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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Politics

Politics

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Republicans Elect Wetmore Town Committee Chair

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The Westport Republican Town Committee (RTC) tonight unanimously elected Tim Wetmore, a former Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) alternate, as its new chairman, replacing Desiree Soli ,who had held the position for the past two years. Soli announced last month that she was stepping down. Wetmore, who had formerly served as RTC vice chairman and who resigned as a P&Z alternate last year, was formally nominated by First Selectman Jim Marpe to fill the vacancy. Pictured with them is Selectman Avi Kaner. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 11:16 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

P&Z Hears Five-Year Capital Forecast

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe’s five-year capital forecast for town and Board of Education projects now stands at $77.9 million compared to last year’s $70.3 million, Finance Director Gary Conrad told the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) tonight.

According to Conrad, the increase from the prior plan is a result of adding in $15.5 million, the town’s portion of new projects resulting from the Downtown Master Plan.

Conrad said it is also due to moving of $8.2 million of energy saving projects from the Capital Plan to the new Energy Performance Program where the projects will be paid for by the money saved through the implementation of new systems, equipment, hardware and software.

Top budget items on the five-year list include: $7.5 million for a remodeled Westport Library; $4 million for the expansion of the Westport Center for Senior Activities; $2.8 million for dredging the Saugatuck River downtown, as well as installing a Jesup Green boat dock; $4 million to replace the Compo Beach bathhouse; $3.8 million for transforming Parker Harding Plaza into a more pedestrian friendly area that capitalizes on river views; renovating Fire Headquarters in 2017-18 for $2.3 million; and $2.1 million to design and build a bridge to the Imperial Avenue parking lots.

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Posted 09:34 PM
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Marpe: Westport in Good Shape

By Roy Fuchs

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, in his second state of the town talk today to the Y’s Men of Westport Weston, said Westport is strong, growing, and alive with projects to enhance the community, and its important seniors will continue to be important.

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First Selectman Jim Marpe addresses the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

As approved earlier this month by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), Westport’s 2015-16 budget will be $202 million—a 2.1 percent increase, he said. This will yield a mill rate increase “in the range of 1 percent,” Marpe estimated.

He “re-emphasized his commitment to seniors,” including keeping Westport “affordable and accessible” for what is now 20 percent of the population. He said he was disappointed in the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Baron’s South decision precluding senior housing on the town-owned property but is now seeking a viable alternative.

Senior beach parking and hand pass fees will not rise, and Longshore’s golf fees have been reduced, he said.  The Westport Center for Senior Activities remans important to helping older Westporters to “not just age in place, but age in Westport.”

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Posted 02:20 PM
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Enjoying the Company of the Y’s Women

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U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) today enjoys the company of the Y’s Women of Westport Weston at the group’s weekly meeting at Temple Israel. Himes later said the United States will stand behind Israel but added, “There are never good answers in the Middle East.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 01:20 PM
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Thursday, May 07, 2015

House Votes to Tighten Religious Exemptions on Vaccines

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Inspired by the California measles outbreak, the Connecticut House voted 86 to 56 today to require parents to annually declare if they are refusing to vaccinate their children on religious grounds.

Legislators debated whether the requirement was a small step toward boosting Connecticut’s already high childhood immunization rate of 98.5 percent — or the bullying of a parental minority.

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Posted 09:41 PM
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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Congressional Balancing Act

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U.S. Rep.Jim Himes (CT-4) tries his hand at paddleboarding today on the Saugatuck River in Westport. He met with three locally-owned small businesses in Westport—Saugatuck Sweets, Saugatuck Craft Butchery and DownUnder— during the 52nd annual National Small Business Week. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 07:00 PM
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Monday, May 04, 2015

Stamford Republican to Challenge Blumenthal

By Ana Radalet

www.ctmirror.org

Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal will have at least one challenger if he runs for re-election next year, Republican August Wolf of Stamford.

The 53-year-old investment executive is the first person to step forward willing to take on a Democrat with a 64 percent approval rating and a track record of raising money.

