Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inaugaration Today

So Mayor Stewart is being sworn into his 4th term today. Governor Rell is coming down to do the honors. Would have been nice to be able to go and see the event, sadly work being what it is I have somewhere else that I need to be. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months as the new Council gets down to business. I hope to attend a fair number of the meetings so I can stay abreast of the issues.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sour grapes and astute observations...

In the New Britain Herald there was this article. Which contained some really good quotes from Democrat and former Mayor William McNamara that I wanted to share.

"[O'Brien] is a very good man and an experienced legislator, there’s no doubt about that,” McNamara said. “Unfortunately, there was a perception by people on the street that he had aligned himself with ACORN and that cost him.”

“With that connection and the fact that he is a good legislator but doesn’t have any executive experience he found himself in trouble,” McNamara said. “Stewart played it very smart and ran on his record. Taxes are stable, the city is improving and people that I spoke with didn’t see any reason to change horses in mid-stream."

There were two other quotes that also struck me as very interesting. and with these I'm quoting the article's author James Craven.

"O’Brien was contacted for his comments for this article but did not return calls."
"John McNamara, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, also did not return a call Wednesday."

Makes one wonder where they were and what they were doing...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Like a bad movie character...

Tim O'Brien tweeted last night at 10:54 "thanks the thousands of people who voted for me today. We came a little short... this year." (view his feed here.) This year? He sounds like Dr. Claw from the old Inspector Gadget Cartoons.

Does he honestly think people are going to take him seriously with that type of rhetoric? He wasn't able to buy and scam his way into the Mayor's office this time he won't be able to do it next time.
I'm a bit late to the posting blitz, but with the flu and all I crashed before the absentee votes could be tallied and the results read. I'm very happy that despite his shady tactics, his PAC funding, his deceptive mailers, and his ACORN goons Tim O'Brien was unable to secure a victory for himself. Considering the Republicans looked to have also picked up two seats on the Council, that is a big change, and a change that could mean good things for this city.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I voted today, did you?

This morning my wife and I went out and voted despite the fact that I'm running a fever over 100 and have been for the past few days. Voting is far more important than the flu. But don't worry, I wore a mask to hopefully keep from spreading the flu to anyone else.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ward 3 Mailer!!

So, I finally got a mailer from the Democratic candidates for Ward Three. I was hoping to finally hear about Shirley Black and Silvia Cruz and what they have done for Ward Three and New Britain during their past two years on the Common Council.

I was sadly disappointed. Here is all the text from the mailer.

This Tuesday, November 3rd, we can make a real difference. 
Please vote for the Democrats on Row B.
Re-Elect Shirley Black & Silvia Cruz
Democrats for City Council If you need a ride to the polls, call XXX-XXXX
Shirley Black & Silvia Cruz ~ Democrats for City Council.
This Tuesday, November 3rd we can elect a great team for our neighborhood.
Re-Elect Shirley Black & Silvia Cruz
Democrats for City Council

Seriously. That was it. There was no listing their accomplishments, their abilities, their experience, their vision for a brighter future. I suppose they are step up from O'Brien who relied on misinformation and playing games with numbers. It does raise a great question, is it better to have an abundance of lies or a total absence of content? Both speak volumes to the character of the candidate.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Needs more grammar, Michael Trueworthy does.

Okay, so I've been pretty hard on Tim O'Brien and his mailings. So this time around I thought I'd look at the one I just got in the mail today from Michael Trueworthy. His mailer contained about 5 sentences in total so I think I'll just go through and reproduce them all here.

Under the heading "Michael Trueworthy:" there are three bullets, each worse than the last.

"After 6 years of persistence, passed ordinances to crack down on Absentee Landlords who don't maintain their properties."

Michael Trueworthy is the Majority Leader for a veto-proof super majority and this is his biggest accomplishment? He doesn't even mention that the blight ordinance revisions were originally proposed by the Mayor and opposed by the Democrats. Then again, I am assuming that is the ordinance he is talking about because he doesn't specifically mention what he is referring to. As with O'Brien's mailings the lack of details make these claims difficult to research.

