So what will Visconti do now?

He didn’t even need my vote to capture one of the seats reserved for the losers. He snagged it anyway, no doubt to the dismay of the Democrats who will now have to deal with him all the time instead of just warring with him here.

One thing it will surely do is improve the TV ratings for town council meetings.



Filed under Politics, town council, Visconti

90 responses to “So what will Visconti do now?

  1. Will it really matter? I mean that seriously… I was going to blog a bit about why I thought Visconti would be bad for the council, but then I thought about whether it mattered at all whether he was on the council.

    Personally, I find his brand of bomb throwing to be as effective or ineffective whether he’s a member of the public or of the council. In fact, I suspect he’s had to tone it down since he started running. (Compare comments on this site from the referendum and earlier to his comments closer to the election… there’s a change).

    The worst case for the town is that he wastes a ton of money by convincing the council to do a bunch of blue ribbon studies on budgets. How that can be worse than the millions spent fighting Blue Back is hard to see.

    Anyway, I wish him well, hope he’s able to effect some of his good ideas (and fails on his bad ideas 😉 ).


  2. turtle

    Won’t Joe be powerless to do much beyond supplying the entertainment on WHC-TV? I do look forward to his fashion statements.

    I see a silver lining to the election of Visconti, who I vehemently opposed for a seat on the Council. He may give a voice to constituents who are underrepresented in the town government. WH Latina noted in the Election Night thread that the Councilors are almost exclusively from the northwest part of town. I think my district in the southeast was pretty much split down the middle on BBS. Also, assessment increases in the south end during reval were among the highest in town. That suggests to me that not a few voters in the south end supported Visconti, aside from all Joe’s bragging about sympathy from rich Republicans (what, you mean they’re still crying about their taxes?!).

  3. Sean McCann

    Did I misread the Courant article or did Joe promise to support the town’s suit against Taubman, with the explanation that he would be a “fraud” if he didn’t? I imagine Taubman might view the situation a little differently.

  4. Bill & Hill

    By the way, Visconti lives in the center, not south of I-84.

    Maureen McClay lives in Elmwood as does Joe Verrengia.

  5. turtle

    OK, how could I forget that Mr. Save the Center lives in the Center.

    So there’s no silver lining!

  6. B

    No Turtle, I’m afraid not.

    I’ve run a few calculations on the results, and I can’t come up with anything very significant about his results. I don’t see much evidence of drop-off or bullet voting for him. He worked a bit harder and beat out other poor performing republicans.

    Visconti’s best district was 9-1 (Duffy), but that’s no surprise since it’s a very Republican area. (though the Dems still won, barely).

    So I compared his numbers to Davidoff (who beat him by 50 votes town-wide). Visconti actually outperformed Davidoff in every district in town except for ASD, Norfeldt, Bugbee, Hall, St mary’s home (1-2), and especially KP – where Davidoff crushed him by over 100 votes.

    I think these results, which are exagerated by the generally low numbers we are talking about, is probably linked more to ethnicity than ideology.

    Comparing Visconti instead to Kelly Clark, we get less statistically volotile results. Although he beat her town wide, she had better results in Duffy, St. Johns, Elmwood community center, whiting lane, solomon schecter, and Webster Hill. And she did better than the town-wide results in Braeburn and Wolcott. Compared to Clark, his 2nd best district was KP.

    I don’t see any kind of class issue here or regional trends. Seems like a fairly random distribution to these eyes.

  7. K

    Sujal: After the way he has spoken about his new colleagues, Joe won’t be able to convince them to fix a pothole in front of their own houses, much less even consider any of his initiatives (good or bad). That’s what happens when you burn bridges and treat consensus pejoratively.

    The Reps gave up a valuable (and guaranteed!) seat to somebody who is not really going to have any juice to push those issue they hold dear. What a waste.

    And those who want him there to “stir things up?” The only thing he’ll be stirring is the drink in front of him on the dais. He’s a councilor now, not a clown; and by his (relatively) toned down rhetoric over the past few months, it appears that he realizes that. I think that he and his supporters are going to find out quickly that he was much more fun (and effective) as a gadfly than as a member of the “cartel.” We shall see. Tune in . . .

  8. turtle

    Thank you for the reality check, B. I will try to desist from talking out of my hat in the future.

    (Hey Judy/anonymous! I handed one to you on a silver platter.)

  9. K

    Incidentally, in case anyone cares, the BOE Dems posted the district-by-district results for all of the races up at their website.

    (It’s in the “full results” link at the bottom of the table on the home page)

  10. anonymous

    Oh you all really underestimate this fellow.
    You haven’t a clue what is coming up.
    Better get a raincoat for when the excrement hits the fan.
    This town council has got some major issues on the horizon and it won’t be potholes.

  11. Vince

    Yawn indeed.

    BTW–Consistently solid and thoughtful posts by B on a couple of different threads–well done.

    Visconti’s impact may be most felt in perhaps pushing away the kind of potential candidates his party needs to make a legit run at the majority in 2 years. Can you imagine an Al Turco or Kevin Connors suffering this fool? Not a chance.

  12. O. P. Taylor

    The first question about Visconti is whether he can transition from a bomb thrower with no real responsibilies to someone who can govern. The decisions are no longer hypothetical, they impact the lives of real people.

    He clearly failed his first test shortly after being elected. Rather than talking about working for the good of the town, or even attacking the Democrats on a policy issue, Joe was his typical name calling self, referring to the democrats as elite and arrogant and saying something about rooting them out, whatever that means.

