How to Raise Taxes

08Jun15
Stratford Mayor-visual approximation

Stratford Mayor-visual approximation

Step 1: Find a journalist that will print anything you say without question.

Step 2: Say that the world will come to an end unless you raise taxes and fees.

Step 3: Deny any responsibility by blaming someone else

Step 4: Blame “they” or “them” for layoffs, service cuts, higher taxes and anything else you can think of.

Step 5: Try to look like you’re doing the right thing by making the entire population suffer the consequences of your blundering.

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115 Responses to “How to Raise Taxes”

  1. 1 1cyclops

    The Mayor’s news article addressed to the town’s citizens, putting them “on notice” attests to his serious leadership flaws.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Cyclops,

    Are you really going to bring up facts?

    Like the fact that Harkins has essentially had total control of the Town budget for the last six years? Or that every non-union employee, including Harkins, has received whopping pay increases? Or that almost every Department Head, Supervisor, Chief, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief or Director has a shiny new car at our expense including the gas that goes in it?

    The unfortunate thing for Harkins is that with his 9-1 majority on the Council, it was pretty much his way since he took office. Why did we switch to a “strong” mayor? Oh yeah! Responsibility and Accountability! How’s that going?

  3. 3 appalledandamused

    The reporter who wrote the article in the Post lives (or used to) in Stratford. Without reporting the other side of the issue, it would seem a conflict of interest, let alone a lack of basic journalistic research into Harkins’ claims. Sort of come to expect that from the Star, but not necessarily the Post.

  4. 4 jezebel282

    Appalled,

    You expect too much. The CT Post doesn’t pay their “reporters” as if they were professionals. And let’s be honest. Most people subscribe for the coupons, real estate and tag sale ads. That “news” is also in there is like a bonus.

    This is press release journalism. That’s when most of your content is lifted directly from the press release issued by your subject. No press releases, no content. It’s not as if they are going to waste their time and what little pay they get doing research and investigating. The article you are referring to was a trip to Town Hall and a phone call to Henry Bruce (Although the reporter probably met Henry Bruce on Stratford Day and scored some funnel cakes and fried oreos too.).

    It is probably even more true for the Star.

  5. So, let’s start thinking about where cuts could be made to save money – well, the extremely top-heavy administration, we could start with a [breast] reduction! That would alleviate much of the pressure and start reconstructing Stratford’s backbone!

    Yes, several years ago, Stratford needed a change – there was no transparency, no accountability and tons of fiscal irresponsibility. Well, that has continued even through our change of government. What this indicates is that it’s not the form of government, it is the people we elect to lead us. We, the people, have obviously put our faith in the wrong people – election after election. What I have heard from past council members was that even with a Town Manager things weren’t getting done, even with a Town Manager projects weren’t happening, there was no economic development. But, with a Town Manager, Town Hall wasn’t fat with people looking to load up their retirement accounts with our blood money. For so many years, Stratford consisted of mostly hard-working blue collar people, not Gold Coast executives. While this doesn’t apply to everyone involved in the political arena in our Town, what has happened is that we do have people involved in both parties who see dollar signs for Town projects (e.g., the theatre property, SAEP, etc.). Once something starts happening, they shut it down – why? Because they won’t be making anything if, for example, the theatre property remains the theatre property and renovation takes place. The only way for any of them to make money is for the theatre to be torn down and condos or some other housing development occurs. Why would they make money? Real estate commissions, general contractor commissions, contractors (e.g., plumbers, roofers, electricians) get the work. So, they are lookout out for themselves, not us.

    Now, with the WPCA situation – the sale is a temporary fix for a long condition: fiscal irresponsibility. Our taxes continue to increase, because they continue to line their wallets, create jobs for friends and family, etc. This is happening both in Town Hall AND in the Board of Education. Good, hard-working people removed to be replaced by over-educated, over-qualified individuals. Jobs that have been done without a degree (right down to a receptionist) are re-written to require a degree. Really? It’s just disgusting! And this is happening right under our noses.

    The Town of Stratford appreciated the WPCA in September of 2012. Three years ago. Why did we only hear about it on April 6, 2015? If they were working on it since 2012, there was plenty of opportunity to discuss this with the people. But, they didn’t. And then, in 2014-15, Harkins and the RTC majority wrote into the budget over $5 million of money they didn’t have! They claimed they would make this up with the sale of Town-owned properties (plural), not one, huge, parcel worth well over what they are offering to sell it for. But, they have been extremely irresponsible with OUR money! We are THEIR bosses – the whole lot of them. But now, scare tactics – maybe they all should put in their resignations! Let’s start with a clean slate and with honest people – people who know what it’s like to be hungry, to need to work hard, to make the necessary cuts to keep what’s important! Real people, not political phonies!

    Will that EVER happen in Stratford? Not sure.

  6. Oops – The Town of Stratford APPROACHED the GNHWPCA in September of 2012, not appreciated the WPCA. Sorry…. fingers move too fast.

  7. 7 1cyclops

    Patricia,
    “Yes, several years ago, Stratford needed a change – there was no transparency, no accountability, and tons of fiscal irresponsibility.” Really?? Were you so involved at that time? Is is safe to say, you voted to change the government to a “strong mayor.” How did that work out for you?? And, you are putting your faith in past town council members??? Why don’t you do some research on your own and then make a comparison? I would like you to tell me which town manager you are talking about? Or, are you stating “all of them.”? Please name one town manager who did not put his heart and soul into managing the town. Please, Patricia, just list one.

  8. 8 appalledandamused

    Someone else mentioned this, but the idea of having a revolving door of the same pool of town attorneys for each successive mayor seems a large part of budget problems. Who is best served when the mayor’s chosen town attorneys allow for open cases among other local law firms for political expediency and lining pockets? Are there cases that are left on the books to be re-litigated at taxpayer expense even when the outcome is clearly already a done deal…. like Avalon Bay? Likely. Perhaps we can hire a town attorney outside the election cycle so that the allegiance of the attorney’s office isn’t at the whim of the mayor who appointed them. And can we assign oversight over whom the town attorney outsources their cases to? That might ensure that those cases don’t remain open and on the books, costing us tax dollars so that a local firm can appeal to the next mayoral candidate. Just saying….look at the line item numbers in the budget under town attorney and ask how much is sitting on outsourced and open cases.

  9. 9 jezebel282

    The ( long term) problem is the Charter itself. The Charter was flawed during the Councilman At Large period and made worse for the Mayoral version.

    There are simply no checks and balances under the current charter. Literally nothing bad can happen to a mayor. No cut in pay, no suspensions not even a recall. We can only hope a mayor doesn’t hurt us too much in four years. The Town Attorney is another structural Charter issue. In this Charter, the TA works for the mayor, not the Town. And there is absolutely nothing in this Charter that provides an incentive to close a case. In fact, just the opposite. The Charter rewards a TA for not closing cases. That’s why the TA files so many appeals.

    And so you have a mayor that has had complete control over Town finances and operations for six years and goes to a newspaper to blame voters.

    In a way, he’s right. The voters should have never re-elected him.

  10. 10 Rockannand

    Sorry, but the budget problems are systemic. No one wants to take on the real bandits – police, fire and BoE. They have been robbing us blind for decades and no one wants to go after the 800lb gorilla in the room. You add the fact that 2/3 of all town employees don’t live in the town and you have to ask WTF??? How about a residency clause?

    There are simple solutions that no one wants to confront or admit to. All these other examples are icing on the cake. The people who work for the town are living large while those that pay the bills are struggling. They have become the ultimate “entitlement generation”. Stratford has become a welfare municipality for the workers. Its disgusting and no one will talk publicly because so many of them are their so-called friends.

    Give me a break.

  11. 11 jezebel282

    Rock,

    I have no dispute with your comments. But Stratford is still subject to the laws of gravity. This stuff only rolls downhill.

    It’s our own fault for ignoring it. Every Stratford parent should be irate at a $100 million/year school system that on its best day is just below average. Most parents can’t even name a BOE member.

