Friday, October 10, 2014

Morey to Dems: 'End the Flip-Flop; Follow Wargo's Lead'

I call on all Democrats who serve on New Milford boards and commissions to follow the lead of Town Council Member Frank Wargo.  His leadership is steadfast and unwavering and, unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, his words and actions are consistent. 

Frank recently served on the School Facilities Committee, a group of 25 Community leaders  including the School Superintendent and the former Chairman of the BOE, who were tasked to determine the most effective and efficient use of our school facilities.   After an eight month Study with the use of a consultant, the Committee recommended the closing of Pettibone School and redistricting.   Frank was selected to serve because he has decades of experience that he acquired as a former Member of the Board of Education, current Member of the Town Council and many other roles in service to the Town.

Committee Member Wargo was one of the overwhelming majority who voted to recommend to the Board of Education the closure of Pettibone and redistricting.  Consistent with that vote, Town Councilman Wargo later voted to appropriate funds to help facilitate the redistricting process.  Unfortunately, some of his Democratic colleagues seized the moment to politicize the redistricting and the closing of Pettibone.

As public records reveal, Democrat and current Town Councilman Walter Bayer voted "yes" as a member of the School Facilities Committee to redistrict and to close Pettibone but at subsequent hearings held by the Board of Ed, Councilman Bayer spoke against his earlier "yes" vote!   It gets even better...or worse.  At a later Town Council Meeting, Mr. Bayer voted to fund the redistricting and the closing of Pettibone.  In other words,  "yes," "no," "yes."  Seems confused.

David Shaffer, another Democrat and Member of the School Facilities Committee, voted "yes" to redistricting and the closure of Pettibone.  Subsequently, however, as a Member of the BOE he voted "no" to the closure.  Then at a later BOE Meeting, he voted "yes" to appropriate funds to redistrict.  In other words, "yes," "no," "yes."  Seems confused.

Democratic BOE Member Bob Coppola, no newcomer to Town service including prior stints on the Town Council and BOE, sometimes as a Democrat and sometimes as a Republican, voted "no" to redistricting and "yes" to fund redistricting.  In other words, "no," "yes."  Seems confusing.

David Lawson, another Democratic BOE Member, voted "no" to redistricting but the BOE Minutes show that he encouraged that the process be expedited.  Then, to play it politically safe, he voted "no" to expend funds.  In other words, "no," "maybe yes," "no."  Seems confusing.

If these political games were being played about checkers, nobody would care much.  But this isn't a board game, this is the lives of our children and the future of our Town.  We can't tolerate this flip-flop, flip flop.  Democrats shouldn't play politics with this very important decision that will affect the New Milford Community for years to come.  The Schools require Wargo-like leadership and we don't have it.

Frank Wargo: yes, yes, yes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gale Alexander Not A Lawful Candidate for State Representative

Tom Morey got it right but the State Elections Enforcement Commission says it doesn't have jurisdiction.

Gale Alexander's selection as the Democrats' candidate for State Rep is absolutely, unequivocally wrong and resulted from a scheme involving the newly-elected Democratic Town Committee Chair, Andy Grossman, who was just hired to be Alexander's campaign manager!

With Mr. Morey's permission, here's an explanation of what happened and how the scheme worked to exclude all good New Milford Democrats from the selection process. 


1)  Section 5.2 of the By-Laws of the New Milford Democratic Town Committee ("DTC") requires that candidates for town offices must be selected by caucus.  A "caucus" is a meeting of all Town Democrats at which they vote for a candidate.  This is compared to a meeting of the Democratic Town Committee that consists only of the DTC's elected leaders and at which only the Committee Members vote.

2)  The position of State Representative is a town (municipal) office.  See § 9-372(7)of the Connecticut General Statutes.

3)  Historically, every Democratic candidate for State Representative has been selected by the DTC caucus.   In fact, in May, 2012, Grossman himself was selected by caucus (not Committee) to run for State Rep.

4)  A Notice was printed in the May 16, 2014 of a local paper announcing a May 21, 2014 caucus for the selection of a Registrar of Voters.

5)  No notice was ever given for the selection of a candidate for State Representative.

6)  Marcel Grenier was selected by the caucus as the DTC's candidate for Registrar of Voters.

7)  Mr. Grenier's Certificate of Party Endorsement -- a mandatory document -- was filed in the Clerk's office on May 23, 2014. The "caucus" box was appropriately checked because Mr. Grenier was properly selected as a candidate for that position by the DTC caucus as required by its By-Laws.

8)  The DTC caucus took no further action and it adjourned. However, as evidenced by the contents of a June 11, 2014 article from the News-Times, the DTC Town Committee selected Gale Alexander as its candidate for State Representative.

9)  Even though the DTC caucus took no action with regard to Alexander as required by the DTC By-Laws if it wished to select him as its candidate for the town office of State Representative, on May 23, 2014 a Certificate of Party Endorsement was filed for Alexander for the position of State Representative.  On the Certificate, the "Town Committee Meeting" box was checked evidencing that he was selected by the DTC Town Committee as its alleged candidate for the position of State Representative.

10)  The fact that the "Town Committee Meeting" box was checked on Alexander's Certificate of Party Endorsement is an admission that Alexander was selected by the Democratic Town Committee, not by the DTC caucus as its By-Laws require. The caucus never selected Alexander as a candidate for anything.


Section 9-390 of the Connecticut General Statutes entitled, "Selection of party-endorsed candidates for municipal office and selection of delegates to conventions" provides, in relevant part:

(a) candidates of any party in any municipality for municipal office shall be selected, in accordance with the rules of such party, by: (1) The enrolled members of such party in such municipality in caucus, (2) delegates to a convention chosen in accordance with such rules by such enrolled members, or (3) the town committee of such party. The town chairman or his designee shall give notice in a newspaper having a general circulation in the town of the date, time, location and purpose of a caucus held pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection. Such notice shall be given not less than five days prior to the date set for the caucus; provided, if the rules of the party in any municipality require earlier notice, such party rules shall prevail.