"Will fight to increase from $99 to $250 for the first offense for loud music violations."

Aside from my previous argument that this could have easily been passed under the Democratic super majority if the Democrats had any intention of doing so, there is also the simple fact that this sentence is not grammatically strong. It looks like Trueworthy is missing a word such as "Will fight to increase fines.." or "Will fight to increase from $99 to $250 the fine." And what about "the first offense for loud music violations?" A much better wording for the entire bullet would have been "Will fight to increase the fine for first time loud music violations from $99 to $250."

"Will fight to enforce our expand on our current blighted property regulations."

I can honestly state that this sentence is unreadable. After careful deliberation with several other people I can only imagine that Michael Trueworthy meant to say, "Will fight to enforce our expanded regulations regarding blighted property." However he could have meant that he plans on fighting to further expand our regulations on blighted properties.  Seriously, I tried for about 10 minutes to figure out if there was merely a word missing that would magically make this jibberish clear, but I couldn't find any.  If you do, please let me know.

Now, on the front of the mailer there is the statement that just made me laugh, it isn't as terrible as the ones on the back but it made me chuckle.

"Absentee Landlords who live out of town and don't maintain their properties should not be in New Britain. It's as simple as that."

Technically, if they are absentee landlords then they aren't in New Britain, that is pretty much the definition of absentee. Again, a clearer statement would have been "Absentee landlords who live out of town and don't maintain their properties should not be allowed to do business in New Britain."

Now, I will say this - this type of nitpicking isn't fully relevant. While my argument that Trueworthy had two years of veto proof majority that he squandered by merely attempting to inhibit the Mayor is a valid one and important to the election, my attacks on his lack of grammar are not wholly relevant to the issues. However, as someone who once lost a job offer because I placed a few commas too many into a cover letter I can't help but place some importance on the details. If a candidate is going to create a mailer with such massive grammatical errors, then they deserve to have it reflect poorly upon them.

This is not "Gotcha" media. I did not take comments that Mr. Trueworthy said out of context and present them to give you a biased opinion of the candidate. I presented you with virtually everything that was stated on the flyer in his own words. I would have scanned it in and included images of it for you to see for yourselves, but I did not want to infringe on Mr. Trueworthy's likeness without his permission.

We all make mistakes, but when a elected official makes mistakes it affects not only them, but everyone they represent. Here is a statement I can get behind, and you can be sure I checked the grammar first:

"An individual who sends out a mass mailing without first having it reviewed for spelling and grammatically errors has no place on the Common Council of the City of New Britain. It's as simple as that."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Education or Experience, not neither

So on a few Herald Articles I had noticed that Tim O'Brien listed that he had attended CCSU. The most recent interview in the Herald stated that he moved into town as a student. But I noticed that he never mentioned what he majored in or what degree he graduated with. Then a commenter on the Herald said that he was a college dropout who never completed his degree. I don't know if this is true, but it is the only reason I can think he wouldn't have actually listed being a college graduate as part of his education in his bio.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that you need a college degree to run for office or even be successful in office, but the ACORN cronies who bashed John McCain from being near the bottom of his class at West Point are pulling for someone without a college degree? If education is so important for John McCain then why isn't it important for Tim O'Brien?

Now, my personal belief is that what you don't get in terms of a formal education you can make up for in terms of experience. In order to be a Mayor you need a keen business sense, you need integrity and dedication, you need conviction, passion, and a sense of purpose. There are many self made men who I think would be excellent in the capacity of Mayor. A small business owner who built up a successful business is a prime example. A salesman who worked his way up the ranges into a management position would also probably have what it takes. So what is O'Brien's experience?

From what I can gather he's running on his experience in the legislature. The problem is that you don't really need hard work to become elected to the State House or Representatives. You can do it with luck, connections, and funding. And once you are elected it is hard to lose that seat as incumbents, especially Democratic ones in Connecticut, have a good hold on their seats. And it isn't like O'Brien has even done that much in the State Senate. His landmark tax reform that he's been touting was declared unconstitutional and yet he still defends it, claiming, “It just means that we have to do some more work to clarify and delineate our positions. I have every confidence that it will, as many already think, become a template for other states around the country.”1

How can he stand by something declared unconstitutional? Is this what New Britain needs as a Mayor? All public leaders should have education or experience. Ideally they should have an ample amount of both. Sadly, Tim O'Brien has neither.

