Those are some excellent points you make. No one should ever accuse these band kids of not working hard. I think that is why you'll find so many of us who don't even have kids in band in support of your efforts. It is truely something for Norwalk to be proud of.
Here, though, is where we disagree. Do a search on monster.com for "music teachers" vs. "math teachers". The search returns 29 jobs for music and 85 for math. Who do you think will be better off when it comes to finding work some day? Don't get me wrong, music is wonderful but it is an elective and everyone should follow their dreams. But at the same time we have to deal with reality and do more to encourage children on hard academics. Not to say those would be music educators don't switch majors as most do, but are they going to be better off with marketable skills or crowded out by too much competition?
With first hand knowledge on the subject, I can tell you that if we were producing more math majors out of universities we would not have the same unemployment epidemic here and would not have to give visas to so many foreign workers. Some like to say it is a cost savings measure, but it is really due to lack of skilled math/science/computer graduates.
I can't say if 24 music education majors is too many, but certainly only 1 math major is too few. And that math major will have a much easier time getting work after college. View Comment
For a family of 4, 80k will certainly get you a nice used car for sure. Along with negative real interest rates that have totally ruined Japan's economy our purchasing power parity is near an all time low. Buying the house will entitle you to no return and worse massive hikes in local and state property taxes that will result from fiscal irresponsibility that Himes has supported. You are right, the sky isn't falling, but my crystal ball had no problem predicting the USSA when Mrs. Pelosi took over the House. Himes is trying to distance himself from that abysmal failure, but it is too late for him to fool the people again. View Comment
Don't be fooled by Himes trying to feign fiscal restraint. He is a believer in big government and has voted that way at every opportunity. He lives in an ivory tower and preaches his concern for the common plebe. He is concerned only about duping us out of our votes to maintain his lofty status.
His votes have directly increased our individual shares of public debt by $20,000 in a few short years and put us on a path to fiscal destruction with more government programs that we can not afford. Worse they have severly stalled the economy. Obamacare has frozen all prospects for people looking for permanent jobs and Dodd-Frank has crippled small banks ability to lend money to people looking to buy homes and start small businesses. Himes read neither bill before voting yes on them. Part of any plan to fix our federal finances has to start with firing limousine liberals like Himes. Look for more of these nonsensical public hearings, but don't be confused for his real motives. View Comment
We are not required to put the money aside. Government entities are only required to account for OPEB. Whether or not they chose to fund is discretionary. They do have to report the unfunded actuarial liability, but it doesn't have to have cash reserves behind it.
Wiltonian is right on this. The headline should read "Himes opposes hike that democrats passed four years ago under Nancy Pelosi". Himes wants you to think he really cares about student loan amounts of $807 a year, when his leadership has increased our share of government debt $20,000 in just the last 3 years. Access to higher education is available to anyone who wants it and wants to work for it. It can be expensive, but affordable options and tons of scholarships are available. View Comment
As of FY2011 the city still owed $11,245,000 mostly from proceeds of general obligation bonds used to construct the Maritime garage. This is the primary driver behind the rate hikes, which amount to a 2% increase in forecasted revenues system wide based on the current expectations for demand.
For full disclosure of the financial situation, you can read last year's citywide annual report here:
Page 41 details the debt service payments that start growing in successive years beyond next. The goal is for the NPA to achieve revenues to meet these expenses without having to oblige the citizens of the city of Norwalk in the form of mandatory property taxes. Since the NPA does not have the power to tax, they must set rates appropriately without adversely impacting system demand. View Comment
Mr. Himes signed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, aka Stimulus, and not one cent of the $35 billion he gave to the Department of Energy has made it to any project in Connecticut that would help residents get electricity. Now he wants to grandstand and call for an investigation that will do nothing except probably end up raising our rates more. Mr. Himes, please let Mr. Malloy do his job and please do your job, which is to safeguard our federal tax dollars and make sure money is spent where it is supposed to be. Putting powerlines underground could have been a nice shovel ready job instead of letting the DOE fritter it away. View Comment
Mr. Bradley is confused with the price of gas, food, and state of Connecticut taxes. Norwalk property taxes have been relatively flat during the global recession. That is a fact anyone who pays taxes knows. We just got our new mortgage book and the increase isn't even a rounding error. I guess when you have no plan of your own this is a typical political strategy to scare people and prey on their fears. Norwalk deserves better than this nonsense. View Comment
Thanks for writing this. It does help clarify some of your positions that were difficult to pose in just a few minutes at the forum.
A few questions and points.
