has graciously been a guest blogger before, and his last post can be read here:Guest blog: What's the Plan Stan? by Fred Carroll

When Did A House Become A Home?  
by Fred Carroll  
A house is not a home, end of story. A "homemaker" can make a home in a house, or make a home out of a house, but a house is not a home on it's own, anymore than a tent, prison cell, or cardboard box that a refrigerator came in is inherently a home. Indeed, what we call "housing" these days is, as far as I can tell, a primary root cause of what we call "Homelessness". Consider, if you will, what are these "houses" that we're all so keen to at least live in if not even own. Well, to start with, if you want to build one of these behemoths, however big or small, it starts with cutting down trees, which are "home" to countless animals; from birds [remember them?] to squirrels to monkeys to bugs. So building a house starts by creating homelessness in the animal kingdom and ends up bringing, as often as not, the poor sucker who stepped up to the plate of home ownership to his knees, lain low by the demon of debt......And why is that? Do otherwise hard working types get lazy after a few years of being homeowners? No, it's not that folks get lazy after they buy a house, it's that they paid way too much for it! A bear digs for half a day and has a home for the Winter, a bird works for three days to create a home, a bunch of elk just stand there, and they're home! But a human who pays one hundred thousand dollars for a house and earns fifty thousand dollars per year worked for TWO YEARS to "create a home", and of course that calculation implies "living for free" for those two years-impossible, of course. And that is just the beginning of the cost of the idiot rectangle.....there's The Taxes, the maintenance, the water and gas and electricity, and garbage pick up without which this thing is worse than useless. So WHY, pray tell, do we call these stupid boxes that most of us live in "HOMES"?  

Vexed and perplexed, Fred Carroll

Many of Carroll's sketches are on display at the Buttonwood Tree on Main Street.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Arbitrators Rules in Favor of Middletown AFSCME Union

 To read the judgement summaries use links here:

AFSCME Statement

Time line of of Dispute Events & Summary of Ruling 

From the Ruling Summary: "There is no way to sugar-coat the facts:  Ms. Bourne was treated horribly by the Board of Education.  
And when push came to shove, the City punished the victim."


July 30, 2013
Contact: Larry Dorman (860) 989-9127 (cell) or (860) 612-3855 (office)

Arbitrators Rules in Favor of Middletown AFSCME Union

New Britain, CT — The union representing Middletown public service workers today applauded an arbitrator’s ruling that the City acted illegally when it transferred an employee from the Board of Education to the Parks and Recreation Department after she had raised concerns about the Board’s financial practices.

In a decision issued July 29, Arbitrator Roberta Golick found the City acted without just cause by removing the grievant, AFSCME Local 466 member Christine Bourne, from her position as Payroll Supervisor at the Board of Education and moving her to the position of Program/Budget Analyst in the Parks and Recreation Department.

The involuntary transfer took place in 2010 amid litigation between the City and the Board of Education.

Golick wrote, “There is no way to sugar-coat the facts: Ms. Bourne was treated horribly by the Board of Education. And when push came to shove, the City punished the victim.”

 In the award, Golick directed the City to immediately reinstate Bourne to her prior position at the Board of Education and to make her whole for any losses, if any, in wages and benefits for the period December 8, 2010 to date of reinstatement. She also directed the City and the Union to jointly attempt to calculate damages.

“Arbitrator Golick’s ruling is a victory for workers’ rights in the City of Middletown,” said Bourne, who was elected President of her bargaining unit in 2012. “Our union was caught in a political turf war, so I hope the arbitration award sends a strong message about the importance of respecting the collective bargaining agreement. You can’t discipline employees without just cause, and you can’t retaliate against them when they speak their mind. I’m glad this ordeal is over.”

Council 4 Staff Representative Ed Thibodeau advocated for Local 466 during the arbitration. Council 4 is the parent union of Local 466, which represents nearly 400 City and Board of Education employees in Middletown.

A copy of Arbitrator Golick’s ruling is attached to this press release.

# # #

Larry Dorman
Council 4 Public Affairs
(860) 612-3855 (Direct)
(860) 989-9127 (Cell)

Monday, July 29, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Frechette Really Was Fullashitte! Court Rules in Favor of Bourne

BREAKING NEWS: Remember how Mayor Dan Drew said he triumphantly ended ALL the lawsuits between the City & the BOE? Yeah...... LIE 

Frechette Really Was Fullashitte! 
Court Rules in Favor of Christine Bourne, former BOE Payroll Supervisor's labor case. Two years ago, Bourne lost her position for being a whistle blower regarding "misplaced" funds overseen by then Superintendent Frechette. Frechette since left the his superintendent position with a settlement paid for by taxpayers that was the size of Rhode Island !

From the Ruling Summary: "There is no way to sugar-coat the facts:  Ms. Bourne was treated horribly by the Board of Education.  
And when push came to shove, the City punished the victim."

At the time the Board of Education was headed by Superintendent Michael Frechette. Mayor Dan Drew was in office at the time when Bourne reapplied to the payroll position, but failed to reinstate her.

UPDATE:In an interview with the Middletown Patch, Mayor Drew is already trying to place ALL of the blame on the previous administration, despite the ruling and facts showing otherwise!! 

Mayor Drew responded to the ruling and his role regarding not reinstating Bourne long before: "Ibityibitty ibity thats thhats all folks!" and proceeded to hide behind Administrative Assistant ('cause thats his title by CHARTER not Chief of Staff) Joe Samolis's legs.

More details to follow!

