Long memories can work for you and against you in politics.
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa still aches, 15 years later, that Stamford-area pols such as then State Senator George Jepsen voted against a casino for Bridgeport. Every Gold Cost state senator–Republican and Democrat–tanked the casino claiming traffic, undesirables, too much this and that was not worth it. New Republican Governor John Rowland who had campaigned in support of a casino in Bridgeport couldn’t, wouldn’t deliver GOP senators. It had always amazed me, still does, that Lowell Weicker, as governor, could leverage the force of his will to shepherd through (the unthinkable) a personal income tax that bolstered city revenues, but Rowland couldn’t deliver legislative members of his own party to support a casino after promising to do so.
At the time I was a government relations consultant to Donald Trump. “Lennie, if the casino passes I want it. If I can’t have it I want to kill it.” Why? Donald feared a casino in Bridgeport that Donald didn’t control would lance his three Atlantic City casinos. Donald had hired a bunch of folks to cover his butt (as did every other casino player). Friend of John Rowland (attorney Gary O’Connor), friend of legislators (former Dem State Party Chair John Droney) friend of Joe Ganim (me).
Donald’s gaming nemesis Steve Wynn who had schmoozed and boozed, wined and dined legislators and business leaders in support of a casino had a leg up on Trump. The Mashantucket Pequots (Foxwoods) who had signed a state compact under Weicker’s rule to provide 25 percent of slot action to the state, nudged ahead of everyone: if you’re gonna do this, do it with us. When the votes tallied the State Senate tanked a casino for the city. Had all those Fairfield County senators voted for the casino it would have passed.
Mario Testa is a scorekeeper extraordinaire. So when Jepsen strolled into Mario’s restaurant recently to weigh the proprietor’s support of his candidacy for state attorney general, Mario was smacking his lips. “You voted against the casino.”
Mario never weighed Jepsen’s bill to ban assault weapons in the state when Bridgeport’s inner-city neighborhoods were a war zone of murder and despair. Mario never took the time to weigh Jepsen’s vote in support of the personal income tax that has infused since that time hundreds of millions of dollars for Bridgeport. Weicker, a millionaire from Greenwich, had the nuts to proclaim that millionaires in Greenwich where he had served as first selectman must cough up more to help folks struggling in Bridgeport.
So I can’t wait to hear about the deal Mario cuts with Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, Jepsen’s chief rival for the AG nomination, who imploded under oath on the most basic questions recently about her qualifications to serve as the state’s chief civil lawyer. I hope it’s a mighty good deal, Mario.
UBlong To Me
Thursday morning your intrepid webzine host will address public relations/communications students of University of Bridgeport Professor Sue Katz, the genial creative artist that designed OIB. (What, you think I do this on my own? Without Katz and my webmaster Ray, get out the razor blades.) I told Sue I wanted an oyster in the design, she did the rest. As penance, I’m required to chat with her students about breaking into the business, avoiding ethical minefields and clearing the dust from your butt should your pride hit bottom. We’ll talk about all kinds of crazy stuff and if you want to watch we’re doing a live broadcast at Media Talk Live. www.justin.tv/susankatz. So grab a mug of whatever and take a peek Thursday morning at 9:30 or so.
From Christine Stuart, Connecticut News Junkie:
“I’m fabulous,” Bysiewicz said as she greeted supporters (at the state Dem party fundraiser). “I’ve raised more than $210,000 and I’m up 54 percent in the polls.”
“We will endorse her every time,” East Lyme Democrat William Henderson III said. “The reason is because she’s such a good person and when she sets her mind to it she gets things accomplished.”
What about the qualification question raised by the lawsuit Bysiewicz filed in hopes of proving she has the requisite 10 years of active legal practice? Doesn’t that matter?
“No because she’s the person she is,” Henderson said. “It’s the character that counts.”
Former Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan of West Hartford said he watched some of the videotaped deposition and feels bad for Bysiewicz.
“But if the primary election were held today she would win,” he said.
“Today” is the key word. Gee SuBy, you don’t look too faboo under oath. And what happens when your polling lead shrinks–and it will as voters focus on the race and opponent George Jepsen increases his name recognition–what will you say then?
“I think I don’t remember.”
News release from Jim Himes:
Tax Day Highlights New Tax Relief for Connecticut Families
Recovery Act, Homeowner Tax Credit, EITC put money back in the pockets of hard-working Nutmeggers
Washington, DC– Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) reminded constituents today that Connecticut taxpayers are seeing significant relief as a result of new tax breaks for middle and low-income families. As noted by former Reagan policy advisor Bruce Bartlet, ”…federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president.” All totaled, Congress has enacted over $800 billion in tax cuts, including the Making Work Pay, First-time Homebuyer, and new residential energy tax credits, with another $285 billion in cuts also making their way through Congress, such as permanent estate tax relief and the R&D tax credit to spur business innovation.
“The tax cuts we enacted this past year are putting money back in the pockets of hard-working Connecticut families and individuals,” said Himes. “I encourage everyone who is eligible to take advantage of this year’s new tax cuts.”
The Recovery Act provided 25 new tax cuts, including the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, the fastest tax cut in American history, worth up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples. The Recovery Act also gave beneficiaries of the Social Security, Veterans, and Railroad retirement programs a $250 one-time Economic Recovery Payment.
An expansion of the Child Tax Credit cuts taxes for the families of more than 16 million children. This provides a new tax cut for families of more than 6 million children and increases the existing credit for more than 10 million families.
First-time homebuyers can get a credit of up to $8,000 for homes purchased by April 30, 2010 under the First-Time Homebuyer tax credit. In Connecticut, 14,300 new households have already taken advantage of the First Time Homebuyers tax credit. As a result of the Recovery Act, homeowners are also eligible for up to $1,500 in tax credits for making energy-efficient improvements to their homes, such as adding insulation and installing energy efficient windows.
The American Opportunity College Tax Credit now helps more than 4 million additional students attend college with a new, $2,500 tax credit for families. Nearly one-fifth of high school seniors currently receive no tax credit but will now receive help to make college affordable.