Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It didn't take long.....

Any doubts that a possible Simmons/Dodd match up wouldn't be hard hitting have been dashed already.

Yesterday, somebody registered a Web site www.RobSimmons2010.com.

The problem is, if you go to it, you get a page from U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney's old campaign site (from 2006) with a press release about "tainted" campaign contributions Simmons had received from members of Congress (Republican of course) who were having a bit of trouble with the law -- like facing jail time.

The Web page was created by someone under the name Godaddy.com,. and put up through Domains by Proxy based in Scottsdale, AZ.

And we still have a good 19 months to go before this is over....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Impressions from Saturday's event

The three Democratic candidates for governor were at the Groton City municipal building Saturday morning, the first forum featuring all three side-by-side. About 70 people turned out...an impressive showing at this early stage for a election that is still more than 20 months away.

It was your typical Democratic lovefest with the appropriate measure of Republican governor bashing....the three candidates playing to the choir of Democrats in attendance.

I think its fair to say that Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy made the best impression. He may only be in the exploratory stage, but he is definitely running. He's already announced that he will not seek re-election as mayor this year, and he was definitely in "campaign mode" on Saturday. The best line, when they were all asked about property taxes, "If you want to solve that, elect a mayor."

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz looked "content" ...and that's not a good sign. She mentioned how recent polls have her as the front-runner, and that's a mistake to think at this stage. Right now, it's all about potential delegates to the state convention next year (which Malloy won three years ago), and how well you're doing in the polls (or rather how known you are by non-convention delegates) is meaningless.

Former House Speaker Jim Amann, I think, missed an opportunity by not really focusing on his efforts to bring the Hollywood East tax credits to the state -- and the fact that they are the "only" new jobs being created in Connecticut right now. It would have been the perfect environment since Sonalyst Studios are located here in Southeastern Connecticut -- a good chance for him to connect with potential Democratic supporters who don't know a lot about him right now.

The surprise, however, was Comptroller Nancy Wyman, who isn't a candidate for governor, but told me she'd like to be....and maybe she might....but not now, and not unless the state's financial crisis gets resolved.

And then of course, the big news of the weekend was Rob Simmons entry into the 2010 Senate contest.

I remarked to Malloy about how he and John DeStefano complained three years ago about the lack of press converage they were receiving in the race (a result of the Lamont/Lieberman race sucking all the air out)...and suggested to him if he thought that was bad....wait until the Simmons/Dodd race heats up...there will be no air left in the room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And the race is on....

There not exactly being billed as debates, but the first two showdowns of the three Democratic candidates running for governor in 2010 will be held here in Eastern Connecticut this month.

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and former Speaker of the House Jim Amann have agreed to take part in two "leadership" forums to discuss the problems facing the state and how they, if elected governor, would address them.

The first forum, just announced today, will be held in Groton this Saturday, 10 a.m. at the City of Groton Municipal Building , 295 Meridian Street.

The second forum will be at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m.

Should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Somtimes you just shake you head and wonder...

On the same day that state Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, plays host to a press conference with the CT Partnership on Problem Gambling, her legislative committee -- the public safety and security committee -- is holding a public hearing on a proposal to create a new lottery game offering a "big jackpot."

The thinking here is that a larger jackpot will entice more players, thus resulting in more revenue for the state.. Yeah, those problem gamblers will really love the bigger jackpots.

That's as bad an idea as the Republican proposal of allowing 24-hour liquor service at the casinos in the hopes gamblers will stay longer at the slot machines and the state can gain from their sloppy play.

The General Assembly is starting to look like an addicted gambler, rolling the dice to try and hit the big one.

Have we lost all shame?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Small steps....

Here on the blog, in my column and ineditorials in the paper, I've stated that Democrats in Hartford, and in particular, the Democratic leadership, has not shown much of a willingness to make the tough budget cutting decisions that need to be made -- paerticularly in terms of reducing state spending.

I think it's fair criticism -- they haven't.

However, I also like to be fair. Today, Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, announced that the Senate Democratic caucus was returning $400,000 of its funding allocation to the General Treasury in response to the ongoing state budget crisis. It's a small amount in terms of the $4.7 million the caucus has to run its operation -- but it's a start. It's the first real reduction in spending the Democratic leadership has made.

Some might argue it's a token gesture. It is, but no more so that the governor suggesting she's take a day off without pay (in order words work, but not the paycheck for that day) and asking her commissioners to do the same. Those "small' gestures won't make a dent in the revenue shortfall. But they are at least an acknowledgement of the problem -- something members of the General Assembly haven't cleary demonstrated up to this pont that they get. Maybe, they're now starting to get it.

That would be nice, because time is runing out and there's still a lot more work that needs to be done -- and it needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Williams said that the caucus is continuing to look for other cost saving measures, and hopes to return a full 10 percent to the general fund....that's would be $470,000.

That would be nice....but the deficits we're facing are in the billions....and Williams and the other Democrats need to start looking more seriously on where those savings are going to come from.