He’s Baaaack!

16Dec14
Legal Decision Lotto!

Legal Decision Lotto!

Court says Stratford must rehire cop
Daniel Tepfer
Updated 11:39 pm, Monday, December 15, 2014

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Court-says-Stratford-must-rehire-cop-5958690.php

Yes, it’s true. Justin Loschiavo is well on his way back to Stratford PD, a uniform and a patrol car with flashing lights. This should go well.

Many readers may not remember the whole Loschiavo debacle. After all, it was a few years ago and had other interesting characters as well. There was Miron, Town Attorney Richard Buturla, Police Chief John Buturla, the Loschiavo parents; Deputy Chief Joe Loschiavo, Assistant HR Director Linda Loschiavo. They, of course had understudies like Adam Bauer, John Harkins and Ron Ing.

We had thought about writing a general review, but couldn’t summon the effort. Instead, we have posted a link history which you may want to peruse:

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/stratfords-finest-get-fired-up/

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/red-light-green-light-does-it-matter/

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/liar-liar/

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/you-are-cordially-not-invited/

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/miron-and-dtc-are-done/

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/a-turn-for-the-nurse/

http://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/reminder/

As usual, the only losers in this story are the same ones as they always are: Stratford Taxpayers.


Coming Attractions

Coming Attractions

While we wait for the next four to six months (or longer?) for Main Street to reopen, many residents believe it is because a new road is being constructed. That is only partially true. The closure of Main Street is a small taste of what may be coming. While the brave crews work to remediate the site, it was deemed so potentially dangerous that civilians shouldn’t even drive by it. Thus the closure. How dangerous? Aside from the asbestos (We are certainly familiar with that in Stratford aren’t we?) there are the PCB’s, lead, mercury, arsenic, a variety of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Chemicals) and other unpronounceable chemicals that have leached into those few acres from the Stratford Army Engine Plant.

Which, to any reasonable person, means that the clean up of the Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP) is going to be exponentially larger, more complex and expensive. The SAEP is still owned by the U.S. Army. The sale to Point Stratford Renewal has not been executed due to the disagreement over the cost of remediation and, well, who will pay for it. While Stratford has been taken out of this loop many years ago due to mismanagement, it remains Stratford residents who will be the most effected.

Why bring this up? Because citizens should know what they are being exposed to. We certainly can’t depend on Harkins and his group of press release writers.

“The mayor said the site will eventually see a “mixed-use” development…the property will gradually become transformed into an attractive and “vibrant” part of town with a greenway, hotel, apartments, retail outlets and other amenities.”http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Army-Engine-Plant-deal-finally-takes-off-4940619.php

Amenities? Like men in moon suits? Unfortunately, we will not be able to see what’s going on during the airport phase due to the worthy attempt to keep civilians as far away and as safe as possible. But to ignore reality and to propose that everything will be puppies and rainbows is an insult to every citizen of Stratford. As we have been shown repeatedly by this mayor, truth is the last thing we can expect from him.


Does This Come Before Or After The Pride?

Does This Come Before Or After The Pride?

This may be one of the ugliest stories we’ve covered here….at least since Miron.

Mayor’s wife seeks divorce
By Greg Reilly on October 2, 2014

http://www.stratfordstar.com/29039/mayors-wife-seeks-divorce/

The rumors are running rampant throughout town and, frankly, many of them ring true. We are generally loathe to comment upon personal relationships, but this has been published in the “press” and involves our highest elected official. What is at stake here is the credibility of our chief executive and the enormous doubt cast upon his ethics. We have yet to see documentation of any involvement of taxpayer funds, but should that be the case this site will be the first to call for resignations or a recall.


It's Only Taxes. Let 'Em Burn!

It’s Only Taxes. Let It Burn!

Fire chief reports another rating upgrade; new truck

By Greg Reilly on September 25, 2014

“…The department is acquiring a brand new Seagrave Aerialscope II 95-foot Tower Ladder truck, with a price tag of approximately $1.1 million…” http://www.stratfordstar.com/28845/fire-chief-reports-another-rating-upgrade-new-truck/

Only last week it was announced that, “…acquiring two new trucks with a combined cost over $1 million, acquiring new breathing apparatus with a cost of roughly $300,000…” http://www.stratfordstar.com/28510/town-improves-fire-rating-property-owners-may-save/

Umm, does anyone else notice that all that adds up to $2.4 MILLION on top of the FD’s $12 MILLION/year budget (not including overtime)? What happen to the FD Boat anyway? Haven’t seen that little expensive toy lately. How many times in the last, oh say, 375 years had we had to call for the assistance of a 95 foot tower ladder?

