Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A bit under the weather...

Battling a cold these days, and probably the worse week to be doing it.

Two debates on tap this week...tonight in Plainfield and then round two of the Norwich City Council race with all 10 candidates tomorrow. Then on Thursday morning, it's up to Windham High School to talk with a jounalism class in the morning, and later representing the newspaper at a dinner that night.

On Friday...out the door early and off to Washington for the weekend. (I'm attending my first-ever Parents Weekend at American University)...

Oh yeah...try and get some work done inbetween all that.

We've added on additional debate to our debate schedule leading up to the municipal elections on Nov. 6. this one is in Preston and will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Preston Plains School on Rte. 164. The Preston election is an important one mainly because of the Norwich State Hospital property. The development of that piece of land will significantly change the town, and the surrounding area, for the future.

If anyone out there has any questions they'd like asked during that debate, send them along...I'll be more than happy to put them to the candidates.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Global warming....

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and VA Sen. John Warner filed their Global Warming bill today in the Senate, a measure that will serve as the framework of the Senate debate on reducing emissions. On the surface, it doesn't appear to go quite as far as many environmental groups would have liked to have seen, but it does make a significant impact if the measure is enacted as proposed.

These are the highlights of the bill:

On its own, the America’s Climate Security Act (ACSA) is projected to reduce total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by as much as 19% below the 2005 level (4% below the 1990 level) in 2020 and by as much as 63% below the 2005 level in 2050.

America’s Climate Security Act controls compliance costs by allowing companies to trade, save, and borrow emission allowances, and by allowing them to generate credits when they induce non-covered businesses, farms, and others to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or capture and store greenhouse gases.

The Act invests set-aside emissions credits and money raised by the auction of such allowances in advancing several important public policies, including, but not limited to:

• Deploying advanced technologies and practices for reducing emissions;

• Protecting low- and middle-income Americans from higher energy costs;

• Keeping good jobs in the United States; and

• Mitigating the negative impacts of any unavoidable global warming on low- and middle-income Americans and wildlife.

Several key environmental groups, , companies, and other organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense and the National Resources Defense Council, have expressed support for ACSA.


Last night's debate went rather well, I thought.

I would put the crowd at close to 200. I didn't find that surprising considering I covered the election onElection Night two years ago when the line was still out the door and into the parking lot when polls were suppose to close at 8 p.m. The citizens of Canterbury take politics quite seriously. I think that's a good thing.

But even more importantly, as divisive as things have been in town over the past several years, the debate ran smoothly as those in the audience avoided letting their own feelings be known, and instead focused on what the three first selectman candidates were saying.

I thought all three candidates did a fine job of defining who they are, offering voters a clear opportunity to look at the individuals and determine which one of the three best represented their own views and feelings. I'm going to withhold any of my thoughts on who might have appeared stronger. I don't live in Canterbury, so my opinion shouldn't matter.

Besides, within a week or so, the Norwich Bulletin Editorial Board will sit and discuss all the local races and publicize our endorsements at the end of the month.

For those of you who might be interested, and couldn't attend last night's debate, the entire thing is on our Web site at www.norwichbulletin.com.

The next round of debates that we'll be hosting include Plainfield, Tuesday, 7-8 p.m. at Plainfield High School, the second Norwich City Council debate, Wednesday, 7-9:30 p.m. (longer only because there are 10 candidates) at the rose City Senior Center and the last one in Colchester on Monday, oct. 29, 7-8 p.m. at Bacon Academy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Back again...

My apologies for the lag in postings - just a busy time of year as we get closer to the municipal elections.

Tonight, the Norwich Bulletin will host the second of five debates this month. This time we're in Canterbury - a community that has long been "active" and controversial. The ACLU is currently sueing the town over the Board of Selectmen's decision to limit public comment at board meetings, just one example. There are three candidates running for first selectman, and I expect tonight's discussion to be quite lively in many ways.

One thing about Canterbury...I covered the race there two years ago on Election Night and was quite impressed at how much interest the citizens showed. At 8 p.m. - the line was still out the door and into the parking lot. If my memory is correct, it wasn't until 8:20 or 8:25 before the last voter cast the last ballot.

I expect interest in tonight's debate - the first in anyone's memory - should prove just as high.

And again...thanks to all who submitted questions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Continuing the discussion...

I'm in the office a little early this morning because I've got a number of meetings today, but I wanted to take a moment and jump on this latest conversation here about sizzle vs. substances.

Part of the problem, especially this year, is the way the primaries are being stacked. There is no way any of the candidates can campaign the way they're being forced to this year without the "flash" and trying to get as much publicity focused on them as they possibly can.

