So who should we vote for?

There’s no news in the papers and not much going on.

So let’s debate who should serve on the next town council and Board of Education. Tell us why you think the way you do — and try to convince us that you’re right without being mean-spirited.

I’m sure I’m not alone in having no idea who should be elected.



Filed under campaign, election, Politics, West Hartford

294 responses to “So who should we vote for?

  1. boatangdemetriou

    The Tories!

    Oh, wait, hang on…wrong country. Sorry!

  2. Fred Garvin

    We should certainly vote Joe Visconti onto the town council. He’s been active and outspoken and someone willing to speak out in a forceful manner can only benefit our community.

    You don’t have to agree with him. But he may get people talking and thinking in a way they didn’t before.

  3. I also plan to vote for Joe Visconti. He’s unorthodox and outspoken, and he also cares about West Hartford. I appreciate that he doesn’t lurk in dark corners whispering to insiders about what it takes to win this or that district via the numbers game, and instead throws out ideas and interacts with the community. Love him or hate him – he’d put his heart and soul into making this town better.

    As for the other people running – I have to say that I’m troubled by the lack of information and public commentary by them. Maybe a snipit here or there, but not much in the way of written conviction – and I mean that of all the candidates on both sides. The theme of this campaign has been “play it safe”. Very disappointing which is why many of us are having a hard time deciding who to vote for.

    At least we have the voting record of the current council and BOE members. But lack of a plan or vision by new contenders is not a reason in of itself to change course. I’d love to see some courage by someone other than Joe to spell out what they will do in office and why.

  4. turtle

    I will not vote for Joe Visconti. Of course the King is right that candidates and public servants should engage with the public and elaborate on their positions (Harry Captain is exemplary in that regard). But in addition to Joe’s controversial tactics during the Blue Back controversy, he has demonstrated right here on this blog a contempt for facts, a willingness to categorically and repeatedly vilify the “education cartel” and other people with whom he disagrees, an unwillingness to respond in good faith when his assertions are challenged, and satisfaction with simplistic and ideologically-charged views on complex issues.

    I appreciate Joe’s enthusiasm for civic life and his fabulous fashion sense and theatrical flair. Although the genteel character of the Town Council may conceal a dense political subtext that people like the King find exasperating, that doesn’t mean that voters should resort to a divisive, inflammatory individual like Joe. The town government should be comprised of thoughtful, knowledgeable, and upstanding people with the ability to forge consensus and act in the best long-term interests of the town. Eye on the prize.

  5. TWC

    I’m surprised to find myself in complete agreement with the King this morning regarding his concerns about this year’s elections. Here we are almost to the end of September, and so far it looks more like a high school popularity contest (“…vote for me, because I’m a great guy…”) than anything else.

    Unless you are content to go to the polls like cattle to simply vote the party line (maybe this explains the popularity of the Cow Parade in WH), how is someone in this Town supposed to know where the candidates stand on the issues that concern us?

  6. turtle

    I hear a number of debates are planned for October. Stay tuned.

  7. Becca

    I’m voting for Visconti.
    He’s the only one who is committed to make government more open and visible.
    Consensus is highly over-rated and only waters down the end product.

  8. Elliot Check

    Council debates were taped last night
    BOE to be taped tomorrow (weds)

  9. Osemasterofdoom

    I know I’m voting for Harry Captain. Even though he’s not of my party, on this blog he has shown himself to be a thoughtful, intelligent public servant who is willing to engage his constituents . We need more politicians like him.

    By the same token, I am 100 percent in agreement with Turtle on Joe Visconti’s candidacy. I admire Joe for his passion and his willingness to put his name on the ballot. However, his meanspiritedness, lack of respect for the opinions of others and unwillingness to listen to opposing points of views are not the qualities I want running my town. In my opinion, Joe is a bombthrower. That’s OK, we need bombthrowers to shake things up one in a while. But bombthrowers do not do well when entrusted with the reins of power.

  10. Elliot Check

    Sorry to inform you, Harry Captain is not running

  11. TWC

    And if he was, I would urge that no one should vote for him until he recants his vote to cut middle-school Quest.

    Speaking of which, can someone identify who the other three members of the School Board are that voted to cut the Quest program? (I believe the vote was 4-3.) I plan on attending their next election rally with my “Quest for Less” sign.

  12. Erin Jones

    I will be supporting Peter Martin, Kelly Clark and Leon Davidoff for the council. Peter and Kelly are young, energetic people that this town needs, and Leon has the experience in local politics to really dig into the budget. We need stable, committed minority representation in town and these three are a great place to rebuold that. I urge any D’s, R’s or I’s to vote for them.

    I will also support Diane Mudgge for BOE – she is smart, funny and great.

    Elliot, tell us why I should vote for you.

    My vote is up for grabs!

  13. Elliot Check

    Same as Diane, I’m “smart, funny and great”
    also semi-young and still energetic like Kelly and Peter. Unfortunately I don’t have twins.

  14. Erin Jones

    Wait, who has twins? Kelly or Peter? That seals the deal for me 🙂

  15. Elmwoodian

    Harry, Fiorentino, the Chair and Brassil-Spinella were the yea votes for cutting Quest (I.e., the current incumbent candidates were for keeping it), though I’m not going to hold that against them in my vote in ’09m, R or D. The BOE was in a no-win situation after the massive budget cuts. (Oh no! I think I just opened up that topic again!).

  16. turtle

    I thought Fiorentino was not going to run again, unfortunately.

  17. TWC

    Oh, come on Elmwoodian, they could have found the money to keep Quest fully-funded. Particularly after $550,000 just magicallyshowed up out of thin air.

    So I don’t buy the excuse that they cut Quest because they didn’t have the money. They cut Quest because they don’t think the gifted children in this Town deserve to have their special needs addressed. After all, they’re just a bunch of upper-income spoiled brats who probably get every whim in life handed to them on a silver platter anyway, right?

    So Joe (or Elliot), if you haven’t already completed your debate yet, could you please throw this question into the hopper:

    Do you think the children who are identified as having special needs requiring an adjustment in their curriculum that inspires and enriches their education deserve to have their programs funded, or is it only kids at the bottom of the academic spectrum that deserve to have their special needs addressed?

  18. Elmwoodian

    At any rate, neither Harry, Fiorentino, the Chair nor Brassil-Spinella are running. The ones that voted for Quest (Schmidt, Putterman, Kindall) are. So, points for them? That’s up to the voters!

  19. TWC

    My question was intended for the new batch of BOE candidates.

    By the way, Elmwoodian, I neglected to thank you for clarifying who voted which way. And it appears the BOE resorted to an old trick used regularly in the U.S. Senate to let the members who are not up for re-election cast the controversial votes that everyone hopes will be forgotten in two to four years.

    Not this time. Trust me to remind everyone in ’09 of the travesty that befell Quest in ’07 and who was responsible for that shameful decision.

  20. turtle

    They cut Quest because they don’t think the gifted children in this Town deserve to have their special needs addressed. After all, they’re just a bunch of upper-income spoiled brats who probably get every whim in life handed to them on a silver platter anyway, right?

    TWC, I’m shocked that you would think that anyone on the board would be that cynical about gifted children. I don’t think that’s at all true. There was a debate before the budget cuts ever came around about whether alternatives to Quest, particularly middle-school Quest, should be explored. By the way, I have a kid who’s very bright and so have a serious interest in enrichment programs.

    You never did say how you would educate children who are struggling academically without spending money.

  21. Elmwoodian

    I seriously doubt that there was the kind of collusion that you seem to be implying. It’s a pretty serious charge to be leveling on a group of principled public servants (I speak of all 7) who were working under extremely difficult conditions with bad and unpopular choices all around.

    At any rate, even if we were to entertain your cynical theory of collusion, keep in mind, two of the votes for cutting Quest were made by Reps and two were made by Dems. Why would Lib Brassil Spinella, a conservative Rep, want to help the Dem incumbents by taking the hit?

  22. Visconti -Sforza

    Turtle, you say

    “But in addition to Joe’s controversial tactics during the Blue Back controversy, he has demonstrated right here on this blog a contempt for facts, a willingness to categorically and repeatedly vilify the “education cartel” and other people with whom he disagrees, an unwillingness to respond in good faith when his assertions are challenged, and satisfaction with simplistic and ideologically-charged views on complex issues.”

    1.controversial tactics? and what were those?
    2.Contempt for facts? which facts would those be?
    3.wont respond in good faith? when would Joe ever not respond?
    4. satisfied with simplistic and idelogically- charged views? – Control spending period, Teachers should have given back as Sklarz asked them so Quest could be saved, instead they told the taxpayers to take a hike, a tax hike.

  23. turtle

    That first “controversial” in that sentence should have been dropped, but anyway, in a word, “Taubman”.

    As for the rest, that has been my perception these past several months reading you on this blog. You always do respond in some way, and some of that doggerel was pretty funny.

    We would all like to “control spending”, but the devil is in the details, and we have already gone around the block about whether the teachers were justified in not making concessions during the budget crunch. I’d rather not revisit that issue now.

    I wish you well, you rascal! If you had your own TV show I would tune in for sure.

  24. Rick Liftig

    Turtle is right on the button here.

    The underlying issue in Blueback was who had the public trust. By accepting funding from Taubman and denying its existence (until their hand was forced), opponents of BBS severely damaged their credibility.

    Say what you will about how the BBS issue was placed on the table, once it got placed there it was fully open to evaluation and the town had the chance to vote on its merits twice. Denying Taubman’s backing was an insult to the voter’s intelligence.

    Members of the WHISP group looked me straight in the eye and shook their heads, “no,” when asked about receiving funds from Taubman (not Joe in this case). I will never vote for these two people (when or if they run again) because of that incident. Personally, I think Joe would not have lied, but the ‘secret’ Taubman involvement stunk, and by association, implicated him too.

    And Joe… I love ya…. you’re a fun personality and you raise some great points, but can you work with others? Can you sit through countless committee meetings in which i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed? The stuff that we all see on TV every other week is only a small part of the Council’s work.

    Most important here, the Council works with the Town Manager and the Department heads to run the town. As much as any candidate says that they can change the system – they can’t. The system will be in place long after all of us are gone.

    To be effective, a member of the Council has to be able to exert influence on the eight other council members and on the Town Staff – otherwise, they are just puffing hot air. And, a member of the Council (because they are legal representatives of the town) is severely restricted in what they can say or do – otherwise they leave the town open to litigation. Joe – will you be able to sit back when necessary and say nothing to prevent issues from ballooning or getting out of hand? I think not.

    It’s easy to lob in a grenade. But what do you do once you’ve made the mess?

  25. JTS

    Rick shoots and scores. What kind of West Hartford resident in their right mind would elect someone who rails against consensus, slanders their potential colleagues and defames the professional town staff? Rick’s point about Joe taking Taubman’s 30 pieces of silver is almost (but not quite) incidental when you think about how damaging Joe would be to the sane, steady process by which this town runs, whether R’s or D’s are in the majority. If there are enough people that buy what he’s selling, I think we all know we’re looking at a one term wonder.

  26. B

    But lets’s talk about the truly crucial issue in these elections: the lawnsigns. I admit to a strong bias towards the D’s, but I’ll try to be fair.

    Best so far are the BOE candidates. I love the idea of having a common theme. The triangle graphics in the corners are perfectly abstract (unlike the all too common stars and stripes), but serve to link them when lined up side by side. Not sure how they have convinced homeowners to actually put up three at a time. Colors are unusual but bright. A beautiful sherbert rainbow.

    Thornberry’s is very nice. Basic blue with streak of red. Solid, no-nonsense.

    Brennen’s green signs are ok, though a little too plain. Color stands out though.

    Coursey’s seem a little lopsided to me. Same colors as Thornberry’s but not quite as appealing.

    Slifka’s is fine for him. Not too showy.

    No sign yet of Verengia. Anyone sees one yet?

    I remember liking Cantor’s a lot (though now, as i sit at my desk, I can’t remember a thing about it)

    And Essie’s is great. I love the bold, lively first name!

    As for the Republicans, I really do like the idea of running with a theme, but they are so boring that I don’t see how they will help with name recognition at all. Also, I don’t think red is a good choice in west hartford. Do they really want to remind us all of their links to the national party? I do give them credit, however, for putting the word “republican” on the signs. I sure there was a temptation not to do so.

    Which leads to the fascinating fact that Visconti is, apparently, the only one not part of the red brigade. His blue signs stand out simply by way of contrast with the other members of his team. Is this simply a matter of timing, since he was a late addition to the slate, or an intentional decision. Either way, it certainly helps distinguish him from the field. As if he needed any help doing that.

  27. Tara Minogue

    I like the red signs – simple, straight forward, team oriented. They look great.

    I haven’t seen any of Verrengia’s up, I think he’s the only one.

    The ones I hate? Kindall’s. She has no opponent yet is spending money on yard signs? All she has to do is cast a vote for herself to win. That’s not the type of management I like to see. Although it won’t matter, I won’t be supporting her for that – poor judgment.

  28. Theresa Lerner

    I would hope voters would look into the platform of the candidates running for office and not base their votes on colors of lawn signs or who has the prettiest sign!

  29. TWC

    “…I’m shocked that you would think that anyone on the board would be that cynical about gifted children…”

    Turtle, I truly hope you’re right about my impressions of what lead to the cuts in the Quest Program. But I have yet to hear any reassurance from any of the School Board incumbents or candidates that they think the gifted children in this Town deserve a fair shake at the budget pie going forward.

    And if there are alternatives to Quest under consideration in this Town, this is the first time I’ve heard anything about that subject. I’m all ears to learn more.

    “…I seriously doubt that there was the kind of collusion that you seem to be implying…”

    Elmwoodian, you’re probably right. But even if you’re wrong, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone to play smart politics on controversial issues like this one to maintain an elected position.

    Nevertheless, if anyone took my comment as an unfair criticism of the honest and much-appreciated hard work completed by this Town’s elected officials for no pay (and not much more recognition), I truly do apologize.

  30. And they say in America you can grow up to be anything that you want to be. No matter what your political stripe. No matter what you do. I guess that applies everywhere in this country except West Hartford.

    Each one of you who have railed against Joe Visconti would do better by doing something. Get out there and participate in government instead of lambasting anyone who will make the commitment. Try being a little more active instead of cerebral.

    At least Joe has put his words into actions. You may not like them. But never once did he not stand up for his point of view and take on the pols and the papers and the locals. How many of you have done that? I would venture to guess it isn’t many.

    I am not here to endorse Joe, but to possibly make you think. It never fails that you find something wrong with what Joe has to say. He isn’t right nearly all of the time, but one thing he does have is conviction.

    Get over yourselves and come out from behind the blog and participate in your town. If you don’t like the candidates, be one. I’d like to see how many votes any one of you would get.

  31. TWC

    While I have a hard time disagreeing with anyone who has expressed their reservations about Joe Visconti (who like most, I have met, sincerely like, but disagree with more often than not), I still wonder if West Hartford doesn’t need a Joe Visconti on the Town Council to stir things up a little bit. The current course of the ’07 election is a perfect example of what concerns me about the politics in this Town:

    (1) Any issues that are the least bit controversial aren’t openly and honestly debated, due to what I fear is some misplaced concern that we can’t be reasonable in these debates and ultimately find consensus.

    (2) The decision of how best to address such issues is made behind closed doors, where the public is never a witness to the true discussion and debate that takes place between our public officials or candidates.

    (3) Once there is a general consensus on such issues, the Town Council and BOE members show up for their public meetings (or debates) and put on nothing more than a tightly choreographed show for the public to create the impression that this Town has embraced participatory democracy.

    While I admit that the status quo might lead to a less contentious approach for making the key decisions in this Town, is everyone convinced that this approach leads to better results? My fear is that in everyone’s quest (no pun intended) for consensus, we risk excluding voices that might help direct this Town to more equitable results for all concerned.

    The BlueBack Square fight might be a good example of what concerns me. If Joe (or someone like him) had been on the Council and forced an open and honest debate on this subject before several of these decisions were discussed and made behind closed doors, would this Town have had to suffer through two painful referendums and several lawsuits to reach the result that I agree was probably in the best interests of West Hartford (although only time will tell here)?

    By the way, I’m still not voting for Joe. My father was a dedicated public school teacher, and I’m probably the only hard-carrying member of a union in the Elizabeth Park neighborhood. So Joe’s “villainization” of this Town’s teachers union is a show-stopper for me.

  32. Joe Visconti

    Rick you are dead wrong,

    I along with my fellow Republicans will change the system inside or outside of Power. You say I can’t sit through countless meeting as a councilor?, and you know this how? Have you a clue as to what it takes to gather thousands of signatures multiple times in 30 day periods, organize and educate the public, raise thousands of dollars, create public awareness as I have helped groups like Save the Center do?
    The time needed for being a Town Councilor dwarfs what I already do daily to defend the public from Tools of Special Interest.

    Just because you are a cynic and do not have the commitment to put your name in the hat to run for office, do not underestimate my tenacity, dedication and business experience to be a Town Councilor.

    As far as Taubman, Save the Center received many thousands of dollars from hundreds of residents in Town way before we ever heard of Taubman (Last day of hearings on Blue Back when Taubmans reps left a report at the back of the Town hall room). I stated at the mic at our meetings that we at Save the Center would take anyones money to protect the Town from the done deal public subsidized monstrosity it now shows itself to be.

    Fundraising 101: When a donor makes a donation, you don’t ask them to sign a waiver that they will not litigate in their own interest.

    Should I name names as to the many influential people in Town (of the 9,100 who voted against the project) that supported us?

    Richard Heapes aka Streetworks aka JDA development aka etc had West Hartford residents on their payroll legally, does that bother you too.

    Do you think the public knows just who was paid directly to influence their neighbors on Blue Back?

    Do you think it smart that Scott Slifka and all the rest of the council (except Kevin Conners) at the time went into paid Blue Back color brochures mailed to West Hartford residents weekly at a cost of $???,???.00 ?
    These things don’t bother you my friend because you truly believe in public subsidy for Billionaires and seek/sought to overlook the appearance of ethical conflict. Scott & Company thought they could pose in the close to or over ? million dollar advertisments because they were residents, they wanted it both ways.

    Gotta get dinner I’ll be back!

  33. Hockey Dad

    Just as a point of information, there are two upcoming debates: October 10th at the Senior Center at Faxon Library and October 15th at Bristow Middle School hosted by townwide PTO organizations.

  34. Elmwoodian

    Dr. Rick Liftig has been the Number One advocate for the Elmwood area in both his words and his actions. His relentless pursuit of Elmwood revitalization has directly and actually produced success and results in that area.

    He has served this town as a dedicated, tireless pubic citizen and he deserves nothing short of our full-throated thanks and praise.

    Joe’s knee-jerk and insulting response to Dr. Liftig’s reasoned post regarding Joe’s candidacy is even above and beyond what I have come to expect on this board. This is how he goes about seeking our vote? By insulting one of our most dedicated–and optimistic!– (“Cynical?” Seriously?) citizens?

    Dr. Liftig deserves nothing less than a full apology.

  35. Joe Visconti

    No, Dr Liftig should apologize to me for his corrosive and assumptive remarks concerning my abilities to represent the people (as I have done above and beyond my civic duty for years now, dont forget 9,100 residents stood with me and found no representation with any of our then Town Councilors).
    My reaction was not knee-Jerk, but timely and accurate, Rick knows all too well what he is doing in his hopeless attempts to reframe and redefine the Blue Back Square debate.
    Property Tax increase’s for 08 is the real issue and where the Dems don’t want anyone to look at right now.
    Phase in for year 2 of 07 municipal/education budget taxes “Plus” new “3.5-7%” tax increases for 08 will “combine” for a real shock and awe tax bill surprise in the mail for many of our most finacially vulnerable residents.

  36. Rick Liftig

    Elmwoodian, I really appreciate the nice comments and maybe back to you Joe, I need to ask… “what are your plans to change the system?”

    Are the other Republicans on board?

    Do you think that the Town Manager and the Town Staff will deal openly with you, or would you receive filtered information because of your past actions?

