Political Promises

02Jul13
Who ordered the puppies?

Who ordered the puppies?

Daponte enters mayoral race; outlines campaign messages*

This mayoral campaign certainly promises to be underwhelming. There is no doubt that we will all hear how we need to attract new businesses, improve our schools and make Town Hall a model of efficiency. There is also no doubt we will hear how much the candidates love this Town and only want to make our lives better. It can give you a cavity just thinking about it.

Of course, since we are all still here we already know that Stratford is the place we want to live. We also know that it is becoming more and more of a financial burden to remain. Once every four years our taxes do not rise by double digits (unless you count the sewer use “fee”). Not many of us have gotten substantial raises to match (unless you are a mayor or superintendent). The price of our homes have taken a dive during the last four years but our taxes have risen considerably. You don’t have to be that smart to understand that this particular pattern cannot be sustained.

To Ms. Daponte’s credit, she is the first candidate in memory to use the words “lower” and “taxes” in the same sentence. The question for her and the other candidates is “How?” Wouldn’t it be nice if a candidate started with the uncontrolled Town Attorney’s office? Or perhaps the $215,000 ($354,000 if you include the CAO) we spend just on a mayor and sundry “assistants”? Perhaps they can start with promising a budget that actually adds up and makes sense. Maybe we can get the candidates to start small and get them to promise not to give a big expensive personal car to every supervisor in Town.

Those of us who still have jobs go to work every single day and deal with the enormous pressures of trying to remain in Stratford. For those of us who are unemployed or retired, that struggle has become nearly impossible. That is the issue voters want to talk about. Everything else is puppies and rainbows.

*http://www.stratfordstar.com/9830/daponte-enters-mayoral-race-outlines-campaign-messages/

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27 Responses to “Political Promises”

  1. 1 matpcat

    Great photo Jez! I just have one question for you, though. Do you feel disappointment?

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Disappointment? Nah….just the usual frustration.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    “I love this town, and I wouldn’t have moved back if I didn’t,” Daponte said.
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Daponte-says-she-d-be-pro-business-mayor-4658031.php

    What a surprising stance to take. Oh wait…we already said the candidates would say that.

    “But the town has been on the wrong track for the past four years.”
    And it was on the right track with Miron in charge?

    This is the problem for Democratic Town Committee candidates. With Buturla still in charge at the DTC and most of the old Mironistas still making the decisions, the DTC will never regain credibility.

  4. 4 ronmoreau

    Jez,
    “This is the problem for Democratic Town Committee candidates. With Buturla still in charge at the DTC and most of the old Mironistas still making the decisions, the DTC will never regain credibility.”
    As a life long Democrat it must be very frustrating to you witnessing Stratford Republicans winning election after election. I would normally advise that you get involved directly to precipitate change in the DTC make up. However I doubt you would even be allowed to enter the door.
    Stratford Republican rule.

  5. 5 ronmoreau

    A chance for Stratford Democrats, (there are 10,000 of them), to make a change in DTC leadership could happen with their participation in the town committee ELECTION that will be held this coming January following the November town council election. Unfortunately only the usual suspects, that have something to gain, will show up for this very important ELECTION and they will control who gets ELECTED.
    Those ELECTED will control who runs for any other elected position in town,state and federal elections for the next 2 years.
    As you have said many times. Those elected to local government have the most impact on local taxes and fees.

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Ron,

    “As a life long Democrat”
    That’s how I know the DTC has nothing at all to do with actual Democrats. The same, by the way, can be said about the RTC.

    “witnessing Stratford Republicans winning election after election. ”
    Not really. It actually makes sense given the way the DTC acted during Miron’s disastrous term. Unless and until they acknowledge and correct that they will continue to lose.

    “I doubt you would even be allowed to enter the door.”
    Sure I would. I’d be a better target inside the door frame than outside.

  7. 7 jezebel282

    And then there are the Council seat elections.

    Connor to Seek Re-Election in the 8th District
    http://stratford.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/connor-to-seek-reelection-in-the-8th-district?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001&evar4=picks-3-post

    “They include fostering a sense of civility between elected officials of both parties”
    Err….with an 8-2 majority does that count as an accomplishment?

    “leading the pension board for three years ”
    We can hardly wait to see what the legal expenses we will pay for withholding Asst Fire Chief Tom Murray’s pension will be.

    “improving accountability are also significant highlights. ”
    Accountability for whom? Who is getting punished for the mishandling of the EMS Director position? Do we even know what the legal expense to the taxpayer is?

    Is there any candidate out there that will say something relevant?

