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My Left Nutmeg

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My Left Nutmeg

Ask questions that matter

by: ctblogger

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:30:22 PM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

On Wednesday, August, 27th, 2014, the Norwich Bulletin newspaper will host the first of the 2014 gubernatorial debates.  Ray Hackett, the Bulletin's editorial page editor will moderate the debate.

For reasons that I can't seem to wrap my head around, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and Republican challenger Tom Foley are the only gubernatorial candidates that have been invited to participate in this 2014 debate, which will take place at the Slater Museum auditorium on the campus of Norwich Free Academy. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Joe Visconti, who has successfully petitioned onto the November ballot, will be prohibited from participating.

In addition, it appears that the only way to attend the debate is to get one of two hundred tickets, half of which have been provided to the Malloy campaign and the half to the Foley campaign.

Although I may not be on the list, hopefully the future gubernatorial debates will include all of the candidates who have qualified to be on the November ballot.

The debates provide a unique opportunity to ask the candidates the difficult questions that voters deserve to have answered.

If I was a participant in the debates, one of the questions that I would have asked the other candidates is the following:

Governor Malloy:  You are the only Democratic Governor in the United States who has proposed doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in turnaround schools.  While public school advocates and teachers have criticized you for saying a teacher need only show up for four years and they'll get tenure, but that is a minor complaint compared to your proposal to actually do away with teacher tenure and repeal collective bargaining for a subset of public school teachers.

Mr. Malloy, will you use this moment to renounce your 2012 proposal and can you tell us exactly what is your position is on teacher tenure and collective bargaining?

Mr. Foley/Mr. Visconti:  Governor Malloy earned the wrath of teachers and public school advocates when he proposed, in 2012, to do away with teacher tenure for all public school teachers and collective bargaining for teachers in the lowest performing schools.  Can you tell us whether you would have supported or opposed Governor Malloy's proposal on end teacher tenure and limit collective bargaining and what you would do on these two issues if you are elected governor.

If it turns out that I am not on the ballot this year, and therefore cannot participate in the debates, I hope the moderators will ask the candidates this and other important question..

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Pelto concedes "likely" not enough signatures to get on ballot

by: ctblogger

Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 16:06:38 PM EDT

This is sad news for those in the progressive community who wanted an alternative to Dan Malloy.
The Secretary of the State's office continues to count the Pelto/Murphy petitions as they are sent in by local town clerks.  While the process won't be concluded until the middle of next week, it appears increasingly likely that we will fall short of the 7,500 "valid" signatures to get on the ballot.  Although we've identified a significant number of signatures that were inappropriately or illegally rejected, the traceable problems do not appear, at this time, to be enough to put us over the top - even if we were able to go to court and ask a judge to overrule the actions taken by certain local officials.   When we know the final status of the petition count we will, of course, inform readers immediately.  Regardless, we want to thank all of you who have been so supportive of this quest.

I'll give my take on Pelto's announcement and what it means for the general election later.
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Juvenile Mayor of New Britain desecrates shooting victim's memory

by: ctblogger

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 14:30:50 PM EDT

My God, does this moron have any shame?

Well, New Britain's juvenile Mayor Erin "party girl" Stewart has placed her foot in her mouth again...and this time she's gone too far.

The New Britain Herald reported on the tragic story of Corey Washington, a 19 year old resident who was shot in front of his home Monday night.

NEW BRITAIN - The mother of a 19-year-old gunned down in front of his Roberts Street home begged the dozens of mourners who showed up at the address Tuesday night to come forward with information on his killing.

Mishael Stephens was holding her son Corey Washington as he lay bleeding when officers arrived Monday night, responding to a report of gunfire and a man down in front of 62 Roberts St.

Washington, who was known by friends and family as "CJ" died a short while later.


Neighbors said Washington was a good and respectful kid who would watch his younger siblings when his mother was at work. Friends and family said they have no idea why anyone would shoot him in front of his own home.

"He had an amazing smile," said Kiaja Blake who has known Washington for about seven years. "He was always joyful, in fact I don't think I've ever seen him upset. He was a pleasure to be around."

He had a big heart and was a sweet guy, his mother said. "Each and every one of y'all have your own about him, a good story," she said as she was surrounded by somber faces who had brought candles and white balloons to the location where he was fatally shot.