    I’m not trying to dredge up BBS as much as I want to ask you about your future effectiveness. The system does not work perfectly and frankly, should be more open. Part of the problem with both BBS and the budget was the feeling of being blind-sided by the electorate.

    I know you are a hard worker, but can you work within the system? (it’s not going away!) So please, you are welcome to shoot some holes in my last posting and explain (along with any other candidates) what you want to change and how you would do it?

  37. JTS

    Rick – Please stop asking Joe to give a reasoned response to a fair question. This guy views selling out to Taubman and costing the town thousands and thousands of dollars to be public service. His warped, messianic view of his “contributions” to this town should give any level headed WH resident serious pause in casting a ballot his way. Anyone can be a hard worker when the job at hand is self promotion, and as we have all seen from Joe, he excels at this particular task. Can anybody, even Joe’s followers see him working with committed, caring WH residents, town staff and other community leaders to achieve consensus? Seriously, I think we all know that we’ve got a better chance of seeing a painted cow take to the skies.

  38. Joe Visconti

    Rick, I will get you what you ask, in fact it is part of my media blitz comming soon.

    selling out to Taubman? I hope you are using that as a metaphor, remember if you will, that Save the Center was in play long before Taubman appeared on the scene. Activism rules when the representative government fails us as it has done with Blue Back and taxes (budget referendums).

    Self promotion you bet, all day long and for the people not the politics.

    As far as concensus building, not for it:
    “Concensus equals higher taxes”.
    Challenging the status quo and competing for better ideas, solutions and innovation in government is needed more than ever today in West Hartford.
    Also serious pause should go to your messianinc view of the tax and spend policies of the Democratic Party in Town.
    Lastly, Democracy has it’s price as Blue Back Square LLC and the Town of West Hartford found out by excluding the bidding process in their public subsidy scheme.

  39. Terry Gavin

    This is my big problem with Joe – no matter what, the conversation comes back to BBS. We need to build a party that can represent (at least) the minority in this town and you can’t do that around a controversial cult of personality like Joe. People like Adler, Davidoff, Martin and Clark are a solid core of Republicans that are making specific policy pronouncements and are a calming but direct voice for change. We need to build on this group.

  40. Anonymous

    Don’t be naive – the discussion will ALWAYS come back to BBS because that project forever changed the atmosphere of this town – it is no longer the small town for better or for worse. Whether it will be what it was promised still remains to be seen.
    Visconti merely tried to wake people up to see the reality of what was happening in the deals that were forged. Feldman was secretive and out for his own best interest. He didn’t even have the stones to stick around to see it through. Visconti saw what was happening here was the same that had happened before when he lived elsewhere. In the end we were bought and sold. Stop villifying Visconti for trying to make sure we got a decent deal and that the entire proceedings were made open to the public. Half of the information that we did get as citizens would not have come to us without Visconti making a fuss. he should be lauded for that. The truth is there was a huge bait and switch going on and to this day we have not received the project that was promised. Even Healthtrax thought so which is why they have abandoned this project.

    As for the upcoming election,
    Clark is a no-show who is too busy caring for twins (and rightfully should be) She is just a placeholder for her husband who can’t run on his own name.
    The solid core Republicans are Visconti and Seder.
    They will make a difference on the Council.
    The rest are Al Turco’s people (old guard).

    One thing is for certain we need to get new blood and new ideas and new faces on this Council otherwise it’s just business as usual. If we don’t get our spending and our development priorities straight then all the Blue Backs in the world won’t save the financial health and success of this town.
    We have some real difficult issues ahead of us and we need people who are willing to truly debate and question the issues not just provide “consensus”.

  41. JTS

    “Self promotion you bet, all day long and for the people not the politics.”

    Do you even read what you type? Self promotion, but for the people? Wonderful.

  42. turtle

    It looks like the national Republicans’ contempt for the democratic process has filtered down to the town level if all this sneering about consensus is any indication.

  43. Osemasterofdoom

    Hmm, Anonymous’ rantings sound awfully familiar, don’t they?

    I don’t look at the Taubman relationship to the BBS opponents as corruption as much as it was a case of incredibly poor judgement. Didn’t the people in the anti-BBS crowd know that the minute they took one cent of Taubman money that it would be used to discredit them and ultimately doom the cause for which they were working? Even a political neophyte knows that who you take money from (be they labor unions, pharmaceutical companies, Log Cabin Republicans or Chinese businessmen) will allow your opponents to paint you as being in the pocket of that group?

    As for consensus, it reminds me of what Ben Franklin said about rebellion: that it is always positive in the first person (our rebellion) and negative in the third person (their rebellion). Consensus is a wonderful thing when you’re in the majority, since it reinforces the status quo. That status quo will never change unless a strong alternative to it is proposed. Right now, I just don’t see it.

  44. Elmwoodian

    Anonymous: What’s this about Clark being a “no-show” and a placeholder for her husband? Who is her husband and why wouldn’t he be on the ticket?

  45. Joe Visconti

    Hey JTS

    Being a candidate for the people is all about self promotion, “don’t you even think before you write?”

    “Cult of personality”? hmn read the comment above “I” wrote for JTS.


    What Anonymous may be touching on is that Kelly Clark’s husband will be working for Robinson & Cole, the law firm which represents the Town of West Hartford, the ones that defended us all from Taubmans lawsuits. Kelly is a wonderful person and is putting the Town before her family as she and her husband work hard to balance newborn twins with their desire to help make West Hartford better, I look forward to working with Kelly if we get elected together .
    Also Peter Martin works for the law firm of Pepe and Hazard (SP) you know, where Al Turco works, the Al Turco who was/is? on Blue Back’s payroll.
    Peter is another great Candidate for Town Council and I look forward to working with him if we get elected together.

    Michael Seder is also a great Republican and although we differ on “Style’s” (Big Time), Mike and I always find common ground.

  46. JTS

    “Being a candidate for the people is all about self promotion.”

    Two thoughts about the above statement that make me cringe:

    1) That you believe the above
    2) That this deluded reasoning in any way stems from the education you received in WH

    By the way, Pop Quiz:

    A free Joe V lawn sign to the first person who can identify the 2 most brutally self serving, unintentionally ironic words in Joe’s statement below:

    “What Anonymous may be touching on is that Kelly Clark’s husband will be working for Robinson & Cole, the law firm which represents the Town of West Hartford, the ones that defended us all from Taubmans lawsuits.”

    Give up?

    “us all”

    As a rule, when you sell out to the other side, you’re no longer part of “us all.” Tell you what Joe, reimburse the town for whatever your leash-holder’s lawsuit cost us and we’ll call it even.

    Us all.


  47. Elmwoodian

    Which Joe V.’s sign do we get?

  48. El Toro

    Visconti cannot simply compliment any of his fellow republican candidates. If Joe is elected, it is clear that he will not be able to work with the D’s. My problem with Joe is that I don’t believe he will be able to work with R’s that are elected.

  49. JTS

    Elmwoodian – Winner’s choice.

  50. Bruce Putterman

    When I first ran for the Board of Education 4 years ago, I offered to hold the equivalent of “office hours” around town, similar to college professors who set aside 2 hours a week for students to come see them without an appointment. I did this twice, but no one ever attended, so I stopped.

    Perhaps it’s worth trying this again, with a special invitation to the folks who participate on this blog. While electronic communications such as emails and blogs have their place, there is nothing quite like getting together face to face to build trust and understanding.

    We could meet after work, before work, on a Sunday evening, during lunch… at Effies, the Quaker Diner, The Corner Pug, Prospect Café, Rockledge, or anywhere.

    This way we could get past the formality of board meetings and the physical isolation of blogging to have a more meaningful dialogue about issues that people are rightfully concerned about.

    The benefit of this kind of meeting to me as a Board of Ed member would be a better understanding of not just what West Hartford residents are concerned about, but why they are concerned. The benefit to the people who post to this blog might be a clearer understanding of the considerable thought and rationale that goes into each decision members of the Board of Ed make.

    Perhaps most important of all, there would be an opportunity to brainstorm ideas, together, about how to balance improvements in our school system with fiscal responsibility.

    How about it? Is anyone interested?

  51. Joe Visconti


    I’m in, you know as JTS thinks anything to promote myself? Time and Place?

    Wait your turn, I pitched that softball “us all” for Turtle, come on turtle, where’d ya go?
    Also JTS please call Peter Martin and Kelly Clark to confirm our Kumbaya relationships. You can’t or won’t believe we are a team beyond our Blue Back connections because you just may be Scott Slifka behind that mask of a pseudonym, or maybe another Dem Tool. Come out Come out whoever you are!!!!

  52. JTS

    Don’t you have a job?

  53. turtle

    You’re too subtle for me, Joe!

  54. Joe Visconti

    Got a Job

    I’m “Self” employed, I love those job titles with “Self ” included, it makes for a better me.

  55. TWC

    Please excuse me for breaking up the bash-Visconti-fest (as fun as that might be). But I’d like to get back to the core topic first raised in this post and offer up who I would vote for if they had the political courage to address the issue raised by Rick Green in his Courant column today, Magnets: Show Us Results.

    Without regard to the candidate’s ultimate position on this issue, I’d be willing to vote for anyone who was willing to break from the “consensus” in this Town and revisit, re-explore and publicly debate whether or not racial rebalancing is the best approach for closing the achievement gap in West Hartford and this region.

    Like Rick Green, I think the current strategies of spending millions of dollars to create or promote racially-based magnet schools–or perhaps even worse, putting young children on buses and shipping them off to other towns (e.g., Project Choice)–make no public policy sense if at the end of the day the intended beneficiaries of this expensive and disproportionate allocation of our public resources don’t perform any better than kids who are “stuck” in our stagnating neighborhood schools.

    If you truly share my belief that we have a moral obligation to address this problem without turning our backs on the children in this Town who have equally legitimate educational needs, why do we continue to fund these “feel good” solutions if they fail to deliver on their ultimate goal?

  56. Rick Liftig

    TWC –

    We are easily distracted from the issues – very true.

    The silence from both parties in this election has been deafening. Along with the magnet school/racial issue, we should be discussing town finances and priorities, development issues and traffic issues.

    I am waiting for some (any!) candidate to address the issue of how our system works here. I have been around these zoning issues enough over the last ten years to know that the biggest problem with most of these developments is the surprise factor, not the development itself.

    Is this month of October going to merely be one where the Republicans tell you how bad the Democrats are and the Democrats stand on their record (all past issues) or is someone going to say, “Let’s look to the future and make the town work better – here’s my plan… here are our priorities?”

  57. turtle

    So TWC, are you at once advocating de facto segregation (which, of course, already exists throughout most of the West Hartford elementary schools) and defunding those schools who serve a disproportionate number of expensive-to-educate children?

    Are you suggesting that if the magnet school teachers’ best efforts haven’t thus far closed the achievement gap, then there’s some extra-magnet solution out there that will incredibly reveal itself once the magnets have been “reconsidered”? (By the way, Smith performed well last year despite a bit of upheaval.) In other words, do you not suppose that every effort is already being made by West Hartford’s teachers and education administration to close the achievement gap? Do you really think they are content to simply “feel good”? Come on.

    And don’t you think it’s a bit disingenuous to speak of “racially-balanced” schools when poverty and class are more at issue here? I don’t doubt your sincerity when you speak of our moral obligation to address this problem, but I can’t recall one instance when you suggested an alternative (or a moral one, anyway).

    Whoa! Deja vu.

  58. TWC

    No, turtle, I’m not advocating de facto segregation nor the “defunding” of any school or program that has kids with special needs.

    What I am questioning is whether or not it makes more sense to take the significant amount of money this Town (and region) currently invests to address de facto segregation and invest these funds wherever needed the most to (1) decrease pupil-to-teacher ratios even further, (2) fully-fund the efforts of our schools to reach out to busy parents to make sure they are playing a more proactive roll in their kids’ education, and (3) in general, find a better way to get through to struggling kids that the solution to de facto segregation is to work hard in school, play by the rules (unless, of course, you’re a hedge fund manager), and then build your own mansion on the hill someday.

    As far as anyone “feeling good” about the status quo, yes, I do believe there are some in this Town that are more content to simply put their blinders on and address the racial discrimination issues of a prior generation than to join the rest of us in the 21st century to address the realities of today—certainly not the hard working teachers or administrators in this Town, but some of the ones making the policy and investment decisions.

    Lastly, you’re absolutely right I don’t have the silver-bullet solution to this intractable problem, which is why I’m looking for a creative and forward-thinking leader in this Town who knows more about this subject than I do to guide the way.

    Is there anyone out there, or should I try to draft turtle to run for the BOE?

  59. Theresa Lerner

    The best thing I ever did for my children was to send them to Smith – a magnet school. I sent them there for full day K,the science/technology, great teachers and staff. They received a great education, PLUS the racial integration piece that they could not receive at their neighborhood school. My kids are more accepting of others, more grounded, and not phased by people who look or act differently than themselves. This has given them quite the edge not only academically(they are willing to work in groups, and play sports with others different from themselves) but socially as well. Isn’t that the point?!?!?!Being able to learn to the best of your ability and live, work and dwell in any kind of community??!!??
    TO me, it is not just about maneuvering resources around the schools!

  60. @TWC:

    I find it interesting that you are commenting on a program you seem to know nothing about. Quest takes either your free time or time away from real classes to encourage you to think creatively and focus an independent project. It’s a great idea in theory, however having been a part of it I would love to see quest be the first thing cut from our budget. It only serves to alienate “gifted students” from the rest of the school and waste their time. Call me a cynic, but there was never anything particularly special about us quest kids, and as much as you’d like to think the majority of us were middle to upper class kids.

    If anything, quest was detrimental to our education, because not only were we pulled out of classes, they treated us as superior to our peers, and we were far from it. Quest is a program for parents, not students, I’ve never met a student who enjoys quest, its just for parents to feel good about themselves and their children. Why should we spend tax dollars so people can flatter themselves?

  61. WH Alum

    Wow those are pretty strong words from Joseph Thomas. How long ago did you graduate? Are you a product of the current Quest program as it is run today? I myself was in “Project Challenge” back in the late 70’s, early 80’s. I found it fun, creative and challenging, and felt pretty special to have been included in it. I had not considered myself to be “brainy” and never felt isolated or alienated. I was also an athletic kid, and looking back on high school tend to pride myself on being rather well-rounded and having friends from lots of different groups in school – the “smart kids” and the “jocks” alike.

    It is my understanding that Quest is a choice, and generally offered to kids who can handle, and want, an extra challenge and something different to do that can’t be done in the regular classroom. Independent investigations can be on any topic that interests the kids. And I believe they are pulled from Learning Lab (aka study hall) not from classes. At least at the middle school.
    Maybe someone should take a survey of the kids in the program today. Are they happy that the program was cut back or upset? Do they wish it would go away? Do they participate because their parents force them to? Do they find friends of a like-mind when they go to Quest, feel challenged (in a positive way) by working with other students who are on their level instead of always being the smartest in the class?

    I think that before the administration or the BOE make any further decisions about the Quest program, they should spend some time in the classrooms with the kids and really talk to them about what Quest means to them. Maybe there will be lots of Joseph Thomases, maybe there won’t be.

  62. I must correct myself, you’re right about being pulled out of learning labs as opposed to real classes. Its been a while and I was thinking about being pulled out of class in elementary school. However, there were many students without a learning lab, and because of the nature of the quest system were forced to go during their lunch period. I’m not someone who really values my lunch period now, but in middle school when its only 20 minutes and the only time to talk to a lot of your friends its more of a big deal.

    I’m in my third year at Conard, so I would consider that a product of today’s Quest system. I probably wouldn’t have such harsh feelings towards the Quest program if it was voluntary as you say, however that is far from reality. It is always presented as a choice, but in practice it is more of a “forced option”.

    I’d be interested in knowing the numbers of students who eventually quit quest, and the numbers of students added to fill the program. I personally know of people who both quit and were invited in subsequent years, presumably to keep the numbers steady. It was a very difficult process to get yourself in the program, and if you were in the program there were consequences for not attending, whether or not you wanted to. I myself could not quit by myself, and my parents had to intervene multiple times just to get myself out, and it took me two years to convince them to let me out. I found that anyone who wanted to quit also had the same experience, and for some reason parents are very against quitting quest.

    I’m sure there are students who think of quest positively, however I’d say there are few that the program actually benefited in a practical way. I think that there are other ways to boost the self esteem of those feeling unchallenged without resorting to a costly, largely ineffective program.
    I think that it can only hurt a young student to be with those of a like-mind, especially if the opinion they share is that they are the smartest kids in all of their classes. Intelligence should not be measured in knowledge, nor test scores. If one particular student knows a great deal more information than their peers in a particular subject, why waste their time in that class as well as another, unrelated one? Is it so bad to put them in a class where they will learn information that they don’t know rather than quest?
    In quest while they tell you your project can be about anything you want, there are certainly restrictions as I discovered. I ended up doing my own research outside of class because I wasn’t allowed to in quest, and I have probably benefited more from that than anything I ever did in quest.

  63. Harry Captain

    I’ve held back from posting to this string, in particular, because I thought it might be a more useful discussion for WH voters to discuss the pro/con attributes of particular candidates among themselves.

    However, like many strings on the blog, oftentimes the subject yields topics/discussions that are very good – but not “on topic” with the subject line. What bothers me about this is that good discussion takes place on the sub-topic, however, the sharing is limited to “blog junkies” that follow all strings top-to-bottom. Many folks just read the headline and never see the good sub-topic buried in the string – in this case Quest.

    Here’s my take on the broader subject – Gifted and Talented programming. The BOE and the administration support developing every student to their full potential. Every student means EVERY student across the spectrum from the most challenged student to the most gifted.

    The BOE supports Gifted and Talented programming – period.

    The BOE seeks to evaluate and implement the best Gifted and Talented programming available today, in 2007 public education. That may, or may not be Quest.

    I feel the anxiety people have regarding the budget reduction made to Middle School Quest last year. The combination of a difficult budget year, honors options available to Middle School students, the retirement of a “Quest” person, and a management decision to evaluate the best Gifted and Talented programs available rather than just “filling the position” and continuing with the status quo was the basis of the decision.

  64. TWC

    Oops…I meant to add a comment here in response to Theresa Lerner that ended up under a different post.

    Sorry about that.

    whdad: I don’t suppose you could move my comment to where it belongs?

  65. 8: 47 pm: Joe plugs “West Hartford Blog” in his response on the Cable Access show. Hmmm.

    Actually Joe, you did a nice job. You provided very informative and intelligent responses to questions by callers.

    Was that Theresa calling in about the zero percent budget increase? Sounded like her voice. I could be wrong though.

  66. eafinct

    I have heard similar things to Joseph Thomas’s comments from my daughter who was in the KP Quest program for 6th & 7th grades recently (she just entered Hall this year0. She said a lot of her friends in Quest felt like they were told they could do whatever they wanted, but in fact they couldn’t. It was my impression as a parent that the project my daughter had was too long-term a project in terms of the rapidly changing interests she had at that age. She wanted to move on but was stuck with completing a project she had lost interest in. I have another daughter in KP Quest this year — the program is now once a week, with a new teacher, and with Odyssey of the Mind as an optional after-school class, open also to non-Quest students. I will be interested to see how this all plays out. Certainly we should look to see if Quest is the best program we can offer our gifted and talented students; if it is achieving its objectives; if there are more effective programs out there. But some type of Gifted & Talented program is essential. We don’t want our kids’ creative minds to die off in middle school, or to be funneled into far less positive activities. Kids who think differently — and not necessarily better, but differently — need a haven, especially in the crucial middle school years when kids can be so cruel to those who are different in any way.

  67. Anonymous

    Quest is a waste of money.
    You have an alum who has attested to that.
    Treat all kids like they are gifted and talented and see what happens.

    Harry it couldn’t have been that difficult a budget year since so many nice raises were handed out. It is really so tiring to hear the BOE continually crying poverty and then they have the gall to turn around and cut programs and educational materials so they can stuff administrators’ pockets.

    I hope parents wake up and throw all of these incumbents out of office, and if they don’t then they get what they deserve.

