Thursday, August 30, 2012

Special Speaker Is Clint Eastwood.

In case you haven't heard, tonight's special speaker is none other than Clint Eastwood. He is scheduled to go on around 9 pm.

Condoleezza Rice and Paul Ryan Take the Stage.

Apparently the RNC got the message regarding the busses. Things were a lot smoother on the transportation front last night with almost no hiccups.
Several of you have asked what happens during the day when the convention is not in session. There are a number of receptions, conferences, and activities during the day for the delegates and guests. For example, you could attend a seminar on housing policy led by a national expert or attend a VIP reception with a national political leader, or you could opt to spend the day by the pool.
Today, the Connecticut delegation is visiting a museum, having a dinner in downtown, and then will be heading over to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the last night of  the convention.
Security is tight around the convention hall, once you are there, it’s difficult to leave and you have to pass a number of checkpoints to go anywhere around the downtown.
Most of the delegates try to stay in the general vicinity of the convention to avoid the security  - a brief unscientific survey of businesses around the convention hall gives mixed reviews of the financial spin off of hosting such a large event. It’s unclear what Tampa spent to lure the convention to its downtown, some estimates say that the convention will provide a $150 million of direct and indirect injection of cash into the greater Tampa area – the jury is still out on that.
If you are the red meat kind of person, last night was your night. The convention floor was crowded for the two headliners, Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Both were fired up and they did a really good job of firing up the crowd (New Mexico Governor Martinez did a great job). By the time Ryan came to the podium, the crowd was on their feet.
Tonight the convention hall will be packed when Mitt Romney gives his acceptance speech – should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mia Love and Ann Romney Steal The Show.

We had a late night last night.

The RNC has got to do a better job with the bus transportation.

We left the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 11:00 pm. We waited in a parking area outside the Forum for a shuttle bus for at least an hour if not longer. That bus was to take us to another bus at Raymond James Stadium that would take us back to the hotel. That was were the problem started. We waited 2.5 hours inside a hot  bus to get on a humid hot bus that would take us back to the hotel - no one was allowed to get off the bus while we waited. We arrived at the hotel around 3 am. While our bus was relatively calm, there were reports of passengers who got pretty upset and I am sure they are lighting up the phones of the RNC this morning.

Mia Love is the current Mayor of Saratoga Springs Utah, she is running for Congress in the 4th Congressional District in Utah and, get this, is a Connecticut native (state wide press where are you?), a graduate of the University of Hartford. She told a moving story of her parents coming to the U.S. from Haiti and how her mother taught her all she needed to know.

A great personal story that inspired many of us at the convention - I hope the Connecticut press follows up on Mia and her story

Ann Romney was up to the task last night. She is phenomenal, a class act all the way and gave delegates insight into the kind of man Mitt Romney is - and the kind of President he will be.

It's not easy giving that kind of speech, and she carried it off flawlessly.

Heading back over to the Convention in a few minutes.

Praying for the residents of Louisiana.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac Passes To The West.

After much concern and worry for the organizers of the Republican National Convention, Hurricane Isaac passed to our west and is now barreling up the Gulf of Mexico towards Louisiana.

During the overnite it was windy and rainy (not to be too over dramatic, but I did get some water in my room and could feel the wind blowing through the windows. I can only imagine what a direct hit from a hurricane must do) and generally miserable.

Last night delegates and guests headed to Tropicana Field for the opening night reception. Tropicana Field is a domed stadium so rain and wind are not an issue. Typically there is entertainment (Cirque du Soliel, musical acts, etc) and food - all paid for by the Republican National Committee.

Protesters were in attendance, but, the state police had them in a segregated area with fences and physical barriers - apparently one protester showed up with a machete strapped to his leg.

Today the delegation is at the hotel waiting out the remnants of the storm to pass us by. The schedule has been announced - the RNC has crafted a truncated version of the convention that starts tomorrow at 2 pm.

The roll call for nomination of the office of President and Vice President will start in the early evening of Tuesday August 28th.

Other than that, I will be doing some work from the business center at the hotel and waiting for the sky to clear.

In the meantime, let's hope that New Orleans makes out ok.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All eyes on Isaac.

In case you were wondering, we are not in the midst of armegeddon here in Tampa. In fact, it's a beautiful morning with a nice breeze and plenty of sun.

