Greenwich is dipping into its strategic salt reserve and loaning some to Bridgeport.
With five major incidents in the past six months, weary commuters and state legislators are now wondering about the increasingly erratic service on the aging Metro-North Commuter Railroad.
The latest tragedy came Sunday with the death of four commuters and the injuries of 63 others when a Manhattan-bound train was traveling too fast and derailed near the Hudson River in The Bronx, just north of Manhattan. The train was trying to round a curve in the Spuyten Duyvil section, which is the last station in The Bronx before the trains enter the northern tip of Manhattan along the railroad’s Hudson line.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said it was clearly obvious that the train was traveling too fast because the cars finally came to rest far off the tracks and were strewn about in a jumbled mess. A single train did not simply jump the tracks, but instead all seven trains spilled far from the tracks.
The railroad’s previous problems included a derailment and head-on collision in Bridgeport in mid-May that caused 73 injuries and the death in May of a maintenance foreman in West Haven by a train at 70 miles per hour after a track was reopened. There was also a major power outage in Westchester County, N.Y. on September 24 that affected numerous trains along the New Haven line for 13 days.
The fifth major problem was the derailment of a 25-car freight train that was hauling trash in the same area as Sunday’s crash. The derailment in July was only 1,700 feet away from the crash site, which was underneath the Henry Hudson Bridge in an area with sweeping views of the Hudson River, the Palisades, the George Washington Bridge, and the Columbia University football stadium to the east.
Traditionally known for relatively reliable service for years in the past, the railroad has recently been hit with a series of major problems lately that have caused concern.
The Bridgeport crash prompted a hearing conducted by Blumenthal, who has expressed outrage recently over the train service. Continue reading
Over the last 24 hours, New York City seems to have become a topic of discussion in the Connecticut governor’s race.
Greenwich Republican Tom Foley brought it up with a 30-second television commercial that criticized the city’s newly elected Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy – even though neither of them was mentioned by name.
The commercial is playing on two stations in the New York City market, but it might not be seen by many viewers because the purchase of air time was small.
When told that his opponents believe that the ad buy was only $1,900, Foley told Capitol Watch, ”At $1,900, they might be high.”
He added, “I had the smallest buy that I could have and make a point.”
Having made that point, Foley said he did not expect to be expanding the reach of that particular commercial that features the front page of The New York Post that featured a picture of DeBlasio with a hammer and sickle that were the symbols of the old Soviet Union. Continue reading
Prompted by the Newtown school massacre, 169 public school buildings in 36 communities will receive a combined $5 million in funding to improve school safety.
The money will be used for items such as bullet-proof glass, panic alarms, surveillance cameras, buzzer and card-entry systems, and electric locks.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the grants Wednesday, saying that the money will go to schools all across the state from Greenwich to Killingly. The $5 million is the first round of a program that will eventually reach $21 million.
Overall, the state received 111 applications in 604 school buildings, officials said.
The largest number of improvements will be in Bridgeport, where 23 schools will be upgraded. The total includes 17 in East Hartford, 14 in Norwalk, 9 in Enfield, and one in Greenwich.
Citing an exemption under the state’s Freedom of Information laws, officials did not release the names of the individuals schools so that potential perpetrators would not know which schools are vulnerable. But some of the security work might have already been completed because the $5 million includes reimbursements for previous work, along with amounts for future work. Continue reading
Malcolm S. Pray, a Greenwich luxury car dealer who became the undisputed king of state Republican fundraising in the 1980s and 1990s, died this week at the age of 84.
Known for his generosity, Pray often pitched a gigantic tent on his 8-acre estate in the famed “backcountry” section of Greenwich to hold massive parties and even debutante balls for as many as 900 invitees. Pray owned a string of high-end automobile dealerships on the Post Road in upscale Greenwich, and in his heyday, he owned the world’s largest Audi dealership.
For any Republican candidate needing a major fundraiser, there was only one person to call: Malcolm Pray.
To acknowledge his accomplishments, the state GOP in 1998 awarded Pray its highest honor: the annual Prescott Bush Award.
In his later years, Pray reduced his fundraising as he retired and moved into his 80s. Other Greenwich Republicans, including state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, investor Charlie Glazer, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, stepped up into the fundraising pantheon that had been held exclusively by Pray.
“Pray was great because he got a lot of people to write checks,” former state GOP chairman Chris Healy told Capitol Watch on Wednesday. “First of all, he was a very generous guy. You didn’t just show up at his door and say, ‘I’m a Republican. Give me a check.’ He put you through the paces.’’ Continue reading
One of the most enduring myths in Connecticut journalism is that the Belle Haven neighborhood where Martha Moxley was killed is a gated community.
Belle Haven is certainly a private community, but if anyone wanted to drive past the homes of Martha Moxley and Michael Skakel through the years, they could do it. I have driven in that neighborhood many times, including as a reporter for the Greenwich Time newspaper in the 1980s before any books had been written about the case and when few people outside of Greenwich had ever heard the name of Martha Moxley. Continue reading
Tom Foley is not giving up.
Despite facing a huge buzzsaw of opposition over his bill on conflicts of interest, the former Republican gubernatorial nominee is pushing ahead to resurrect the measure before the session ends on June 5.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Foley announced that 11 legislators – 9 Democrats and 2 Republicans – have conflicts of interest because they either work for a lobbying firm, a public employee’s union or a state contractor. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Markley of Southington, is designed to prevent those conflicts.
Foley declined to name the 11 lawmakers, but confirmed that one of them is House Republican leader Larry Cafero, a longtime real estate attorney who works as a partner for the lobbying and law firm of Brown Rudnick. Foley has said that Cafero “absolutely” has a conflict of interest by working for a firm that currently lobbies the legislature. Separately, Brown Rudnick is at the center of an ongoing civil lawsuit by the consulting firm of Hartford Democratic political operative Matthew J. Hennessy against the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, the influential regional garbage agency. Hennessy charges in the lawsuit that Brown Rudnick had been the pre-determined winner of a consulting contract and that the firm has been engaged in illegal lobbying at the state Capitol. Continue reading
Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, who lost to Democrat Dannel Malloy in the closest Connecticut gubernatorial election in more than 50 years, will be testifying Monday at the state Capitol complex.
Foley, a Greenwich business executive, will testify on Senate Bill 727, which would make it a crime for any state employee or elected official to receive more than $1,000 per year from a lobbying group, public employee union or state contractor. The crime would be punishable as a Class D felony.
“Connecticut shouldn’t need this law because our public officials should voluntarily reject payments to them that would even appear to affect their impartiality on public policy matters,” Foley said in a statement. “But many of them don’t. Those who don’t would be guilty of a serious crime if this law passes – and they should be.” Continue reading
The Town of Greenwich is quaint, prosperous town that wishes nothing more than to be left alone and to its own devices. The State of Connecticut, in addition to to the United States Federal Government, has imposed burdensome taxes and regulations that restrict the small businesses. Specifically, the new capital gains tax imposed by the state legislature and regulation “reform” from the federal government such as Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have destroyed jobs in our town. Through secession, the Town of Greenwich wishes to establish a Constitutional Monarchy, ruling through divine economic authority. A wall will be erected on the Kingdom of Greenwich’s lands that border Port Chester and Stamford. The Bedford-Armonk border will remain open.