"There is too much senseless killing," his grandmother added as she watched her daughter hug his friends. "It's got to stop. Where are these kids getting the guns?"

Although Washington was described his family and friends as "always joyful, in fact I don't think I've ever seen him upset. He was a pleasure to be around," here's what the insensitive mayor had to say about the tragedy on Facebook account.

Before Washington's body can be laid to rest, Mayor Stewart decides to add salt to the wound by blaming the victim for his death...un-fucking-nreal! I guess even the idiotic Stewart knew she crossed a line since she later deleted her comment hoping no one archived her remark.

Disgusting, simply disgusting!

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Malloy misleads teachers, parents, public school advocates and taxpayers - again!

by: ctblogger

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 10:18:17 AM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Governor Dannel "Dan" Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, just issued a press release that began with the following:

HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, today hat Alliance Districts are set to receive a total of $132,901,813 in additional funding for the 2014-15 academic year to help implement academic improvement plans.  To date, 28 of 30 Alliance District Year Three plan amendments have been approved, with the final approvals expected in the coming weeks.

In typical fashion, the Governor and Commissioner of Education have used their announcement as a way to further mislead Connecticut's teachers, parents, public school advocates and taxpayers.

Malloy claims that his "initiative" is providing Connecticut's 30 most struggling school districts with another $132 million in state aid, but the truth is that this year's increase is only about $45 million and that in order to get those funds, school districts were required to accept a series of new mandates and programs aimed at further implementing Malloy's corporate education reform agenda and diverting scarce public dollars to private companies.

For example, some of the new money is being used to pay for pet projects such as Achievement First, Inc.'s "Residency Program for School Leadership."

As Connecticut has come to know, Achievement First, Inc. is the charter school management company co-founded by Malloy's Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

And thanks to Malloy and Pryor, Achievement First, Inc. has received more new funding than any other charter school operator in Connecticut.

While most school districts in Connecticut have effectively been flat funded, Achievement First, Inc. has benefited from a massive increase in per pupil funding, more charter school seats, and additional resources from various grants that were once reserved for Connecticut's real public schools.

And if that windfall wasn't enough, hidden inside this so-called "new" money for Connecticut's poorer school districts is yet another special deal for Achievement First, Inc.

Note that in today's press release, Malloy and Stefan Pryor brag about how 28 or the 30 "Alliance District Year Three Plans" have been approved.

What Malloy and Pryor don't explain is that in order to get approved, towns were required to include certain education reform initiatives, including forcing Connecticut's largest school districts to participate in Achievement First, Inc.'s "Residency Program for School Leadership."

As part of the program, Connecticut taxpayers will not only pay Achievement First, Inc., for their "services," but Connecticut school teachers, paid for by Connecticut taxpayer funds, will be sent to teach in Achievement First schools.  This means that in addition to paying the charter school chain $11,500 per student, paying for all of their transportation costs and all of their special education costs, Achievement First, Inc. will be will be further subsidized thanks to having taxpayer-funded public school teachers working in their privately-run charter schools.

Achievement First, Inc. calls their "Residency Program" a "unique opportunity."

There is no doubt about that, it is a unique opportunity for Achievement First to get more of our public funds.

When more and more questions are being raised about the lack of oversight of Connecticut's charter schools, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor are diverting record amounts of public money to charter schools.

While Malloy claims he is investing another $132 million into Connecticut's poorest schools, the truth is that Connecticut taxpayers are being forced to waste even more money on Malloy's failed education reform policies.

All this while our public school students continue to be left without the support they need and deserve.

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CT GOV: Rasmussen: Foley 45, Malloy 38

by: ctblogger

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 17:56:58 PM EDT

Although Rasmussen is probably the most right leaning pollster out there, this isn't good news for the Malloy camp.

Incumbent Democrat Dan Malloy is trailing Republican challenger Thomas Foley by seven points in Rasmussen Reports' first look at their gubernatorial rematch.

Foley picks up 45% of the vote to Malloy's 38% in a new statewide telephone survey of Likely Connecticut Voters. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and 10% are undecided.