In the mean time, read up on the Teflon Don and this topic in some oldies but goodies here:


Eye Co-Founder Seeks to Primary Local Democrats for place on Ballot

Devoto sought a nomination to the Middletown Democratic Town Committee slate as a candidate for Planning and Zoning on the 2013 election, however, was denied a seat after a vote was taken at the town committee meeting. Devoto is petitioning the slate, and upon gathering 519 signatures from registered democrats, can call for a primary to take place for the Democratic seat prior to the general election in November. Devoto is currently seeking signatures for such a primary. Devoto wrote as under the pseudo name Fishmuscle for the Middletown Eye Blog for  the first two years of the blog as most writers did before using his real name Stephen Devoto. (Blogger changes all usernames so this only shows in cached data.) From 2008 til now, he has hundreds of posts on the blog covering local arts, politics and mainly municipal meetings ofthe Planning and Zoning Commission. 

Dr. Stephen H. Devoto, Ph.D  is aprofessor of Biology ( degree from Rockafeller University) at Wesleyan University and  has resided with his family in the Westfield section of town for the past 16 years. Dr. Devoto is proprietor of Devoto Vineyards LLC located in Kelseyville, CA with property also in Lakeport CA. The vineyard specializes in award winning Rieslings. The 142 acre vineyard, established in 1972 boasts of organically planted vines since 2005. 
Devoto  is a local activist, Middletown Eye Editor, and co-founder of the No Strip Mall No Wrecking Ball  activist group (see facebook message board) along with BOE member & Blue House LLC founder Ed McKeon.  Blue House LLC supposedly outbid the Connection Inc. to purchase a multi family house at 150 College Street in order to block the nonprofit from possibly making it a group home. He is aiding the group in fundraising for Jennifer  & Jared Proto who have a lawsuit against the P& Z commission's legislative actions concerning the passage of changes to the MX zone adopted in April of this year. 

Devoto has been active in local politics as an activist; he is a board member of the Westfield Residents Association and lead the group in its opposition to the original site of the Army Reserve Training Center on Freeman Lane. This group proposed that the Army consider the Mile Lane location where it currently resides. Devoto is also locally known for his advocay for safe streets for cyclists and pedestrians, himself an avid cyclist, is often  seen attending  municipal meetings with his bike. Devoto brought forth the "Right to Dry Act" Committee Bill # 5995 concerning cessasion of the ban on clothesline use in certain private homeowner's associations in Middletown specifically and other communities in Connecticut that have restrictions against them. 

Below is his letter re posted as a courtesy to readers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Middletown Insider staff. Below is Devoto's public letter as published in the Middletown Patch : 
By Stephen Devoto

Last week, when the Middletown Democratic Party convention nominated candidates to appear on the ballot for the November municipal elections, I tried to gain one of its three nominations for Planning and Zoning.

I failed, and am now collecting signatures for a primary. What follows is a personal story of trying to get on the ballot, along with some personal opinions on the municipal democratic process. Please note that this is not intended to be journalism: I believe everything to be accurate, but I am not a disinterested observer. 
I have invited the chair of the Democratic Committee to submit his own perspective on the nominating process.

  • Part 1 (today) will briefly cover why I am running for Planning and Zoning, as well as my experience trying to be nominated by the Democratic Town Committee. 
  • Part 2 will cover the process of petitioning for a primary.
  • Part 3 will be opinion and analysis of ballot access issues.
Why run for Planning and Zoning?
The two most important activities of City government are education and land use regulation. Other city actions like snow removal, public safety, and water supply are obviously important, but their impact rarely extends beyond the lifecycle of an election. In contrast, land use decisions shape the nature of our city for generations to come.

I believe that informed residents who consistently watch government make a substantial contribution to the process of municipal governance, because they provide some accountability for both the elected and the appointed city officials. In the area of land use, Katchen Coley and Arline Rich have been recent exemplars of this type of civic contribution.

I started following our city’s land use decisions very shortly after moving to Middletown 16 years ago. I became active in the Westfield Residents Association, and whenever the Planning and Zoning Commission considered a Westfield property, we examined the proposed plans and attended the public hearing.

The Middletown Eye provides a venue to expand this kind of watchdog citizenship. Anyone who is willing to observe a public meeting can post a record of the deliberations and decisions, to inform others in the city. In the last five years, I have done this for land use, attending nearly every meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, many meetings of Inland Wetlands, and a few meetings of Design Review and Historic Preservation. I filed a report on each meeting for The Middletown Eye (search for "Planning and Zoning" in The Eye's search window on the upper left).

During my time watching and reporting on Planning and Zoning, I have seen a nearly complete turn-over of Commissioners, Les Adams is the only Commissioner who has been attending meetings longer than I have. In the last 5 years, I have a better attendance record than any of the current Commissioners.

During this time, I realized that I was qualified, and that I have the energy and level of commitment necessary to be a Commissioner. In addition, I grew increasingly frustrated by what I was witnessing on the Commission.  First, the Commission was doing no planning, in the past two years any discussions about the future of our city have been driven by proposals of developers, only occasionally by the appointed staff, and never by the initiative of the Commission. Second, the Commission was too deferential to the lawyers paid for by the developer, and too dismissive of the testimony by Middletown residents.  The balance was wrong.

I realized that if I wanted to change any of this, I needed to be part of the Commission. I decided to run for office. Naturally, the first step would be to get my name on the ballot.

Dear Chairman Pickett: I am writing to express my interest in a nomination …
The most common path to the ballot is a nomination from the Democratic or Republican Town Committee. The Democratic Town Committee is elected every two years: it consists of elected officials, the spouses and children of some of them, and others actively engaged in electing local democrats. The DTC meeting in July is held as a “nominating convention” at which endorsed candidates are submitted for the November ballot.

I wrote to Dan Pickett, chair of the Democratic Town Committee, expressing my interest in receiving one of three Democratic nominations for Planning and Zoning. I described my background and experience (read my letter HERE).

