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Dispatches From The Sitting Duck Tavern. Herbst is a Loon.



It’s the only explanation. Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst must have been texting from one of his favorite watering holes, The Sitting Duck Tavern (Now in Trumbull!). Maybe it was late at night, maybe not. It has not gone well. Herbst’s nutty feud with beleaguered Democratic Enfield state Representative David Alexander, who seems like a bit of a whiner himself, has taken attention away from Republicans who are on the ballot this fall. Herbst has further revealed himself as an undisciplined loon, given to impulsive outbursts.

The Herbst-Alexander hostilities date to their years as rivals in Trinity College campus politics. (The college must be so proud.) Alexander has had two well-publicized drunk driving arrests while serving the people of Enfield. Herbst thought this would be an appropriate time to even a score and make an intervention. It was not. Herbst’s Clint Eastwood-themed text–featuring, of course, a gun–caused Alexander, who must be a fragile sort, to feel unsafe. Alexander called the Capitol State Police to report his fear. Curiously, he did not call the nearby Enfield police. Someone from the Capitol State called Herbst and told him to knock it off. The rising-star-to-shooting-star says he will cease and desist. Weiner Herbst says it was a mistake. The 2014 Republican candidate for state treasurer meant to send the clip to a different Trinity classmate.

Herbst has mocked Alexander about being unprepared for “the big leagues”. What would he know of such a place?

Herbst, who was re-elected Trumbull’s first selection last November by a tiny 357 vote margin out of more than 11,000 cast, works on a wide spectrum of outrage for criminal conduct. He’s in a twist over Alexander’s drunk driving arrests but has emerged as a supporter of Bridgeport mayor Joseph Ganim, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for public corruption.


September 21, 2016   12:51 pm   Comments Off on Dispatches From The Sitting Duck Tavern. Herbst is a Loon.

More News From Vichy: CBIA Silent on Berger Race.

Talk about mixed signals. The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) released its list of endorsements Tuesday. Most of the candidates receiving the insurance agency’s nod are Republicans. The association has committed $400,000 to boosting Republican prospects in November 8th’s legislative contests.

One of the races CBIA gave a pass to is a puzzlement. The 73rd House race features finance committee co-chair Jeff Berger against popular Waterbury alderman Steve Giacomi. The legislature’s finance committee is where those tax increases CBIA now complains about originate. One efficient way to send a message is to oppose the chairman of a committee where much of the damaging legislation–the state’s two biggest tax increases–have taken shape since 2011. CBIA, however, often has conflicting interests which keep it from acting in its members best interests.


September 21, 2016   9:43 am   Comments Off on More News From Vichy: CBIA Silent on Berger Race.

Evan Dobelle Returns With the Briefest of Biographies.

You may remember Evan Debelle from his relentless self-advertisements while he was president of Trinity College in the 1990s. Dobelle put Eddie Perez on his Trinity team. He also promoted himself as a potential governor of Connecticut. Dan Papermaster performed a public service when he prevented Dobelle from hijacking the 1996 vice presidential debate when it was held in Hartford.

Dobelle went on to an abbreviated tenure at the University of Hawaii and eventually came to a humiliating end in academia in 2013 when he skedaddled out the door at Westfield State University in Massachusetts in a remarkably tawdry tale.

Now here he is again. This time on the leadership of Countable–something Massachusetts officials had trouble doing when reviewing Debelle’s expenses at Westfield. It has something to do with advocacy widgets. What’s notable is how much Debelle’s leadership profile leaves out. The veracity of it would depend what you mean by “distinguished”.

  • Evan Dobelle SVP, Managing Director / Washington Office
    Evan has had a distinguished career in higher education as President of 5 different colleges and universities. He had been a two term Mayor of his hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts before going to Washington where he served President Carter as Chief of Protocol of the White House, National Treasurer of the DNC and then National Chair of the 1980 Carter / Mondale campaign. He comes to us from Gensler where he was Director of Consulting for Education, Arts and Culture for the worlds largest architecture and design firm.

This 2015 story from the Boston Globe, which uncovered Debelle’s dubious doings at Westfield, summarizes the saga. It notes that Dobelle is banned from working or volunteering at any public institution of higher learning in Massachusetts.

September 12, 2016   12:22 pm   Comments Off on Evan Dobelle Returns With the Briefest of Biographies.

Interminable Fight Over Who Controls Independent Party Ballot Line Returns to Court Today.

The scrap over control of the Independent Party line and the endorsements that accompany it makes a brief return to Superior Court today. The parties, unable to reach a permanent resolution to their disputes of law and personalities, are asking that the original 2014 matter be reopened.

You can see the case detail here and the latest motion here.

If the matter between warring Waterbury and Danbury clans is not resolved soon, neither Hatfields nor McCoys may appear on the party line in November.

