What’s a Dem To Do?

03Apr13
Democratic Town Committee Uniform

Democratic Town Committee Uniform

Stratford has nearly three times more Democrats and Independents than Republicans and yet there is a Republican Council majority of 8-2 and a Republican mayor. How can that be? The answer is fairly simple. The Democratic Town Committee enjoys being the loser. They have proven that in the last few elections. To be sure, it’s not as if the Republican Town Committee has any sort of actual Republican ideas. Taxes have risen without fail for four consecutive years, the Administration has become more remote and the blunders show no signs of abating. Stratford Republicans certainly can’t point to their record of accomplishments as a reason to vote for them. So why do they keep winning?

The answer is that the Democratic Town Committee lets them win. It has been four (eight if you start counting from their last win) years and several abysmal losses for the DTC and they still refuse to look in the mirror. Oh…they had their chances, but they could not confront what they must confront to be a viable political factor in Stratford. Almost every voter in Stratford knows this and will continue to vote for anyone the RTC puts up. The DTC has been tainted by the Mirons and until they are able to put some distance between the DTC and that legacy they will keep losing. Electing Miron’s chief enabler, Rich Buturla, as the DTC Chairman certainly didn’t help.

Why, you ask, is this important? It is important because Stratford voters are entitled to a reasonable choice. That’s what elections are for. As it is, Stratford is run as a monopoly of the Republican Town Committee by default. That is never a good thing.

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28 Responses to “What’s a Dem To Do?”

  1. 1 appalledandamused

    You’re right to a point, but the turning point has come for the town Republicans, regardless of who is running the DTC. Buturla? Who cares.

    Nationally, the republican party is a DISASTER. In Hartford, the Democratic majority just showed the country how to work in a bipartisan, inclusive manner to get a decent gun safety bill crafted. They just did the impossible and they have the majority of the country cheering them. Locally, the Republican majority on the Council can’t work outside their bubble on anything – even for a resolution that would have shown a courageous if non binding stance on supporting reasoned gun control measures in the days following the Sandy Hook tragedy. A tragedy that hit this town personally.

    When it’s time for change even a weak town committee can’t dissuade the momentum. Anyone but Miron? Fine, but now you can include Harkins in that mantra.

    One clue that the pendulum is swinging away from the Republican stranglehold in Stratford: Lou D. sounding desperate instead of cocky.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Appalled,

    “Buturla? Who cares.”

    You should. Remember Miron’s outside “investigations” of the FD & PD? You had Rich Buturla as the Town Attorney and his brother John as Chief of Police. Maybe you can ask Joe McNeil or Jay Cybart how that went? In my humble opinion the prize for the DTC Chairman will be the $1.8 million Town Attorney budget.

    “Lou D. sounding desperate instead of cocky.”

    If you had read the court’s decision in Best v Town of Stratford you would sound desperate too. The judge in that case skewered the Town. Rarely have I read such a scathing written decision. It was embarrassing. It also leaves a number of questions. The first one being why didn’t anyone like the Town Attorney or HR Director object to the whole thing?

    I don’t think we can discuss the relationship between the RTC/DTC and either party since neither committee bears any resemblance to their nominal party. Miron raised taxes every single year of his term except election year. Harkins has also followed that pattern. Harkins merely added a twist by raising sewer use “fees”.

    Let’s remember that Harkins really didn’t have a platform or vision the first time he ran. The RTC could have run a poster board and beaten Miron. Now Harkins has a record and it needs to be examined and discussed.

    The biggest problem for the DTC is credibility. They have simply failed to demonstrate that anything has changed since Miron was booted out of office. Some DTC members won’t even admit that Miron was the mayor. Unless and until they can convince voters they have changed the RTC will continue to dominate Town Hall and the BOE.

    But not to worry, sometime before November Miron will post something somewhere stating what a good mayor he was and remind all the voters why they voted for Harkins and the RTC. And every single DTC member will be silent.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    A further word about actual Republicans and Democrats. Make no mistake, the Northeast is solid Democratic territory. Maybe because it is more diverse and we live closer to each other. Who knows? But once you get south of Delaware or west of the Poconos the Republican Party can be dominant.

    But you are correct in that the GOP has become the anti-everything Party. It is hard to figure out what they are for. Deficit reduction? They are the ones who spent nearly a decade increasing spending while cutting taxes. They are the ones who deregulated everything in sight. Now they are reduced to desperately clinging to the most radical, short sighted and vocal segments of their organization. The Tea Party seemed like a good idea back in 2008 – 2009. Not so much anymore.

