Rochambeau, Part II: Candidate Pays $59.05 To Set Up History Website The State Would Spend $180,000 On

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

A Republican candidate for the state legislature said Tuesday that he has spent $59.05 of his own money to set up an Internet website, Rochambeautrail.com, to save the Democrat-controlled General Assembly the trouble — and save taxpayers the expense — of going through with a plan approved by the Senate Monday night: to spend up to $180,000 to establish a historical website to highlight the route that the French general, Rochambeau, followed across Connecticut during the American Revolution.

Greg Bachand, of Wallingford – a 62-year-old lawyer seeking the Republican nomination to run for the 85th District state House of Representatives seat now held by Democrat Mary Mushinsky – issued a press release Tuesday, touting his short-circuiting of the bureaucratic process.

“Bachand Publishes RochambeauTrail.com, saves taxpayers $179,940.95,” was the headline on his release.

His light-hearted publicity ploy came a day after the state Senate voted 31-4 to approve a bill calling for the state to develop an Internet website by Jan. 1 to “to highlight that portion of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail that is located in the state.” The cost of up to $180,000 would be shared equally by the state and federal governments under the bill. One of the four Republican senators who voted against it Monday night said $180,000 seems a “huge” amount to pay for a website, adding that the state’s portion would come from a fund intended to promote manufacturing – not tourism, which is the focus of the proposed website.

The bill now goes to the House. But before it comes up for a vote there, Bachand jumped on the issue Tuesday.  He said that it took only five minutes to set up the new website on godaddy.com. His daughter, Tanya Bachand, who is his assistant campaign treasurer, said he gave her the information that he wanted put on the site, and she did the actual setting up on godaddy.com.

The site contains only one historical link, the candidate said in the press release: “to Wikipedia’s entry for the Washington-Rochambeau Route.”

“It’s the least I could do,” he said in his statement. “With Connecticut’s portion of the cost ($90,000) coming from a manufacturing grant fund meant to create jobs in the State, I thought it important to keep that money available for what it was intended, rather than have it frittered away Hartford Style in a boondoggle website that few will care about and fewer will visit.”

The job of establishing the site would fall to the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

During Monday night\’s Senate session, the debate ranged from history to frivolity and then to frugality.

Democratic Sen. Gary LeBeau said that Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, the French nobleman and general who assisted the colonists in the Revolution, had camped with his troops on Silver Lane, in LeBeau’s hometown of East Hartford. LeBeau also said that the street’s name is derived from the fact that Rochambeau “paid his troops in silver.”

Sen. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, who supported the bill, later referred to LeBeau as “Senator Rochambeau,” then corrected himself and called him “Senator LeBeau.”

Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said “although I believe it’s important for us to cherish our history … $180,000 is a huge amount of money” to establish a website.  Also, he said the state’s $90,000 is coming from the manufacturing grant fund.

The Rochambeau trail isn’t confined to Connecticut. It begins in Newport, Rhode Island, where the French general and his more than 5,000 troops landed by sea. After crossing Connecticut, it continues south through New York, where the French joined the Continental Army of George Washington, and then through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland into Virginia. That’s where combined American and French armies forced British General Cornwallis to surrender in October 1781 at the decisive battle of Yorktown.

Bachand and Republican rival Shauna E. Simon-Glidden are expected to vie for the nomination at May 18 party convention.  He said that Mushinsky wasn\’t \”in office when Mr. Rochambeau gave out coins on Silver Lane in East Hartford,\” but he predicted that she would \”support spending taxpayer dollars on telling people about it.\”

\”Here’s the problem,\” he said. \”Wikipedia already tells us all we need to know about Mr. Rochambeau. It’s not Hartford’s job to go about creating websites about obscure historical figures. … Go see the map [via the website]. It’s got a line on the map that clearly shows he went through East Hartford… And a bunch of other towns too… And the line is blue, how appropriate.  It’s already perfect.  Why reinvent the wheel?”