This Statute enables a party to choose by "rules of such party" one of three alternative methods for the selection of  its candidates for town office:

            1)  by the enrolled members of such party in such municipality in caucus; OR

            2)  by delegates to a convention chosen in accordance with such rules by such enrolled members; OR

            3)  by the town committee.

As set forth above, in Section 5.2 of its By-Laws the DTC chose method number 1 and this is the method that has been in effect and used for about 50 years. 

In compliance with its 9-390 option to choose candidates for town office by caucus and in compliance with Section 5.2 of its By-Laws, the DTC gave notice of a caucus with regard to one candidate only, Marcel Grenier. It then conducted the caucus and the caucus lawfully selected him as its choice for Registrar of Voters.

The selection of Alexander by the DTC is quite another story.  Contrary to its 9-390 choice to select town candidates by caucus and contrary to Section 5.2 of its By-Laws, it is admitted that Alexander was "selected" by vote of the Town Committee rather than by caucus.

In his Complaint to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Mr. Morey asked that the selection of Alexander by the members of the DTC Town Committee as its candidate for State Representative be nullified and stricken from the ballot because: a) the DTC failed to comply with the choice it made under 9-390; and b) the DTC failed to comply with its 9-390 choice -- set forth in  Section 5.2 of its By-Laws -- that requires it to select candidates for town office by caucus, not by vote of the Town Committee.

Despite what appears to be a clear violation, the SEEC dismissed Mr. Morey's Complaint, not on the merits but because it didn't have jurisdiction over the Complaint.  The SEEC wrote:

... General Statutes § 9-387 sets forth that the state rules of each party shall prescribe the manner in which any dispute as to the endorsement by such party of a candidate for municipal office shall be resolved. The Commission does not have jurisdiction to enforce or interpret party rules.

The SEEC did, however, put the lie to the reported assertions by Mr. Alexander and Mr. Grossman that the position of State Rep isn't a "municipal office."  It wrote, "State Representative in the 67th House District in the Connecticut General Assembly is considered to be a 'municipal office,' as that term is defined in General Statutes § 9-372(7)1, as it is entirely contained within a single municipality."

So where does this go from here?  There are two entities that have the ability to knock Mr. Alexander off the ballot, Democratic State Central and the Superior Court.  As a practical matter, can you imagine that Democratic State Central would do anything?  Highly unlikely. Can Mr. Morey go to Superior Court for relief?  Probably not because he'd likely be unable to prove that he has standing to bring the action.  It's also an expensive proposition.

Good New Milford Democrats ought to be outraged about this and maybe one of them will step up and do what's right.  It's odd that Democratic Legal Advisor Paul Garlasco hasn't spoken up. He's an honorable guy and knows that this is wrong.  It surprises me that he's put party politics above the law.   

New Milford Democrats should demand that Alexander withdraw his name from the Ballot and they should forthwith remove Chairman Grossman from their Committee for what one commenter properly calls his "Machiavellian" schemes.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Alex Hamilton: R.I.P.

Domnul sa fie cu tine!

Prieteni tai din New Milford

I offer just a few words to pay respect to our friend Alex Hamilton and to remember this Good Man who touched so many of us in a beautiful way.  Alex.  His quick smile, his gift of gab, his great memory for names, faces and details of our lives. We'll not soon forget you.

The Lord Be With You.
Your New Milford Friends
 Alexander Hamilton


Monday, March 24, 2014

Town to Get $2.5M to Fund Demolition of Century Brass

Wow!  Certainly, the best news in years for New Milford is the Governor's announcement today that the State is "expected to approve" $2,500,000 in funding to demolish the Century Brass building!

What a great coup this is for Mayor Murphy and Senator Clark Chapin who have been working on this for a very long time.  Congratulations! 

This opens huge opportunities for most-welcome and much-needed economic development. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Train Derailment!

Photo Courtesy of Alan Chappuis and Steve Martirano

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Democratic Primary A Sure Thing: Lillis Gets the Signatures

John Lillis reports that has has obtained more than enough signatures to require a Primary.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Morey: Grossman a 'Red Flag of Danger' For New Milford Dems

It is extremely unfortunate that at a recent Caucus of the Democratic Town Committee, many long-time, highly-respected New Milford Democrats including a former Mayor, former First Selectmen, former Council members, current Council members and former and current Commissioners were summarily rejected by newcomer and three-time loser Andy Grossman and a few disgruntled Democrats.

Talk about rejection?  Did anyone at the Caucus bring up the fact that on three different occasions Andy Grossman was given the opportunity by the Democratic Town Committee to run for political office?  He ran for Town Council.  Rejected.  He ran for the Planning Commission.  Rejected.  He ran for State Representative.  Rejected.   In all three elections, he was the lowest vote-getter.   

Clearly, Andy Grossman doesn't get the message that he fails to resonate with New Milford voters so, naturally, he wants to blame others for his election losses.  Clearly, one of the reasons that he lost all three elections was that his political speeches have no substance and are fraught with the idea of raising taxes on New Milford residents even higher.

Neither he nor his fellow malcontented Democrats have any fresh ideas;  years on the Council but not one of them has ever come forward with a fresh, original idea.  They are quick to criticize but offer no substance.

Andy Grossman wants to be the poster boy for a new Democratic Party in New Milford but, to the contrary, after his trifecta of election losses he should only be a red flag of danger for what the local Democrats have in store for New Milford's future. 

Andy-the-Taxman should not ever be the Democrats' voice in Town government.