  8. 8 appalledandamused

    You’re right, of course. The DTC is still stuck in reverse with Buturla at the helm. (No doubt his prime motivator is keeping a finger in the town attorney role and budget.) I continue to believe that party politics are sinking this town, and the residents would be better served if elections didn’t involve party affiliation. The elections in Stratford come down between the Republicans v. the Party of Miron on the docket. Who in their right mind would elect to keep the Dick/Jim Miron/Buturla influence prominent in the DTC? It continues to give the RTC fodder to aim at the candidates the DTC promotes while slipping their own whack-a-mole bland yes-men into the majority.

    Perhaps it is part and parcel in local government and town elections, but I’ve not seen so much political party-hopping than there is in Stratford. So many of the candidates running for various offices and sitting on commissions in this town have a long line of crossing party lines that read more like a How-To guide to political expediency than actual philosophical conviction. Before I vote on a candidate, I’ll see what his/her political history is.

    And if the DTC has any semblance of honest survival instincts and actual Democratic (not DINO) values left in its brain trust, they will do some serious house-cleaning.

  9. 9 jezebel282

    Appalled,

    I couldn’t agree more.

    If anything there was the tiniest bit of encouragement in the Post’s published interview with Joe Paul:

    “In 2009, Democratic incumbent James Miron lost to Republican John Harkins by a landslide. But Paul said he’s undaunted by Miron’s poor showing four years ago.
    “I was not even living in Stratford during the Miron era,” he said, “so if I’m the Democratic candidate, the opposition can’t say that I had anything to do with his administration.” And, “”Politics isn’t going to solve Stratford’s problems,” Paul said. “Politics is Stratford’s problem.””
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Retired-bank-executive-wants-to-be-mayor-4662797.php

    The one correction I would make to Paul’s statement is that it is not exactly politics. It is more like gang warfare between the RTC & DTC and we are the drive-by victims.

    I’m afraid this means more reasons for DTC members to vote against Paul. I am quite certain that if Daponte is nominated and somehow wins more Town checks will be going to Buturla and Berchem Moses & Devlin.

  10. 10 jezebel282

    A neighbor recently asked me “Who cares about these local elections?” I completely understand the question. Town politics (especially this Town) can seem petty, mean-spirited and irrelevant. Without a doubt, the politics in this Town are often driven by ego, vindictiveness and greed.

    However, what we are really talking about is how $192,000,000 of our money gets spent in a single year. To provide a bit of perspective, that is about $3,800 for every man, woman and child in Stratford or about $9,600 per household. When the median income in Stratford is $53,000/year, $9,600 is a considerable chunk taken out of those pockets.

    So the answer to the question “Who cares about these local elections?” is we all do. We get to decide how this enormous amount of our income gets spent when we vote for councilmen, BOE members and mayors.

    The questions to ask are whether or not the current elected officials spent our money wisely and could anyone else do a better job?

  11. Appalled,
    I agree a lot with what you said. I feel this town needs to have some canidates run as independents, and bring some ideas different from the two parties in town. People who want to run to better the town not for party politics.

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Cam,

    “different from the two parties in town”

    Don’t make the same mistake as most voters do and think that the Republican or Democratic Town Committees have anything to do with the Republican or Democratic parties.

    I must note, however, that after 3 or 4 years the DTC finally has a working website. They even mention Obama this time. I suppose that makes them “Democratic”.

  13. Jez,
    Even that being so about the town parties not having anything to do with the national parties they still seem to follow the same ideology of the national counterparts.
    I didn’t realize their site was up, I have to check it out somemore. The mention of Obama doesn’t matter to me either way, I’ve become luke warm on our president because he is turning out to be the great centrist president. I really follow politicians that are more in the vain of Bernie Sanders who is not affraid to criticize the president or any other politician from any party. Given I tend to agree with the democratic point of view of Stratford I just feel we need some independent thinkers to emerge and run for office. I really have to give George Mulligan a lot of credit because this man is not affraid to say what he thinks even if it seems like he is making a fool of himself. I think with George running it keeps things interesting.
    I do have to say though, I met Joe Paul at Stratford day and he did leave a good impression on me for a mayoral canidate. I also agree with a lot of the ideas he had to offer.

  14. 14 jezebel282

    Cam,

    There is a link on the right hand side of this page (scroll up a bit).

    I agree with you about Obama. He is actually very conservative ( despite what Portia says). However, compared to the nutjob Tea Party, John Birch would seem like a flaming Liberal.

    The problem in this Town is that most voters are blissfully ignorant and will vote for anyone with a “D” or “R” after their names. Unless he is clearly a sociopathic lunatic like the first mayor. Unfortunately, most of the 38 that voted for Daponte supported and enabled that insanity.

