Category Archives: Politix

Give Us Waffle Fries Or Give Us Death

by Categorized: Politix, Year in Review Date:

Quietly, Chick-Fil-A arrived in our blue, gay-friendly state.

And then expanded.

Hartford, You Are a Hot Mess!

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized, Year in Review Date:

The City of Hartford began Election Day unable to check in voters at some sites because the printed books of registered voters had not been delivered. “Hartford Has It” did not, apparently, cover these.

To make matters worse, some voters were simply sent  away without being offered an affidavit or provisional ballot. This, in a city of three (3!) well-compensated Registrars of Voters. These people make a lot of money. For most of the year, they have nothing to do. They should be placed in colonial stocks and pillories (I never did quite figure out the difference) and whipped by pirates.

The primary damage is, of course, to each affected voter’s right of suffrage. Secondary damage to Dan Malloy, who needs those Hartford votes. The governor votes at the Hartford Seminary one of the sites that didn’t have the books. They arrived after 7 in response to ecumenical prayers. The governor was apparently obliged to wait about 30 minutes to vote. The Secretary of State, who lives two blocks from the Seminary site, and voted by affidavit.The tertiary damage will come if a court decides to extend voting hours at sites that were shut down this morning. Let one thousand conspiracy theories bloom.

Bridgeport, you will need to put on a late surge of incompetence if you want to compete here.

I Know What You Did Last November

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized Date:
Stasi camera via Wikimedia Commons

Stasi camera via Wikimedia Commons

Just when you thought this campaign season couldn’t sink any lower or become any more repulsive, the Connecticut Democrats have found a new crack they can slither down into.

Connecticut voters have been receiving mail pieces — three different ones to this address — in which the addressee’s pattern of showing up to vote is listed, apparently just to prove that the people sending the mail know which elections you voted in.  The most disgusting of the three — sent by the state central committee of the Connecticut Democrats — also lists two other people from your street, with data about whether they voted in the last three elections. Their names and street numbers are redacted. “While we have hidden the name and street number of your neighbors so as not to embarrass them, these are their true voting records,” says the mailing.

The tone of the mailings is chilling, like something you’d get from Stasi in East Berlin in 1967. “Who you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote is public record,” it says.

And then: “We will be reviewing these records after the election to determine whether or not you joined your neighbor in voting.” Oh you will, will you?

Two of these undeniably menacing communications came from Democratic state central. The third came from a national, Democratic-leaning group called America Votes. It’s nearly identical to the others. But here is the darkly hilarious difference: this mailer is addressed to one person but then contains the voting record of a different man, named Irving, who lives several blocks away (I looked him up). So we now know which elections Irving voted in. Someone familiar with direct mail told me this usually means there’s been a widespread address-system problem: that Irving accidentally got Tony Smith’s voting records, and Tony got Nancy Jones’s voting records and so on.

So this tactic — despicable on its face — has been made even worse through incompetence.

Imagine that you were a recently naturalized citizen or an older person who feels a little shaky and vulnerable.  How would this make you feel?

The higher-ups who signed off on this should come forward and resign immediately. It has no place in the politics of Connecticut. It’s intimidation. You know, the kind of thing we think happens somewhere else.

The Democrats may win most of their state elections this time — largely due to inadequate opponents —  but the party needs a housecleaning after this. I got tired of their bullying tactics a long time ago. I wouldn’t support their candidates in future cycles if this is who they really are.

UPDATE: This has popped up in other places.

Do You Believe In Trendlines?

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized Date:

If you do, Dan Malloy is going to win his election.

The Q Poll dropping today shows Malloy erasing the six-point lead Foley had a month ago. There’s also this week’s PPP poll that showed him with an eight-point lead . Let’s set that aside for now so we can focus on trends in the Q.

A few things jump out:

1. Foley is losing women 47 -36. 2. Foley has a ten point lead among unaffiliated voters, but it’s not enough because of the huge Democratic registration advantage. 3. Visconti’s numbers are still screwy — 9 percent of Democrats and only 6 percent of Republicans. More women than men(10-8). This trend of Visconti’s overall number being the same as his Democratic number is consistent and hard to explain. 4. Malloy continues to have the wrong kind of gap between favorable (41) and unfavorable (51). The number of statewide candidates — in any state — who win with that number has to be pretty small. But in the space of a month, Foley’s unfavorables went up 6 pts, Malloy’s, down 2

How should we interpret all this? It’s possible that Malloy ‘s bad September poll was due to what we might call “distant election fallacy.” When the election is two months away and you’re unhappy with the incumbent, you don’t have to rein in your unfocused petulance. You can say you’ll vote for the other guy. In October, it feels a little different. You really have to be able to picture yourself filling in the Foley circle. Some people are finding that hard to do.

