Archive for the ‘Common Council’ Category

Editorial Cartoon Bashes Middletown and Insults St. Sebastian

October 23, 2011

Statue of Saint Sebastian on grounds of St. Sebastian Church: John Brush Photo

A recent editorial cartoon by Bob Englehart of Hartford Courant has caused considerable consternation here in Middletown. Of course editorial cartoonists, as well as editorialists in general, always run the risk of offending some person or group and Mr. Englehart’s “McMahon as Martyr” piece, which appeared in The Courant on Oct 20, was no exception.

Some background: Acting (Police) Chief Patrick McMahon was demoted and suspended for cause by Mayor Sebastian Giuliano earlier this month. The immediate cause was stated to be the mayor’s loss of confidence in the chief whom he had previously supported for a permanent post as chief of the department. McMahon reportedly was seen imbibing an adult beverage  while armed and in uniform ( a no-no according to the mayor). Mayor Giuliano was not pleased with McMahon’s responses when questioned about the alleged drinking.

The mayor’s support for McMahon and the countervailing lack of such support by other city officials, principally Democrats on the Common Council,  has been a matter of controversy for many months. Finally, a citizen initiative was undertaken by local activist Ed McKeon who managed to secure enough valid signatures to place the issue of McMahon’s promotion on this year’s election ballot. (The ballot question has most likely been rendered moot by the demotion but this is still being investigated.)

Englehart’s cartoon caused distress on two counts.  Firstly, he sullied the reputation of the city with his comment about the cartoon; ” …Stay tuned for more soap opera from Middletown, a town just like yours but really screwed up”. Secondly, and here is where he really stepped into it, he suggested that viewers of his cartoon should check the box as to who was the  Middletown’s official martyr, Patrick McMahon or Saint Sebastian, whose namesake church is a prominent feature on Washington Street.

Well, this prompted a vigorous response from former Deputy Chief (Police) and present Common Council member Phil Pessina, a parishioner at St. Sebastian Church. Mr. Pessina’s objections were presented in great detail in letters that appeared in Middletown Patch and in The Middletown Eye. Excerpts from Mr. Pessina’s letters:

“To Bob Englhart…I am very upset and disappointed with your choice of cartoon characters concerning the recent developments involving our former Acting Police Chief and your lack of sensitivity towards our city’s Catholic residents and our beloved Patron Saint ‘Saint Sebastian’. Your pen has struck a direct insult to both our residents of Italian descent and our parishioners of Saint Sebastian Church…Your insinuation that our town is all “screwed up” is unfounded and based upon your personal feelings. Just because we have a challenge to deal with in our city government, it doesn’t give you the right to besmirch our community…Your reader poll comparing an individual and a saint, is very disturbing and a direct insult towards the parishioners of Saint Sebastian Church who have a deep, devote faith in their patron saint who was put to death because martyrdom for the Christian people.”

Mr. Pessina concludes with a request for an apology on behalf of the people of Middletown and particularly the parishioners of St.Sebastian Church. He also requests a retraction of the offending cartoon.

Phil Pessina Leads I Nuri Procession,Feast of St. Sebastian, May 16, 2011: Credit C. Day

Mr. Englehart, who lives in Middletown and attends South Church, describes his political leanings as “progressive/moderate”, whatever that means; as for his religious beliefs he says; “Congregationalist-hell, we’ll marry anybody who’s in love!” 

Bob Englehart Self Portrait

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Middletown Republicans Poised to End Democrat Domination in the City

October 21, 2011

P & Z Candidate Molly Salafia with Matt Scarrozzo, MRTC Chairman

The February 2011 special election that brought Len Suzio to the Connecticut Senate was an early sign of dissatisfaction with long term Democrat domination in Connecticut. In the case of the district (Senate District 13) won by Suzio it had endured Democrat control for 36 years according to the Hartford Courant’s calculations. At the time of Suzio’s win I wrote, in another venue:

“One can only hope that Suzio’s election is a harbinger of reform to come. Recent developments in other states suggest that a nationwide retreat from reckless spending, unfunded mandates, and impossible entitlements is in the offing. The turnout for this election was remarkable for a special election and I imagine that taxpayer concerns here and the news from other states spurred voter participation yesterday.”

The hope today among Middletown Republicans is that the movement away from Democrat domination in local politics can continue with the election of a full slate of able candidates on Nov. 8, 2011. The Republican slate for Middletown is headed by incumbent Mayor Seb Giuliano who has been in office for six years during which time he has been faced with a Democrat majority on the Common Council and Board of Education.

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano

Army Base: Common Council Workshop Feb21

February 15, 2008

The public is welcome at a Middletown Common Council workshop concerning the siting of the proposed U.S. Army Reserve Center. The date is Feb 21 at 7 PM in council chambers.

See our earlier posting for more details on the proposal; also more from Right of Middle here.

Open Space/Farmland in a Landslide!

November 7, 2007

Middletown’s ballot question #2….

“Shall the $2,000,000 appropriation and bond authorization for acquisition of open space and farm lands, as adopted by the Common Council, be approved?”