Every person who expresses an interest in being on the ballot as an endorsed Democrat is interviewed by the nominating subcommittee of the DTC. This year, the nominating subcommittee consisted of Pickett, Richard Pelletier (sitting Planning and Zoning Commissioner, not up for election this year), Dan Russo (sitting P&Z Commissioner, up for election this year). Two members of Middletown Young Democrats, Alison Cleary and Will Arther, participated but they were not members of the Town Committee (they were elected to membership after the nominating committee's work was done).

In my interview, I was asked to describe my experience and interest in Planning and Zoning; this discussion took less than 10 minutes, perhaps because there is such an extensive public record of my involvement.

The remaining 20 minutes of my interview was spent on my level of commitment to the local Democratic party. These questions all came from Dan Russo, who has been the chair of the DTC. Some of the questions I expected, and I do not think are unreasonable. I was asked if I would commit to raising at least $500 to support all non-mayoral candidates. Russo explained that this was to cover the cost of brochures, phone lines, office rental, etc. I said ‘yes’. I was asked to enumerate what I had done for local Democratic candidates in recent elections. I admitted I hadn’t done much, later I explained that as a news correspondent for municipal meetings it would have been inappropriate for me to campaign for municipal elections. I encouraged them to weigh the strength of my background for the governance aspect of Planning and Zoning against this weakness.

Russo then asked me, “Do you pledge your support for ALL candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party?” At the risk of appearing hopelessly naïve and/or idealistic, I confess I was not prepared for what was clearly the most important question to the Nominating Committee.

With 5 Democratic operatives staring at me across the table, the ‘correct’ answer was obvious, but I could not bring myself to say it. I hemmed and hawed for awhile, to try to disguise my shock and frustration that I would be expected to give blanket approval to the as-yet-unknown recommendations of the three-man nominating sub-committee. I finally replied that the question was unfair, I could not honestly express my support for candidates that had not yet been named.

I left the interview hoping that the committee would recommend my nomination based on my experience and qualifications for governance, even while it recognized that my background in electioneering was less than other possible candidates.

I was disappointed when Chairman Pickett phoned me on the morning of the nominating convention and said I would not be recommended for a nomination. However, this was not the end of the process, and I made it clear to several DTC members that I hoped for a nomination from the floor at the nominating convention.

The Nominating Convention.
The Democratic Town Committee met last Thursday to nominate candidates. The nominations for Mayor and Board of Education went according to the recommendations of the nominating committee. The nominating committee’s recommendation for the 8 Common Council candidates was followed with one exception, Quentin Phipps was removed from the recommended slate, to be replaced by Jim Streeto. This was pre-arranged, as Phipps voluntarily declined the nomination and Streeto was immediately nominated.

When it came time for the Planning and Zoning Commission nominations, Chairman Pickett announced the recommendation of Dan Russo, Rob Blanchard, and Paul Turenne. Dan Russo is a former DTC chair and was the dominant force on the nominating committee; Rob Blanchard is a former paid employee of the Malloy campaign, and is currently a driver for Attorney General Jepsen; Paul Turenne is the associate registrar at Wesleyan.

After reading the list of recommended candidates, Pickett asked if there were any further nominations. I was nominated and seconded from the floor, and therefore the 40 delegates to the nominating convention (all members of the DTC), were tasked with voting for 3 out of 4 nominated candidates. One of the DTC members asked that delegates hear from each of the 4 candidates, and Chairman Pickett agreed.  This was highly unusual, the delegates normally vote without ever hearing from the candidates.

Russo, Blanchard, Turenne, and I each spoke for 3 minutes. Russo spoke primarily about his work for the DTC, Blanchard and Turenne spoke of their love for our city, and I reiterated my experience with Planning and Zoning and other land use regulative bodies in the city. I also pledged, if I received the official endorsement of the DTC, to support the other Democratic candidates for office.

Ballots were then handed out, one by one, to each of the 40 DTC members present. Each ballot was pre-printed with the three endorsed candidates, votes for me required the voter to write in my name. This was reasonable, because Chairman Pickett had no way of predicting who might be nominated from the floor.

What was more surprising was that each ballot was also individually marked with the name of the DTC member who would be voting. This was not anonymous voting, every voter would know that his or her vote would be known to the Chair and presumably others. The DTC has in the past battled over whether balloting should be secret or not.

When the votes were tallied, I received votes from almost half of the DTC members, but this placed me last among the 4 candidates (Russo, 32; Blanchard, 35; Turenne, 27; Devoto 19). Later I learned that DTC members are expected by the party to vote exclusively for those endorsed by the nominating committee. In that light, I am grateful to have received as many votes as I did.

This is not the end of the nominating process. Any Democrat who fails to get the endorsement of the nominating committee has the right to petition for a primary in which all Democratic voters will decide which candidates to put forward in the November election.

Stephen Devoto
Middletown Planning and Zoning Petitioning Candidate

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mission Accomplished! Purple Heart Homes

Mission Accomplished!
 Article and photos by 
William Boylan, Middletown CT

Sen. Murphy at dedication of a
 Purple Heart Home to
Veteran  SSgt. Sandra Lee
Saturday, July 27, disabled veteran, SSgt. Sandra Lee took possession of her newly renovated and furnished Purple Heart Home!  200-300 people turned out for the ceremonies.

The house was renovated primarily with donated funds and volunteer work from tradesmen, and grassroots community support.  Sandra has a mortgage of 50% of the market value of the property and that money is used to help older veterans; because, older vets don't get the kind of community/financial support that our younger ones do.

