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Category — Columns

You’ll Only Read It Here Once: Edith Prague Was Right.

State Senator Edith Prague (D-Columbia) can be a nasty piece of work. The veteran legislator lives in a world of saints and sinners.  Now and then she succumbs to an outbreak of empathy. She went off script and leaped into the headlines with her comments about nailing the fiend Joshua Komisarjevky by his John Thomas to a Main Street tree.  It may have been devoid of subtlety and too vivid for these times, but she is correct that she had the right to say it.  Komisarjevsky’s defenders, she agrees, also have the right to criticize her. The lady  has no trouble defending herself.

A relentless partisan bruiser, Prague did not incite or threaten.  In some ways, it was her version of a softer moment as she joined with Dr. William Petit in opposing the repeal of the death penalty. Prague merely expressed an aspiration that was not, one suspects, exclusively hers.

May 12, 2011   9 Comments

Enter Audrey Blondin in the 5th.

Well-known Litchfield Democrat Audrey Blondin contacted Daily Ructions today to say that she’s considering a run in the 5th congressional district.  The cell towers and coffee shops of western Connecticut will be groaning with political chatter this weekend.

Blondin served on the Litchfield Board of Selectman from 1993-2003.  She’s a member of the Democratic State Central Committee and practices law in Torrington.  She made a brief bid for secretary of the state in 2005 while Susan Bysiewicz undertook a quixotic and dreary run for governor before retreating back to her office, causing Blondin and others to abandon their plans.  In that cycle, Blondin came close to becoming John DeStefano’s running-mate, but lost that insider contest to West Hartford’s Scott Slifka.

You can read her resume here.  She’s done good works in Nicaragua. Her resume suggests she’s far more PC than Mac. Nevertheless, she has many friends in 5th district Democratic circles.  She would benefit from a reapportionment plan that puts all of Torrington into the district.

January 21, 2011   1 Comment

Exit Chatigny, Enter Droney

Judge Robert Chatigny was not included in President Obama’s winter crop of winter judicial nominations.  Judge Chatigny had twice been  nominated for the Second Circuit at the urging of Senator Christopher Dodd in his final year in office.  Chatigny was the only nominee not renominated from among the dozens who failed to win Senate confirmation last year.

With Dodd gone from the Senate, Senators Joseph Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal will have considerable influence on the next nominee to fill the vacancy.  Daily Ructions understands that federal Judge Christopher Droney, of West Hartford, is receiving serious attention from Lieberman and Blumenthal.  Judge Droney, who’s been on the bench for 13 years, is free of the controversy that dogged Chatigny, his 2005 intervention to stop the execution of serial killer Michael Ross.  In sharp relief, Judge Droney ruled that Ross was competent to waive appeals of his death sentence before Judge Chatigny inserted himself in the controversy.

Judge Droney was a popular mayor of West Hartford and considered a moderate Democrat while he served in public life. He was Connecticut’s United States Attorney from 1993-1997. His brother, vivid former Connecticut Democratic state chairman John Droney, has long been a vocal member of Lieberman’s inner circle and is also thought to be friendly with Blumenthal.

January 6, 2011   Comments Off on Exit Chatigny, Enter Droney

Senate Judiciary Committee Skips Chatigny Nomination.

Judge Robert Chatigny’s nomination to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was first on the agenda today but the Senate Judiciary Committee took no action.  The Connecticut judge has seen his nomination languish over charges that he misused his authority in 2005 when he intervened to halt the execution of serial killer Michael Ross.

With the work of the Senate nearly done, it appears that Chatigny’s nomination is dead.  Others covet the prized seat on the influential court and will not be reluctant to climb over the wreckage of the Chatigny nomination to claim it.  Even those who were reluctant to take a run at it may have cause to reconsider their positions.

December 1, 2010   Comments Off on Senate Judiciary Committee Skips Chatigny Nomination.

Sunday Column: Nancy Tyler Speaks Out.

You may recall Nancy Tyler from the summer of 2009.  She was abducted from a Hartford parking garage and held by her ex-husband, Richard Shenkman, at his South Windsor home.  Nancy escaped when her ex-husband was distracted by local police outside his house.  The house went up in flames as Mr. Shenkman told police to shoot him.  He’s charged with many crimes and resides in a state prison, awaiting trial.