    Paul and his supporters need to get out there more. Having worked for Bank of America, one of the mega banks responsible for 17+ million job losses, is not really a positive thing.

  15. Unfortunately Stratford residents are extremely apathetic to local politics when they really matter for everyones day to day life living in the town. The whole Bank of America thing is the one thing that irks me. That giant bank nearly flushed our whole economy down the toilet. I know Joe Paul worked for them for many years I don’t think I can fault him for that but a lot other people might. He has been out in the open a lot and it really makes a difference for me that you see him in public at events and that he made his official announcement in public. I guess only time will tell what is going to happen as we get closer to election day.

  16. 16 jezebel282

    Update:

    Harkins distributes Puppies & Rainbows:

    “spent much of his energy in his first term “changing the culture” that he found in Town Hall when he became mayor in 2009.”

    Hmm…let’s see. Harkins still has (according to the budget) 2 assistants and 1 administrator plus the CAO and his assistant. We can’t seem to find “Chief of Staff” in the recently posted budget. That brings the top administrative cost to the Town to $353,163. Plus whatever it is the “Chief of Staff” receives. Not much of a change there. Unless you consider that many positions for the Town are no longer listed separately and are now lumped in to a general statement called “payroll”.

    “Harkins said that he’s ended the practice of placing “friends and family” in town positions.”
    Oh please.

    “dozens of businesses have either moved into town or have expanded their operation during his administration.”
    Are we still counting pizza places and deli’s?

    “We’re having an outside consultant come in soon to take a look at our fleet of vehicles,”
    What happened to the Smart cars? Maybe we should stop giving brand new extra large cars (plus gas, insurance and maintenance) to every supervisor, chief and director in Town?

    “Harkins credited his administration with settling a long-simmering disagreement with Bridgeport over Sikorsky Memorial Airport, which is entirely in Stratford but owned by Bridgeport.”
    By moving Main Street and giving them all the land they asked for?

    “I’ve reached out to both parties, and it worked.”
    Did anyone answer the phone at the DTC? With an 8-2 majority how much “reaching out” was necessary? If I recall correctly, Stephanie Phillips, the only real Democrat on the Council, was completely shut out of budget negotiations.

    “He annihilated incumbent Democrat James Miron”
    Harkins had a lot of help, mostly in the form of James Miron.

    Amazingly Harkins doesn’t mention the four consecutive tax increases or the enormous sewer use “fee” increases. I also can’t seem to find any mention of denying pension payments to Asst Chief Tom Murray or the ongoing EMS saga. Maybe those will be in the next article?

    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Harkins-says-gains-made-during-first-term-4690897.php

  17. 17 jezebel282

    And to be fair:

    Daponte ships more Puppies & Rainbows:

    “Stratford needs to embrace the arts and regard the arts as one of the engines of our new economy. We need to open the American Shakespeare Theater.”
    “We”? What do you mean “we”? Depending upon which expensive consultant’s report you believe, it will cost anywhere from $5-$15 million to get this theater up and running. It is going on thirty years since this theater has opened its doors to the public. “We” can’t even decide what the doors should be open to.

    “municipalities need to offer amenities such as parks, nightlife, and festivals, that make a place a fun place to live and work.”
    “Fun”? Really? “Fun”? How about “affordable”? Maybe even “safe”? How about “convenient”? Families and businesses move to a Town because it is convenient to their needs, affordable and secure. Families in particular also look for excellent schools.

    http://stratford.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/stratford-mayoral-hopeful-pens-oped-on-economic-development

  18. “If I recall correctly, Stephanie Phillips, the only real Democrat on the Council, was completely shut out of budget negotiations.”

    Stephanie was also unable to get items onto the Council agenda.

  19. 19 jezebel282

    Robyn,

    “Stephanie was also unable to get items onto the Council agenda.”

    And how hard is that to do? Let’s see, you’d need a “second” (who was that other Democrat? Oh yeah! Jason Santi.) and what, 4 more Councilmen to not object?

    So much for that whole “reaching out” thing…

  20. 20 jezebel282

    And then there is Ken Bruno:

    “Harkins now has a record, and as part of that record, I pay in excess of $11,000 in taxes to live at 165 Pilgrim Lane on the Oronoque section of Stratford,” he said. “I think it’s an excessive amount of taxes, and I don’t look out over the Sound…”

    Uh oh! Watch out Lordship residents!

    “How can you attract businesses and people when you can go up to Shelton and find lower taxes?”

    True. Very true.

    “Shelton has seven hotels. We have one.”

    Psst….there are five.

    “I would expand the train station into the area now occupied by the former Bally’s Total Fitness center,” he said in reference to the vacant gym, originally built as a theater multiplex. “It has over a thousand parking spaces, and a station there would give us a huge presence off I-95.”