This is a unique project for PHH, in that in that Sandra Lee is PHH's first female veteran and it will be featured on NBC's, "George to the Rescue".  The program will air in late August in NY and a week later, nationally.  Check your local NBC listing, or watch the episode on line after the broadcast date.  (

SSgt. Sandra Lee at the dedication of
her Purple Heart Home
A photo journal of Saturday's events can be seen in the set, "Purple Heart Homes", on my Flickr page, below.  Organized as follows:  A) Inside the finished house, B) Cast of George 2 Rescue, C)  Rogues gallery of volunteers, D)  A lesson in flag folding, E) Classic cars, F) The "reveal" for the TV show, G) Parade and flag raising, F) Final ceremonies with various speakers and the crowd.

On NBC News,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jim O'Rourke Comments on Malloy's Signing of Ethics BIll- What the Hell is he Smoking?

Argentina- A few hours ago on Facebook, our esteemed and HISPANIC (NOT!) State Rep. Matthew Lesser let the public know his feelings during Governor Malloy's signing of an ethics bill, "Important legislation and I'm proud to have played a role in this passage."  What's the big deal Insider,? I bet 1/3 of our over 2,000 daily readers are asking themselves about Lesser's posting and grandstanding as per his usual practice.  He tweets and Facebooks to his fans whenever he looks at himself in the mirror, why is this anything new?

 If one checks out Che Guevara's- er, Lesser's Facebook page, they will find the man claiming to be part of the House Assembly's Spanish Caucus because he allegedly has Argentinian ties on his mother side.  One could sit here and make a ton of jokes referring to the thousands of members of the National Socialist (Nationalsozialismus) party that took refuse in Argentina after World War II ended in 1945.  Seriously, Matt looks more Aryan (German) than a product from Argentina, but hey if it gets the old boy votes god bless him. Anybody remember that scene with Gregory Peck from The Boys from Brazil when the little Hitler clone chucked the guy down the stairs?

 The real culprit in this piece happens to be former CT Deputy Speaker of the House Jim O'Rourke who felt that it would be a wonderful idea to comment and take credit for some of these ethics bills finding their way to the house in Hartford.  The question The Insider has for Mr. O'Rourke: What the hell are you smoking?

"¿Matt, usted no podría estar parado detrás de mí que me está poniendo nerviosa?"

Let's recap Jim O'Rourke's ties to ethics:

On the night of January 21, 2009, O'Rourke was allegedly involved in events related to the hypothermia death of a 41 year old Rocky Hill woman. O'Rourke said the woman got in his car at a local bar and he tried to drive her home, but she got out of the car and planned to walk the rest of the way home. The woman was found dead by a cross country skier. Local police did not immediately charge O'Rourke with any crime related to this incident.[2]
On April 30, 2009, The Hartford Courant reported local police were seeking to issue a warrant to charge O'Rourke with negligent homicide for his role in the incident. The following day, House Speaker Christopher Donovan announced he had suspended O'Rourke from his post as Deputy Speaker.[3]
The state's attorney ultimately declined to prosecute O'Rourke for his role in this incident. However, in February 2010 the decedent's estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against O'Rourke and the bar in which the incident occurred

Let's get real! Having Jim O'Rourke making comments about ethics is like Dan Drew claiming he hurt his shoulder saving all the lost souls in the dunk tape at Wesley School.  

Guestblog: Reaction to HBO documentary on Petit Family Tragedy

Below is a guestblog by former CT Republican party chariman Christopher Healy of Wetherfield. Former Republican State Senator Len Suzio worked tirelessly to repeal the state's early release program for violence criminals, as as state victim advocate still is. His predecessor, Dante Bartolomeo (D) now representing the 13th District which includes Cheshire, voted to continue early release of violent criminals as did Representative Matt Lesser (D). Representative Matt Lesser, who represents Middletown, in addition to continuing the early release program, also voted in favor of House Bill 6521 which would allow murders, rapists, kidnappers and other violent criminals convicted before the age of 18 to be released after only having served 60% of their sentences.
The post is the opinion of the author and may or may not reflect the views of the Insider Staff.
After watching the dreadful HBO special on the Petit tragedy, I am grounded in appreciating the continued strength and courage of the Petit and Hawke families. Sadly, that can't be said of the parasitic defense lawyers featured in this documentary or some of the hidden, twisted liberal social excuses for the motivation of the two killers. But the chicken *hit award still goes to the Democrat and Republican lawmakers who waited until after the trials to abolish the Death Penalty and then claim that these two derelicts and agents of Evil would still be sent to their deserved death.

And of course, there is Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who hedged his bets during the campaign by talking out of two sides of his mouth, before claiming Connecticut was above seeking justice in such a cruel way. And to put a perfect period on it, Malloy has initiated an early convict release program that led to a re-run of what happened to the Petit's - a Meriden father and merchant cut in half by a convict named "Razor," also let loose early as were the Petit killers under a dysfunctional Pardon's Board.

This is what our state has become - where the lawless and lazy are rewarded and the hard working are soaked with taxes and ridiculed by the union things and elites. Some of us believe that government isn't the answer and shouldn't be held accountable for its lunatic policies.

Next year, thankfully, we will begin to talk to people across the state on why this slow swirl into the abyss has to stop.

Christopher Healy, Wethersfield, CT

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Your Daily Spin by the Middletown Mess: Press Pulls Opinion Letter from Councilman Phil Pessina

Earlier today the Middletown Press published an opinion piece authored by Councilman Phil Pessina in which he criticized the Middletown Republican Town Committee for not re nominating him to the slate of candidates up for election to the common council this November.
 The three term incumbent called the Republicans "buffoons and clowns." Editor of the Patch Cassandra Day published excerpts from the letter yesterday, with the Press publishing the full letter today
Google search showing link to Councilman Pessina's letter
 Councilman Pessina's original letter as it appeared
 on the Press's site earlier today.
 Click to enlarge.
The now defunct link.  If it comes back, will it be edited?
 Why was this letter pulled and 
who requested this?
A Google search for "Pessina letter to the editor Middletown Press" still turns up the cached url where the letter was posted most of the day. What is going on?