  4. 4 appalledandamused

    Well lookit, you can point to practically any of our town officials who pop up in different parties and run for multiple offices and/or appointments, and reveal a shady, objectionable back story. Buturla is just the part of the town’s long, ugly history of blood feuds that has gotten the most blog press. And, last I heard, the public jury is still out on McNeil and his part in the unethical treatment of a police department candidate. Regardless of who that victim was related to, the petty results were a hit on the town’s integrity — and yes, certain conniving, thuggish members of the Council at that time should be included. My point is that while you, me and others might care about the fact that these idiots keep getting regurgitated in new roles, the greater public does not seem to when it comes to electing these clowns. Sadly…otherwise you’d see these retreads out on their a**es.

    Voters seek meaningful change and Harkins didn’t bring it. What might have made a bigger difference would have been a well-placed upper cut to the republican control and power play on the Council. The pettiness may have abated a bit, but they control the Mayor’s seat and the majority….and the ‘blame Miron’ legacy to fall back on. It remains a good old boys club perfectly situated to appoint and groom the coughed up remains of old grudges and deal makers.

    Miron’s out, he doesn’t count. Buturla is just the other side of the RTC coin. If Democrats were smart, they’d make members like Paul, Masters and Greenspan the soul of the DTC.

  5. 5 jezebel282

    Appalled,

    “If Democrats were smart”

    Well, yeah.

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Wouldn’t it be nice if a DTC candidate had a plan? You know something that made sense? Like a full time salaried Town Attorney and a reduction in Administration costs? Maybe just following the rules and honoring contracts would do.

  7. 7 jezebel282

    Update:

    “Joe Paul says he can reduce town’s costs

    “…Paul said he did not want to get into what he thinks other top issues of the campaign will be, because he feels that just gives the incumbent time to prepare arguments.”
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/7775/joe-paul-says-he-can-reduce-towns-costs/

    Seriously? Is he kidding?
    The incumbent has had 3.5 years to prepare arguments.Since when did the discussion of issues effecting voters become a tactical secret?

    “…Stratford Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Buturla said he has “heard from a number of potential candidates who are perhaps interested in running for mayor, but it remains to be seen” if any of them will move forward.”

    In other words, no potential candidate has committed to hiring Buturla and Berchem Moses & Devlin as Town attorney if elected yet?

  8. 8 jezebel282

    And now we have DTC member Beth Daponte filing her papers for an exploratory mayoral run.

    The interesting aspect will be whether or not these two “almost” candidates will keep the issues secret lest Harkins finds out or will one of them promise Rich Buturla the Town Attorney’s position?

  9. 9 appalledandamused

    What is your take on the redistricting efforts? Power grab comes to mind. Solid (2nd district) Democratic demographic envy comes to mind too. Why doesn’t Stratford just get rid of the districts altogether when electing the council? The top ten candidates with the most votes win the seats. No more special interest and focus on one district over another…..and the candidate with the most votes becomes mayor.

  10. 10 jezebel282

    Appalled,

    Generally, any time you hear the word “redistricting” you can safely assume that one party thinks they can squeeze out more votes and control for themselves from the plan. When they already have an 8-2 majority you can almost guarantee it.

    If this comes up for a Council vote before the end of November you can look forward to a 9-1 vote. If it sails through very soon, you can probably count on a proposal to change all the voting districts since it went so “well”.

    Yet again, we will hear no opposition to this save for Stephanie Philips. She remains the only Democrat willing to speak up. Why she is not the obvious choice for a Democratic mayoral candidate is a complete mystery.

    There is a petition to sign in opposition to this plan. By signing it, you are at least telling the Republican Town Committee that we are paying attention.

    http://signon.org/sign/keep-the-2nd-in-the-2nd?source=c.em.mt&r_by=642173

    “The top ten candidates with the most votes win the seats.”
    Interesting. But it won’t matter. We have only one viable political party in Stratford. The other one is incapable and inept.

  11. 11 mikereynolds

    Aren’t you forgetting Miron’s lapdog, Jason Santi? He’s a Democrat and will side with Phillips. No?

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Mike,

    You have RINO’s and DINO’s. This would be the first time Santi would side against the majority. I mean it is possible, but not very likely. My money would be on a 9-1 vote….unless you’re giving great odds.
    In the end, it would only be “interesting” which way he votes. 9-1 or 8-2 produces the same result.

    But your point is not lost. Unless and until the Democratic Town Committee can shed the stain of Miron this will be a one party town.

    The chance of Stratford voters putting an “I” on the Council or in the mayor’s office is so minimal it’s not worth discussing.