How many times can Harkins sell the WPCA to cover this? But wait! We homeowners are in luck! We may save up to $50 a year. “…Property owners are encouraged to check with their insurance agents or companies to see how the improved town rating might affect their insurance premiums…Savings of approximately $50 per year is not unrealistic, according to the mayor’s office, depending upon the rating system used by the resident’s homeowners insurance company and the value of the property insured.” $50? A year? (Note: don’t bother. Unless they just put a fire hydrant outside your front door, your insurance company doesn’t care).

Something’s burning out of control. That’s for sure.

And lest we forget; remember the big deal Harkins closed? You remember, the one where he gave up valuable Stratford land to the City of Bridgeport? He told us we would benefit because Main Street wouldn’t flood anymore. It would be raised!

He didn’t mention it would only be raised 12 inches and still flood did he?

“…Flooding on the section of Main Street/Route 113 near the end of the runways at Sikorsky Airport may occur less often and may drain away faster after the road is rebuilt as part of the airport improvement project now underway, but, according to the project engineer, “it will still flood….The new road will be about one foot higher in elevation than the section that will be replaced.” http://www.stratfordstar.com/28841/main-street-will-still-flood-after-airport-construction-project/

And then, for our own safety, Main Street will be closed because it’s too dangerous to even drive by the disturbed ground. Wonderful! Heckuva job, Johnny!


Judge This!

17Sep14
Democratic Town Committee Procedures

Democratic Town Committee Procedures

You may have noticed some election season lawn signs popping up in town. The one that is most interesting is the one for Probate Judge. Let’s repeat that. Judge. So who do you think the Democratic Town Committee would select after having been banished to the wilderness for the last five years? Why none other than Miron’s former mayoral aide, Kent Miller, that’s who. You remember Kent Miller don’t you? He was the one brought before the CT State Grievance Committee who subsequently found that Mr. Miller “violated the Rules of Professional Conduct”. http://www.jud.ct.gov/SGC/decisions/050708.htm

A Probate Judge is responsible for, among other things, making decisions about other people’s money and/or estates. Not to mention other areas like depriving someone of the right to make decisions for themselves. So who does the Democratic Town Committee select as their candidate for this important position?

Kent Miller.

And they wonder why nobody votes for Democrats in this town.


Connectile Dysfunction

Connectile Dysfunction

 

There seems to be a minor flare-up concerning Mayor Harkins participation in an organization called “ALEC”. http://www.alec.org/. While some people may dispute the principles of ALEC (and we do) the important thing to remember is that we paid for Harkins to attend their meeting in Texas and his membership in it. (Yes, we know. He ditched the Sister Cities event while he was in Texas.) So far as we can tell, there is no significant groundswell of voter sentiment in Stratford to eliminate municipal government which seems to be what ALEC desires to achieve. For a price. So why are we paying for this?

A quick perusal of background information concerning ALEC leads to the conclusions that it’s core beliefs are chiefly that any government (Federal, State or Municipal) is bad and that every corporation is good. To be sure, no one we know has ever had the conversation with Harkins concerning his core beliefs. In fact, to the best of our recollection he has never stated them publicly either. We only have his actions to judge. By these actions we can determine a few key ideas: Unions are bad. Non-union employees should be substantially rewarded. Municipalities should not own anything of value. And perhaps most dishearteningly, taxpayers should be ignored.

Oh there is the usual conservative policies contained in ALEC’s propaganda. Corporations are more efficient, knowledgeable and in every way better than any elected form of government. The difficulty with that is that corporations can go out of business, relocate or simply develop new markets with new products. Municipalities are pretty much stuck where they are and going out of business is not an option. ALEC also promotes very similar ideas that we have all heard before from the Tea Party. Repeal Obamacare, repeal the minimum wage, eliminate unions and on and on. They actively invite corporate sponsors at exorbitant admissions costs to access local and state legislatures and executives (like Harkins) in order to “bid” on “transparent” projects.

So what? The “what” is what did we vote for? Did we actually vote for the sale of our assets to some random corporations? Did we vote for the salary elevation of appointed officials? Did we vote for the complete disregard of the voters will? Did we vote for the abdication of responsibility?

Maybe. Because that is certainly what we got.

