Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kristen Cusato Visits The Ives Concert Park.

Good Morning Connecticut anchor Kristen Cusato spent an evening at the Ives Concert Park to see Grace Potter and Michael Franti. She has a terrific write up about her experience and the ambiance that is the Ives Concert Park.

Kristen is a huge live music fan, (she may have missed her calling) so trust me peeps, if she says its a great place, its a great place.

Thanks for the positive vibes Kristen! Come back anytime.

This weekend at the Ives? Friday night Peter Frampton, and Saturday night Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Steely Dan coming at ya on July 25th. Tickets are moving for all of these shows so get em while you can.

For ticket information please visit www.ivesconcertpark.com.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Fear of SustiNet Killed The Union Deal.

It has been a wild and woolly few days in the Nutmeg State. The Governor's SEBAC agreement has gone down in flames and most people are scratching their heads wondering why the state employee unions would blow up a perfectly good contract that didn't really ask much of the state employees and was loaded with dubious saving assumptions. The unions rejected a four year no layoff clause and back loaded wage increases that would have guaranteed jobs and pay raises for all of its members.

Strange no?

Listening to various radio shows, reading articles online, and listening to my friends who are state employees, an emerging theme as to why there was such a strong "no" vote was that state employees were adamantly opposed to the possibility that their health care would be handed over to a new state health care program called SustiNet.

While nobody can really explain what SustiNet is with any clarity, many state employees felt that the health care provisions of the agreement were the first steps towards migrating their health care to a single payer system managed and operated by the State of Connecticut.

Interesting. Since part of the charge of the SustiNet panel is to leverage the new federal health care program (commonly referred to as "Obamacare"), this vote was a resounding rebuke by the state employee unions of  a large government run health care program.

It is stunning that 40% of the state employee workforce felt that even the hint of an "Obamacare" health care system, would result in employees voting against their own personal interest. State union employees have been reliable Democratic voters for years and supported both President Obama and Governor Malloy in big numbers.

There were other reasons for the "no" votes, but the theme that was heard over and over again was an intense opposition to SustiNet and the fear of a government run health care program.

Government workers not wanting the government to run health care. Ironic no?

As of now, the impact of the failure of the concession package on Danbury is unclear. It will all depend on the Governor's deficit reduction package which will be presented on Thursday.

More then..

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2020 Task Force Provides Opportunity.


Over the last several months the 2020 Task Force has been meeting to discuss the future of the Danbury Public School System.

The 2020 Task Force was appointed to build a consensus between the Board of Education, the City Council, and the community regarding a long term strategic plan for Danbury's schools.

We meet every other Monday at the Beaver Brook Administration Center. The meetings are open to the public and minutes are taken.

Our focus has been on three key areas:

1. Address the potential overcrowding at our elementary schools.

2. Address the current overcrowding at our middle schools.

3. Develop a strategic plan for programming at the high school.

Chaired by Rosty Slabicky, the Task Force is composed of the Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools, Parents, a representative from NEA-Danbury, Board of Ed. members, members of the City Council, and various city and school department heads.

We are still in the early part of our planning, and discussions have just begun about different proposals and scenarios that could be used to address both the short term and the long term challenges that a growing, vibrant school district will face in the 21st century.

Last night, Dr.Pascarella, Dr. Glass, and myself hosted a meeting at Broadview Middle School to dispel many of the rumors that have been circulated by various individuals regarding the different ideas that the 2020 Task Force has discussed.

It was a lively meeting that lasted for three hours. There were more questions than there were answers. That's to be expected since we are in the early stages of planning and no decisions have been made.

Change is always difficult, and changing the perception and the direction of our school district requires having all stakeholders on board.

We are on a tight time line because we would like to have a public discussion about the plan in the fall and over the winter. If all goes well, we would like to have some of the phases completed by 2013.

Reshaping our school system is an excited and invigorating process. There is real opportunity to create the best possible school system with the best possible outcomes in the most cost efficient way.

I have asked the 2020 Task Force to put student achievement first, that should be our highest priority.

You are always welcome to attend our meetings. Monday June 27th at 6:00 PM at Beaver Brook.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Union Savings Bank Steps Up To The Plate.

Robert Yamin, Jay Lent, and Jim Maloney celebrate the transaction on Thursday .
Yesterday was an important day for the City of Danbury and more importantly, our Main Street.