1 Taken from Wes Craven (Oct. 24, 2009), "O'Brien offers state rep experience", New Britain Herald, retrieved via http://www.newbritainherald.com/articles/2009/10/25/news/doc4ae3a226c79f7434913174.txt

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Mailings, More Laughs

So O'Brien has sent out yet another mailing. This time he's trying to paint himself as the candidate for education. Again, instead of merely stating facts about his own record he feels he needs to attack Mayor Stewart. This is the same guy who swore up and down that he'd run a 'clean' campaign? It is absolutely disgusting that O'Brien would try to paint his opponent as opposed to education. His question "Why did Mayor Stewart Block State funding to relieve overcrowding in our school?" includes no details or information, it is a generic accusation with no supporting evidence.

Tim O'Brien likes to play with numbers so I did a bit of digging, lets look at the percentage funding the state pays to New Britain. I threw them into a pretty graph similar to the one on O'Brien's mailer.

Unlike Tim O'Brien I'll admit that my graph is meaningless. It is specifically designed by picking data that supports only one viewpoint. Also, unlike Tim O'Brien, I will tell you where I get my data, this information is available here. It is pretty interesting to pour through. O'Brien's graph is sourced as "based on figures from the State Office of Legislative Research." I actually went to website for the Office of Legislative Research and was unable to find any information that would generate the figures O'Brien was presenting.

Now lets take a look at O'Brien's own graph that I recreated in Excel:

Now, this is designed to impress us that O'Brien really has brought home the bacon, but I can give you a list of three major questions this graph brings up.
  • Why does the graph only go back to 2004 if O'Brien was elected in 2001? 
  • What happened from 2006 to 2007? There was virtually no increase in the funding O'Brien acquired for New Britain. In fact when you break down the numbers something shocking emerges. The percentage increase from 2004 to 2005 was 2.5%. From 2005 to 2006 the increase was 4.3%. From 2006 to 2007 it was less than 0.5% and from 2007 to 2008 it was a whooping 11%. If you average that out then O'Brien has increased funding an average of 3.74% per year. That is little more than the inflation rate. Is this supposed to impress us?
  • Finally, what the heck do these numbers represent? On his mailer the paragraph next to the graph state "Tim O'Brien has successfully won millions of dollars of increased aid to New Britain for quality education and lower property taxes" yet he offers no information about what this large sum of money means. Is this just the appropriations that New Britain has received while O'Brien happened to be in office?
Overall this mailer just follows the trend I've noticed with O'Brien's mailers. There are no real facts or statistics, just sensational figures given out of context with no real tangible accomplishments. O'Brien probably would have been better off not sending out any literature this campaign season. I would have been far more likely to vote for him if I hadn't read his flyers or heard him speak at both debates.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One last thing! I promise!

This past Saturday I posted about my run in with O'Brien. During our conversation he had said he didn't mind answering any questions or doing an interview. (I'd post the video but at O'Brien's request I deleted it.) That evening I sent the following email to both Tim O'Brien and Tim Stewart:

Dear Candidates:

I'm writing to you, wondering if you would be interested in answering some questions for a candidate comparison that I would like to post on my blog http://1man1vote.blogspot.com/. I had the opportunity to talk to Tim O'Brien, and you had said if I had questions or wanted to interview you that you would be willing. I have not had the chance to request the same of Tim Stewart, but felt it would be only fair to offer both candidates the same opportunity. The interview could be conducted in person on video or via emailed responses to a series of 10 questions, 8 of the questions would be the same for each candidate and two of the questions would be specific to the candidate. Please let me know if you would be willing to answer these questions.


N. M******
Despite his promise to answer "any" questions I have or to take part in an interview I have not heard back from Tim O'Brien. Tim Stewart, for his part, has replied to my request and did so within a day. So much for "open government" and "clear communication."