    In his rooting comment he mentioned something about the days being over as it related to Democrats. Perhaps Joe needs to study the election results more closely. Two to one, D’s over R’s. No progress for the Republican Party.

    Another question is whether Steve Adler can lead the Republicans on the council. His quote in reference to the Democrats was, “We’re going to get ’em starting tomorrow.” This is in sharp contrast to his spin while working the polling places on election day when he told Democratic candidates how they would work together as a team to get things done.

    Not unlike telling some people that he supported Visconti while telling others he was opposed to Visconti being on the council.

    Not unlike telling the seniors he would get some of that education money back for them while telling the PTO how dedicated he is to education.

    I hope Mr. Adler decides to speak from only one side of his mouth, but for now he is an honor student at the John Kerry school of political science.

  13. I remember Carl Donatelli and Liz Gillett jumping up and down and acting like crazed banshees regarding the Home Depot development and both it and they ended up doing well. I see Joe’s popularity growing for at least a time and his short term prospects are excellent.

  14. O. P. Taylor

    Anyone notice that anonymous sounds a lot like Visconti.

    Throwing bombs while wearing a disguise.

  15. O. P. Taylor

    Donald Dodd,

    Joe’s short term prospects for what?

  16. JTS

    “Carl Donatelli and Liz Gillett jumping up and down and acting like crazed banshees regarding the Home Depot development…”

    Don – re: the above, does that mean they liked it/they hated it, they fought it/supported it? Not sure of the context.

  17. Gosh JTS, I was active in the GOP back then and chaired the 4th District Committee. Carl Donatelli was a key figure with the Home Depot opposition group before running for office and crashed my forum on the project with the press in tow. Carl, Liz Gillett and about 10 others form that group stood in the back of the room and staged quite a ruckus – waiving their fists and shouting. And, get this, when I tried to adjourn the meeting Carl pulled me aside and urged me to continue so they could make more of a scene for the press.

    But my point is that rabble-rousers are simply passionate people and often mature in to good politicians. In the meantime the Republican Town Committee and Town Council can benefit a few passionate voice from the opposition.

  18. K

    I’m not sure that I would hold the rise Mr. Donatelli up as an example of political success–as his fall was fairly precipitous. It didn’t take long for Donatelli & gang to squander whatever mandate the Reps might have had during their brief tenure in the majority. He lost the majority in ’01 and then was voted out himself in 2003.

    Also, wasn’t that a Donatelli-led team that was soundly lapped on Tuesday? Maybe you should choose a different example of why you believe Joe will be successful.

  19. K .. I said that Joe’s short term prospects were good and that having passion is an important factor in his growth. What Joe’s future is . . . well that is in his hands but I hope it will be interesting and a little cantankerous at least to start.

  20. And Yes, I think the last great Chairman of the West Hartford (R) Town Committee was Peter Zarella.

  21. P.I.bug

    hey David Jones, your prediction that Joe would win because of a perfect storm has happened. However, I should point out that the perfect storm was not a political storm but rather an act of nature (yes, God). The mouthpiece of God, the rain, the low turnout, exactly what Joe needed. And to think David, you predicted it all!

  22. anonymous

    Vince – Al Turco and Kevin Connors are precisely part of the Republican party’s problems.

  23. Kevin Walsh

    Further to anonymous’ last post, Al Turco and Kevin Connors had a tendency to defeat democrats – which has apparently been a forbidden practice in the West Hartford Republican party since at least 2003.

  24. LXD

    All Joe needs to do is point out sweetheart deals to sleazy, extortionist developers.

  25. Gary Reger

    I think my political sympathies are pretty clear. In that context, I’d like to tell a story about Al Turco and Liz Gillett.

    When we moved to WH we bought a house in need of considerable loving care. I wanted to add a porch — I couldn’t imagine living without a front porch.

    When had our property surveyed, the surveyor reported that our property had a veranda line. So we hired a contractor. When he went to pull the permit, he was told the veranda line had been revoked in 1965 (or something like that) and we needed to get a variance.

    We did that, and added our porch. Our addition came to the attention of Al and Liz. They — and especially Liz — were interested in questions of walkability, trees, making connections between public and private spaces. They arranged to do a little public access TV spot with us on our porch. When Al came by, I was on my porch reading The Nation. He laughed and said one of his best friends was also a subscriber. Then we talked about the way porches help create community.

    Liz worked in the Council to push through a law restoring the veranda line, so that people who wanted to add porches would not have to get a variance like we did. (A loophole was closed that had previously allowed people to add porches, then enclose them, effectively expanding the footprint of the house beyond the house line.) Since then, porches have popped up all over town.

    I disagreed with Al and Liz on many, many issues, and they knew it. But on this question — and also traffic calming, something Liz was also very interesting in — there was common interest that allowed us to work together, and I think in all modesty that WH is a better place for it.

    I miss this kind of more expansive sense of political engagement from our current Republicans. All we get is a litany of taxes taxes taxes — no larger vision of WH, and certainly no range of issues some of which might appeal to people who strongly disagree with the Republican position on taxes. If Al could “defeat democrats,” surely that was partly because he and Liz could find common ground with people like me. The current crop of Republicans, infected by the national party’s one-line agenda, seems incapable of practicing that kind of practical local politics.

  26. turtle

    I’ve been brooding over Mike and David Jones’s posts in the Election Night thread, and although Gary has just made some of the points I was going to make (and, as always, more gracefully than I), I’d like to comment on their perception that West Hartford voters rejected Republicans because they don’t like dirty politics.