September 12, 2016   10:13 am   Comments Off on Interminable Fight Over Who Controls Independent Party Ballot Line Returns to Court Today.

CCJEF Plaintiff Starts to Understand Cruel Court Decision.

Wendy Lecker, Hearst newspaper columnist and CCJEF member, is among the plaintiffs beginning to understand the implications of the cruel education funding decision that opens a war on the disabled. Expect to see more of this.


September 12, 2016   9:35 am   Comments Off on CCJEF Plaintiff Starts to Understand Cruel Court Decision.

Do the Winners Appeal? Plaintiff Superintendents Falter in Education Funding Victory Dance.

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) is having some second thoughts about the plaintiff association’s victory whoops in Wednesday’s education funding decision. Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D. (they do love their suffixes in education), executive director of CAPSS, sent a worried memo to members on Thursday. It does not set forth the talking points of winners. It is the first stirrings of an organization that realizes its claims do not match reality. The poor wretches must have spent Wednesday night slogging through the sloppy decision searching for an island of thought in that sea of musings and nonsense. They did not like what they found.

Winning plaintiffs do not appeal. Yet there it is in the memo below. There has been no order for what the plaintiffs wanted: billions more money. An appeal may be required to because “some of the judge’s apparent rulings go beyond the scope of the case before him.”  And there’s no $2 billion a year.

There is also this: “An apparent ruling that would require the State not to program for children whose special needs are so severe that education cannot materially influence the quality of their lives.” The superintendents and their fellow plaintiffs must be wondering what they have wrought. Under the equivalent of an education eugenics order, their future may be with conferences on “How to Deny Disabled Students an Education”. Don’t expect many to put that on their resumes. With Wednesday’s victory whoops and preposterous declarations of virtue fading, this may be their lasting legacy.

Expect more plaintiffs to start contemplating what “victory” means.

Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 11:58 AM
Subject: CCJEF Decision

As I’m sure you know by now, the judge in the CCJEF Trial announced his decision yesterday.  He did so in an opinion that is approximately 250 pages long and that took him over two hours to read, word by word, from the bench.
CAPSS staff with assistance from attorneys and the staff of the lobbying firm that CAPSS has retained will examine the opinion in detail.  At this point, however, it seems apparent that the decision has the following major components.

1.      A ruling that it is NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL for the state to have a public education financing system that is NOT based on the amount of money it takes to provide every child equitable access to an adequate educational program.  CCJEF argues that such a system is unconstitutional and the judge seemed to disagree with this argument.

2.      A ruling that the present system for funding public education in CT is unconstitutional because it is irrational.  The judge gave the State 180 days to submit to the plaintiffs in the case a system that is rational.

3.      An apparent ruling that the State has to develop a system for requiring students to actually demonstrate that they have mastered specified content and skills before being awarded a high school diploma and a requirement that there be an State graduation exit exam established for this purpose.

4.      An apparent ruling that TEVAL be revamped so that compensation is based on the results of TEVAL.

5.      An apparent ruling that would require the State not to program for children whose special needs are so severe that education cannot materially influence the quality of their lives.

These components were articulated in a context in which the judge expressed his opinions on a number of educational matters.

It is difficult to predict accurately at this time what will happen next for the following reasons.

First of all, we will have to learn whether either party in the case will appeal any aspect of the decision.  A portion of the appeal may well be based on a contention that some of the judge’s apparent rulings go beyond the scope of the case before him.

Second, we will have to determine what aspects of rulings will serve as supporters of CAPSS public policy objectives such as the implementation of mastery-based personalized learning and which are contrary to CAPSS positions such as the imposition of a requirement that all students pass a high school exit exam before being allowed to graduate from high school.

As these and other considerations unfold, I will keep you informed.

If you have questions in the meantime, please get back to me.

Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D.
Executive Director
CT. Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS)

September 9, 2016   9:20 am   Comments Off on Do the Winners Appeal? Plaintiff Superintendents Falter in Education Funding Victory Dance.

Hair Raising: Moukawsher Decision Declares War on Special Needs Students.


The state’s most vulnerable children, their families and their advocates are about to learn what a nasty piece of work is Thomas G. Moukawsher. The state court judge’s rambling “Cicero brief” ruling on state education funding garnered extensive press attention on Wednesday. The haughty and erratic decision takes direct aim at the state’s special education funding. The decision includes a cruel call for the abandonment from public schools of some students coping with the most serious disabilities. Expect a ferocious reaction from the compassionate when spin fades and the public and policymakers absorb the details of the decision and the chilling philosophy that informs . This is far more than a tussle over a cabana at Groton’s Shennecosset Beach Club, where the disputatious former Democratic state party committee factotum is a member. Those at risk cannot concede this critical struggle in the shadow of other education funding issues.