    As for the Town side, apparently even the Chief Administrative Officer either can’t stand it anymore or doesn’t want to be on the ship as it sinks.

  12. 12 stratfordvillageidiot

    No one wants to live in or bring their business to a town that is run by a Mayor who is fighting it out with his own citizens. Harkins version of leadership is bad for the image of the town. Harkins has lost touch and simply isn’t qualified to lead the town of Stratford anymore.

    All that can be done now is to keep the fight going until the town can elect a Mayor that truly represents their best interests.

  13. 13 stfdprofessor1

    Oh what a difference two years makes: http://www.stratfordstar.com/8957/harkins-finds-positive-results-from-a-gentlemanly-manner/

    It makes one want to vomit when reading this article after a mere 24 months. It does show crystal clearly what an absolute PHONEY “John” Harkins is though.

  14. No need to read the article, the photo of Mr. and Mrs. Harkins says it all.

  15. 15 Rockannand

    So Gavin thinks he’s so smart. That smug a-hole. He thinks because he has been associated with EMS of 28 years that he is some sort of humanitarian. Well the GREAT almighty Gavin stooped to an all time new low today. He went on the WPCA Stratford Get Answers site today and showed his true colors. He made a classic Gavin mean-spirited post that names 20 people who are delinquent on their taxes. What a scum bag. And you have aspirations to be mayor Gavin????

    I know you read this blog so hear me now. You won’t survive in November. I am going to make it my personal agenda to see that you are defeated and humiliated in the process. You are the worst kind of scum in this town. Hope you enjoy the next 5 months cause i will be your worst nightmare.

  16. 16 mikereynolds

    Just for clarification what exactly are you objecting to?

    That he posted a list of delinquent taxpayers or that he posted that list on the WPCA Get Answers Facebook page?

  17. 17 jezebel282

    It seems that after it gets posted to Facebook it gets printed in the Star. So we will take the opportunity and respond to Harkins “Op-Ed” piece. Which was produced with our tax dollars…of course.

    Regionalizing WPCA services builds a bridge to the future.

    More like a cliff...

    The regionalization of Stratford water pollution control services with the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority (GNHWPCA) will benefit our town for years to come.

    This is wishful thinking. 5 minutes after the deal is signed, the Town of Stratford is outvoted 9-2 for any direction or obligation of GNHWPCA.

    Proceeds from the sale will help keep our taxes and budget stable for the next several years, when a substantial drop in debt service will occur with the retirement of a pension obligation bond issuance, further stabilizing the Town’s financial health.

    Says who? The next mayor? Because it certainly won’t be Harkins. Harkins has had 5.5 years of complete control of Town operations and finances. Look where we are.

    The budget passed by the Town Council in May maintained or improved all town services, increased support to our schools by more than $2 million, and resulted in a real estate tax cut for some of our residents.

    Which residents received a tax cut? Can we get a list of names? We have not heard of anyone who is paying less taxes. Oh wait. Maybe it’s the whopping pay raises non-union Town employees got?

    Current tax and sewer rates have not proven a hindrance to economic development efforts. Even with revaluation last year, commercial properties increased in value by some $79 million. This shift in the grand list from residential to commercial will help ease the property tax burden on residential homeowners, many of whom are senior citizens.

    Do you really want us to explain what percentage $79 million is of $4.5 Billion? What percentage was “this” shift in the grand list please? And, one more time; how many seniors had their burden eased?

    I respect anyone’s right to express and advocate an opinion.

    As long as it’s the same opinion as yours.

    Those opposing regionalization of sewer services are advocating for higher taxes and sewer rates in Stratford.

    No. That is a lie. No one is advocating for higher taxes and sewer rates in Stratford. In fact, you are the only one who has arbitrarily raised sewer fees.

    Some 19 other towns on Connecticut already enjoy the cost savings and benefits of participating in regional sewer operations in some way.

    But not Woodbridge, Hamden, East Haven or New Haven. They pay dearly for every drop.

    The real question should be: Why didn’t Stratford take advantage of regional sewer services decades ago?

    Because no one was that stupid. Before you got your hands on the WPCA budget, our sewer rates were negligible.

    The lawsuit affiliated with political action committee “WPCA: Get Answers” has already negatively impacted taxpayers.

    How much does Pullman and Comley (The Town’s hired law firm) charge the Town per hour? We will bet it is costing the taxpayer plenty! It was your decision to block the citizens right to vote. Yours and yours alone, Mr. Harkins. You could have accepted the petition with 6,000+ signatures for free. You cannot blame voters for exercising rights they believe that they have.

    The Town was on target for a surplus of approximately $1.5 million or more in the current fiscal year. But do to the lawsuit against the Town to block the regionalization, we are looking at a deficit in the current year of around $3 million.

    The “Town”, and by that we mean Harkins and his RTC controlled Council, had counted as real money sales that hadn’t been made. Who in their right mind does that? That’s why we are in this hole. At last year’s budget hearings the whole WPCA was a big secret.

    The town’s bond rating may now be negatively impacted, resulting in potentially millions in additional costs to borrow. The result of this could make projects like the renovation at Stratford High School cost prohibitive, stopping the project dead in its tracks. The plaintiffs’ own court filings suggest that we should not regionalize, and instead just raise taxes. I do not support these suggestions because this will be harmful to our residents.

    Well, raising taxes is one suggestion. But we’ve also heard as suggestions clawing back some of the whopping raises you’ve doled out or eliminating expensive and useless Town positions like Registrar of Voters, Council and Constituent Liaison or maybe Economic Development Director? Maybe get rid of some expensive Town vehicles that are used as personal transportation?

    Next year’s budget is also compromised by the actions of this political action committee. The budget recently passed by the council for next year now has a deficit with the uncertainty brought on by the lawsuit. In order to make up for the shortfall, the council will have to consider additional taxes, cuts to the Board of Education, town-wide layoffs and cuts to vital services to our seniors and most-needy residents.

    Political action committee? Is that what we are calling voters now? Are they supporting something other than the right to vote? As if you ever cared about seniors and most-needy residents. This is not brought on by any lawsuit. This is brought on by 5 1/2 years of nearly zero economic growth in Stratford.

    That isn’t representative of the Stratford we have built together for the last five years, and it isn’t a Stratford that will succeed in the future.

    Well, you got that right.

    The regionalization of sewer services is not a radical proposal. It is a low-risk, high-reward move that will benefit Stratford well into the future. I look forward to continuing the conversation and espousing the many benefits of regionalization throughout our town over the coming weeks and months.

    Perhaps you can explain how selling a $100 million facility for $11 million is a benefit? While your at it, maybe you can also explain how giving up $600,000/year in “rent”, $300,000/year in transfer to the General Fund, $500,000/year in subsidy to Public Works and $1+million/year in pension funding is worse than $200,000 – $400,000/year in payments in lieu of taxes.

    Marc Dillon
    Chief of Staff
    (203) 385-4001

    Well, the Star claims the “Op-Ed” piece was written by Harkins. More press release journalism.

  18. 18 stfdprofessor1

    Anyone been following the case: http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=FBTCV156049887S

    Mayor “John”, Emporer Gavin and the other six mental midgets have been spending a FORTUNE with motions over the last few days. BTW dont forget about Timmy Bishop and King Louie too.

    Again the only winner in this whole mess will be the town attornies. I’d imagine an FOI of the Pullman & Comley billing would be telling (hint, hint).

    Anyone who has ever paid attention to Gavin can see he’s just as big of a phoney as mayor “John”…but Gavin tries to be a bully when he thinks the odds are in his favor. Mayor “John” just hides behind others who do his dirty work. Tisk tisk boys, your house of cards is tumbling. The smartest one of you all is Steve Nocera the CAO, he’s a rat who knows what to do when a ship is sinking!

  19. 19 Rockannand

    Mike Reynolds: BOTH. He is clearly a two face liar who wants to have it both ways. i wised up to Gavin long ago and he is not going to play goodie two shoes here or anywhere else in this town. It is my mission to make sure he loses in November so the plan to make him mayor implodes. They think we do not know what they are doing, but they are so transparent it is almost comical. Lou Deceitful and company are about to find out what it means to be on the wrong side of a Tsunami.