    I think that’s true, but you can’t isolate those dirty politics from the virulent far-right culture stoked by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife back in the ’90s, when he financed and engineered a national network of operatives dedicated to smearing Democrats and “liberals”, of which our local minions are but a distasteful manifestation. (Indeed, I would have suspected The King of being a paid provocateur of the Republican Party, despite his insistence that he works 80 hours a week on some unidentified but meritorious profession, but the stakes just don’t seem high enough.)

    Right wing machine tactics have been on full display during the most prominent political battles in town: innuendo, misinformation, character assassination, disdain for facts, reasoned argument and consensus, dishonesty, slander, and so on. We have seen the full array right here on this blog.

    This culture thrives on the politics of resentment. For example, Joe Visconti seethes with resentment against teachers, the unions, and Blue Back Square. Judy Aron seethes with resentment against Andy Fleischmann, public education, and the government. West Hartford voters are right to reject these politics; they are poisonous.

    While we’re relating anecdotes, I’m acquainted with people from across the socioeconomic and political range. Over the past decade, I’ve observed well-educated, genteel conservatives buy into the yahoo politics of the radical right. I’ve also observed the incredible wealth amassed by the economic elite in this country. The rich live like, um, kings. Yet no matter how well-off they may be or how privileged their lives, there is one thing you can count on from wealthy conservatives, even after years of tax breaks from the Bush administration: they complain their taxes are too high.

    So while I’m sympathetic to the idea of a strong two-party local government, I maintain that a reconstituted West Hartford Republican party must repudiate its far right wing. The fact that the Duffy district came out for Visconti is a sign that change will be a long time coming.

  27. Mike

    Turtle –

    That was a fantastic, well thought out post. I don’t agree with all of it – the negativity in politics runs on both sides of the street. (In particular, the worst attack ad piece I have seen recently was by a D, Dave Zoni, in Southington – he sent a mailer with a photo of what was supposed to be a sexually abused minor, and insinuated that Sam Caligiuri was somehow complicit in ex-Waterbury Mayor Giordano’s crimes. And don’t forget Susan Bysiewicz’s ads in a primary against Ellen Scalletar, accusing her of coddling pedophiles…)That being said, I certainly agree that it has become more about smearing your opponent or anyone who disagrees with you rather than engage in rational discourse. It really is a shame.

    I also think that taking the broader view that WH voters are repudiating the national Republicans is a stretch – We know these candidates. They are our neighbors, parents of our kids’ schoolmates. To not vote for them based on Bush’s Iraq policy is ridiculous.

    People needed a reason to want to change – to kick out their other neighbors. Look at Newington, a town with a large D majority. People were upset about taxes and did something about it. Here, no one tapped into anything that would rile up the voters. The R’s didn’t pound the reval issue that shifted the tax burden from commercial to private property. With the sudden steep decline in the housing market, those “market value” assessments suddenl look pretty harsh. And commercial property will get a favorable break until the process is done again.

    And no one made a peep about the looming elementary school redistricting. My guess is that it will be based not so much on “overcrowding” in the northwest schools, but on a state mandate to get a better racial mix at Charter Oak and Smith. We knew there were issues there, but no one got out a message that addressed it or brought it to light. And conveniently, the BOE brought up the issue at the first meeting after election day. So now we have two more years to lose interest in the matter before we have to hit the polls again.

    Credit the D majority. They expertly used the process to stall addressing what might have been a controlversial issue until after the election. They managed to throw a big, grand opening for a largely unfinished Blue Back the weekend before. They had the Courant raving about the project in the days leading up to the elections, and tossed in an election day Courant mention that not one, but three, grocery stores were now interested in moving into long neglected Elmwood. They know how to run and get there positive messages out, while masking potential negatives until the polls close. R’s did not have a message, yet alone a strategy to get it out. So the opportunity for change was lost.

    As for Duffy going for Visconti – I don’t think they embraced his “negative” campaigning as much as they thought that in an election heavily stacked against the R’s, that he was the only one who you could be assured would try and shake up the status quo. Let’s see how upset they get now that their kids will be shifted to Webster Hill and Smith and Wolcott.

  28. B

    Good posts by Turtle and Mike, but let me correct one misunderstanding of my earlier post. Visconti did best at Duffy, but then so did all the R’s. He actually performed worse there than Kelly (compared to her, it was his worst district) and basically tied Davidoff.

    But even still, Duffy went Democratic. Aside from Thornberry who finished last for some reason, every D beat the leading R (clark). As someone who went to Duffy, this is amazing.

    As for the broader discussion, I think it is fascinating and I thank everyone for their contributions.

    Local issues are certainly the most important, but obviously, the Republicans have an inherent disadvantage by virtue of their lousy “brand”. I always wanted to ask Bob Farr who he voted for as president, on the theory that West Hartford voters would reject anyone who actually voted for Bush, putting aside any good feelings they had about Farr’s talents.

  29. turtle


    First, I condemn smear tactics from any party. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a pretty tenuous relationship with the Democrats these days and would have remained Independent if not for the upcoming presidential primary. I do like the WH D’s very much, however.

    I don’t think WH voters are rejecting Republicans because of the Bush administration’s policies, but I do think, as Gary Reger has pointed out many times before, that local R’s have been unsuccessful at distancing themselves from extremists who reflect the ideologies of the national party. If what you say about the Duffy district is true, then it simply confirms the perception that R’s are willing to tolerate bad actors if it means greater access to power (such as it is). Look at the most visible and vocal R’s in town: Visconti, McGrath, Aron, et al., many of whom have blogs where they relentlessly propound their views. Moderates are simply being drowned out. I wonder how many people voted for Visconti just because he was the most notorious candidate on the ballot.