Teachers had reached a state of alarm late Wednesday night by the decision’s call for mandatory testing and performance evaluations. The plaintiffs will begin to tear themselves apart when members realize if the decision is ever implemented plenty of towns that consider themselves chronically shortchanged will be losing funding to the cities that already receive a large portion of state education money. Leave it to a leftwing elitist like Moukawsher, who sends his child to private school, to make a mess of the state’s public schools in an anti-democratic screed. State legislators are astounded that a Superior Court judge would order them to rework the state’s public education system within 180 days. Some of them are wondering if the grasping judge will threaten to hold all 187 of them in contempt next winter.

Court watchers are still remarking at Moukawsher’s raw display of narcissism by reading his long decision from the bench for more than three hours on Wednesday. Insiders know the amateur stagecraft served as a launch for the diva Moukawsher’s latest bid for a seat on the Federal bench. A vacancy is about to open with the August announcement of Judge Robert Chatigny’s retirement  from the United States District Court, District of Connecticut after 22 years on the bench.

The china-and-glassware totin’ Moukawsher (he brings them to court for his lunch, to the bemusement of colleagues), may be hoping attention from the school funding case will mute the fury of a group of judges aware of an incident at the Norwich courthouse while the jurist with a startling case of entitlementitis was assigned there. The Norwich saga has been the subject of much discussion by a group of judges who dine at regular intervals and ruminate over doings in the Judicial Branch. What Moukawsher served Wednesday will give them and plenty of others indigestion until the case reaches on appeal a court more sober and competent.

September 8, 2016   1:51 pm   Comments Off on Hair Raising: Moukawsher Decision Declares War on Special Needs Students.

Ackert’s In. Popular Republican State Representative Announces Challenge to Klarides.

Dangerous Liaison Leads to Caucus Challenge.

Dangerous Liaison Leads to Caucus Challenge.

Coventry Republican state Representative Tim Ackert will challenge incumbent House Republican Leader Themis Klarides to lead the minority caucus when the new legislature convenes in January. Klarides’s erratic work habits, iffy grip on issues and close relationship with House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz have caused many Republican legislators to become restive with their leader.

Ackert is seeking a fourth term from his eastern Connecticut district. In making his announcement, Ackert declared, “I am seeking the position of Leader to provide a much needed change to the current practices that have kept Republicans from making a larger impact for the State of Connecticut. I want our Republican members to be involved in key decisions to help lift Connecticut from one of its worst economic positions in recent memory. We have many talented caucus members who are ready and able to step up and make the changes necessary to improve our state. I am ready to give them that opportunity. A key point in my decision to run for Leader came in the waning moments of the 2016 legislative session. Our members were forced, by our current leadership, to vote on a consent calendar with little or no information on what they were voting on. This lack of leadership forced Republican House members to make a decision to support, oppose or abstain on dozens of bills without any knowledge about their content. Putting our members in such a precarious position will not happen under my leadership.”

Ackert is giving voice to caucus members who believe Democrats such as Aresimowicz, Senate Democratic staffer Vincent Mauro and former Malloy chief of staff Mark Ojakian enjoy an unseemly amount of influence with Klarides that far exceeds any wielded by her fellow Republicans in the caucus.

September 7, 2016   3:07 pm   Comments Off on Ackert’s In. Popular Republican State Representative Announces Challenge to Klarides.

Janet Polinsky Would Enjoy Hearing from You.

Former state legislator and DPUC commissioner Janet Polinsky is unwell but brave. According to an email from Janet’s friend Susan Keane, Janet believes “her days are numbered,” though she feels certain that she will be among us to see Donald Trump properly defeated in November. The Democrat with the unforgettable voice likes hearing from her friends by email. You can send her a message at naboi1@aol.com.


September 1, 2016   9:00 am   Comments Off on Janet Polinsky Would Enjoy Hearing from You.

Peter Lumaj Preparing for 2018 Bid.

Fairfield lawyer Peter Lumaj will spend the holiday weekend making final preparations for a 2018 bid for statewide office. It will be Lumaj’s third attempt. In 2012, he launched a long shot candidacy for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. Two years later, was the Republican nominee for secretary of the state and ran a credible campaign against incumbent Denise Merrill. Lumaj made many friends among the party faithful during that campaign and has tended to those new relationship in the past two years.

Lumaj is said to be contemplating a race for governor.

In response to an inquiry, Lumaj wrote Daily Ructions:

“I have not filed any paperwork yet, but am working to put the final pieces together of an official exploratory effort. I am taking the reminder of this week and the long holiday weekend to sort out the remaining details and will have the final conversations with my family and advisors soon after.”

I am excited about this effort as we move forward, but am firmly committed to helping both the Connecticut House and Senate Republicans achieve legislative majorities in 2016.

Lumaj would be the first among what many be a platoon of candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, each thinking 2018 is the year.

August 31, 2016   2:04 pm   Comments Off on Peter Lumaj Preparing for 2018 Bid.