  68. turtle

    I caught just the last minutes of the Republican Record on WHC-TV last night; it seems the candidates wish to cut taxes. The segment of Report Card that followed was largely devoted to honoring Tom Fiorentino for his 12 years of service on the Board of Ed, and let’s just say that, especially by comparison to Mr. Fiorentino, the Republican slate was underwhelming.

    Of course I may have missed something during the first 20 minutes of Republican Record. Let me guess. The candidates all vowed to “get spending under control”!

  69. TWC

    Harry, I appreciate your clarification of where the BOE incumbents stand on the issue of Quest and the broader concerns I’ve raised regarding this Town’s commitment to programs for kids at the upper-end of the academic spectrum. I will be sure to press this year’s fresh batch of candidates on this same issue to learn where they stand on this issue.

    And although I think Joseph’s perspective on Quest is not reflective of my son’s experience in Quest so far, I will be the first to admit that this Town might be able to do better than Quest for these kids. So I applaud the BOE’s efforts to explore alternatives to Quest and would like to hear more this subject when you get a chance.

    But the bottom-line is this: please don’t allow this Town to fall into the trap of simply teaching-to-the-test and ignoring what I believe is the fundamental responsibility of any public school system, and that is to direct an equitable allocation of public resources that stimulate and maximize the academic achievement of all children, not just those with the greatest academic needs.

  70. If there is wide-spread agreement that Quest is a program that should be retooled because its not an effective use of funds or student’s time, then it shouldn’t be funded. Programs that use taxpayer’s dollars should have clear and crisply defined objectives. And the results, like any program, should be measureable. Pretty clear cut – what do we get for our tax dollars? Define it. That is the responsibility of the BOE and educators.

  71. TWC

    “…Programs that use taxpayer’s dollars should have clear and crisply defined objectives. And the results, like any program, should be measureable…

    King, based on your proposed standard for what gets funded by this Town (or eliminated altogether) art, sports, music, theater, debate and just about any other form of class-room instruction or extra-curricular activity that doesn’t fall squarely within the subjects covered by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) testing would be subject to elimination. This type of education sounds pretty bleak to me and would hardly lead to the well-rounded individuals I think this Town should be producing.

    But at least now we know another motivation for Bush’s promotion of the NCLB Act. It wasn’t just to bust the unions, but to give tax avoidance zealots like you an excuse to whittle down public education spending to the short-sighted and miserly levels we would end up with if we applied the standards you propose.

  72. WH Alum

    If there is wide-spread agreement that Quest is a program that should be retooled because its not an effective use of funds or student’s time, then it shouldn’t be funded.

    Who said there is wide-spread agreement? Until the admin or BOE decide to talk to all the kids and their parents who participate in Quest, not just one child who had a less than satisfactory experience, then we do not have “wide-spread agreement.” I know at least one family that spoke about leaving WH last spring when they feared our gifted program would be cut, and many parents are banging the door down trying to get their kids in.

    …a management decision to evaluate the best Gifted and Talented programs available rather than just “filling the position” and continuing with the status quo was the basis of the decision.

    I hope that the evaluation of various programs has started already. Is there a committee evaluating different programs? Are any of the parents aware of the options being discussed for their children? Are the teachers involved in this process? The budget season is about to begin again, right? Perhaps you should talk to Joe Renzulli and Sally Reis up at UConn to see what they think of the WH program compared to other CT towns. And for those who don’t know who I am speaking about, you should find out before you make any comments about the Quest program and talent & gifted education in general. They are local, but internationally known for their work in gifted education.

    I also think that you will find that the Quest program does have clearly defined objectives, as do all academic programs in WH, if you spend some time on the website.

  73. TWC

    “…I also think that you will find that the Quest program does have clearly defined objectives, as do all academic programs in WH, if you spend some time on the website…”

    Hey, WH alum, how ’bout saving us all some time and providing the link(s) to what you’re talking about on Or are you afraid that whdad’s over-active spam catcher is going to prevent you from sharing these links?

  74. There is wide-spread agreement, WH Alum. I’ve heard the same description of the program from numerous parents, grads and kids. “Wide-Spread” goes far beyond this blog.

    If people leave over this, where will they go? WH Schools are fairly well respected. Something tells me there is more at play here – for someone to move out of town just because that program is going to be dropped – well that’s just silly. Seems like a petty reason to go through the hell of buying, selling, and moving. But it takes all kinds.

    I’m sure someone has decided to move because of the new automated trash pick up. To each, their own.

  75. WH Alum

    TWC – sorry I was too tired/lazy last night to go searching for the links. The overall curriculum links can be found here for elementary and middle school programs:

    And the Quest website is here:

    There is lots of info on their philosophy, identification, and curriculum for Quest, as well as specific “scope and sequence” documents – which is why I’ll just give the main link and then you can poke around from there.

    King, in that case, I think a formal survey needs to be done. Because the people you talk to don’t sound like the students/parents I talk to who have participated in Quest. And if, like Harry says, they are investigating more effective ways to deliver talented & gifted education, then fabulous. But to say, “then it shouldn’t be funded,” is like saying we should not fund English as a second language or support for kids with learning disabilities.

    This recent article in Time was very interesting… “Are We Failing Our Geniuses?”,9171,1653653,00.html
    Now I don’t mean to say that every Quest kid has an IQ of 145, but still there is some good food for thought in that article. For instance, “…gifted students drop out at the same rates as nongifted kids–about 5% of both populations leave school early. Later in life, according to the scholarly Handbook of Gifted Education, up to one-fifth of dropouts test in the gifted range.” We can’t afford to fail these kids by not giving them educational opportunities that challenge them on their intellectual level, instead of “teaching to the middle” all the time and expecitng them to sit there and be polite while bored out of their minds.

    As for people leaving town over it – if they feel their kids will get a better education somewhere else, and can’t afford a private school, then that’s what it is. For those of us who bought our homes in WH because of the educational opportunities provided, it’s not a big stretch to think some would leave as those opportunities get pared down. I do know of at least one family who pulled their younger child and sent him to a private school because WH does not offer primary gifted programming. But not everyone can afford to do that.

  76. WH Alum

    I guess you’re right, TWC – my comments and links are “awaiting moderation…”

  77. WH Alum

    And one more – for those who have not seen it, got a really nice face-lift. Kudos to whoever was responsible for it.

  78. turtle

    I think Bruce Putterman was behind the redesign.

  79. TWC

    In a series of prior comments (here, here and here), I have lamented the fact that the policy-makers in this Town appear to be stuck in a bygone era and seem more interested in spending millions of dollars on “feel good” projects that do little to address the vitally important goal of improving the academic achievement of struggling children in this Town than investing in the long-term solution to de facto segregation.

    Based upon the contents of an article in today’s Courant (Comment Raises Eyebrows), it appears I am not alone with these concerns. Here is what the new Hartford Superintendent of Schools—a man who probably knows far more about this subject than anyone in this Town—is reported to have said about this subject:

    “…there is no research to suggest that minority students will do better by sitting next to a white student…”

    Although this comment now has the Sheff “give us the money, or we’ll bus our kids into your suburban schools” crowd in a tizzy, if you would just stop a moment to think about what he is saying, to suggest otherwise is actually a form of racism—perhaps a well-intentioned form of racism, but racist nonetheless.

    In addition to challenging the obsolete mindset that still grips this region that children of color will only succeed academically if they are sitting next to white kids, the Superintendent raises the other cost of this benevolent form of racism:

    “…Adamowski [Hartford’ Superintendent] doesn’t like the city’s two-tiered system of magnet schools with ample resources and struggling neighborhood schools that make do with less money…”

    Amen, Mr. Adamwski. Tell it like it is, because the same thing is happening here in West Hartford.

    So once again, are there any BOE candidates out there willing to examine the facts and re-explore the best way to address de facto segregation without creating a two-tiered system of elementary schools in this Town? Or is it just going to be more of the same “destined for failure” status quo?

  80. TWC

    In a series of prior comments (see above), I have lamented the fact that the policy-makers in this Town appear to be stuck in a bygone era and seem more interested in spending millions of dollars on “feel good” projects that do little to address the vitally important goal of improving the academic achievement of struggling children in this Town than investing in the long-term solution to de facto segregation.

    Based upon the contents of an article in today’s Courant (Comment Raises Eyebrows), it appears I am not alone with these concerns. Here is what the new Hartford Superintendent of Schools—a man who probably knows far more about this subject than anyone in this Town—is reported to have said about this subject:

    “…there is no research to suggest that minority students will do better by sitting next to a white student…”

    Although this comment now has the Sheff “give us the money, or we’ll bus our kids into your suburban schools” crowd in a tizzy, if you would just stop for a moment to think about what he is saying, to suggest otherwise is actually a form of racism—perhaps a well-intentioned form of racism, but racist nonetheless.

    In addition to challenging the obsolete mindset that still grips this region that children of color will only succeed academically if they are sitting next to white kids, the Superintendent raises the other cost of this benevolent form of racism:

    “…Adamowski [Hartford’ Superintendent] doesn’t like the city’s two-tiered system of magnet schools with ample resources and struggling neighborhood schools that make do with less money…”

    Amen, Mr. Adamwski. Tell it like it is, because the same thing is happening here in West Hartford.

    So once again, are there any BOE candidates out there willing to examine the facts and re-explore the best way to address de facto segregation without creating a two-tiered system of elementary schools in this Town? Or is it just going to be more of the same “destined for failure” status quo?

  81. Elliot Check

    TWC, I am not going to presume to have answers to all problems, and will be the first to admit there is alot to learn.

    I have friends who have been in the education field as teachers and administrators for many years. I have been tyring to listen to them very carefully, and have valued their input.

    There are a number of questions I would like to see answered. I have not heard any discussion by the BOE as to how the recent Supreme Court on racial balance might effect the Town. For that matter I havn’t heard the State discuss it either.

    When the BOE was getting the report from the Administration 2 weeks ago on the testing results I did not hear any discussion as to why the underprivileged and minorities in our town were doing 1o%points lower then the same groups in other towns. I also did not hear any discussion on what they were doing/going to do to address the problem.

    You may recall a few months back the Courant had an article with map showing the demographics of the town and the spin was that the Town had a problem with its’ racial balance. I had a somewhat different take on it, and by chance the subject came up while I was visitin Charter Oak this week. The discussion at Charter Oak centered around the fact that if you looked carefully at that map you would see that minorities groups were expanding through the town as they became more successful. They were noticing this as well at Charter Oak.

    I am trying to keep these as observations, and not get into electioneering. There are other items I could bring up but they might cross that line. I think these are points that need to be looked no matter who gets in

  82. turtle

    I don’t have time to respond to every one of your assumptions just now, TWC, but for starters, could you identify the “struggling neighborhood schools” in West Hartford that you suggest are comparable to those in the depressed city of Hartford? Because you have got to be kidding.

    “…there is no research to suggest that minority students will do better by sitting next to a white student…”

    That is not the argument made by defenders of the magnet schools in West Hartford (the product of a state mandate), and your accusation that we are essentially racists out to soak the town is ironic, to say the least. I assure you that, in addition to the attraction of a specialized curriculum, many parents bus their kids to the magnets because of the blatant racism their children experience at neighborhood schools, with precious little sympathy from administrators. (I could tell you some hair-raising stories, but they are not mine to tell.) On the other hand, West Hartford is content to warehouse ESOL, poor, and minority students who struggle academically, not least because of the vast cultural gulf that has emerged as the country becomes ever more class stratified, and then you complain that schools elsewhere in town that we are to believe are “struggling” are getting shafted (name one). Wow!

    By the way, I don’t know about Charter Oak, but Smith is both racially and socio-economically diverse, although more the former than the latter, and student achievement spans the range, a fact that is lost on people in town who know precious little about our schools. Many magnet parents believe, as Theresa Lerner explained above, that socializing their kids in a diverse environment is an incalculable benefit, and it has nothing to do with the notion that proximity to whites will spur minority children to higher academic achievement.

    I would simply ask the candidates, given that Connecticut has the widest achievement gap in the country, “How do you propose to close the achievement gap?” instead of pretending that West Hartford is a level playing field where “neighborhood schools” are victimized because the magnets have a disproportionate number of students who require additional support.

  83. anonymous

    If Putterman is behind the new whps website design then he should be voted out of office – I understand they spent $10,000 for that (that was in the Courant article) and I wonder why on earth they didn’t get students to redesign the site for free as part of their technology education. What an incredible loss of an educational opportunity that would also have given something back to the town.

  84. turtle

    I have no idea if Putterman was behind the decision to redesign the site, but at the last BoE meeting Darcey suggested that Putterman’s expertise had been invaluable to the project once it got underway.

    Anyway, it was high time that website got redesigned and perfectly reasonable for the town to hire professionals.

  85. TWC

    Turtle, a pretty long comment for someone who doesn’t “…have time to respond…”

    But I will wait for what else concerns you before responding to your misinterpretation of what I’ve said (I’m starting to feel like The King) and add some additional information that will shed more light on this subject.

  86. turtle

    Dastardly time-sink of a blog! If I’ve misinterpreted you, TWC, my apologies.

    I think that will do for one morning’s rant, so go ahead.

  87. WH Alum

    How long does it take for comments to be “moderated” or do I have to recreate my post from last night?

  88. WH Alum:

    You need to recreate it. Rarely, do they get moderated. It’s a pain since its hard to determine exactly why the spam catcher swallowed your message to begin with. It’s probably a random issue with WordPress.

    But there is nothing more frusterating than seeing the screen that says “whoops you’ve already said that” and have nothing appear.

    Whdad, are you out there?

  89. WH Alum

    Thanks, WHDad – my post is up there… with the links to curriculum for the schools and Quest:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 8:32 pm

  90. WH Mom

    When asked who I should vote for here is my impute: “A forward thinking, dynamic individual who is positive All the time and has the ability to take risks and question every tax dollar being spent”. When I graduated from Conard high school a decade ago I went worldly scholars. These students were the most intelligent in the country, walking into Ivy League schools on early admission, and with little effort. We should always try to use what we have created in this town. THINK outside the box, otherwise you may suffocate.

  91. Gary Reger

    Can anyone who may have attended the candidates’ forum last night at the Bishops Corner Senior Center report? I unfortunately couldn’t go. I’d be grateful to hear what was said and asked.

  92. Rick Liftig

    This has got to be the quietest election in my memory. Not one candidate has knocked on my door, not one flyer has been dropped off. I have seen only one print ad.

    At least, this week the LOWV fact sheet will be delivered and the debates will be on TV.

    Has anyone had a different experience?

  93. K

    Candidates outnumbered voters 2 to 1. It was a little sad. I don’t think that there was much press for the event.

    The WH Listserve announced that the WH PTOs are sponsoring a candidate forum on the 15th at 7pm at Bristow Auditorium. From the Listserve:

    Come Meet the West Hartford Candidates for Town Council & Board of Education
    October 15, 7:00-9:00 PM
    Bristow Middle School Auditorium

    On Monday, October 15th from 7:00-9:00 p.m. the West Hartford PTOs will be sponsoring a Candidates Night. The public is invited to join the Town Council and Board of Education candidates in a discussion of topics and issues important to our community.

    Each candidate present will give a brief opening statement. Then, the audience will break into small groups and periodically rotate to meet each of the candidates and ask questions.

    The program will be held in the Bristow Middle School Auditorium, 34 Highland Street. Light refreshments will be provided by the PTOs. Please feel free to invite your friends and family.

    If you have questions, please contact Laura Linabury, King Philip PTO at 233-4930 or

    Sounds like it will be a little better organized (and attended) than last night’s humdrum affair.

    There is another forum scheduled 10/17 again at the Bishop’s Corner Senior Center with TC starting at 12:30, BOE starting at 2:15.

  94. Joe Visconti

    It was sad last night to see the Democrats asking for transparency and open government as they tried to cherrypick our Republican Platform ( such political thieves).
    One big moment came when Scott Slifka said ” I can’t believe I am going to say this but Joe Visconti is right” in reference to local traffic being created by us all who live in town.
    I did a little political bashing of Joe Verrengia being a Democrat while voting as a Republican, something I was going to do during the Council meeting tuesday on television. Joe told me he does not like and is tired of the personal attacks. I told Joe Verrengia it was not personal but political. Chuck Coursey stepped up with how he doesn’t want the council meetings to be like “Crossfire” suggesting as he looked over at me that somehow I was not being civil. Me? never.

    Scott also tried to give Carolyn Thornberry the credit for a tram that is now coming for Blue Back next week. If anyone goes back to the spring of 04 council meetings you can read my testimony on how we should have a tram or trolley as part of Blue Back. Carolyn weeks later came back with a Rickshaw thing and tried to capitalize on my idea. Mark Jahne mentions it again in last months Hartford Magazine which all of you got in the mail free.
    Race came up with a question from the audience on why there is no minority representation on Council or the Board of Ed. I explained that we Republicans are not running a full slate of Candidates and would have been glad to have anyone run for the Board of Ed to fill the ticket.
    Our entire Republican team did very good, too much to post here.

    It was nice to learn that Terry Schmidt is a Minister.


  95. Joe, sounds like it was at least interesting.

    Joe Verrengia? What did the guy expect? He switches parties, deceives his supports, and now wants a cakewalk. He’s the first guy that should get bounced for lack of conviction. If he is too “tired” perhaps he should rethink his candidacy. I know that I won’t be too tired to work to make sure he doesn’t get elected.

    I prefer seven Scott Silkas to 1 Joe Verrengia. Joe Verrengia doesn’t stand for anything but “getting elected”. Dems don’t care because its nice to have the rare opportunity to have a police officer on their slate (very rare – most police officer tend to be conservative since Dems are notoriously soft on crime).

    So what options did the candidates including Scott purpose for handling the traffic issue?

    Visconti, quite honestly the reason you will be elected is that the Republican base in town is sick of sending in Democratic lapdogs who capitiulate and cave in to give the appearance of “working together” in order to make for a friendly photo op and create the impression being personable.

    Running for office is a job. It’s not personal. Tell them to stop whining and put solutions on the table that matter. If they don’t want debate then go join a knitting club. The Democratic record lies somewhere between mediocre and poor. The school ratings are sad for what’s being spent, and decisions seem to be made in a vaccuum (or late night down at the Dems waterhole). The referredum sent a message – taxes are too stinking high.

    The taxpayers in town deserve to witness crossfire on the council. I want to see Democrats rave with passion for raising taxes on the community. And I want to see an opposition party fighting tooth and nail against it. Tough tottles, if its not going to be your usual walk in the park, Coursey. Think knitting club.

  96. And Rick you are right about one thing…. I haven’t seen candidates going door to door either. I have seen them outside of Stop & Shop, and Waldbaums – and they’ve been Republican candidates – usually Leon, and Adler, and of course Joe Visconti.

    Where’s the passion? What is this “they can come see me” attitude?

    While a few votes are secure in my mind. I’m actually contemplating voting for people who physically come to my door and ask for my vote. If they are willing to get off their rears and show me some passion, I might just give a few votes to the opposition for not just sitting on their rears.

    I asked someone if they are going to go door to door. They told me that their personal commitments don’t allow for it. That person will not get my vote.

  97. Gary Reger

    Thanks for the summary. I plan on attending the Bristow forum Monday night.

  98. Elmwoodian

    And what a non-partisan summary it was! (wink-wink)

  99. K

    To my knowledge, the Dems have been going door to door walking & knocking as much as time and weather (and family) will allow. Thus far, they’ve walked all or much of voting districts of King Philip (1-1), St. John’s Church (2-2), Morley (3-2), WH Town Hall (5-2) and parts of Sedgwick (9-2), Conard (6-2), and Web Hill (5-1) maybe more. The Jewish holidays make it hard to cover many sections of town in the early fall, but now it’s pedal to the metal. By 11/6, they will have covered at least parts of most of the districts in town. Let it not be said that they aren’t out there hitting the bricks. These folks know how to earn it.

  100. Joe Visconti

    I Did some more door to door today. Boy are people mad at all the incumbants for the tax situation they have gotten us into. Many voters told me they know from conversations within their groups and circles that this is the year the dems lose control of the town.