“Of course I’m willing to turn ownership of the site over to the appropriate private group when they come forward,” Bachand said. \”I will expect them to reimburse me my $59.05, though.”

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91 thoughts on “Rochambeau, Part II: Candidate Pays $59.05 To Set Up History Website The State Would Spend $180,000 On

  1. Grace I

    “Wikipedia already tells us all we need to know about Mr. Rochambeau.” Really, Wikipedia tells us all we need to know? Is Bachand aware that Wikipedia is by no means a reliable source of accurate information? Actually, it doesn’t surprise me that Bachand relies on Wikipedia for information, as he refers to Rochambeau as an “obscure historical figure.”

    1. ~joe~

      who’s rochambeau? isn’t that a game like to decide things like paper rock scissors?

    2. Josh

      Wikipedia is a very accurate source of information especially about historical events where there is no controversy. They bring in experts every so often to fix the mistakes. So you’re wrong. And he is an “obscure historical figure”.

    3. Zipp

      You are dead wrong lady. Wikipedia is incredibly accurate for research on subjects without controversy. More accurate than whatever source you drew that opinion from, in fact. I urge you to read Wikipedia’s entry on its own accuracy.

    4. kevin

      Wikipedia is actually a very accurate and reliable site. People are under the mistaken impression that anyone can go there and add/change things as they see fit, that is completely untrue. The site has a number of very stringent safeguards in place to make sure the site remains accurate, free from vandalism and all information posted is referenced. You should educate yourself on how the site works before you make stupid statements like that.

    5. Todd

      I love people who make false blanket bandwagon statements! Gives me free giggles watching them fall from grace ;p

    6. Wm Wallace

      You are wrong Grace as it is the legislators wasting our tax dollars as usual.

    7. Matt

      This is idiotic.

      There’s nothing wrong with relying on wikipedia as long as you are aware of where it’s information comes from.

      Meanwhile, the hilarity of this website, this rochambeau trail, is that it has *NO* information and simply links to wikipedia. That’s not a complete website, that’s a piece of garbage. 180k is not justified but neither is $59.95 by an amateur.

      1. Ella

        I think another state agency, and not the legislature, can be working on this. Too much time is spent at the Capitol during Legislative Session (which should be drastically cut) on matters that can be handled administratively.

    8. Ella

      The point is that a lot of money was earmarked (voted by the senate democratic majority)to be used “to highlight that portion of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail that is located in the state.” by way of creating a website. Mr. Bachand simply demonstrated that $180K is not needed to set up this website.

    9. Rick Romero

      You are spreading FUD. Wikipedia is no less accurate than any other published source of information.

  2. Bman

    …you can’t debate the fact that this guy showed up the other Senators who already voted to go ahead with this nonsense. Grace….obscure or not, this historical figure isnt worth $180K. This fella gets my vote even if he is a Republican.

    1. Dave Wronsku

      Yeah, but he didn’t really DO anything. He linked Wikipedia and then raved about how much he spent. What an idiot.

      1. Ken

        That’s the whole point – the state doesn’t need to spend $180k for something that can be done for $60. Why is that simple fact going over your head?

      2. SDeep

        He seems pretty smart to me. I think you are projecting your own inadequacies there son.

        1. Serin

          $60 is not a state site. Passwords, logins, MANGEMENT – all this is needed to keep potentially sensitive data secure, which is why they have their processes in place. Granted, you can get all that for pennies compared to 100,000 but you can’t just godaddy it up and boom it’s a state run site.

          1. admiralbrown

            How much potentially sensitive data is there on a website about Rochambeau? I doubt there would be new data to add daily about a revolutionary war general so there is not a great amount of management for a static website.
            I use godaddy as a cheap registrar and a different company hosts the pages. For $180,000 was the state going to buy a dedicated server?

      3. Ella

        He’s a candidate for the legislature. How could he have voted. He’s just pointing out the silliness of this matter.