Which is one of the reasons why I like New Hampshire and Iowa so much. It's different in those two states.

The citizens of New Hampshire and Iowa take their role as "first in the nation" very seriously. I was in New Hampshire a year and a half ago with former VA Gov. Mark Warner and watched as he was "interviewed" by workers at a dairy farm.

I was in New Hampshire a couple of months ago with Chris Dodd and watched how people came out because they wanted to "see him." They told me they wanted to see if he was really the man they've seen on TV in the debates. They wanted to kick his tires.

Voters in those two states aren't very interested in the flash..thus, the candidates approach those two states differently than they do the other primary states.

The rest of us don'tget that same opportunity for the retail politicking that goes on in New Hampshire and Iowa...we just get served up the same old sizzle.

I think, personally, it would be a shame to alter the primary and caucus set up that would result in Iowa and New Hampshire losing what they've got.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Working on the holiday

I thought I'd grab a minute and add to the blog this morning before turning my attention back to work, and hopefully I can get a lot done today this holiday since it is a bit on the quiet side today.

First...a few responses to recent posts by you...

To Mccommas: I thought your response to the question of whether an elected official should vote the way they believe constituents want them to vote, or vote the way based on thier own beliefs was very well put. (And I'll pass on your comments about our new Web page to the appropriate folks.)

To Bill Jenkins: It would nice, in an ideal world, to hold candidate debates in every community we cover. But the reality is, that isn't feasible. We chose Norwich, Canterbury, Colchester and Plainfield because they represent our largest readership areas - and our intent was to be in front of as many readers as we could. It may not be the best plan in some folks' eyes, but that was the rationale in choosing those communities. We did plan - and made arrangments for a debate in Griswold as well, but the two candidates there withdrew after everything was confirmed.

I do agree with you, there are some good races in some of the smaller communities around here, and we hope that voters will take the opportunity to learn as much as they can about the candidates in each.

To dweeb: Thanks for your contributions of questions to ask candidates for the Norwich City Council. Don't worry about the questions being so overly "Norwich," it is, afterall, the town where you live and has the highest interest for you.

And finally to Rags: Chris Dodd does, very much so, believe that he has something worthwhile to bring to this debate over the future direction of this country - and he also believes, very much so, that he can be an effective leader. His position on "some" issues" mirror those of other Democratic candidates, but on other issues he has staked out different positions. As for your comment, that last good idea he had died of lonliness...I wouldn't go quite that far.

When I was in New Hampshire in August with him, he put forth what I thought was a new, innovative idea regarding college education. He would implement a partnership between the federal government and state governments to allow high school graduates to attend community colleges for free. That would enable these young people to earn the credits on basic subjects before transferring to four-year schools and more specialized study on their chosen career paths. And...it significantly reduces the cost of a college education.

That, in my opinion, is an idea that actually addresses an issue with a solution that is workable.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A quick note this morning...

Before my Friday gets completely out of control, I wanted to thank Rags and Crusader Rabbit for sending along the questions to be posed to candidates during the upcoming debates the Norwich Bulletin will be hosting. Good questions, too.

If anyone else is interested in being part of it, feel free to send along some questions and I'll add them to the discuss on the night of the debates.

As for what's going on....

Well...finally...we seem to be moving on to the next step in the long dragged out soap opera knowns the Connecticut Bonding Package. Rell is poised to the veto the Democrat's $3.2 billion package today...and Democratic leaders are expected to announce the date of the much-anticipated Override session.

let the games begin...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

And a new item...

U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd met with the Hartford Courant Editorial Board to discuss his presidential campaign. CT-N will broadcast the meeting Saturday at 7:30 p.m. - or there abouts. Time is approximate and the Dodd segment will follow CT-N's weekly program Capitol Report.

I'm still around...

Bill Jenkins asked what happened to Ray. I'm still here, but I must admit this new role as acting editorial page editor is far more time consuming than one might imagine...at least more than I did. I do appreciate McCommas and Rags holding the fort recently with a bit of back-and-back comments.

So...with a moment to come up for some air, let me take advantage of this to see if I can solicit a bit of help.

The Norwich Bulletin will be hosting five debates in four communities this month - Norwich, (two debates with City Council candidates), Colchester, Plainfield and Canterbury. The focus of the debates - which I will be moderating - will center primarily on issues involving development and public policy.

I'd like to include citizens' questions as well. So, if anyone out there would like to submit a question, I would be happy to pose that to the candidates.