  13. 13 jezebel282

    “…During the past couple of months while Paul was exploring a possible candidacy, he said he heard from people in Stratford: “Taxes are too high. Services are lacking and not what they used to be. There is a lack of economic development and jobs, and the mayor is not visible — not in touch.”
    He said when he is mayor he will open the doors of the office so “people can see me and explain to me your concerns…”
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/8551/joe-paul-announces-candidacy-for-mayor/

    LOL! “Open door”? HAHAHAHA! Miron had an “open” door. He would be glad to show you the gun he carried around if you asked. But other than that, well…

    Let’s be honest, DTC members, the last time a DTC member held the mayor’s office it didn’t go so well did it? If you want to actually win an election again you’re going to have to do better than this. You’ll have to commit to a plan. And we have to know what that plan is.

    The good news for you DTC members is that Harkins and the RTC have had four years and a super majority on the Council to effect positive change. Clearly, that has not happened.

  14. 14 jezebel282

    On July 17th (Wednesday), the DTC will nominate their candidates…if they can find any.

    We are quite confident that the DTC is unable to learn from their mistakes and there is no doubt at all that they will overwhelmingly nominate Beth Daponte. The DTC is the same train wreck it has always been. Move along, folks. Nothing new here.

  15. 15 jezebel282

    Update:

    To absolutely no one’s surprise:

    Daponte wins Stratford DTC nod for mayor
    John Burgeson
    Updated 11:32 pm, Wednesday, July 17, 2013
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Daponte-wins-Stratford-DTC-nod-for-mayor-4671605.php

    Ms. Daponte won by a breathtakingly underwhelming vote of 38-27.

  16. 16 ronmoreau

    Jez,

    “Ms. Daponte won by a breathtakingly underwhelming vote of 38-27.”

    It appears there is some dissension in the DTC ranks. I would think that you would be somewhat elated. I believe their votes are not secret (as apposed to the RTC endorsement votes). It will be interesting to see what occurs during town committee elections in January.

  17. 17 jezebel282

    Update:

    “Buturla told the Post. “It’s my task as town committee chairman to do all that I can to avert a primary.”
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Daponte-vs-Paul-battle-heats-up-4680316.php

    Translation: “I won’t be appointed as Town Attorney if Paul wins.”

    To be sure, there are important positions we haven’t heard yet from Joe Paul. It is likely that he thinks old BoA cases are actually as important important as Buturla’s buddies think they are. In reality, it is mere misdirection. That particular case is over. He only has to utter one word in rebuttal: “Miron”.

    On it’s face, it is clearly a matter of the Old Guard protecting what little influence they have. If a Joe Paul supporter approaches you with a petition by all means sign it!

    “The endorsed candidate for the “new” Third District council seat, Stephanie Phillips, could face a primary from the former councilman, Alvin O’Neil”

    This one is just silly. No one has fought harder or more alone for the 2nd District (or is it the 3rd?) than Ms, Phillips. (Note to Mr. Santi: leaving a colleague twisting in the wind doesn’t get you a nomination) She has never tried to pass a baggy pants ordinance or tried to duke it out with the PD. In fact, Ms. Phillips should be running for mayor.

  18. 18 jezebel282

    Update:

    District 4 disarray: Dem’s candidate drops from race; chosen replacement not eligible
    Replacement choice found not eligible
    By Greg Reilly on August 20, 2013
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/11342/candidate-with-past-due-taxes-drops-from-democratic-council-race/

    How long did it take Republican Town Committee members to stop laughing this time? Honestly, someone should put some duct tape over the “Self Destruct” button at the DTC. At least this time the DTC candidate was an actual U.S. citizen and owned some property in Stratford…unlike other DTC candidates.

    And then we have absolutely ridiculous statements from supporters of the DTC endorsed mayoral candidate like this one: “The problem today in Stratford, is that we’ve had two men as Mayor in the past 8 years”…”and they are all men of both Parties.” http://stratford.patch.com/groups/m-h-griffins-blog/p/time-for-a-changetime-for-a-woman The solution, of course, is to elect a female. Any female. Maybe one whose primary agenda is to make Stratford a “fun” place to live. A word of advice to the DTC: insulting fully 1/2 of the voting population is generally not a recommended practice if winning an election is the goal. However, if outrageous sexism is your goal, this statement is perfect.

    Note to Rich Buturla (DTC Chairman): You’re never going to be Town Attorney again at this rate.

  19. 19 jezebel282

    Tomorrow is primary day. Democratic voters will decide which candidate will represent them in the race for mayor. Some others will decide which candidate will represent them in the race for Council seats.