  3. Paul Borysewicz

    A decent Web site to inform the public about the above subject should cost no more than 5,000 to build. The one Greg Bachand published may save taxpayers a bunch of money, but it is a terrible excuse for a Web site.

    1. Todd

      I think he just made the website as more of a proof of insanity in spending 180k on something that he was able to crudely serve the purpose with 1/3600th the cost. Yes his website is terrible but like you said 5k should be MORE THAN ENOUGH to provide 90%+ of the functionality that 180k website could do. After about 5k your just pissing our money away like ALL of our elected offices so often like to do.

  4. Jim

    Even a professional website designer could get it done for $2,000-$3,000 max, and the professional research should come from one of the thousands of state employees already getting a nice pay-and-benefits package to know such information.

    Every single senator who voted $180,000 for a simple website should indeed be embarrassed.

    1. Bernie Schwartz

      Last year I had to correct an entry in Wikipedia. It stated that Mary Livingstone (born: Sadie Marks, note spelling) was a “distant cousin” of the renowned Marx Brothers. FALSE! Whenever you see “distant cousin” be assured that the author is full of bullfeathers!

  5. semper39

    Grace – While I agree with you that Wikipedia is not always a reliable source of information, this particular article seems to be well sourced.
    Now we will find out if our legislators will still spend the $180,000.00 to reinvent the wheel (or provide funds for some crony).

  6. Pamela

    I wouldn’t vote for the guy, but he is right $180,000 is ridiculous for something that is NOT important at this point and in this state. We have got to stop the frivolous spending of monies that are intended to really help out people who need it. This crap has got to stop.

    1. Palin Smith

      Vote for the Democrat incumbent who will vote to spend all of your money BEFORE she reads the bill!

    2. Sean

      Pamela — this crap isn’t going to stop as long as you’re willing to vote for the idiots who keep wasting your money like this.

      1. Brian

        You do know that as part of as the funds were coming from a manufacturing grant intended to create jobs, the money would have been spent to give some one a job to do the work, right?

  7. semper39

    By the way, I was driving on Route 14A in Sterling this afternoon; the road is marked by signs listing it as the Washington-Rochambeau Route.

  8. HotDam

    This is just another example for, and reason why, the taxpayer voters of this State taking it back from the whacked-socialist-demolib Legislature when Election Day rolls around.

    Here we are, less than a year past having to endure the largest tax increase in State history, on the cusp of a budget deficit that is going to be “fixed” with some hocus-pocus from the Governor and his lackies, and these clowns are fighting over spending $180,000 for a website to document what is already available in both history books and a myriad of existing websites.

    I do hope that many of you will agree with me that the voter’s mantra for the next election should be RE-ELECT NO ONE….!!! Let’s clean our house of these career politicians, and elect some new people who are not in the pocket of some special interest group or another.

    Thank you for reading my thoughts.

  9. joe

    please HotDam, socialist? this is more like a politician funneling tax money to someone. it’s got nothing to do with socialism. geez

  10. SophieCT

    The state Senate voted 31-4 in favor of this. Obviously, it was a bipartisan effort. Funneling is likely the root cause, which is usually called cronyism, not socialism. Can people please look up the word “socialist” or stop using it? You’re making it meaningless.

    1. Ken

      Those 31 senators must have an unemployed web designer in the family they hoped to throw this pork at. The fact that 31 idiots voted for this doesn’t make it a good idea.

      1. SophieCT

        I never said it was a good idea–just pointing out that every bad idea is not a socialist plot.

    2. Ella

      I think those who voted for the expediture clearly do not know how much it costs to create a website, as noted by posters who likely are knowledgeable in Info. Technology.

  11. Palin Smith

    $180,000 of feel-good “free money” can put a smile on lots of Democrat cronies and crooks.

  12. Serafin

    This is a very bad website. This is a political stunt without merits. Shame on you!

  13. theyspendmymoneysoeasily

    Greg Bachand for Governor. Can someone help him please stop the madness.