I have a reputation!

I was talking with Candidate Phil Sherwood after the debate. I was curious about hearing more on his stance on education, he had commented on a study linking class size to academic performance. It was contrary to some other research I had read showing that the largest indicator of economic success was parent education and socio-economic standing. Our conversation expanded into areas such as the need for Magnet schools and was very interesting. However, at one point Michael Trueworthy, who is running for Alderman at Large came over and said to Phil something about how I was "video taping" him. Apparently Mr. O'Brien was so shaken after our last encounter that he has been warning other people about me.

Before I launch into a statement about Tim O'Brien please let me make one thing clear. I enjoyed my conversation with Phil Sherwood, while we may not agree entirely on issues of policy he was very polite, answered all my questions, and was extremely civil and informative.

Now for the rant.

Why exactly is Tim O'Brien afraid of being video or audio recorded while he talks with New Britain voters? On Saturday I didn't even approach Tim, I approached some of the people who were helping him campaign in my neighborhood and they brought me over to meet Juan Verdu.

[[Another aside: Juan Verdu is also extremely polite and well spoken as well as down to earth. I saw him again at the debate and he was very polite and asked me if I had any more questions. He was able to answer one question I had clearly and with a smile. He is a MUCH better man than the candidate he replaced.]]

So why doesn't Tim O'Brien want his comments publicized? It grated on me this evening especially as he spoke about how he believed in an open government and how he wanted to be there for the people. I am a voter and a tax payer in the City of New Britain, my wife and I are home owners. Why should he be worried that what he is saying to citizens is being recorded?

I just don't get it.

[[Final aside: I am sure that Michael Trueworthy was just looking out for Phil Sherwood or passing a message along from someone else. I hope that he isn't afraid of having his public statements to a citizen, tax payer, and voter on the record.]]

Oh what a night!

Tonights debate was interesting. Sadly it is campaign season, so you have to take everything said on both sides of the debate with a grain of salt. A recurring theme was taxes, taxes, taxes. Two things were repeated again and again by both sides. One was that the State mandates far too much and does not provide funding for it. This was repeated by both sides of the aisle. This makes me wonder why exactly the Democrats would like Tim O'Brien for mayor. Hasn't he been part of the unfunded State mandates? To me an unfunded mandate is like a broken promise, and I don't know if I'd want someone who breaks promises as my Mayor.

Candidate Sherwood actually said that he thought that State mandates were good for the city, explaining that they brought about necessary changes, though he also stated that they needed to be funded. I disagree with him a bit that all State mandates are a good thing. State mandates carry the problem of "one size fits all," and while it isn't as bad as a Federal mandate (proximity is key in policy creation and state level officials are close to their voters) it still can sometimes impose an unneeded burden on a city.

The other idea that was repeated again by both sides is the need to grow the grand list. To me that means increase the number of business and properties in New Britain contributing to the coffers of the city. This goal seems at odds with providing senior tax relief, a campaign point of the Democratic candidates. Several Republican candidates were also quick to point out that there are already several State level programs to provide seniors and other groups with tax relief. Many of the Democrats talked about the need to expand the program with city funds, and perhaps there is a need there, but where are the facts and figures? How many seniors in New Britain are being forced out of their homes due to taxation? Yes, taxes are a burden, but they are a burden we all have to share.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Talked to O'Brien

So I came home today and saw O'Brien and some people walking down the street. I took out my phone and went over and had it recording. I asked some pretty direct and hard questions. The gentleman with Tim was Juan Verdu. He struck me as VERY honest, he said that while taxes had gone up a bit he didn't mind paying them because they are important to pay for services. But he said it is everyone's fault when the taxes went up, the Mayor, the Council, and the State. I liked his honesty.