 

 

 

 

 


Back to School

25Aug14
Spending Tax Dollars 101

Spending Tax Dollars 101

Stratford public schools open for business on Thursday. Unlike any business, however, there is no BOE budget. None. The Board of Education has decided that parents, teachers, students and, oh yeah, taxpayers have no need to know how half of the tax revenue of the Town will be spent. Not a single elected member of the Board of Education or Town Council can provide any information regarding an actual budget or even whether or not one exists. This is astounding, if not illegal.

One would think that a primary function of an elected government would be to, at the very least, explain how the money they are demanding will be spent. The BOE is not a privately held corporation. It may be administered by a non-elected superintendent, but that does not relieve the BOE of the obligation to provide this information to the public. Why do we need to explain this? Apparently because the members of the Board of Education have forgotten this.

This is as bad as stealing $5.6 million from the WPCA. Hold on….maybe it’s worse. We have no idea what the BOE will do with somewhere between $97 – $101 million of our money. It makes Harkins move to extract $5.6 million from the WPCA look like petty theft.


Opposition Forces

Opposition Forces

Budget season is over. Everyone in Town Hall and at the BOE are happy. Well, OK, not so happy if you’re a union member. But nonetheless all the non-union employees are happy. Soon the Council and WPCA (Sewer Plant) will negotiate a $5.2 million sale of Town property. Yes, we know. The WPCA and Town Council are the same people. But we are sure they will negotiate with themselves and come up with a fair amount to steal from taxpayers.

Of course the BOE remains somewhat of a mystery since they have yet to publish an approved budget. We suppose the Superintendent and Board of Education members feel that we have no business knowing how they are spending $97 MILLION of our money allocated by the Republican controlled Council. Maybe they are right? After all, it did not delay for a moment the mailing of tax bills nor did it extend the deadline to pay. The mayor’s opinion is “Just pay it. We’ll tell you later how we spent it…maybe.”

Is anyone protesting any of this? Extracting funds from the WPCA is clearly illegal according to State statute. Has the Attorney General’s office jumped on this? They have certainly been made aware of it. Nope. Not a word. Has anyone on the Council been struck by a stray ethical consideration? Apparently not. Surely the elected Board of Education members are aware that not a single taxpayer has any idea what is happening to nearly half of our yearly tax burden? Who knows?

Who’s fault is all of this? The answer is simple. It is our own fault. We choose to not vote. We choose to ignore budget debates. We choose to drive by Town Hall on our way to shop or desperately hunt for a legal parking space. We choose to skip over anything related to municipal government or education. So as you write your checks this month and place them in the blue envelopes remember that is our own fault that these bills are among the highest in Connecticut.


Down the Sewer

15May14
Town of Stratford

Town of Stratford

Stratford to see 2.8 percent tax increase
John Burgeson
Updated 10:47 pm, Wednesday, May 14, 2014

“The parcel with the biggest price tag is 105 Beacon Point Road, adjacent to the Birdseye Street boat ramp. The town hopes to sell it for $5.6 million.” http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Stratford-to-see-2-8-percent-tax-increase-5478426.php

For those readers who are unfamiliar with 105 Beacon Point Road, that is the address of the WPCA (sewer plant). To be honest, we have resisted the abundant rumors that Harkins wanted to sell off the WPCA (Sewer Plant) for quick cash. We had believed that nobody could be that brazen or, well, dumb. But, sadly, we were wrong.


Mayor Deals With Taxpayer

Mayor Deals With Taxpayer

Stratford increases spending 6% overall, 2.5% for schools.
By Greg Reilly on May 12, 2014

“The Stratford Town Council at its monthly meeting on May 12 adopted a 2015 operating budget that increases overall spending 6%, increases the mill (tax) rate 2.8%, and increases spending for schools 2.5%.
The approved overall expense budget of $204,231,075 is $48,465 more than Mayor John Harkins has proposed”
http://www.stratfordstar.com/21153/stratford-increases-spending-6-overall-2-5-for-schools/

Never mind that funding Town-wide obligations with the sewer use fees is illegal. Never mind that no one has received the kind of raises that Town non-union employees will get. Never mind that no cost cutting measures were even proposed. Never mind that the BOE budget is unreadable. Never mind that property values have decreased. Never mind that the Grand List is flat with no plan to increase it. The Council, to absolutely no one’s surprise, has given Harkins even more than he asked for.

While some homeowners will grumble, take out their checkbooks and just write the check in July, others particularly seniors and working families will feel real pain.

Council elections are a full 18 months away. But you must remember this; The Republican Council voted for these outrageous increases without the slightest objection.




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