Courant endorses six Democrats for town council

Here’s the Courant’s editorial today:

October 19, 2007


The decay of inner suburbs has foretold regional ills in some parts of the country. That hasn’t happened in Connecticut, by and large, but it is in the state’s interest to keep its inner suburbs strong. West Hartford has been one of the state’s best-run inner-ring communities, even drawing residents from outer suburbs. The town has gained momentum in recent years, and the town council incumbents responsible deserve re-election.

They withstood lawsuits and withering criticism to support Blue Back Square, a smart growth project in West Hartford Center. Now that the $158.8 million entertainment, shopping and residential project is opening, their resolve is being rewarded.

Development efforts are also underway in Elmwood, on Park Road and elsewhere. The town’s schools remain strong and cannot be shortchanged. The Democrat-led council has undertaken an array of other initiatives, from green energy to traffic calming and a bicycle task force. By contrast, the Republican challengers offer few new ideas beyond unspecified budget cuts and efficiencies.

Residents can vote for six council candidates. Nine will be elected, with a maximum of six from one party. The Courant recommends:

Scott Slifka, 33, is a Democrat and a lawyer. Mayor since 2004, Slifka has emerged as one of the top municipal leaders in the state. He is a poised, he listens and he thinks creatively.

Carolyn Thornberry, 59, a consultant, is a Democrat running for her third term. She was behind elderly tax relief, a new senior center and new playing fields, among other things.

Chuck Coursey, 44, is a Democrat who runs a public relations agency. He is seeking a third term, and has been responsible for project oversight of Blue Back Square. He has championed smart growth development in commercial centers and a number of quality of life issues.

Joseph Verrengia, 43, is a Democrat and West Hartford police officer seeking his second full term on the council after being appointed to complete a partial term. Mr. Verrengia switched parties after bucking GOP leadership to support Blue Back Square. He is a budget hawk and has a strong interest in the Elmwood neighborhood.

Shari Cantor, 47, also is a Democrat seeking her second full term. She is an accountant and has played a key role in budget matters.

Tim Brennan, 37, is a Democrat seeking office for the first time. He is a lawyer and the son of two local teachers, and has a strong interest in schools, senior issues and energy policy.

Also worthy of consideration are:

Leon S. Davidoff, 45, a business owner and lawyer. A Republican, Davidoff brings considerable experience, having served on the Newington town council in the 1990s as well as on West Hartford’s plan and zoning commission.

Steven Adler, 46, is a Republican and an insurance operations manager. Currently a member of the zoning commission, he would emphasize fiscal discipline and economic development.

Kelly A. Clark, 29, is a lawyer and a Republican seeking her first term. She is attuned to issues involving younger residents, and has a concern for traffic safety, among other things.

Also running are:

Peter Martin, 30, a lawyer and Republican seeking a first term. He stresses an open budget process and concern about taxes.

Michael Seder, 65, is a Republican seeking his first term. An industrial salesman, he has served on the Ledyard town council, and is focused on fiscal restraint and responsive government.

Joseph Visconti, 50, is a Republican and general contractor seeking his first term. An activist known for his opposition to Blue Back Square, Visconti says he champions fiscal discipline and public involvement in government.



Filed under campaign, election, Hartford Courant, town council

256 responses to “Courant endorses six Democrats for town council

  1. I’m most interested in knowing which of those six Republicans is most deserving of a seat. I’m pretty sure about Adler.
    But I don’t know much about the others, except for Visconti, of course. I know entirely too much about him.
    For entertainment value, if nothing else, it might be worth electing him.

  2. chalenois

    WHDAD –
    I agree with your comment about Visconti. I’ve been mulling over the possibility of voting for him myself, just to see what happens. I’ve still got three weeks to decide.

  3. JTS

    The inevitable chaos of Joe Visconti on council is simultaneously the reason why supporters will vote for him and opponents will vote against him.

  4. Elmwoodian

    I’m going to put my two cents in that Town Council is no place for an “experiment,” especially in a town where the Council wields such power. If there is a more deserving candidate than J Vis, then you should vote for her/him and not throw your vote away.

    Also, in all likelihood, the Dems are going to hold onto the Council and a polarizing figure like Joe Vis is going to have almost zero input/influence on that body, which if you think about it, would really be a waste of a good Republican seat. He’ll fire off his clever sobriquets and partisan cuts, but ultimately he’ll be shooting blanks as a gelded councilor.

    If I were a Rep voter, I would rather have someone up there with whom the Dems are willing to work, so that I would know that my chosen representative would at least have some chance of implementing the policies espoused by the Republican slate.

    Remember too, these guys represent (and ultimately reflect) us to the rest of the state (and the country, as we are well-known in some national circles). Think hard about whom you want that to be.

    I would consider voting for Leon Davidoff [disclaimer: I do not know the man]. After now seeing all the debates and reading the LWV guide, I really think Davidoff has the ideas, experience and temperament that make him the most attractive Republican choice.

    Again, just my two. It’s your vote! Choose wisely!

  5. turtle

    Well said, Elmwoodian!

  6. The Courant’s endorsement of Democrats should come as no surprise to anyone. Ocassionally they throw a token endorsement to a Republican in order to avoid the implication of 100% liberal bias, and its generally in some remote location where the Republican “can’t do any harm”.. Of course, everyone knows the real deal with that crowd at the editorial board.

    Visconti has my vote for activism and new ideas. Davidoff and Adler nearly have my vote, but I’m scratching my head about their reluctance to say they will fight for tax relief for families, instead they spend a lot of time kissing up to the Democrats and spouting off about “reaching across the table to work together.” I need to know that Adler and Davidoff actually do understand teh issue at hand.. taxes are too high. If they intend to bring a 10% tax hike down to 5% then they’ve done us no favors. Capitililating in single digit percentages each year is not serving their constiuency… its incrementally serving those who want larger government expenditure in West Hartford.

    I need to hear more from Seder and Martin.

    I would never vote for Kelly Clark. The article you posted summarizes her positions better than she has. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put that girl up there should be kicked. She has neither the passion or interest for running. She just sits there during debates and call in shows. And her closing argument on WCHT was rediculous.

    I need a candidate that wants to more than “keep traffic flowing.” Holy Cripes!

    At least you guys can’t claim I’m just a GOP hack. I’d rather have the mayor back in there over Clark.

  7. Gary Reger

    Here’s a question that’s always puzzled me: why does the Town charter reserve three Council seats for the minority party?

  8. Kelly Clark


    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like my debate performance. I am not used to being in front of a camera, but I’m working on it. As many people know I am new to this and I’m trying my best to get my message out.

    If you didn’t like my performance at the debates, I encourage you to take a look at the entire campaign. You can also visit and click on my link under “Meet the Candidates.” The voter’s guide that appeared in West Hartford Life a week ago also lays out many of my positions very clearly.

    As the mother of young children, traffic and safety are important to me, but I also think we need to enact pro-growth mil rates to grow our tax base. It is no secret that lowering the tax rate encourages more business and development in town. Commercial development increases the tax base and, in turn, increases revenue. With lower tax rates and responsible budgeting, West Hartford can avoid painful tax increases.

    I decided to run for town council because I wanted to give back to the town and I thought my experience as an attorney, my ideas outlined above and my perspective as a mom would add something to the council.

  9. Elmwoodian

    King: Didn’t the Courant endorse Bush and Rell?

    Gary: I’d have to check with someone more knowledgeable in these things, but I believe that minority representation is a creature of state statutory law that was then incorporated into the town charter.

  10. Gary Reger

    Elmwoodian —

    It’s always seemed undemocratic to me that candidate X could attract fewer votes than candidate Y yet X could be seated on the Council as a minority party member but Y barred as the seventh majority party member. If more people want X than Y, shouldn’t X win? Has the constitutionality ever been challenged?

  11. Fred Garvin

    Yeah King, they throw the occasional token endorsement to … George W. Bush and John Rowland.

    The Courant loves Republicans, just not the current crop offered up by the WH RTC.

    Please, enough with this liberal bias BS.

  12. Elmwoodian

    It certainly does bring up the question of whether the state can impinge on the will of the electorate. However, you could argue that the electoral college does just that (just look what happened in 2000!).

    At any rate, I would have to believe that if there were a Constitutional line of attack to minimum minority representation laws, it would have been explored by now. That’s my lazy answer. I’ll see if I can hit up someone Constitutionally-inclined for the real answer.

  13. Here’s the challenge, Freddie.

    Go back and look at all the endorsements by the Courant over the past 10 years, and THEN talk to me.

    Rell is different, exactly WHO did she run against? I don’t recall a Courant endorsement for GW, seem that they bash him just about every day.

    If you don’t think the media has liberal bias, then your head is screwed on wrong. Look, I have quite a few friends on the left and they are active in campaigns… but they have the integrity and honesty to admin that the media including the Courant is one big lib fest. You just like to pretend. Oh, perhaps they might be a tad to the left of the advocate.

  14. turtle

    The Courant endorsed Bush twice, IIRC.

  15. Joe Visconti

    Glad to see the usual suspects posting. Who isn’t getting tired of the same old bunch posting on this blog? People; get real names and get in the game. If many of you have the extra time please help either Party work phone banks and give rides on election day. All of us Candidates are working our butts off to try and represent what we each feel is important to you all. Talk is cheap.

    Sorry you got slamned by King. Keep up the good work while juggling twin newborns.

    King- you know I love ya but please go easy on my Fellow Republicans, especially Kelly, not all have my Media Abilities.

  16. Usual Suspect

    I can’t believe whdad and chalenois are even considering voting for a guy this vain, presumptuous, and ideologically hidebound, for the sake of entertainment.

    How decadent!

  17. Jay

    The Courant endorsed John DeStefano last time, not Rell. Who is on the editorial board? Do they live in West Hartford?

  18. Fred Garvin

    King: You apparently don’t read the paper.

    The Courant endorsed President Bush not once, but twice.

    And the editorial page just lovvvvvvvvvvved Rowland. That is, of course, until he was proven a crook.

    Where’s your proof of liberal bias? And don’t cite the editorial page — that’s supposed to be biased. (Although I’ve got to say I find it kinda mealy-mouthed.) Rush and the rest of the talkers in right-wing media claim bias, but rarely back their utterances.

    Let’s see your proof Doc.

  19. Fred Garvin

    I’ve got to support those who plan to cast a vote for Joe. I’ll be doing it.

    I too find him to be somewhat disagreeable, but we could all benefit from some forceful dissent.

    There’s nothing wrong with making the party in power a little uncomfortable.

  20. Kevin Walsh

    With regard to Gary Reger’s 1:50pm post, I do not believe that the Town Charter reserves three counsel seats for any one party; rather, it limits the seats that can be held by one party to six. The impact of this subtle distinction is illustrated by the results of the 2005 election, in which the republicans won only two seats.

  21. Gary Reger

    Kevin —

    Thanks. I’ll have to read it I guess!

  22. Kevin Walsh

    Chapter II, Section 5:

    Section 5. Minority representation.
    At the elections as hereinbefore provided no political party shall nominate and no elector
    shall vote for more than six members of the council . . .

  23. Oh, Joe you disappoint me.

    And why doesn’t the GOP site have your picture on it? You have a right to be frusterated with them. But in a few weeks, you’ll probably take one of promised minority seats since the Republican Town Committee seems hell-bent on second place.

    Kelly, its not personal. And I’m just a taxpayer that feels unrepresented on the Council. Sorry, you seem very timid for the job. Being a first time candidate doesn’t win you points when your bloody goal is prove that your qualified to help run town affairs and help get us back on track. Unfortunately for you – talking in public and debating goes with the job; articulating your position loud and clear with television cameras or not shouldn’t matter a hill of beans if you have passion. As an attorney, I would have figured that you have all the experience in the world articulating your position; so I guess we were all caught off guard by your television performances.

    And yeah, yeah, I read the nonsense on the GOP site and Democrats website too. It’s all general talking points, but not much content.

    So Kelly – since you are reading this blog, enlighten us…

    Do you think West Hartford Residents are overtaxed, undertaxed or taxed just about right for the services and benefits we receive?

    You want to lower the tax rate for whom… businesses or companies? Or both?

    How do you plan to bring in commercial development and where do you plan to put it? What kind of development?

    I believe when Seder mentioned tax incentives to get businesses to recycle, you said you didn’t know anything about tax incentives. Elaborate on what you meant, please.

    I applaud that you want to make the town safe. What are the safety issues that concern you most, since you mentioned roadways and sideswalks, which ones have you most concerned, and what do you propose in specific terms to address it.

    What did you mean by “keep traffic flowing”. Where?

    Since you are new, I’ll go light on you. Never send a potential supporter to a website to read cookie cutter generalities and talking points. Articulate what you will do if elected. Ok, I’ve asked you specific questions. Let’s see how you fair.

    Let me give credit to the Democrats. Even if I disagree with a great deal of what you say, you seem to say it with confidence. If voters choose you over Republicans on November 6th, it will because you guys sound and act like you want the job and believe in your positions.

    As for the Courant, they fried Rowland over and over again. I guess I missed the endorsements for Bush. Did they endorse Clinton twice? Did they endorse Rell in the last election? I guess what matters is that they endorsed the six Dems in this town this time around, right?

  24. Joe Visconti

    Thanx Fred

    Also regarding minority representation (I’ll try not to be so Vain). We actually have 7 Democrats on Town Council. Joe Verrengia is a registered democrat, raising money as a Democrat Candidate and voting as a Republican on Town Council. When I brought this up with Joe Obrien last week (our Town Attorney) he said it is perfectly legal. One would have to sue the Town to know for sure. Those who wrote the Charter could never conceive that a person would do as Joe Verrengia does ( playing both sides) and didn’t cover our behinds with language to force a Joe Verrengia to resign as I have asked Joe Verrengia to do in person. Joe hides behind legal opinions and wonders why the public is outraged with government and politicians. Not only that but Joe Verrengia is a Republican appointee to the MDC. Thats right, again we may not find language to remove him.

  25. Joe Visconti

    Sorry man, you were very tough out of the gate with Kelly. Although I am not on all of their literature ( Republicans 2007)it is a small thing.

  26. Kevin Walsh

    In my first post on this thread, I expressed my understanding that the town charter limited the number of council seats that one party may hold. When I reviewed the charter, I recognized that my understanding in this regard was not accurate. In fact, the charter section on minority representation limits the number of councilors that a party may nominate.

    In order to correct my mistake, I pasted what I believe to be the relevant Charter provision in my second post.

    I acknowledge that it would have been better if I had checked the Charter first before making my initial post, and I regret the error. In my defense, I can only state that, when I mischaracterized what it says, I did not have the actual Charter wording in front of me.

    On the other hand, when Joe Visconti suggested in his 10:47pm post that it is somehow illegal for seven town councilors to be members of one party, he DID have actual Charter wording on minority representation in front of him – pasted right on this thread. The careful reader sees that this provision in no way limits (or even addresses) the number of councilors that may be a member of one party. I cannot imagine what Joe sees.

    Even more troubling is Joe’s reference to potential litigation against the town in pursuit of a tortured (or at best severely strained) interpretation of the minority representation requirements. Joe, one need not sue the town to know for sure; one need only read the Charter, carefully.

    The typical candidate for town council who is a self-proclaimed champion of fiscal discipline would never invite such dubious litigation against the town, with its resultant tens (or hundreds) of thousands in legal expenses. Of course, Joe is anything but the typical candidate.

  27. Gary Reger

    Thank you Kevin for clarifying the rules established by the Town charter. I now understand the situation. I would like to know the history of that provision (which surely must have been challenged, at some time or other), but I see that my impression of the rule — that it could seat a candidate with fewer votes over one with more — was wrong.

    Kevin is also quite right in what he writes about Joe Verrengia. While Joe Visconti has every right to feel “betrayed” at Verrengia’s party switch (which, it is not irrelevant to recall, was promoted by the Republican position on BBS, yes?), nothing in the rules compells his resignation. Joe Visconti needs to address that forthrightly.

    On Kelly — anyone running for public office does need to be ready for the give-and-take of public debate, but there’s no need for the debate to be vituperative. In what I hope is a reasonable tone, here are a couple of additional questions for her:

    In your post of October 19 you write, “It is no secret that lowering the tax rate encourages more business and development in town. Commercial development increases the tax base and, in turn, increases revenue.”

    This statement sounds to me based on the ideas of supply-side economics, also known as Reaganomics. Both long experience with these ideas and study after study have shown that the premises and conclusions are wrong: lowering taxes decreases revenue and has no measurable impact on business growth. Your fellow Republicans pressing to lower taxes are also, with consistency, arguing for budget cuts.

    So —

    (1) What evidence can you cite that this otherwise thoroughly discredited idea would work in WH?

    (2) Given that you seem to hold views inconsistent with your fellow Republicans, how would you work with them if you were elected?

  28. Joe Visconti

    Forthrightly? Come door to door with me to hear the anger which voters have (even from democrats) that someone can raise money with one Party, be registered in that Party, plan political strategies with that Party and vote on the Town Council as a member of another Party, Oh and while that Town Councilor is a Town Employee too! Is it a wonder why there is mistrust of politicians? Good Luck Joe Verr.

  29. King – Thanks for the questions. I’ll answer them in the order you asked. It’s a bit long – sorry.

    1. You asked if I think that “West Hartford Residents are overtaxed, undertaxed or taxed just about right for the services and benefits we receive?” Generally, I think the tax burden on residents is too high. However, the answer really depends on who you ask – there are many in town, particularly those with kids in the schools, who think they are getting what they pay for in terms of taxes considering the quality of our schools. There are others, particularly retirees, who feel over taxed. More importantly, we can increase our tax revenues by lowering tax rates on everyone. As I’ve said before, keeping mil rates low will encourage business and development in town and increase the size of the grand list. This will lead to higher tax revenues at the lower rate. This, combined with responsible budget growth will allow those with kids to continue to see their programs funded while the burden on retirees and all property owners will be eased.

    2. Tax rates should be lower for everyone.

    3. I think if we lower the tax rates commercial development will come to West Hartford. We will then have the luxury of deciding who gets to develop what and where. I would like to see some more development in Elmwood and I think lower taxes will make that happen.

    4. If I remember correctly, we were discussing ways to encourage recycling and my comment “I don’t know about tax incentives,” as in, “I don’t know if tax incentives for recycling are a good idea,” was in response to someone’s suggestion that the town give tax breaks to encourage recycling. I don’t think they are a good idea. People don’t need tax breaks to recycle – they should be doing it anyway.