Click here for the crosstabs...
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Thursday roundup

by: ctblogger

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:41:14 AM EDT

The latest:

  • Lost oppurtuninty for Jon Pelto?
    A week after locking up the GOP nomination for governor, Foley earned the Independent Party endorsement, beating out Trinity College professor John Mertens during a Tuesday night caucus in Watertown.

    There are 15,000 registered Independents in Connecticut, a group that could loom large in a race that was decided by 6,400 votes in 2010.

  • More problems for Foley.
    A Greenwich supporter of Tom Foley agreed on Tuesday to pay a $12,000 civil fine in connection with eight so-called straw contributions he admittedly made to the Republican gubernatorial candidate in March.

    Brian Lippey, a retired investor who lives on Havemeyer Place, has 15 days to pay the penalty, one of the largest ever ordered by the State Elections Enforcement Commission. On Tuesday in Hartford, the commission reviewed the case in a closed-door executive session, then convened briefly to accept the terms of the deal.

    Further details were unavailable, pending the conclusion of the settlement. But according to SEEC records, Lippey made a credit card payment of $100 to Foley's campaign on March 21. In all, there were 10 credit card contributions of $100 that day, according to the SEEC records.

    Straw donors are people who agree to pay the campaign contributions of others, in violation of state election law that limits individual contributions to $100 for those participating in the state's voluntary public financing system.

  • ALS hypocrisy from Congressman Jim Himes?
    Some of the very lawmakers who have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for ALS research voted for legislation that defunded ALS research.

    These contradictory decisions don't necessarily make the lawmakers hypocrites. Many of them reluctantly cast that vote, and others are fine with funding ALS research so long as the funding comes from private sources and not federal taxes. But the contradiction does expose the curious ways in which government officials often end up dealing with problems they created.

    The funding cuts, in this case, were caused by the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- otherwise known as the bill to save the United States government from default. As a condition of getting congressional Republicans to sign off on the debt ceiling hike, the Obama White House and Congressional Democrats agreed to budget cuts and future budget cuts that would be delivered via sequestration, an across-the-board cleaver that cut certain agencies' budgets by roughly 5 percent.

    The National Institutes of Health was one of those agencies. It was forced to slash an estimated $1.55 billion from its programs. Among those was the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In Fiscal Year 2013, the NINDS budget was $1.53 billion, a $92 million decrease from FY 2012. For ALS-specific research, funding went from $44 million to $39 million.

    Some of this was restored by a budget deal negotiated and signed into law in 2014. NINDS funding went up to $1.587 billion, roughly $35 million short of where it stood prior to sequestration. ALS-specific research, meanwhile, went up $1 million, leaving it $4 million short of pre-sequestration levels.


    Members of Congress could have fixed that shortcoming with a supplemental funding bill. Instead, many chose to dump ice water on their heads. Those who took the challenge but also supported the bill that led to sequestration include:

    John Barrow (D-Ga.)
    Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.)
    Robert Brady (D-Penn.)
    John Carney (D-Del.)
    David Cicilline (D-R.I.)
    Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)
    Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
    Joe Kennedy (D-Mass)
    Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)
    Jim Langevin (D-R.I.)
    Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.)
    Jim Himes (D-Conn.)

  • Only in Bridgeport...
    Although his Democratic primary loss for a General Assembly seat may have ended his political career last week, Ernest Newton's relationship with the State Elections Enforcement Commission remains active.

    The SEEC voted on Tuesday to issue investigative subpoenas to eight employees of a Bridgeport scrap-metal processor who may have been in involved in a straw-contribution scheme involving $800 in cash that was funneled into Newton's failed 2012 effort to regain a state Senate seat.

    The case involves drivers, office workers and other employees at P.C. Metals Inc., of 270 Central Avenue. SEEC investigators want to know where the employees got the $100 each to contribute to Newtown.

    Straw donors are people who agree to pay the campaign contributions of others, in violation of state election law that limits individual contributions to $100 for those participating in the state's voluntary public financing system.

    The money in question was given to Newton's Senate campaign in February 2012. Newton, who served a federal sentence for extortion and misuse of campaign funds, is currently facing a trial in state Superior Court over larceny charges involving $500 in questioned contributions that brought him over the threshold for public financing in 2012.

    Newtown, who lost a House of Representatives primary last week to Andre Baker, did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.

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