I agree that that Strawberry Hill Ave is a test of anyone’s patience and driving skills. The work by the gas and water companies, as well as the reconfiguration of the intersection with Tierney St have made that street quite a bit to handle.
The city is obligated to allow the utilities to perform this work in the right of way, and therefore we do, so for some period of time, everyone needs to be patient and understanding.
Specific to the pavement: When streets are dug into by the utilities repeatedly over a long period of time, the result is a series of patches, which inevitably settle. To pave too quickly would result in the new roadway settling in a similar fashion and being ruined. That is the answer to why we have so many bumps on this particular street.
A portion of Strawberry Hill had gotten so rough that it was milled to a certain point and not paved, but a shim, which involves laying a thin asphalt layer over an existing paved surface, was employed as a temporary solution while utility work continued.
The work being done all along Strawberry Hill Av is to make our community better. It is the result of a "Safe Routes to Schools" project, it was designed by professional traffic engineers to slow traffic down.
As they say about omelets, you have to break some eggs. In this case, as the work resolves and is completed, most of Strawberry Hill will be repaved this year and the area will be stabilized. The entire stretch will be much safer for the school children who walk this street every day and a bike lane will expand transportation options for those kids and all Norwalk’s bikers.
You are correct that 1964 was the last year that quarters were made partially of real silver and the numbers you use are approximately correct.
Your argument loses water after that. For the .9 Troy Ounces of Silver in 5 quarters to hold this value, they would have needed to have been stored, not invested or saved, thereby losing any interest and compounding over the 50 years intervening.
I'm not going to calculate what that would have resulted in given fluctuating interest rates, but even assuming a modest return likely to have been earned in a savings account, it would be worth more than $26.
Given your logic, I can swap out the silver in those quarters for a share of GE stock or some other more or less fungible type of compensation and it would more egregious. No one was paid in just quarters, and no one (outside of the Hunt Brothers, maybe) is sitting on vast stores of silver for 50 years. You miss the point of the article. View Comment
Paul, $1.25 in 1962 is less than $10 in 2013 adjusted purely for inflation. Not sure how you are calculating that. There was no Connecticut Income Tax in 1964, so that is a big jump.
I find a flaw in this study to begin with. Why would someone at the LOWEST income bracket be able to afford the AVERAGE rental, which I must presume includes luxury apartments in the calculation.
This state has market distorting affordable housing regulations which punish municipalities that don't maintain over 10% housing that is affordable by deed restriction. In Norwalk, we have 11.56% deed restricted and the actual figure is over 25%, all of which would be affordable to a minimum wage earning family, if there is such a thing.
Isn't it better to create and provide the opportunity for people to earn their success? We need to care for the truly disabled and sick, but instead of enabling more people to live at the bottom, reforming the tax code and allowing people to work, create and build and earn their success, that is the path to a true solution. View Comment
Diane, You are obviously very invested in this discussion and that is great and should continue, I did not include you in the 6 or so people I made mention of.
If you have observed a violation of FOIA, report it. If there are factual arguments against something, then present them at the appropriate time.
My letter is in response to extremely specific instances of a handful of people going to any length to spin an issue without fact...to wit..."my dentist said driving ranges don't make money"...and I pointed this out. I also specifically said I had no idea whether this should go one way or another.
My comments related to the financial performance of OHPA are based on the financials presented thru Mr. Hamilton's office, if you are implying that they are improper or incorrect, come forward and show that to be the case. Assailing facts thru innuendo and phony conclusions is not appropriate.
Trying to rebut the statement "whether one can or cannot be built at Oak Hills remains to be seen" in any way tends to show your hand. The content of this letter was intended to encourage open and honest dialog, your intent in opposing that puzzles me.
I'm sorry if you are upset that your arguments against the Day St project were shown to be incorrect and were not acted upon. You had some strange motivation that I don't understand for fighting that project, and your opinion was shared by 2 people who are very money motivated. I feel they used you. If this is simply the next thing that you are going to hurl accusations on, I will not be surprised if the result is the same. View Comment
I came back to check and found this mess. I would recommend "Connected" reread the letter. I am neither supporting nor opposing the driving range, I am supporting the process of gathering more information and letting the Authority work. I have had several people complain to me that they feel crowded out and alienated by the handful of people (who are completely entitled to their opinion and right to speak) who feel that the one who shouts the loudest wins. That was the motivation for this letter.