What you’re probably seeing is Malloy winning back voters who should have been locks for him in the first place. This group may include members of his immediate family. And maybe it’s truer to say that we’re seeing Foley losing a lot of low-hanging fruit because he’s running such a dreadful campaign. He should have done well with a lot of 1990 Weicker voters, but, based on strictly anecdotal conversations, he really grosses them out.

Watch the Visconti number.  It almost has to be wrong and probably in a way that’s bad news for Foley. I can almost guarantee Visconti won’t pull 9 percent of the Democratic vote in November, and some of that number will end up in Malloy’s column.

Do you believe?


People surprise you

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized Date:

I didn’t think Brendan Sharkey had something like this in him, but this proposal is a really important idea. And it took some guts and vision to bring it up. Tax-exempt property is one of the things killing cities right now, and it’s time to open the books and take a second look at the whole system.

One test of any non-profit is: what are your compensation packages for top executives? Really, you have people making more than $500,000?  More than $1 million? More than $3 million? And you’re a non-profit? (The craziest one is the tax exempt NFL, where Roger Goodell pulls down $44 million.)

In Hartford, roughly $1 billion in public monies went into Adriaen’s Landing, with the expectation that it would eventually spur tax-productive real estate development nearby. Now UConn wants to sit its tax-exempt butt down in the prime spot.

Sharkey’s idea will probably get beaten down, but bravo to him for starting the conversation.




What Did Keno And When Did Keno It?

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized Date:

Keno dining

This is sort of supplemental reading to my column coming out this weekend.

Many, many months after the insertion of legalized state keno into the state budget bill last spring, we have not been given a clear picture of how this interesting thing happened.

Reading some of Gov. Malloy’s comments, one might conclude that he was ambushed by the whole thing.

“I wasn’t part of those discussions,” Malloy told reporters. “Those … were the end-of-the-session discussions that I wasn’t involved in, to tell you the truth. So I was [as] surprised as you were.”

And yet some of Speaker Sharkey’s comments suggest that gubernatorial staff was in the room and in the loop when legalized keno was used to balance the budget.

“Everybody was all in on this budget,” Sharkey said. “Everybody agreed to what we were going to do – the House, the Senate and the administration. So the notion that it’s anybody’s particular idea I think is misplaced. We were all together trying to pull together a budget that would be balanced and that would protect a lot of the other investments that we knew we had to make. So no one was a particular author of it, and there’s no reason to be looking at that now.”

I went through the House transcript from the day the budget was passed, June 1, 2013, and I found the chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee answering a question from the floor thusly:

Through you, Mr. Speaker, there is in that section of the bill to which you refer a 12. 5 percent of the gross revenue from keno, should we do this, and I expect that we — we will, this is in negotiation currently with the — with the two Indian tribes that we have in this state. In order to negotiate, we need to express the — we need to express in our budget that we have a commitment to distribute to each of the tribes 12. 5 percent of the revenue that would be gained from such an expansion of the — of the lottery game, keno. So that enables us to go forward with the negotiations with something real behind us and that is under consideration at this moment. [Italics are mine]

This is odd, because those negotiations could really only come from the executive branch. I contacted said committee chair, Rep. Patricia Widlitz, and she told me:

Before we (finance chairs, leadership, governor’s budget secretary) reached agreement on a budget proposal to put before the legislature for a vote we considered various revenue sources. During the discussion regarding keno we understood that there had to be a negotiation with the two tribes. We were informed by the Governor’s budget secretary that the discussion with the tribes had been initiated.

This is a little bit different from the way the governor’s office had made the story seem. If one casually absorbed their version of events, one would casually conclude that (a) the legislature did this (possibly crazy) thing and (b) then the governor’s office had to figure out how to get the tribes to live with it.

After some back and forth, Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba conceded that the Malloy “budget secretary” (this would be Office of Policy and Management Director Ben Barnes) was part of the legislative meetings that led to the legalizing of keno and that, when it started to look like a probability, he called the tribes to open a channel for negotiations that started, in earnest, months later. (Because of our old agreement that gives the state a percentage of slot revenues, the state has to negotiate with the tribes when it wants to bring new gambling into the mix.)

“So,” I said to Doba, “even though the governor was ‘just as surprised as I was’ about keno, the difference was that he was surprised before I was?”

That’s correct.

Doba also said Malloy will sign a keno repeal bill if it gets to his desk. I guess I buried the lead. But I’m all about process!