Update: News release from Congressman Jim Himes:
Himes Gives Back Rangel Campaign Contributions
Washington, D.C. – Following a ruling against Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (NY-15) by the House Ethics Committee, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) announced that he will donate to charity the contributions Mr. Rangel made to his campaign.
“I admire Mr. Rangel for his decades of leadership on civil rights and his service in the armed forces and in Congress. But as elected officials, we must live up to the highest ethical standards. Given this admonishment by the Ethics Committee and the other allegations pending against him, I have directed my staff to donate to charity the campaign contributions received from Mr. Rangel.”
Himes came under attack by Washington GOP critics and Republican opponent Rob Russo for accepting $16,000 in campaign donations from a Rangel-controlled PAC. Russo raised the issue in a statement on Thursday for Rangel’s “failure to report or pay income taxes on properties in New York and the Dominican Republic, securing earmarks for a building in NY to be named for Rangel and using official office staff and stationary to solicit political contributions.”
The Candidate Spin
All these political campaigns causing you vertigo? Just a few months from state party conventions to endorse candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state senate, state house, state constitutional offices, judge of probate. A quick look at some key races and candidates:
Governor: Former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley is the GOP front runner, especially with former Congressman Christopher Shays crabbing back to Maryland. Foley, who’s self-funding his race, has plenty of moolah to burn. Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele is a nice guy who no one knows. A bunch of other relatively unknown Republicans are in the race including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Hartford area business exec Oz Griebel.
On the Democratic side it’s a hot race between former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy and Ned Lamont, who defeated Joe Lieberman in a Dem primary for U.S. Senate in 2006, only to lose to Joe in the general election when the entire state GOP operation did a tank job on their candidate to support Joe. Part of Ned’s problem was not appealing to independent voters. Ned can win a primary. Can he win a general? Malloy, as a former chief executive who’s balanced budgets, kept taxes down and recruited business, has a stronger profile for a general election. Looks like Malloy is leading in the delegate count for the May party endorsement. Ned, too, has lots of dough to burn. Get ready for a hot August primary. Other Dems are in the race. Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s a good candidate. No money and no profile.
U.S. Senate: Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has the Democratic endorsement locked up. Merrick Alpert, the other Dem in the race, is an attractive candidate, but no money. Will he go through with a primary? On the Republican side a nasty fight is brewing between Linda McMahon, former wrestling executive and former Congressman Rob Simmons. Looks like an August primary, but could Simmons switch gears and run for his old congressional seat in eastern Connecticut? Dick’s leading in the polls by 20 points but I see this race narrowing, especially if McMahon’s the GOP nominee. The other Republican in the race, economic guru Peter Schiff, is also an attractive candidate with money, but has gained no traction which leads me to …
Congress: Would Schiff switch gears and run for Jim Himes’ seat? Dunno. Some folks say the job is beneath him. The leading GOP candidates against Himes are former Bridgeport State Senator Rob Russo and Shelton State Senator Dan Debicella. A well-financed Republican in this anti-Washington, heavy spending environment will give the serendipitous Himes a battle. Himes will be well financed, but had Shays or State Senator John McKinney run against Himes I say it would be sayonara Jimmy (nothing against Himes, a good guy), such is the makeup of the district. Russo, who’s money challenged, needs a jolt of financial support otherwise his political support will gravitate to Debicella who’s raised more dough. Shays, of course, could help Russo, his former aide, with an endorsement and fundraising letter. Will he?
Attorney General: This is going to be some fight for the Democratic nomination between Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who’s legal credentials for the job are being challenged in court, and former State Senator and party honcho George Jepsen, the two leading Dem candidates. Bysiewicz, a relentless self promoter, hasn’t been getting the type of promotion that lends itself to credibility so George, who’s not well known statewide, is taking advantage of an opening, calling her legal background into question while buffing his better-suited credentials. SuBy is also acting like she just wants the job for two years and then will go for Lieberman’s seat.