Union Savings Bank closed on the old Main Street Police Station as well as two other parcels of city land.

Their intention is to build a new branch for the bank, and when it's completed, return the old branch to back to the Danbury Public Library.

The old police station will be razed, and a new health clinic as well as senior housing will be built on the site.

While the proposed uses are important, what's more important is that a major financial institution located within Danbury is willing to not just talk the talk, but will walk the walk when it comes to downtown redevelopment.

The purchase represents a sign of faith in the Danbury Renaissance Task Force and the work that is being done within the city to spur investment in our urban core. The purchase also represents a firm commitment by the bank to stay in Danbury, and more importantly, stay on Main Street.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Article Every Politician Should Read.


Every politician, both Democrat and Republican, should read this article by former Senator and Presidential candidate George McGovern.

As a former small business owner I understand the epiphany that McGovern experienced trying to run the Stratford Inn.

McGovern paints a cautionary tale of the difference between writing public policy that demands more and more of our small businesses and industry, and actually owning a small business.

The issue at every level of government is job growth and job creation.

McGovern's experience is just as prescient today as it was in the early 1990's..

Special thanks to Capitol Report for the heads up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ives Center Is Ready For A Great Season.

Excited? You should be.

The Ives Authority, led by Chairman Steve Greenberg, have planned a stellar season for the Ives Concert Park- visiting Danbury and Westconn's beautiful facility will be:

Michael Franti & Spearhead w/ Grace Potter - June 27th.

Peter Frampton - July 1st.

Earth, Wind, & Fire - July 2nd.

Steely Dan - July 25th.

Allison Kraus and Union Station - July 27th

Guster & Ra Ra Riot - August 3rd.

J. Geils Band - August 13th.

The Beach Boys - August 14th

ZZ Top - August 25th.

There will be a terrific event for the Danbury area non- profits that will include the Ives Orchestra on July 16th and a special 9-11 Remembrance event.

Finally, Newtown Savings Bank has come aboard to sponsor the Fine Arts Series.

There is also a ton of community driven events throughout the summer season, everything from the Irish Festival to the Ives Family Fair.

For more information about the park and information on how to purchase tickets, mosey on over to the Ives Concert Park website.

Special thanks to Union Savings Bank for their generous support!

Friday, June 3, 2011

When Will They Get It?

Today's jobs report numbers are an absolute disgrace and are a reflection of the direction that the country has taken since 2008 (not to suggest that pre-2008, was a thrill).

The direction, thought process, -mentality if you will, of the far left in this country and the leaders of our state is that business is the problem, that employers are a piggy-bank, and under no circumstances should a business actually make money.

The result of this philosophy has been to refocus the priority of our federal government and our state government on everything but encouraging business development that will create jobs, and to focus on ancillary issues that result in more regulation, more uncertainty in the market place, and ultimately a chilling of the very heart of our republic, - The American Dream.

For the last 300 years, the market place (read American public) have chosen winners and losers in our economy. Now, the federal government has taken on that role to disastrous results.

Consider:

1. A federal health care plan that is so complicated that you need a PhD to decipher its impact on business. More importantly, the end result has been to chill employers willingness to invest in expansion, and chill employers willingness to hire.

2. A stimulus package that was slow, lethargic and paperwork heavy that did not allow municipal and county governments to deploy the dollars quick enough to arrest the collapsing economy in 2009.

3. Bailouts of some companies (GM) and not others which leads to more uncertainty in the marketplace.

4. A demonizing of business by the political class that has demoralized management of major corporations.

The State of Connecticut has actually been worse than the federal government in understanding the challenges that face the marketplace.

Consider:

1. A paid sick day bill that will require employers to offer paid sick days to its part-time employees. Connecticut would be the first state to mandate this among its businesses.

2. A regressive income tax hike that targets those making 40k to 80k- when combined with other tax hikes will decimate the middle class in Connecticut.

3. A doubling of the Corporate Income Tax.

4. More regulations and a failure of the current Malloy administration to conduct a top to bottom review of onerous anti-business regulations- and actually eliminate them.

5. A captive audience bill in the Legislature that would prohibit employers from meeting with its employees over many issues.

These are just a few of the anti-business initiatives that have been enacted, or will be enacted by our respective governments that send a very clear message: "You are not welcome in Connecticut, and you are not welcome in the United States."

No wonder we have an unemployment rate of 9.1%...