  20. 20 1cyclops

    Many “thanks” to Jezebel. How about Mayor Jezebel??

  21. 21 jezebel282

    That’s just crazy talk!

  22. 22 Rockannand

    Not if it means we can get rid of Gavin somehow.

  23. 23 mikereynolds

    Rock I don’t understand. Shouldn’t everyone be paying their taxes? I think we all know that Stratford needs every penny. I don’t understand the outrage.

  24. 24 Rockannand

    Yes and over 99% do. We have one of the lowest (if not the lowest) delinquency rates in the State. Those people are mostly bankrupt or have left Stratford and we will never see that money. That was spiteful on the part of Gavin which is is the point. He lashes out here and elsewhere mostly out of the sight of the general public so people won’t know what he is really like. He wants everyone to like him, but he is not a likable guy.

    One of the few things this admin has done is collect back taxes form people, but they showed now mercy for people who were slammed by the great recession.

    What Stratford NEEDS is leadership that cares and does not spend out money recklessly and stomp on citizens rights. Do you know how much they are spending of YOUR money to stop this referendum petition from going forward? What are they afraid of? Harkins has not lost an election his entire political career. Why do you think they are recklessly defying the judges order and playing with house money – YOUR money to find someone somewhere who will stop the referendum from going forward.

    You see they need every penny to fund their own greed in outrageous, unearned salaries for non-union employees. Read the budget sometime to see how they are spending YOUR money. Now he writes another op-ed in yesterday’s Star and says that after 5.5 years with him in control and with a super RTC majority on the Council, that entire reason they cannot balance the budget and the demise of our Bond rating – everything financially wrong in this town – is because over 7,000 people have asked to put the sale of the WPCA up to a vote and let the people decide.

    What is he afraid of? What is Gavin afraid of?

  25. 25 mikereynolds

    Look I agree with you for the most part. I signed the petition. I’m against this nonsense. I’m pissed about my tax dollars paying for lawyers fighting against me.

    As a Harkins supporter and friend of his I am deeply disappointed.

    I just didn’t understand the outrage about the posting of back taxes.

  26. 26 Rockannand

    Thanks Mike. I get why you questioned my rant. I just don’t like Gavin. Never have never will and the thought of him being in a position of authority at Town Hall makes my skin crawl. The issue of people who are delinquent is a better of a public record that anyone can look up. Posting it on Facebook like Gavin did was low, legal but low.

    Now if we’re talking about Lou Deceitful, some of things he did in last election is lower then pond scum. He has no decency and will do anything, but like i have aid here and elsewhere, public officials live in glass houses and should be careful who they throw stones at because my windows are made of plexiglass and stones tend to richocet right back at your head and can hurt.

  27. As I had posted on that FB thread, it was unprofessional, lacked tact and couth on Gavin’s part and he should have removed immediately. If Gavin so desires to be Mayor one day (or remain in his council seat) then he should be careful as to what he says, signs his name to and posts anywhere out there on social media. The delete button only goes so far….

  28. Mike Reynolds, as a supporter and friend of the Mayor, do you feel he has changed in 5 1/2 years? For many reasons, I never voted for him but I never would have called him arrogant before he became mayor.

  29. 29 mikereynolds

    The short answer is yes he has changed.

  30. 30 jezebel282

    Update:

    This is an awesome response to Harkins Press Release. It is reprinted here with no one’s permission:

    Harold Watson • 3 days ago

    (Stratford Voters respond to) HARKINS: Regionalization of WPCA is a bridge to the future (where citizens’ have lost the constitutional right to vote on decisions affecting the future of their town.)

    Clarifications added to Stratford Mayor John Harkins’s letter which continue his set of talking points in a rebuttal by Harold Watson, Chairman of the NON-partisan PAC – WPCA Stratford – Get Answers. Note: Petition not mentioned was signed by 7,000 voters, and certified signers equaling 62% of voters in last election:

    Regarding Mayor John Harkins letter published here but written to his business community, not the voters/sewer users in response to recent legal activity where nowhere does he mention that the significant reality is that the town is now under court order for its illegal refusal to count just 3,200 signatures on a legal petition of 7000 voters, all who disagree with the Mayor’s tactics affecting the sale of the Stratford Water Pollution Control Authority and that WPCA Stratford- Get Answers was founded to simply affirm our voice, and only then were we forced to take this to court to legally refute the Mayor’s belief and action that his decisions outweigh the laws of our charter, wherein resides Stratford’s citizens’ fundamental, constitutional right to be heard as voters on decisions affecting our future.

    “The regionalization will benefit our town for years to come” is the mayor’s talking point #1, but his point is unsubstantiated by any facts. Current research finds that privatization most often results in a 20% overall yearly increase in maintenance and contracting and capital improvement costs, and even though GNH is a “Quasi-Private” authority, it still act as a private entity in that it contracts privately for services, maintenance and capital improvements that the user bears the burden for paying through their USER fees. So maybe the town might benefit, but the user never will. The town, GNHWPCA, Arcadis Engineering, and other wastewater research suggest we should expect to see a 10-20% annual increase FOR YEARS TO COME.

    “Proceeds from the sale will help keep our taxes and budget stable for the next several years”, is his talking point #2, but because the town went against the advice of many to bond enormous debt, and knew we would face our current
    crisis, this need was not brought on by any WPCA sale of assets. It exists as we hit initial payments on our bonding debt that we had not prepared for, other than looking at what we could sell. Choosing the WPCA fit perfectly with the mayoral
    philosophy that Stratford should not be in the business of providing some services) when a substantial drop in debt service will occur with the retirement of a pension obligation bond issuance, further stabilizing the town’s financial health (and, his talking point #3: we will be poorer asset-wise, reducing collateral for loans, and will have lost the ability to maintain control of USER fees for sewage, as GNHWPCA is under consent order that requires a $500 million capital replacement of their sewage plants- one that we USERS will share in repayment.

    “May’s budget passed…maintained or improved all town services, increased school support,” and ,,,”included real estate tax cuts for some of our residents”.
    But, in this talking point #4, he neglects to mention that it was based on an ANTICIPATED result from the sale of the WPCA. There was no planning for what would occur if the sale did not go through. Actions by GNHWPCA, their constituent communities, or the CTDEEP, or for even accepting our right to a referendum, MAY have slowed it down or even stopped it. It seems poor planning now to blame the 7,000 petition signers’ constitutional right to weigh in— for not creating alternatives in budget planning.

    “Current tax and sewer rates have not proven a hindrance to economic development efforts. Even with revaluation last year, …commercial properties increased by $79 million. This …will help ease the property tax burden on residential homeowners, many of whom are senior citizens.” This, Talking Point #5, ignores the fact that we saw a decrease in taxes based on a decrease in property values from mandated re-evaluations, thus reducing the average owners’ asset value, while we same residential homeowners, aka Sewer Users, also saw three years of questionable increases in sewer fees that are directly attributable to the town extracting funds by charging the Stratford WPCA new “fees” for land and “administration” that have come back to us as hidden taxes — via annual increased WPCA USER fees. Where was the decision or even consideration to institute a Senior rate reduction on our existing WPCA user fees?

    “I respect anyone’s right to express and advocate an opinion.” Missing from his comment, in Talking Point #6, is that the Mayor and his lawyers actions have proven that they don’t respect the public’s right to express their “opinion,” per the State-granted Town Charter, specifically that council votes have the option of referendum if the voters so order via their “opinion” of a legal petition. The mayor WILL advocate, though the undermining our rights, as recent actions are verging on contempt of Judge Bellis’ temporary injunction and the law’s demand that the petition be accepted and counted. He is now taking this to the CT Supreme Court to try to prove we have no right to anything but an opinion.

    “Those opposing regionalization of sewer services are advocating
    for higher taxes and sewer rates in Stratford.’ In Talking Point #, he 7 clearly tries to paint the
    voters as the bad guy, when the cause we advocate is local control of decisions,
    and to keep the burden of BOTH taxes and sewer rates as low as possible. This
    deal doesn’t prove the mayor’s claim.