However, afterwards Tim O'Brien physically grabbed my arm and confronted me about my camera! I understand him wanting to know if I was recording, but he could have just asked me! Oh well. He told me that if I contacted him he'd be glad to do an interview, so we'll see what happens when I contact him. I'm also going to see if I can talk to Mayor Stewart, perhaps I can get him to also answer some questions and then post both the interviews or responses here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mailings Two

Okay, I'm a bit more upset now. I've received several mailings from Tim O'Brien each one of them more negative than the last. The latest one really pissed me off. Implying that it is the Mayor's fault for taxes increasing when the mill rate has gone down repeatedly is such a cheap trick. He has really started to lose me as a potential vote, and I hate to say that because I like to give everyone a fair shake. I mean, even looking at the tax data from the last few years, sure, some people saw an increase, but the average increase was tiny! Multifamily homes are really the one spot that got hit, but that tax burden can be spread across several tenants, and considering those tenants all saw a decrease in their auto taxes because of the lower mill rate... I don't know. I just don't understand where Tim O'Brien thinks he is going to find a magic pot of money to pay for his promises of tax relief.

In contrast I've only gotten one Stewart mailing and it was 100% positive, I did not see anything negative about Tim O'Brien all I saw as the Mayor explaining his successes, like reduced spending, downtown development, the recycling program etc. And these are things I've seen happen and change in my few years in town.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The debate the other night was interest, but it was a lot of sound bytes. I wish O'Brien had been more specific. I mean, Stewart didn't come off as polished, but he gave direct answers to direct questions and it felt less like he was dancing around the issues. Even when I approached Tim O'Brien afterwards to try to get more specifics it was very vague. I don't know.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


So according to the Herald, Gerratana is withdrawing from the election for what he did at the Capitol. Man, this has really bothered me. I want to keep an open mind about Tim O'Brien, but the company you keep is a big part of who you are. I'll hold back judgement for now, but I'm definitely putting up a Stewart lawn sign.

But like I said before, I don't vote until election day. Either candidate could still win me or lose me.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I hate political mailings. They are light on details, big on fluff and promises, they rarely have good accurate footnotes, and they often negative. For the most part this campaign season they have just been positive, but the recent media scandal with Tim O'Brien's campaign has really bothered me. Yeah, the BizyBee (which I read) has been over the top a few times, but it is a personal blog like this. She should be able to use whatever language she wants, but to post attack comments while working on a STATE COMPUTER? Those are my tax dollars paying for whoever is responsible for making these attacks, puts a foul taste in my mouth.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Finally some information on some democratic candidates: http://newbritaindemocrat.blogspot.com/2009/08/31-august-2009.html Sadly it is just one candidate and I don't live in Ward 2... *sigh*

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Candidate Info

I'm so glad that the New Britain RTC put up some candidate info so I can get in contact with the candidates. I've now had a chance to talk to most of them one on one. If you want to read up on them you can do it here: http://www.nbrtc.com/current-candidates/

I haven't been able to find any information on the Democrat's slate, though they have a blog here: http://newbritaindemocrat.blogspot.com hopefully they will get some candidate info up there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


So last week the candidates were named by the Republican Town Committee. I was amazed when we were able to endorse some Democrats and Unaffiliated candidates! I actually think that maybe there will be some true bipartisanship, it would be great after the whole fiasco with the Board of Education seat last year! It was sad to see that a lot of the democrat names were just the same, I don't know, it doesn't inspire me to get excited, though I'll have to wait and see what their candidates come out and say.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Busy Busy Busy!

Gah, I haven't updated in forever. Grad school is really eating a lot of my time. Hopefully I'll get a chance to be more involved come the start of the new school year. Then again, with a baby on the way who knows.

Happy Belated 4th of July everyone!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The New Britain Republican Town Committee

I've started going to the Republican Town Committee meetings back in December, except for a few other members I am probably one of the youngest people in the room. I can understand why though, it took me forever to get in contact with the committee. I might want to eventually run for office, I'm not sure, but I would like to at least know what is going on.

Perhaps if I can find some time I'll go to some council meetings.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A bit about me

I'm a registered voter in New Britain. I am registered with the Republican Party but I decide my candidates in the voting booth. I think that party line shouldn't matter. People need to work together across party lines if they want to enact new policies. That is why I'm starting this blog, to express my views about politics and the world. I don't know if anyone will bother reading this, but at least it is out there now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Britain Politics

The politics of New Britain are very strange. That is all.