    If anyone would like me to dedicate some planned time on their street to speak with them and/or their neighbors in a group setting or on their decks I am available.

  101. Rick Liftig

    Door-to-door contact has introduced me to some wonderful citizens. You can tell a lot about someone in a brief conversation. The candidate nights are also invaluable. What I have learned is that all of these folks are caring and concerned about the community. They really open themselves up to close examination when they decide to run. And very few are total duds.

  102. Now there’s a concept! Pumpkin Ale night with Pitchfork Joe in the backyard. A few appetizers, a bonfire, songs of freedom and liberty, and words of inspiration from our guest speaker. The Sons of Liberty would be smiling down on such a shindig, eh? We could plot emancipation for taxpayers currently under seige by the liberal hoards.

  103. Elmwoodian

    Concerning Joe’s statement here about what he says he’s hearing at doors: Dollars to donuts, the Dems would probably report that they are hearing the opposite in their experiences going door to door. So, I’m going to take Joe’s R revolution declaration (and pretty much anything else I hear from a candidate on this board) with a big hunk of salt. Spin, spin, spin! Gotta love election season! Only the results on Nov. 6 will tell.

  104. Joe Visconti


    I am hearing that from dems on door to door. I don’t need to speak as much to the Republican voters because I did most of that work this summer when seeking signature for a primary and have heard their concerns.

  105. Elmwoodian

    The larger point is that a few doors, D or R, do not a village make. Come back to us when you’ve knocked on every door and then your statement re: unrest might hold any water. Until then, lets not treat the words of a few as the will of the many.

  106. anonymous

    I only have two words for the incumbents: tax referendum

    People are very fed up with high taxes and the round of raises that were just doled out. As for Scott Slifka, he has done nothing but lie to the town as in the education building won’t be demolished, and as in the mill rate will be reduced to 29, as in there aren’t any plans for a mini golf course. He has already hinted in the paper his desire to make his position (as well as everyone else on the Council) a PAID Position – as if we have enough to spend money on making him a career politician. Apparently, he would like a staff and a car like all his other mayor friends. Poor baby has to answer his own email and telephone calls. tsk tsk.. I feel for him.

    West Hartford better think twice about re-electing the incumbents. As for Verrengia, clearly he doesn’t know what he represents, except his own self interest. He’ll probably be as bad a Democrat as he was a Republican. And, is it possible that Carolyn Thornberry could ever speak once without mentioning her once important husband? We so need some new faces on this Town Council. I’ll miss Spada and Sinatro though. They had loads of common sense.

    As for the Board of Ed… Schmitt and Putterman have to go. They wasted so much time and energy on the stupid later school start times issue (oh yes the one that never really got put to bed once and for all) that really important stuff like how to fund Quest and other programs got the boot.

    It’s time for some changes.
    Oh and I will certainly be voting for Joe Visconti.
    We clearly need his type of creative thinking, and Council meetings won’t be so boring to watch.

  107. Elmwoodian

    So, Judy/Theresa/Linda–oops! I mean “anonymous” (wink): I’m getting the sense that you are trending Republican. Just a wild hunch.

  108. anonymous

    Good try Elmwoodian – could be Patti/Carl/Sue/Mark too (wink)!
    But hey – who cares.
    I could be an Unaffiliated or even a Democrat that’s fed up with Town Council garbage – despite the new trash cans.

  109. Joe Visconti


    Would you like to go door to door to every home with me and take notes?

  110. Elmwoodian

    Thanks for the offer, but I’ll wait for the results in the paper on 11/7.

  111. Me too. Councilman Visconti… has a nice ring to it.

    I just wish the GOP had a stronger slate. Clearly taxpayers in West Hartford are fed up with high taxes and poorly negotiated union salaries, in addition to what’s obviously a spending problem. But you have to give them a reason why they should vote for you. Joe has done that and secures his base. Where is the rest of the Republican field? Hello, anybody home?

  112. WH Alum

    Speaking of reasons, I’d like to hear why Joe chose BLUE lawn signs and did not put “Republican” on them. I hope people are paying attention at the polls.

  113. Yeah Joe, why not blue? Why not yellow? Why not pink with orange dots?

    I hope people who go to the polls pay attention to the sign color you chose, after all, that’s what’s important in this election – why else would they vote for or against you? Forget the issues, let’s get on with the uniform color you belong to. Boy, oh boy, I do hope people are paying attention.

    And they might mistake you for being a Democrat too. After all, no one seeks out candidates to learn where they stand before voting. It’s all about the sign color?

    Hey Joe, what font did you use? Is it a legal font or should you disqualify yourself immediately?

    Good f’n Grief!

  114. Gary Reger

    I am going tonight to the forum at Bristow. I will try to take some notes and post a summary of the event here, if folks would like.

  115. Joe Visconti

    WH Alumni- BYW how do we know you are a true Alumni of West Hartford?

    As for the sign colors either your memory fails you or you were not paying attention last election or you did not live in Town. I have recycled my old lawn signs from the last election, showing how to conserve and plan ahead something I will continue when elected to the Town Council.
    Also I chose Chorplast in 05 because I planned on running again and needed the durability they offer. As you may notice many of the paper lawn signs of both Parties are falling apart in the wind and rain we have been having. As for the color Blue, when was it decided that Democrats own that color? As for no mention of Republican on the signs, I ran in 05 as an Independent candidate like John Joyce is doing for the Board of ED now. Thanx for being so concerned.

  116. WH Alum

    Thanks for the reasonable explanation, Joe. King could take a lesson. The only reason I mentioned it was because you stand as a Republican and generally it is Dems who go with blue. I wanted to be sure it was not a deliberate move to confuse voters, as I have heard it mentioned it might have been. Now you’ve had a chance to clear that up for anyone else who was wondering and reads the blog.

    And simply put, I’ve lived in WH for almost 40 years, and never paid much attention to the colors of lawn signs or party affiliations in the past.

  117. WH Alum

    And thank you, Gary. It would be great to see a summary, as I cannot attend the forum this evening, but had been planning to do so.

  118. TWC

    Gary, I’d planned to attend the forum tonight too, but I’m feeling a little under the weather today. So I would very much appreciate your efforts to share your impressions of the BOE candidates.

    You may not share these concerns, but here are two issues I would have asked these candidates about:

    (1) Are they committed to fully-funding special programs for gifted children, or do they agree with the incumbents that if money is tight, programs like Quest can be the first to go; and

    (2) Do they support the incumbents’ on-going plans to create a two-tiered system of elementary schools in this Town—a system that will inevitably lead to depriving every elementary school but Charter Oak and Smith of funding they need to provide an equal and quality education to all children in this Town—or do they have any better ideas for addressing the challenges of racial segregation and under-achieving students?

  119. Blue like Putterman’s or blue like Verrengia’s signs?

    Good job recycling Joe. You are the green candidate after all. How many other candidates recycled their signs?

  120. Gary Reger

    As promised, I attended the candidates’ forum at Bristow this evening, and here is a more-or-less verbatim transcription of my notes. Please: if I have misrepresented the views of a candidate or the thrust of a question, I apologize; I did my best. I have tried also simply to report, in words as close as I can to those actually used, what the candidates said. I have tried to inject no commentary.

    Forum: After opening statements, the Town Council and Town Clerk candidates stayed in one room with about half the audience, the BOE candidates went to another with the other half. After about 45 minutes the audience switched. I therefore heard only half of the Q & A for each group.

    In my group, there were no questions addressed to the two candidates for Town Clerk.

    Attendance was about 50.

    My apologies in advance for the length of this posting, and if I have misspelled any names.

    Present were:

    Town Clerk: Essie Lagrow; Theresa McGrath

    Town Council: Scott Slifka, Carolyn Thornberry, Chuck Coursey, Sheri Cantor, Tim Brennan, Joe Verrengia; Joe Visconti, Steve Adler, Mike Seder, Leon Davidoff, Peter Martin, Kelly Clark

    Board of Education: Claire Kindall, Bruce Putterman, Terry Schmitt; Diane Muge, Elliot Check, John Joyce

    Candidates gave roughly 30 second opening statements. Most reviewed their personal histories as West Hartford residents and parents, and/or talked a bit about their professional background. Some made policy remarks:

    Bruce Putterman: commitment to helping low-achieving kids.
    Diane Muge: seek budget restraint through finding operational efficiencies.
    Chuck Coursey: work on task force for bike safety; work on traffic calming for side streets.
    Joe Verrengia: push for New Britain road improvement; work to bring Children’s Museum to Elmwood.
    Steve Adler: work to shift some of the tax burden on Grand List from residential to commercial.
    Mike Seder: increase citizen input and transparency; work to manage well West Hartford transition from suburb to small city.

    Question and Answer for Town Council Candidates

    Q: What should West Hartford be doing to deal with racism in Town in the face of growing population of people of color? Why did neither party recruit a candidate of color? Will you provide leadership, and of what kind, on this issue?

    Adler: Will lead by working to include different cultural elements.

    Visconti: People of color in WH projected to grow 5%/annum 2005-2020. Republicans tried to find a candidate, but did not succeed.

    Cantor: Must work to get more minority folks on Town boards and commissions, but hard because these are volunteer jobs; many such folks are single parents or families with both parents employed; but have been working with Democracy Works, WIRED; Human Rights group created at Hall.

    Coursey: Success stories of diversity working will help.

    Seder: Need to keep WH affordable via budget control, tax control; neighborhood interactions will create integration.

    Q: Given proven track record for success, shouldn’t WH be investing in early childhood education?

    Davidoff: Early education is crucial; must seek public input about where to find the money.

    Verrengia: Had leaned against this when started to learn about it, but became convinced it is important.

    Brennan: It’s crucial, full-day kindergarten important.

    Visconti: It’s good, but how do you pay? Need to get CT to fully pay ECS money to WH, otherwise can’t afford it; cost will push poorer people out of WH.

    Q: For Republicans: given past partisanship, how will you work with Democrats? For Democrats: anything you would in hindsight do differently?

    Adler (R): Meet regularly informally with Democrats, get to know each other.

    Coursey (D): The key to development in WH is smart growth, pedestrian friendly development, high-density mixed-use.

    Visconti (R): Blue Back Square divided Republican party, but now must support it since it was approved; wants to work building real Republican party in Town; will always work with Democrats, pushing good ideas.

    Thornberry (D): Most work done in committees consisting of 2 majority and 1 minority member; these always civil; happy with Blue Back Square which is smart-growth, but supports a new traffic study and would not rule out closing Raymond Road.

    Question and Answer for Board of Education Candidates

    Q: What happened to create big class sizes at Hall High this year?

    Muge: Class size depends on many factors, can’t just have a blanket statement; need to streamline to find money to maintain what we have; look at administrative budget; block schedule, late start times would have been bad for WH.

    Schmitt: Block schedule not appropriate, so voted against it; lots of good evidence that late start helps academic achievement; administrative costs must be looked at against all of CT, WH is 137 out of 162 on per capita administrative spending; 80% of money for people, 50% for teachers, so when budget gets trimmed, programs go, teachers go, kids must find other classes, class size goes up.

    Kindall: One teacher slated for dismissal at Conard and Hall saved at last minute.

    Check: Council was considering tax break for high-mileage cars, worth $80,000 = 2 teachers; Council and BOE must work together.

    Q: There is lots of money in Connecticut. How will you work as advocates for education to get State to make changes to bring more money for schools?

    Putterman: ECS = formula for distributing State funds, has not been revised in 12 years, WH lost $40,000,000 [NB: I may have misheard this figure], problem is lack of influence in legislature.

    Schmitt: BOE member has no more influence in legislature than ordinary citizen.

    Joyce: Take ECS money coming in this year, put in endowment to pay teachers, encourage people to donate to endowment.

    Q: [The same early education question as asked of Council candidates]

    Joyce: There are limits to budget, supports money to close achievement gap but suggests getting it from other end of schooling budget.

    Putterman: Supports pre-school, but how to advocate? There was seed money from the WH Foundation for Public Schools; moral obligation to close gap; also that would mean less cost in long run.

    Kindall: Goal of WH = 90% of all entering kindergarten kids should have pre-school experience, but can’t have lots of impact there; extending after-school programs important.

    Muge: Recover money for pre-school by sharing AP courses with other schools, sending kids to local colleges for AP courses.

    Q: Should BOE push State for universal CT healthcare to remove that cost? Shouldn’t WH stop doing CMT preparation since it is a waste of time?

    Putterman: Teachers use test prep to help identify students’ weaknesses, plan approaches.

    [Considerable audience reaction here, basic thrust = CMT is way to grade schools across state. But that barely covers the range of the talk, mostly from audience.]

    Q: What is your opinion of binding arbitration?

    Kindall: Trade-off: BA means teachers give up right to strike, this is mixed blessing for unions; valuable because it prevents strikes, keeps essential core municipal functions; supports it as lesser of many evils, plus it is state law.

    Schmitt: BA has become something of a game, not happy with recent outcome, but better than strikes; arbitrators have own culture, perhaps something could be done to influence that culture.

    Joyce: Look instead at perhaps abolishing tenure; no longer serves purpose.

    Check: This is not an easy to deal with.

    Q: What is the single biggest issue facing BOE next term, what’s your qualification to deal with it?

    Putterman: Helping at risk kids; experience doing so.


  121. eafinct

    One small correction: I believe that Essie’s last name is Labrot, not Lagrow. I know you apologized in advance, but I’m sure it’s important to the election!

  122. Elmwoodian

    Probably why she has her first name on those signs!

    Gary–Thanks for the recap. Very helpful to the forum, I’m sure. I’ll bet there would have been better attendance had it not been on a Sox/Giants night!

  123. does anybody else laugh after reading the crap visconti writes? the past 4 years the dude has forced his way into the spotlight and has annoyed the majority of this town with his attention-drawing behavior. i’m just tired of his nonsense and the way he has to over-do everything. i’m not about to involve myself in heavy political debate, getting into stupid arguments on a message board like 13 year olds, just throwing my thoughts out there. visconti, give it a rest man. the best way to summarize you are with the words “Notice Me.”

    you’re running for a spot on the town council, which is a worthwhile and commendable volunteer position, but let’s be real, this isn’t some high level of government, where the lives of the people hinge on every move that is made. stop acting like you’re some dignified, important politician, stop fronting like some hard-nosed, blue-collared, no-nonsense, tough guy, big shot who will help run this town the “right way.” people know your name around here because youre a loud mouth with seemingly nothing more important to take care of than trying to impress us all with your strong vocab and self-endorsed entertainment. until you prove anybody wrong, you will always what you have been in every other town-related vote/debate/function you have been involved in…a loser

    thats all i have to say

  124. Joe Visconti

    Town Guy

    Glad you “noticed me”, dont forget to vote on November 6th. Sorry my vocab is so strong.


    Good job, a lot to try and take down.

  125. Joe Visconti

    One more thing, Putterman is correct about the 40 Million dollar ECS shortfall. As a blue collared, hard nosed, tough guy & big shot with a big mouth I have been yelling that all over town for 3 years now. I am glad the Board of Ed has now followed my lead and found the courage to state the facts about ECS as well as about the “Culture of Binding Arb”. Now we need to get our State Democratic Team to keep their promise to us the taxpayers and pass law to fully fund ECS as well as outlaw Binding Arb Contract procedures or at least reduce Binding Arb in power to be subjected to an overide by Municipal Budget Referendums.

  126. Art Halloran

    Town guy, you are correct regarding Joe Visconti.

    Some run for office out of a desire to serve their community.

    Some run because they love the battlefield and want to fight for Republican or Democrat principles.

    Then there’s Joe who run’s because he craves the spotlight, he needs the spotlight. If you notice in his comments it’s always me, me, me. He seeks attention. He wants to be noticed. He wants to be important. He wants people to no longer ignore him, to take him seriously. He would rather have negative attention than no attention.

    For those who are seriously considering voting for Mr. Visconti you must ask yourself what has this man accomplished in his life? I mean actually accomplished. Where are his successes? What has he done for this town or any other town? If he cares so much, what has he done? Has he ever done anything besides cause trouble, complain, point out all he believes is wrong. Is he a successful businessman?

    This is where Judy through The King or anonymous steps up and praises Joe.

  127. Joe Visconti

    In that light we must ask all the Candidates what they have done for this town or any town. As far as causing trouble and pain, by that do you mean working to help 43% of the voting public (who voted against the project- 9,100 voters-referendum #1) to have a say on Blue Back Square because they were not represented by any of those on the Town Council? Or working tirelessly to spotlight the flaws in the Blue Back plan which now the whole town can see is a Concrete Jungle of density and creates abundant traffic, or work with the Taxpayers Group for years to bring to light waste in government?
    Democracy is not easy my friend, it requires us to be vigilante, if you are ok with the status quo God bless you, for thousands are fed up with the failed leadership. Also you may catch a glimpse of my biography on WHCT debates, I do a 2 minute me show like all the other Candidiates. Lastly I will post much more on ME and my other success’s in life on my website: Thanx for the segway!

  128. Joe,

    When you’re under attack, its evidence that you are winning. Particularly when you see misguided personal attacks like Art’s. Stay on message, you are doing fine. Besides, Art believes I’m Judy Aron.

    Since Art raised the question of qualification — maybe he can explain the hundreds of Democratic career politicians like Rosa DeLauro, who came up through the ranks of (career politician) Chris Dodd’s office and were somehow qualified to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, or upstart Jonathan Harris, who lived at home when he ran for WH Council, and ended up as Mayor. It’s unfortunate that in order to be considered legitimate these days – you have to be a liberal activist or a liberal trial attorney (with or without experience).

    Since when does having real life experience as a father, or working as a composer, or a contractor, or anything else – blue collar – or not disqualify you from being eligible to sit on WH Town Council? The snobbery of it all. But I bet WH residents know best, they will put in those who care and will fight to reduce the tax burden in office regardless of their career station.


    Great summary.

  129. By the way. Elliot Check, whoever you are. I watched the WHCT debate last night. I though both you and John Joyce did a great job challenging the status quo on the Board of Education. I thought if it weren’t for the two of you, it would have been a love fest. You even taught Clare something about budgeting.

    But I did wonder about Terry Schmidt. Was he just nervous or does he always talk like that? The poor guy talked in circles – a lot of words but not much content. I wonder if he makes more sense in person? He seemed to really attack Mr. Joyce though for whatever he says during the BOE forums.

    And three minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time for residents to get a “new idea across” for a complex operation like our school system. Sounds like they are just sitting there watching the clock, and hitting the bell when the three minutes are up. Is it so crowded that no one can go over? Perhaps someone could suggest a more open forum that allots for dialogue and discussion with parents and concerned citizens.

  130. Elmwoodian

    King, for once you and I agree on something outside of the Red Sox forum (dang, we disagreed there too!) I saw the “debate” too and it just seemed so short for what ends up being for most voters their only view of the candidates. WHCT should expand this for the next round, especially in light of the very small turnouts at these community forums. Where are ye, oh involved West Hartford citizenry?

  131. Gary Reger

    In separate conversations yesterday both a Democrat and a Republican bemoaned to me the piddling turnout at forums. (I gather the Bishops Corner Senior Center event was virtually unattended.) I also found the Bristow forum, though very useful, too crowded — some candidates never spoke a word that I heard — and too short. In fact there was time for only 3 questions for the Council candidates, and 4 for the BOE. (I didn’t get to ask my climate change question.) But time is now getting short to create other contexts where deeper conversation can take place. This is a long-term problem requiring long-term solutions.

  132. turtle

    Joe, you look so griefstricken on your candidate blog! Are you having a revelation of the future havoc your slash-and-burn-the-ed-budget would wreak on West Hartford?

    As for the Board of Ed… Schmitt and Putterman have to go. They wasted so much time and energy on the stupid later school start times issue (oh yes the one that never really got put to bed once and for all) that really important stuff like how to fund Quest and other programs got the boot.

    Judy, your spin is, of course, a distortion. Well before Quest was ever at issue, Schmitt and Putterman advocated late start times because late start times have a demonstrably beneficial impact on student performance. Just because making late start times available to all students irrespective of socioeconomic background was too expensive last year is no reason that the proposal should “put to bed once and for all”. That item was removed from the budget during the 1st round of cuts before the Town Council sent the budget back to the Board of Ed demanding a further reduction of $18 million+ (?). That’s my recollection of the sequence of events, anyway.