    We are sure that Metro North has already set aside the capital funds to tear down the old platforms and build a new station. Ya think?

  21. 21 jezebel282

    “Not one of them has served even a single term as a town council member”
    -Joseph Pedoto
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/11041/questioning-challengers-experience-for-job-of-mayor/

    While I usually agree with Mr. Pedoto, this time I must take exception. Having the requirement to have served on the Council in order to campaign for mayor is a truly bad idea.Mr. Pedoto is well aware that experience has shown us that the only people who get nominated to run for Council seats are those who are Committee loyalists. Especially this current Council, who have rubber stamped Harkins’ every whim and desire.

    Being mayor of Stratford is not an exceptionally difficult job. That is why we have positions such as Chief Administrative Officer, Town Clerk, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Public Works Director and HR Director (Ok, they can’t ALL be good). But the point is that these are highly educated and trained professionals. What is required of a mayor is that vision “thing” and the ability to move the town forward. Ethics and honesty would be nice to have too.

  22. 22 jezebel282

    Overheard in line at a chain drug store:

    Woman 1: “Hi! How have you been?”
    Woman 2: “Fine. We’re almost finished with the painting.”
    Woman 1: “What are you painting?”
    Woman 2: “The real estate agent said we should paint the interior of the house. It would sell faster.”
    Woman 1: “Are you moving??? You’ve lived in Stratford all your life!”
    Woman 2: “I know. But we just can’t afford it anymore. Our taxes have gone up to $10,000 and we can get a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood with better schools somewhere else.”
    Woman 1: “My husband says that all the time. We are thinking about remodeling the bathroom and then selling too.”
    Woman 2: “It’s crazy. They make it so you just can’t live here.”

    Unusual? No. Not really. This conversation is actually typical. Neither of these women were of retirement age. That indicates that this is not a case of being able to maintain a home on retirement income. It does mean that at least one and perhaps two families have given up hope that Stratford can offer an equal value for the price. We are simply paying too much for what we get. When that happens in a store, you go to a different store. In this case, one family has decided to go to a different Town. Almost any Town.

    Who is responsible for this? Eleven people. Ten councilmen and a mayor. So when an election or primary rolls around and you don’t think it’s important enough for you to vote, think again.

    And to those who think they deserve an elected office, please, think again. You probably don’t.

  23. The government is taking your wages, taxing
    your property, monitoring your speech, tracking your location, restricting your
    travel, controlling your healthcare, and can now assassinate you without charge
    or trial anytime it wants by simply calling you a terriorst. As such, you should
    ask yourself who is going to stand up and defend your liberty from an ever
    growing tyrannical government? Not the politicians, for they are the
    perpetrators. Only the Militia is chartered by the Constitution of the United States to protect the people from the
    government. So please join or start a local
    militia, and take the pledge our forefathers made before us: I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor, that the free Republic of the United States of America will not fall, she will not fail, but rather will stand as a free Nation. That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. So Help Me GOD.

    Read more about the Militia at: http://www.militianews.com/

  24. 24 jezebel282

    It’s hard to tell whether or not the above is spam. Sure does look like it though.

  25. 25 ronmoreau

    Interesting stuff.

  26. 26 jezebel282

    “Interesting stuff.”

    You think? I don’t. It’s just one of those sites that say everything that is wrong is Obama’s fault. And the stupid people (you know….a majority?) who voted for him. The only answer is to go and get some guns. It’s just that same old sick blend of paranoia, racism and denial. I’m actually kind of surprised they didn’t link to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion this time.

  27. 27 jezebel282

    But getting back to the topic at hand, we have a couple of positions to discuss from Ken Bruno, Independent candidate for mayor. After wading through his obligatory Puppies & Rainbows content ( did we really need to know what he did between the ages of 7-18?) we find a couple of actual positions.

    “I want Shakespeare to be an engine of economic progress,” he said. “Yes, taxpayers should fund operations as an investment in the future of Stratford.”
    Seriously? Again with the Andy Hardy “Let’s put on a show” plan?

    “…The southern end of Stratford could easily be transformed.”
    Into what?

    “I would hire two town attorneys” so there would be less need to contract with additional outside lawyers as work arises.”
    Two!? How about reducing the workload in the first place by not breaching contracts that have already been signed or by not violating labor laws? Or maybe even stop paying hourly billing rates for dragging cases on for years and years? While we admit that Mr. Bruno is the first candidate to bring up the Town Attorney problem, his solution is ludicrous. We all know what the solution is, now we are just waiting for a candidate to say it.


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