    5. As far as traffic safety is concerned, I think many would agree that the Park Road exit is most in need of attention. That exit backs up onto the highway and Blue Back isn’t even open yet. It’s really hard to go east on Park Road coming from 84E. It’s tough to go west on Park Road during busy hours when most traffic is trying to enter the highway. I’d like to hear suggestions from traffic engineers and figure out how to keep traffic flowing in that entire area.

    Pedestrian safety is important to me. I think we should be encouraging people to walk and ride bikes because it’s healthy and it will take some cars off of our busiest roads. Blue Back and the center are very walkable areas and we should do our best to keep them safe for pedestrians, focusing for now on people traveling in and around those areas. Specifically, the intersection of Park and Raymond roads needs a lighted crosswalk. The painted crosswalk was fine before, but with increasing traffic it is becoming more dangerous to cross Park Road. A good crosswalk across Farmington at Raymond Road would be enormously helpful to walkers as well. When we re-do roads we should consider adding bike lanes to keep bikers safe and traffic moving. Also, when we’re re-doing sidewalks we should make sure there are dips/ramps at the corners to make it easy and safe to cross the street for wheelchairs and strollers.

    Thanks again for the questions!

  30. Gary Reger

    The Goldilocks approach to taxes confuses means and ends. If we start from the question, “Are taxes too high, too low, or just right?” we abort discussion of the real issue: what do we want?

    First we need to ask what services we want; then, how we would prioritize those services; then, how much those services would cost; and only then, can we afford them? That’s because taxes are a means to effecting public policy, not an end in themselves.

    Recall that in general when people are asked, “Do you want your taxes lowered?” they say “Yes,” but if you ask “Would you be willing to pay higher taxes in exchange for [insert service: for example, universal health care]?” people have to think, and sometimes they say “Yes” (as indeed is the case with health care).

    So I don’t think a discussion whose premise is “Taxes are too high” gets us in fact anywhere.

  31. Gary, that might be because you don’t want to entertain the question.

    If I say “Taxes are too high”, and you respond “the discussion doesn’t get us anywhere” its not much of a discussion.

    If you ask the open ended question “what do we want?” I’d have to respond with the more reasonable question, “what is necessary?” Or how can we acheive maximum results while reducing expeditures, and the tax burden on West Hartford residents?”

    This eventually brings us back to the question of whether taxes are, in fact, too high. It’s funny, I just came back from a nice walk to a playground, and without asking political preference the four families present all mentioned the same thing – outrage over taxes and the fear of even more taxes. You’ll be surprised to know that I didn’t start the conversation.

    You see, you can bury your head in the sand and pretend there isn’t a tax and spend problem in West Hartford by trying to draw inaccurate comparisons to other towns (whose budgets are structured differently), or you can admit there is a problem and have fruitful discussion about how to reduce the cost operational expeditures.

    When I asked Kelly what she thought about the current state of taxes, and she said it depends on who you ask, I guess she’s right – King and his neighbors feel overtaxed, Gary thinks otherwise.

  32. Just another mom

    It’s always an issue of how much you get in return for what you pay. I’m satisfied, though of course I’d rather have lower taxes. Who wouldn’t?

  33. David Jones

    I know this will be lengthy but I wish to address 3 subjects.

    1. TAX INCENTIVES– Certainly tax policy can have a stimulative or detrimental impact on economic growth. And many projects would never be built without tax incentives. But often these projects shouldn’t be built so I’m not necessarily a huge fan of a town such as WH doling out tax breaks to developers. But I recognize there are towns/cities that must do this in order to attract development. Fortunately WH isn’t one of them.

    If the economics of a project rely on tax breaks it’s often a questionable project. In the mid 80’s projects were springing up everywhere purely for the tax benefits (writeoffs in limited partnerships), not because another office building was needed. When TRA 86 was passed, phasing out these tax benefits, commercial real estate collapsed leading to the chaos many of you remember.

    And Gary, I would be interested to see the “study after study” that proves that a decrease in tax rates leads to lower revenue. Having said that, I have no doubt that they exist just as I have no doubt that a number of studies proving the opposite also exist.

    By that logic, we could maximize our tax revenues with a tax rate of 100%. I think we all recognize that no one would work to give 100% of their money to the government. Conversely, the argument that a lowering of tax rates always leads to an increase suffers from the same analysis, a 0% tax rate would maximize revenue based on that logic. In reality it’s a somewhat more complex issue, one which I won’t get into since it would take too much time, not to mention the fact that I’m not enough of an economist to pull it off.

    2. JOE VERRENGIA– Joe Verrengia is a friend of mine and an honorable person. But yes, he was elected as a Republican and is now a Democrat. And yes, anyone has the right to be unhappy with this decision, although levying charges of illegality when none exist is mean spirited and not the kind of thing we want in our town.

    The interesting thing is the very people who claim to feel betrayed by this change of parties are the same people who didn’t want Joe in the Republcian party anyway. This was because he wasn’t “Republican” enough. They actually wanted him out of the party, and now that he’s gone they are conveniently using his departure against him.

    I can think of no level of govenment where someone is forced out of office when they change parties. Doesn’t happen at the national or state level.

    As for Joe Verrengia raising money as a Republican and then becoming a Democrat, check the records to see where his money came from. How many die hard Republicans gave him money and how many worked for his campaign? Few if any. Most supporters of Joe are just that, supporters of Joe; not Joe the R or Joe the D, but Joe Verrengia.

    As for planning political strategy with the party, I can say with a great deal of confidence that Joe Verrengia wasn’t planning his campaign strategy with Carl Donatelli (town committee chair), and the other Republican candidates who were Steve Sinatro, Mark Sinatro, Tom Knox, and Mike Zullo.

    Is there someone who gave Joe some campaign money who wouldn’t have done so if he had been a Democrat? Perhaps yes and perhaps no. Is there a significant number of these people representing a major portion of Joe’s campaign money? Certainly not! Did anyone vote for Joe just because he’s a Republican. Absolutely, many people vote based solely on party. If Joe had run as a Democrat he would have received even more of that type of vote since D’s outnumber R’s by around 2 to 1.

    Does anyone believe that if Joe had run as a Democrat in the last election he would have lost?

    3. REPUBLICAN TOWN COMMITTEE DISENCHANTMENT WITH JOE AND BARBARA–It is widely believed that this was about Blue Back Square, but this is only one of three issues that caused the fissure. As for Blue Back, there was a split in the Republican party, some favored it and some were against it. And some wanted to vote against it just to differentiate the party from the Democrats. Mike Seder, Republican Town Committee Chair at the time and now a candidate for town council, told me at the time that he was not against the project, but he did encourage the Republicans on the council to vote against some of the later amendments because he believed it would be good politics, would allow them to differentiate themselves.

    A second issue was the budget. Many, or perhaps most, Republican town committee members wanted the R’s on the council to vote against the budget rather than sit down with the D’s to negotiate. Mike Seder who was town committee chair at the time and is now a candidate for council, wanted the R’s to demand a 0% tax increase, not because of an analysis that suggested this was viable, but to create a political issue, to put heat on the D’s, to differentiate the R’s from the D’s. David Lemkuil, Joe Verrengia, and Barbara Carpenter were accused of not being Republicans, but of being “Democrat Light”.

    Many of these people had the perception that David, Joe, and Barbara were just signing on to the Democrat plan, but in reality Mayor Scott Slifka, much to his credit, included them in the process. They weren’t signing on, they were helping to create, they were working behind the scenes rather than grandstanding.

    The third issue was the case of the Republican Registrar of Voters. She was accused of certain insensitivites within the workplace. This lady was also a member of the Republican town committee as was her husband. And no doubt they had many close friends on the town committee.

    The three Republicans on the town council, David, Joe, and Barbara, joined the Democrats in a statement critical of her behavior. It was believed by many on the town committee that the three of them should have stood up for her because she is one of them, that they betrayed one of their own. Unlike BBS and the budget, this is obviously a very personal thing, one which some on the town committee could never forgive. I don’t know the details of the event and am passing no judgement, but this was a very big issue within the town committee

  34. turtle

    Mike Seder, Republican Town Committee Chair at the time and now a candidate for town council, told me at the time that he was not against the project, but he did encourage the Republicans on the council to vote against some of the later amendments because he believed it would be good politics, would allow them to differentiate themselves.

    Mike Seder who was town committee chair at the time and is now a candidate for council, wanted the R’s to demand a 0% tax increase, not because of an analysis that suggested this was viable, but to create a political issue, to put heat on the D’s, to differentiate the R’s from the D’s.


  35. Mark Jackson

    A friend of mine recently introduced me to this blog and I’ve been reading it over for the past few days.

    How typical of Joe Visconti to whine about people not using their real names when leaving a post. I have found this to be a trend of his. However, I notice that “The King” is a strong supporter of Visconti, and he doesn’t seem to have a problem with that individual using a masked identity…what a shock.

    Also, how encouraging of Visconti to try and score some points by protecting Kelly Clark. Joe to the rescue once again, don’t worry Kelly you’re safe. You don’t impress me with your attempt to be a leader. Kelly seems to be a smart candidate and can stand up for herself is she feels the need to so do, she doesn’t require an aid, and I don’t see Joe running to try and shield anybody else from a few negative comments. Probably because he gets slammed all day from the frequent bloggers I’ve seen on here.

    Lastly, Visconti seems a bit upset that Joe Verrengia is a quality man and distinguished police officer, serving an actual useful purpose in this town, unlike him.

    Just adding my two cents folks, thanks for giving me the opportunity to use this blogspot.

    Visconti…your music stinks too

  36. Joe Visconti

    Mr Jackson

    Thank you for following my carreer, I love all my fans. Glad to see you posting with your real identity. You may have missed my comments months ago about pseudonym use.

    And for frequent bloggers slamming me, join right in with the usual suspects, all 8 of them.

    Some say I am so vain, maybe it’s just my attempt to attract attention to get the google hits and google alerts up on my name worldwide? na, I wouldn’t do that would I???

    Good work, you do impress me with your attempts at being a leader. The rudeness factor of Signor Jackson is the price we pay for being leaders, don’t be concerned it’s a small personal price to pay for democracy.

    As always you are true Republican.

    I love ya but paleeeease try and write your own words, reading all your cut and pastes is getting old.

  37. Gary Reger

    David — Here are a few studies on the impact of supply-side economics:

    Paul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity (New York 1995) has a chapter reviewing the claims that reduced taxes create business growth. I know that Krugman’s name is anathema on the right, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good economist.

    Thomas Karier, Great Experiments in American Economic Policy (Westport 1999) shows that the supply-side tax cuts of the Reagan years did not lead to revenue increases as promised; Karier calls it a “failed experiment.”

    M. Keran, “The Supply-Side Miracle,” Journal of Portfolio Management 15 (1989) 73-77, shows that any economic gains subsequent to the massive Reagan tax cut of 1986 had nothing to do with the tax cut; they were caused by a 40% drop in the price of oil in the fall of 1986.

    M. Graham and P. Arselis, “‘Reaganomics’ and Supply Side Economics. A British View,” Journal of Economic Issues 23 (1989) 965-975, show that Reagan economic policies were chosen for political reasons, not economic ones.

  38. turtle


    For one thing, I’ve written plenty of late. For another, cutting and pasting is a chat room convention used for emphasis or to make responses easier to follow in a thread where many people are posting. Pseudonyms are also a longstanding convention.

    I wish you and and Judy would quit bugging me about this stuff, especially since, in the interest of being a good citizen of the West Hartford Blog, I quit sporting with the King’s RNC boilerplate.

  39. Tom Dooley

    Gary – Reasonable minds can differ, but I would like to point out that the Reagan supply-side tax cuts were never reversed and we have seen tax receipts swell over the last 25 years. Also, the Clinton supply-side tax cuts of 1996 and Bush in 2001 have resulted in decreased budget deficits. It is a fact – as more of the Bush tax cuts come on line the deficit is shrinking.

    How do you explain that?

  40. Mark,

    Since you are new, let’s bring you up to speed…

    First, I admit fully that I’m a supporter of Joe Visconti and I make no apology for that. Understand that Joe and I often disagree as often as we agree (go back and look). I am supporting Joe for our agreement over a few key issues, including his stance on taxes, reducing goverment expediture, and a few other key issues.

    Also, Joe rips me on the blog, on the phone, and in person for using a screenname. I don’t get any special treatment from Joe in this regard.

    On Joe Verrengia. Who cares what his occupation is? Since when does that make a difference to anyone. He’s no better than the candlestick maker, teacher, ice cream peddler, etc. But here is what actually makes a difference – Joe Verrengia ran as a Republican, he made commitments to his constituents who served, worked for him, and championed his cause, and even donated money on his behalf, – and (planned or not) when the going got tough and he decided that he didn’t want to take an unpopular stand against the the Democrats; And “suddenly” when the convenient issue of Blue Back Square came along – he seized the moment – his entire philosophy changed so much that he had this incredible life changing epiphany that he was really a Democrat. He hoodwinked all of us into believing he is something he is not.

    But he’s got big balls. He run around town acting like he’s been a Democrat his whole life. And the Courant has the audacity to refer to him as a budget hawk.

    As for your assertion that Kelly gets slammed all day by frequent bloggers is an exaggeration. She was a non-factor on this blog until I rightfully criticized her. I appreciate her responses, and will take those up at a different time.

    Just a quick note on your rediculous comparison between the two Joe’s. Joe Verrengia is a paid employee of this town who has served the town in his police officer capacity well (no qualms there). Joe Visconti is an unpaid activist who helped galvanize a referendum to help turn the tide against liberal activists and their scheme to raise taxes to a new record high. Joe Visconti has done plenty to deserve our votes.

  41. Joe Visconti


    The Democrats know they will lose a seat this election, all the numbers show it. There will be four Republicans on the Town Council this year. The good news about that reality is the Dems will still control spending and the public will see from Town Councilors like me and the other 3 Republicans elected what they are up to. I will become an insider and that my friends is a Political Nightmare to Sullivan and company.

    Watch for my response to the Hartford Courants not endorsing me (I get 300 words) this week where I will spell out the Political future of this town.

  42. Rick Liftig

    Tom Dooley –

    One word – Demographics. The boomers are in their peak earning years and they are both saving and spending like crazy. Over the last 60 years, the demographics have been the prime mover of the economy. The government’s efforts to alter the economy have some influence, but it pales in comparison to the effect of the masses.

  43. Gary Reger

    Tom —

    Rick is right — demographics is part of the answer. So is debt.

    In 1980, when Reagan was elected, the national debt stood at 32% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the US. By the end of Bush I’s term in 1992, the debt had risen to 65% of the GDP — it had doubled. Under Clinton the debt fell to about 57% of the GDP; today it is at about 64%. The federal government has been making up lost tax revenue by borrowing. Today’s national debt is over $9,000,000,000,000 (that’s the right number of zeroes).

    This is linked to the claims about the deficit. The annual deficit is the amount added in a given year to the national debt. When Bush says that budget deficits have “decreased”, what he is referring to is that the percentage by which the national debt has grown is smaller than it was before.

    Moreover, when Bush talks about deficit, he ignores the fact that part of the deficit has been covered by borrowings from the Social Security fund. That money ought to be counted as deficit, since it will have to be paid back; but Bush counts only money borrowed from private lenders. The annual total deficit was about $0 when Bush came in to office; it climbed every year, drastically, till in 2004 it reached about $720,000,000,000 (that’s an annual figure, i.e., what was being added to the national debt that year, not a total for the whole first term).

    After 2004 the annual total deficit came down, slightly, and has fluctatuated around $600,000,000,000/year ever since. There is no trend down. But Bush simply does not count the part of the deficit owed to Social Security, and that’s how he gets his figures. For 2006, Bush says the deficit is $250,000,000,000, but he omits $300,000,000,0000 borrowed from Social Security. I would feel a lot richer if I didn’t count my mortgage payments in my debt!

    As for job creation — the business side of supply-side ecomomics, the claim that tax cuts stimulate business growth — the facts of Bush’s tax cuts do not bear out the premise. When Bush took office, the total employment rate was about 134 million. He predicted that his 2001 tax cuts would create 2 million new jobs by the end of 2004. He predicted that the 2003 tax cuts would generate another 1.75 million jobs. The actual number at the end of 2004? 134 million. In other words, there is no evidence these tax cuts created any jobs at all.

    (You can read about this for yourself at

    Finally, the business cycle. Tax revenues rise and fall with the business cycle. The business cycle reached its peak in March 2001, started falling (a contraction), and then bottomed out in November 2001. Thus the 2001 tax cuts coincided with an upturn in the business cycle. A study I read (sorry, seem to have misplaced the reference) argued that, if you disaggragate the effects of that upturn on tax revenue, virtually no effect can be attributed to the Bush 2001 tax cuts.

  44. Ok, Joe V I’m going to bite.

    I read your post on your website about the high cost of utilities in West Hartford schools, etc. So what’s your plan for reducing costs besides having kids wear heavy coats and longstockings throughout the day (I think that’s what they used to call them, eh turtle?)

    Right back at ya’ Joe V!

  45. Fred Garvin

    This, offered by the King:

    “If you don’t think the media has liberal bias, then your head is screwed on wrong. Look, I have quite a few friends on the left and they are active in campaigns… but they have the integrity and honesty to admin that the media including the Courant is one big lib fest. You just like to pretend. Oh, perhaps they might be a tad to the left of the advocate.”

    Turns into this after I challenge the King for some proof of the bias he insists exists. So Doc, what’s the deal? That’s all you’ve got to offer.

    “As for the Courant, they fried Rowland over and over again. I guess I missed the endorsements for Bush. Did they endorse Clinton twice? Did they endorse Rell in the last election? I guess what matters is that they endorsed the six Dems in this town this time around, right?”

    When challenged to offer evidence, those who continue to repeat the lie can’t back it up. Looks like we can put the King’s liberal media bias BS to rest. Where’s your “integrity and honesty” Doc?

  46. Joe Visconti

    Out of the batters box.
    My post was a factoid so the people reading can see what we are spending, not as a complaint. The Utility costs will continue to rise which is a non partisan problem.
    Heating and air conditioning of our Towns empty buildings ( Schools etc) at night could possibly be offset by “promoting” the renting out of auditoriums and cafeterias to private groups for meetings or evening Ed courses. We have thousands of feet of meeting areas which from around 6pm till 10pm could generate thousands of dollars a year. Energy Conservation through optimum Utilization of our Real Estate. Some will comment that we already do some of this ( Town Hall) or that they fear security breaches, to them I would say, lets invest in studying these options.

  47. The King

    All too easy.

    I suggest you open the paper up and read it. My integrity and honesty are perfectly fine, what about yours?