    A fully funded Quest program was in the budget at the time the late-start item was introduced. No one imagined that Quest would eventually be put on the block as a result of the actions of the West Hartford Taxpayers Association and their sympathizers.

    But it’s no surprise that Homeschoolers Who Want Their Taxes Cut would dismiss as “stupid” initiatives designed to benefit all public school students.

  133. Gary Reger

    And now for some analysis and commentary, based on what I heard at Bristow last night.

    Everyone agrees that, from a fiscal viewpoint, the next four years will be hard. The question is, what is to be done? The old Reagan bromide “cut government waste” as a solution to fiscal problems has long revealed its hollowness, both on the national and the local level. Diane Muge’s suggestion, that we outsource our high school AP classes to the University of Hartford and use the savings to fund pre-school education, combines privatization of public functions with a fiscal scheme that isn’t even half-baked. And it’s not hard to imagine the howls of protest from parents, if the reaction to cuts in Quest is any guide. As Terry Schmitt noted with perspicuity, WH already ranks 137 out of the State’s 162 school districts on per-capita administrative expenses, and will surely fall lower; it’s just hard to believe that administrative cuts, as Diane Muge suggested, can really recover much more money.

    Bruce Putterman explained with clarity the impact of the State’s failure to change its ESC formula for 12 years, a lassitude that has cost WH $40 million. We are getting part of that back this fiscal year (or so I understand). John Joyce offered a creative proposal for using the money by establishing an endowment out of which to pay teachers’ salaries. But if the $19 million (the figure bruited about) were so invested, at the highest responsible draw-down rate for a non-profit of 5%, such a fund would generate only $950,000/annum – the salary and benefits package, I would estimate, of only about 15 teachers. But he is the only candidate I heard who made any suggestions about what to do with this money; clearly, we need much more conversation.

    In any case, Terry Schmitt indirectly stated the big truth, when he noted that 80% of the education budget goes for salaries, and fully 50% for classroom teachers’ salaries. Quality education is labor-intensive, and in the post-capitalist economy in which we live, quality labor is simply not cheap. To pretend we can “solve” the problem by cutting back on teachers, or increasing class sizes, fails to face that reality. On that topic, Clare Kindall deftly debunked all the posturing on binding arbitration by noting, quite reasonably, that our repayment for participating is no teachers’ strikes. She clearly sees the good and the bad in the system (so too Terry Schmitt), but I for one now understand much more lucidly what the stakes really are.

    The money problem is linked tightly with, of course, the chief means for raising funds in CT towns: property taxes. Chuck Coursey — along with Carolyn Thornberry — defended Blue Back Square with passion as a fine example of the kind of smart-growth, high-density, pedestrian-friendly development WH needs. That die is cast, as everyone admits; we will see over the next few years what number comes up. For me the real pressing issue remains that blighted New Britain corridor, which was not addressed in my hearing, and whose fate is linked intimately with the next issue.

    The questions on race revealed a good deal, I think. Mark Seder’s response – that we should concentrate on WH’s affordability, and integration will take care of itself through face-to-face neighborhood interaction – strikes me as deeply naïve. The United States as a whole, and the North especially, has been growing more, not less, residentially segregated. In WH, the southeast quadrant of Town has received far more than its share of incoming non-white residents. When the bus corridor is completed, linking the New Britain Avenue area even more tightly with Hartford and New Britain, the temptation will be enhanced to acquiesce to the “ghettoization” of that part of Town. (I was sorry not to hear any analysis of these problems from Joe Verrengia, who expressed his support for New Britain Avenue road improvement in his opening statement.) We need genuine planning and activism to prevent WH from becoming yet another highly segregated inner-ring suburb; we cannot count on personal interaction to achieve integration – that has never happened without government leadership.

    In this regard Sheri Cantor (confession: I have known her for years) convinced me she could provide leadership not only by her discussion of her involvement with Democracy Works and WHIRED, but even more by her frank admission of the challenges that bringing people of color into WH public life present. Scott Slifka and Steve Adler put their fingers on a crucial point by noting that differences in cultural and social rules may well make it much harder for a person of color to introduce him/herself into a setting where whites feel perfectly comfortable. Slifka is also right that PTO involvement is absolutely a crucial first step, but that will not solve the residential segregation problem. Joe Visconti had a good hold on the numbers, but didn’t offer any possible policies.

    On the BOE side, both Bruce Putterman and Clare Kindall spoke eloquently on this problem, Bruce with his fierce determination to help kids at-risk, driven by a powerful sense of “moral obligation to close the achievement gap,” and Clare with her firm commitment to a Town goal of 90% entering kindergarteners having had pre-school experience.

    No one had any ideas about pressuring the State legislature to make changes in laws that would permit more flexible funding of education, or change the binding arbitration rules. Terry Schmitt sounded resigned when he said that BOE members have no louder voice in Hartford than the average citizen – a very regrettable situation. But if that’s so, why not start up a statewide organization of BOEs to lobby the legislature as a whole for changes necessary throughout the state?

    Everyone assured listeners of a commitment to civility – a darned good thing, especially if the next four years are going to be as rough as everyone thinks. I hope that’s a commitment everyone will keep.

  134. Elliot Check


    To answer your question.
    I am a Pediatric Dentist and retired Certified Financial Planner.

    I’ve been in private dental practice in Enfield for 29 years, and I’ve lived in West Hartford for 23 years.

    I have two sons, one just graduated Conard and the other is a junior at Conard.

    I started to get involved with local politics last spring with the budget debacle. I saw both the BOE and Town Council were out of control with spending. I was later convinced to run for the BOE.

    I believe the town neeeds a strong educational system for all students. I also believe it is going to take an effort by all parties involved to bring the system under control. Parents, students, School administration, BOE, Town Council, and perhaps we can score some corporate involvemnent.

    The reference you made to budgeting was my suggestion of a need for $0 based budgeting, every dept. look at its’ budgets and start over from the first $. Let’s see if we can find things that are being budgeted for that are no longer needed or no longer cost effective. Claire appeared to take this to mean a 0% tax increase, which I never said and corrected her. It would also appear given her reaction that this is something that is long overdue for the system.

    I was not happy with the Mastery test results last round. We need to improve results if we want to keep people from moving into surrounding towns, instead of WH. We also need to keep taxes under control if we are going to keep people from moving out of town. We need to hear some concrete ideas from the administration on their plans to improve reading and math scores.

    I’ve learned in private practice that I have to keep things affordable or patients don’t come. My employees have learned that when the book is full and we keep cash flow and spending under control they get bonuses and raises. When things are tight they don’t.

  135. anonymous

    Turtle, Quest was put on the block because of those who put it there – not the West Hartford Taxpayers Association. Talk to the Board Of Education and the Town Council about that choice. WHTA didn’t tell them to cut Quest specifically. They could have just as easily cut from somewhere else.

    By the way, I am not Judy. But thanks for the compliment. Yet another example of how you shoot your mouth off without having any fact Turtle- just prejudiced assumptions. I know her, and she hasn’t been on this forum for a long long time. I also know many non-homeschoolers that want their taxes cut. Many of them felt later school start times was a stupid initiative and a waste of money, and it is.

  136. JTS

    Gary – thanks for the rundown, very helpful

  137. Joe Visconti

    Grief stricken for the many residents I have spoken to who are preparing to relocate from West Hartford because of the overtaxation caused by our tax and spend Democratic Leadership. I am also grief stricken as because of our MIA State reps like McClusky(sp), Harris,Fleishman and Bye in their lax efforts at the state level in getting us our $40, 000,000 in ECS.
    Our Democratic leaders at all levels of government here in West Hartford remain beholden to Special Interest, how about keeping the promise to the taxpayers?

  138. Joe Visconti

    What I stated about racism were facts from the Zoning Office under the new demographics found in the Towns 10 Year Plan of Conservation.
    The numbers are staggering where those who will be identifying themselves as non white will be at a level of 5% per year from 2005-2020. As I stated last night to the resident who asked the question, the town will natural be turning towards a significant change in race and that socio-economic’s and market forces will detetermine where this growing population will live and attend school. Imagine 15 years of minority (non white identifiers) growth at 5% per year? Let me grab the calculator, that equals 75% minority growth. This is from reliable sources and can be found at our zoning office in Town Hall.Got to get back on the Job now to my Construction crews. More on my Website coming regarding this.

  139. turtle

    Judy/Judy Clone:

    WHTA didn’t tell them to cut Quest specifically.

    I never said it did. What I did say was that the middle-school Quest cut was a casualty of the Town Council’s reduction, in response to activism by the WHTPA and their sympathizers, of $18+ million from the education budget and had nothing to do with the late-start proposal, contrary to what you posted above in your attempt to smear Terry Schmitt and Bruce Putterman.

    For somebody affecting not to be Judy, you sound, spin, and snark uncannily like the original.

  140. Vince

    I encourage anyone even remotely considering voting for Joe Visconti to visit his website(s).

    Let’s face it people, the man has issues. Issues that will only get in the way of his ability to serve the people of our fair town (to say the very least). There’s other reasonable options out there on both sides of the aisle–choose them, and leave Joe more time to pursue his recording career. And someday in the future when we see Joe on stage being handed his grammy from Kanye West, we all can feel good about maybe having played at least some small role in Joe’s success.

  141. Elliot Check

    Wasn’t that $1.8million in BOE cuts, not 18million.

  142. Gary Reger

    JTS —

    Thank you for your kind words. I do have a tendency to ramble on, though!

  143. turtle

    Yikes, Elliot, that is what I meant! $1.8 million.


  144. Harry Captain

    There were 3 bites made to the apple in the 2007/8 budget.

    1st bite: The BOE reduced the Superintendent’s budget by just shy of $2 million.
    2nd bite: The Town Council reduced the BOE’s budget by $1.842 million.
    3rd bite: The BOE reduced the budget an additional $500 thousand in response to the referendum.

    The BOE 2007/8 budget is $117.8 million. This is a $4.3 million (3.8%) increase over last year.

    This years 3.8% increase is the 9th lowest increase in 10 years, #10 being 1999/2000’s 3.7%. The highest increase was 7.2% in 2002/3 – a significant year in healthcare premium increases and pension funding. During those 10 years, our student population grew by ~1000 students (11%)

  145. David Jones


    Two things:

    First, all these people who are moving out of WH because of taxes. Where are they going? Are they leaving the region or are they moving to nearby towns?

    Second, if my calculator works properly, 5% growth per year for 15 years comes to 108% growth over 15 years, not 75%. You may need a new calculator if you want to serve on the town council.

  146. Harry Captain

    This year during the 2007 session, the legislature passed the single largest increase in Education Cost Sharing (ECS) in decades. This resulted in the town receiving ~$4 million in additional education funding from the State.

    The Legislature raised the “base” of the ECS formula AND removed the “cap”. The cap was a ceiling that limited the State’s funding to a level below the result of the formula calculation.

    For example: In 2006 the ECS formula calculated $14.9 million. However, WH was to receive $11.4 million due to the cap. (These were preliminary March 2006 numbers and are not “official”, but close) The cap basically shorted funding to WH by $3.5 in 2006.

    This year WH DOES get its fair share of the full ECS formula thanks to some hard work by our Legislative delegation: Representatives Fleischmann, McCluskey, Bye, and Senator Harris; and their colleagues. This deserves an “atta boy”, not Visconti venom. Sure, it took some time, but it isn’t easy for towns being screwed by cities getting fat when the cities have more chairs in the chamber.

    And YES, the Council had already accounted for the additional funding when they calculated the 2007/08 mil rate/taxes.

  147. Joe Visconti


    The Town has issues and so does the State, how you see em is up to you, Oh and thanks for encouraging others to visit my websites it adds to my ground campaign of lawn signs- 300 and website signs as well as TV and Radio promo coming.

    Where ya been, I was hoping one of the Democratic Candidates would pick up on the racial growth numbers planted typo we will be experiencing over the next 13 years. I have a lawn sign from Save the Center gift wrapped for Bob Weiner and /or Richard Heapes for the Foundation Fundraiser at Crate and Barrel tommorrow, I hope you are coming. Oh and BTW where did you get your funding for your lawn signs for Stand Up for West Hartford, I missed the State filling paperwork during the referendums.
    As to where are they moving? If you don’t know I am not going to tell you.

    Harry, Harry
    Give up on it already, Fleishman, Bye, Harris and McClusky are carrer Politicians who make their living toeing the Tax and Spend Democratic Paradigm. Oh and the hard work that forced the State to ante up a little more ECS was from the pressure the taxpayers groups did rallying the public to referendums. What you call Visconti Venom is merley the Truth, you’ll need to get used to more of it once I am elected.

  148. I am stunned at the work some of you are doing. I particularly appreciate greatly the detailed reports from the Bristow meeting.

  149. Pingback: Election news « The West Hartford Blog

  150. town guy

    good stuff

  151. Thanks for the notes from the meetings. Have been working super late most days and couldn’t make it.

    For what it’s worth, by the way, I’m not voting for Joe and will blog about why in a longer form. I’ll try not to bore everyone here, but one thing that bothers me is that he assumes that he was responsible for the 43% voting against Blue Back. I voted against the public funding, not because I thought the project was bad, but simply because I didn’t understand why public money needed to be involved.

    This is an important point, I think. I wanted someone to build an affirmative case for policy. Joe does not do that. Complaining is not policy, nor is tearing down those who disagree with you.

    Politicians make their living by convincing people they share their pain (whether they do or not). Leaders make their mark by actually enacting policies that change the town for the better.

    Visconti hasn’t shown he can be leader because all he does is vilify and complain. You can advocate for more transparency without being on the council, by the way. If I’m to believe what you write on this blog, you’re doing a brilliant job already.

  152. On a more positive note, Amy Bergquist has run down the changes in median prices of homes in West Hartford by school district over the last year. One idea, I think I read from Joe Visconti, actually :), suggested matching up assessment data against the town’s grand list with an independent assessment. While I think that might be prohibitively expensive, it might be good for towns to tap into the MLS data and use that to get a real time track of price changes.

    I always wondered about the town assessment, because it seemed to lag what I paid for my house. With the advent of these sales databases and computerized property records, shouldn’t it be possible to do a yearly reassessment? Would you want to?

  153. David Jones

    Dear Joe,

    I had a feeling you didn’t really make that mistake with your math, that you were intentionally planting a mistake. You do that a lot, huh?

    Had a feeling you wouldn’t tell me where everyone is moving. I can understand why you would want to keep that information secret. I guess we’ll just have to follow the convoys of moving trucks to see where they’re all going.

    As for lawn signs, Yes for West Hartford had no lawn signs. The lawn signs you saw on lawns were paid for and distributed by BBS and in no way carried our name, something that you and everyone knew from day one, unlike a certain organization that had it’s own signs that were quietly financed by a certain mall. If Westfarms had openly distributed lawn signs that would have been fine. The issue is not who paid, but was there honesty and openness prior to the required disclosure. There was on our part, but not on the part of some. There is no question that BBS spent a lot of money on the referendum, it’s just that their money was spent under their name, not the names of various “grass roots” organizations. You’re fond of the word transparency, and clearly this was the problem with Taubman’s money, not that it was spent, but that it was spent in a behind the scenes manner prior to the legal disclosures. The revelation that Taubman money was helping to support Save the Center and other anti-BBS organizations was a key moment in the shift of public opinion.

    As for Blue Back Square, I had my first tour of it today. As someone who was an active supporter I’ve been somewhat apprehensive. Would it live up to what we (the supporters) thought it would be? Would I regret my support when it was completed?

    As I have been driving around the perimeter over the last year or two I have had my concerns. It struck me as a massive glob of bricks and mortar. Perhaps it was more than I had bargained for. But today I saw it from the inside. I walked the streets, I went inside The Cheesecake Factory, Crate & Barrel, New York Health Club, REI, one of the condominiums, etc., etc. And one word comes to mind. WOW!! Walking down the streets of BBS feels so much different than viewing it from the perimeter, it in no way has the feeling of being massive or even very large. From a distance the buildings seem tall to me, within the streets of BBS they actually seem relatively short. I actually like it more than I had imagined. This place is incredible, and for anyone who will allow themselves they will be in awe.

    I realize there will be those who will never feel comfortable, who will always harbor ill feelings toward the project, and to those people I say you have that right. If you choose to always hate the place you can, but you will be missing out. But I respect your right to steer clear of the place if you have those feelings.

    Wednesday evening is the pre-opening event for Crate & Barrel and I understand that between 800 and 900 people are expected. And I must say, this is the nicest Crate & Barrel I’ve ever visited. I believe the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools will recognize more than $20,000 from the combination of the C&B pre-opening event and a percentage of sales for a specified period.

    Most of the other anchor tenants will open the first few days of November. Cheesecake Factory is slated to open then, but the two upscale restaurants that are currently on board, Flemings Steak House and Chow (hope that’s the spelling) will likely be opening in February and March.

    While the project will soon have the appearance of completion, it will likely be some time in the early summer of ’08 before every piece of the puzzle is 100% complete.

  154. town guy

    thats great david, it sounds pretty cool

    i’ll have to check it out soon, looking forward to it

  155. I second David’s comments above about the semi-finished product of BBS. I was wandering around there Monday and Tuesday this week (sans construction hat), as I was interested in learning more about the NYSC fitness center.

    The buildings do not seem monstrous and I actually felt like I was walking around a little village. A pleasant surprise, I must admit.

    I received an invitation to the Crate & Barrel preview for this evening, but unfortunately had a prior commitment, so I won’t be able to report back on that tomorrow. 800-900 people is a great turnout though, and kudos to C&B and the WHPS for creating this fundraiser.

    Regarding the NYSC facilities, everything is top of the line. There is a phenomenal amount of cardio and weight equipment, the pool is a nice touch, and they will have on-site child care. I would encourage people to stop by and check it out. They are giving tours daily from 8am-8pm.

  156. Ryan

    Is it just me, or does Joe seems like he’s chafing a little bit? Kind of like the chafing that happens when you have when a shirt label scratching at your neck. Of course in Joe’s case, unlike the the rest of the candidates, the label says “PROPERTY OF WESTFARMS MALL.”

  157. Joe Visconti

    Your doing a great Job Marketing Blue Back, are you still on their payroll? I heard they were tapped out. Hmn.

    Love the attention I am getting from all the Democrats on this blog, it’s nice to know you make a difference.


    You had the ability to vote on Blue Back because of my work leading Save the Center to raise money from hundreds of residents, buy lawn signs, hold public forums and gather enough support to bring the Referendums. I am glad you have your own mind and saw some of what I did. Complain? no, Charecterize is a better word for what I do, it isn’t filled with sales pitch sound bites like David Jones because I am not on Blue Back’s Payroll as he is nor Taubmans.

    See you all at Crate and Barrel Tonight!

  158. JTS

    Joe – Thanks to you we also had “the ability” to pay thousands of dollars in referendum costs, and even more in defending ourselves from lawsuits filed by your corporate masters. Apparently, in addition to having no ability to spell, you also have no shame.

  159. David Jones


    This is the reason you’re not fit for office. For you to say I’m on the BBS payroll is very typical of you, something you do constantly, which is spread lies and smear people. It’s your MO.

    If you have evidence I’m on their payroll then throw it out there my man, otherwise you owe me a big apology. Go ahead, for once in your life back up one of your outrageous statements. You constantly smear people and never back it up. I dare you, back it up. You can’t because this is just more hot air from West Hartford’s biggest windbag.

  160. town guy

    Of course Visconti will go to Crate and Barrel tonight and make sure everybody knows he is there

  161. Gary Reger

    To me, leadership demands three crucial elements.

    First, a person must be able to articulate a vision that is coherent, compelling, and based on reality.

    Second, a person must be able to listen — not just to folks who agree, but essentially to people who don’t.

    Third, a person must know how to use quiet persuasion to bring together the folks whose contribution is required to make the vision a reality.

    I’ll not be voting for anyone who cannot convince me s/he has these qualities.