    I can’t remember who made the observation that the success of the budget referendum took out the R’s best shot at winning some seats this election. That pretty much goes to the heart of the matter–if all the R’s can offer is the bankrupt notion of “fiscal responsibility” (sorry for the pun), what have they got? WH voters seem willing to entrust policy to the Democrats and resort to the referendum process if the budget exceeds the threshold of pain.

    Finally, I was unaware that the BoE alluded to future redistricting plans because of the state’s displeasure with racial imbalance in the West Hartford schools. I would be very interested to know more about that. For one thing, the state has a new Education Commissioner who may have different ideas about the situation in WH. For another, if I’m not mistaken, Jack Darcey assured WH voters that redistricting is not on the table. Rather, the BoE has chosen to bolster the magnet schools in an effort to promote voluntary integration. So…what’s the deal?!

  30. turtle

    OK, now that I’ve read B’s post I retract my statements about Duffy R’s and Visconti.

    Thanks, B!

  31. Harry Captain

    The BOE wants redistricting to be considered for cost efficiency purposes. We have a fiduciary responsibility to consider utilizing the available classroom space in some buildings to relieve overcrowding in others.

    It is fiscally prudent to considering redistricting first, before consideration is given to new construction and/or the addition of portable classrooms which would place additional bonding (cost) on the town .

    There is NO LINK, repeat NO LINK, between last evenings discussion on redistricting as it related to building enrollment projections AND ”the state’s displeasure with racial imbalance in the West Hartford schools”.

  32. WH Alum

    Thanks for the clarification, Harry. I hope that as this discussion continues, consideration is given to keeping kids as close to their “neighborhood school” as possible and grandfathering in families that are already associated with a school.

  33. anonymous

    “They (the Democrats) know how to run and get there positive messages out, while masking potential negatives until the polls close. ”

    Well that just shows their lack of integrity and the lengths of their dishonesty.

    Thanks for making that point that they fail to inform the public of very important and problematic issues for their own benefit.

    And that my friends is what is so utterly disgusting.

  34. Elvis Conti

    Elvis Conti

    God Bless our “Republican President George Bush” our Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, Israel and America!

  35. Mike

    Harry – Don’t the racial make-ups as currently comprised at Smith and Charter Oak violate state law, as they are out of proportion to the racial make-ip of the town at large? I realize the town had a waiver for the magnet programs, but that hasn’t worked. With the issues now being faced in court based on noncompliance with Sheff such as the failure of magnet schools to correct the racial inbalance, isn’t there a likelihood that such future waivers for intertown magnets will not be given? Also, the Town’s case for magnet waivers was probably hurt by the elimination of the Classical magnet program. The fact that WH is going to try and get a waiver from the state for the racial percentage at only it’s two most inbalanced schools seems to make the granting of such a waiver more unlikely.

    So, in light of the ongoing issues with the racial make-up of two neighborhood schools, color me as sceptical that any talk of redistricting is for cost saving measures. And if they were, why wasn’t redistricting, as a cost saving, explored more during the last budget process – you know, the one BEFORE the election?

    I appreciate your service in your thankless role, Harry. And I understand your fiduciary duty and how hard it is to try and keep a budget in line and keep the quality of education up at the same time. But you also must abide by state laws regarding minority populations in schools. What will be done about that?

  36. turtle


    I wasn’t aware of the discussion at last night’s meeting so assumed that redistricting had been mentioned in a prior context. Let me reiterate that my association of redistricting with the state’s racial imbalance regulations was an assumption.

    I see our new town councilor has piped in at 1:29. Q.E.D.

  37. WH Alum

    When is someone going to suggest testing Elvis for his multiple-personality disorder? How do we know which one will be the council chambers when important decisions are made?

  38. turtle

    Well, with regard to Judy/Joe’s contention that:

    Thanks for making that point that [the Democrats] fail to inform the public of very important and problematic issues for their own benefit.

    Not exactly. Since the town is not well integrated, there was always the possibility that the state would step in to demand redistricting. Unlikely, but the threat was there. However, by pointing this out in a discussion about the magnet schools you left yourself open to accusations of “blackmail”, as I believe a certain staunch opponent of the magnets once hurled my way.

    I get the impression, as Mike’s skepticism reveals, that R’s will not be inclined to accept the distinction between Darcey’s unwillingness to redistrict to satisfy the state, and his willingness to consider all options to alleviate overcrowding in the elementary schools. The latter is a problem that was often discussed at BoE meetings, particularly during the budget-cutting sessions.

    The BoE sure is between a rock and a hard place on this one.

  39. Harry Captain

    ”…why wasn’t redistricting, as a cost saving, explored more during the last budget process – you know, the one BEFORE the election?” – Mike

    Fair question. It hadn’t been discussed previously because the overcrowding, at Bugbee and Braeburn in particular, didn’t present itself in this magnitude until September. Previously, we had been very concerned and focused on the size of Duffy, which was approaching 600 students. This year, fewer students showed up at Duffy and more at Bugbee and Braeburn than expected.

    Districts are required to file an enrollment report with the State in October. The BOE is presented with the enrollment report usually around the first meeting in November, which was last night. The BOE was presented with the similar annual report on 11/8 and 11/01 in 2006 and 2005 respectively.

