Update: Harding High School is a mess. The good news is at least now city and school officials are talking about replacing it at a cost of roughly $80 million.
Under this scenario the state would cover roughly 80 percent. The sticky part is enrollment. Can a new complex be built, whether on the existing site or another location to accommodate just 800 students, nearly half of what exists today? Absorption by new and renovated high schools will help lower Harding’s student population in five years, the time it will take to open a new facility, say school officials. Well, I hope they’re right. The current environment is not fit for teacher, student, administrator, parent nor grandparent.
Maybe we should encourage a gubernatorial debate at Harding just to bring more attention to the urgency?
Meanwhile, the BOE issued a report card to Superintendent of Schools John Ramos on Monday. Six board members gave him a satisfactory rating, two did not–Sauda Baraka and Maria Pereira, and one member was absent. That means another year extension for Ramos. The school administration, in addition to a new Harding, is weighing a massive reorganization of its schools and facilities that could include elementary school closings, and possibly transition Harding to charter school management.
East Side Activity
The East Side, near Harding, has become a law-enforcement swarm with this Times Square bomb suspect. A couple of national media friends called looking for neighborhood info. If you see or hear anything, let us know.
Statement from Eric Holder
REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING THE TIMES SQUARE ATTEMPTED BOMBING
As many of you know, Faisal Shahzad was arrested late last night in connection with his alleged role in the attempted car bombing in Times Square last Saturday.
Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, is in federal custody today. He has been and continues to be questioned by federal agents. As a result of those communications, Shahzad has provided useful information to authorities.
We anticipate charging him with an act of terrorism transcending national borders, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, use of a destructive device during the commission of another crime, and explosives charges.
I want to emphasize that this investigation is ongoing, and we continue to pursue a number of leads as we gather useful intelligence relating to this terrorist attack.
Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in this country. We believe this suspected terrorist fashioned a bomb from rudimentary ingredients, placed it in a rusty SUV and drove it into Times Square with the intent to kill as many innocent tourists and theater-goers as possible.
Make no mistake – although this car bomb failed to properly detonate – this plot was a serious attempt. If successful, it could have resulted in a lethal terrorist attack causing death and destruction in the heart of New York City.
It is a stark reminder of the reality we face today in this country. The reality that there is a constant threat from those who wish to do us harm simply because of our way of life.
There are organized terrorist networks that are targeting us. There are lone terrorists here at home and abroad who are targeting us. As months, even years go by without a successful terrorist attack, the most dangerous lesson we can draw is a false impression that this threat no longer exists.
It does, and the Department of Justice and our partners in the national security community have no higher priority than disrupting those attempts, and bringing those who plot them to justice. In this case, that is exactly what the dedicated agents and prosecutors from the Department and various law enforcement agencies have achieved through exemplary investigative efforts.
Over the last two days, men and women from the FBI, the Department’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorneys Offices worked with NYPD, DHS, and state and local partners to doggedly track the evidence in this case. The quick action from FBI agents was crucial to alerting Customs and Border Patrol agents, who ultimately arrested him late last night at JFK airport as he was attempting to flee the country.
FBI agents have been able to glean additional evidence from searching Shahzad’s car and home, and they continue to work with their state and local counterparts in New York, Connecticut and other jurisdictions to gather evidence and intelligence related to this case. We are also coordinating with other members of the President’s national security team to ensure we use every resource available to bring everyone responsible to justice.
These agents and prosecutors are the backbone of our national security efforts – many of them doing their jobs outside the spotlight of the media. I want to commend them for their results in this case, and their unwavering commitment to their jobs. We owe them our gratitude and our respect.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to remind all Americans how important it is to remain vigilant. The SUV in Times Square was first noticed by an alert bystander who reported it to authorities. By being aware of his surroundings and thinking quickly, he helped save lives and thwarted a potentially devastating attack. As always, anyone who notices suspicious activity should report it to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Glassman, Take My Blues Away
I don’t know Mary Messina Glassman, but I like her as a candidate: smart, crafty … crafty … crafty … calculating … hey, how about an Italian woman on the ticket? Get my drift? I love all this talk about Mary being a proven vote getter. Yes, but for herself. Votes from running mates are rarely transferable. (Yes, Ned Lamont will likely win Glassman’s home town Simsbury, but it takes an extraordinary candidate of huge personal appeal to transfer votes.) Were that the case Dan Malloy, who was the endorsed Dem for governor in 2006, would not have lost to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. Mary was Dan’s running mate, and then became John’s running mate because she won the LG primary, and now she’s Ned Lamont’s running mate. Unlike the general election (when running mates are joined at the hip) LG candidates run on their own. In a primary you fill in an oval for governor, you fill in an oval for LG.
This will be a competitive Dem primary. In a few weeks come convention time, Lamont will go in with a polling lead by virtue of his personal-wealth spending advantage over Malloy who’ll receive his first infusion of public financing just after the convention. Dan Malloy, even Lamont supporters agree, heads toward the convention with a delegate lead. A party endorsement will give him a free media bump until he can saturate his face and message to Dem voters in basically a 10-week blast leading to the August primary. Malloy will have enough dough to compete irrespective of Ned’s money. Who’ll have the stronger primary day operation in August?
I don’t know whom Malloy will choose as his running mate, but wouldn’t it be a hoot if Glassman, who ran with Dan in the Dem 2006 primary, ends up running with Dan in the 2010 general election? Yeah, I’m confused too.
News release from State Rep. Auden Grogins:
REP. GROGINS ANNOUNCES PROPERTY TAX REFORM IN PROGRESS
Passage of legislative package a step forward for local tax relief
Rep. Auden Grogins (D-Bridgeport), Vice-Chair of the State Grants to Municipalities and Mandate Relief sub-committee of the Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE), hailed House passage of a four-part legislative package that takes a comprehensive approach to regionalism, municipal cost savings, and shared efficiencies between cities and towns.
“This is the first real and meaningful step towards property tax reform for our residents. The passage of this legislation establishes mandate relief and government efficiencies that will produce millions of dollars in future savings for our cities and towns. These savings can then be directed to property tax relief for our over-burdened taxpayers. I look forward to my continuing work to restructure and downsize government to affect real savings for our cities and towns,” Rep. Grogins said.
• Establishes a grant to municipalities whose boards of education make a regional arrangement for their school transportation (HB 5336).
• Allows two or more municipalities or local or regional boards of education to collectively purchase health insurance for their employees (HB 5424).
• Provides additional revenue to towns by raising the hotel occupancy tax from 12% to 15% – giving a piece of the revenue to municipalities and regions (HB 5483).
• Eases mandates on towns and relinquishes local taxpayers of the financial responsibility of storing evicted tenant’s possessions (HB 5255).
Since January, the MORE Commission has been studying ways to restructure government at all levels across the state, create operating efficiencies and save money for municipalities. The commission is comprised of legislators, representatives of municipalities, regional organizations, education, business, unions and non-profit groups.
Additional information on the Speaker’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Municipal Opportunities & Regional Efficiencies (MORE) is available online at: www.housedems.ct.gov/MORE/
Rep. Grogins represents the 129th district and serves on the Education, Government Administration and Elections, and Public Health Committees.