    “…(O)ther (CT) towns enjoy the cost savings and benefits of …regional sewer operations. The real question should be: Why didn’t Stratford take advantage of regional sewer services decades ago?” A response, to Talking Point #8, represents hours of citizen work researching and poring over national and
    international reports on the benefits and drawbacks of regionalization as they
    relate to Stratford. We weren’t asked to contribute our finding to the town’s consideration of the future of our
    investment in the A+ rated Stratford WPCA. What we do know is that all evidence
    says that regionalization has certain conditions that will make, or prevent,
    success. Those include creating public buy-in in advance, finding partners who
    are contiguous, who have common waterways, similar assets, fully share capital
    needs for major projects, and include equality in all future decision making. The deal with GNHWPCA raises real doubts about each of these factors and more. Stratford and the GNHWPCA have had many talks with contiguous communities of Shelton, Trumbull, Bridgeport in the last decade. Why were these communities that exist, as our primary up-water sources of pollution, rejected for regionalization? Their interconnectedness creates a major reason for regionalization under the CT State guidelines. Finally, at the last town council meeting, the mayor presented a recent Middletown, CT regionalization as a supportive talking point. Our research into this deal is that it took 10 years to complete, was at the insistence of the state as their sewer system was nearing failure, AND INCLUDED A VOTER REFERENDUM.)

    “The lawsuit affiliated with the political action committee WPCA Stratford – Get Answers has already negatively impacted taxpayers.” Regarding Talking Point #9, yes, we are now a PAC- but we are NON PARTISAN ratepayers and taxpayers We are proudly AFFILIATED with 7,000 signers, 180 workers, and nearly 400 social networking citizens, both Democrats and Republicans and all in between, who have found a way to work together to protect all the citizens. We have had an impact- and rest assured it’s a decidedly positive impact- of opening the eyes of the greater public to what is potentially being taken from them. Stratford has changed and will be a better town for our involvement.

    “The town was on target for a surplus”…($1.5M in 2015). But due to the lawsuit against the town to block the regionalization, we are looking at a deficit…” ($3M) Talking Point #10, neglects to mention where all of this money that the town budget expects to receive comes from- It is ours, from the pocket of the Stratford WPCA RATE PAYER. It is our capital funds and operating funds that we have contributed through annual rates. We created the capital fund to begin to save for future projects in Stratford. If we are sold, law requires that GHN replenish these funds, AND they will do so through added debt that we will and to our existing CW fund debt for us to pay as USERS. Some might say that it’s municipal robbery
    This will cost USERs more than the $1.5M, $3M, or even a combined $4.5M – and
    it will last longer than two budget cycles.

    “The town’s bond rating may now be negatively impacted…, resulting
    in potentially millions in additional costs to borrow. The result on” (projects
    like Stratford High could become} ”cost prohibitive.” Talking Point #11, all are concerned with bonding rates, but the sale not occurring is not causal, and before threatening a Stratford Armageddon, the powers that be should consider what other bonding issues and their rates will do to the Stratford USERS, if they were to be a “constituent” when GNHWPCA bonds over $500M to replace two failing sewer plants in East Haven- and we are forced to pay our proportional share of new yearly debt expense, plus our transferred debt of over $50M. Again, cause goes to other items in a $200M+ budget. –

    “Next year’s budget is also compromised by the actions of this political action committee.” The (next) budget …now has a deficit with the uncertainty brought on by the lawsuit. In order to make up for the shortfall, the council will have to consider additional taxes, cuts…, layoffs and cuts to seniors and …needy residents.” In talking point # 12, the mayor said it best in his 2009 campaign, even if ironically, when commenting on the previous administration: “Instead of making the difficult but necessary choices to ensure that town government lives within its means, as the citizens of Stratford have been doing ….the incumbent mayor has….arbitrarily transferred funds within the budget as if it were a municipal shell game,” Harkins said. The current Mayor needs to acknowledge that this budget was not compromised by any PAC; instead, it was the actions of CT Judge Barbara Bellis, who ruled in favor of what comes down to the citizens’ primary constitutional right to be heard through their vote.

    “That isn’t representative of the Stratford we have built together for the last five years, and it isn’t a Stratford that will succeed in the future.” Talking Point #13, relies on the Mayor’s own words again in 2009, when he ran for office: “the
    current mayor indulges in petty, personal tirades directed at people he should
    be working with — not against — to make our town a better place to live, work
    and raise our families.”

    “The regionalization of sewer services is not a radical proposal. It is a low-risk, high-reward move that will benefit Stratford(’s).. future…” The Mayor suggests, in Talking Point #14, that his plan is not radical — WPCA Stratford has implemented an equally not-radical proposal: That our elected officials must learn to be open, solicit our opinions and expertise, and accept the judgment of the citizens.

    “I look forward to continuing the conversation and espousing the many benefits of regionalization throughout our town over the coming weeks and months.” In Talking Point #15, please let the voters decide if a sale is the best course of action at this time. The NON-partison citizen volunteers of WPCA Stratford- Get Answers, our five Plaintiffs, and 7,000 signers have had our rights affirmed twice in a court of law. It is that simple. Stratford’s elected officials need to add this fact into their future plans.

  31. 31 stratfordvillageidiot

    I will condense Harold Watson’s well thought-out letter for those of you who have ADD. Let the voters decide!

    It really should be that simple instead of fighting the people who elected you and wasting their valuable tax dollars on needless legal fees in doing so.

    That is—-unless Harkins is hiding something.

  32. 32 stfdprofessor1

    “That is—-unless Harkins is hiding something.”

    Short answer- it’s apparent “John” Harkins is hiding quite a bit.

  33. Rockannd,

    You have an interesting insight on Gavin. One that I can say is very accurate and informed.

    I have ben a silent observer of gavin for a long time. (Thank god he’s no longer my councilman) Gavin’s only concern is for his own political future and agenda. (if the republicans stop being good to him, he’ll just switch to another party) I also have friends who volunteer with EMS in town (where Gavin is somehow is a Supervisor and a Councilman? (can you say conflict of interest?) How is that possibly allowed? In fact he the EMS managers demoted him at one point from his position of Lieutenant for poor conduct – why was he promoted again? Maybe because he’s a councilman?

    Gavin routinely makes it a point when he comes into the EMS facility- uses hostile language, criticize the EMS and threaten his Superiors behind their backs with “cutting their budget”. Definitely on the level of conduct unbecoming and elected official .

    Rewind to the 90’s/00’s – he threatened a volunteer whom worked for the board of education as an educator with “cutting from the budget” if she spoke up against him over accusations of assaulting a volunteer of EMS and making sexual harassing remarks to female staff. Rumors that his company (where he is CFO) has had to financially settle with secretary’s over accusations of sexual harassment.

    Gavin is abhorrent with staff, frequently uses his position as councilmen around to bully ems volunteers and employees”. Gavin frequently bad mouths constituents and taxpayers of the town. Again – how could he possibly be allowed to be a Supervisor? He protects himself with the idea that he has budgetary control over EMS and will just threaten them with being cut from the budget if people speak up.

    He has said (and I have heard first hand) “When Harkin’s resigns in december , I will be appointed the next mayor after I am appointed council chairman in november”. The level of idiocy with him leads me to question everything about his motives. I’m sure the voters would be appauled if they were able to see the side of Gavin that the ambulance drivers at EMS get to see.

    Not withstanding is his clear distain for anyones opinion that is different then his. He uses his position as councilman to attempt to micromanage people and departments (particularly the ones at the EMS).

    I hope people start asking the hard questions with how Gavin interacts with members of the WPCA facebook and posts up delinquent taxpayers (in poor taste) that this is the type of person gavin is. how could he be allowed to be allowed to continue to act in this way?

  34. 34 jezebel282

    Whew!

    It seems to us that the longer a person holds elected office in this Town the more they slide in character. The process also seems to have accelerated in the past few years.