    This discussion takes place in the fall so that the district can plan/prepare/submit the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget to the Council. The CIP is the long term project/infrastructure budget that is funded by bonding and paid for over time. The General Fund budget is prepared in the spring and is the annual operating budget for the district/town.

    See attached (which is large and may be a challenge to load) pages 13 and 14 for elementary school particulars.,%202007.pdf

  40. John Webster

    “Let’s see how upset they get now that their kids will be shifted to Webster Hill and Smith and Wolcott.”

    What the heck is wrong with webster Hill, Smith & Wolcott?

  41. turtle

    Mike, Norfeldt was perceived to be a magnet school in name only. It was very difficult to magnet in and hardly a showcase for racial integration.

    Total Minority 2005-06: 21.3%

    Total Minority 2005-06: 65.0%

    Charter Oak
    Total Minority 2005-06: 74.8%

  42. WHFamily

    We have a question? Why is it we only hear about Visconti wherever we go? There are more people that ran and more people in this town. Why is everyone so focused on Visconti? Seems like sour grapes or just plain jealousy to us.

  43. WHFamily

    for somebody that you all claim not to like you sure do spend a lot of time and energy discussing him. You folks even start debates about him and only him. We just don’t get it. You all must be just green with envy is all we can figure. Haven’t met the guy but he is notorious and we can’t wait to run into him. His music is good too.

  44. turtle

    Many people don’t like Joe’s political views or his political tactics. (He came in 9th.) Many people worry that Joe will not be a good town councilor.

    We could be wrong, of course, and I hope we are.

    Why would envy have anything to do it; serving on the Town Council is an unenviable job. And except in the case of the Town Clerk, it pays nothing.

  45. Turtle, funny thing about people . . . they come into the world with original sin (a belief that liberal is somehow analogues to good) and that God created man and the earth in the center of the universe (a belief that they regardless of how they structure their views are somehow a moderate). These rather simple but persistent perspectives have plagued mankind in one form or another since apes first crawled down from the trees.

    I too was born a poor misguided liberal who portrayed himself a moderate at every opportunity. But time tempers many things and fortunately we have the ability to benefit from life’s experience. In time we can all grow beyond such juvenile constructs.

    When I look at the disproportion in your perspective – referring to the Clinton’s mythical “Right Wing Conspiracy” . . . the bankrupt notion of “fiscal responsibility . . . and calling Judy Aron and the King seething, while at the same time referring to the Democratic Party simply as a group you would rather not associate with places you someplace other than the middle.

    You sir are not a moderate.

    You are either still suffering from the juvenile belief that God placed you at the center of the universe or you actually believe you are fooling someone with all the mental masturbation you fill these pages with.

    Turtle, please grow up or come out of the closet and tell people who and what you truly are!

  46. WHFamily

    Thank you for responding. We are new to the area and just have always wondered what all the hubbub was around this man. The town seems to focus on him quite a bit. From what we know, and what we read, we think he will do the town some good. He has great ideas and a passion for his beliefs. The envy and jealousy are seen in the forms of the constant bashing and “talk” about the man. It is common for people that are green with envy/jealousy to constantly try to belittle the person they are jealous of. This seems to be the theme on this blog. Sometimes it’s very petty and childish. WHDad should rename it to the JoeBlog or the ViscontiRag if all we are going to focus on is Mr. Visconti. We would hope this town has other things to discuss. We are one family that likes his thoughts, his ideas, and his neverending stride to achieve. It’s similar to the midwest where we are from. We especially liked watching his blog and his commercial. The song was perfect and the man has talent. Hopefully people will stop the hatred and start to listen, maybe they could learn a thing or two. We congratulate Mr. Visconti. P.S. and it isn’t about whether the job pays or not, it’s about the notoriety and publicity that has the jealous people seething.

  47. K

    Dear Visconti Plant,

    Seriously. Come on. Please do not insult the intelligence of the members of this blog.

    But, there is one good point raised by this poster: Can we focus on something other than the guy who came in 9th place and nearly came in 10th to an absentee candidate?

  48. E. Gull


    You don’t sound like someone who just recently dropped into West Hartford. I’m very suspicious that you are a plant.

    Your story isn’t really believable. You just got here and you say of Visconti “has great ideas”, “his neverending stride to achieve”, “the man has talent”.

    Maybe you are Visconti, maybe you are Sue Schaffman, maybe you’re Theresa McGrath, or Judy Aron, but you’re not what you say you are. That’s for sure.

  49. turtle


    I can only speak for myself, but I don’t “hate” Joe. He’s charismatic, and I admire his zeal for civic engagement. Joe was a leading figure in the fight against Blue Back Square, so he is a well-known and controversial figure in West Hartford, and that is a big reason there’s been so much talk about him. The sniping at Joe on this blog is just part of the game, and I really don’t think it has anything to do with envy. Instead, it reflects a genuine conviction, among Democrats and Republicans alike, that Joe doesn’t appreciate the difference between bombthrowing and wise leadership, and that he will not be good for the town. Whether or not Joe can pen a good tune is beside the point. The Town Council is not an entertainment venue; it’s our town government!

    Joe came right out of the gate vowing to “root out the Democrats” and that “the days of the elite, arrogant Democratic party are over.” For those of us concerned about good government, political vendetta is not an encouraging sign.

  50. JTS

    K is making a seriously valid point. WHDad, I’m sure you’re busy but can we start another thread. Some possible topics:

    Development in other parts of town
    Services for seniors/veterans
    Recreation services/opportunities
    Social/cultural events coming up in town

    Anything else? Let’s move on, the elections are over and there are a ton of involved, smart people on this blog who have ideas about other things in town that they should share.