    How about starting with the endorsement of six West Hartford Democrats?

    (,0,6196505.story) Republicans need not apply? And the editorial board?

    And tell me Fred – which of these scary faces has a hint of conservatism: ( (except Larry Cohen once in a while plays it down the middle).

    Should I go town by town and write out the endorsements that the Courant has made this year?

    Hey and don’t forget about Bob Engelhart, your friendly left wing cartoonist. (Of course he occasionally bashes Lieberman for his hawkish views on defense particularly when it comes to protecting the only democracy in the region – Israel).

    Call me when you have a point to make, ok?

  48. All too easy.

    I suggest you open the paper up and read it. My integrity and honesty are perfectly fine, what about yours?

    How about starting with the endorsement of six West Hartford Democrats? Republicans need not apply? And the editorial board?

    And tell me Fred – which of these scary faces has a hint of conservatism: “” (except Larry Cohen once in a while plays it down the middle).

    Should I go town by town and write out the endorsements that the Courant has made this year?

    Hey and don’t forget about Bob Engelhart, your friendly left wing cartoonist. (Of course he occassionally bashes Lieberman for his hawkish views on defense particularly when it comes to protecting the only democracy in the region – Israel).

    Call me when you have a point to make, ok?

  49. All too easy. I suggest you open the paper up and read it. My integrity and honesty are perfectly fine, what about yours?

    How about starting with the endorsement of six West Hartford Democrats?,0,6196505.story Republicans need not apply? And the editorial board?

    And tell me Fred – which of these scary faces has a hint of conservatism: (except Larry Cohen once in a while plays it down the middle).

    Should I go town by town and write out the endorsements that the Courant has made this year?

    Hey and don’t forget about Bob Engelhart, your friendly left wing cartoonist. (Of course he occassionally bashes Lieberman for his hawkish views on defense particularly when it comes to protecting the only democracy in the region – Israel).

    Call me when you have a point to make, ok?

  50. Whdad:

    Did you release my attempts from spam catcher or was their simply a delay?

  51. I found them in the spam catcher and freed them.
    I don’t have any idea why it thought they were spam. Let’s just say the ads for “Sweet Asian porn” and “Hot wives looking for some action” that bracketed your comments struck me as much more the sort of thing a spam catcher should catch.

  52. Fred Garvin

    Let’s try this again. I’ll type slowly so you understand. That’s the editorial page. It’s SUPPOSED to be biased. It’s opinion. OK, understand?

    The Wall Street Journal writes conservative editorials. The Waterbury Republican writes conservative editorials. The Washington Times writes conservative editorials. The Hartford Courant writes, well, mealy-mouth editorials. The New York Times writes liberal editorials.

    But they’re EDITORIALS.

    If EDITORIALS are the basis of your claim of bias, I’m not sure what I can say other than, THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE BIASED BECAUSE THEY’RE EDITORIALS.

    You’re getting sillier doc.

    Maybe you should stick to the sweet Asian porn.


  53. Fred,

    Only you would type slowly so I could understand. Wow. Thanks for not getting it AT ALL.

    The point of this whole discussion that you seem to NOT GET is that the Hartford Courant is a liberal rag, that has a bias in favor of Democrats.

    What you also seemed to have missed – when you actually thought you had some point in your last post – is that the COLUMNISTS that they employ are also left wing hacks. Pretty much like you.

    So the EDITORS and COLUMNISTS are pretty much of one mind – liberal by any normal person’s read. But being the newspaper of record…. you claim they are supposed to be biased??? REALLY?? How about acting as a freaking NEWSpaper instead of slanting the news to produce a product has any bias?

    So what is your position this time? Is there no bias or is the paper supposed to be biased? Should Republicans only have “followers” or can they have “supporters” like the Democrats?

  54. LXD

    I’m thinking of voting for Joe Visconti in place of Slifka. Slifka had the nerve to lie on a Ch. 3 interview about how many tax dollars were spent on Blue Back (he said zero, but those parking garages were not free and they were paid for with tax dollars the last time I checked.) On the BOE I wish there were more fresh faces on the Dem side. The current people on the BOE seem to like lunatic teachers who blog abot killing everyone except his closest friends and how he enjoys making kids cry (whmom asked about this crazy teacher who is still teaching when he should be in an asylum). I don’t trust Republicans on the BOE because they’d probably slash education while sending their own kids to private schools. Once again we’re stuck voting for the lesser of two evils, although I think this will be much less painfull than the 2008 presidential election.

  55. Elliot Check

    LXD –

    The 2 of us running on the GOP side both have kids in Conard , not private school.

    Neither of us has called for slashing education.

  56. LXD

    Mr. Check, I’m basing that comment on the actions of the former head of the WHTA.

  57. Fred Garvin

    OK Doc. Let’s try this again.

    The Hartford Courant, which you claim to be a “liberal rag” that has a “bias in favor of Democrats” twice endorsed George Bush and had a love-fest with Rowland until he was proven a crook.

    Those facts by themselves disprove your point. Hence, you’re a dishonest intellectual fraud.

    The columnists you claim are “left wing hacks” include right wing hack Lawrence Cohen and the socially conservative Stan Simpson. Kevin Rennie is a former Republican legislator who is an equal opportunity smacker. That leaves Rick Green, who is no slave to any ideology, Susan Campbell, who is liberal, the on-leave Helen Ubinas, who is liberal, the liberal Bill Curry and the liberal Colin McEnroe. The paper runs George Will, Kathleen Parker, Max Boot and an assortment of others of the more conservative ilk. It also runs some liberals. So Doc, let’s try it again. That strikes me as an attempt at balance.

    Now for someone such as yourself, with a serious case of cranial rectal inversion, that may seek like a bias in favor of Democrats. To normal people, it’s not.

    So now we get back to the other issue which you seem to be incapable of grasping.

    We’re talking about the editorial page, which by its very nature dispenses opinion, which people such as yourself refer to as bias, usually when you don’t agree with the opinion being proffered.

    Now let’s turn to the news pages. Where is your evidence of bias. That is what I asked you for before you listed a bunch of, ahem, editorials and columns. (Reminder: Those are opinion pieces and therefore may contain some degree of bias.)

    Clear the spittle from your computer screen and try again. What is your evidence that the Courant is a “left wing rag” with a “bias toward Democrats.”

    If all you can come up with is the endorsement of six Democrats on the West Hartford town council, you are a sad, pathetic intellectual pygmy.

    Your loyal servant,

  58. David Jones

    I didn’t hear Mayor Slifka’s comments on Channel 3 so I cannot address them.

    My understanding of the town’s participation in BBS is this. The town issued bonds to pay for things the town owns such as the parking garages. These bonds will be paid off from various sources of revenue coming from BBS. The original estimates of these various revenues were enough to pay off the bonds as well as provide additional revenue to the town’s general fund. Everything I’ve heard suggests these original estimates were low and that the town will actually recognize more revenue than initially projected. If my understanding is accurate then no taxpayer money went into the parking garages or other aspects of BBS, and taxpayer money won’t be used to retire the bonds. If I’m inaccurate I’m sure someone will correct me.

  59. Elmwoodian

    King, I’m going to limit my criticism to your October 21st, 2007 at 10:11 pm comment to this: What were you doing blogging during the Sox game? Where are your priorities brother?

  60. Elwoodian… not to worry, that was written quickly during a commercial break. Do you really think I’d miss a second of a romp like that over the Indians?

    At this point, Fred concedes the argument since he tried to use Kevin Rennie as an example of a conservative voice representing balance (I already mentioned Cohen – who isn’t really conservative, but let’s pretend). See how the liberal mind works folks? – having one conservative against the rest of the staff makes it fair and balanced in his eyes.

    Then he avoids my question about endorsement of the six democrats THIS YEAR, and my point about the Governor’s race LAST YEAR. Then he avoids my point out Engelberg’s cartoons; so why bother getting into the Courant’s running of every negative story that can drum up about the Bush administration or the Rell Administration.

    Wipe the spittle off your glasses and read read the paper. I’d rather be a pygmy than a horse wearing blinders.

  61. Taking a break from fire and brimstone…

    So Elmwoodian – one way to determine who to vote for – when the candidates are neck and neck in the running for your vote – is to find out more about their make up. Meaning how they think or where they’re allegiences lie – hehe. (now everyone don’t get upset especially you Freddie G this is being written +partially in jest).

    So… risking it all, I pose the question to Kelly Clark, Joe Visconti, Steve Adler, Theresa McGrath, Harry Captain, and anyone else that is a candidate here and frequents the blog – Who are your favorite baseball and football teams? Do you have the courage to answer? Having the courage to answer wins you more points than pleading the fifth! Any takers? You may select more than one team per sport – but chosing New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox is illegal.

  62. Meaning chosing both the Red Sox and Yankees as your favorite baseball team is illegal.

    Heck, we can open this up to everyone.

  63. Joe Visconti


  64. Chuck Coursey

    Some people remember where they were when President Kennedy died.

    For me, it was the death of our beloved Yankee Captain, Thurman Munson.

    The week before his death, I had broken my leg after being struck by a car while riding my bike. I was confined to the family room couch where my friends, including future Deputy Mayor Arthur Spada, visited and sat vigil with me. Our sorrow was tempered only when Bobby Murcer hit a home run after giving Thurman’s eulogy earlier in the day.

    For me, it will always be the Yankees.

  65. turtle

    OK, I’ll be voting for Chuck Coursey twice!

  66. Phil K

    “It’s funny, I just came back from a nice walk to a playground, and without asking political preference the four families present all mentioned the same thing – outrage over taxes and the fear of even more taxes. You’ll be surprised to know that I didn’t start the conversation.”

    King –
    Who are you that people just start conversations about taxes with you? Never happens to me.

    My 2 cents about media bias: if you’re far enough to the right, everything looks liberal. You’ll find little solace in knowing that the liberals are as pissed at the Courant as you are.

  67. Chuck Coursey

    Bless you, Turtle.

    And God Bless Joe Torre.

  68. Sean McCann

    More on the bogosity of supply-side economics.

    And can it just be pointed out contra Tom Dooley that, while the Reagan administration made a very large cut in top income tax rates (even as it raised the rate on lower income earners and raised payroll taxes), the effect, of course, was to make the U.S. the biggest debtor nation in world history–a path to which the present administration in its wisdom returns.

    Plus, let’s not forget those epochal events for the modern Republican Party: both Bush I and Clinton introduced minor increases to top income tax rates. Under the prodding of Rubin and Greenspan, the Clinton administration also cut spending. The present administration, of course, reversed this progress.

    In short, the present national Republican party is the party of fiscal irresponsibility and heedless ideology. It would be nice if the local party could resist heading in the same direction.

  69. Osemasterofdoom

    Chuck Coursey, I’ll vote for you any time for any office after that last post.

    On the subject of the Courant’s bias, the question goes beyond who they endorse. It is clear that over the years, their editorial page has leaned to the left. It’s been my experience that the few times that they actually endorse Republicans, it is more of a reflection of the poor quality of the Democratic option in the race than of strong support of the Republican candidate.

    The real question is whether or not the Courant allows its editorial position to seep into its news coverage. The debate on whether or not a newspaper’s editorial page leanings colors its news coverage is one that has raged and continues to rage in journalism schools and editorial boards. In my opinion, it does. The old adage in journalism is that it exists to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” In that sense, it tends to favor the “little guy” over the big, bad corporations. That’s cool, corporations have their own resources to promote themselves and they certainly avail themselves of those resources. But when a newspaper seeks to give a voice to the voiceless, it is showing a bias toward that group that manifests itself in the decisions on what to cover and what not to cover. Whether or not it’s a good or bad thing is open to debate, but it is there.

    As an example of this seeping bias, take another look at the endorsements at the beginning of this post (yes, I know these are from the editorial page, but my purpose is not to uncover a partisan bias here). For each candidate, endorsed or not, there is a listing of the issues he or she emphasizes, for example Thornberry “was behind elderly tax relief;” Coursey “has championed smart growth development;” Martin “stresses an open budget process;” and Seder “is focused on fiscal restraint.” This is all objective until you get to our good friend Joe. When it comes to his positions the text reads: “Visconti SAYS he champions fiscal discipline and public involvement in government” (emphasis mine). Why is everyone else’s position presented as a given except for Visconti’s? The way his paragraph is written, it implies that there is another side to his position, where some would “say” he does not actually champion these things. All the other candidates are taken at their word as to what they stand for, except Joe. Why is that?

    People who have been with this blog for a while know that I am no fan of Joe’s positions or his candidacy. But when someone is being treated unfairly, we should all stand up and say so.

    You may want to dismiss this as parsing words, but this is the subtle way these biases seep into a newspaper. The real test is whether or not a newspaper realizes it and tries to address it. In my opinion, the Courant doesn’t do enough of this.

  70. Elmwoodian

    My take on the Courant editorial endorsements is that I have noticed that they trend more towards endorsing incumbents (Destefano endorsement aside, as Rell wasn’t technically an incumbent) than a particular party. I really got the impression from the Council endorsements that the Courant wasn’t seeing any challenger candidate offering a good enough reason to change horses.

    It’s a bias that is certainly reflective of the electorate’s bias towards incumbents. Unseating an incumbent is a huge challenge at any level of electoral government, which is why it doesn’t happen very often (Which makes it all that more impressive when it does happen [see: Donatelli & Turco in 2003, Murphy/Johnson in 2006 and Clinton/Bush in ’92]).

    And here, the incumbents happen to be Dems and the Courant is saying that the challengers aren’t really offering up a good enough reason why we should take the risk on an inexperienced newcomer. I agree: where’s the fire?

  71. Harry Captain

    BOSTON: Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins.
    NY: Giants.

  72. Elmwoodian

    If I were running for elected office in this town I’d rather give up my stance on abortion and capital punishment than tell them my team allegiances.

  73. Fred Garvin

    I give up King.

    You’re dishonest and an intellectual fraud.

    And and you’re not worthy of my time.

    Your ever humble servant,


  74. Joe Visconti

    Thanx for spotting that OSE, it’s a small slight.

  75. Essie Labrot

    Red Sox
    I was born in Massachusetts!

  76. LXD

    David Jones, thanks for the info on BBS, I’ll have to look into that further. Slifka did say that no tax dollars were used for BBS, but I thought I read in the WH News or WH Life that we did use tax dollars for the parking garages. But both of those papers have made mistakes before.

  77. Joe Visconti


    The town did spend money beyond the 48 million in bonds. Joseph Springman studies?Feasability studies? Financial Studies, Town employee time including- Ron Van Winkle, Barry Feldman, Pat Alair, Joe Obrien, Jim Francis…………. and many more, for years in the making worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in Town payroll.

  78. David Jones

    Joe is correct that money was spent on studies, nothing close to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    As for as the labor costs of the individuals named, they were paid their normal salaries which they got before BBS and will get after BBS. These were not additional costs incurred by the town as a result of the BBS project.

    If you want to know what the town did spend hundreds of thousands on it was defending the Taubman & friends lawsuits.

  79. Joe Visconti

    Actually, Barry Feldman put the number a little over $500,000 that the town spent on Blue Back the first time this issue came up.
    The Town borrowed 48 million not the Developer, which went into improvements and buying the garages from Blue Back. To say the Town did not put any money into Blue Back is a lie. If Scott said that the Town did not put any money into Blue Back (which I hope he did not say) he is either lying and/or self decieved. Oh and the project was a no bid deal but what does that matter.

  80. West Hartford SEPTA is pleased to invite everyone to one more opportunity to meet the Board of Education Candidates.

    Don’t be complacent; show your interest in our schools!


    Tuesday October 30, 7-9 PM
    Duffy School Auditorium
    95 Westminster Dr

    Sponsored by West Hartford SEPTA (Special Education PTA), this event is for everyone in the community – not just those interested in special education.

    You are invited to submit questions for the candidates to prior to the meeting or bring them with you.

  81. Kevin Walsh

    Joe, I gather from your last post that you would have preferred that the project be put out to bid. Given that the Grody property was at all relevant times controlled by BBS LLC, and not by the town, are you suggesting that the town should have offered for bid only the Board of Ed building and/or the land between the Town Hall and the Police Department (thereby leaving BBS with the right to develop or otherwise dispose of the Grody tract as it saw fit under the applicable zoning)? What sort of project, if any, do you envision for that smaller tract that would be both attractive to developers and acceptable to the town?

    Alternatively, would you have preferred that the Town first acquire the rights to the Grody property (paying whatever price BBS required), thereby taking the risk that some other developer would be willing to offer a better deal on the combined tract?

    Or are you instead suggesting that the Town should have invoked eminent domain to simply take the Grody property for “fair value,” as the City of New London did in the Suzy Kelo case?

    Or do you see other viable alternatives that have not occurred to me? If so, I would be grateful if you could enlighten me.

  82. LXD

    Joe, Slifka did say that no tax dollars were spent. You just got his spot on my ballot. Now, let’s hope that our ballots are counted correctly on these new optical scan machines.

  83. Kevin Walsh

    If the bonds are paid off, as expected, from the revenue coming in from BBS, then I do not see how the statement that no tax dollars were spent is inaccurate or misleading.

  84. Osemasterofdoom, your comment is entirely too nuanced for a guy like “the King” because it actually has a point.

    He prefers to start with a conclusion and then repeat loudly and often said conclusion. That, as far as I can tell, is “evidence” in his mind.

    As for your actual point, your point is good, but I’ll say this much: their wording on Visconti reflects what I’ve seen so far. He talks the fiscal conservative talk, but I’m unclear where these tax savings are going to come from. I asked for more information here on this blog. The only answer I got was from the King, who, predictably, just asserted that Visconti had lots of ideas without, you know, actually listing any.

    The voters guide showed 2 ideas that required spending more money for questionable gains (e.g. what if a blue ribbon panel comes up with nothing?)

    I’m ready to be inspired by Visconti. Truly. I do admire his passion. I don’t like his tactics, and I hate the constant insinuations that everyone he disagrees with is corrupt. That being said, if he actually had some great ideas, I’d consider it.

    I don’t need entertainment from the council… that seems like an awful reason to vote for someone 😉

  85. Joe Visconti

    Kevin Walsh

    The Town also could have purchased Grody’s property, invested in a development plan which most residents would have accepted and put the master plan out for bid. Remember that Willaims Ford was bought by Whole Foods. I believe Grody’s got 8 million for her contaminated piece and two condo’s at Blue Back as part of the deal, with parking spaces. Grody’s property was environmentaly polutted for years which I found out about when I went to the CT DEP . DEP officals at that time said they were preparing to take legal action over her repeated delay in cleaning up the property. Grody should have been forced years ago to clean up her mess but the politcal back door players with all their shennigans (sujal) allowed her to leverage her toxins at the expense of our 48 million dollar subsidy to the Developer. Get it yet? Heapes cried poor over environmental issues that Grody should have paid for and wanted our Bonds. The Public was leveraged, The Courant looked the other way and the world keeps spinnin. Only in America!