    We have heard very little of value from either candidate. Oh sure…they love Stratford and have some sort of generic and ill-defined plan to move Stratford forward.

    The Democratic Town Committee could be at a crossroads with this primary. They have lost all credibility as a viable political party with the double defeats of Miron. And they have lost badly. They have yet to acknowledge these huge miscalculations and would like to pretend they had never heard of Miron before. Unfortunately, most of the DTC who supported and enabled Miron are still there. And so their endorsed candidate is Beth Daponte, Vice Chairman of the DTC.

    If any change at all is to come to the DTC it will have to come from Democratic voters. Let’s be clear here. The campaign for mayor for any Democrat will be difficult. Incumbents always have an advantage. This is probably why there seems to be a flurry of repaving projects in Town lately. Nonetheless, any Democratic candidate must shed the weight of the Mirons. Beth Daponte cannot do this. Perhaps Joe Paul can.

  20. 20 mikereynolds

    “This is probably why there seems to be a flurry of repaving projects in Town lately.”

    I’ll take issue with that. It has been done during the late summer early fall every year. My street was paved last year, did I miss an election?

    Regardless, you can’t say that Stratford streets don’t need to be paved. Plus, at least these are long lasting projects. Not like when Miron had DPW out planting flowers all over town in 2009.

  21. 21 appalledandamused

    Yeah, Mike, at least Miron planted flowers. Volunteers are responsible for most of the floral adornments around town. And don’t think that the list of roadwork projects are limited strictly to only those roads most in need of repair or timed so coincidentally close to the election cycle (and after a lousy winter of snow removal ineptitude). They probably paved your road last year just to shut you up on the Patch for a week or two. Looks like it didn’t last…. 😉

  22. 22 jezebel282

    Update:

    “Perhaps Joe Paul can.”

    You can rest assured that the old party Mironista faithful will be going to vote in today’s primary to maintain what little power they have.

    That power can be only be diminished by real voters who have had enough. Primary votes like this one can be decided by as little as a dozen votes or less. If you don’t think your vote is important, think again. Your vote carries more weight in an off year election primary than at any other time. What’s more there are no lines, no delays and, sadly, no baked goods to buy. Go vote. There is no excuse. It takes less than 3 minutes.

  23. 23 mikereynolds

    And according to the Daponte robocall yesterday everyone is voting in Lordship. (smh)

  24. 24 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “And according to the Daponte robocall”

    I’m confused. Which is worse? Being dumb or being devious?

  25. 25 mikereynolds

    I think being dumb is worse.

  26. 26 jezebel282

    Update:

    Paul, Philips win Stratford Democratic primaries
    By Greg Reilly on September 10, 2013
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/11978/paul-philips-win-stratford-democratic-primaries/

    “Including absentee ballots, only 1,665 people voted, or about 16 percent of all registered Democrats.”

    Considering this was an off year primary vote with only two candidates of the same party on the ballot in 9 districts 16% is not bad at all. Actual Democrats have clearly said “enough” to the DTC.

    To those of you who didn’t vote there is a point to be made. This vote was decided by a margin of 156 registered Democrats. 156. Stephanie Philips won her primary by 35 votes. Votes count. In small elections such as yesterday’s they count even more.

    And now it’s on to a mayoral campaign. We hope there are actual policies and plans that will be debated.

    Editor’s note: “Joe Paul beat the DTC-endorsed Beth Daponte in a city-wide party primary Tuesday by a slim 56-vote margin.” It is time to buy the editors at the Patch new batteries for their calculators.

  27. 27 stfdprofessor1

    Perhaps Joe Paul is just what the doctor ordered to end the stranglehold the Miron/Buturla gang has on the DTC. Hopefully Mr. Paul defeats Emperor Harkins in November by another 56-vote margin and starts an end to the madness of the corrupt “old guard” in both the DTC and RTC.

    It seems this may be Stratford’s last shot at heading towards normalcy. Is Mr. Paul perfect…doubtful…but he seems a vast improvement over the little Napoleon who currently hides in the Mayor’s office shoveling taxpayer cash across the hall for the town attorney and crew to smuggle out of the building.

  28. 28 jezebel282

    Update:

    “I’m here for my town. I’m not part of that gang…”Party politics are killing this town,” Catalano said, “and what I like about Joe is that he’s not part of the other gang, either. He stood up and won a primary, beating the endorsed Democrat.”
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/GOP-Councilman-Matt-Catalano-says-Democrat-Joe-4937659.php

    Congratulations, Mr. Catalano!


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