  14. Herman from Hartford

    The State senate should be ashamed. How about a 180k pay reduction for the state senators for coming up with such a bad idea.

  15. Outrageous

    I hold no allegiance to any political party and feel that both republican­s and democrats have become a threat to liberty. Neither party cares about you and I (the people) all they care about is keeping the status quo, keeping their cushy jobs and writing laws and restrictions­ to keep us all in line. If you cannot see that, you are in need of help.

  16. Soon to be Ex Taxpayer

    30% of the bloggers say its not ok, 70% say its ok. This Govt is out of control. From a soon to be ex resident taxpayer. Enjoy.

  17. Sharon

    Just went to the site and it is basically a campaign ad for Bachand with little or no information whatsoever about the trail. I agree 180K is ridiculous but this site is a joke and not even worth $59

  18. Eric Jacobson

    You get what you pay for, I guess.

    There’s one link to any sort of historical information, and it’s to Wikipedia. The other two links are political propaganda designed to fool voters into thinking someone actually did something good.

    For $1800, you probably would have got a worthwhile website. Instead, you got this pathetic site that has less to do with history and tourism, and more to do with “Hey, look at me! I did this! Vote for me!”

    Bachand is an idiot.

    1. Sean

      Except that the purpose was to point out that there’s no need for a separate website when wikipedia does the entire job for free.

    2. Wm Wallace

      He is looking out for the taxpayers unlike others who voted for this debacle.

      My guess Eric is you will vote for the status quote and keep legislators in office who spend our money without any regards for us the taxpayers.

    3. Kendall Svengalis

      I don’t know why you bothered posting. Your comments are ludicrous and add nothing of substance or intelligence to the discussion.
      $90,000, or $180,00 IS something, particularly when it reflects a mindset or predeliction for similarly wasteful programs. All these things add up. Bravo, Greg Bachand!

    4. rob

      its not 1800.00 dollars they want to spend. they want to spend $180,000.00. little bit of a difference

  19. burt

    The sad part is that this is just the tip of the iceberg…

    Take ANY program and divide the budget by the accomplishment and you will find the true cost.

    (ie: people get $150 in food stamps but to hand them that much they spend over 200 after beauracracy. )

    Same goes for almost everything they do from buying toilet paper to spending 80 MILLION on a high school.

    The waste is what is killing this country.

  20. GTB

    You described it as “His light-hearted publicity ploy”. If he’s running against Mary Mushinsky, then, it’s the “Light-Hearted” vs. the “Light-Headed“.

    1. Kendall Svengalis

      No, May, the $180,000 is a reflections of how stupid the Democrats, and some of the Republicans, think the voters are, not this private site that points out the lunacy of it all. You are clueless. And Stupid is spelled
      S-T-U-P-I-D , not “stoopid.” The irony of your comment is priceless, however. Don’t tell me, you’re a Democrat?

  21. reachglenn

    From my personal experience of doing things on the cheap with GoDaddy.com, Weather you live in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, India, the UK, Canada, USA, (even rich motor city Detroit Michigan) , Hartford will pay dearly 4 using GoDaddy.com when their confidential state information ends up in the hands of Al Quada double agent operatives. Those slimy SOBS at GoDaddy will sell out your state of Conneticut 4 a few quick bucks. A national disgrace #7 abhors. Even the Communist Party spitfire on GoDaddy.com

    GuN

    1. Mike

      You are aware the intent was for a site containing historical information. There is no intent nor need to have any sensetive date present on this website.

      Now I do not dispute your asertation about godaddy, it seems a bit vitriolic and perhaps mostly hyperbole, but I just plain do not know; however, all that aside the point isn’t about godaddy its about how much do you really need to spend on this effort, 180K or $59.95? Some figures of 2-3K have been put out, and that seems very reasonable.