    Sujal- I will enlighten you on my ideas before election. Saving the best for last!

  86. Sujal,

    Didn’t I leave you back on your blog defending Senator Reid’s maddening and opportunistic statement that global warming was a factor in creating the fires in California?


    Besides, I’m not running so why don’t you get off your lazy duff and ask Visconti about his ideas on your own (like I suggested days ago?) . He’s is own campaign manager and spokesman, not me. I’ve talked to Visconti – he has a LOAD of great ideas. I’m not going to list them for you. Who the hell said that was my job?

    Scared? You might find a reason to vote for him? Poking fun at me won’t change the results of the election. You can join Fred Garvin in the loss column.

  87. Art Halloran

    Hey Joe!!!

    I notice several people on this blog have said they would vote for you but none of them are willing to make that statement using their actual name. I wonder why?

    It’s great the way you’ve unlocked the giant West Hartford conspiracy. Let’s see, it’s the town administration, town elected officials, Hartford Courant, Blue Back Square developers, West Hartford News, West Hartford Life, and I must be missing some others. Thanks for your diligence Honest Joe.

    Interesting campaign strategy, lots of great ideas but not ready to release them even though it’s less than two weeks until the election.

    Still waiting for the media blitz that you promised in your response to an earlier Chuck Coursey question.

  88. Mrs.

    Even Sue, Judy, Patti and Tom are unwilling to openly support Joe on this blog.

    Seems the 5 other Republican candidates have chosen to distance themselves from Mr. Visconti.

  89. King, never said you were his campaign manager. In fact, I don’t remember asking you for your opinion ever. 😉

    Waiting for the response, Joe.


  90. (and I meant, patiently waiting… that sounded more dismissive the way I wrote it, Joe… sorry bout that.)

  91. Elliot Check

    No one on the GOP side has distanced themselves from Joe. He is at assorted functions with us and we are all working together.

    Unfortunately, Joe had to run his own campaign because he had already established his committee for the primary.

  92. JTS

    Elliot, nice of you to point that out. Having said that, if the R’s in town don’t think that Joe’s going to blow the party (and it’s leadership, Carl) 6 ways from Sunday, they’re more out of it than I thought.

  93. Art Halloran

    Mr. Check,

    It’s informative to know that you stand with Joe Visconti and all he stands for. The education cartel will be interested in this.

    Are you suggesting that you are speaking on behalf of the 5 town council candidates and that they are proud to run along side of Mr. Visconti? Because you may want to double check with them on that.

    Let’s hear from the others on the Republican ticket. Do you want Joe Visconti sitting beside you on the town council? Is this who you want to be the face of the Republican party? Since we know more about Mr. Visconti than any of the other candidates should we assume that his view of the town, and of the town administration, and of the elected officials, and of the world, is that of the West Hartford Republican party?

    Anxiously awaiting your replies.

  94. Joe Visconti for more info on your favorite Republican.

    Sujal- sorry for the delay, I had to wait for the Democrats to stop stealing and claiming all the ideas from me and the West Hartford Taxpayers Group for their palm cards (LOL when I saw their palm cards) . Now that the Dems have bought their mailers and are locked into their media buys you will start to hear some of my thoughts on how to help with Tax relief. Glad to see I am still so popular around here. Politics, yeah we got that!

  95. Joe Visconti


    Most of those you mentioned don’t visit this site.

  96. turtle

    Joe Visconti: I will enlighten you on my ideas before election. Saving the best for last!

    Stringing the voters along doesn’t seem like a winning strategy to me. If the Democrats were stealing your genius as you claim it seems like you should have tried to beat them to the punch.

    Now you have to compete with the World Series and Halloween as well. Meanwhile, the Courant unkindly reported your fundraising totals as of October 10 (IIRC).

    What happened to your mojo, man.

  97. Kevin Walsh

    Joe Visconti

    “The Town also could have purchased Grody’s property, invested in a development plan which most residents would have accepted and put the master plan out for bid. ”

    First, the scenario you have described above is real estate speculation — nothing more and nothing less. I suspect that most West Hartford voters would view the commitment of town funds to real estate speculation as highly inappropriate, if not wildly irresponsible. I gotta tell you Joe, I’m not hearing a champion of fiscal discipline here.

    Second, I have assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that you are aware that BBS held an option on the Grody property. The town could not, in fact, have proceeded in the manner you describe without also buying out BBS’ interest for whatever price BBS demanded. To suggest otherwise betrays either a lack of understanding of the operation of an option to purchase property, or an unwillingness (or inability) to acknowledge reality.

  98. Art Halloran

    Mr. Check,

    When you wrote of your strong support of Mr. Visconti I assumed you were just being a good team player. But then I saw you on TV tonight. You’re running for the board of ed and all I heard from you was your desire to cut our education spending and your reference to the mediocrity of our schools. You really DO love Joe Visconti. But we don’t need you on our board of ed. Your only interst is in a cheaper education.

    Still waiting to hear from the candidates to see if Mr. Check really speaks for all of you. We know you guys check out this blog. So Steve Adler, Leon Davidoff, Kelly Clark, Peter Martin and Diane Mudge, do you support the kind of vision expressed by Mr. Visconti? Do we have mediocre schools as stated by Mr. Check? Do you guys proudly stand beside Mr. Visconti as a teammate?

  99. How come no one asks the Democratic candidates questions on this blog? Where is switch hitting Joe Verrengia? Cantor? Schmidt? Thornberry? Or Brennan?

    Even our wayward, rookie, substitute-candidate, Kelly Clark, has earned a few points on this blog by making an appearance, and taking a few questions.

    Ok, so Joe will provide ideas, where the blazes is everyone else ideas? This whole campaign is rediculous.

    And I would like to know why the Hartford Courant didn’t report on the row the other night when our big shot Mayor Scott Slifka mishandled himself and outright shouted down Steve Adler in a public forum? Meanwhile, Shari Cantor sat there mocking Adler as he spoke. Where the maturity by the Democrats? Mocking, screaming, insulting the opposition in public at a debate – what kind of behavior is this by candidates? Doesn’t make sense. You guys act like you are losing (and by the internal polls you seem to be in the lead).

    If you can’t handle the pressure Scott, maybe you should reconsider. Adler is about as cool and calm in his demeanor as one could find – so why behave like that? People came away pretty surprised by you and Shari’s foolish behavior. And they did take notice.

  100. Anyone else think its wasted talent to put Theresa McGrath in the Clerk’s Office race when she should be running for Town Council? Who worked that deal? Who decided timid and clueless was better than passionate and bright?

    Theresa would have brought some the same passion we see from Joe Visconti. And this slate needs passion since they are looking to convince the public that its time for a change in leadership. It’s pretty sad when the opposition feels so damn sorry for you that they turn the microphone over to you in a public debate out of sympathy. Gosh. Read the writing on the wall you two… “never again”.

    There are only a few weeks left… either campaign or resign. Get the message out. Get out there with Diane and Seder during rush hour or go door to door. Get with it. We are counting on you to get out there.

  101. Art Halloran

    I’m sorry, you must be aware of some hidden talent that eludes detection by the average person.

  102. Elliot Check


    I don’t mind your calling me Elliot, but If you watched the debate you would know my title is Dr. not Mr. I worked long and hard for that title and if you don’t wish to call me by my first name then use the Dr.

    Next, I think you’re confusing the debate with last weeks BOE meeting. It was the Administration and BOE at that meeting who were talking about cuts in an effort to get a head start on the budget process.

    During the debate I did mentioned a $0 Based budget, which has nothing to do with cuts. But if Claire K could make that mistake in understanding budgeting I guess you can be forgiven for it as well.

    My reference to mediocrity was in our test results. the Mastery Tests and CAPT results were far from stellar. Finishing in the middle third of the State in the Mastery Tests is Mediocre at best. I guess you consider otherwise.

  103. Art Halloran


    You’re being challenged and your biggest concern is being addressed as Dr. Please, you’ve got to be kidding. Dr. is your professional title and you deserve to be called that in the workplace. But for you to insist on being called Dr. in the everyday world is a bit on the arrogant side. I suggest you lighten up a bit because out here you’re Mr. just like the other men.

    By the way, what kind of doctor are you?

  104. Elliot Check


    I asked that a proper title be used if you did not want to use my 1st name. I would extend the same courtesy to you. I am perfectly content with keeping things on a 1st name basis. There are plenty of examples of titles being used out of the workplace ask any current/former Senator or Mayor. I did not not use the title on my signs, but in the debate they were addressing us with the title titles.

    I am a Pediatric Dentist.

  105. Joe Visconti


    Please give me your $48 million dollars to invest in my private development, in 20 years “maybe” you will get it all back from renting car spaces near my development, a little longer if garage repairs over time run up the cost. Please don’t consider the fact that you gave me your $48 million for 20 years as you putting any money into my for profit private real estate deal, OK?

  106. Art Halloran

    Soooo, ELLIOT

    Back to the question. You have expressed your support for the views of Joe Visconti and it’s good to have you on the record.

    But you also chose to speak on behalf of all the Republican candidates when you said, “No one on the GOP side has distanced themselves from Joe. He is at assorted functions with us and we are all working together.”

    Now, do you indeed speak for all the candidates or would you like to retract the statement suggesting that all GOP candidates support Mr. Visconti. My observation has been that many candidates have indeed attempted to distance themselves from Mr. Visconti.

    Many voters will consider this an important statement as to where the GOP stands on a variety of town issues, not to mention civility in government.

  107. Joe Visconti

    Dr. Check
    ( I do love the sound of that on our team), besides the dems and turncoat Joe always address Carolyn as Doctor during Council meetings. No ja worry about big Al he’s got every right to act like a Democratic tool, the usual suspects before an election.

    My love, If the Hartford Fishwrap had interviewed me as they did others before reporting they would have been told and reported correctly that I had 300 signs from the last election as well as my website signs and the fact that my campaign did not open it’s bank account until the last days of September. I didnt start my fundraising until almost October for only the necessities of a small mailing of 400 targeted financial supporters, 400 palm cards and my Heavy televison coming
    (Which is so me even I cant stand it).
    Don’t forget turtle it’s all about me not the public which is why I get so much free press and you love me so. xoxoxoxo to all my Union fans!!!!

  108. Joe Visconti

    What observations are those Art? The other Republicans are on their own slate and have their own promotions to put out. I chose to have my own Committe (because I’m such a loner and so full of myself and I didn’t want to share the spotlight with anyone else). If you attended any of the Forums which were held at Bristow and Bishops Corner you my dear friend would have experienced a Republican Team Effort. The Republicans will take 4 seats on the Town Council this year so somebody get Scott and Chuck valium prescriptions.

  109. turtle

    Ha! Let me guess, you’re going to dust off that horse and dress up as a knight in shining armor for Halloween.

    My fangs tingle with anticipation.


    The Count to You

  110. Vince

    With the exception of my beloved turtle, Chuckie C, and Davey J, you are all worthless and weak. The repubs fighting for their 3 seats is like watching rats fight over scraps on new park. Carl Donatelli has led his party to the abyss, and its about to fall in, especially if J Vis gets elected (I’ll eat my car if that happens, but whatever). Stop worrying about Vis (he’s got nothing to add other than that “I’m Darn Crazy!” gaze the channel 5 broadcast will miss every other Tues. now that Barbara C. isn’t running again), and stop attacking upstanding citizens like Verrengia who have given much to this town, and people like Kelly that want to do something. If you vote R, give Davidoff a look (a bright guy, though pretty much a jerk as far as I can tell), or even Adler (about as deep as a mud puddle, but pretty harmless, and as you know, “In the land of the blind. . .”).

  111. Joe Visconti

    My usual suspect and democratic tool, you have returned before another election. Thank God, I have missed our meaningful exchanges from the past. If this is the same Vince? Joe Verrengia is an Ace in my book personally. Joe Verrengia knows full well that all the drama is Political. Leon and Steve are very capable, smart and caring men and deserve to be elected this go around. As for mua? better get your torches out to chop up your car for brunch.

  112. Vince


    I never left, just watching and occassionally posting as the King.

    Let’s be honest for a moment, there’s nothing meaningful about our exchanges. I proclaim how clinical you are, and then you proceed to prove my point for me with your responses. Really no give and take there, but you seem to enjoy it, and I’m all for everyone having at least some joy in life.

    As for my car, it’s made entirely of nerf, so no need for the torches.

  113. Hey Vince:

    Guess what? You are full of crap. You’ve never posted under my screen name you happless twit.

    Remarkable that you’d start your second paragraph with the words “Let’s be honest for a moment…” At least it didn’t preceed the first.

    Go give and take and serve up your lies somewhere else. Don’t fall for it Joe.

    He’s pretty much a jerk, as far as we can tell.

  114. Joe Visconti

    Guys and Gals
    I have to say this blog is fun, I mean it’s like what the heck are we doing here anyway. WHDAD I suggest we hold a costume ball ( seriously) for all of us bloggers here to show up dressed close to their pseudo charecters (what do I wear?). I would love to meet some of the zany characters here. We can hold the party at my house across the street from the Brace Road parking lot and then meander through the Center to hit all the watering holes (Pepsi for me as a future Town Councilor). Lets take a poll, how many bloggers and spectators would show? My house and yard can hold about 100 people. Next week before halloween on wednesday october 30th, Red sox fans too??? any takers???

  115. Art Halloran

    Joe Visconti,

    I understand your dilemma. You have so many good costume options to choose from. Let’s have everyone on the blog vote for their favorite.

    1) Your favorite nut.

    2) Bozo the Clown

    3) Snake

    4) Hot air balloon

    5) Ebenezer Scrooge

    6) Gomer Pyle

    7) An empty box

    8) Cuckoo Clock

    9) A black hole

    10) Slug

    11) Cockroach

    12) Rat

    13) Weasel

    14) Slime

    15) Hairball

    16) Jethro Bodine

    17) Cliff Claven

    18) Baboon

    19) A Rock

    20) The rear end of that horse you rode through town

  116. NO! NO! No Visconti-sponsored costume ball on Tuesday, October 30th because you all need to come to this event (which I will remind you about several more times):

    West Hartford SEPTA is pleased to invite everyone to one more opportunity to meet the Board of Education Candidates.

    Don’t be complacent; show your interest in our schools!


    Tuesday October 30, 7-9 PM
    Duffy School Auditorium
    95 Westminster Dr

    Sponsored by West Hartford SEPTA (Special Education PTA), this event is for everyone in the community – not just those interested in special education.

    You are invited to submit questions for the candidates to prior to the meeting or bring them with you.

  117. Joe Visconti

    oops forgot about that

  118. Joe Visconti


    Is that any way to think about one of your next Town Councilors? R E S P E C T , just take care of me, me ,me!!

  119. Joe, I’ll go if Beer is served.

    I’ll even wear my crown.

    And there must be access to the Sox if the Series continues past Sunday.

    I have to vote for Joe to go as a “Rock”. He’s been the most solid candidate in the field. He doesn’t move when a little pressure is applied by friends or foes, and he’s heavy enough and well grounded that no one is carrying him through the debates.

    Joe’s a rock alright. We need a Rock in there to stand up to wishy washy, go where the wind blows candidates.

    Go Joe “The Rock” Visconti!

  120. Vince

    Hey Queen–

    Wouldn’t you agree that if the R’s fail to do anything more than fill the 3 seats that are, at least in effect, reserved for them under applicable provisions of the charter, that this would be yet another failure on Carl D.’s watch, and that any respectable Chairperson of a Town Committee in a similar situation would be obliged to step down? This man has done nothing for your party except spew venom and pull in maniacs from the fringes in a lazy and cheap attempt to co-opt votes.

    His record as chair of your party is clear: (1) the party won only 3 seats last election, depsite much talk of momentum heading out of the BBS debate, but then accounted for only one member of the Council by the end of the term (i.e., Just Keepin’ the Seat Warm Sinatro); (2) an independent he forced off the ticket got the ultimate revenge by actually winning a seat without the party machine by her loony side; (3) the minority leader on the Council he forced out now appears ready to ride smoothly into re-election as a D. His grand plan for returning your folks to power appears to consist entirely of those snazzy red signs (signs that aren’t even big enough to fit the all-important “Dr.” in front of Check’s name–oh the horror!). Let’s just say your patron saint Karl Rove need not worry about one Carl Donatelli eclipsing his legacy anytime soon.

    Seriously, if I’m a well-meaning R in town, I’m fed up–my best case scenario would be that Visconti gets elected, but then forgets to take his meds before an important meeting, and the party gets to appoint someone solid that perhaps wasn’t willing to put up with the travails of a campaign.

  121. What a genius, let me guess – it probably took you 40 mins to put together that useless dribble. Too bad the entire last paragraph didn’t make a word of sense, I was actually hoping you were going to make some point, derranged or not. And why all the endless attacks on Carl Donatelli? Did he sell you a can of paint that didn’t come with a set of instructions or something?

    I don’t see anyone on the Republican ticket that resembles a maniac. It’s true, I don’t like their campaign style, but each one of our candidates is successful in their personal lives, and cool, calm and collected – even Joe V. Don’t confuse his passion and willingness to engage in debate with being a maniac.

    You commie libs are always worried about Karl Rove. I hope he keeps you up at night. His legacy is that you people seem to spend most of your time looking over your shoulder for a conspiracy about everything.

    If the best you can do is call me Queen, and make fun of Elliot Check for having earned the title of “Doctor” then I guess you’ll never have much of a point, now will you?

  122. Joe Visconti

    God Bless Freedom of Speech!

  123. The King


    You’re missing the point. Rove gets people elected; Donatelli does not. Your party is in serious, serious demise in our Town and all you can do is focus on my jabs at Visconti, and then revert to the liberal commie stuff. Pretty weak my friend.

  124. Art Halloran, Ph.D.

    Hey Queenie (TK),

    Vince has your number. He’s witty and clever while you’re basically Visconti without the charisma.

    Can you please define what you mean by “successful in their personal lives” as it relates to Visconti.

    And how’s your buddy Dentist Check? Does his family have to call him Dr.?

    Was Carl Donatelli the first town committee chairman in history to turn a 3 seat minimum guarantee into 2 seats?