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Posted 07:44 PM
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Suburban Schools See Student Poverty Growing

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

www.ctmirror.org

The number of students from poor families attending suburban schools in Connecticut is rising.

Numerous legislators say these increases justify providing $14.2 million in additional state aid over the next two fiscal years to help several suburban districts cover the cost of educating these high-need students.

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Posted 04:48 PM
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Malloy Scorns Both Parties’ Legislative Budget Plans

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Old Saybrook – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy did nothing today to mollify legislative Democrats who openly defied him over the past week by largely rejecting his deep budget cuts in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy, businesses and hospitals.

In his first remarks to reporters since the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee passed a tax plan Wednesday raising $1.8 billion in new revenue over the next biennium, the governor said legislators of both parties were ducking hard decisions.

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Posted 06:57 PM
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Former Top CT House GOP Aide Pleads to Mail Fraud

www.ctmirror.org

George Gallo, the former chief of staff to the House Republican minority in Hartford, pleaded guilty today to one count of mail fraud related to his steering GOP candidates to a direct mail company that paid him $117,000, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Gallo, 46, resigned as the top aide to then-House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. in February 2014 as FBI agents questioned legislators and reviewed records relating to campaign mailings he oversaw as the GOP caucus’ political strategist.

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Posted 05:45 PM
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

LWV Forum Focuses on Money in Politics

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The League of Women Voters of Westport tonight sponsored a Westport Town Hall forum on “The Problem with Money in Politics.” Participants included (l-r) Jeff Clements, author of “Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Business and Global Corporations,” former state Sen. John McKinney, and Kim Hynes, senior organizer of Common Cause in Connecticut, and Alison Rivard, LWV state board member. All panelists agreed there is too much money in politics. “I would rather see 400 individuals contribute $5 each rather than have a wealthy person contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said McKinney, of Fairfied. “Sad to say, very few people give to a political campaign.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:15 PM
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LWV Hosts Westport Forum


Scenes from tonight’s League of Women Voters of Westport forum at Westport Town Hall. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:10 PM
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Monday, April 20, 2015

LWV Panel to Examine ‘Money in Politics’

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John McKinney: former state senator. Contributed photo

“The Trouble With Money in Politics” is the topic of a panel discussion to be presented by the League of Women Voters of Westport on Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Westport Town Hall. 

The panelists will be Jeff Clements, author of “Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money & Global Corporations;” John McKinney, former state senator and senate majority leader, and Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause of Connecticut. 

Allison Rivard, vice president of public isssues for the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, will present the state league’s advocacy on campaign finance reform.

The program is free and open to the public.

Posted 05:05 PM
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Himes Has Biggest War Chest

By Ann Radalet

www.ctmirror.org

Washington – While it seems they ended their last campaigns just a short while ago, the members of Connecticut’s House delegation have begun raising money for their re-election efforts.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, raised nearly $275,000 in the first three months of this year, her campaign’s latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show. That was the most any member of the House delegation raised in the period. She ended the first quarter with about $225,000 in cash on hand.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, reported having the most money on hand, about $1.1 million. He raised $143,000 in the first quarter. The congressional districts Esty and Himes represent are considered the most competitive in Connecticut.

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Posted 06:18 PM
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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Aid-In-Dying Bill Fails To Get A Vote By Legislative Committee

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The late Bill Meyer of Westport appeared in a 2013 campaign to pass the controversial legislation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

For the third time in three years, aid-in-dying legislation has stalled at the state Capitol, the Hartford Courant said tonight.

Advocates on both sides of the emotional issue say the legislature’s Judiciary Committee has opted not to vote on House Bill 7015, which would have permitted terminally ill patients to request a doctor’s help to end their lives, the report said.

The measure is unlikely to move forward without the committee’s endorsement, according to the newspaper.

“Each year that lawmakers fail to act prolongs the suffering for thousands of terminally ill Connecticut residents and the people who love them,’’ said Tim Appleton, Connecticut campaign director for Compassion & Choices, a national group promoting aid-in-dying legislation in statehouses around the nation.

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Posted 09:31 PM
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