Thursday, 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)"

Wednesday, 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.

Monday, 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!

 

Friday, 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.

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