Category Archives: Democratic Party

Who cares how large political signs are?

Democratic and Republican leaders in West Hartford are talking about a pact to get all of their candidates to “refrain from using oversize, billboard-style campaign signs,” according to a story in today’s Courant.

“I hope you will agree that this is one more way that we can put partisanship aside and do something that the people of our town will appreciate,” Democratic Chairwoman Maureen Magnan said in a letter asking Republican Chairman Carl Donatelli to agree to the ban, the story said.

Donatelli called it “a worthy objective,” the paper reported, but added, “I don’t know that I can make a promise on behalf of all the candidates that no signs will go up, regardless of the size. We can make the suggestion, but we really can’t enforce it.”

Two years ago, a few candidates erected some 4-by-8-foot signs, which are hardly billboards or something. They were criticized for it by “residents,” the paper said.

Last time I checked, this is still a democracy, and elections are a whole lot more important than all the signs we see every day for the Mohegan Sun, the lottery, restaurants and that big porn store on the Berlin Turnpike.

Candidates can put up any sign they like. It’ll either pay off at the polls … or not. But residents who are griping about sign size really need to take another look at their lives. It’s not a big deal.

And Magnan and the Democratic candidates who seem to have put the issue on the table should realize that handshake deals with Republicans as a way to undermine the rights given candidates by the First Amendment may be illegal. We have our rights as Americans and among them is the right to run for office and put our names on a big ol’ sign.

Personally, I don’t like political signs. They’re ugly. But I don’t like restrictions on free speech even more.



Filed under Carl Donatelli, Democratic Party, Maureen Magnan, Politics, Republican Party, signs

Don’t cheat on Carpenter successor

It was disturbing to see in the West Hartford News that Republican Party leader Carl Donatelli said there have been Democrats recently changing their party affiliation to Independent in anticipation of Carpenter’s resignation. The obvious implication is that the Democrats may be prepared to pick a successor to the soon-to-resign Barbara Carpenter (who really ought to step down now, however much I admire her) who isn’t really unaffiliated or a GOP loyalist.

There’s a reason the state law requires minority representation. It’s to ensure there are watchdogs in place to keep an eye on the majority.

In our town, that function is mostly gone, with one Republican switching sides and another allied with the Democrats. That leaves just one GOP councilman, Mark Sinatro, to hold a line that should have three people.

The majority councilors should see the wisdom in genuine opposition and let the Republicans pick someone to replace Carpenter. Let Donatelli and his gang provide a handful of possibilities and pick one of them. Or at least turn to someone that we can all trust to be a good Republican, not a Democratic lapdog. And I say that as a voter who generally backs the Democrats.


Filed under Barbara Carpenter, Carl Donatelli, Democratic Party, Democrats, Mark Sinatro, News, Politics, Republican Party, town council, West Hartford

Why has Chris Dodd proved a dud?

Frankly, I’m surprised how badly Senator Dodd is faring on the campaign trail.

Every time I’ve run across him over the years — at least a dozen times — he’s proven to be crackerjack smart, funny, enthusiastic and right on the money about almost everything he says.

But out on the Democratic hustings, Sen. Dodd is coming up with … nothing.

Why? Well, it’s mostly that Hillary and Obama are so overwhelming that they drown out everybody else except John Edwards, who’s struggling for breath despite his high profile in 2004. There’s no room for anyone else, especially another New England liberal (Dukakis and Kerry’s campaigns might doom the region’s chances for the White House for a long time to come).

At this point, I can’t imagine that Dodd is running to win. Maybe he’s out there in hopes of becoming secretary of state, or maybe candidates can’t help thinking lightning will strike if they just stay out in the field long enough during the storm. It happens, no doubt. But most people who stay outside in a storm just wind up drenched.


Filed under campaign 2008, Chris Dodd, Democratic Party, Democrats, Dukakis, Kerry, presidential race

GOP chairman is, gasp!, right

The town’s Republican Party chairman, Carl Donatelli, is right on the money with his analysis of who should get to appoint a successor to Barbara Carpenter, a registered Republican member of the town council who is going to resign.

Carpenter was elected as an independent, but all along she was a registered member of the Grand Old Party, even if she didn’t get along with the likes of Donatelli. (I don’t know the man, so I can’t begin to say whether her distaste was justified, by the way.)

Anyway, Donatelli argues that because Carpenter is a Republican on the rolls, the GOP should pick her successor, not the Democratic majority. That strikes me as a perfectly reasonable position. There’s no sense in having a state law that says the Democrats can’t control more than six of the nine seats and then let them fill one or more of the other seats with handpicked cronies. It flies in the face of common sense.

I would make the point, though, that Donatelli and the Republicans would be wise to pick a moderate, well-liked person — soon — and let us all know who it is they would select. It would be easier for the Democrats and the lawyers to back down from a fight if they knew they could get along with choice the GOP would make. Call that an unofficial compromise and be done with it.


Filed under Barbara Carpenter, Democratic Party, News, Politics, Republican Party, town council, Town government, West Hartford