As of this evening, the Press it appears has pulled the Councilman's letter from it's website. 
Prior to this, we copied the letter to our site here: 

Letter to the Editor: Pessina: Put Middletown First! Republicans Are Buffoons & Cartoons

Below is a letter to the Editor by Councilman Phil Pessina (R) originally sent to and published by the Middletown Press (here) and with excerpts published by the Middletown Patch CT. All views expressed are that of the author not necessarily those of the Middletown Insider staff.

Shortly after being elected for my 3rd Term on Common Council, assuming the Role of Minority Leader and witnessing a Republican Administration led by former Mayor Seb Giuliano who created a time of a confrontational style of government within our city, both Councilman Joe Bibisi & I knew it was an opportunity for us to take a New Leadership Role for our Republican Party, transitioning our city government to work more cooperatively, collaboratively within a Bipartisan framework; essentially committing ourselves to making “Middletown First”, each within our own parties and our own Leadership roles!

Mediocrity and politics at its best started to raise its ugly head at various Republican Town Committee Meetings and especially over the past 7 months, which unfortunately I could not attend as they always seemed to conflict with my various Council Committee assignments I was appointed to. As I took these assignments seriously, along with my Council duties, I often notified our RTC Secretary sending my apologies due to my council commitments and responsibilities; putting “Middletown First”! I then became my Republican Party’s target of unfounded accusations, especially during the restructuring of our city government creating the Office of General Counsel. Our party has been and continues to be a party of “Cartoons & Buffoons”!

This political pressure was led by our former Mayor Giuliano, who wrote in an email on January 29th, 2013 at 5:37pm where he states his personal opinion to pressure the party to vote not in the best interest of Middletown, but to support his personal political agenda; his words were clear, “Secondly, municipal elections loom. Any Republican who votes in favor of these resolutions is putting the entire Republican ticket in an untenable position. The mayoral candidate-whoever it may be-will be compelled to run against positions supported by such Councilpersons. As such, it will be impossible for them to be on the same ticket. We cannot have a situation where members of the slate are criticizing Democratic initiatives and other members of the same slate are defending them. For me, I cannot support the recommendations of the “blue ribbon panel” in general, but any proposal to re-make the Legal department into anything other than an office of lawyers being lawyers and functioning in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility is especially troubling. I therefore intend to oppose such initiatives, as well as the re-nomination of any incumbent Councilpersons who vote in favor thereof.”
With this email, Seb’s interest for Middletown is his own best interest, filled with Mediocrity and personal politics; NOT putting “Middletown First” but attacks a Senior Councilperson, Joe Bibisi who served as his Deputy Mayor for his three terms faithfully. He now has set the stage for Joe & I not to be re-nominated for this Fall’s Republican Ticket! I suggest that if he is willing to do that and disregard personal friendships and commitments, what will he do to our city residents when they don’t happen to agree with his proposals? Remember, he has a track record of putting his personal political bias over that of the council and the public; surely NOT putting “Middletown First!”

Mediocrity raises its ugly head again, as a result of a conversation between Seb and I at a Caucus Meeting, where I inform him of my disappointment with this e mail he sent out, essentially advising him that his words and actions are destructive to the party and he acknowledges that the party in already broken and not being responsible for the fracture, offering to heal it while we still can. His example of healing was by him standing up at a Town Committee Meeting shortly thereafter, raising 4 fingers stating to me that “We just need 4 members on the council and no one should feel comfortable in their council positions!”

During the Common Council meeting prior to the merger vote taking place I felt it my responsibility to stand on my principles and expressing my belief in smaller government, which is more efficient and a more cost effective way to doing business. I noted that a recent statement from a CEO in Business addressed the perils of change, that it is difficult and that voices to protect the status quo are loud, well organized and politically motivated; such as in our case and Not putting “Middletown First!”

I was and still am perplexed by the amount of resistance to the mergers which have been made and planned for by a Democratic controlled council supporting Conservatism in government; why as Republicans would we not support the merger? Is the real reason for the resistance and our treatment about Republican Mediocrity, verses providing for a more cost effective government?

Knowing the political fate ahead, Joe & I then made the decision, that we would not be controlled by politics and continued with our bold steps to shed a new light on our party from a confrontational approach, to continue to build upon positive relationships in city government; essentially putting “Middletown First”!

As my June 27th, 2013 Interview approaches, I now know that we are not being re-nominated. This feeling was based upon Bill Wilson, Vice Chairman’s email sent out prior to the Interviews, where he accepts Mediocrity by letting Joe & I know that there are people complaining about my endorsement of Mayor Drew’s Budget. ` Bill Wilson goes on to name Joe & I and that our spots on the ticket are not guaranteed on the next council; noting further “We are Republicans and should be voting as Republicans. I don’t want to hear there is no difference between the two, after what voters have been hearing from two of our council people. Things have to change. Remember we are guaranteed four spots on the council no matter who we run, so no one should feel safe or that their spot is guaranteed”. For the record, I did not state that I supported the Mayor’s Budget, which I eventually voted against.
The minutes of the May 28th, 2013 Republican Town Committee Meeting, again alludes to Mediocrity when “Seb Giuliano speaks out claiming that our issues are evaporating.” Bill Wilson, Vice Chairman of the Republican Party suggests that people within our own party agree too much with the Democrats and Party Chairman Ken McClellan singles out both Joe & I by name.

So we knew what we were up against going into the interviews, which was a tainted process. I immediately prefaced my interview that I was fully aware of the rumors which were circling City Hall about me and Joe not being re-nominated and expressed my disappointment with our party. I further noted, that we were going into a very important election and asked them the question for which they could not answer, why we would not put forth our strongest Council Slate, headed by Joe & I who have been the top Republican vote getters, especially during a time when two of the Democratic Council members were retiring?

