Category Archives: Greenwich

Blumenthal, McKinney Blast Failure of 117-Year-old Norwalk Railroad Bridge

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, John McKinney Date:

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is expressing concern about more problems with the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, including mechanical difficulties Thursday with a 117-year-old bridge in lower Fairfield County.

“The failure of the Walk Bridge in Norwalk – causing yet another significant service delay for rail commuters this morning – further underscores the urgent need for immediate investment in our aging rail infrastructure,” Blumenthal said in a statement Thursday morning. “I support the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s effort to secure federal Sandy Resiliency Project funds to repair this 117-year-old bridge and other critical, dated infrastructure along the New Haven Metro-North line.”

Blumenthal added, “I will do everything I can to support this application, and to urge the Federal Transit Administration to expedite its decision and funding ahead of its stated fall deadline. Connecticut commuters simply cannot wait for safe, reliable rail service.”

The bridge spans the Norwalk River in South Norwalk in lower Fairfield County, which is the prime commuting area for Metro-North for travelers heading both to Grand Central station in New York City and to office buildings in key employment centers like Stamford. Continue reading

Tom Foley Says He is First To Qualify For Public Financing In Governor’s Race

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, Hartford, John McKinney, Mark Boughton, Tom Foley Date:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley says he has become the first gubernatorial candidate to qualify for public financing by reaching the $250,000 threshold – just before Saturday’s nominating convention.

The campaign announced Thursday that it has raised more than $254,000 and has been averaging more than $5,000 per day over the past week. The contributions must be confirmed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission before Foley – or any other candidate – can receive public financing.

Overall, more than 3,000 contributors have given money to Foley’s campaign, and the campaign is projecting to reach $265,000 during the next week.

The Foley campaign says it is the first Republican campaign in state history to reach the $250,000 threshold without the help of a lieutenant governor candidate and “the first campaign of any party to reach the goal in only three and a half months.”

“Contributors to my campaign have told me they are supporting me because of their concerns for their families and the future of Connecticut,” Foley said Thursday in a statement. “We are going to win the race for governor so we can alleviate those concerns by bringing back the opportunity, optimism and pride we had before Governor Malloy was elected.”

Foley’s contributions will be checked by the State Elections Enforcement Commission before any public money is officially allocated. Under the law, candidates who raise $250,000 in small contributions can receive $1.25 million for a primary in August and then $6 million for the general election in November.

Despite reaching the threshold, Foley – a multimillionaire business executive from Greenwich – is still not sure whether he will accept the money or tap into his own personal funds to run the campaign.

“He hasn’t decided,’’ Christopher Cooper, Foley’s spokesman, said Thursday. “He said he would decide after the convention. That has been his consistent position on that one.’’

During the 2010 race against Democrat Dannel P. Malloy, Foley spent more than $10 million of his own money before losing in the closest gubernatorial election in Connecticut in more than 50 years. Foley won 128 cities and towns, but Malloy pulled more overall votes by winning 41 cities and towns, including by huge margins in New Haven and Bridgeport. Malloy has close allies in the key city of New Haven with two newly elected officials – Mayor Toni Harp and Democratic Town Committee chairman Vinnie Mauro.

The next public filing date for all candidates is July 10, which will cover all contributions for the second quarter that ends on June 30.

In the latest public filing in April, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield had raised the highest amount of any candidate for governor in the all-important money race.  McKinney had raised more than $178,000 in small contributions by the end of the first quarter on March 31. He was followed by Foley at $131,000 at that point and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton at $121,000, according to public documents. Continue reading

First Major TV Debate In Governor’s Race Friday; To Be Broadcast Sunday Morning

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, Joe Visconti, John McKinney, Mark Boughton, Tom Foley Date:

The first major television debate in the governor’s race was held Friday at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

While Republicans have faced off in various forums across the state, Friday was the first big debate televised statewide. Sponsored by The Hartford Courant and FOX CT, the one-hour debate was taped in front of a live audience in the Twain House auditorium and will be broadcast at 10 a.m. Sunday on FOX CT.

The debate will preempt “The Real Story” and Tom Dudchik’s weekly Capitol Report that combine for the Political Power Hour on Sunday mornings.

The participants were Senate Republican leader John McKinney, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Avon attorney Martha Dean, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, and former West Hartford town council member Joe Visconti. Greenwich business executive Tom Foley, who is leading among Republicans in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, did not appear. Continue reading

High-Speed Bronx Derailment Raising Questions About Metro-North Railroad Service; Five Major Incidents In 6 Months

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich Date:

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

New York City Update: Tom Foley Left NYC Because Of Mayor David Dinkins

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, Hartford, Republicans, Tom Foley Date:

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

Malloy Awards $5 Million For School Security

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Greenwich Date:

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 Pray, The King Of Republican Fundraising In His Heyday, Dies At 84

by Categorized: Greenwich, Republicans, Uncategorized Date:

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.

\"malcolmKnown 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

Moxley\’s Belle Haven Neighborhood: Private, Privileged, Exclusive, But Not Gated

by Categorized: Greenwich Date:

One of the most enduring myths in Connecticut journalism is that the Belle Haven neighborhood where Martha Moxley was killed is a gated community.

\"belleThat statement has been repeated many times, but as someone who has driven there as a reporter for more than 25 years, I can report that it is incorrect.

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 Says 11 Legislators – 9 Democrat, 2 GOP – Have Conflicts Of Interest; Not Giving Up on Bill; Mentions Cafero, Not Others

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

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