  125. Dr. Art Halloran

    Hey Vince,

    You’re quickly becoming the Chris Berman of the West Hartford blog.

  126. turtle at ringside

    Hey King (or “sexist neanderthal”, if you prefer)–

    It was a whale of a mismatch, and no surprise you got KO’d. But fortunately for your monumental self-esteem, you don’t know it, and when people say you lost, you won’t believe them.

    I guess I’ll go buy some pink wine glasses from Crate and Barrel to distract me from this depressing spectacle.

  127. You can always count on turtle to show up and offer little. You three are consistently tiring and have nothing to offer in the way of content. Ripping me, Carl, and Joe doesn’t amount to much – but its all you have. And anytime a liberal posts you declare them the winner – dispite the total lack of content.

    Neither Vince or Halloran’s comment’s address the question. Carl isn’t running but Vince seems hellbent on attacking him – wasted bytes, and bringing up Carl Rove (???), Halloran is upset that Elliot Check wants to be referred to as Dr. Check – obviously pure jealosy or some madness. So what’s the point of any of your dribble? Witty or irrelevant?

    Calling me names is fine. I can take it as well as dish it out. I don’t care what the other side thinks of me. I expect certain behaviors and posts from people like you. It’s all emotion with you – which is why accountability, fiscal responsibility and morality are all foreign concepts to you.

    And if the candidates don’t get elected, its not Carl’s fault – it’s the candidate’s fault. Candidates win or lose, not party chairman. God, at least make sense when you try to make a point. Besides, why do you care who our party chairman is? Go worry about the loons on your side.

  128. Art Halloran

    But party chairmen are suppose to lead the party, help formulate a winning strategy, choose viable candidates.

    If the candidates perform poorly then the party did a poor job of choosing candidates.

    It’s very similar to college sports where the head coach is responsible for recruiting the team and coaching them. If things go bad the head coach can’t say, “It’s because I have poor players,” because it was his responsibility to recruit good players.

    You could be right that it’s not Carl’s fault, it could be a weak pool of recruits to choose from. At least this year’s Republican team isn’t as bad as two year’s ago with Tom “Manson” Knox, Mike “Books” Zullo, and Jake and Elwood, “The Clueless Brothers.”

  129. Kevin Walsh

    I do not believe that Carl Donatelli was the party chairman before or during the 2005 election. And there is no three-seat minimum guarantee with respect to council seats.

  130. turtle at ringside


    The King’s emoticon.

    The King: It’s all emotion with you – which is why accountability, fiscal responsibility and morality are all foreign concepts to you.

    Please appropriate a new libel from one of your media heroes since this broken record is getting old. By the way, we have the Red Ink Republicans to thank for, among other sorrows, institutionalizing non-accountability in government, the dismal financial state of the US, and the loss of America’s moral stature worldwide. Naturally you blame “liberals” instead of the people who bear direct responsibility for this debacle–the Bush administration and its diehard supporters, and the Republican Party.

    Gary Reger challenged the Republican candidates to articulate their positions with respect to the national party, but I do not recall a single response. Oh well, maybe the R candidates hope vague sentiments about “accountability” and “fiscal responsiblity”, despite the mockery Republican rule has made of these notions, will be enough to overcome a successful Democratic town government.

  131. Joe Visconti

    Wow King
    The dem tools who are posting and attacking us Republicans above do feel the Republican Heat coming. It’s hilarious to see them “raise themselves” to the level of Jerry Springer’s audience when addressing our Party. Let em have some fun before I get in office because then they will have to address me as Councilor Visconti when they are at the Mic at Town Hall; Hey maybe Slifka’s right about giving the public only 3 minutes. Art and Vince promise your gonna show up when I am elected and spue forth the same logic based charecterizations of me and the Republicans live on TV. Promise?

  132. whmom

    Hello everyone,

    Just a quick note to add my opinion to the BOE elections.

    I will vote for anyone but, Clare Kindall, and Bruce Putterman.

    I believe that these people are running their own agendas.

    Ask them to opt-0ut of any vote related to a progam that their kids are in…

    I think not.

    Ask them to care about others… not happening.

  133. JTS

    Nice job whmom. Showing a lot of class, dumping w/o a care on the Dem Board of Ed candidates when not a single Rep could be bothered to show up at the SEPTA forum. And what are the D candidates’ agendas? You take the time to post these (as King would say) ruthless attacks and provide nary a shred to back it up? Smacks of desperation if you ask me.

  134. Elmwoodian

    whmom. Please do not bother offering your opinions if they are going to be in the form of vicious personal attacks against volunteers giving so much of themselves.

    Drs. Schmitt & Check, Mr. Putterman, Mrs. Kindall and Ms. Mudge, whatever one may think of their policies, proposals and/or records, deserve respect and civility on this and any other forum, if only for their willingness to put themselves into the public forum–for no pay and little respect–and make a difference in our schools and in our town.

    Moreover, having met Mr. Putterman and Mrs. Kindall personally and seen them in action as parents, professionals and BOE members, I can say without a shred of doubt that they are two of the most decent, caring and giving people I have had the good fortune to meet. They are a tireless advocates for all of the children in our fine schools with no “agendas” other than the betterment thereof.

    That was a disgusting and unfounded assault on their character. Shame on you. Take your hate and desperation elsewhere.

  135. whmom

    So sorry you think that.

    Are you kidding me? both Bruce and Clare have admitted on TV that they have kids that are in Quest.

    I think that it is great for their kids. I think that it is great that they are happy with the way that things are going in town. But I believe that they do not get that other families are struggling.

    Is that so hard for you to believe?

  136. whmom

    Really Elmwoodian,

    That seems prepared to me,

    It seems like you care about your friends,

    That’s nice.

    I feel like the people in this town want each child to feel special!


    Not just the ones who you and your friends pick!

    I volunteer in our schools everyday!

    I am there everyday doing something.

    Making copies, doing PTO crap or whatever is needed of me.

    Don’t ask me if I have Class, that’s a joke to me JTS,

    I am so much more than that. I certainly hope that I am not the room mom in your child’s class because I would feel so unappreciated right now!

  137. Whmom,

    Thanks for providing your opinion. Don’t be disheartened by the malcontents on this blog. This is how they operate – and it’s by design – they sit in waiting like foxes in the bush, waiting for anyone with a thought or opinion that challenges their left-wing idiocy. Any person who voices a positive opinion about a GOP candidate, or a negative opinion on a Democratic candidate, or an opinion that is not in keeping with the Democratic party line is subject to attack and ridicule. And they are often mean-spirited, and a deflection from the issue at hand; mean and personal attacks.

    This isn’t by chance, it’s a well orchestrated strategy by West Hartford Democrats. They are not interested in exchanging opinions with you or entering into meaningful dialogue on town issues here on this blog, instead they are here to protect their own candidates from any hint of negative publicity. It’s a sham. This is how the Democratic machine runs its campaigns in this town.

    In fact, I recommend you scroll through the pages of this blog and you’ll see the same repeated behavior. Someone posts something positive about a Republican candidate and they pounce on the post. You’ll also note that rarely do they even provide a substantive reason to support their own candidates. But that’s because its not their job to do so.

    Oh sure, they talk with you about neutral topics like Planting Trees and Sport Teams, but dare make a comment they disagree with about politics and they all parachute with their hate posts. Often the attacks are on the poster and not even the comment. Pretty regular occurance.

    Here’s a key example. If you scroll to the forum “who should we vote for”, you’ll notice that despite my dozens of requests for those like Turtle, Art, and JTS to tell us who we should vote for – they never respond. Surprised? Hacks only attack. This is sort of shameful when liberal activists don’t even have the courage to endorse their own candidates, and tell us why they are worth voting for. Oh, no – instead, they pounce on you and me and Joe. It’s a joke. And its their mode of operation.

    And this blog is largely unmoderated so they can get away with it. No one ever hold any of them to stay on topic or to stay clean, or asks them to clean up their act. Nope. As long as they stay on message its apparently fine.

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with your post. Remember this is their little game. All candidates are volunteers, Republican, Democrat and Independent. Of course they have their own agendas – all politicians have their own agendas. And if they believe in a program their kid is in well you can expect they will support it. Your comments are far from personal. You are right to speak up for your own kids and what issues you see in the schools. And even tell us why you will or won’t for vote for someone. Don’t fret the nonsense from JTS, this is typical of him. Just scroll through this blog and see. It’s nothing new.

    You write that you won’t vote for Putterman and Kindall, I probably won’t either. It’s clear to me that the Democrats on the BOE have devoted a lot of energy to protecting their friends in the teacher’s union. And when it comes to asking them to look at the budget and talk expenditure details of the school budget and what can be cut – they can’t be bothered. In fact, when have you ever seen Putterman, Schmidt or Kindall every take issue with the teacher’s union? You didn’t, and you never will. While I’m sure they love the kids and the schools (I don’t doubt that), their highest priority has been to make sure the teacher’s are well compensated, regardless of the cost to the community. This is where there loyalty lies. Us taxpayers are just a nusience.

    These folks are the same old same old, right out of the tax and spend playbook of the Democratic Party. And anyone who tries to discuss the budget is automatically deemed a foe of children. Yadda, Yadda. Some old line.

    I recommend you look at Elliot Check, Diane Mudge and even Joyce. Joyce is probably my favorite candidate. NO party affiliation, smart guy, truly cares about the kids, and doesn’t give a hoot about politics. Watch the debate and you’ll see how well he did, and you can see how Terry Schmidt went right after him for challenging the status quo, particularly when he shows up as a concerned citizen to address the BOE. They made it clear, they aren’t interested in the public’s opinion. Unless you’re in their pocket, three minutes of tough questions at a BOE meeting is a waste to them.

    Elliot Check would make a great BOE member. He’s articulate and bright. He’s mild-mannered and he’s taken heat because he doesn’t just sit up there and run his mouth. Well, we could use someone thoughtful who will take the job seriously without spinning the public or cover up expenses. Elliot will be great in that capacity. He can make sound judgments without caving in to the unions.

    Diane Mudge is probably one of the brightest people to run for office in West Hartford in any capacity. Please go look at her experience and background. If she can successfully run as many large scale operations as she currently does, she can clearly be a welcome asset to the BOE. She is sharp, quick and would bring a fresh perspective an otherwise stagnant board. Situations like those where the school nurse, the highest paid school nurse, received a raise this past year – would never happen. Favors for friends would stop and the taxpayers would become more important than the agenda of the teacher’s union.

    Again, don’t be disheartened by the junkyard dogs that post here. It’s their goal to frustrate you and chase you away from the board so Democrats remain unchecked. Keep voicing your opinion. You have plenty of class. Go look at the foul language JTS used on Elliot Check in another forum – and these guys talk of class.

    If there is desperation, it’s on the Democratic side. Nothing new here. Keep writing, Whmom!

  138. Gary Reger

    No one will be surprised to learn I will be voting Democratic. The Democratic candidates for both the Council and the BoE reflect better my views about what WH needs and have shown, in my view, more openness, flexibility, and understanding of the complexities of the problems we face than their opponents.

    My votes do not come without some reservations. I opposed Blue Back Square — not because of Taubman or what not (I had no involvement in any of the organizations that fought it, and I thought the lawsuits ill-founded and dishonest) — but because the footprint of the plan and its character seemed inappropriate for the space. It’s done now, and I hope it will be a great success. I see no point in “punishing” those who moved it forward. More important to me is the lack of a long-term vision for the Town. I haven’t heard much talk along these lines from anyone. I do know, though, that “holding the line on taxes” and “opposing the education cartel” are mere cant; they confuse means and ends, and such confusion for me shows a fundamental inability to think through challenges in a structured way.

    For me, the great dilemma the Town charter poses is, what to do with my votes for the “minority” seats? On the BoE side, none of the candidates for those seats has demonstrated, to my mind, basic understanding about how the educational system works. First, teachers’ salaries comprise the bulk of educational costs because teaching is a highly labor-intensive and skilled profession. Nothing is more central to success in education than quality teachers, and the notion that we could somehow buy them more cheaply, or that they are overcompensated, betrays a deep-seated failure to grasp the most fundamental truth about teaching. That’s not a recommendation for a seat at the BoE meetings. On a less basic but still telling level, attacks on binding arbitration strike me as cynical: we are bound to it by state law, so any railing against it is simply empty wind, stirring up resentments that cannot be satisfied (and the opposite of education, which promotes understanding, not obfuscation); and, as Clare Kindall pointed out in a debate, we benefit from it in that we are protected from strikes.

    So this all comes down to me to a question of basic competence and qualification. A minority candidate willing to say without equivocation that (1) teachers are the basis of our schools, and deserve compensation levels reflecting their dedication and professionalism; and (2) however much we may regret some decisions in binding arbitration, we are stuck with the system, must learn to make the best of it and work with it, and appreciate the benefits we get from it as well — that candidate will have earned at least some consideration from me for a vote.

    On the Council side, the dilemma is the same, the problems more diffuse. Kelly Clark and Peter Martin seem like nice and wholly inexperienced people — and what views they have expressed I disagree with. (Kelly’s view expressed in this forum that cutting taxes raises revenue tells me she hasn’t done her homework.) Mike Seder’s views on integration, offered at the Bristow forum, seemed to me profoundly naive; WH will become more diverse in the future, and we need people on the Council (like Scott Slifka and Shari Cantor) who have given some deeper thought to the profound issues here. Leon Davidoff remains for me pretty much a cipher.

    Then there’s Joe. If I wanted to divide the minority and assure a wholly ineffectual opposition, I’d vote for him. And it would certainly be amusing to attend Council meetings and watch the faces of the other members as Joe pontificated. But I realize that if I want entertainment, I’m better advised to tune to the Colbert Report. From the Council I need thoughtful leadership.

    So I am left stumped, and not a little frustrated, about what to do with my “minority” votes.

  139. TWC

    Gary, it was my understanding that we only get to vote for six Town councilors on Tuesday. Here’s the sample ballot the Rs posted.

    So if you vote the party-line (which I disagree with by the way–more on that issue before the week-end is over), problem solved!

  140. Gary Reger

    Stupid me! As Emily Latelle used to say, “Never mind.”

  141. Kevin Walsh

    Gary – I do not understand your reference to “minority” votes. Each voter may cast a vote for up to six candidates for the Council.

  142. Gary Reger


    It was a stupid mistake. I got so involved in trying to think through positions that I completely forgot the rules.

    I apologize to everyone on the forum for this dumb error, and thank TWC and Kevin for quickly pointing it out.

    You’d think I’d know better after 10 years in Town. I guess “pundit” isn’t in my future after all.

  143. David Jones


    I’m confused by your reference to “minority votes”. For council you have six votes and you may choose to vote for 6 D’s or 6 R’s.

    The same is true on the BoE except the number isn’t 6, it’s 2 & 1. Bottom line, anyone can cast all of their alloted votes without voting for a member of the other party. The one exception is that Clare Kindall is running unopposed.

  144. TWC

    Gary, I do appreciate your views on the Republican candidates, and as always, your thoughtful analysis of the issues. I’m having a hard time voting for two of the Democrats, so I am currently caught in the dilemma you describe.

    Who of this lot of Republicans are more worthy than two weak Democrats?

  145. David Jones


    I know you didn’t ask me but this is the order in which I would rank Republican/Petitioning candidates.

    Town Council

    1. Leon Davidoff
    2. Michael Seder
    3. Peter Martin
    4. Kelly Clark
    5. Steve Adler
    6. Joe Visconti

    Board of Ed.

    1. Diane Mudge
    2. John Joyce
    3. Elliot Check

  146. Elmwoodian

    King, it shocks me that you would support such a personal attack to say that two candidates don’t care about the kids in our schools other than their own. You ask for reasoned debate and advocacy, yet you applaud her bilious, empty attack on their personal characters.

    Have fun in your echo chamber guys. I’m off this blog.

  147. turtle

    No matter, Great post, Gary, as always.

    Diane Mudge and Elliot Check seem primarily motivated by a desire to lower taxes. If I’m not mistaken, both of them were moved to enter public service in part because of last year’s budget battle. (What a far cry from fellow Republican Tom Fiorentino’s desire many years ago to give back to the community that had provided him with a first-rate education!)

    In my view, anyone who seeks to serve on the Board of Ed should be committed foremost to optimizing the education and well-being of every child in the district. Further, anyone who is seriously interested in closing the achievement gap understands that quality teachers are the single most important factor, as Gary noted of education in general, and that you cannot get quality teachers on the cheap. When confronted with this reality, the Republican candidates rail about administrative costs, even though West Hartford spend relatively little on administration. When confronted with that reality, as Harry Captain has so often demonstrated with facts about the town’s performance, the Republican candidates lamely insist that we should spend even less. This devotion to tax issues above the town’s educational mission is highly suspect, in my view. Therefore I will not vote for either Diane Mudge or Elliot Check.

  148. turtle

    Elmwoodian, I hope you will reconsider. If you leave, it will be a big loss to this blog.

  149. Gary Reger

    Turtle, thank you for your kind words. I do appreciate it. I agree with you on the substance, too, with respect to education.

    And let me add my voice to Turtle’s plea — don’t give up on the blog. You’ve always been a voice of reason. You’re valued.

  150. Gary Reger

    May I comment on a matter not directly relevant to this thread, but which has come up often on many topics?

    It’s anonymity. Like everything, allowing people to post under pseudonyms has good and bad points. On the bad side, it frees us up to be vituperative in relative safety. On the good side, it allows us to express our real views without fear. On balance, I’d rather know what people are really feeling and thinking — even the nasty — that have people self-censor because they are obligated to use their real names.

    But reflection on this matter raises for me another question. Unless I err — and we all know I am prone! — no one who uses a real name on this blog is female. Why do all the women posters feel they need to use pseudonyms? Does it have anything to do with comfort levels, nastiness, or just a desire to put a wall up between public and private? Is there any relationship between the local phenomenon here and the vast under-representation of women in our public political life? (Do I miscount that of the 17 people running, only 6 are women, and two of those the candidates for Clerk?)

    I’d be very interested to hear from the women who participate here on this issue.

  151. To be fair, a lot of the posters on this blog have dreamed up a fictional presentation of the state of affairs with regard to education expediture. As if suddenly the state of our schools are REALLY at risk if we were to make a few cuts here and there. Or find ways to reduce expenses. Why is such discussion immediately discounted? Just because those in office have failed to find places to cut, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, does it?

    Should we always be willing to find ways to be frugal with our resident’s tax dollars? All I hear is “no, no, no” or we’ve already cut too much out.

    I guess no one is hearing the public demand to make West Hartford more affordable for families. So either the well-to-do could care less about working families because they can pay more, or candidates are simply not listening.