…was approved overwhelmingly; 4731 Yes – 1489 No. It is likely that an enthusiastic turnout by Wesleyan students and faculty was an important factor in the approval. The Jonah Center’s John Hall notes:

 

Farms and Open Space were the biggest vote getter on Tuesday.

4731 voted “yes” and 1489 voted “no.” No other question or candidate got that many votes. This shows what Middletown residents want to save our city’s rural areas.

Thanks to everyone who helped our effort by spreading the word, getting out the vote, or working at the polls. It paid off!

In other election news, a candidate for an Alternate Planning and Zoning seat, Wesleyan student Matthew Lesser, pulled in more votes than Mayor Sebastian Giuliano. Giuliano was running unopposed which may have contributed to his lower vote tally. Lesser noted in a recent email….

I don’t know yet how many students voted. Those figures will be available at some point from the Voter Registrar’s office (they may be available now from the Town Clerk, but I haven’t had a chance to check). I do know that about 400 Wesleyan students are registered to vote in Middletown.

We had good turnout from them and from Wesleyan faculty and staff as well (as indicated by strong results in the 14th Precinct around Wesleyan and in the faculty-heavy Snow School Districts), but Democratic candidates did well yesterday throughout the city.

I’m glad to see you were supporting the open space referendum. I’m happy to see that it passed, not the least because it shows that not every issue is partisan. The College Democrats were very active in promoting the open space and sewer bond issues on campus, and I know those issues propelled a lot of people to the polls.

Other Middletown news see: Alert Middletown Officials Stamp Out Wigwam


Tags: Middletown ct open space,middletown ct referendum,matthew lesser,sebastian giuliano,middletown election,wesleyan university voters,middletown ct election districts

Vote Yes on Farmland Preservation Nov 6

November 3, 2007

Question 2. on the Nov 6 Ballot in Middletown reads:

“Shall the $2,000,000 appropriation and bond authorization for acquisition of open space and farm lands, as adopted by the Common Council, be approved?”

Previous bond sales totaling $8 million have helped finance the purchase of nearly 700 acres of woodlands and recreation space in the past 18 years – land that likely would have become housing subdivisions had it not been preserved.This new measure would focus on the preservation of farmland.

If approved by the voters, the additional $2 million could trigger up to $4 million in matching state grants, allowing the city to buy or preserve a total of 500 more acres.

“We have a very good track record with the state; in well over 90 percent of our applications, we’ve won the matching funds,” Middletown Conservation Commission member Michael Ennis said. “Open space purchases pay for themselves over time by saving tax dollars, and all of that develop able land is like fruit [hanging] from a vine, waiting to be plucked.”

In these instances, the city either buys the real estate or the development rights. The latter option allows a farming family to continue to work their land if they choose…… Every hour, another acre of land is chewed up by developers. To demonstrate these numbers and to honor land which has been preserved, Middletown Conservation Commission Member Michael Ennis rose before dawn, and three minutes before sunrise, he began a sit-in at The Guida Farm Conservation Area, a 100-acre pasture that was once a dairy farm.
At 7:13 a.m., Ennis arrived on the open meadow, spread out his blanket and began a sit-in. Each hour and a quarter, he moves an acre and marks the 40,000-square-foot area with orange cones. Each year, 7,000 acres of land are developed, Ennis said. That translates to 19 acres a day, or one acre every hour and a quarter. “This is more or less the amount of land we lose every day, open space, to developers,” Ennis said, indicating the rolling green meadow around him.

Source: Middletown Press

Here is cover photo from the November issue of The Chronicle picturing members of the Guida family of Sunshine Dairy and member of the Lee family from Lee Farm. These farms, along with others, could qualify for preservation if the bonding is approved. Credit: staff photographer Tom Keyes, Sr

Here is a portion of an article from the same issue about the farms: (see also our previous posting Farmland Preservation News and Jonah Center page in the sidebar)

Environmental Survey On Open Space

September 14, 2007

The Middletown Press reports today on the presentation to the Common Council of a preliminary report on the acquisition and utilization of remaining open space in the city.

MIDDLETOWN – With farmland in Middletown dwindling and existing farmers being forced to sell off parcels of their land to make ends meet, the city’s conservation commission enlisted a environmental consultant to figure out which areas in the city could be used for farming and ways of promoting local agriculture.

The environmental group, LADA P.C., presented a preliminary report to the conservation commission detailing the potential farmland in the city and ways to encourage agricultural development, as well as what they see are the many benefits of agricultural land in a city, during Thursday night’s conservation commission meeting.

The box below provides some information about the L.A.D.A firm.

Also important meeting Tuesday Sept 18:

Jonah Center Meeting — Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Room of First Church, 190 Court Street.

 

Updates on Jonah Center projects: Recreational Trail project (including boat launch) and Landfill Gas project. Referendum on Farmland preservation to appear on November ballot.

 

Featured Program:  Demonstration of the Biodiversity Database, developed in cooperation with Wesleyan’s Environmental Studies program, with funding from the Rockfall Foundation.  Wesleyan intern Nick Field (who constructed the database this past summer) and Professor Barry Chernoff, President of the Jonah Center, will show us how the database works and explain why it is important.