  51. WH Alum

    WHFamily – I for one really only know what I’ve seen on this blog about Joe – from him, that is. That and the reputation he got during the BBS lawsuits. On the blog, if you go back to spring during the referendum debates, his posts became rants – practically illegible, very overly dramatic. And his bomb throwing at teachers was disgraceful. And for someone who can’t stand those of us who post without using our names, suddenly there are many anonymous posts that sound a lot like him. So let’s add hypocritical if it really is him.

    And it’s fine to be the rebel and to stand up for your beliefs. It’s another thing to consider putting his tactics and antics onto our Town Council. That’s why I didn’t vote for him… but personally I’m ready to move on to something else.

  52. turtle

    I would also like to move on and did post about the article in today’s Courant on the Sheff case, but spamcatcher ate my post.


  53. WHFamily

    Thank you all for responding with your comments. No we are not Mr. Visconti, but a young christian couple with two small children from the midwest. We moved here just 8 months ago from Kansas (husband doing a residency at UCONN). We are still adjusting, especially to the cold, mostly not being around family. I’m not going to go back on blogs and reread I like to think positive and go forward. I’m glad people have suggested other topics and I hope to be reading some more about the town as we are trying to figure out “where” we live and what we can explore about our new surroundings. That is how we happened on this site. Thanks to the people that were kind.

  54. turtle

    Welcome to town. My advice to you would be to: buy a snowblower.

  55. David Jones


    Welcome to West Hartford!!!

    Where in Kansas are you from?

    I was surprised to hear you say you’re adjusting to the cold weather. If you’ve been here for 8 months you haven’t really experienced much cold weather.

    And Kansas isn’t exactly tropical. The coldest month of the year is January. The average low in Hartford fot that month is 16, in Topeka it’s also 16 and in Wichita (southern Kansas) it’s 18.

    Are there places in Kansas that are significantly warmer?

  56. Ed


  57. turtle

    Well I had to dust off that benefit of the doubt sometime.

  58. K

    I believe that would be Bullcrap, KS, David.

  59. Joe Visconti


    Welcome to West Hartford. As one of your own newly elected Republican Town Councilors along with Steven Adler and Leon Davidoff, I am always available to address any of your concerns around town or just to get together for Coffee and chat.

    Steven Adler, Leon Davidoff and myself all have Websites or Blogs which have been conveniently listed above by WHDAD.
    My Home number is 521-6939 and my direct email address is

    Again Welcome

  60. turtle

    Councilor Visconti,

    On November 1 the Hartford Courant reported your answer to the question “What can the town council do to improve the quality of life– in terms of traffic, for example–throughout West Hartford?”:

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

    Was this suggestion made in jest?

    If not, why do you think West Hartford is in need of a PR campaign?

    Why, during a time when there is widespread unhappiness about staff and services cut from education and anxiety about the 2nd phase of reval, should the town drop six figures on a PR campaign?


    Your Loyal Opposition

  61. turtle

    Councilor Visconti,

    On November 11th, the Hartford Courant reported the following:

    Visconti was asked about a lawsuit the town is starting to pursue against Westfarms mall’s parent firm, Taubman Co., to recoup expenses and costs incurred during Taubman’s litigation to stop Blue Back Square. He said his loyalty would be to the town and the taxpayers in pursuing recovery of the town’s costs.

    “I’d be a fraud if I didn’t,” he said.

    The epic irony of your position aside, considering that Taubman bankrolled your crusade against Blue Back Square, are you going to recuse yourself from the town’s legal process against Taubman?

    Looking forward to your response,

    WH Taxpayer

  62. Count Dracula

    Hey Joe! Where are those Black Diamond Sensei Gloves from REI your promised me?

    We’re not in Kansas anymore!

  63. Count Dracula

    you promised me

    These fiendish nails.

  64. WHFamily

    Turtle and K,
    Thanks for the suggestion of the snowblower. We hope we won’t need one, but best to be prepared. Mr. Visconti
    Your offer of coffee and chatting sounds great. It would be nice to have a contact in town. We have been through the websites already. They were very interesting. We’ll have to set something up soon before the snow flies and we hibernate for the winter months. Thanks again that was very kind of you.

  65. Rick Liftig

    Good for you, Joe.

    The willingness to invite a new neighbor for a cup of coffee and a chat is just one of the reasons that I moved to this town.

    I’m afraid in this internet/media/soundbite age we’ve let the quick comment get the best of us. Small gestures like this go a long way.

    Well, I guess this is one indication of “What Will Visconti Do Now?”

  66. Joe Visconti


    West Hartford-Clean, Safe & Fun!
    Advertisers spend billions on Televison and Media to condition the public to buy their products. Sponsorship opportunities from local business’s to offset the towns funding for such a possibly proposed Campaign is very feasible especially from those business’s who would benifit from the destination factor.

    When Jonathan Harris set the benchmark on conflicts of interest by working for the law firm of Kroll, Mcnamara when such law firm represented Blue Back Partner Bob Weiner through JDA Development and Healthtrax (former bait and switch tennant of Hartford Hospital) while Jonathan sat on Council as Mayor he was making your present request of me recusing myself reagrding “The Taubman Issue” Irrelevant.
    Also Dan Jones took my words out of context after the election, what I said was reagrding me not being beholden to Taubman and representing the Town, not whether I thought we should have sought to litigate. Also to see Dan Jones and his track record of inacurracies check out yesterdays Courant article on Scott Slifka. Notice how Dan jumbles up the Destefano Ticket, implying that ” That ticket didn’t make it” steering all those who forgot the fact that Scott was handsomly defeated by Ms Glassman for the LT Governors spot in the primary by over 30,000 voters of his own party and never ran with Destefano in the election.