The 150K is a bridge loan for the winter months and the Authorities financials as accepted by the finance director show it as profitable by Jun 30. It is this sort of ranting and screaming without facts that I am opposing. View Comment
Oddly, when I checked, it seems that department heads never come to this meeting. We've had the final budget for quite a while, and drafts for months; all committees have met in the last month. Any questions to department heads could have been asked and answered by now. I really fail to see any reason for not being prepared for the committee meeting last night.
Turning what has been a reasonable and honest approach to the budget into a political stunt is what creates distrust and causes the arguments that have lead to an inability to fund priorities in the past. The gap seems to be 400k, which I would argue could be found in a budget of this size, but perhaps the mayor, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Wilms will find an alternative method to close it by Tues View Comment
Lisa, your comment seems a little out of place. While it is true that the city did not find the error, it is not the city's business to review/audit every line in the BoE budget or results, and in fact, if they did, there would probably be a lot of phone calls made to Hartford complaining about it. The COO of the BoE found the error, and steps have been taken so that it does not recur.
The error was a fairly simple two step error on the part of the BoE worker, first they segregated the retirees portion (which was appropriate) and then they took it out of the budget rather than keeping it in (which was not).
I am also a little surprised at the attempts by others to cast Mr. Hamilton's extremely sensible steps to solve this problem as something nefarious. Perhaps this is where your comment comes from and if so, I apologize.
There is one city, Norwalk, and there is one source of funds, the taxpayers. There were no loans made, so there are no loans to be forgiven. In 2012/3 there was a shortfall because the amount was not budgeted and could not be conjured out of thin air, and so there were consequences.
Now, in 2013/4 the amount is recognized, budgeted for and accounted for, quite sensibly on the city's books and not on the BoE's due to minimum funding requirements that would kick in going forward. View Comment
Guillermo Arteaga was a wonderful man who also served on the council. I only got to know him in the last two years of his life, but he was a gentleman. I don't know if he was in a leadership position. He probably was. View Comment
Diane...then ask a question, don't write your conclusions and force someone else to point out that you are testifying. Your honor, I object.
ps...you did it again here. Joanne has written plenty and none of it mentions any of the conjecture you're putting forward. You would hang someone on any board or commission for doing that. View Comment
Diane, I think you could have called Joanne if you had these questions. It seems like you are trying to make some other point here, which isn't correct. Joanne is referring to being bullied, no, beyond bullied, verbally harassed and almost physically assaulted by 2 councilmen, 1 of whom subsequently had to be taken to task by the police for continuing his rant. As a woman of a certain age, that isn't want she signed up for. Quite frankly, I didn't either, though these 2 hooligans only appear to threaten women.
Joanne might have felt and acted differently on a number of issues, in my opinion, and engaged in more discussion and debate, but for the fact that the yelling, name calling and general display of ignorance has really prevented any meaningful discourse. That is what I think she means by silenced. View Comment
Trying to blame individuals in this case is silly. A legitimate request to review this has been made to a board made up of more Democrats and Unaffiliated voters than Republicans.
As far as how anyone by party will react, I think you would be surprised to understand that most Republicans are certainly not in favor of creating housing that is going to become a slum or an immediate center of criminal activity. There is a process to follow, however. No one can simply be rejected without a hearing.
Ms. Romano has supported the mixed income housing on Day St and has been an advocate for the poor and disadvantaged for her entire career. She is not a fat cat politician by any definition, she is the daughter of a police officer who works every day like most of the people in this city, struggling to make ends meet at times, but always getting there honestly. She, however, is not on the Zoning Commission, so this is not her decision to make. View Comment
"Old Timer" You did no such thing, as I have no idea who you are.
Responding in this manner is about as much as I am willing to do for an anonymous post. I pass by Meadow St 3-5 times a week and am very familiar with the area. Trash on a 90 degree day stinks. That stink dissipates very quickly with distance. There are state standards they need to abide by and I am in the process of ensuring that they do and subsequently will invite the neighborhood associations that have complained to meet. View Comment
@Sono, I never saw any question here on odor. I got some emails yesterday and I thought it was important enough to go and check it out. I have responded to the people who made inquiries.
I went down to Meadow St at 6PM last night. It was extremely hot and standing right next to the fence was horrible. If I moved 10 feet away, though, I could not smell anything. I thought that maybe it was the wind. So, I drove to Village Creek. I stopped on Dock, Split Rock and drove all the way out on Outer Rd. The only thing I could smell was what was around the immediate area. I don’t doubt that the time and winds would have an effect on this issue. If there is an issue, anyone concerned should call customer service to get the complaint logged. When I asked for the data, yesterday was the first day anyone ever complained about the smell, ever.