I went on to give a very strong case with my experience, accomplishments, changing the image of our party and not giving up my principles of service to our community. I offered mentorship to new candidates and my support; but as predicted we were not nominated. For the record I am not filing any type of ethical complaint, but I will let the voters decide if these facts speak for themselves.

In closing, I would like to say that I am not bitter with this process, but I am highly disappointed with the Town Committee’s Leadership, who had neither the inability nor the willingness to stand up against Mediocrity and those that have self-interest over the interest of our city. Our party is being led by Seb Guiliano, Ken McClellan, Bill Wilson in the wrong direction, or as our Party Chair Ken recently stated that “our party wants to go in a different direction”; apparently they do Not want to put “Middletown First”!

I have always taken my oath of Offices throughout my 40 plus years during my Middletown Police Career and City Government service very seriously and will remind my naysayers and those who strive on controversy in government and self-promotion, that take a look in the mirror and ask this important question; Did I provide the service and honest approach to government, knowing that I have truly helped our city of Middletown move forward for the right reasons; Putting Middletown First! I know that Joe & I did!

Thank you to all our supporters for the wonderful and heartwarming phone calls and emails, during this transition period for Joe & I while we contemplate with our families of our future decisions!

Councilman Philip J. Pessina

Common Council, Minority Leader

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Middletown, Guns & the Gubernatorial Run in Connecticut 2014

Candidate for Governor of CT Joe Visconti

Who is running for Govenor in CT? So far candidates who have spoken in public about an official run  for governor of Connecticut in 2014 are incumbent Dannel Malloy (D), and republicans Tom C. Foley, Joe Visconti, and state senator John McKinney. McKinney has come under criticism from the CCDL and other 2nd Amendment rights groups for his staunch support of the Malloy administration's stricter gun legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre that took place in December of 2012. Visconti, who's  facebook page has photos of him with holster in view, so far has been the only gubernatorial candidate to go on record and state he supports the second amendment and feels the new more restrictive gun legislation passed in CT is unconstitutional as well. Visconti declared his official run in April. Race watchers from various print media are calling Toni Boucher, Chris Shays, Mark Boughton, and Mark Lauretti "potential" candidates, however only Malloy, McKinney, Visconti, and Foley have made official declarations.

What does this have to do with Middletown?Representatives from Middletown who voted in favor stricter gun control measures included democrats Rep. Matt Lesser, Rep.Joe Serra, and Senator Dante Bartolomeo. 

What more does this have to do with Middletown's municipal election in November? Mayor of Middletown Dan Drew lead the push for some of the members of the Common Council to sign a declaration on behalf of the 40,000+ citizens of Middletown seeking tighter gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook Tragedy. All of the members of Common Council are up for re election November 2013. Both parties have declared their slates this week. Signers of the Proclamation were Phil Pessina (R), Hope Kasper (D), Gerald Daley (D), Tom Serra (D), and Ron Klattenberg (D). Read out previous post of which common council members signed the proclamation and what exactly it meant:
Mayor Drew  and he also signed New  York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against  Illegal Guns  Pledge.  Don't care about guns? Keep reading, there is more to this pledge than just gun rights that could set a precedent that will effect PRIVACY of ALL citizens.

Is it about restricting the right to own a gun or the right to privacy? 
Answer Mayor's Against Illegal Guns wishes to inhibit BOTH:  The main goal of the Mayor's Against Illegal Guns group is to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment which restricts access At issue is a campaign urging repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing gun trace data to the public. The ATF and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), both support the Tiahrt Amendment . Both the ATF and FOP have requested its reinstatement every year since 2003. Newspaper in New York came under fire early in the year for publishing the names of gun owners, with the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, this information could be accessed readily by the public. 
Critics feel that this could set precedent for other personal information collected by the government being shared as well. Proponents feel it is the public's right to know sensitive information about their neighbors as a way to prevent or profile people who potentially may commit acts of violence.

CCDL and the 2nd Amendment in CT: CCDL is a non profit group, therefore cannot be partisan. CCDL however, wishes to support 2nd Amendement rights and has invited various politicans and candidates to speak at their monthly meetings regarding 2nd amendment issues.  Since the institution of the stricter gun laws , which the  CCDL group feels are unconstitutional, and the backlash over the increased length of time it has now takes the state to issue pistol permits - the CCDL has been raising money to over turn the new laws. The group  is currently planning a Poker Run rally September 21 to raise money, and is holding another family picnic for members and 2nd Amendment supporters wishing to contribute to the litigation fund on August 24th. More information is available on their website: 

Below, president of CCDL Scott Wilson makes a statement on behalf of the group regarding McKinney, who as the minority leader in the state legislator, advocated for Malloy's stricter gun registration laws.  Malloy has already been campaigning hard starting this past spring along side incumbent mayor of Middletown Dan Drew (D) who is seeking reelection and ever-campaigning senator Rosa DeLauro (D) making appearances at a variety of photos ops around the city. CCDL meets monthly at the Elk's Lodge in Middletown, meetings are open to anyone wishing to learn more about 2nd Amendment rights. The groups reports it has over 8,500 members.
Groton, CT July 23rd, 2013
The President for the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest grass roots gun rights group) offers comments on a gubernatorial run by Senate minority leader John McKinney.
CCDL President Scott Wilson: “Senator McKinney was instrumental in implementing a historic gun control law with zero consideration for the constitutional rights of law abiding gun owners. With his deliberate act of siding with gun control supporters, there will be no support from CCDL for his run”.
The CCDL President also stated that other elected officials who went along with the Senate leader and voted in favor of the gun control law, could expect the same from the organization.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guestblog: If It Ain't S.W.A.T.,......It's "So What?" by Fred Carroll