  162. Gary,

    Do any of the candidates do that for you in the local election?

    Here’s my problem: my political interests have generally been focused at the national stage, probably due to the fact that I travelled a lot early in my career, and moved every few years. West Hartford is the first place my wife and I have set down roots and so my internal gear is not attuned to what kinds of “vision” we need for the town.

    What I mean is that we have a list and litany of complaints from folks like Joe Visconti. Because those complaints are somewhat specific, I think people find it easy to latch on to. The “Yeah, he’s right!” reaction is easy to get from others by just pointing out flaws.

    However, even with Visconti, there’s a startling lack of actual plans. Reading Gary’s note above, I found only one specific plan. Reading the voters guide, there were no real plans. Joe’s points, for example, were all, “hire/empanel a blue ribbon/third party committee” which raises a host of questions for me (cost, how “independent” can they be, etc.).

    Those aren’t interesting policy choices regardless, but fishing expeditions.

    It’s almost as if candidates are saying, I have goals, do you agree with them, then vote for me. The problem is we can all agree on goals… how we achieve them is the important part. It’s sadly missing from the discussion.


  163. TWC

    “…We need genuine planning and activism to prevent WH from becoming yet another highly segregated inner-ring suburb; we cannot count on personal interaction to achieve integration – that has never happened without government leadership…”

    Gary, I was distressed to read that you, the incumbent members of the BOE, Theresa Lerner, and Turtle might still be living in a mid-20th century version of West Hartford that needs reshaping by well-intentioned but misguided souls like yourself.

    Have you visited Whiting Lane, Wolcott, and Webster Hill elementary schools lately?
    There has been no government intervention in any of these neighborhoods or schools since I’ve been a resident of this Town. Yet these schools are all models of what I envision will eventually be the case throughout Town, as citizens of color continue rise in the economic ranks in this region.

    So I believe the only “government leadership” that is required in this Town is to focus on addressing the intractable problem of achievement-challenged kids, without creating the two-tiered system of elementary schools being endorsed by the incumbent BOE members that will inevitably lead to an unconstitutional form of reverse discrimination.

    Or did you have something else in mind for “government leadership?”

  164. Sujal:

    I think you’ve been too focused on attacking GW Bush on your blog to notice the local debates on this one or those “live” or even those repeated on WH TV. If you’ve been following any of this discussion, you’ll note that Visconti actually has plenty of good ideas and suggestions to improve the town and it’s infrastructure. And his ideas have been resonating during the debates, and he even goes house to house, and campaigns in every nook and crany of West Hartford.

    In fact he takes plenty of heat for his ideas because they challenge the status quo – throw money at the problem by raising taxes.

    I suggest calling Joe directly and asking him what the heck his candidacy is really about – like I did. Give credit to Joe, he takes more crap than he dishes out. But some of the accusations against him are downright outrageous.

    All these politicians have telephone numbers. Instead of drawing conclusions about what they think from this blog or the local media…. pick up the phone or hunt them down at an event, and ask them.

    As a big time activist, you should know to go to the source. I can bet that if you show willingness to exchange ideas, Joe won’t hang up the phone on you like some others who just cut you off went they realize you might be digressing from the party line that they get from the party propaganda machine.

    And by the way, the debates in town have been way too short to make heads or tails of much policy.

  165. Gary Reger

    TWC —

    Thank you for pointing out where I telescoped my views. I do recognize the vibrancy of the elementary districts you mention (I have good friends in one of them). I guess my worry is whether that commendable social situation is fragile, and even more that that should be the situation everywhere in Town, not just in three elementary districts. If it “just happened,” it behooves us to find out why, so we can replicate it elsewhere and nuture it where it already is. The long-term history of such mixed neighborhoods in the US has not been good. That’s why I’d like to see a celebration of the achievement and a commitment to understand it and nurture it from Town officials. I hope that clarifies some of what I was thinking but omitted to reduce the length of yet another lengthy post!

    And let me clarify that I certainly do not advocate some two-tiered system of schools — just the opposite! The day that Aiken, Braeburn, Bugbee, Morley, and Norfelt can make the same claim as the schools you list would for me be a happy day in West Hartford.

  166. Gary:

    I applaud you for having criteria for determining who you will vote for. Here are mine (as discriminatory as they may seem):

    Candidate must:

    1. Demonstrate comprehension of capitalism, and sound economic principles (in the spirt of Adam Smith). They must recognize that they are spending the people’s money, and not the goverment’s. Business background preferable but not mandatory. College grads with no actual work experience should be disqualified immediately.

    2. Specifically for BOE Candidates: be a family man or woman who currently has children or has had children.

    3. Have a strong moral compass – active in one of the big three religions. Belief in one God, no stupid atheists. Never elect anyone who’s cheated on their spouse or has a criminal record. Never support a candidate who puts the rights of criminals (for example, sex offenders) over public safety or concern for children. Recognizes that the ACLU cares mores about privacy than common sense and decency.

    4. Comes to office with a straight-forward and known agenda. Doesn’t cave in to special interests, or switches parties, or simply votes with the majority to shorten the meeting. Steadfastly principled. No wishy washy “I’ll work with everyone mindset.” Has conviction – demonstrates this in word and deed.

    5. Champions the position they hold. Engages opponents and members of their own party to the fullest extent possible. Doesn’t shut down when it comes time to put principle over expedient political solutions – particularly those that sell out their supporters for a good word in the press.

    6. Runs for office because they want to make the Town, city, state, country a better place. And not to make connections and kiss rears for future favors, public or private.

    7. Fights for full disclosure on all public expeditures. Let every nickel and dime be publicly accounted for. Not someone who thinks the public can’t handle the detail.

    8. Recognizes that gimmicks like tax cuts for green cars are not a substitute for real fiscal policy.

    9. Exposes party leaders that strong arm him or her to vote against his or her conscience.

    10. Admits when wrong. Says I don’t know, when they just don’t know.

    11. Engages the public in discourse over issues. Makes time for constituents regardless of party affiliation or no affiliation.

    12. Term limits themselves to no more than three terms in a row.

  167. King, your endorsement of Joe Visconti carries no weight… your tendency is the same as his, to attack first, last, always and assume, assume, assume.

    Your comment above is a great example… instead of being polite and suggesting that I call them, you decided to take a dig at me. Classy.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been reading and watching. I haven’t been home for the debates, nor have I been free for any of the forums. But, you know my schedule better than I do apparently and that I’ve been “busy attacking G W Bush.” It’s no wonder people tell me it’s not worth trying to engage you.

    What religions do you include in the big three? The third largest religion in the world doesn’t believe in 1 God… it’s polytheistic. And older than Christianity and Islam, btw…


  168. JTS

    Sujal shoots and scores.

    Gary – you’d better reel in your reasoned view and responsible approach to how WH should run, you just might get drafted for elected office.

  169. Elmwoodian

    King: what about smart atheists? 😉

  170. Elmwoodian

    (…to which he responds “there are none!” Ba-dum-bum.)

  171. Sujal:

    Your blog is nothing more than a smear campaign against Republicans – have you ever written one kind word about GW? or the Administration?. At least I’m willing to criticize my own party – local and national.

    Did you make that call to Joe Visconti yet? You accused him for having a “startling lack of plans”. That comment is sort of silly. If Joe is getting attacked its not for a lack of plans, but for the plans he has.

    As for religion, that’s how I vote. I didn’t say that’s how you should vote. That’s up to you. Ba-dum-bum.

    Don’t get me wrong, I admire you for being a loyal party hack. You have convictions. I might even vote for you over someone like Joe Verrengia, who stands for nothing and everything.

  172. turtle

    Yet these schools are all models of what I envision will eventually be the case throughout Town, as citizens of color continue rise in the economic ranks in this region.

    TWS, what about the citizens of color who don’t rise through the economic ranks in this region, and what about the minority children who underachieve regardless of socioeconomic status? The academic performance of low-income children is well below that of their more affluent counterparts. Again, what should our town do to educate these children up to West Hartford’s exacting standards?

    Terry Schmitt noted that 50% of the education budget is spent on personnel, 80% on teachers. As it happens, addressing the achievement gap requires personnel. ESOL students, special ed students, struggling students all need effective specialized teachers and tutors, and these services cost money. If there is not enough personnel to devote to underperforming students, every other student will be affected while teachers scramble to meet No Child Left Behind benchmarks. (You may dislike NCLB, but it’s on its way to reauthorization.) That is the mundane fact of the matter. There is no silver bullet.

    I don’t doubt your sincerity when you say that the town has a moral imperative to close the achievement gap, but I do think your dismissal of integrationists as “mid-20th century” is a bit disingenuous. Connecticut is a segregated state with the worst achievement gap in the country. If closing that gap is part of your vision then, as Gary pointed out, it’s doubtful that vision will be actualized without vigorous leadership from the town government.

  173. Turtle, are you for the regional busing scheme as a part of the integration solution? Or do you think that the gap can be closed by other solutions?

  174. The King,

    I’m hardly a partisan hack, and my blog is hardly a smear campaign against Republicans. Almost all of the political items I actually write are about policy issues. There are few, very few areas that I agree with the Bush administration, and that’s reflected in my writing.

    However, my blog and I aren’t really the issue here? Why do you insist on attacking me?

    This holier than thou attitude, demonstrated by both you and Visconti is precisely my problem. Act as if you’re above the fray, then devolve to namecalling and labeling people (hacks, “in their pocket”, “liberal vs. conservative”). It’s all BS.

    Let’s get back on topic here. I’ve gone through quite a bit of Visconti’s blog, and a bunch of stuff online as I have time, and I still haven’t found any plans. Can you enlighten us?

    I know people are tired of this focus on Visconti, but he’s the only candidate answering… so fill me in (links to other blogs/articles are fine, too….)

  175. turtle


    You mean Project Choice? I support regional busing as long as it’s not mandatory. (I support the magnet schools in West Hartford because they provide incentives for integration without dependence on compulsory measures.) The best solution, of course, is for the city schools to radically improve, and perhaps the ambitious revitalization program proposed by the Superintendent of the Hartford schools, Dr. Stephen Adamowski, will kickstart that process.

    But, you know, once you start discussing regional initiatives you’re reminded of the injustice of financing the public schools with property taxes, and then…well, then, you might as well have another cup of coffee.

  176. Philk

    The League of Women Voters insert asked Town Council candidates if they favored a dog park and/or skateboard park. Interestingly, Joe Visconti said yes, while the rest of Republicans said no.

    I’d love a dog park. I think both would be a good idea and good for the town. At least for the dogs, there has been support for private fundraising, but the town would have to provide a site. That’s always been a stumbling block.

    Anyone interested in commenting on dog/skateboard parks?

  177. What is the cost of a dog park/skateboard park?

    What are the town liabilities around a skateboard park?

  178. Philk- I participate in the volunteer group that is trying to get the Dog Park started. Mandy Pike, a WH resident, is leading the group and I would be happy to put you in contact with her if you’d like to volunteer. We’re always looking for others to help.

    The premise of the dog park would be to have it funded through private donations, but use town public space. We will need to raise a considerable amount for the initial fencing of the area, and then continue to maintain it with private funds. It will be modeled after the very successful dog park that already exists in Wethersfield.

    The city of Hartford was approached to see if part of the lower level of Elizabeth Park could be used (as it is already essentially used as an illegal dog park), but Hartford would have none of it. At this point I don’t know if Mandy is publicizing the alternate location in West Hartford. I will check with her and get back to you. Stay tuned.

  179. King- I just visited your blog and saw your poll for the “Hottest Political Mom.” Are you kidding me? Stop being a sexist neanderthal.

  180. Joe Visconti


    I believe a dog park and a skate park would be fantastic for West Hartford. Of course there is location questions and costs but I believe the money can be found through sponsorship, and many other ways. My kids love the skate park behind the YMCA before they sold the property and with two dogs myself ( a bichon and a Scotty) I would pay more in dog license fees ( volunteer increases)to help subsidize a Park. I believe there are 15,000 dogs in West Hartford and dog product sponsors would line up for a chance to be part of the mix.

  181. Philk

    Joe, for a fire-breathing, tax-cutting, conservative Republican you’re pretty cool. Interesting that you seem to share my vision of West Hartford as a town that should have good amenities. Heck, we have 2 golf courses. We are the place with good schools, golf, indoor swimming & ice skating, restaurants & shops. We should have dog & skateboard parks too.

    But doesn’t all this stuff cost tax dollars? Isn’t it worth it?

    Amy, I was in touch with Pups WH a couple of years ago. It always seemed that the location was the big issue. Fernridge Park? Beachland Park (near Quaker & Trout Brook)? Outside a town park?

    I’d be interested in getting in touch with Mandy. philk [at]

  182. Harry Captain

    “… you seem to share my vision of West Hartford as a town that should have good amenities. Heck, we have 2 golf courses. We are the place with good schools, golf, indoor swimming & ice skating, restaurants & shops. We should have dog & skateboard parks too.

    But doesn’t all this stuff cost tax dollars? Isn’t it worth it?”

    Yes it does cost. Yes it is worth it. Amen!

    And let’s not forget 3 GREAT public libraries, 2 senior centers, and the Elmwood Community Center.

    Yes, WH has a reputation for higher taxes… always has… always. People (consumers) have been willing to move here, live here, and pay for WH’s other reputation – a HIGH Quality of Life!

    WH Democrats have added to and renewed WH’s Quality of Life with a New Senior Center in Bishop’s Corner, Spectacular condominiums – incorporating both new and FINALLY a renovated Talcott Junior High School in Elmwood, Bristow Middle School, Soccer playing “fields of dreams” in Elmwood, baseball diamonds at Asylum and Troutbrook, and coming soon – a renovated and expanded Noah Webster Library!

    And the Democrats found alternatives to taxes, like Smart Growth with Blue Back Square, to bring in new revenue sources while cleaning up dilapidated car dealership hazardous waste sites. Democrats have secured additional State funding for school construction, playing fields and playgrounds.

    So who should you vote for?
    The people that want to keep the “West” in West Hartford. Leaders that have proven they can get it done.
    WH Democrats.

  183. David Jones

    I agree with all that Harry Captain said with one small exception.

    As a Republican I feel the credit should go to Ronald Reagan.

  184. Joe Visconti

    Thanx, it is easy for the public to interpret Republicans as wanting to go slash and burn on the budget but the truth is we are looking for “SLOWER GROWTH in salary increases and benifts” for all municipal union employees including Teachers and Administrators.
    Republicans believe that we should seek to mirror the street for municipal pay increases especially in the hard days which are here for many. When is the last time most non union residents got pay increases of up to 4% year after year after year after year after year? Never is the answer, and yet the regular guy/gal working for a company or him/herself has to compete against outsourcing, downsizing and other industry killers on a daily basis. The Municipal Employees enjoy Collective Bargaining, increases in benifits, no fear of losing their jobs and no competiton. For this scenario you would think the Unions would be happy for a 1.5-2% annual increase in their contracts. West Hartford could enjoy many other services such as dog parks and skate parks if we can clamp down on the AFSCME players.

  185. WH Alum

    we are looking for “SLOWER GROWTH in salary increases and benifts” for all municipal union employees including Teachers and Administrators.

    Is that the platform of all the Republican candidates or just Joe?

  186. I understand that Theresa McGrath is willing to take a pay cut if elected to the position of Town Clerk. I wondered if Essie Labrot has pledged to do the same?

    And does anyone know what dollar figure Theresa is talking about?

    I do agree that the Clerk’s salary would be high as it stands, particularly for someone without experience.

  187. Elmwoodian

    This salary cut “pledge” is bush league. I don’t want the lowest bidder for the job. I want a competent professional. Ms. McGrath should focus more on showing us what makes her a qualified candidate than this kind of silly stunt tactic.

  188. Joe Visconti

    Republicans in general and of course Bush League.
    Read my post again, these jobs are not “BID” on, please stop promoting Union Propoganda. Competant Professionals? Hmn oh so you don’t know that West Hartford tests employee’s and certain qualifications such as High school diplomas and College degrees are required to gain “no bid employment”?

  189. Just saw Leon Davidoff out at Waldbaum’s campaigning. Nice to see a candidate interact with the public and talk about issues without a script.

    Leon made a great point… he would have like the opportunity to have openly taken questions with the other candidates in a public forum. I wonder if its too late to put something like this together.

    The League of Woman’s Voters “discussions” were ok, but seemed to put important issues like taxes on the same level of importance with secondary issues like recycling – which is very unfortunate. It would be great to see the candidates field questions that are really important to running town government – like budgets, schools, and housing, not filler issues like dog parks and recycling.

  190. Elmwoodian

    Joe. I was talking about King’s comment re: Theresa’s pledge.

  191. Joe Visconti


    During the last election in 05 the West Hartford Taxpayers group held an open forum at the Town Hall, I was there with the Republicans except there were no Dems or Barbara Carpenter or Joe Verrengia present. The same no show by the dems would happen if we ask the taxpayers group to hold another Open Forum. So should we fugetaboutit? Maybe not. How about on the Town Green bring your lawn chairs on November 1st from 3 to 6 pm. I will commit to being there, will any other Candidates show with me?

  192. On the other side of town at Stop & Shop, I saw Steven Adler campaigning with his beautiful wife Darlene at his side (yes, I do more than grocery shop).

    I’ve known Steve (and Darlene) through non-political circles for about six years now. And I have to say I’m very happy that he’s running for Council – I’d urge everyone to try to meet up and get to know him. He’s not only bright and accomplished, but reasonable and down to Earth. And he’s an ethical guy who doesn’t stab people in the back in order to climb the ladder of success.

    He’s a 100% policy guy, and he cares deeply about fiscal accountability, and he’s one of the few candidates (even on the GOP side) that has offered a great number of new ideas with regard to business development, taxes, and even environmental issues.

    Ok, so Steve isn’t a bomb thrower and he’s not going to rally troops at midnight, but he’s likely to be the guy that can reach across the aisle and get things done. Some things of course are worth teaming together to make things happen, and others are worth fighting for. I think Steve knows this well.

    I’m a firm believer that whether majority or minority – the team of Adler, Davidoff, and Visconti would collectively be hard to beat. Three very different styles, and different opinions but together they would be one magnificent team since they would offset each others’ deficencies.

    The other thing I like about them is that in talking to each of them, they don’t stab each other in the back for a vote. From my standpoint I’ve heard a lot of nonsense in the outer fringes with regard to lack of unity from GOP candidates. (And the Dems deserve credit for their unity even if I disagree with them). Adler, Visconti and Davidoff have independently praised each other, talking about how they can work together. It’s bizarre actually.

    Even if Republicans don’t win 4 seats (a tall order), I hope that these three manage to get in. These three are all very much deserving, they all have REAL passion to serve the town and they have been the only three that have campaigned their hearts out. If they put as much energy into helping to make West Hartford a better place as Council members as they have seeking election, than we can’t go wrong.

  193. turtle at ringside

    Congratulations Mssrs. Adler, Visconti, and Davidoff, for winning an endorsement from the mastermind of “West Hartford’s Hottest Political Moms”!

    You can’t go wrong!

  194. One day turtle you might actually have something to contribute to the forum. Wouldn’t it be nice for example, if you could post related content to the title of the forum??

    Why don’t we try at little test to see if you are only have empty…. who should we vote for, Turtle?

  195. turtle

    Golly, I just don’t know, maybe I should vote for whoever wins that babe contest on your blog!

    I wonder what Steve Adler’s beautiful wife Darlene makes of “Hottest Political Moms”. Did you ask her?

  196. There you have it everyone. Turtle isn’t here for any kind of real discourse. Pretty pathetic. When asked to participate in the question posed in the title of this posting, he/she/it balks.

    Joe, are you watching? Pretty much as expected… a big zero. I wish I thrived all the attention. Maybe we can get back to “so who should we vote for.”

    Of course if you want to play on my blog, feel free, even those of you who can’t seem to “drop the dime”.

  197. Joe Visconti


    You will need to lend your shell to the Dems if Steve, Leon and I get in.

  198. Elliot Check

    Nice AD Joe, I approve that message as well.

  199. turtle

    Joe: your innocence is so touching I just might buy you a drink after the election!