    But this is what happens when the RTC & DTC are desperate for candidates…any candidates. You get people like Harkins (who seemed so clean and innocent), Santi and Forrester. How desperate? Look at the voting district map. After Forrester was termed out in the 3rd District, someone (Lou Decilio) dragged District 7 all the way down to Forrester’s driveway. Why? Oh come on, you know why.

    It is even more disturbing to see EMS dragged down into a political sewer. We already have sewer issues in this Town. Stratford EMS is one of the shining jewels in this Town. It is well on it’s way to becoming the envy of all EMS services in this state. To play petty political power games with it is, well, sickening.

  35. 35 hornrims

    I’m wondering why Stratford bothers with party affiliations for electing Council and Mayor? The fallout from the dirty party politics in a town like Stratford is comical. The circus atmosphere of whack-a-mole retreads who run back and forth between parties when their feelings get hurt or for self-serving political expediency is simply destroying the town, IMHO. You can still identify as R or D, but why make that the selling point? Too much emphasis is placed in Stratford on political party affiliation and toeing a partisan line. Let’s face it, there IS a concerted effort to have a one-party rule — and look how well that’s worked out. Gloating over majorities in all levels of town government even as the constituency is predominantly Democratic is what is going on in the Mill River RTC boys club – I don’t think anyone is surprised by that news. Make it stop. Take away their bat and ball, and allow the public to engage in town government without the onus of affiliating with a town party committee in order to make a run for office.

  36. 36 ronmoreau

    Hornrim, Your little rant had me in stitches. Wondering why Stratford bothers with party affiliations for electing their representatives at all levels and that we should “allow’ the public to engage in town government?
    The electorate doesn’t want to engage. They won’t get involved at any level They won’t even take 20 minutes to come out and vote once a year in November. They have a DUTY to vote and every right to run for any elected office in town, party affiliation or not. With the exception of the respective party elections. Party members only may vote in party elections.
    As far as your comments concerning ‘whack a mole retreads who run back and forth between parties’ I don’t see many Republicans going over to the DTC.
    “dirty party politics,circus atmosphere,Mill River RTC boys club” These statements all sound very partisan. By the way I believe the DTC has their meeting at the Mill river Country club as well.
    As members of each respective political party, we are always looking for quality town residents to ‘step up to the plate’ and run for the many positions on boards and commissions to serve Stratford. Just contact the party chairman of your choice. Otherwise run as an independent. It’s your choice and your right.

  37. 37 jezebel282

    Ron,

    “The electorate doesn’t want to engage.”

    You are correct. For seven years (has it been that long?) we’ve been saying that unless and until voters start paying attention to Stratford municipal government nothing will change.

    Any random conversation with a Stratford citizen will generate positive or negative comments and opinions about Obamacare, Wall Street, whatever Congress isn’t doing, Gun Control or a bunch of other topics. If you ask about the lack of information coming from the Board of Education or the enormous amount of overtime generated by the Fire Department to fight the 3 or 4 fires we have every year, you are met with blank stares. They don’t have a clue.

    As we have stated so many times, nothing effects your mortgage or rent payment more than Stratford taxes. Nothing. Yet citizens choose to ignore the people who raise their taxes.

    This may be changing. Citizens have finally said “Enough!”. They have said so with time, effort, signatures and money. Lots of them. Maybe even enough to change things.

    We need responsible citizens to participate. You are entirely correct. Whether Independent or if they have a “D” or “R” after their name. Until we can convince citizens like Pat Sperling, Henry Bruce or someone who is too shy to post or be a spokesman to run for office not much will change. It can’t be the same old same old. After all, look where that got us.

  38. 38 hornrims

    Odd that you’d call a comment regarding getting rid of party affiliations in local elections a “rant”…..by then ranting, Ron. Seems I hit a nerve. Well, stew on this for a minute: Perhaps lack of engagement from the community is due to the ridiculous partisan politics we’ve seen play out in the Town government since at least the days of Miron and Henrick. Anyone miss that clown theater? Now that the Rs have flooded most of the town seats and created an imbalance of damaging proportions, we still see the dirty tricks playing out via the RTC chair/registrar of voters/gerrymandering master. You know, the guy who wears many hats in town, and all of them partisan in nature. And sure, you can make an argument that more Ds with hurt feelings or political ambitions unrealized by the DTC are being lured to the darkside where they can be stroked into submission with promises of pothole repair or the Majority chairman’s seat. That’s one ‘victory’ you are really more than welcome to claim your own if you need to.

    But again, the town is rife with partisan political fighting that is off-putting to the constituency. How do you engage the public? You focus on issues that are meaningful to THEM, not on what ALEC tells your Republican Mayor to focus on. The DTC is problematic in its own right in engaging the public. The parties in town are either weak or bullies and they turn people off to the issues….and that works, by the way, for the RTC. Until now with the grassroots campaign against selling the WPCA by virtue of dictate from ALEC, you rarely saw townwide engagement in public policies being set by the majority.

    Still not sure why you can’t consider dumping your party hold over town offices. Guessing absolute power is a hard thing to let go of.

  39. 39 hornrims

    And yes, I proudly admit full disclosure that I’m not part of the Republican mindset in this town so I therefore find the majority’s decisions partisan on the whole, and their practices typical of Republican partisan politics.

  40. 40 ronmoreau

    Hornrims, Thank you very much. We did do a great job of “Flooding” town seats didn’t we. Stratford Republicans do know how to win an election. And for a town with a majority of Democrats as you say, it’s quite a feat.
    As for our party leader, the”RTC chair/registrar of voters/gerrymandering master,…the guy who wears many hats in town, and all of them partisan in nature.” Thanks again. He wouldn’t be doing his job if he wasn’t “partisan in nature” It’s our job as ELECTED Repubicans, representing Stratfords Republicans to support and get Republcans elected. That’s what I was ELECTED to do.
    Still not sure why I can’t consider dumping my partys hold over town offices? IT’S NOT MY JOB. It’s the electorates job.

  41. 41 jezebel282

    Can we stop this now?

    “representing Stratfords Republicans to support and get Republcans elected. That’s what I was ELECTED to do.”

    Ron, you know better than that. Once elected you do not represent Stratford Republicans. You represent ALL of your constituents. Therein lies the problem.

    Neither the DTC under Miron nor the RTC under Decilio have done anything other than a horrible job of representing Stratford citizens. These are not supposed to be street gangs fighting over turf. These are supposed to be political groups with actual policies that benefit citizens to promote.

    That hasn’t happened in Stratford for as long as I can remember. And that is a long, long time. It is time to stop.

    Responsible citizens must step up and take control of the sandbox. These children do not play well together. They have made quite a mess.

  42. 42 ronmoreau

    Jez, “Once elected you do not represent Stratford Republicans. You represent ALL of your constituents. Therein lies the problem”
    That is incorrect for party elections. I am currently only elected to The RTC by Republicans representing and working for district Republicans to endorse and get elected Republicans to Municipal, State and Federal elections.
    As an elected Republican Councilman, Zoning, etc. that is true. Once elected to these positions I did represent and work for all district residents regardless of party affiliation.

  43. 43 jezebel282

    Is that a “yes”?

  44. 44 ronmoreau

    Party leaders are not suppose to be involved in the day to day operation of the town. That is most likely where a problem exists.

  45. 45 ronmoreau

    Didn’t you read my answer.? I was elected to the RTC to represent my Republican constituency.

  46. 46 jezebel282

    We did. Maybe that’s the problem. Supporting a political group no matter what their position sounds insane to us. You know, like the seven weak and stupid Councilmen that continue to vote for anything Harkins wants.

  47. 47 mikereynolds

    “Supporting a political group no matter what their position sounds insane to us.”

    Perhaps some people in Hartford should take that to heart.

  48. 48 jezebel282

    Mike,

    If we can’t fix our own municipal government, what gives you hope of doing it anywhere else?

  49. 49 ronmoreau

    We as party members don’t have to agree with all the decisions the Mayor and the Republican controlled council does. and many of us don’t Those discussions do come up at town committee meetings. Party leaders may not like it but they didn’t elect me to the RTC. My district Republicans did.