  22. Dean

    The $90,000 is about the combined income tax 30-40 people making $50,000/year would pay to the state in income tax. Lets call it 35, so 35 people work all year and pay their taxes to the state and every dime of their sweat and hard work paid to the state is going to be incinerated on nonsense. This state is an economic disaster and this is what occupies their time in Hartford? I and my business partner are very shortly moving the hell out of this state and taking our tax dollars and our jobs and all of our local economic activity with us when we go. If I ever want to come back for a visit I will be sure to look up some dead french dude’s path through CT and follow it in, I’ll just follow the green line of hundred dollar bills that stretch from the NY border to Silver Lane in East Hartford, it would be cheaper to pave the route in money than the damn website.

    1. RDJain

      Or, in a more relevant light, 90,000 dollars is approximately TWO very-moderately-paid IT peoples’ salaries worth of investment. People who aren’t too bright see a lot of zeros and think ZOMG!!! BIG GOVERNMENTZZZ INVEZTMENT, MY TAX DOOOLLLLARRSSSS!!!! 90 grand is nothing. Do you think government employment is free? Sure, one can debate whether this project is worth spending money on, but any way you slice it, 180,000 is a tiny price tag. The politician in question is confusing the cost of registering a domain with the cost of producing a usable, worthwhile website.

    2. Kendall Svengalis

      Dean: Well put. Part of the problem is politicians don’t frame these expenditures in terms that relate to taxpayers or the costs to actual taxpayers. They think there is this big pile of money that floats down like manna from heaven, rather than being taken from hard-working people. I am a part-time historian who loves colonial history; but this site, and the idea of celebrating a 232nd anniversary in these tough times, in particular, is a totally unnecessary governmental expenditure. And, sadly, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of wasteful things on which CT politicians spend our hard-earned tax dollars.

  23. Ian

    So will the $59 he spent find the inaccuracy I just planted in the Wikipedia article?

    Seriously. Find it. You saved $179,940.95, but did you save any money if the Wikipedia article is wrong?

  24. Good Journalist

    Maybe the author should not have waited five paragraphs to say the website has no content.

  25. j ranelli

    with some effort the same might be done with education reform…instead of the millions for plans with imposing titles (“turnaround,” etc.) lacking specification (the precise “what and how” parts) there are measures, such as revisions in teacher education/training (toward more scholarly subject mastery in BA an MA studies and training in internships and residencies more rigorous than “practice teaching”) and methods testing in lab schools that would cost next nothing by comparision and actually have something to do with education instead of money and power.

  26. Tim Burr

    I’m a registered Democrat and I don’t live in Wallingford but I think I’ll donate $59.05 to Mr. Bachand campaign. Good for you! Did the Senate have any clue what a website should cost? Did they send the job out to bid and pick the highest bidder?

  27. JVoss

    Whats really just baffling is that they would take 90,000.00 to produce this website from a fund to help manufacturing. You know, something that produces jobs. I could produce a decent website about Rochambeau in about 48 hours. Lets say I charged 50.00 an hour, that would be about $2400. What were they spending 180,000.00 dollars on? Here is a site that already exists. http://www.skyweb.net/~channy/Roch.html

  28. Brenda

    Well said Dean. I’ll be reminded of the $180k website every time I look at my paycheck that is less than it was last year thanks to this spend without thinking state. But only until I move out as well. Right behind you.

  29. Going Galt

    It’s nice to see that Connecticut residents are concerned about unnecessary spending, unlike our Dem.majority.

  30. time4change

    But unfortunately, Connecticut voters will continue to choose the democratic candidate during elections. I mean since we have a Dem Governor, House and Senate, they can do what the $@#! they feel like. And that will be tax this state to death.
    Connecticut”
    – Average pension benefits: $26,622 (4th highest)
    – Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $7,442 (7th highest)
    – Weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 29.2 percent (8th lowest)
    – Number of months of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)received: 26.7 (17th lowest)
    – Average TANF cash assistance per month: $413 (11th highest)
    Connecticut residents pay more than $5,000 a year on average in state and local taxes — the highest amount in the U.S. As a result, residents have the third highest tax burden in the country. In return, they receive above average benefits. State employees who receive their pensions through the Connecticut State Employees Retirement System have the fourth highest average pension benefits. Students have the sixth highest amount spent on them. The state also has the fourth highest cost of living.