    King: No way am I going to break the silence in Comments at The Home of the Whopper! And don’t worry, I won’t hold your endorsement against Mr. Adler.

  200. Art Halloran


    From comments you’ve made you obviously know who The King is. Can’t you get him to be a man and use his real name? Is he just a wimp and can’t take the heat? Your basic Girly-Man!!

  201. Joe Visconti


    I have asked him but he says he will only identify himself when Whdad and Turtle do the same. It’s a Catch 22.

  202. To get us back on topic – I’m proud to support Visconti, Davidoff, and Adler. As mentioned above, I think the three of these guys would really work well together on the Council and give 100% to the town.

    I think one of the questions that came up in the League of Woman’s voters discussion was around the question of additional development in town. There are two sections of town that come to mind – Elmwood, and Bishops Corner. I would like to know what plans the andidates would put in place to make these areas more viable for business.

    Over the past few years, its seems that there has been turnover – Adams, then the Pet Store, etc. Why is this area having so much turnover?

  203. Joe Visconti


    Maybe the Bishops Corner area and Elmwood need public subsidies to work? Na, there are no billionaire investers interested in developing there.

  204. Elmwoodian

    IMHO, Bishop’s Corner, at least the Marshall’s/Blockbuster corner, is a bit of a chaotic mess/eyesore. I wouldn’t lament seeing a portion of that corner razed, at least up to where the Petco stood, and redeveloped from scratch.

    I imagine that there wasn’t a lot of “smart growth” in mind when BC was developed. It just sort of cropped up piece by piece into the jumbled fracas that it is at present. It certainly serves an example of what not to do when developing your town commercially. I’ll bet they took the lessons of BC when figuring out what to do with what eventually became BBS. Whatever issues anyone may have with BBS, it’s going to be a heck of a lot more aesthetically livable than BC is at present.

    Also, why just the focus on BC and Elmwood? Frankly, again IMHO, I’ve always thought that Park Road has the best chance of being the next big commercial/residential destination and kind of doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.

  205. JTS

    Elm – I think you’re right that some focus should be given to Park, it’s not a huge chunk of contiguous property so big developers won’t give it much attention. It’s a part of WH where the town could really support and shape nice, lasting development.

    And if there is a major development (BC, Corbins, Elmwood or others) in WH that wants to enage the town in a smart growth, win-win partnership, make sure you get Visconti and others to oppose you – with their track record and judgement, your success is assured.

  206. Rick Liftig

    Uh – folks – are you all talking eminent domain here? I hope not.

    The town has limited control over private property. The best technique to achieve change is to engage the property owners and nudge them in the right direction. This has worked very well in Elmwood. Just look at how great the Center is looking. If you haven’t, it’s time you drove through.

    When you talk about what you want to see happen on private property, you’re talking about spending other people’s money. If you REALLY want to change a property, then purchase it, and its neighboring properties and take control.

    My suggestion would be to expand the town’s business development office to increase its effectiveness.

  207. Elmwoodian

    Absolutely Rick. No ED (and by that, I mean Eminent Domain). What made the Center “the Center” is that the landlords worked in concert to make it a great place with some nudging by the town. The same needs to happen on Park Rd. It’s an even more disparate/larger group of landlords that what you have in the Center, so I understand that they are probably more difficult to influence and/or coordinate. Right now is a crucial time for the town to get involved however they can, with all the turnover that is going on on Park (Saydoff, Bazilians, Jacobs, etc.).

    I was pretty disappointed to see that a medical supply store was going into old the Saydoff place. Does that really need to be on a strollable street? Isn’t that really more of a destination location than a traditional retail establishment? I mean really, wouldn’t that have been more appropriate on New Park? It’s not quite as bad as a car wash, but do I need to see hot water bottles and toilet seat extenders when I am strolling after ice cream at ACP? I’m sure they pay their rent, which is probably all that the landlord cared about. That kind of choice is where the town can come in and no so much exert pressure but match-make a bit.

    What Park Rd. needs in addition to town influence is a Rick Liftig that takes up the cause. I know that the Park Rd. association is relatively active, evidenced by the “Park to Park” initiative, but I think that they could be a lot more involved.

    OK, I’m off the soapbox. I’m going to bed. (First time I’m down before 1am in weeks!)

  208. Elwoodian:

    Just so you know, this wasn’t a slight against Elmwood or Bishop’s Corner. I picked two areas of town that I frequent through shopping and eating out on a regular basis. I’d like to see some additional focus on bringing (long duration) commerce to both areas and in the case of Elmwood – returning it to its original beauty and splendor, and giving it opportunity to thrive as a “center” of its own.

    I happened to like Adam’s as shopping choice (certainly over Waldbaums), and I liked the Petco too, it just seems that every year we lose something over there, and that’s a fine section of town that if done right could be a nice place to walk around and shop, have a coffee, etc.

    Again, I’m an Elmwood supporter, just so we are clear here. I don’t want anyone to cut, paste and twist my words here into something else.

    Also, I don’t know if anyone else shops over by Puritain but trying to cross the street over there is like taking your life into your hands. It’s as if its a race to get under the bridge over by Ballys. Slow down people!

  209. Joe Visconti

    Regarding Elmwoodians thoughts posted above:
    “It certainly serves an example of what not to do when developing your town commercially. I’ll bet they took the lessons of BC when figuring out what to do with what eventually became BBS.”

    Right, and Crate and Barrel isn’t as UGLY as Bishops corner stores? Please. Lets not forget the State of Connecticut Historical Board voted unanimously that the Old Board of Ed and Noah Webster Library be considered Historical but Crate and Barrels desire to be in the Center and Bob Weiner and Chuck Coursey’s SMART DEVELOMENT plan destroyed our Historical Properties. Oh and Tom Condon looked the other way. Just another Taubamn lie? Not. BS Square!

  210. Rick Liftig

    Joe –

    Now that BBS is open, I thought you were in favor of it?!!!

    Elmwoodian –

    Park Road has a wonderful group of leaders including Richard Patrissi and Angelo Faenza and a whole bunch more. But none of us can tell one business to stay away while looking for ‘just the right use’. Commercial owners want to get spaces rented right away to cover their expenses. Small owners don’t have the luxury of courting the ‘right’ business.

    What we all seem to be bemoaning is the loss of local, responsible business and the inundation of national chains who contribute less to the community. Unfortunately, thats where the money is right now.

    The cards are really stacked against the small business owner these days. West Hartford has amazingly held its own in this regard. But ask any small business owner if they would prefer a paycheck and defined benefits and you might be surprised at how many would consider jumping ship.

  211. Elmwoodian

    I’ll take C&B over that fugly, rusting, sad parking garage at BC every day and twice on Sunday.

    King, no slight taken. I think the reason for the turnover in that corner of BC is that it’s just a terribly awkward space–weird setbacks, multiple levels and the like. To me at least, it gives off a vibe of disorder, even chaos, and dilapidation. I know that there are probably good memories wrapped up in the space, but I think the way to honor them would be to rebuild (“we can rebuild [it], make [it] better, stronger, faster”).

  212. turtle

    I went strolling through BBS this weekend and got full of love for the incumbents. When is the Barnes and Noble opening? Yeah! And Joe, the Crate & Barrel looks pretty cool after dark.

    The Noah Webster Library was no more distinguished then the Ed Center and too small (although that room facing S. Main was very nice). Look at Middletown’s Russell Library! It’s got it all over Noah Webster. But I think the Russell has a private endowment so isn’t as subject to the vagaries of politics.

    As well-disposed as I am toward BBS, of course I agree that shoving out small business is bad. Also, BBS needs a cultural space–a Projects room for the Wadsworth Atheneum, for example, would be great. The problem with Park Road is parking, and Mr. Sparkle should have been a parking lot. In addition, Park Road really needs a good locally-owned bakery/cafe (preferably, to repeat myself, with a piano player). Also, I wonder if the Bookworm will survive in the Center after Barnes & Noble opens. It could always reinvent itself as a more charming place on Park Road like the Brick Walk Bookshop.

    As for the hideous lots in BC and New Britain Ave east of the overpass, I wish somebody would open up a bowling alley so that West Hartford’s disaffected youth would have somewhere to hang out besides Friendly’s.

  213. Peter CM

    Joe… I’m getting so sick of listening to you complain about BBS which is one of the primary reasons that I would NEVER vote for you. Listen… BBS (love it or hate it) is happening and there’s not much that can be done to change that. Start offering some ideas besides skate and dog parks (I’m sure there are others in this and other posts but you spend so much time putting down BBS that your other ideas just fall between the cracks) on what you’d do if ever elected (fat chance) instead of complaining about what’s already been done and who did it.

  214. JTS

    I think the big question is when will Joe be disclosing the contributions made to his campaign by Taubman and his minions, or will that $ not make into a campaign finance filings?

    And for those of you who think those checks didn’t get written, wake up and smell the coffee served at a soon to be open location at Blue Back.

  215. Elliot Check

    Yeah Joe, where did you get the $30 from!!!!!

  216. Joe Visconti

    If you have proof of me recieving a payoff please use your real name and identify your sources, otherwise go look for Jonathan Harris with his employement with a law firm which lrepresented JDA development (Bob Weiner) and Healthtax while he was the Mayor of West Hartford.


    I said people should shop at Blue Back so the Public isn’t left paying off the General Obligation Bonds to the tune of $48 Million. I will never approve of the Process or susidizing Ronald Dewaal (RONUS) for a no bid $48 Million dollar GO Bond Package, that’s why I call the project BS Square.

    Peter CM
    Whoever you really are, do you also tire of the Song and dance from the Dems about why they keep laying down to all the Unions gifting them with increased bennies and pay hikes year after year which keep jacking up our Taxes beyond what many can afford?

    If you get Scott Slifka and Chuck Coursey’s mailer you will notice they didnt have the nerve to use the words BLUE BACK SQUARE while the picture in the mailer shows Scott holding Blue Prints at the Blue Back Site (Why aren’t they wearing their Hard Hats).
    The Brochure states that Scott and Chuck have a strong record of “FOSTERING” economic development when they mean Public Subsidzing. As far as Pedestrian friendly, yeah if your going Mountain Climbing in those Canyons we used to call Raymond Rd and Memorial Drive. Also the neighborhood values term they use means that the Boulevard will now host increased street Parking.

    More later…..

  217. JTS

    It seems like Mr. Check jumped to Joe’s defense rather quickly.

    And Mr. Check, would anybody be surprised if Joe got $30 for his campaign from Westfarms? After all, they did give him 30 pieces of silver for his town.

  218. Elliot Check

    JTS, at least I have a name to hang the title on.

    Sorry to see it seems to be too much trouble for you and art to stay on a first name basis.

    BTW, since you seem to resent using the term Dr., please call the guy who does your colinoscopy MR. before he begins the procedure.

  219. Seriously? They didn’t use Blue Back Square in the ad? Is there a copy of the flyer online for us to see?

  220. turtle

    Shouldn’t aspirants to the Board of Education care about spelling.

  221. Elliot Check

    Since whdad doesn’t allow editing, we’ll just have to deal with the typos as we always have.

  222. turtle

    Well, you did bail me out on that $1.8 million, Dr. Check, so OK!

  223. turtle

    Lest anyone get excited I was referring to a typo of my own (although it wasn’t strictly a typo).

  224. JTS

    Dr. Oscopy, paging Dr. Colin Oscopy. Please come to the ER, there is a Board of Ed candidate with his head up his ass.

  225. WH Dentist

    Life can be strange!!!

    Now every time I think of a colonoscopy I’ll think of Mr. Check and his failed bid for the BoE.

  226. Joe Visconti


    I will get you a copy of Slifka and Coursey’s drab flyer which my Democratic supporters from Elmwood gave me on Saturday.

  227. PeterCM


    “Whoever you really are”… Why is it whenever someone only leaves their initials you immediately question who they are and what they stand for?

    As for the Democrats and unions, I can’t really comment since I’m not familiar with the situation. However, since you’re the one running for office, let’s hear what you’d do to fix the problem (if there really is one) instead of hearing your criticize people for what’s already been done.

    Someone should give you a shove so you stop skipping.

  228. Check Alert

    Calling Mr. Check!!!

    1) At tonight’s forum sponsored by the Special Education PTA Mr. Check was a no-show.

    2) Just watched the BOE debate. Mr. Check rarely spoke and when he did he didn’t say anything.

    3) What’s up with the canary yellow jacket and tie worn at the debate. Someone please call the fashion police.

  229. JTS

    Dr. Oscopy, Dr. Colin Oscopy, we have a fashion emergency, Mr. Check needs 50cc’s of style. Stat!

  230. WH Alum

    Since Barnes & Noble already pushed Bookworm out of BC years back, how long can they hang on in the center? I’d love to see them come back to BC. And my understanding of issues in bringing more businesses to that corner of BC has been the cost of space and the management – but if I’m wrong I’m sure someone will correct me. It’s strictly hearsay.

  231. Joe Visconti

    You are late in the debate, you missed all the Union fun last summer. To save me time on repeating myself ( skipping) for Dem hacks like you, just go back in the archives for more Cartel Bashing.
    Even Terry Schmidt agreed with me yesterday at the Getty Station where we were on a concensus building mission to fill up our cars with gas that the Binding Arbitration leaders ” Do Not Listen”.

    Look for the Union Label, right across the front of your tax bill bud.

  232. Elmwoodian

    Hey, that’s Rev. Dr. Terry Schmitt to you buddy. 😉 (the guy has both a M.Div and a Ph.D, yet can anyone remember him insisting on being called Dr. or Rev. in 4 years on the BOE?)

  233. Elliot Check


    So far I have only known Terry Schmitt on a 1st name basis, which is all I asked on this forum.

    He has referred to me in the same manner.

    If he preferred the formality of either title, I would have deferred to his wishes.

  234. This section of the blog has deteroiated dramatically. We can’t even get some of the participants here to talk about who they are voting for and why. Instead, we get flagrant attacks against Elliot Check and Joe Visconti. Or attacks against participants who at least have the courage to speak to the forum subject.

    No wonder, whdad, we don’t get as much participation from the candidates as we would like. This blog could use a little more moderation – time to hold the turtles, the Arts, and the JTS’s to occassionally contribute something relevant to the discussion that is supposed to be at hand. If the best they can come up with is picking on Elliot’s clothes and title, they should be deleted from the forum.

    This isn’t to say that policy or even campaigning methods shouldn’t be subject to redicule and rebuke. But personal attacks are sort of rediculous.

  235. Whdad,

    Specifically referring to JTS’s nasty comment October 30 @ 5:52 pm. None of the candidates on either side deserve that kind of treatment. Doesn’t matter whether its Chuck or Joe or whoever.

    Nail them to the wall on policy or position, or manner of public conduct and debate, or even campaign style, but comments like JTSs take away from what is otherwise decent debate.

    The name calling is obviously a reflection on those individuals, but its a waste of space when we can be using this space to get them on record on their positions. Or perhaps you can set up a forum called “antics” and they can post there.

    And as a note, a few of the candidates (not just GOP) told me that refuse to post here and believe it or not its not because of those of us on the right, but because they are embarrassed by their own supporters and don’t want to be connected to their abuse. Hard to swallow, but that’s the truth. Oh, and yes, that’s first hand accounting, whdad.

  236. WH Alum

    So King, this is acceptable?

    for Dem hacks like you, just go back in the archives for more Cartel Bashing. – Joe V.

    From a candidate no less, who has named the WH teachers a “cartel” – constantly bashing them for getting a COLA virtually identical to the SS COLA. (2.3% compared to 2.4%) I’d like to see a survey of the # of hours teachers actually put in during a week – including time spent at home preparing lessons and correcting papers. I bet if you broke down their salary into an hourly wage it would actually be pretty pathetic. I know my kids’ teachers are often at school an hour+ early, stay late, and email from home in the evening, too.

    But it’s ok for a political candidate to generalize against our teachers.

  237. Joe Visconti


    Cartel is not a derogatory word, look it up in Websters Unabridged. Liberal Hacks is a Politcal reference. Why not go back to the nice erectile dysfunction comparison you and others posted towards me during the Budget Defeat.


    Don’t waste your time with these characters, they can’t help feeling afraid and prone to lowering themselves and attacking me and Elliot in a hopeless attempt at keeping us from being elected.

  238. WH Alum

    No, it’s not a derogatory word by definition, just the way you use it. You said it yourself – “bashing.”

  239. Art Halloran


    Your protestations ring hollow. You complain about those with whom disagree but say nothing about your buddy Visconti. Not to mention some of the crap you’ve said.

    -Visconti is the number one name caller on the blog

    -Visconti accuses various officials of breaking the law as well as questioning their ethics and character without providing a glimmer of proof.

    -Visconti spreads vicious lies about anyone with whom he disagrees.

    -Visconti spreads misinformation to further his causes.

    -Visconti bad mouths the very people in this town who actually go out and make a difference, people who volunteer to help the community.

    So save your indignation until you can be fair minded about it. Perhaps when we see you scolding your best pal we’ll take you seriously.

    I do believe certain things are over the line but I’ve rarely seen them on this blog. Making fun of someone’s choice of clothing is pretty harmless, especially among guys. Mr Visconti’s personal travails are widely known, he has spoken of them in public forums, yet I’ve never seen a single comment about them on this blog and I hope I never do.

    As for the use of the title Dr. for Elliot Check, when I first referred to him as Mr. Check it was not meant in a disrespectful way, I didn’t even know he was a dentist. And if Mr. Check was elected I’m sure the others on the board would refer to him as he wishes.

    But it speaks to the kind of person he is when he corrects someone who refers to him as Mr. Check. Yes, Carolyn Thornberry is appropriately called Dr. Thornberry, but have you ever heard her correct someone who called her Ms. Thornberry. This was the reason for the taunting of Mr. Check, when you act in a pompous manner it gets thrown back at you. And yes he was quite pompous.

  240. Elmwoodian

    Dr. Check’s pompous correction actually reminded me of this scene from “Austin Powers”:

    U.N. Representative: So, Mr. Evil…
    Dr. Evil: It’s Dr. Evil, I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called “mister,” thank you very much.

    Too funny.

  241. WH Alum

    Oh yeah and tool is not by definition derogatory either, or is it?

    Joe Visconti
    September 28th, 2007 at 9:29 am

    But right, Joe – we’re just “characters” attacking you. If I’m lowering myself, it’s fortunately not down to the level you and others have descended. And if I’m “afraid” – it’s the fear of losing what I love about WH… Or maybe it’s the fear of watching you make a mockery out of our council chambers.

  242. WH Alum

    Sorry – goofed up my italics end tag…. WHDad you can delete that one if you wish.
    Oh yeah and tool is not by definition derogatory either, or is it?

    Joe Visconti
    September 28th, 2007 at 9:29 am

    But right, Joe – we’re just “characters” attacking you. If I’m lowering myself, it’s fortunately not down to the level you and others have descended. And if I’m “afraid” – it’s the fear of losing what I love about WH… Or maybe it’s the fear of watching you make a mockery out of our council chambers.

  243. King
    In response to your endorsement of Joe Visconti regarding your discriminating criteria you really need to do more homework

    where were you when he switched party affiliation republican-independent-republican

    would you elect some one to spend the peoples money when their own financial picture is a shambles. maybe he’ll do better with someone elses finances. I think Adler and Davidoff would want to know who they would really be working with.

    Regarding morals well look at his conduct on the blog ????
    As for him campaiging his heart out – doesn’t he work????

    Art: If I didn’t know any better I’d say Joe and the King are one in the same . And you hit the nail on the head with your bullet points.

    Sujal: He just loves to hear himself no matter the target or content after all he is a NY trained actor
    The show must go on. Good luck nailing him down on a plan.

    Notice the signs don’t say RE-elect I believe they are from the last election

  244. WhAlum:

    Ah, so many responses, so little time…

    Visconti is not elected; the use of the word Cartel is purely as a political discriptor. If he started to use foul language about any one individual in the school or on the board, you’d have a point. Remember, he’s merely a citizen-resident at this point. And the teacher’s union is not above criticism. The way the salaries are negotiated are worthy of discussion – that’s for sure (and how nurse’s salary increase came to fruition this year for that matter).