Nancy talked to me recently about life before and after her ordeals.  You can read it here.

September 19, 2010   Comments Off on Sunday Column: Nancy Tyler Speaks Out.

Ned Lamont’s Debate Mess Takes a Nutty Turn.

How could Ned Lamont be so confused and misleading over a straightforward issue like a debate.  He told the editorial board at The Norwich Bulletin that representatives from his and rival Dan Malloy’s campaigns had not met to discuss the format and rules for a debate sponsored by The Day newspaper and WTNH/Channel 8.  Trouble for Lamont is that minutes of the meeting at which Lamont and Malloy campaign officials were present have been circulated with a mixture of astonishment and glee by the Malloy campaign.

Lamont further damages his credibility on the debate over debates by saying he’d agreed to three.  If that means post-convention televised encounters, then he’s still two shy.  The New London debate and one sponsored by WFSB and WNPR would fill in that growing gap in gabfests.  Lamont is digging in with no obvious advantage in the offing.  Remaining obstinate in the pursuit of the trivial is no virtue. Lamont’s inability to manage a graceful resolution is beginning to raise questions about his judgment and competence to handle more complicated challenges.

July 22, 2010   4 Comments

For Fedele, the Hours Seem Like Days.

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele told Greenwich Republicans that his campaign was hours away from meeting the $250,000 in small contributions necessary to receive public funding of his campaign for governor.  Another fundraising email was sent last night, this one from the candidate’s wife, Carol Fedele, asking for contributions up to $100 for the candidate who “brings to the table the experience, courage and character to get our economy back on track….”

References to character are likely to proliferate the Republican primary contest in light of revelations about frontrunner Tom Foley’s two arrests involving the use of motor vehicles.  Fedele’s ability to exploit voters’ doubts about Foley will remain limited if he has no money.  The Foley opening won’t do Fedele much good if he can’t take his contrasts to the airwaves.

June 28, 2010   6 Comments

The Perez Verdict.

Here’s my column on Friday’s jury verdict convicting Eddie Perez on 5 of 6 corruption counts.  It struck three years ago that this would end in tears for Perez and embarrassment for Hartford.  From the start, it had the look of a typical home-improvements-for-favors prosecution.

What did provide surprises on the path from investigation to conviction was how many prominent politicians failed to put some distance between themselves and Perez.

June 20, 2010   Comments Off on The Perez Verdict.

Lamont and Glassman to Run Together.

Democratic candidate for governor is expected to announce Monday has chosen Simsbury first selectman Mary Glassman to run for lieutenant governor with him.  Glassman, who suffered a landslide that defeat for that office in 2006’s fall election, will abandon her stalled campaign for governor.  Glassman, whose support for former Governor John Rowland caused her some uncomfortable moments in the 2006 campaign, will need to bring some delegates to the Lamont campaign if she’s to have any immediate value.

A ticket of two defeated statewide candidates from the 2006 campaign won’t provide the “fresher” choices Glassman said last year Connecticut voters were seeking.  Glassman’s platitude-laden campaign for governor offered few specifics other than the state needs a leader who leads because that’s what a leader does, lead.

The Greenwich millionaire’s Monday “major campaign announcement” will take place at 10:15 a.m. in New Britain, where the BMW SUV-driving Glassman grew up.

May 1, 2010   1 Comment

Legislature Lets Municipal Insurance Trouble Get Worse.

My column in The Hartford Courant today is about the legislature prolonging the life of a troubled workers’ compensation insurer for government entities.  The insurer, MIRMA, has struggled with financial problems for years.  They state’s insurance regulators, however, are barred from taking appropriate action.  Medical care for injured workers is now in danger.

At the end of this post is a link to the letter that the Workers’ Compensation Commission chairman, John Mastropietro, sent to MIRMA on April 6th.  As of Friday, the only he change had been another medical provider complaining that its bills hadn’t been paid.  Mastropietro said he’s had no reply to his letter from MIRMA.  My phone and email messages to MIRMA also received no rely.

Mastropietro Letter to MIRMA

April 25, 2010   Comments Off on Legislature Lets Municipal Insurance Trouble Get Worse.