I can sense that political operatives–judging the banter from my Shays/Himes commentary–are beginning to sharpen their teeth as we head into the hot election cycle. It was so hot on Black Rock Day I understand that Auden Grogins offered State Rep. Bob Keeley a snow cone. “Thanks for the tax pledge on your sign, Bob.”
I don’t understand what Keeley’s thinking with a promise to cut taxes on his lawn signs. After 20 years in the state legislature he doesn’t have a strong record on taxes. In fact, legislative incumbents are super vulnerable on tax issues, particularly Connecticut’s highest-in the-nation gasoline taxes. That’s why legislators are tripping over each other on their way to a special session Wednesday to address voter anger over the pumps.
When Keeley talks taxes, he’s not playing to his seniority strength. As a challenger Grogins can talk taxes, provided it’s not the kind of reckless campaign pledge that has Bill Finch in hot water with city voters. Finch is a hot-button topic for door-to-door campaigners. You could fry an egg on voters’ heads about Finch and it would have nothing to do with the weather.
Keeley will attempt to wrap Finch around Grogins. Keeley and Finch, once friends, are no longer. Keeley supported State Rep. Chris Caruso for mayor and now Finch is on a jihad to defeat him. But Grogins has a few cards to play. Keeley loves talking about his history running against the system. Well, Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa broke the tie that delivered the party endorsement for Keeley. If Keeley tries to tie Grogins at the hip with Finch here’s what I’d do: “What do Bill Finch and Bob Keeley have in common? They never met a tax hike they didn’t like.” But Keeley has a mischievous side to him, so maybe when it comes to a tax message he’s just playing with us.
Speaking of tax hikes, the Board of Education is trying to close a $10 million hole for the budget year that begins July 1. One cost-cutting item to weigh–shortening the school year by three days to save nearly $2 million–was rejected by union officials. Is the union being smart or greedy?
The Fabs Film Fest is tonight at 7 at the Barnum Museum where filmmaker Larry Locke will showcase his docudrama about John Fabrizi The Accidental Mayor. If you’re going, say hello.