  • Illustration by Fred Carroll. 
    Below is a guest blog from resident Fred Carroll. The essay reflects views and opinions not necessarily shared by the Insider staff, and is published as a courtesy to readers. "Dr." Fred Carrol has shared his thoughts with us many times before via guest blog- his last can be read here:

    If It Ain't S.W.A.T.,......It's "So What?" I walked into the Middletown Police Station Sunday evening to report having been [what I understood to be] "assaulted" and after telling the Desk Officer my story, he responded; "And what do you want ME to do about this?" answer I eschewed was "I don't know, call a Cop, maybe?" deciding rather on; "I don't know, is there a protocol for this type of incident?" and he responded; "Oh, we could go and talk to him about it, but if he denies it then it's a case of "He said, she said...." to which I responded "There were witnesses" to which he responded "Witnesses won't talk to the Police over there" [the thing happened on Liberty Street], to which I responded "There's probably a security camera film of it..." to which he didn't respond but was probably thinking "Ha, most of those cameras haven't worked in years.". So at this point I say "So some felonious street thug can force me off my bike in the middle of Liberty Street, pick up my bike IN ONE HAND and menace me with it as if he might throw it at me and back me all the way to Main Street issuing death threats and worse, finally throwing said bike sort of at me but basically just in my general direction and that's just a case of "And so what do you want ME to do about this?".....I would have thought that what he did MIGHT BE A" At this point he asked me my name, address, and phone number and gave me a phone number to call if I'm ever lonely, and we called it a deal.........thoroughly intimidated......Fred Carroll
  • P.S. I've never owned or fired a gun but maybe I understand Mr. Zimmerman a little bit better, as in "He who counts on another courts disappointment" are on your own, after you're dead, everyone will jump up and get to work on "solving the case"......

Monday, July 22, 2013

TONIGHT Book Signing for Middletown Satire: "Downtown Drive Thru"

Tonight grab your copy of Downtown Drive Thru or purchase in person and head down to the Buttonwood Tree on Main Street to meet author and resident John Killian. Proceeds benefit the Buttonwood Tree.
FREE, 7 pm.
Local Realistic Balance Party chair, and Independent Party of Middletown chair John Killian has released a new E-Book written as a satire of local Middletown politics. Previously Killian blogged on his personal blog site : . The site features musings on national politics, local phenomenon, poetry, and links to performances by the author and friends. Currently on his blog space Killian has posted a history of Middletown timeline which is very helpful in reading his novel.

The book  downtown Drive Thru certainly is about "everything." The time line of Middletown's history, as expressed by Killian in his novel,is woven together with what seems to be the intention of expressing just how confusing it really it to explain to a non native born. His prose in this manner fully expresses the passion with which lifers regard this history. While character names are a bit confusing, the winding story will leave you laughing and rolling on the floor, while probably peeing on yourself. And if you are only peeing, at least you are in better shape than many of the characters in this "fictional" satire. When it comes to being critical of Middletown in order to grow as a community, if even via biting humor, certainly we share the same genre and passion for the First Amendment as Killian; we welcome him to our niche. A good read.

About the Author:
17 year resident of Middletown. Co-founder of the Realistic Balance Party of Middletown.
Author of “Gospels of the New Nile”

Timeline accompanying the latest book at 
Middletown Realistic Balance Party - alternate years aka the Independence Party of Middletown

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Biting Midges or No-See-Ums

I haven't been bothered by mosquitos around my home. However last evening, after the heat wave broke, it being the first time I could sit outside, I could feel my bare ankles being bitten. I remembered these must be the annoying biting midges commonly called no-see-ums. The latter name is because of the fact that these insects are nearly invisible to the human eye. I wondered what these tiny insects really looked like and I will share that view with you:



                                (here the female is seen engorged with blood)

Scientists call these creatures (Culicoides spp. (Insecta: Diptera: Ceratopogonidae).Only the females bite us as blood is needed to allow egg production. Below is a graphic representation of the size of these insects compared with common objects. Annoying little buggers for sure!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Xavier Student wins Comcast Scholarship

From The Comcast Foundation.

Andrew Coburn, a city resident attending Xavier High School, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Comcast Foundation. The foundation's Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program recognizes students’ leadership skills, academic achievement and commitment to community service.

Comcast, joined by government and elected officials, recently recognized the students at a special event held at the Connecticut State Capitol. Forty-four of the 2013 Connecticut Leaders and Achievers recipients received $1,000 scholarships. One student, Dionne Parker, a resident of Waterbury and student at Sacred Heart High School, was selected to receive a $10,000 Comcast Founders Scholarship -instituted in honor of Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Comcast Corporation. In total, Comcast awarded $54,000 worth of scholarships in Connecticut this year.

“Comcast works to provide future leaders with opportunities to succeed in higher education and, eventually, the competitive job market,” said Mary McLaughlin, senior vice president of Comcast’s Western New England Region, which includes Connecticut. “These students are role models in their communities and at their schools. We commend them for their exceptional achievements, and wish them the very best in their future endeavors.”

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program provides one-time $1,000 scholarships to students who strive to achieve their potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools, and who serve as models for their fellow students. The philosophy behind the program is to give young people every opportunity to be prepared for the future, to engage youth in their communities, and to demonstrate the importance of civic involvement, and the value placed on civic involvement by the business community.

Since 2002, Comcast has awarded a total of $440,000 in Leaders & Achievers Scholarships to 408 students in Connecticut. Since the program’s inception, more than $17.7 million in scholarship money has been presented to more than 17,000 scholarship winners nationwide

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guestblog: Conservative Round Up by Palin Smith

Below is a guestblog by Palin Smith- Many thanks Palin! The views expressed may or may not necessarily reflect those of the Insider staff. This is published as a courtesy to readers.