  50. 50 jezebel282

    Ron,

    You are confusing us. You’re job seems to be to get Republicans elected to do whatever they’re told by Harkins/Decilio. It just doesn’t sound like something you would do.

  51. 51 ronmoreau

    It’s not something I’m doing.. My job is to get Republicans elected period. Once they are elected they represent everyone in their districts. The don’t HAVE to do what they are told. Party leaders would like them to. Is my councilman Matt P Cat. rubberstamping everything? He was endosed by the third district Republicans 3 times. The party leaders might not of liked it but to bad.

  52. 52 jezebel282

    Be careful, Ron. We hear that Lou Decilio sneaks in here from time to time and keeps score.

  53. 53 ronmoreau

    My days on the RTC might be numbered with party elections coming Jan/Feb.2016.

  54. 54 jezebel282

    It’s more likely that the RTC’s days are numbered.

  55. 55 ronmoreau

    Lou is up for reelection for party chair in 2016 as well.

  56. 56 Rockannand

    Wow what a day of rants, points and counter points and general BS. 1st off Ron, by flooding the town with RTC members in key places of town government, how is that working out for you? Is Stratford a better place to live because of that? Have taxes gone down? Has economic development gone up?

    Of course not, but the friends of the people you helped get elected and or placed in these land use boards have only enriched themselves and their friends. All of they RTC and DTC crap is CRAP. Long ago these low life realized they could make more money feeding from the trough that is the Stratford taxpayer than working for a real living. It has NOTHING to do with party affiliation of partisan politics and EVERYTHING to do with enriching themselves. Most of the people in power could not make it in the real world but figured out they can make in the world of soaking the taxpayers.

    The list of pilot fish is endless – Harkins, DeCilio, Fredette, Forrester, Fuller even Tim Bishop. Least you think i am only picking on republicans, the list of DTC hangers on is endless too. They hang on because if by chance the power swings their way they think they should be in power -Lenny, Rich Marcone, Neil Sherman, Beth Daponte. All of them are unelectable. Nice pole but with no credibility to serve so UNELECTABLE.

    So please stop the pretense about RTC vs DTC because the power base of both are beyond hope.

    Now Ron, you should run because i would support you because you are transparent and honest. We need wholesale change to get back to some semblance of reality in this town. I will never run, but i will continue to support the causes that make sense like killing the WPCA Sale.

  57. 57 Rockannand

    “Be careful, Ron. We hear that Lou Decilio sneaks in here from time to time and keeps score.”

    Jez I hope Lou Deceitful is listening. His petty attempt to go after me with the state failed. what’s next Lou, slashing tires? Bricks through windows? Pathetic. People in glass houses should not throw stones.

  58. Stephanie is a Godsend to Stratford! As honest as can be and a straight shooter!

    This covers lots of areas, but figured I’d just post it here…..

    Stratford has had years (and years) of the same individuals in Town politics – jumping from one party to another (e.g., Gavin Forrester, Rich Fredette, Jason Santi). Someone, over the weekend, said told me that the biggest problem with Stratford, Trumbull and Bridgeport is dirty money (you know what I mean). That is probably somewhat true. Nothing gets done in Stratford unless the right palms are greased. Stratford’s slogan should be “Brownfield Heaven”! We’ve been dealing with SAEP for how many years? All kinds of crap.

    Someone (Cyclops) asked me for an example of something that wasn’t right with the Town Manager. Well, one huge one: the CBA of the Police Union that was negotiated that allowed one of the highest pension payouts in Stratford history (and a few others not too far below that). Sure, according to the CBA it was legal, but it was completely unethical. And that goes for others who played the same game because it was okay according to the CBA. Who was the Town Manager in the negotiation, hmmm, I’ll not mention the name, but….

    The RTC loves those guys who jumped off the DTC boat. Why? Because they CAN manipulate them. They are “yes men.” They WILL do what they are told.

    Each day I’m driving around in Stratford and I notice another “for sale” sign pop up. People are jump ship, bailing out – and doing it very fast. Stratford is a wasteland.

    On a separate note, I sat down with a few minutes of free time and went over the minutes for the last two to three years from the Arts Commission. Things were happening, discussions annually about the Connecticut Free Shakespeare festivals – which were well attended. But, since Rich Fredette became chair, along with (alternate) watchdog, Lou DeCilio, those discussions have ceased. There will be no Connecticut Free Shakespeare performances on the grounds. As a matter of fact, in reading the minutes, it appears that Lou DeCilio is more interested in getting his greasy, greedy, grubby hands on the artifacts which have be cataloged when volunteers were working to clean out the Theatre. Why? I hear he thinks they are worth millions! LOL, an economic development idea: A Stratford Shakespeare Museum! Think of Stockbridge, MA with the Rockwell museum. As a matter of fact, there’s a second one on Route 7 in an old church building in Arlington, VT (an area where Rockwell lived for a period of time). Nothing fancy, but it’s great for the area. So much can be done, but these two choose to stifle any thought of progress when it come to the Theatre property. Why? So, these aren’t two men we really should have on the Arts Commission, nor should either of them or any of the recent hand-picked Harkins appointees be on the Historic District Commission (what do any of them know or care about Stratford’s history). The hand-picked appointees are “yes” men and women – they will do as they are told. Is it really that important to rub elbows with local politicians?

    These two do, however, push for cocktail parties, the “Blues on the Beach” event (you know, the one where that local liquor distribution business donates a bunch of free booze to the VIP tent of a certain elected official). Yeah, we’ve heard all about that. Promote drinking rather than culture.

    So much is wrong with this Town! Lots of corruption, little honesty. And, the taxpayers will pay for it until they start stomping really loud – kind of like the WPCA referendum petition. Everything this administration does needs to be questioned!

  59. 59 jezebel282

    PCS,

    If only we could convince you to run…

  60. 60 hornrims

    Appointing Fredette and DiCilio to the Arts Commission is probably one of the ugliest power plays of late. We all know why they’re there, and it’s not as a cultural uplift to the arts community.

  61. Hornrims ~ the minutes are very telling. Lou D wants his grubby hands on the archive information. Staging a very serious and horrible witch hunt aimed at Ed Goodrich and Matt Catalano, both of whom worked tirelessly to bring more culture to Stratford by way of the summer festival. This summer – no festival – very disappointing for many. But Connecticut Free Shakespeare performs all over the State of Connecticut elsewhere, but Stratford, the namesake for Stratford-on-Avon, they put a kabosh on that!

  62. 62 jezebel282

    And maybe Fredette is on so many committees due to his first hand experience with our criminal justice system. If we keep stalking, we’re bound to find the answer.

  63. Funny you should use THAT word! But we need to clean out some of these long time people. They should not be allowed on commissions, committees, elected seats – it’s just a long-term game of musical chairs that does nothing to benefit the taxpayers or the Town.

  64. 64 hornrims

    The biggest problem with the same whack-a-moles popping up is the party fiefdoms. Let’s face the fact that this is a one-party town right now, in spite of how many constituents are registered Dems. We saw how Mike Reynolds shot a clot over the concept of removing political party power plays from the process of electing leadership. The RTC will not give up their little empire easily. Not sure how you undo the rot that has been allowed to fester in the power-hungry political ideology that currently has its talons in the town government, but it’s obvious that ANY one-sided ideological control is not good. It’s not good for the town to have the kind of imbalance of political values we see right now – and yes, the town is definitely operating under the majority control with roots in ALEC and Republican ideology. Good to see people finally waking up with the WPCA issue. Now if only they’d also run for office and push out some of that repeat rot.

  65. 65 stfdprofessor1

    “the town is definitely operating under the majority control with roots in ALEC and Republican ideology”

    I’m not sure about the ALEC ideology but when did the Republican ideology (not that I’m a big fan of Repub. ideology) become “tax and spend”. I dont think either political party in town operates or any ideology except “I want to be in control and fleece the residents out of every penny I can for me and my cronies…and get away with it”.

    When did Democrat ideology become ” lets fight with each other and be totally ineffective as an opposition party”?