Judge of probate: Any challengers to Judge Paul Ganim? I haven’t heard any serious names which tells me Paul’s in good shape for another four years. And even if a challenger emerges Paul would be tough to defeat. He’s had the job for 12 years and knows how to campaign in this city-wide seat. Does he run for mayor in 2011? And will brother Joe campaign for him? Or the other way around?
Hang Out With Short People
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OIB friend, neighborhood and environmental activist Jeff Kohut isn’t bashful about sharing his take on the future of Bridgeport, where to go and how to get there. In a commentary below he addresses the Right time for Bridgeport to emerge as a manufacturing/technology leader
By Jeff Kohut
Bridgeport; green-energy technology/manufacturing “ground zero”?
(A new approach to green-energy technology development/energy independence)
While the United States’ very limited exploitation of green-energy technology has provided a few thousand manufacturing jobs in a few Rust-Belt cities, most post-industrial US cities have not experienced any benefit from the enormous job-creation potential/wealth-creation potential of this sector – which will surely provide the impetus for the next industrial revolution.
In this regard, Bridgeport is a “natural” to become a leader in the green-energy industrial revolution. Indeed; this is the area that should be targeted as the means for our economic renaissance.
If Bridgeport could find its way to becoming the “green, energy-independent city”, where green-energy technology would be developed, manufactured, and deployed locally (initially) to create the world’s first prototype, green-energy-independent municipality, we would be virtually assured of an economic rebirth and sustainable prosperity beyond the foreseeable future.
Creating municipal, green-energy-independence in Bridgeport might seem to be virtually impossible, given the present, predominant concept/mode of green-energy equipment design/manufacture and deployment, which, for the most part, is describable by the term “huge” – huge corporations, huge generation units (e.g., huge solar panels, solar mirrors, wind turbines, etc.), huge arrays of generation units on huge tracts of land (e.g., square miles of giant wind turbines, solar panels, and mirrors), huge/complex grid connections stretching over thousands of miles.
Rethinking the “green-energy” revolution — in terms of Bridgeport
As presently conceived, the transition to green electric energy usage/US national energy-independence, will be very slow, expensive, and cumbersome, due to the great technical and environmental difficulties involved in deploying huge arrays of individually huge energy generating units (especially the massive wind turbines, hundreds of feet tall and weighing many tons) located on huge (square miles), isolated, environmentally sensitive/fragile tracts of pristine desert, prairie, and ocean. Likewise, the massive, new/upgraded electric grid system needed to connect these isolated generation locations to the various levels of energy-consuming entities will be extremely expensive and will need to stretch many thousands of miles over valuable, environmentally/ecologically sensitive land (see New York Times, page B6, 1/21/10).
The incredible inefficiency/expense involved in the ill-conceived mode of deployment of green electric energy generation/supply currently being pursued by the US and its global economic competitors, is defining the global transition to green, renewable (electric) energy in terms of being overly problematic and costly, such that the ability to make the transition is being called into question. Indeed, if the current global pace of the transition to green, renewable energy sources is any indication of the ultimate role of green-energy sources for the world in this century, we can write off green energy as any sort of economic or environmental saving grace for mankind.
Beyond the economic and environmental considerations of the current mode of implementation of green (electric) energy as a major power source, it must be realized that, as presently envisioned/planned, the land, generation equipment, and supply infrastructure involved, will be owned/controlled by large corporate entities, and the energy generated will be sold/supplied under profit-making auspices. In terms of utility costs for the average American, this translates to prohibitively expensive energy supplied under the same exploitative/abusive policies presently inflicted upon consumers by energy brokers and utilities under the policies of state-legislated “deregulation” …
Of course, there is a better way to green energy independence for all levels/descriptions of energy consumption. In a nutshell, the rational way to transition to green energy independence is to design the generation equipment such that all energy users can be energy independent at their level of usage — and “grid free”. That is to say; all energy-using buildings/entities – from single-family homes through various commercial-industrial and institutional buildings/complexes — should be energy self-sufficient and grid free through the use of various configurations of “scale size” green generation devices backed up by batteries and fuel cells.