  67. Rick Liftig

    Darn it, Joe –

    Just when I thought there was hope, you have slipped back into the bomb-throwing mode. You can’t be effective if you have half of the Council, our representatives at the state level and the Town Staff ready to return fire at you because of your allegations.

    There is plenty of room for improvement and change in the town, but personal attacks are not the route to change.

    Sometime in the future you will need to talk (and maybe even work with) with Dan Jones and Jonathan Harris. Do you really think they will be interested in what you have to say? Each time you accuse someone of incompetence or allege misdeeds, you make an enemy and further limit your effectiveness. You also risk lawsuits against the town now that you are a legal representative.

    So for the next two years, will you look forward or backward?

  68. Joe Visconti

    This is not bomb throwing and these are not personal attacks these are facts my friend, relevant facts to the History of Blue Back and the question from Turtle (possibly a real resident of West Hartford) regarding recusing myself from what he/she considers my conflicts of Interest regarding Taubman.

  69. Joe Visconti

    Regarding Scott and Dan Jones/The Hartford Courant comment above, I would like to see accurate reporting not Carreer Building Stories. The fact that Scott was hammered in the election by his own party in the primary is truthful, what I read was mythmaking.

  70. turtle


    Thank you for your responses.

    I’m not down with this PR scheme one bit. Why not use the six figures to actually make West Hartford clean, safe, and fun instead of projecting an image of clean, safe, and fun? WH has a good rep, so it’s not like we have an image problem to fix (and yes, I am a “real resident” of West Hartford).

    On the 2nd question, I’ll take that as a no. Should be interesting.

    I understood exactly what you meant in Dan Jones’s article, so I don’t think he misrepresented you, although you have a point about that Slifka piece. I hope you don’t keep gunning for Slifka because that will take you nowhere.

    Joe, you know I don’t agree with you about anything under the sun except the Yankees, but I do wish you well and urge you to listen to Rick Liftig’s advice. Congratulations on your victory and good luck.


  71. Joe Visconti


    Actually I am looking forward to working with Scott, I am sure we both will learn much from each other. As far as the Courant, after four years of giving quotes to them I know there are times they do a good job and other times they miss the mark big time. Whether “I speak to fast,-not” or they have an agenda-? or it is just simple error I don’t know. The thing that has been bothersome is the deliberate placement of Editiorials and biased articles towards the Democratic Agenda ina timely manner. The Democratic Party has had the benefit of the Hartford Courants writers and Boards for Years now but I believe that tide will shift towards more fair and balanced reporting in West Hartford once we Republicans Galvanize our Party and Present Better ideas than we have in the past.
    One more thing Turtle, would YOU like to have coffee with me? I can keep a secret can you?

  72. turtle


    Thank you for the invitation, Joe. I can’t make it for coffee just now, but maybe one day.

  73. JTS

    WHDad – Joe has resumed his rock throwing ways (after what appears to be a 5 minute break) and the answer to the question of what will he do now? Attack one of his colleagues on the state level, one one the local level, and the primary reporter for the paper of record. Perhaps we can all keep in mind the fact that HE HASN’T EVEN BEEN SWORN IN YET.

    For the love of God, West Hartford was a great town before he forced himself on the scene and it will be a great town when he finally departs – are we seriously that incapable of ignoring him the interim? New thread WHDad, please, town services, politics, the Ottoman Empire, anything but He Who Shall Not Be Named.

  74. turtle

    Hey JTS! I remember whdad putting out a call for moderators a few months back. Would you do it?

  75. Osemasterofdoom

    C’mon Joe. Don’t go all soft on us now. Now that you’re on the Council, I was hoping you would start wearing dark sunglasses indoors and begin referring to yourself in the third person.

    Congrats on your win, by the way. Even though I disagree with you, there is something encouraging in seeing hard work pay off.

  76. WH Mom

    I am not the largest fan of Joe Visconti, however, I do think all the negative energy here could be better spent on something else such as the leaves that will blow all over West Hartford since the season came late and the leaf picker uppers came once.

  77. Chalenois

    Here, here WH Mom! I could not agree more.
    Leaf pick up will be over before the leaves are down, and then what?
    Councilor Visconti, do you have any ideas?

  78. JTS

    Put me down as a sure why not, though we’ll need WHDad to check in at some point

  79. Con Watch

    Week in Review

    Town Councilor-elect Joe Visconti cut and pasted to his blog an entire report, “New ECS Grants and Minimum Budget Requirement” by Judith Lohman, (former?) Chief Legislative Analyst of the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Legislative Management. (Joe, learn to link!) While this may appear to be a stab at gravitas by the slapdash gadfly, West Hartford’s fair share of ECS funds appears to be of genuine concern to Joe.

    The report may be found at:

    Interestingly, Joe deleted several former posts from his blog, including an endorsement by the radical right-wing website Radiofree West Hartford.

    Newcomer on the block Talk of West Hartford has been very busy all week. “I also wanted to provide a place that other people could comment on the issues without the name calling and noise that seems to be happening on other more ‘political blogs,'” confided ToWH to self-styled libertarian guerilla Jennifer Abel of the Hartford Advocate. Longtime readers of The West Hartford Blog may sympathize with my merriment at this remark.