I know we get horrific odors from time to time where I live…but it is low tide smell. Mother Nature’s price for living near the water. It is also very bad and not that far off from garbage truck. I drive by the Meadow St facility at least three times a week and honestly have never smelled anything in passing. Timing, speed of the car, wind, all play a factor there, so, take that for what you will.
I was told in passing that the state is the controlling authority here (DEEP), so I suggest you also log your complaints with them. You can find that info here http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2690&q=322474&depNav_GID=1511
Ken: Come to the meeting and we can get that explained in detail for you. In a nutshell, the positions in the Highway Dept have been held open for them. In past years the funding for those positions was used to fund overtime or some other manner of getting the work associated with those positions done. Now it will be used to pay them to do the work. So, there is potentially some efficiency there as well (i.e. we won't be paying overtime or contractors, so it could be cheaper to get things done) View Comment
MJC: The documentation is a matter of public record. An email to firstname.lastname@example.org would get you a copy of the spreadsheet that documents the accounts that are at issue. The explanation is much more involved, and I would be happy to explain it.
Matt: This letter demonstrates a poor understanding of the facts and a series of errors, better you should try to understand things before you write something like this. You and attacks like this are the number 1 impediment to education reform in Norwalk, because responsible people need to stop working on solutions to correct mistatements.
Your poor attempt at humor doesn't reflect well on anyone. The long held tradition of cancelling summer meetings close to July 4 or in August is well known to you, in fact you praised me for cancelling the Public Works Committee meeting that would have been July 3rd. The BET has already scheduled a meeting for July 11th. If the meeting was held on July 2nd, no doubt it would have been a "conspiracy to prevent people from attending" because of its proximity to the holiday.
You say "The root cause of the current crisis was a failure of leadership and a series of short-sighted decisions by the administration" A more accurate statement would be "The root cause of the current crisis was a failure of leadership and a series of short-sighted decisions by the then Democrat controlled Board of Education, which has complete discretion in the administration of its budget". That the issue went undetected by anyone in either party is not in dispute. No one besides you seems to have any desire to “pin the blame” on anyone still around, because we have long since realized the administrators responsible are gone.
Your statements as to the mechanism by which the crisis occurred are simply not correct. While I would not disagree were you simply to state that BOE Administrators chose to take perceived surpluses from the BOE Insurance accounts to cover overages in the special education fund, you attempt to make this seem like a conspiracy by pointing fingers at some mysterious underfunding. The fact of the matter is that insurance claims (medical visits and procedures) vary wildly due to timing and simple demand. You personally told me that a handshake deal was made to fund this account for $25M each year when you were last on the council under Mayor Knopp. If the perceived overages weren’t swept at the end of those years, arguably this account would not have gone into deficit.
Similarly, the education of children with special needs is unpredictable. Children come in to the district (and leave) and their educational and therapeutic needs must be met. I have worked at Brookside School and seen the Occupational Therapist at work myself and I think they do a great job. Many kids need out of district care, like my friends’ deaf mute child. While I don’t think it is correct to not demand swift billing for those services, the opposite has occurred causing a lag in the recognition of those charges and thus the underlying need for the transfers to cover the end of year shortfall. You don’t seem to follow that.
If you truly believe the city has been underfunding the Educational System of our city, propose a special tax to make up the difference, and own it, rather than proposing a fiscally irresponsible (but politically easy) use of City reserves to pay operating expenses. (Before you say it, I only voted for the Resolution because it said [as Mr. Kimmel pointed out] “up to 1.8M”, and any amount would necessarily come from the BET after appropriate study). Need I remind you that Norwalk spends far more per student than any other City in our DRG; we are not in a fiscal crisis because we underspend local tax dollars; we are in a crisis because (1)we have the highest salaries in the State even though we are a City that ranks 54th in median family income, and (2) your fellow party members upstate have been underfunding our schools by $30 million per year for years (without a peep of protest from you, or for that matter from our state senator, who brings us crumbs from the Hartford table and says he's "standing up for us" while that $30 million a year we should rightly receive is siphoned off by more effective Democrat legislators for their cities up state).
I have sincerely tried to look at this situation with an eye to solving the problems we face, but your (willful or otherwise) misunderstanding of facts to forward a political agenda and continuously throwing mud is of great discredit to you and anyone who associates with you. The fact that many of your own caucus have fled from you should be a signal to you to stop this. Even the Democrat members of the BOE are not coming to your side in this discussion. Please consider the children and leave your harmful political agenda behind.