For example, a small Bridgeport home might have an array of appropriate size solar photo-voltaic panels on its roof, and a small, strategically positioned wind turbine(s), along with a solar thermal hot water heater, providing all of that home’s power needs. (The solar panels and wind turbines would shunt excess power to storage batteries and fuel cells such that adequate electric power would be available for night-time hours and windless/overcast periods …) Similarly, larger buildings would have devices of increasing size and numbers such that they would be energy-independent and grid-free … Multi-building complexes would, of course, have an increasing number of generation configuration possibilities … (Homes/buildings having access to rivers/streams/sea would be able to deploy scale-size current and wave-tidal (hydraulic) generators in addition to the other modes of “green” power generation …)
Thus, an energy-independent Bridgeport could be created house-by-house/building-by-building… (On a national level, using the “Bridgeport prototype” example of municipal energy independence, based on a “scale-size equipment, grid free” model, the need for “square miles” of wind farms and solar (photovoltaic panel, and mirror) arrays composed of gargantuan generation units and massive supportive equipment, connected to end-users by thousands of miles of expensive, vulnerable transmission infrastructure, would be largely obviated …)
Calling all green-energy equipment manufacturers – to Bridgeport
An energy-independent Bridgeport, per the above discussion, could be achieved by way of the city serving as a prototype energy-independent municipality in which Bridgeport-manufactured products would be deployed under the auspices of the following type of plan:
1. Create a special, joint federal/state/Bridgeport renewable-energy initiative to plan and fund a Bridgeport green-energy development/manufacturing project whereby, under the auspices of this “Bridgeport Project,” a consortium of manufacturers of the various green-generation/energy-storage modes (solar, wind, hydraulic/fuel cells, etc.) would be recruited/incentivized to collaboratively establish and operate a “green technology/manufacturing center” on a brownfields site(s) in Bridgeport, where “scale size,” green generation and storage technology could be cooperatively developed, and related products manufactured.
2. Under the auspices of the state and federally-funded “Bridgeport Project,” the aforementioned manufacturing consortium would establish manufacturing/development operations focused on the wholesale provisioning of Bridgeport, as a municipality, with various sizes/modes of green renewable electric power generation/storage products toward the end of creating a prototype, energy-independent, grid-free city. (During the “trial period” of the project, the energy consumers agreeing to take part in the project would receive totally subsidized equipment/installation/maintenance …) In this manner, an initial market/proving ground for the products of the venture would be created, such that Bridgeport would ultimately serve as the model for a practical national transition to green renewable energy independence. As an intended consequence of attaining municipal energy independence in this manner, Bridgeport would emerge as the principal development and manufacturing center for the proven, diverse line of green power generation/energy storage products needed to catalyze and provide momentum for a rapid national transition to green renewable energy independence. (The companies involved in the successful “Bridgeport Project” would be positioned for many years of sustained growth and prosperity …)
Thus, through the creation of the “Bridgeport Project,” proven products and methods of deployment would be developed in Bridgeport, along with a greatly expanded Bridgeport-based manufacturing capacity capable of supplying the products to national/international markets. Bridgeport would, in this manner, become energy independent and “ground zero” for the new industrial revolution, providing a national/world model for practical energy-independence, and regaining its tax base and fabled industrial/economic status (with full employment at living-wage jobs for all Bridgeporters!).
Such a scenario for Bridgeport is certainly possible, given the priorities of the current federal administration and the energy/economic needs of the country.
With due diligence from Bridgeport’s municipal leadership, Connecticut’s state leadership, and our state and federal legislative delegations (as well as from all of the state and federal candidates for office looking for the Bridgeport vote!), this idea — or a better one along the same lines — for a Bridgeport renaissance and national energy security/prosperity, should be able to sprout wings in this Obama Agenda, stimulus package, election year.