    With all due respect I dont think either party has any recognizable ideology…or any recognizable scruples.

    At this point is there any discernible difference between the two parties (save Stepheny Phillips)? Is there any discernible difference between Jim Miron and “John” Harkins? Enquiring minds want to know.

  66. 66 hornrims

    Selling the WPCA to the lowest bidder in an effort to privatize a public asset is definitely ideology-driven. Foregoing a town event to be front and center at the annual ‘Mayors get ideological tips from ALEC’ convention is also political ideology. The town is currently being run by Republicans who very much reflect their national party’s idiosyncrasies. This is not letting the town Ds off the hook – their problem is being weak, fractured and not holding to their own party values on a relevant scale, save for the very few who are currently active and involved in a meaningful way regarding Shakespeare and the WPCA. It’s interesting that so many here want to pretend that political party ideology isn’t alive and well in Stratford’s town government.

    And yes, I’m suggesting that there is a definite difference between parties here in town. They are not all alike. They are not the same side of one coin. The Ds need to step up to the plate and get balance in the government and pushback on the overreach from the majority.

  67. 67 stfdprofessor1

    I would have agreed with you 15 years ago, now all I need do is follow the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  68. 68 mikereynolds

    “We saw how Mike Reynolds shot a clot over the concept of removing political party power plays from the process of electing leadership.”

    I did what?

  69. 69 jezebel282

    Mike,

    They are confusing you with Ronmoreau.

  70. 70 ronmoreau

    The reason this is a one party town is because the Stratford DTC is lopsided. They do not truly represent Stratfords 10 districts of Democrats. DTC party rules call for town wide DTC elections. Meaning a town wide slate for election of the DTC is put together by a hand full of Dems that want absolute control and loyalty from its members and the most to gain ($). So you’re either in or your out. They alienate any one and everyone who challenges with another slate and everyone on that slate. And everyone wonders why they can’t win elections? The castaways vote Republican and become Republicans.

  71. 71 ronmoreau

    On the other hand The RTC is more representative of Stratford Republicans as a whole.. The organization is actually 10 separate organizations within one. Each district holds it’s own elections with it’s district Republicans voting for their own leaders. Much more representative and respectful of the wishes of each respective district. It creates a much more inclusive organization. That’s why they win elections.

  72. 72 hornrims

    I don’t completely disagree with your assessment of the SDTC, however it is a bit disingenuous to have a member of the SRTC claim it’s the other side wanting “absolute control and loyalty from its members”. Please. We know better.

    Whether it’s hurt feelings or for political expediency, there’s nothing to be proud of in this town when someone switching pary affiliations. It’s as disingenuous to claim as Santi has that jumping ship from Democrat to Republican is because the Democratic party “left him” as it is to switch for the promise of political grandeur. How does someone who is involved in the local community drop their basic values to switch affiliations to the party of ALEC? Let’s not pretend that Lou and John aren’t pushing THAT group’s agenda. They switch to join the winning team of the moment on promises of BIG THINGS for swapping loyalties. It is all part of the game of opportunism, not respecting the values of the constituency.

    Speaking of respecting constituency, how many of your constituents in each of the 10 separate districts your organization represents oppose the sale of the WPCA and signed the petition? Did your representatives respect their wishes and hear them out, or did they vote to push the sale through with the entitled theory of “they know better”? Are they respecting the wishes of the referendum or currently ignoring the court order and backing Harkins on the appeals… at least, the appeals before he finally respected the law (if not his constituents) to stop wasting tax dollars by fighting the call for public input, that is.

    The next election will show us what the town thinks of the respect they’ve been treated to over the last few years by the majority in charge.

  73. 73 ronmoreau

    hornrims,
    I can’t speak for the RTC as a whole but I can tell you that there are many on the RTC that are not happy with this debacle. As for the WPCA petition. My councilman Mat Catalano, Who the 2nd district Republicans, endorsed for the last 3 elections, is a principle behind that petition. Many 2nd district Republicans also signed it. Me included. The councilmen who voted for the sale have to deal with their district leaders.
    As a life long Republican I am not happy with the influx of Stratford Democrats into the Republican party leadership positions. It’s beyond my control. Until the SDTC changes their rules and become an inclusive party they will continue to loose. As far as the independent movement goes, I wish them luck.

  74. Ron ~ “Much more representative and respectful of the wishes of each respective district.” Surely you jest!

  75. 75 ronmoreau

    “Much more representative and respectful of the wishes of each respective district (‘s Republicans.)” I should have been more specific.

  76. 76 stfdprofessor1

    “The next election will show us what the town thinks of the respect they’ve been treated to over the last few years by the majority in charge.”

    I certainly hope so

  77. Ron ~ that’s STILL a joke.

  78. 78 ronmoreau

    Well Patty, The 2nd district Republicans may not be happy with me for standing against the WPCA sale. We shall find out during the RTC elections early this coming year.
    If the other District Republicans reelect their current district leaders than the joke is on you.

  79. 79 hornrims

    Sorry, Mike! I was speaking to Ron Moreau. Apologies to Ron as well.

  80. 80 hornrims

    It’s interesting that you bring up Matt Catalano as a Republican voting against the WPCA. Is he still accepted these days in the SRTC or the Republican caucus? More likely he is a persona non grata in the rank and file for not toeing the town party line, and the answer is no. Maybe the RTC needs to take a good long look in the mirror when speaking to “absolute control and loyalty” in the other party?

    Also, assigning Lou and Fredette to the Arts Commission can’t be because they suddenly discovered their hidden talents in community theater or oil painting. Could it be possible that placing RTC wonks in all aspects of town business is a means of absolute control of the issues?

  81. 81 ronmoreau

    Councilman Catalano is not a member of the RTC. His choice. If he chooses to participate in council caucus, again his choice. All registered Republicans are welcome to the monthly party meetings, Lou’s own words.
    All council committee and commission assignments are appointed by a majority vote of the town council. Not the RTC. Council members are responsible for their votes and if they can’t realize the impacts of their appointments? Shame on them. They don’t belong in that seat. Shame on their district leaders if they are endorced for reelection and shame on the electorate if they are voted back into office.

  82. 82 jezebel282

    Ron,

    That’s a whole lot of shame you’re spreading around. What about the shame of doing everything you can to get your party members elected? Any shame there?

  83. 83 ronmoreau

    Again, If the SDTC does not change its party rules and allow each of its district Democrats to choose their own representation they will continue to be lopsided and will continue loosing elections.
    I believe Republican leaders are making a huge mistake with this WPCA debacle and it is possible they may loose support in the November elections because of it.

  84. 84 ronmoreau

    Jez, No shame there. I’m proud of the choice 2nd district Republicans made in endorsing and the voters for their support in electing Councilman Matt Catalano in the last 3 elections.

  85. 85 ronmoreau

    The real shame is term limits and Matt can’t run again.

  86. 86 jezebel282

    Ron,

    So…you’re only responsible for having gotten Catalano re-elected?

  87. 87 ronmoreau

    Elected to represent, endorse and support 2nd district Republicans.

  88. 88 jezebel282

    Uh huh. So who else did you endorse and support? Rich Fredette?

  89. 89 ronmoreau

    Yes, and Forrester,. They had the votes.

  90. 90 jezebel282

    Sounds pretty shameful to us. Just sayin’…

  91. 91 ronmoreau

    I’m only one vote out of 8. They won didn’t they?

  92. 92 jezebel282

    Sure did. Can’t let that happen again, can we?

  93. 93 ronmoreau

    Nope, Gavin’s in the 7th and Richy’s got to much baggage.

  94. 94 jezebel282

    Doesn’t seem to stop anyone from putting him on every committee and commission in Stratford. He’ll run for Council in the 2nd in November…and Decilio will support him and threaten anyone who doesn’t. Same thing with Gavin.

  95. 95 ronmoreau

    Jez, I was told last week that many very profiled people in town were paying attention and questioned the decisions our elected leaders were making. My question, to this same person, How come these same profiled people aren’t running for office and making the decisions?