    Maddie: In part, you raise a fair question. Joe, are you Ronald Reagan or something? Oh wait, bad analogy – Reagan switched from the Democratic party to the Republican Party. Maddie says you switched from U to R. When? Why? As for the rest: 1) His blog is pretty tame, 2) I know the guy works as a contractor. In fact, I believe he even fell off a ladder a few weeks ago, he performs work not just oversees it (but he can tell you more about that), 3) Adler and Davidoff have already committed to working with Joe or anyone else elected. I know this first hand. In fact, I would bet you good money that they actually feel sort of bad that Joe wasn’t an endorsed candidate based on the performance and attitude of certain candidates that ended up on ticket (I know I’m going to get in trouble for that – but its darn true). 4) Maddie, you don’t know any better, Joe is Joe and King is King. We are totally different. Joe is taller. Joe has more hair. Joe is more talented. Joe checks his spelling before posting, where as King types too fast and posts.

    Few if any of you characters has taken a stand on the topic “Who should we vote for”. And to take a chance, broaden why you would vote for that person. Why is that? I’m going to keep printing this question, until some of you actually find the courage to tell us who you plan to vote for and why. It’s easy to be anti-GOP or anti-Republican, but for Godsakes, you folks don’t even have the courage to stand by your own people and make the case why person by person who should be voted in and who shouldn’t. At least I had the courage to tell you who I support and who I don’t within my own party. Or are you just “lever pullers” – no reason necessary?

    My complaints against Art/JTS stands. His/their brutal attacks against Joe and Elliot Check (who I don’t even know btw) are unnecessary. Here you have an opportunity to press Elliot on his positions and instead to seek to make fun of his title and clothes. Would you do the same to Thornberry? Slifka? Coursey? There really isn’t a reason to “taunt” candidates. Someone on here pointed out that they aren’t paid for this, and none of us are running so give them a break.

    Elmwoodian: LOL. I appreciate a liberal with a sense of humor. Thanks for trying to keep it fun.

  245. Rick Liftig

    Back on topic –

    Yes, let’s get back to the topic. But I’ll not say who I’ll vote for, but how I’ll vote. First, you never know how someone will perform in their position until they are elected/appointed. But I have a few ideas of what I look for in a candidate.

    1) You need a leader, and yet a follower. One voice in the woods never changed a thing. A leader knows when to let others take the limelight and a leader knows how to nudge issues to the forefront. Good leaders don’t have to shout because they already have everyone’s attention. Good leaders know when to back off and shut their trap.

    2) A Council member needs to respect the Town Staff and work with them. Threatening them will back them into a corner and they will fight back fiercely.

    3) A Council member needs to know the facts and numbers. If they don’t, their reply should be, “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.” No BS, no lies, no blaming others.

    4) A good candidate listens first – expounds later.

    5) A good candidate listens some more.

    6) A good candidate understands the diverse needs of the community. And I don’t mean just racial issues, either.

    7) A good candidate shows up! When I was co- president of West Hartford Vision and now with the Elmwood Business association, several current Council members and State representatives were almost always there. I will tell you their names because they deserve this credit:

    Sen. Jonathan Harris, Rep. Dave McCluskey, Mayor Scott Slifka, Councilors, Verrengia, Thornberry, McClay and Carpenter.

    BIG Disclaimer – There are other events and other councilors – this merely reflects my experience in Elmwood. Now granted, it is not possible to show up at all of the possible meetings in town. But ask yourself: When it’s not an election year, who do you see?

    8) A good candidate has headed a community organization such as a PTO, sports group or service club. The Council and Board of Ed are essentially service clubs. The leadership gets no pay and yet takes all of the heat, shoulders all of the blame, etc.

    9) A good candidate is business oriented and will watch the pennies. And, I’ll also add that most businesses are aware that sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

    It all adds up to a gut decision.

    My ultimate criteria is this (really): I ask myself, “would I be comfortable going out for a beer with this person?” You can substitute “a beer” with your own criteria, but I ask myself if this person is enough like me that I would want to share their company for more than several minutes.

    So take or leave my advice. I’ll give anyone running a heckuva lot of credit for dealing with fund-raising, mud-slinging and lack of sleep. All this for a late-night job that pays nothing. Remeber that, too.

  246. turtle

    The King longs to be the boss of the West Hartford Blog, since he is a King without subjects in his own realm. It has become quite overbearing and tedious.

    It would be a shame if satire and the resident hysterically funny guys were to ever get suppressed here, but I doubt that will happen.

    I agree with Rick’s excellent list of criteria, with one objection: the question “Who would I like to drink a beer with?” has pretty alarming associations, and I personally don’t care if I would feel comfortable socializing with the candidates. But for someone like Rick, who is out there serving West Hartford, I can see how it would be a factor.

    It seems pretty obvious to me who has an optimistic, visionary, intelligent approach to the governance of West Hartford and who doesn’t, and I’ll go to the polls Tuesday with confidence.

  247. JTS

    If Check (leaving out all titles) can’t take a little ribbing, he better think twice about getting into the elected official business. If making fun of someone who acted pompous equates to a ruthless attack, then Jon Stewart and every political cartoonist across the land should be tossed in jail. Jokes about titles and fashion aside, the fact of the matter is, as Art rightfully pointed out, the biggest rock thrower going is Joe V, and literally we all know it. The only difference is that his defenders think he’s doing the Lord’s work, his detractors (myself included) think that he’s the proverbial jack*** that has kicking the barn down to a science. Even a cursory glance at Joe’s conduct since he forced himself onto the public scene will readily prove two things:

    1. His greatest talent is for self promotion
    2. He will do and say anything, anywhere, anytime, to win.

    Is that what we need in town? Will that help our taxes, seniors, schools, etc.? Not likely. Who should we vote for? Easy – print out a list of all the candidates and using Rick’s 7:47 post ask yourself honestly if their actions and their words meet his clear, smart criteria. Then head to the voting booth next week, pull the correct levers (or whatever it is we do now) and walk out with a clear conscience.

  248. I agree with Art about Dr. Check. I won’t vote for him solely because he made an issue about this idiocy. When he’s acting in his profession, it is proper to call him Dr. Check. But in politics, he’s just another guy, and lucky indeed if anyone is kind enough to address him as Mr. Check instead of “hey, you asshole over there.”
    I don’t think he gets what politics is all about.

  249. Anonymous

    Does anyone really care who anyone here will vote for?
    All you people seem to do is squabble like a bunch of 5 year olds. It doesn’t seem like many people participate in these tired old worn out debates either.
    Whdad, what do you have here, like the same 10 people participating in this blog?

  250. Philk

    If Dr. Check wants to be called Dr. Check, he has that right. It’s incredible the amount of attention this has gotten on this blog, and it’s even more incredible that someone would actually base their vote on such a triviality. You want a better reason not to vote for him? He didn’t show at the SEPTA forum Tuesday night.

    “Who I’d like a beer with” is an attitude that brought us Bush. The guy who saw decency in Putin’s eyes. Issues, character, commitment, responsiveness, judgment are criteria on which to judge a candidate. Likeability is way overrated.

    After the Tuesday night forum I’m inclined to vote for John Joyce for BOE. His candidacy seems to be the result of frustration with a lack of responsiveness to parental concerns in our educational bureaucracy. In my limited experience, I’ve never met a parent with an issue that came away from dealing with a principal or superintendent’s office that felt satisfied. The board should demand a culture of customer service from those we pay to serve us.

    Otherwise, I’ll vote Democratic.

  251. A reader near Fernwood

    From what I hear, many people are reading this blog in my neighborhood. I doubt many of them post anything. You know how that goes.

  252. turtle

    I harangued all three BoE incumbents by e-mail last spring, and they were all very responsive in their various ways.

    Also, as a Smith School parent, I feel indebted to the education administration and Board of Ed for addressing our leadership crisis with alacrity and good judgment. I shudder to think what might have been if the Board had been unsypathetic to our situation or less conscientious in its approach. Instead, we are very pleased with Smith’s dynamic new leadership, and all the kids we know (a pretty diverse bunch) seem to be thriving in school.

    That is a very big deal to us.

    I strongly sympathize with the frustration over middle-school Quest and other services that were cut, at the behest of the Town Council, after the tax revolt spearheaded by the West Hartford Taxpayers Association. I’m also confident that the town will continue to cater to high achievers and other talented students and enable the variety of options that make the West Hartford public schools so desireable. We’ve got it good.

  253. Joe Visconti


    It is evident that my chances of winning on Tuesday are extremly great. The dems did their polls and found out that the R’s and I will take one and maybe two seats above minority status. This is why there is the special town council meeting tonight at 5pm to discuss going after WestFarms in a counter suit. The Dems and Good Old Boys know that if there is a lawsuit going I will be bound as your new Town Councilor to conceal things I may find out about Blue Back Square from the inside. The Town is seeking to protect itself with this counter lawusit for my term of 2 years. You must understand that this is the end game for Democratic control of our town.

  254. NIXON

    …… this for real? is his ego for real????? if he gets on the inside…lock down the asylum

  255. Elliot Check



    “As for the use of the title Dr. for Elliot Check, when I first referred to him as Mr. Check it was not meant in a disrespectful way, I didn’t even know he was a dentist. And if Mr. Check was elected I’m sure the others on the board would refer to him as he wishes. “

    I could not find your original post, but as I recall you said you either saw the debate or the commercial and your comment was spurred by that. In both, my profession and title were used. That is why I replied to you as I did, since your reference appeared to be a slight.

    You say that was not the case, and I have no reason to not believe you, so please accept my apology.

    Again, I am perfectly content with and prefer a 1st name basis.

  256. Amazed

    Joe Visconti is dilusional.

    Yes Joe, the world revolves around you.

  257. turtle


    The Courant reports that you made the following response to the question “What can the town council do to improve the quality of life – in terms of traffic, for example – throughout West Hartford?”:

    The town of West Hartford must create and adopt a six-figure publicity campaign that I have been working on to reinforce the message: “West Hartford – Clean, Safe & Fun.”

    Come again?

  258. JTS

    Hey turtle – how about the part that he’s going to encourage partnerships between the town and developers? The coming from the same guy who cashed Taubman’s checks.

    I would say “priceless,” but those referendums and lawsuits weren’t free for us taxpayers.

  259. Harry Captain

    Now before Joe Visconti begins espousing on the “grassy knowl”…

    The Council should consider the recovery of six-figure costs expended to defend the Town against lawsuits that were brought forward to eliminate competition, protect self interest, and circumvent the will of WH voters. If you recall, West Hartford residents voted to approve Blue Back Square in TWO separate referenda.

    Any monies recovered reduce future tax burdens. It is right for the Council to consider restoring what the Town was forced to spend in defending against frivolous lawsuits.

    Isn’t representative government supposed to be about elected officials representing the will of the people? West Hartford said “Yes” to Blue Back Square – TWICE! I expect the council to represent and defend the people’s decision.

    Visconti is unable to separate from his BBS past. He is incapable of representing the will of the people regarding BBS as evidenced by his conspiracy theories.

  260. Joe Visconti


    Wow, all the usual suspects, turtle, captain, jts and newcommer Nixon and Amazed posting for the dems.

    Oh Harry my favorite dem when will you ever learn that attcking me just plays into my need to be imortant and noticed as so many have testified here from pseudoland.

    Oh those Taubman Checks what will we do with your conspiracy theories? Noncha worry yourself, Pat Alair and Mr Wade will have a lot of questions for mua about those single bullet theories of yours once I’m elected.

    To the rest of my fans out there watching, check out my TV commercials on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and of course MTV for the kiddies. The commercials started today and run, ad nausium until I am elected!!! I’m ready for my closeup Mr. Demille.

    oops, dont’ forget to voter November 6th for yours truly.

  261. Joe Visconti


    Your right, I’m crazy, like a fox!

  262. Harry: Did West Hartford agree to the current version of BBS? I believe there have been quite a few changes since the votes.

    And no, I expect representative officials to represent their own views – decisions through polling ended with the Clinton years.

    Harry if you don’t want referendums on taxes, and BBS, or allow for lawsuits that protect the interests of some business and citizens property, then why have a democratic process at all? The will of the people? Which people? There is a reason such institutions exist. Frivolous is in the eye of the beholder isn’t it?

  263. Joe:

    It’s going to be nice to see you on the Council. All of the backroom deals will be off the table. Keep doing what you’re doing. I can see the fear of integrity in the comments of others.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you, Adler, Davidoff, and perhaps Seder in there working on behalf of the people, and restoring integrity to elective local government.

    The freeride is over. GOP representative silence is coming to an abrupt end. I’m looking forward to having a “whistle-blower” exposing the nonsense. It’s going to be a great day for West Hartford when you guys take office.

  264. turtle

    I’m just blown away by Joe’s suggestion that a six-figure Disneyland PR campaign will improve the quality of life in West Hartford. If the town succeeds in recovering the money spent fighting Taubman Joe plans to devote the proceeds to one of Joe’s turgid theatrical productions.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  265. Harry Captain

    ”Did West Hartford agree to the current version of BBS?”
    Current, schmurrent… BBS IS materially what was presented. If not, there should have been a 3rd referendum. And Joe should have taken responsibility for putting it together.

    ”And no, I expect representative officials to represent their own views – decisions through polling ended with the Clinton years.”
    Oh puhlease… Your expectation doesn’t hold water. Otherwise, you would oppose referendums for any purpose. You don’t do that, you’ve promoted referendums. I can just picture the King supporting elected officials that legislate contrary to the results of a referendum – NOT.

    ”Harry if you don’t want referendums on taxes, and BBS, or allow for lawsuits that protect the interests of some business and citizens property, then why have a democratic process at all? The will of the people? Which people? There is a reason such institutions exist. Frivolous is in the eye of the beholder isn’t it?”
    I NEVER said I don’t want referendums. Those are your words, not mine King.
    The people have a right to referendum. Elected officials have a responsibility to act on the referendum result; otherwise why have one?
    “Frivolous” was in the eye of the Judge that threw the cases out.

    King, Joe et al demand the BOE and/or Council “go after this money, go after that money”. Yet when the Council considers just that, they balk and cry conspiracy?
    Double-standard crap. I expect more from people.

  266. C’mon turtle, you make plenty of stuff up.

    And turning back to the topic of this forum….

    Which ideas of the Democrats do you like, turtle? In fact, who should we vote for? Come out of your shell and take the risk….

    We get that you aren’t in Joe’s corner, whoopie! You and the attack hacks have made that clear.

    Who should we vote for?

  267. Harry, I haven’t decided what should be done in that area. And I don’t see a conspiracy here.

    For the record, Joe and I do disagree quite often! Just ask him!

  268. John Hardy

    Mr. Visconti:

    Given the fiscal constraints we all agree are an issue for the Town, how in your view will we as a community be able to finance the “six-figure” sum you describe as required for your proposed publicity campaign?


  269. turtle

    C’mon turtle, you make plenty of stuff up.

    Please provide one shred of evidence to support this assertion.

    I’ll be waiting.

  270. That’s easy Turtle… “The King longs to be the boss of the West Hartford Blog”. Didn’t have to scroll up to far to copy that. ZING!

    Now, how about save your keystrokes for “Who should we vote for?”

    Tell us Turtle… contribute to the forum, can you? You probably have so much time on your hands to think about it.

  271. eponymous

    In an attempt to get us back on track — and to distract myself from the prattle — here’s who I’m voting for …

    BOE: The only three who have consistently been able to answer any and all questions, and who seem to have both educational background and business sense — Putterman (D), Joyce (I) and Mudge (R). Even more, each has shown a bit of humility (and wouldn’t that be nice around these parts).

    Would like something of substance on why people are leaning one way or another on specific Town Council candidates. Information on each seems so thin (the only conversations about individual candidates that I see are the posts by Gary Reger on 10/15 and 10/16), and, if this blog were doing the electing, it seems as though everyone would just vote party line. I’m willing to admit that on policy I don’t know my Adler from my Slifka, and I don’t particularly want to walk into “the booth” on Tuesday knowing as little as I do …

  272. Vote No to Joe

    Joe… just watched your ad… ever heard of a comb? You look like the Heat Miser in that photo at the end. And what’s with that deer in the headlights pic at the top of your blog?

  273. turtle

    That’s easy Turtle… “The King longs to be the boss of the West Hartford Blog”. Didn’t have to scroll up to [sic] far to copy that. ZING!

    Well, you do a very convincing imitation of someone who does.

  274. So, who should we vote for Turtle?

  275. turtle

    Harry, I haven’t decided what should be done in that area. And I don’t see a conspiracy here.

    I guess after Harry’s demolition job on you, there was pretty much nothing you could say.

  276. Joe Visconti

    Vote NO
    Who love ya baby?

  277. Joe Visconti

    Mr Hardy
    Partly from the extra cash the Town can get from recycling the Mountains of Democratic Mailers sent out this week.

  278. turtle

    I just knew it was a setup.

  279. Anyone else notice that Turtle is incapable of answering the forum title question “Who should you vote for.”

    I think this pretty much defines Turtle’s role on this blog. She spends all of her time criticizing the posts of others without presenting her own ideas.

    Anyone can sit back, read the blog, and then cut and paste the words of others – not even in dialogue with you, add twisted commentary to suit their needs, and bail out.

    If you Dems and liberals are so courageous, why don’t those of you who haven’t answered the question – who should you vote for – take a stand and tell us?

    Joe, with opposition like this, the GOP in this town should kick butt. Most of them don’t even have the courage to write in favor of their own candidates. How weak is that?

  280. turtle

    Maybe I should go crying to whdad to demand that the King be “deleted” since I consider his “courageous” “contributions” to be neither courageous nor contributions.

    But that would be pathetic.

  281. Art Halloran

    King, how’s that GED coming along? Just keep studying, you’ll get there!!!

    Joe Visconti lie #6666–That the Democratic party has polls showing the Republicans will win 4 or 5 seats. Joe, please release a copy of those polls, the democrats would love to see them.

  282. turtle

    Plus, Joe’s suggestion that the town get down to business and start a “West Hartford–Clean, Safe, & Fun” PR campaign, which Joe happens to already be working on–this has got to be a setup. There’s no other explanation!

    Meanwhile, as reported in today’s Courant, although the Town of West Hartford “will not file suit against the individual West Hartford citizens who were bankrolled by Taubman and served as fronts for its legal challenges,” it will sue Taubman to recover “about $4 million in legal expenses and lost revenue incurred when the Taubman Co.’s lawsuit delayed the start of the Blue Back Square project by about a year.”

    That’s right, my friends. $4 million. $4 million would have gone a long way toward sustaining middle school Quest.

  283. The King

    Your endless pointless attacks speak volumes. You two are pathetic. Spineless twits afraid to provide content. At least I’m willing to support my candidates. Turtle and Art are political hacks without any stance. How brave!

  284. The King


    Who should we vote for?

  285. turtle

    Anyone as fascinated by my intentions as you purport to be would have been able to divine them by now, since I’ve been explicit both about the issues that are important to me and my political sympathies.

    But since you just wish to harass me, that’s neither here nor there.

    Persist if you have nothing better to do, but this is my last word on your decree, “Turtle, who should we vote for?”

  286. The King

    Ok, but riddle me this. If the topic of the forum is Who should we vote for? Why pray-tell will you not participate and give your opinions on the candidates? Do you not see that most of your postings consist of attacks against me/Joe or other posters? Where is the constructive dialogue? I’m calling you out to elicit your actual thoughts on who specifically we should vote for and why?

    What is the point of posting in this forum if not to harrass and attack all of us willing to give an opinion? Why are you so stubborn on this point? And there is no way to infer anything from your postings as to who you think would make a great great member of the Council or BOE.

    This is not a trick question. Stand up, be counted. I’m not asking you to tell us how the national teacher’s lobby should vote, just you.

  287. John Hardy

    Mr. Visconti:

    You know, I really was trying to ask a polite, honest question. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting your response, but it does seem maybe you’ve taken my question as sarcastic? Please check my posting history here – I have honestly tried to be polite and just talk facts.

    Maybe you want to try again?

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