The CT Restoration Coalition pot luck picnic at KING 33 was a big hit. Nearly 100 patriots from all over the state attended. To see pictures follow this link
Nobody can remember a bigger rally for or against an incumbent state senator, Republican or Democrat, than this one. And it’s just the beginning.
We’re planning rallies in Newtown and Fairfield.
The CT RC is a forum where individuals and groups come to discuss state issues, to network, organize and learn. You can find more at this link
We’ve been hoping to take the CT RC on the road to other regions of the state. Enfield, Middletown, Norwich, near New Haven and in Fairfield County. If you know of a spacious indoor facility near these locations that we could use for a minimal charge, please let us know.
Another idea in the works is to meet in smaller groups, possibly in each of the 36 state senate districts. The smaller groups can meet in a home, place of business after hours or side room in a restaurant. If you would like to volunteer to lead in your senate district, please reply.
The smaller groups may work to help support municipal candidates this year, and then expand to help identify, recruit and support state candidates in 2014. If we are serious about victory, we must find the best people and help them win.
Unaffiliated, Libertarian and Independent and Republican voters are encouraged to run for public office. Conservative Democrats who embrace the Constitution will be seriously considered as opponents to incumbent Republican OATH BREAKERS, unless the oath breakers are successfully replaced in a primary.
So far there is a short list of candidates we are supporting.
The list will grow as more people get nominated onto their town’s slate of candidates during the month of July. The local candidates this year might become state candidates in years to come. We’re building a Patriot’s Farm Team because we can’t fully trust the Republican Party to do the right thing. An additional layer of vetting is a good thing.

(R) Chris Duffy for Alderman in New Britain.
(R) Angel Fernandez for Common Council in Middletown
(R) Jessica Chiong for Board of Education in West Haven
Tuesday, July 16, we attended a special bill-signing ceremony in Southbury. Governor Malloy, several other dignitaries and almost 100 people were present to witness 800 acres of farmland at the Southbury Training School transferred from the Department of Developmental Services to the Agriculture Department. The entire event is documented on You tube at this play list link:
You may enjoy this one starting at about 2:10
We’ve recently become aware of a new national movement to Impeach Obama. Rallies have been staged on Highway Overpasses. Tea Party tactics are being employed by an entire new group of recently awakened Americans.

In Connecticut one goal is to stage at least one Overpass Rally in each of the state’s thirty-six (36) state senate districts. Select an overpass near you that is highly visible, low to the ground, with short safety fences, with close parking and a safe sidewalk. Bring a camera.
The demonstrations will be focused at the morning and afternoon rush hours to take advantage of dense, slow-moving traffic. August 6 is the day chosen for the first national “Patriot Wave”. Learn more on the CT Facebook page.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME to join. Select your bridge, bring some friends, a flag and some big Impeach Obama signs. Document your rally with pictures and post on the Facebook page.
Sign up to send a huge Twitter Eblast here. It’s called THUNDERCLAP!
Democrats must take the lead if we are to rid ourselves of Obama. The NSA issue may be the tipping point. Wealthy Democrats recently protested Nancy Pelosi in Maryland. It’s four years after the CT Tea Party, but it’s a good start.
Friday, 19 July starting at 6:00 pm at 204 Wright Road, Killingly.
Please RSVP and contact Duffy at
If you agree with defeating Democrat Don Williams, District 29 State Senator in 2014, please forward to your RTC/GOP email list, and discuss at your next meeting.
The immediate/short term goal is to identify prospective candidates who could challenge, and defeat Don Williams in District 29 (towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson, Windham). At the state level, it’s not too early to be looking for a winning candidate. To win, we need a CT/District 29-historic candidate. And make no mistake; winning does not happen by accident.
However, I believe along the way, we need to identify, and cultivate prospective candidates who might be interested in challenging, and able to beat Don Williams in District 29. We must become the party that can chew gum and walk at the same time.

Anne Dauphinais: Join us this coming Friday, 19 July starting at 6:00 pm at 204 Wright Road, Killingly. The purpose of the get together is to exchange ideas and discuss how to go about beating Don Williams in 2014. Rations provided by Giant Pizza, beer and wine provided by Friendly Spirits.
Make no mistake my friends, if we want to defeat Don in 2014, we need to start organizing now. My experience also tells me winning and losing has an attitude, a smell.
Please forward to your members and friends; we’re looking for ideas and help to defeat Don in 2014.
I’m hoping each of you can attend this Friday’s meeting. Please RSVP and contact Duffy at if you plan to attend. If not, maybe a representative? I’m hoping an RTC representative from every town will attend. Without strong, local RTC support, it won’t’ work, no matter the candidate. Both must hit on all cylinders to have a chance.
Best Regards, and please forward,
Dale “Duffy” Dauphinais, Town of Killingly,
State Senate District 29 Dump Don Williams Citizen Committee
Find us on Facebook: Dump Don Williams.
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. (Samuel Adams)
Pass the matches or get out of the way…..
Palin Smith
If you’re sick and tired of the Republican Party and you live in or around Norwich, you might be interested in this message we received earlier today.

Dan Reale has been building the Libertarian Party of Connecticut steadily for four years. Dan ran for 2nd District Rep. against Joe Courtney in 2010 and 2012. Dan got the CCDL endorsement over Republican Paul Formica last year. Check out the following email and make some inquiries:
“Ballot access was attained today for our whole team, so the Libertarians have 6 people on the ballot for the November 5th election. Team Russell will take Norwich by storm on November 5th, we will take the reins of Norwich and show America what the Libertarians can do once we take control of government. I also got the business cards today, so please arrange to come by to pick up some.
Bill Russell
Libertarian Candidate for
Mayor of Norwich
Phone: 860-334-6769
Fax: 860-886-1683

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