  96. 96 jezebel282

    Ron,

    What is a “profiled” person?

  97. 97 ronmoreau

    Jez, I take it to mean. a person who sees beyond what you see, so to speak.

  98. 98 jezebel282

    Ron,

    With my eyesight that’s almost everybody. But I still don’t know what mean.

  99. 99 ronmoreau

    In other words, If you think you can do better? Get off your lazy ass and….

  100. 100 jezebel282

    Oh.

  101. 101 ronmoreau

    LOL

  102. 102 hornrims

    Actually, “profiled” people have run…..

  103. 103 jezebel282

    Update:

    Just for a change of pace, there is this:

    Sewer rates going down in Ansonia
    By Michael P. Mayko
    Updated 5:39 pm, Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    ANSONIA — Just months after announcing his second mill-rate decrease in two years, Mayor David Cassetti Tuesday said sewer fee bills also will be going down in Ansonia.
    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Sewer-rates-going-down-in-Ansonia-6384606.php

    Apparently is not necessary to raise sewer fees every single year. Who knew?

  104. 104 mikereynolds

    I wonder if Ansonia charges it’s WPCA for rent, HR, etc? My guess is they don’t play that shell game.

  105. 105 stfdprofessor1

    “I wonder if Ansonia charges it’s WPCA for rent, HR, etc? My guess is they don’t play that shell game.”

    Two thumbs WAY UP in agreement on that thought Mike.

    If Mayor “John” et al weren’t trying to punish we angry peasents so much they would have left the fees alone and raised taxes so we could deduct them from our income taxes…oh wait, never mind that would have taken some competence.

  106. 106 jezebel282

    Update:

    Council Candidate Files Complaint Against Stratford Mayor
    http://patch.com/connecticut/stratford/council-candidate-files-complaint-against-stratford-mayor-0

    “I was paying my taxes on Monday and the Mayor’s flyers were literally posted every three feet along the hall where taxpayers had to wait in line to pay their bills,” said Dumas. “It was pretty clear that the Mayor was trying to suggest that the referendum was why our tax bills went up, but the truth is that taxes have gone up in five of the six years he has been mayor. I think taxpayers are smart enough to see what the real problem is.”

    Yes we are. However, we wish someone would stop this mayor from looting WPCA fees whenever he feels like it.

    And as we had predicted (https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/the-fight-to-vote/#comment-31332):
    “Harkins, who is currently in San Diego for an American Legislative Exchange Council conference, did not respond to the email.”

    Has anyone seen the Economic Development Director this week? No? Where could she be?

    In the meantime, while Harkins confers with his Tea Party buddies who are disguised as ALEC in San Diego (“What do I do now, guys? They were paying attention this time and got 2 or 3 courts to stop me!”) we wonder who is paying the bill for this excursion? Is it us again?

  107. 107 jezebel282

    Oh. And thank you to Mark Dumas for filing the complaint!

  108. 108 stfdprofessor1

    “Has anyone seen the Economic Development Director this week? No? Where could she be?”

    Another taxpayer funded interlude no doubt…amazing how there has never been a peep of this abhorrent abuse of power by ANYONE on the town clowncil.

  109. 109 stfdprofessor1

    http://fox5sandiego.com/2015/07/22/hundreds-protest-as-alec-conference-begins-downtown/

    Where our tax dollars are currently being spent while mayor “John” wines and dines his strumpet at OUR expense.

  110. 110 jezebel282

    And then there is this piece of RTC Propaganda which begs for a response:

    LETTER: Town is moving forward under Mayor Harkins

    As a longstanding reputable business owner in Stratford, I do not understand the negativity that is being created by a certain group of residents in my town. I have witnessed the town moving forward for the first time in decades under Mayor Harkins’ administration. The focus has been to expand local business and attract new companies to town to increase the grand list, reduce taxes and help support existing local businesses. The commercial grand list grew by over $75 million last year.

    Residents need to educate themselves and understand the ramifications of not regionalizing the Water Pollution Control Authority. Property taxes will go up to the point that we will no longer be able to stay here or attract new business. Taxpayers should be embracing regionalization to lower the town’s bond debt, keeping sewer and property taxes lower. If this doesn’t happen,our focus will need to shift from economic development to increasing social services, increasing low-income housing and expanding our food pantries.

    I hope that the progress that I have seen over these last five years does not make a complete reversal.

    Jim Curran
    Owner
    Curran VW

    We are not confident that we know what Town Mr. Curran is referring to. Shelton perhaps? We certainly have not witnessed any forward motion, consistent expansion of local businesses or the attraction of any new businesses (we never count pizza restaurants or nail salons).

    “The commercial grand list grew by over $75 million last year.”
    Can someone get Mr. Curran a calculator so that he can see what a paltry sum $75 million is to $4.5 billion (The grand list total)? And with a growing debt of $138 million that leaves us at $63 million in the hole.

    “…Water Pollution Control Authority. Property taxes will go up to the point that we will no longer be able to stay here or attract new business.”
    This is simply not true. Well, unless you count as a loss the money Harkins has been stealing from the WPCA. What will drive up property taxes are the way Harkins gives raises to non-union employees, buys capital equipment like it’s free and gives millions to attorneys to defend indefensible positions. And then there is the BOE which is completely out of control to the extent that they don’t even bother to publish a budget any longer.

    “Taxpayers should be embracing regionalization to lower the town’s bond debt, keeping sewer and property taxes lower.”
    None of these three things are related and none of them will do a single thing to lower taxes or fees.

    “…our focus will need to shift from economic development to increasing social services, increasing low-income housing and expanding our food pantries.”

    What focus? What economic development? Oh! You mean the $108,000/year, benefits, car, fuel, insurance, holidays and vacations that Harkins gives to his favorite Economic Development Director? That focus?

    How do we define “moving forward”?

    Giving Stratford land to Bridgeport?
    Ignoring contracts?
    Joining Tea Party organizations?
    Committing adultery?
    Spending millions in Court unnecessarily?
    Selling off Town assets?
    Raising taxes 5 out of 6 times?
    Raising sewer fees 6 out of 6 times?
    Taking political and personal trips at taxpayer expense?

    We are a bit surprised that someone who sells vehicles for a living, like Mr. Curran, can’t tell the difference between forward and reverse.

  111. 111 stfdprofessor1

    “What focus? What economic development? Oh! You mean the $108,000/year, benefits, car, fuel, insurance, holidays and vacations that Harkins gives to his favorite Economic Development Director? That focus?”

    DON’T FORGET THE NEW COUCH FOR HER OFFICE (wonder what that’s used for), next she’ll have her own shower…oh wait a minute I heard she uses “John”s.

  112. 112 Rockannand

    “How do we define “moving forward”?

    Giving Stratford land to Bridgeport?
    Ignoring contracts?
    Joining Tea Party organizations?
    Committing adultery?
    Spending millions in Court unnecessarily?
    Selling off Town assets?
    Raising taxes 5 out of 6 times?
    Raising sewer fees 6 out of 6 times?
    Taking political and personal trips at taxpayer expense?”

    Yup, that about covers it. No wait, you forgot to mention putting Rich Fredette on 8 – count ’em EIGHT – boards or commissions in town.

  113. 113 hornrims

    That letter to editor was likely written by Lou Decilio and signed by Curran. That’s how they role at the RTC – they always find their puppets.

  114. Doesn’t that piece of property – the one across the street from the dealership, used by the dealership, probably owned by the dealership fall within the area now designated as TOD? A trade-off for a positive spin letter?

  115. 115 jezebel282

    Who knows what Curran’s motive was? Maybe he’s trying to get the Town to stop leasing top of the line Ford Explorer’s? Everyone collecting a decent paycheck from us gets one. Lord knows that $108,000/ year is not enough to afford your own car payment or gas to get to work.

    Curran certainly didn’t dwell on the truth.

    And remember, whatever our money gets spent on, it’s not as much as the BOE gets. And most of what they spend it on is a big secret. Not even elected BOE members have the guts to demand the info from Clarence Zachary or Janet Robinson.


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