The RNC decided to post pone Monday's session in the interest of safety. Given Isaac's storm track over night, probably wasn't necessary, but I understand the need for caution.

All the activities are on for tonight. Including the opening reception for the 6 - 7 thousand delegates, alternates and guests at Tropicana Field.

I will have an updated post after the opening reception with an updated convention schedule.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The First Protester?

His name is Evan, and for the last 10 years he has been standing on street corners throughout southern Florida. It's just what he does..

Friday, August 24, 2012

Touchdown In Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum - Ready to go.

Greetings from Tampa Florida! Over the next several days, I will posting from the Republican National Convention. My goal is to give you an inside view of a national political convention.

Yes, I am supporting Mitt Romney for President (I am not jumping on the band wagon, I supported Romney in 08'), but, I am not going to write heavily partisan commentary - you can get that anywhere. I am going to try to add texture and feel to the next several days. Answer basic questions, what goes on at a national convention? what happens on the floor? What does it cost to go to the convention? Who goes to the convention and why? Do conventions even matter anymore? So feel free to email in questions and I will try to answer them (

I arrived in Tampa yesterday, the Convention doesn't actually start until Monday, but Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and I were asked to serve on one of the standing committees - the Committee on Credentials. That means I had to be in Tampa Thursday night for an organizational meeting and then Friday for an all-day meeting and possibly Saturday if we don't finish our work.

What does the Committee on Credentials do? We certify that the 2,286 delegates and the 2,125 alternate delegates attending the convention are lawfully appointed/elected to be there.

This is usually a mundane but critical task that should take a couple of hours to complete. However, this year for the first time in many years, we had several delegate challenges from factions in Maine ,Oregon, and Oklahoma, most of these challenges were from Ron Paul supporters who wanted to be delegates and felt that in some way they were not heard at their respective state conventions.

The Committee on Credentials listens to both sides and we act as a jury of sorts to determine who gets to attend the convention. We heard the three appeals today and all of the initial rulings made by the Republican National Committee were upheld.

Tomorrow we will be greeting the delegates and the alternates as they arrive from all over the country.

Right now, all eyes are on Tropical Storm Isaac.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Public Hearing Tonight.

Tonight at 7 pm, the City Council will be conducting a Public Hearing and a Special Meeting on the  Vision 2020 Bond Package.

I am asking that $44 million be programmed for renovations and additions to 4 schools: Stadley Rough, Park Ave, and Shelter Rock, and Mill Ridge Intermediate.

If approved, each of these buildings will be upgraded and expanded to accommodate the expected influx of students we will see over the next 10 years, and provide the space necessary to offer All-Day Kindergarten to all of Danbury's students.

Mill Ridge Intermediate will be converted into a building that will house middle school students and two academies, the STEM Academy currently housed at Rogers Park Middle School, and a new Academy modeled on our popular International Academy that is currently offered to grades K-5.

In addition, we are also holding Public Hearings on modest borrowings for our Sewer Plant and for our Water Plant as well as important infrastructure repairs (bridges, drainage, and library improvements).

I have asked that each repair/building program be broken into 4 questions for consideration by the voters.

Should the City Council opt to report these ballot questions out tonight, they will be placed on the November ballot for a final vote by the voters of Danbury.

So come on down to City Hall this evening and be heard.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So What's a Hacker Space?

Yesterday we announced that we would be using the old Union Savings Bank that is attached to the Danbury Public Library has a hacker space and as a small business incubator.

So, what's a hacker space?

Well the best way to describe one is a place where people can congregate, exchange ideas, and make use of the technology that is there to improve on their ideas. The ideas could range from computer programming to manufacturing, digital art and electronic art to assembly and design skills.

The Danbury Innovation Center could also have seminars and discussion groups on everything from the latest trends in social media to the most recent iteration of the Iphone.

The small business incubator will be used to coach and mentor budding entrepreneurs and business ideas. Access to technology and business skills will be provided in conjunction with the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.

There are currently a little over 1,000 hacker spaces in the world and the City of Danbury joins only a few cities in Connecticut to host one.

Funding for the Danbury Innovation Center will come from fees charged to users and grants that are available.

The City will renovate the library space to accommodate the center (approximately 2500 square feet).

Look for a 2013 opening.