    You guys can sit in a bubble and pretend that there isn’t outcry and claim there’s nothing to cut or you can be realistic. This is why we all hope to God we can elect people who are at least willing to open the books and go line by line and start treating the town budget as if it were there own.

    There’s no reason to panic. I know its hard work, but I can’t elect people who aren’t willing to open the books to the public and try. All the fear-mongering is irresponsible. And you guys (and gals) know it. You just want to see your party elected. Very unfortunate, indeed.

  152. Harry Captain

    “All the fear-mongering is irresponsible. And you guys (and gals) know it. You just want to see your party elected. Very unfortunate, indeed.” – King

    Credibility and integrity does not exist where one does not live by their own words or actions.

  153. You’re right, Harry. Instead of the Democrats saying that they’ve really done the work of curbing back spending and finding cuts to the budget, let’s get them really take a crack at it.

    I was surprised during the debate on WHCT when Carolyn Thornberry, after bragging about her tenure and record, was asked by Joe Visconti in her opinion with all the time she’s been on the Council exactly where cuts could be made. And she just sat there. This is what is frustrating. Let’s start to see some ideas about reducing expeditures, instead of lip service.

    You want to talk honest and integrity. Let’s talk about what kind of work was really done to look at options of outsourcing, vendor competition, reduction of overhead, etc. Where were the cuts?

    I know you folks keep hearing this – but you cannot keep running up the tab without coming up with some new ideas. The ideas have to hold water – not like building a parking garage to subsidize BBS. That’s just rediculous.

    This is not to say the people in elected office aren’t well meaning, or don’t love the town. It’s not that at all – its how we conduct policy here that is alarming.

    Look at the rediculous waste pick up program as another example. Another bad decision. You can put out less trash, no brush pick up, and instead they want you to bring additional items that you used to be able to put out by the road to the dump and have you pay yet another fee. Pay more, get less. That’s not sound policy for working families.

  154. Gary Reger

    As I’ve said before, a stance that starts from the proposition “look for where to cut” confuses means and ends. I just can’t take it seriously as public policy.

    Given what the national Republican party has done to “working families” over the last years, Republicans face quite a task convincing them they are “on their side” in local elections.

  155. turtle

    That stuff about the well-to-do is too…rich, er, “rediculous”, um, ironic? Let me put it this way: we won’t be waltzing at the Diamond Ball tonight.

    The King willfully ignores assurances by his foes that they too think responsible management of the budget is important. He also ignores his pal Joe Visconti’s plans to drop six figures on a Mayberry PR campaign for WH (if that is not in jest), in addition to ignoring the vast sums lost fighting Joe’s overlords at Taubman in court.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the King didn’t grasp the rank hypocrisy of it all, otherwise would he have the gall to moralize about “hacks” while defending outright slander? Wait–I know the answer to that question.

  156. Joe Visconti


    I told you on Thursday I was done with posting because of all the door to door I was working but this rain and wind have dampened my days work campaigning so I couldnt resist.

    First folks we have heard so much about giving back to community as so many of my esteemed colleagues serving or running for office have done. This is why I would like to take this moment and tell you , especially Gary, that this giving back to community approach is just what I will ask of all Union members working for the Town of West Hartford next year if our new taxes, “new” spending increases 3% above the second year of phase in. No tax gimmicks , schemes or refunds included.

    It was a very nice day doing door to door in Elmwood today as well as working Waldbaums and Stop and Shop with Mike Seder and Peter Martin. We had a great time conversing with many many democrats (many who know me from my Blue Back Days) especially at Waldbaums. Tommorrow we are out in force where I will be working with Mike Seder at The Crown Market 8:30am sharp; If any residents would like to come by to chat on the issues we would be happy to answer your questions.


    Give em hell so they can get used to it!

  157. Joe Visconti

    Oh, in all my excitement over posting again I forgot to tell you all that the “I will ask the Unions to give back” is a politcal statement, for we all know that the Council would have to ask Mr. Sklarz and Mr.Francis to ask them to give back( if they both are still employed with the Town).

  158. JTS

    King – just spent a few minutes scrolling through your posts – where again did you ask me who I was going to vote for? You said you asked me repeatedly, I can’t find a single instance. For what it’s worth – I’m voting the D ticket for board and council. This year I won’t have to cross over to the other side of the ballot to vote for Verrengia, the way I have in the past, so no R votes from JTS this year. I had considered the BOE folks on the R side pretty seriously too, b/c the “late start school bus” was a real headscratcher for me, budgetwise, policywise, and certainly politically. But then as the fall moved on all I heard from the Reps (and I didn’t really hear a lot from the Rep BOE candidates, whereas I was door knocked by 2 Dem candidates) was about the budget, cutting, etc. Important for a BOE member to keep in mind? Sure. More important than making our schools second to none? Hardly. So there’s my votes, and I again want to salute whmom for not only dropping the level of this debate another level, but invoking candidates kids in process. You stay classy whmom!

  159. A WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman

    Gary – As a teacher, I feel I cannot use my name because when I disagree with BOE or admin decisions, then I might be taking a risk with my employment status. I also don’t know how parents of my students would react, as politics have no place in the classroom. And someday when I’m retired, I will consider running for BOE office, to give back to my town. But for obvious reasons I couldn’t do so at this time. In the meantime, Gary, I’m hoping you might consider it next time around.

    Joe –
    that this giving back to community approach is just what I will ask of all Union members working for the Town of West Hartford next year

    It does not hurt to ask – but years back the admin and BOE added days to the school year and teachers’ salaries did not change for it. So this year, when the possible cuts in school days / cuts in salary came about, the teachers who were here at that time were incensed. I was not one of them, but hard to blame them. And frankly, I feel like many teachers do that I am giving back to my community every day by the profession I chose. And expecially by choosing to come here to teach when the opportunity arose. I know many teachers who would not work and live in the same town. I love it. I really feel like a strong member of the community for doing so.

    Most of the teachers I know are putting in countless hours of their own accord to volunteer for committees, run after-school clubs (not all are paid positions) and go above and beyond to help WH kids be successful: after school, before school, and on their lunch breaks. The word “break” is a joke, by the way, in teaching. I eat my lunch, as many do, while I check my email, or return phone calls, and often have kids in the room working. We get keys to get into the building on weekends to set up lessons, do grading, or change displays and bulletin boards. We are there throughout the summer – sporadically of course – setting up our classrooms to be ready for that first day of school. I’m sure some people have come across a few not-so-great teachers out there… and if that’s the case then you need to speak up about it. (And I don’t mean on this blog but to the administration.) One thing I have seen is that teachers in WH who aren’t making the grade are shown the door.

    I don’t know a single teacher who teaches because of the fantastic paycheck. Say what you want, King and Joe, but it’s a tough salary to raise a family on. Gary mentions why so few women in politics? Well, why so few men in teaching? I think it’s obvious. Teachers I know who are the “bread winners” in the family work more than one job or look for the opportunities to make an extra stipend, or go into administration. In most cases it’s a family where both spouses are working. Yes, we have great vacations – but those without kids to take care of are working summer jobs like summer school, camps, landscaping, house painting, etc.

    If there are any other teachers out there reading, feel free to correct me or chime in – I can’t stand anymore of this b.s. that teachers don’t care because they won’t give back to the community. At least with taxes, we’re all being asked to give back to the community. That is, those of us who live here, so that we can all benefit from the services we receive. Is anyone asking the doctors, nurses, lawyers, businessmen, accountants, managers, etc etc, to give up some of their salary so we don’t have to cut education & town services?

    Go ahead, Joe, King – ream me out for being part of the cartel. Tell me how selfish I am for feeling like I earn my paycheck and I earn a cost of living increase. I pay my taxes. I’ve worked my tail off to stay in WH so my kids could go to WH schools. Someone asked on one of these threads for teachers to figure out their hourly wage? Mine is between $25 and $36 depending on the time of year, where I am in my curriculum – grading – conferences – special programs, etc. And I often spend my own money for materials, classroom decorations, and even snacks for after school programs with kids. In what other profession do people do that? I care about WH. And I care about all of WH kids. I teach in WH because I want to do my part to make our school system the very best it can be for all of our children.

    And I personally applaud Kindall, Putterman, and Schmitt for their ability to see the needs we have at all ends of the spectrum and to critically evaluate, with no personal gain and likely at much personal cost, what will be best for West Hartford’s youth. It is to our benefit to have people on the board with children in the schools, especially if they are taking advantage of any of our special needs programs, so that we have first hand knowledge and experience at that table.

  160. Joe Visconti

    West Hartford Teachers want how much of a pay increase next year? 5%plus???

    Please try to post with your real name so we know if you really are a Teacher not Harry Captain.

  161. A WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman

    No, I am not Harry. No, I will not use my name. No, we are not getting a 5% increase next year. Where do you get your figures? Must be the same place the WHTA got their figures for the Trade Winds last spring. Check your numbers before you accuse, please. That’s a major over-generalization that may apply to a select few who are in specific categories…

    Highlight of:
    The 4.75% figure being talked about is the combination of the step cost and the GWI. The GWI, which is the actual raise received by all the experienced teachers in our town, is 2.7% for 06-07, 2.4% for 07-08, and 3% for 08-09.
    And I believe it’s already been established on here somewhere that the Social Security COLA was pretty much equivalent. (I do not know why 08-09 is the highest of the three years. Maybe Harry Captain or another teacher can enlighten us.)

    Teachers at the top of the scale get a cost of living increase (or GWI) only. Teachers working their way up the scale will get a little more than that, and teachers that get a new degree, that they have to pay for themselves, will get an increase for going for a new specialty. And it is a state requirement that all teachers have a master’s degree. We are held back in how much we can make until we fulfill that requirement. So when we get up to the higher steps and into at least the master’s scale, it’s more like we’re finally making our full salary and prior to that we were just “cutting our teeth” or teaching as a provisional, and now we get to be a “professional” at a more reasonable salary, as you see in many professions.

    Teachers know from the get-go that there is a ceiling to our salary and we won’t any time in our lifetime see a six-figure salary, though our credentials match professions that do get that much and more. (Someone great with numbers can figure out how many years of inflation that will take…) No matter how many hours, how hard we work, how successful we are, or how much appreciation we are given. It is all in the heart and in the benefits to the soul – not the pocketbook. (See, I’m a woman. I thought of pocketbook before I thought of wallet.) And I’m not whining here. I’m just trying to explain why teachers become teachers and that we work mighty hard knowing that there is no merit increase or bonus around the corner besides a sweet note from a child or a kind word from a grateful parent. Or sometimes no appreciation at all – just knowing that we affected a child’s life and gave them some new skills and knowledge with which to move forward. Both academic and social/emotional.

    Go ahead. Tell me I’m a bad, selfish person.

  162. WH Teacher, Mom, Woman and now- blogger activist:

    Since you brought me into it, I guess I’ll respond.

    No one is saying you don’t have the right to earn a living. And no one is saying to that that living shouldn’t be fair. And I’m not saying that teacher don’t have important or noble positions. I have high regard for teachers, personally. And your jobs are hard as heck even in a healthy community like West Hartford.

    But I need to draw the line…

    I know how many hours you put it as a teacher (personal experience). But let me tell you something. You don’t put in half the hours that I or the people in the same line of work I do which includes weekends and holidays. And I don’t have a union to go to when I get bent out of shape. And I don’t get the healthcare benefits that you get either, or the guaranteed vacation, or summers off or the luxury of not having to fly and live out of hotels. So don’t start the baloney.

    Here’s the thing. All my complaining above … tough tuttles for me. I enjoy what I do. You must enjoy what you do. If either of us don’t like what we do for a living for reasons of compensation or other, then its our own fault for it.

    I’m compensated through corporate earnings, you are compensated on the backs of taxpayers. Long ago I made the decision that I wanted the opportunity for career growth and greater income, so I intentionally moved into the private sector (having worked in the public and non profit arenas for a while).

    I don’t have any pity for you. And your skills are transferable if you want to make more. What ticks me off is that many teachers expect to make what I make, and that’s wrong.

    You want appreciation? I work in excess of 80 hours a week, do you think I see appreciation? I see more work, and I get to keep coming in each day to do it. That’s my reward. And if they want to fire me, they do it. No safety net. And each year, benefits get worse, that’s life lady.

    If you are a West Hartford teacher, I think you are well compensated. If you think teacher’s salaries in general should be on par with some of the other higher end jobs, then you have a misconception.

    Honestly, I knew if I continued down the path as a teacher, I wouldn’t be able to afford living in West Hartford. So I made a choice. We all make these choices every day.

    Teachering is supposed to be noble and its never been a job that particularly pays very well. In fact none of the public sector jobs are like that, except for principals and – apparently, our well compensated Superintendant of Schools.

    But undercompensated? No way. You folks are doing just fine. And the budget is a huge problem in this town. This has nothing to do with you being selfish, really. It’s not personal. It’s that Putterman, Kindall, and Schmidt have focused a lot of energy on alternative start times to schools (without even considering the implications on working parents btw) instead of seeking efficencies and caping expeditures.

    Elliot Check, Diane Mudge – where are you?

  163. Gary Reger

    King, you sound awfully bitter. You left the public/non-profit sector to make more money. Fine. But what does that have to do with teachers’ compensation levels?

    You speak of “draw[ing] the line.” Let’s be specific. How much do you think a teacher should earn? What’s a WH teacher worth to you? Here are the current salaries:

    BA Step 1 (entry level): $40,147
    MA Step 5: $49,210
    Maximum*: $84,165

    *Maximum is attained only with a Ph.D. in Step 17; I bet very few teachers ever reach this level.

    Both Avon and East Hartford have higher starting salaries and higher MA Step 5 salaries.

  164. Gary Reger

    Now, as to “giving back to the community” (which Joe has offered as part of his platform to hold the line on teachers’ salaries).

    1. Joe misuses this phrase. It applies to people who are well-off volunteering time, energy, and expertise to help their town. To call forcing public employees to take pay cuts or forgo normal increases “giving back to the community” is Orwellian.

    2. It is of course perfectly possible to get employees to accept pay cuts, or at least to forgo normal, expected raises. A few preconditions must exist:

    a. The employees must be convinced there is a real crisis, not a cooked-up one.

    b. The employees must believe that the leadership has tried every other means to solve the problem, but still has come up short.

    c. The employees must believe the leadership understands that this is a move that will cause the employees pain.

    d. The employees must believe the leadership respects what they do and who they are, and has taken this step with the greatest reluctance and only after serious, careful consideration.

    e. The employees must see that the leadership has not exempted itself from the cuts.

    As far as I can see, Joe’s plan and the larger Republican cry for “restraint” are doomed to failure because they have not met any of these conditions, and indeed attitudes expressed by some — “education cartel” — reflect active hostility to teachers. This is a powerful reason to vote against the Republican candidates, even if you would like to see “fiscal restraint” — they have already demonstrated an inability to lead.

  165. Gary Reger

    WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman:

    I thought you liked me till I read, “In the meantime, Gary, I’m hoping you might consider [running for the BoE] next time around.”

  166. turtle

    Ha! I second the nomination!

    As has been pointed out to the King many times before, Putterman, Kindall, and Schmitt considered alternative start times because they have been shown to improve student performance, and the late-start transport was proposed with precisely working parents in mind. Do you even listen to the discussions at BoE meetings?

    Streamling the budget is not the highest priority of the Board of Education. Yes, board members should be mindful of cost, but their primary responsibility is to the education of students. (It’s not as if the taxpayers don’t have recourse if the budget is perceived to be too high.) It just shows how off-base the Republican contingent really is that the Board of Ed’s mission should have to be spelled out.

  167. Gary, do we REALLY need a PHd to teach 8th grade? Now seriously.

    Those salaries are pretty lofty. I can point you to private sector entry level positions that pay much less. I’m sure you don’t like the private vs public sector argument… you lose every time. It’s apple and oranges.

    Turtle, are you volunteering to watch the town’s kids so parents can get to work on time to make money to pay for all of these experimental bright ideas?

    If you are a stay at home mom or dad, I guess you could care less about the majority of us.

  168. turtle

    I guess this is supposed to be the kind of serious engagement the King is always whining his foes refuse to engage in–the kind that doesn’t merit a response.

  169. Art Halloran


    How to you find the time. You suggest you work more than 80 hours a week. Based on the volume and time of day of your comments on this blog you must spend another 80 hours a week blogging.

    Can I get some of those vitamins you’re taking?

  170. Gary Reger


    You haven’t answered my question. I am looking for a figure. What is a WH teacher worth? I seriously doubt there are many, if any, PhD’s teaching 8th grade in WH; that’s a red herring. The real figures are the BA Step 1 and MA Step 5 levels.

    What are the “private sector entry level positions that pay much less”? Investment banking? MacDonald’s cashier? These claims are meaningless unless you are talking specific jobs that require the same level of entry qualification — completion of a BA or BS with a major in a liberal arts field; completion of 18 credits (I think that is the number) of education courses (= professional training courses); attainment of state certification; commitment to pursue and complete a master’s degree within a set time — and the same scope of entry-level responsibilities — design and implement grade-appropriate curriculum with minimum guidance; work with diverse group of children, attentive to all their needs; work with those kids’ parents; run a classroom essentially independently from day one.

    So give us a number. You say the “salaries are pretty lofty.” What’s a WH teacher worth to you?

  171. Gary Reger

    And a bit more on the “loftiness” of WH teachers’ salaries —

    Out of 40 towns in the state, WH ranks 10 in starting salary. Of the towns below us, 10 pay starting salaries of more than $39,000 but less than our $40,147.

    Out of the same 40 towns, WH ranks 17 for salary at the MA Step 5 level. Of the towns immediately below us, 5 pay more than $48,000 but less than our $49,210.

    It’s hard for me to see how these figures support any claim that our teachers’ salaries are “lofty.” We are just barely in the top quartile for starting salaries, and only 3 points ahead of the bottom of the top half for salaries for fully qualified teachers.

    In fact, what these data suggest is that, while starting teachers in WH do marginally better than starting teachers in 30 other communities (bearing in mind that in 10 cases, it really is a marginal few hundred bucks a year), their salaries actually advance much more slowly than similarly qualified teachers in other communities.

    So a commitment to teach in WH is a commitment to earn over your lifetime considerably less than you could earn in 16 other towns in the state.

  172. Ok, I’ll bite. I looked some CT averages online. How about $53K. How’s that? I’m sure you don’t like it.

    Turtle’s usual tactic is to make me the subject of conversation. Obviously Turtle doesn’t care about working families since she opts for kids rolling out of bed at 10 am without any consideration that the law prohibits kids from being left alone in the home. Must be nice to sit at home all day turtle.