    Clearly the Town Council’s resolution to authorize the creation of a full-time communications systems manager position is being promoted by ToWH as Outrage of the Week. (The resolution passed.) Although eventually ToWH grudgingly conceded the necessity of expanding the former part-time position to full-time, s/he opines about the appearance of the “Budget Savings Fairy”. Needless to say, budget efficiencies identified by Mr. Francis must be attributed to supernatural intervention rather than any considered adaptations on the part of the town manager. Otherwise, how could the cons sustain their conspiracy theories about the town government?

    Failed Republican Town Council candidate Peter Martin took umbrage at The King’s finger-wagging that “leaving your infants at home with a baby-sitter while you campaign or attend Council meetings didn’t sit well with moms and dads in West Hartford.”

    “Something that I ask you NEVER do again,” fumed Martin in the Comments to the No Holds Barred thread, the first of The King’s lengthy two-part analysis of the WH GOP. Congrats to The King on his blog record of 18 Comments! They are recommended reading for all con watchers. By the way, comments to No Holds Barred must be approved by The King.

    The West Hartford Taxpayers Association website no longer identifies its senior officers by name. President Theresa McGrath, of course, failed in her bid to become Town Clerk. I’m not sure whether Judy Aron still serves as WHTA Vice President. Neither Aron’s blog Consent of the Governed nor Radiofree West Hartford features local commentary this week. Radiofree West Hartford offers a real doozy, however, entitled “Fascism was Always Leftist”. Who knew?!

    Thank you and have a pleasant weekend.

  80. Elliot Check

    Theresa Mcgrath resigned as president of the WHTA when she decided to run for Town Clerk

    New officers will be elected this week.

  81. Con Watch

    Sure enough.

    I regret the error!

  82. TWC

    Been away for a while—so much to comment on—but here goes:

    …The BOE wants redistricting to be considered for cost efficiency purposes. We have a fiduciary responsibility to consider utilizing the available classroom space in some buildings to relieve overcrowding in others…

    I agree wholeheartedly with Harry. If the new district lines are drawn so there is no racial gerrymandering (as has been done in the past), then it would be fiscally imprudent not to rebalance the number of students in adjoining districts to avoid additional construction costs.

    “…Mr. Visconti…Your offer of coffee and chatting sounds great….Thanks again that was very kind of you.

    If anyone who regularly contributes to this blog doesn’t think WH Family is a Visconti sock puppet, then you need to hand in your blog pass and get to your doctor ASAP to be tested for Alzheimer’s. What a transparent crock of BS!

    Nevertheless—and despite Joe’s many other transgressions—I too join those who have already congratulated Joe on his ninth place finish. Although I often don’t agree with Joe (e.g., I think he’s dead wrong about the teachers union), I admire Joe’s creative passion and genuine enthusiasm for West Harford. And you have to admire his tenacity in hanging in there even when his own party tried to disown him.

    As I’ve commented on before, I think this Town will benefit from having someone on the Town Council who does more than function as yet another “yes” man for the Mayor (even though I believe the Mayor is right more often than wrong). Building a consensus on key issues is good—it avoids the stagnation this country suffers from at the top—but only after there has been a thorough and vigorous debate that allows all parties in this Town an opportunity to express their views and concerns.

    Lastly, I agree it’s time to move on to a new topic. Sheff is in the news again and I’m itching to get into it again with turtle (and the BOE) over the unworkable and probably unconstitutional solutions to racial segregation that are being foisted on this Town by well-meaning but misguided social re-engineers.

  83. WHFamily

    I am new to West Hartford, but not a sock puppet. I’m finding there is alot of make believe in my new town. I have been corresponding with Mr. Visconti, in fact, he has mentioned a few friends he has in town and I would like to meet them. My email is Please contact me.

  84. Bernard P. Fife

    Sorry WHFamily, you’re a fraud. You say you’re from Kansas and have been here 8 months which would take us to March.

    You say you’re trying to adjust to the cold but you haven’t been here for the cold. And it’s been pointed out in previous posts that the winters in Kansas are similar in temperature to the winters in Hartford, so why would you need to adjust?

    And your Visconti comments were way over the top and not even slightly believable.

    And TWC, you mention that you admire Joe. Don’t ever forget that this is the Joe Visconti who has continually spread lies and smeared people, many people and many lies. Whatever his good points they are offset 100 times over by his proclivity for lying.

  85. TWC

    …”And TWC, you mention that you admire Joe. Don’t ever forget that this is the Joe Visconti who has continually spread lies and smeared people, many people and many lies…

    Bernard, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Would that be you or one of the other political leaders in WH?

  86. Bernard P. Fife


    Using that logic we shouldn’t be critical of anyone, perhaps we shouldn’t jail anyone, after all, who are we to judge, we’re all imperfect.

    To suggest Joe Visconti is no different than other politicians in this town is to suggest drano and water are just two liquids.

  87. TWC

    Actually, a better analogy for Joe and the other politicos in this Town would be vinegar and oil. Just because vinegar smells worse than oil doesn’t mean oil isn’t slippery.

    So while I will agree with you that Joe is often over-the-top in attacking his opponents and shading the facts to favor his positions, I don’t find–and I think I would be naive to expect–every other politician in this Town to be free of such things. They’re just more skilled at being “nice” about it while they’re doing it (a lesson I think Joe will need to take to heart if he expects to remain in office).

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