    Yeah, let’s keep the Dem’s in control of the house and senate.

  31. sully

    What part of “up to $180,000″ don’t people understand?

    Next step is competing concepts and bids from private industry. Next comes selection. Legislature decided this could be worth as much as that in business for the region.

    Who’s to say they’re wrong until we see the proposals?

  32. Larry

    All the talk about GoDaddy is overblown when you consider what the Rochambeau site could be. A bunch of static web pages, no harvesting emails or logins, nothing to hide. That is why it could be incredibly simple and CHEAP. There would be nothing for hacksters to break into; and they might learn something.

  33. Sarah

    He could have spent a little more money (and still saved a lot) and the website would not have sucked as much as it does currently, wikipedia or not.

  34. Jason

    Wiki is a better source for information because you actually learn about the controversy surrounding issues, rather than just the view point the source wants you to know.

  35. Going Galt

    Some of these comments are laughable. Why would Al Qaeda want to hack a Rochambeau website? You don’t link it to the state bank accounts or the SHALL database silly.

  36. Kendall Svengalis

    This incident graphically demonstrates how clueless the current Democrat majority in the CT General Assembly is, but also the Republicans who voted for this outrage. The point of this private web site is that the whole thing is ludicrous and unnecessary. After all, what are we commemorating–the 232nd anniversary of Rochambeau’s march across CT. Big whoop! I can see spending tourist dollars to celebrate a centennial, or the bicentennial, but on a 232nd anniversary? If our standards for spending precious taxpayer dollars in tough economic times are so unfocused, and open-ended, we are clearly in for more serious fiscal calamity ahead.

    Some of you clueless ones out there missed the point about Mr. Bachand’s web site because it linked to Wikipedia.” That IS the point. The information is already available many web sites, books, and articles. The state, and federal government, don’t need to be spending thousands more to highlight a well-documented event.

    This incident reminds me of Obama’s wasteful stimulus spending. There were many line items in that law directed to supporting the teaching of American history in selected school district around the country, many of them in the $800,000 range. This to teach something that should already be part of every school curriculum.

    Wikipedia is, generally speaking, an accurate source for information. Depending on the uses to which the information is to be put, however, I would supplement it with other reputable sources. Used incorrectly, Wikipedia can be a lazy man’s sole path to knowledge.

    Bravo to Greg Bachand for highlighting this outrage and for exposing the clueless CT politicians that perpetrated it.

  37. Website Guru

    The website can be awesome. Simply go to the Wikipedia page and right click on it. Now click on “View Page Source.” Then copy the source code and put it up on the trail site. Of course you’ll have to separately download any pictures and link them appropriately. My 10-year-old daughter could probably do this.

  38. CharlieD

    I looked at the detailed “spec” available on the government site (great link BTW Lucy) and here are the main requirements:

    The web site must include, without limitation:

    1. a map of the main trail and flanking trails indicating the location of (a) any intersections with other walking trails and (b) the Revolutionary War sites, monuments, and placards in the trails’ vicinity;

    2. for each Revolutionary War site on or in the trails’ vicinity, links to other web sites providing additional information and photographs;

    3. links to Connecticut tourism-themed web sites;

    4. links to other web sites featuring the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail; and

    5. an interactive calendar that will allow historical groups to post notice of events and entertainment along such trails.

    #5 is the only item that could have some security elements and a bit of complexity during implementing. So…likely more than 2-3K to implement…however still nowhere near $180K.

    Not a CT resident (used to live in MA) however found this article linked to by fark.com and was “intrigued”. :)

  39. TheRealJohnson

    Everyone here is ignoring the real issue. The title of this article would really read better if it said “Upon Which The State Would Spend $180,000.”

    Let’s talk about ending sentences with prepositions, at.

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