    I’m surprised someone hasn’t suggested getting rid of the nurses and hiring doctors (after all doctors would provide great medical attention; and its not that much more expensive.).

    Hell, we can hire surgeons.

    Or how about finding a study that show’s kids with clean teeth do better in school, just like kids that are allowed to stay up until 10 or 11 pm and sleep in. We have the money, let’s open a dental office in the schools. You guys just spend and spend.

    Gary’s email pretty much goes to show that no one goes into teaching thinking they’re going to be a millionare. But there lot’s of other benefits to a teaching career which few teacher’s are going to own up to on this blog.

    Art, recommend Centrum D for a vitamin. Something stronger if you are old.

    Job’s that pay less? Don’t have to look to far – go to Hartford and pick one of 30 types of insurance operations positions. You can go to the postings for an area insurance company and do the homework on your own.

  173. Gary Reger


    At $53,000, you’ve just supported a substantial raise for WH teachers! I’m with you on that one!

    How do you know turtle is a “she”?

  174. Sorry, my mistake – typing too fast and moving in and out of windows, adding sentences in between other work.

    Ok, I’m not talking starting salary on that number. That number is reserved for well experienced teachers. My range 36K – 53K. Starting salary through experienced veteran, plus vacation and benefits.

    You can ask Turtle what the gender is. Someone pointed to something feminine that s/he said and it sort of stuck. I don’t know what it was.

    How about this? Turtle, are you male or female? Given the track record of not answering direct questions like “Who should we vote for” I wouldn’t expect an answer from Turtle, Gary.

    But alas, I can’t criticize anyone for their not wanting to reveal anything. But I admit it would be neat to know. I had assumed that Elwoodian was a female as well.

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone poke fun at someone for their gender on this blog.

  175. turtle

    If I’m not mistaken, late-start was proposed for high school students. If you think parents of high school-age children never leave their kids home alone, you are out of touch with working families.

    By the way, I wrote BoE members expressing my objection that the late-start proposal was too expensive. I understand the motivation behind the proposal, however, and it was obviously a good will effort, inspired by research, to help students perform better in school and to make transporation available to all students who opted for late-start.

    Meanwhile, I’ve seen this movie before. Some individual painstakingly marshals facts to support a position, only to be met with misinformation and insults (Candidate Joe “Lose Cannon” Visconti’s response to WH Teacher above) or substance-free rhetoric (Visconti acolyte The King’s responses to Gary Reger above). Still, I’m grateful for their generous efforts, perhaps made in the conviction that a well-informed electorate will make, as they say in “the education cartel”, good choices.

  176. See Gary. Never answers the question. LOL.

  177. Gary Reger

    King’s proposed teachers’ salary range would put us at:

    33 out of 40 towns in starting salaries
    40 out of 40 in top salaries (and $11,000 less than no. 39).

    King —

    As an experienced free marketeer, what would you predict these salary levels would do to the candidate pool?

  178. Gary Reger

    King —

    By the way, little detail: I didn’t ask turtle whether s/he is a “she”, I asked you how you knew, and you answered — you don’t.

  179. Wide open. With the number of teachers looking for jobs, and looking to switch out for better circumstances, and fresh graduates, and who ever else is qualified with a teacher’s certificate, we will always be in great shape.

    I think people would want to work in a healthy community like WH over some other towns in the area. And there are other factors too that make WH a preferable town to work in.

  180. JTS

    Gary – some seriously sobering analysis. No need to sweat traffic in WH if King’s salaries were implemented, there would be thousands of families leaving this town as fast as their Honda Pilots and Volvo Cross Country’s would allow.

    On the upside, the wait at the Cheesecake Factory would be more manageable.

  181. Gary Reger

    JTS —

    Yes. Despite King’s pollyanna-ish analysis, I have no doubt that the quality of our applicant pool would plummet. He seems to forgot that salaries are set by the competition, not wishful thinking. Consider that in 2004/5, the average starting salary in all of CT was $39,259, and the average salary was $57,760. That same year, the average starting salary for a new college grad was $42,299.

    Moreover, the demographics are not good. About 1 million teachers are expected to retire in the next 10 years; given growth in population, it’s been estimated that 2 million new teachers will be needed. It’s estimated that in 2008, 1.25 million bachelor’s degrees will be awarded. If these figures are all correct, just to fill estimated demand will require 16% of grads every year to become teachers. And since 20% of all teachers leave the profession within the first three years, the actual demand is markedly higher. The anticipated growth rates make the market a seller’s, not a buyer’s.

    Nor does this analysis factor in the crushing problem of debt. A recent analysis by the Pew Foundation finds that 23% of public college grads and 38% of private college grads emerge from college with too much debt to be able to live on starting teachers’ salaries (see

    So to sum up: as the demand for teachers increases, the eligible pool decreases. Demand up, supply down = higher cost. Teachers’ salaries are going to go up, not down; if WH were to lower its salaries, we’d see a nice downward spiral in quality to the bottom.

    JTS is right: “thousands of families [would be] leaving this town as fast as their Honda Pilots and Volvo Cross Country’s would allow.”

  182. Guys, guys. You can’t be serious?

    Thousands of families will leave if we don’t keep spending and spending and spending? They will come to hate West Hartford and pack up their Volvos, for there is no other reason to live here … Listen to you guys. Teachers will flock to Bloomfield and Hartford and all the other the other competitive towns. Teachers will quit their jobs and run for the hills, move out of town and state, perhaps even the country.

    The sleeping giant will stand and the world will come to an end.

    Hey tell me what else will happen in the next 10 years? Will only teachers retire or will other people retire? Anyone going to graduate or is all one sided doom and gloom? Right out of the Democrats play book. Glass half full. Pay more now or pay more later?

    And what was the average starting salary for teachers in CT? 57K?

    And hey, we all had debt coming out of college. So what? What are we expected to raise salaries so college grads can pay down their loans? What are we running a town or a charity?

    Do you guys ever think about the implication of steadily increasing taxes on families? Maybe when you see the toyotas, the fords, the chevy’s, and dodges high tailing it, you’ll wonder why. And it won’t be because the teacher’s aren’t making a killing either.

  183. JTS

    King – I’ve spent a couple minutes racking my brain and I can’t think of a single family, including my own who moved to WH for the low taxes, rather it was the solid public schools. The schools in town are the foundation that make the whole thing work, shatter that foundation and it’s all over. The only difference between East and West Hartford will be their positions vis a vis the CT river.

  184. Gary Reger

    And the fact that East Hartford offers higher starting salaries and higher Master’s Level 5 salaries for teachers.

  185. I’m sure. I’d like you to help us on this one. Ask which West Hartford teacher will cross over the river to take a job in the East Hartford school system for the few extra thousand dollars you claim they are offering. Go ahead. Please report back with the results.

    JTS, if you think that schools are the only reason that people want to live here, you are probably mistaken. You have a very narrow-minded lay of the land. Have you surveyed the residents who live here about their biggest concern? Let me help you – its affordability. And its not decline of the schools. Look around you. Do you see any imminent threat to the schools?

    Are they crumbling? Leaking? Is there an exodus of educators? None of the above. The teachers love it here, and why not, they have it made.

    Let me know how the transfer rate to East Hartford is coming. I’d be interested in publishing those statistics.

  186. Gary Reger

    Okay, let’s try one more time.

    In 2004/5, the average starting salary in all of CT was $39,259. That’s already $3,259 more than the starting salary King proposes for 2008 (?).

    In 2004/5 the average salary for all CT teachers was $57,760. That is $4,760 less than the cap King proposes.

    King asks whether “anyone [is] going to graduate” in the next 10 years. Yes, as I said, the estimate is for 1.25 million in 2008. My calculations assumed that number will be constant for the next 10 years. That’s why I said 16% of all grads will have to go into teaching to meet expected demand each year for the next 10.

    On student loans, King says “What are we running a town or a charity?” This is a cost of business, my man. “We all had debts” — yes, and that precluded us from taking jobs that would not allow us to make our loan payments. This means some grads who might have wanted to teach won’t be able to — thus shrinking even further the supply of new teachers.

    It would be interesting to know if anyone could cite another profession comparable to teaching where salary levels have been rolled back by 10% or more and there has been no impact on the supply or quality of workers.

    There seems to be an odd disconnect here between the “understanding of capitalist economics” that King cited as a sine qua non for candidates for public office and his own relentlessly command-economy analysis of the salary structure of the teaching profession.

    I admit the “thousands” is of course a gross exaggeration, and I apologize for stooping to the same kind of alarmist rhetoric as the anti-taxers who predicted a mass exodus from WH should taxes not be rolled back. But I do think a fair-minded person will admit with JTS that the no. 1 draw of WH for new residents is quality of schools.

    And I was not fully fair to King, for which I also apologize. He did indeed rise to the challenge of setting a dollar value on WH teachers. I should have asked the obvious follow-up: why should this profession be at the bottom of the compensation scale for professions requiring comparable education and responsibility?

  187. turtle

    The average teacher salary, not beginning teacher salary, is about $57K in Connecticut.

    And as Gary stated above:

    Out of the same 40 towns, WH ranks 17 for salary at the MA Step 5 level. Of the towns immediately below us, 5 pay more than $48,000 but less than our $49,210.

  188. turtle

    (Oh, sorry Gary! You slipped in there.)

  189. JTS

    Sheesh Gary, I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t time to start the Draft Reger movement. Solid numbers and reasoning, thanks for all the effort.

  190. Joe Visconti

    WHMOM or whoever you really are.

    Lets see you and your overworked and underpaid Commrade Teachers and Adminstrators down at the State Capitol with Ranger Andy ( Fleishman) to protest the 40 million dollar short from ECS. Until I see some real concern for the taxpayer coming from the Cartel I will assume you all condone the process. West Hartford is not Glastonbury, Avon or Simsbury, we have many educational problems they do not have and need a new cost sharing dividend. Keep hiding behind pseudonyms to protect your Assets. The days of anything more than a 3% Municpal Budget increase are over starting tommorrow night.

  191. Count Dracula

    He’s always a boor before dinner.

  192. Gary Reger

    I have no idea how the salary differential between East Hartford and us affects the applicant pools. I’d be very happy if anyone who knows something about that would post.

    If, as King says, things are fine with the schools, why in goodness’s sake should we mess with them? Especially by cutting teachers’ salaries!

    I try very hard not to impute motives to people I do not know. But I just can’t help wondering what is behind the hostility toward teachers.

    If it is really that taxes are too high, period, then why not go after other parts of the Town budget? Teachers’ salaries are about 20% of the Town budget (reckoning the education budget at about 50% of total Town budget, salaries at 80% of the education budget, and teachers’ salaries as 50% of that 80%). Why should that come first, rather than last, on the cutting block?

    [Disclaimer: I have shown elsewhere on this blog with comparative data from the state that WH taxes are in fact not high, but sit right about in the middle compared to household income.]

    Or is it something about teachers themselves, or the profession?

    I’d really like to understand.

  193. Gary Reger

    JTS —

    Sorry, the politics on this blog are all I can handle!

  194. Vote No to Joe

    Joe, has anyone ever told you that you’re an ass.

  195. Joe Visconti


    Sorry if you misunderstood, I wish to seek concessions from “All Unions” as I outlined in the Hartford Courant the past couple of weeks. If you didnt get that 70% of the voters last summer voted down the budget because taxes were to high then come to Stop and Shop with me tommorrow morning to sample some residents. Your data sounds nice but at the end of the day it is meaningless to the Voters of West Hartford and their houshold budgets; it’s called reality versus theory.

    As far as Teachers? I especially expect them to come out and protest in large numbers at the State level and help get the extra ECS Dividends for themselves and the Kiddies but they are afraid of their own Cartel Bosses and leave the taxpayers holding the bag.

  196. A WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman

    Sorry not to respond sooner – I was at work all day. And in our WH schools blogging of any kind is blocked by the filters. (Well, I guess there is something specific that can be used with classes.) They want to be certain we are being productive on the job! Thanks to those who have taken up the support of our teachers and the realization of what we give up to stay in teaching. It is heartening and much appreciated by all.

    King –
    But undercompensated?
    I never suggested WH teachers are undercompensated. When you break down the hours – and many – MOST – teachers work nights and weekends correcting, grading, and preparing for lessons, it’s not so great, sometimes awful. As an overall salary – it’s not so bad considering, as you said, we made the choice to be in our profession and make a difference in children’s lives. My point is simply that it is not fair to ask teachers to give up what we have worked very hard to attain, over decades of lobbying for more professional salaries. And I did not imply that I should make the same as you – as I have no clue what you do. If you think you’ve earned a higher salary than I have, I guess you would know best.

    Perhaps it does not take a PhD to teach 8th grade. But it might to be a “teacher of teachers” and take the cost out of training when teachers lead professional development for their peers on their specialties. Why don’t you call HR at WHPS and find out how many of us are at the top of the scale with PhDs? And while you’re at it, call the curriculum office and find out how many teachers are giving FREE professional development to their buildings and around the district – taking personal time to prepare, by the way.

    Job’s that pay less? Don’t have to look to far – go to Hartford and pick one of 30 types of insurance operations positions.
    Funny, by the way – I temped in an insurance agency while I was still in college – without a degree. No comparison, my friend.

  197. A WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman

    I thought you liked me till I read, “In the meantime, Gary, I’m hoping you might consider [running for the BoE] next time around.”
    Oh I do like you – and even more now that you have done even more homework than I did on WH salaries compared to others. I’ll be your campaign manager! 😉

    but they are afraid of their own Cartel Bosses and leave the taxpayers holding the bag.
    I don’t think the WHPS admin or BOE would hold it against teachers for rallying to support the ECS funding. But if I’m not mistaken, Harry has already spoken to the fact that we did get more of the funding than was expected initially. I tried to search for it – but I’m sorry I have to go and prepare tomorrow’s lessons.

  198. Gary Reger

    Joe —

    My data aren’t “theory”, they are reality. You mean reality vs. perception. Perception is often wrong. Public leadership means working to get perception in line with reality, not to pander.

    Along the same lines, 70% of voters did not vote against the budget. If memory serves, about 14% of eligible voters voted against the budget (i.e., 70% of the 20% who turned out). That’s hardly a ringing mandate.

  199. Matt

    King, how the hell do you expect us to believe that you work in excess of 80 hours per week? You dominate this blog at all hours of the day…You’re almost as useless as Joe Visconti….You probably are Joe Visconti!! hahaha good luck tomorrow loser

  200. A WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman

    From King: If you think teacher’s salaries in general should be on par with some of the other higher end jobs, then you have a misconception.

    This was just pointed out to me – so I thought I’d ask one last question… King. how did you get where you are if not for teachers?

  201. turtle

    WH Teacher is lovely, isn’t she? I say give her a raise!!

  202. TWC

    As a the father of three young children and a dog that I frequently “run” in the illicit dog park that is at the south end of Elizabeth Park, I haven’t had as much time as I thought I would in examining all the issues and thoughtfully deciding who to vote for next Tuesday.

    But in the interest of staying on topic, here’s my two cents on who to vote for (and I apologize in advance if anyone is offended by my laziness in simply using everyone’s last names):

    Slifka and Coursey: As I stated in another post, I believe these two should be rewarded for their vision, patient leadership, and proven competency in making Blue Back Square (BBS) a reality. All I have to say after strolling through BBS last Saturday is WOW! (More on a few minor concerns later.)

    Verrengia: I admit this may be overly simplistic, but I think the West Hartford police department deserves a representative on the Town Council that I presume will be advising all the other members as to matters of public safety. And as a resident who lives three blocks from the thin blue line on Prospect that separates WH from the violent disorder that is a daily occurrence in Hartford, public safety is very close to the top of the list of concerns that I have about this Town.

    Brennan: So far, he is the only candidate who has bothered to come door-to-door in my neighborhood, so that I have had a chance to talk to face-to-face. The son of public school teachers; very bright, very personable, and the father of a young family just like me. There will be no short-changing of the education budget by this candidate.

    Adler: About as stirring as molasses on a cold morning, but my sense is that these waters run deep. I know he probably rubs Visconti the wrong way–because he’s not the show-boating, bomb-thrower that is Joe’s private domain–but he strikes me as a much more thoughtful and innovative leader than either Canter (simply riding on Slifka’s coattails) or Sullivan (err, I meant Thornberry).

    Martin: In keeping with my theme that the Republican Party in this Town needs some new blood that will not destroy the brand name that makes West Hartford so unique (i.e., an inner-ring suburb with excellent public schools), I’m voting for the smart young family lawyer who didn’t put his foot in his mouth on this blog by announcing that the business interests in this Town need an additional tax break. (Could someone inform Clark that due to the disproportionate re-allocation of grand-list values to the residential properties in this Town, the business interests in WH will be enjoying a tax reduction over the next few years, not an increase like the rest of us poor home-owners.)

    As I review the above comments before clicking the Submit button, I’m struck by how little the candidates’ positions on specific issues that concern me factored into these choices. I’m not sure if that is due to the lack of information (I never could make the time to watch the debates) or simply the nature of the beast (any election is more of a perceptional popularity contest than anything else, isn’t it).

  203. WH Voter


    Interesting comments on the candidates. You may want to reconsider your vote for Adler. I don’t know Mr. Adler nor have I ever met him, but I do know some disturbing information.

    On multiple occasions Mr. Adler has knowingly mislead people for political purposes. He has been telling people that the first budget voted on by the council contained money for a miniature golf course and training center and assuring those people he would have voted against that budget because of that. But those items weren’t in that budget and Mr. Adler is very aware of that. He continues to do this for political gain, trying to make the incumbents look bad.

    Secondly, in his campaigning Mr. Adler has suggested to senior citizens that the education budget is 60% of total spending and that they’re not being treated fairly and that he wants to get some of it back for them. Then he says the opposite when talking to groups of parents. With the tension between seniors and parents that exists in this town, I find it disgusting that Mr. Adler is exploiting it for political gain.

    It’s really difficult to know what he truly believes since he basically says whatever he thinks the people want to hear.

    Candidly, I don’t trust him.

  204. WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman (Democratic activist):

    A silly question deserves a silly answer –

    You ask: How did you get where you are if it weren’t for teachers –

    I guess I took the advanced placement exam and lucked out. Always choose “c”.

    Actually, this will disappoint you… I owe a lot to my elementary and middle school teachers. They were wonderful. I don’t know if back then teachers were as in lockstep with unions as they are today here in West Hartford. I can’t remember being sent home with a slip of paper telling my mother how to vote (like they do here). I think it was a different time. We were even allowed to celebrate Halloween and Christmas before the new socialization rules came into play. Of course we didn’t have computers back then, so we focused on more basic skills like reading and math.

    The people that most helped me get where I am in life were my parents (I would hope that would be the case with the majority). The second greatest impact came from college professors. And the third, from my teachers at the private high school I attended. So I give teachers credit twice here.

    We all make a difference in people’s lives including children. One doesn’t have to be a teacher to do that. From parent, to healthcare worker, to firefighter, to the manufacturer – everyone makes a difference.

    TWC: It’s a shame that I didn’t have the time (or the right cables), but those WHCT debates could have been easily copied and uploaded to In 2008, someone should take this on as a public service.

  205. …or ’09 rather. The weekly call in shows can be uploaded starting next week though. This will give Peter Martin something to do next year since he might be the one who uploaded the GOP commerical to (and that’s a guess).

    Whdad, didn’t create a predictions forum, but I’m hoping he puts something out there this morning for today’s election.

  206. Gary Reger

    Thank you TWC for sharing your views.

    I was so sorry to wake up this morning to the rain, which will depress turnout today. But remember, the PTOs will be selling goodies — another inducement to brave the weather and VOTE!

  207. Gary is correct. There is great fear among Democrats about turnout in inclement weather.

    But generally speaking, inclement weather favors incumbents.

    If you see a candidate standing out in the rain at the polls today. Thank them even if you don’t intend to vote for them.

  208. Sean McCann

    Which are these schools sending home slips of paper telling parents how to vote, King?

  209. McCann,

    This issue arose this past year. I will get you the information, but not today.

    Everyone else:

    Whiting Lane reported two voting machines down already. Any other irregularities occuring?

  210. TWC

    WH Voter, I appreciate your comments. But due to your anonymity, I hope you appreciate I have to take what you say with a grain of salt.

    Has anyone else observed the behavior of which WH Voter is legitimately concerned (i.e., purposeful misinformation about the budget, pitting one voting block against another)? Or was this a common tactic across the entire scope of Republican candidates this year?

    Hmm…maybe I’m voting D party-line after all.

  211. TWC:

    I hope you are not discounting the record of Democrats in office. They have a record to run on which they cannot be realistically proud of:

    1. High taxes and a commitment for even higher taxes (rejected by West Hartford voters in June of this year). Do you want to give them the mandate to keep at it? And then blend in re-evaluation and see where we end up.

    2. Decline in placement and CAT exam results, the lowest in years – this has nothing to do with the GOP, its simply a fact. Botton third is the pits. You are not getting what you have already paid for.

    3. Record spending by the BOE and Council. And dishonesty about spending to the extent that the details are not made available. There is a clear government transparency issue with this group. And there way of dialoguing with residents is to shut them down after three minutes at the podium. Do they really listen? The records shows they don’t care.

    4. Traffic concerns and safety issues unaddressed.

    5. Union negotiations closed out with speed and not to the advantage of the West Hartford Taxpayer. And taxpayer concerns completely disregarded – see Nurse’s pay increase mentioned in previous forum. Evidence that this group does not care about what the public thinks even after hearing the message from the referendum.

    6. Failure to put working families first by making West Hartford affordable for single and working families. The Dems and their supporters on this blog have dedicated pages of phony rhetoric outlining excuse after excuse why WH can’t be more affordable. Meanwhile, the facts are what they are – West Hartford will continue to be less affordable for residents with the current leadership at the helm.

    Isn’t it worth giving a new team a chance to stop the spending and get things under control? Or you can give them the mandate under the phony guise of fear of damage to the schools and all of the other scare tactics they use.

    Ask your neighbor and yourself – Is West Hartford more or less afforable for you and your neighbor since the last election? You know the answer is less affordable; Remember, giving them back the Council and Board will continue the unfortunate downward spiral.

  212. Bob Scharper


    I am personally aware of the things that Mr. Adler has said and WH Voter has stated them correctly.

  213. K

    I was there for both forums and that is indeed what Mr. Adler said. I’ve met him personally and he seems like a nice guy, but that comment to the seniors really knocked me off my shoes. Changing the tone and/or content of your speech to suit your audience is one thing. But, pitting one town group (Seniors) v. another (schools) and then telling our parents at Bristow that he’s an advocate for the schools shows a real lapse in both judgment and character.

    I can imagine that this word of his comments is not going to affect the result at this point–he’s probably going to gain a seat–but the Republicans on the Council should take pause when considering who should be minority leader (I would have said Adler, but now I say Davidoff).

  214. turtle

    Sean McCann: Which are these schools sending home slips of paper telling parents how to vote, King?

    The King: McCann, This issue arose this past year. I will get you the information, but not today.

    Although the King is in the habit of bullying posters to answer his questions, he himself will not answer this compelling question.

    Can anyone elaborate on his allegation that I can’t remember being sent home with a slip of paper telling my mother how to vote (like they do here).? Because my understanding is that the district explicitly forbids distribution of political material in the schools.

  215. Harry Captain

    The district’s position is very clear.

    Distributed materials may “not … promote … political position.”
    Distributed materials may not “promote any political party or candidate.”

    The entire policy can be found at:

    Any deviation to this policy should be reported.

  216. Turtle, I said I couldn’t provide that information today. What part of that sentence didn’t you understand?

    You have a very hard time with comprehension, don’t you? Stop reposting other people’s comments and trying to reframe the discussion.

    God, you are pathetic most of the time.

  217. turtle

    Come on, bossy, where’s the beef?

  218. Sean McCann

    Here’s a guess at what Turtle can’t understand, your highness–why it is you think it’s ok to toss around slanderous charges without evidence. Pony up or shut up.

  219. Bob White


    Shouldn’t you be working?

    How are you going to squeeze in those 80 plus hours you claim to work each week.

    I know some hard working people, some who are high level executives, some who are entrepreneurs, but I don’t know anyone who works 80 hours a week so I would love to meet you and shake your hand.

  220. Sean McCann

    or hoof

  221. Matt

    hahaha King you suck

  222. Very clever Sean, shouldn’t you be out teaching kids how to play kickball or something?

  223. I said I wouldn’t get to this today, but I will cover it quickly.

    Ok, so at the referendum time in June, child comes home with a bunch of papers that included school pictures and a bunch of other things, and in the pile is a one page flyer telling parents to “VOTE YES” on the referendum for better schools.

    The one-page flyer was allegedly produced by the PTO, but it was distributed by school staff during school hours. I don’t know whether that is a violation of campaign laws (and its probably irrelevant at this point) but we thought it was in poor taste to send anything like this home through a student.

    Parents can make up their own minds without PTO propaganda being sent home through our kids.

    And the offending school was Smith school. We also have it on good authority that the school was questioned about this and their response was not to claim any knowledge of it.

    I don’t know if it passes Harry’s mustard test of a “political position”, but it was a lobbying nontheless. There you go.

  224. turtle

    As you know, I’m a Smith School parent, and I have a hard time believing the secretary would have ever allowed such a flyer to be distributed to the classrooms. She was very exacting about the rules.

    A flyer may have been handed out on the street off of school grounds, but I can’t remember if I ever saw one.

    I think what you’re saying is false.

  225. K

    And what of the WHTA propaganda? Would you say the taxpayers could have done without that? What does the good Christian King say to that?

  226. turtle

    I should amend that sentence to say, “I can’t remember if I ever saw one that said Vote Yes.”

    There was a non-partisan flyer advising parents about the line items affecting Smith School, the Board of Ed public hearings, and other factual information, but I do not recall a flyer that encouraged parents to Vote Yes. If there was, I am quite sure it did not go out with the kids but may have been handed out on the street.

    Anyway, I believe I know your source for this story, and again, I think it is false.

  227. Harry Captain

    King’s alleged event would be a violation of BOE policy if it actually took place. (I’m not being sarcastic – this is a serious charge that requires evidence.) The policy is specific to referenda and reads:

    “On issues to be decided at referenda, information distributed by school personnel or Board of Education members, whether through students or otherwise, may only provide information on the time, date, location, and question of the referenda and may not advocate positions on the referenda questions.”

    If this type of behavior is witnessed in the future, a complaint should be filed by an actual person. Allegations presented by a pseudonym months after a supposed event are hearsay until proven otherwise.

  228. I don’t believe it ever happened.
    The only things I ever saw came from the NO people, and I was on the lookout for stuff.

  229. turtle

    Okeydokey, I just got off the phone, and this is the story.

    The Smith PTO did not distribute a flyer encouraging parents to vote one way or the other. Indeed, the secretary would not have permitted the PTO to do so. It did distribute a flyer with information reproduced from the proposed education budget, as well as Board of Ed contact numbers and public hearing dates. The school probably has a copy in its files.

    A Smith School parent did print Vote Yes flyers, on her own dime, that she and a few other parents handed out on the street, beyond school property. She is an extremely conscientious person who confirmed that she was not violating any district rules before advocating in this way for the budget. This flyer was not distributed by the PTO.

    The King’s allegations are false, and he should retract them.

  230. Gary Reger

    The King has accused many on this blog of dishing out “phony rhetoric” and “propaganda”, and of being “Democratic hacks.”

    On his own criteria, the accusation he’s floated surely meets the standard of “propaganda.”

    I am sure he will retract and apologize.

  231. The King is correct. There was a flyer placed in my son’s backpack urging us to vote yes on the referendum and support school programs. However, if I remember correctly, the flyer claimed to be from the PTO and I do not see a “paid for by” tag on it.

    Besides the idea that it was unethical to use my son, school staff and or town employees to distribute such a flyer it was also a blatant violation of Connecticut Campaign Finance law not to form a (PAC) and report where the money came from to print and distribute the it.

    At the time I was going to file a complaint with the SEEC but Diane felt there would be negative repercussions for Max at school if we made an issue of it.

    It may still be in Max’s box of School work?

  232. turtle

    So. It was you.

    The Smith PTO did not distribute a Vote Yes flyer. That is false.

    By the way, have you corrected the spelling of Terry Schmitt’s last name from “Schmidt” on your website, Radio Free West Hartford?

  233. Turtle … you must have you head stuck up your shell … there was a vote yes flyer distributed from someone at Smith Scholl and place in students backpacks.

  234. turtle

    The Smith PTO did not distribute a Vote Yes flyer.

    I have explained the situation above.

    My end of this conversation is over.

  235. Man, I missed a lot. Sitting at work late (still) and not having West Hartford cable, I decided to check out the thread.

    It warms my heart to see the litany of comments above defending teachers’ pay. When I was working at a big company, I was making more than my wife’s public school salary (or the WH step 1 or Step 5 salaries) immediately after I graduated. Even though I graduated with just a BA that wasn’t even in the field I was working in.

    My wife has a masters degree in ed, a BA in the subject area she teaches, and a genuine passion for both teaching and her subject area. She has worked nearly as long, and still will never come close to what I used to make at the same years of experience. And these qualifications were demanded of her to pursue this career, not an elective choice to pad her resume…

    We ask teachers to get advanced degrees, we ask them to get a state certification, and we want the best teachers for our kids. Yet, we begrudge them a salary that reflects that training.

    Anyway, enough of a rant. Thanks for Gary and turtle and the rest for looking up the numbers and bringing some reality into the King/Visconti teacher bashfest.

    I’m also amazed at how some people act out in jealousy. The King points out how benefits get work year after year for folks in the private sector. Rather than examine and or campaign to reverse that trend, he attacks teachers (and union employees in general) because their benefits didn’t decrease this year. Joe Visconti made similar comments in a thread during the budget referendum complaining about how some folks need to work two jobs to make ends meet and those fat cat union members get a raise.

    Talk about a race to the bottom.

    Median wages aren’t going up in this country, and healthcare is getting expensive but it’s the unions fault for working to keep their employees from suffering, too.


  236. A WH Teacher, Mom, and Woman

    Thanks, Turtle and Matt. You make me blush. 😉

    King –
    Actually, this will disappoint you… I owe a lot to my elementary and middle school teachers.
    I’m not disappointed in the least. I’m glad to see you give credit to all of your teachers – elementary/mid, private high school, and college – not to mention your parents. Fact is – none of us would be anywhere without the teachers we met along the way. I for one want to be sure my kids continue to get the very best of the teachers the candidate pool has to offer.

    I have not seen the election results yet, but I hope that whomever we have in those chambers now spends some time in our schools… real time not just showcase time, talking to teachers, admin, and students to get the real vibe of what happens inside our walls before they ask for any “returns” or cut out any materials or programs as this new budget process gets underway.

  237. Gary: I won’t apologize for the truth.

    Sorry. Get over it, we did when the flyer came home. Dirty tricks as usual.

    Sujal: They work half the year, why pay them what someone gets working all year long?

  238. Gary Reger

    King —

    You did not claim that “a flyer came home.” You claimed that Smith school officials placed a political flyer in kids’ school materials on school property on school time. That is illegal. Turtle has shown that the flyer in question was produced by a Smith mom on her own (time and money) and handed out off school property. You may not agree with that tactic, but it is not illegal and not at all what you claimed happened.

    What astonishes me is the inability here to own up to a mistake. Your claim is a slander. If an analogous false claim had been made against Joe Visconti, you would be livid. If you expect people to take you seriously, you really need to stop imitating George Bush and gracefully admit mistakes and apologize.

    On teachers working “half the year” — here I think is an inadvertant response to my earlier question: what is it you guys have against teachers? Clearly you think they have it easy. This is fantasy. First, they do not work “half the year”, they work 10 months. Second, that is the way the educational system works. It’s hardly the teachers’ fault. Are you advocating a 12-month school year? Then say so. But the fact of the matter remains, as Sujal makes absolutely clear, that teachers’ pay is low given the level of education, skills, and responsibility they must show.

  239. Sean McCann

    What a genuinely conservative economist thinks about teacher pay–it should be high, and in many places higher

    Read it and think, King.

  240. WH Alum

    Half a year? They finish cleaning out end of June and are back in half-way through August.

  241. turtle

    It’s clear that teachers are being scapegoated for a variety of resentments. How ironic that in a town whose prestige rests on the quality of the schools that the very people responsible for that reputation, teachers and school administrators, are under attack.

    Clearly the voters did not respond to the “affordability” pitch. If we wanted affordability, we would have stayed where we were instead of moving to West Hartford, where we live on the financial brink in order to avail ourselves of the public schools. Everyone we know moved here for the same reason. Everyone.

  242. Gary Reger

    King —

    On the “Election Night” thread you plea for understanding for Joe, whose comments as quoted in the Courant represent a tiny excerpt of a 3-minute remark. “You had to be there,” you write.

    On this thread, you refuse to recant an accusation of illegality leveled against school officials that has been shown to be false.

    Why in heaven’s name should anyone heed your plea on Joe’s behalf — whose comments were on the record and have not been challenged — when you cannot show the same magnaminity toward the people you slandered here by a simple apology?

  243. No one has been slandered. This is a Democratic ploy to twist the facts as usual.

    Please read my paragraph again. Maybe this time you can focus on what I wrote, and not what you think I wrote:

    I have copied it here in turtle fashion for those too lazy to scroll up… Ok, so at the referendum time in June, child comes home with a bunch of papers that included school pictures and a bunch of other things, and in the pile is a one page flyer telling parents to “VOTE YES” on the referendum for better schools.

    I believe Don Dodd has confirmed this situation whether you like it or not. You will do anything to protect your special interest groups, we all understand that.

    Moreover Gary, it is a undeniable fact that teachers do NOT work the same number of months and hours as a regular full time employee. You can pretend the case is different. Therefore, salaries should clearly not be the same as if they were working 12 months out of the year.

  244. And Joe is his own person. I’m sure you and your followers will have two years worth of criticism outlining every move he makes and everything he does or says.

    There will be plenty of material for you to play with. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe moves off this blog to more productive and less narrow-minded venues.

    It’s amazing how much scrutiny someone gets once they have an R next to their name. Meanwhile most of you wouldn’t dare challenge one of your own.

    Sean, we all know you are a teacher. If you were an apple picker, you’d be telling us why apple picker’s salaries should be higher. Since you aim to fill your own coffers, its hard for you to be considered an objective party to any of this discussion. You are in the teacher’s union and you owe them your unrelenting loyalty. No one bites the hand that feeds them, now do they?

  245. Gary Reger

    King —

    You quote yourself rather selectively, don’t you? You left out this:

    “The one-page flyer was allegedly produced by the PTO, but it was distributed by school staff during school hours.”

    There’s the slander. You can read your own post: “November 6, 6.41 pm.”

  246. Gary Reger

    On teachers’ salaries: I never said they work less than a full year. You said they worked half a year; I corrected that to 10 months.

    In fact, the study that Sean posted — written by a member of the Hoover Institute at Stanford, one of the best known right-wing think-tanks in the country — stated that teachers work about 6% fewer hours/year than other workers. On your logic, teachers should make about 6% less than comparable workers. Since the average starting salary for new workers with a college degree is $42,299, the starting salary for teachers should be $39,600 or so. That’s a little less than current starting salary in WH, and $3600 more than you proposed.

  247. Rob E. Douglas

    King has a right to resent teachers working less than 12 months, after all, he works more than 80 hours a week. If you think teachers are bad, how about ministers. They only work an hour or two on Sundays, how overpaid is that.

    King, let me go out on a limb here. You don’t work more than 80 hours a week. Let’s try a month.

    A person would have to have the I.Q. of, oh I don’t know, let’s say Joe Visconti, to believe you work that much. You and Visconti combined don’t work 80 hours a week. Unless of course one counts patting yourself on the back. In that case Visconti puts in a lot of overtime.

  248. turtle

    Note that this is the second instance in recent memory where the King has been involved in a controversy over slander.

    The first instance was his defense of a poster who slandered Bruce Putterman and Clare Kindall. Elmwoodian, a long-time participant on The West Hartford Blog, quit the blog in protest.

    Now the King has himself slandered many decent people associated with Smith School.

    The King loudly advertises his Christianity (despite reports that Jesus disapproved of pious posturing). As a Christian, King, what is your conception of truth?

  249. Gary Reger

    While we’re on the topic of Christianity, I’d like also to hear King’s conception of sin.

  250. Vince

    I think it’ obvious the King has run his course on this blog and should return to his own, much less travelled blog site.

  251. whmom


    Please don’t confuse me with wh teacher, mom, woman. I get enough grief for the things that I post on this blog on my own. I voted the republican ticket and I voted for you. Happily. Good luck with that.

    Thanks for your kind remarks after my last posts.

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  254. CT

    I love it when folks get together and share views.
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