You call for new technology, but at the forum and in the paper yesterday you called for using post it notes on devices that use electricity to remind us to shut them off. Which are you for? There is technology that will detect presence in a room and dim the lights or lower the heat. That is a little more expensive than post it notes, but you can recover the cost over time. Plumbing features also have come a long way too but those shutoff valves can be annoying. Also, most computer operating systems have timeout and power savings settings that are fairly easy to change.
As for the website there is always room for improvement but it has come a long way. Before the current administration we didn't even have the City Charter on line like most every other city in the state did at that time. It was pretty embarrasing. If you are lost on the website, you should try the "search" field. It works pretty well. Of course you have to know what you are looking for. There is no AI feature just yet. How exactly would you make the whole site more navigable and user friendly?
As for a service request tracking system, I agree. Although, you might want to expand on this here so we know where you stand. Typical enterprise CRM systems can run into the millions for an enterprise the size of Norwalk and require extensive training and upkeep of hardware, networks, training, etc... I'm not certain of the volume of requests, but we might be better off building a simple spreadsheet that can be made accessible from the web if data isn't sensitive to customer privacy issues. A simple classification system can be used for fairly robust tracking and reporting from Microsoft Excel. Have you looked at any real world examples of how this is done and can you propose some specific ideas for the next council?
As for your stance on science and math education, I disagree. Meeting some minimum required achievement level is the exact attitude that has seen our country lose so many hi tech jobs. We've been told for decades that Asia is surpassing us in these aptitudes and here you are suggesting the minimum is ok. Norwalk needs to raise the bar and set expectations far beyond some artificial boundary of an unimaginative bureaucracy. Our children need to excel at Reading and Math, so that Science and Technology are easier to understand, so that one day they can focus on a disciplined application such as Engineering, Accounting, Medicine, etc...
Thanks for clarifying or expanding on any of these positions. And thank you for your endorsement as I have never ran or been on the council before this year unlike my ballot line opponent who has over 10 years of past experience.....experience during the time the city charter was never put on line. View Comment
Himes sits by and watches an out of control executive branch print money and double the price of home heating oil, gas, and food, but wants you to feel good about an extra $9 bucks a week. Besides a $70 million guard rail on the Merrit in Fairfield can anyone name one thing this guy has done for our district? View Comment
State oversight doesn't fix anything and will only make things worse. It only adds more to the costs as evident by the fact that Connecticut has some of the highest utility costs in the country already while being a net exporter of electricity generation. Your letter implies that the Mayor advocates this when in fact it was only Mr. Duff calling for yet more regulation and administration in Hartford. Let the electors decide whether or not a 25% increase is representative of sound fiscal policy in the district. Your 17 cents here and there attitude is what helps fuel massive government debt and expense. We need leaders who would try to save 17 cents a day per person or in real numbers several hundred thousand dollars. View Comment
In full disclosure I am running for council in district D also. Mr. Kimmell does recognize three areas of concern for sure, but we need to look at these as interdependent components and focus on positive solutions instead of rhetorical questions. A solid education along with smart economic development will reduce the incentive, opportunity, and rationalization to commit crime. Safer communities beget more economic development and create demand for an educated work force. With a limited pool of resources we have to carefully allocate funds to each of these areas. Over-committing to one will endanger the entire system. Norwalk spends a massive amount on all three of these areas and we need to focus on improving the quality and not the quantity of tax dollars spent. Things are moving in the right direction, but we must constantly raise the bar. Technology will facilitate this. It is beginning to and I intend to see it taken to the next level. We must also look to our past to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes. I see the glass as half full on Wall Street, but we missed an incredible opportunity during the salad days of the internet boom to lock in the capital required for such an overhaul. And yet despite the best efforts of some to delay progress then complain about lack of it later, there is a glimmer of light beginning to blossom down there. We should all be happy about that. View Comment
Good luck to the new hires. Welcome aboard. A ratio of 9 who don't teach to 33 that do still is not ideal, but a step in the right direction. I hope to see Marks continue the trend.
I would also like to know how we possibly survived West Rocks with only one assistant principal in the 80s. I hear there were none back in the days before me. Yet graduation rates remain the same. What am I missing here? View Comment
Mr. Himes and his leaders are the clear failures here. In the past 'lame duck' session they crammed all sorts of spending programs and legislation against the will of the electorate.
And yet, they didn't bother to raise the debt ceiling even though every economic forecast at the time predicted we would be in this exact situation this summer. In fact Himes and his party voted to extend the current tax brackets and now want you to believe they are against them. They had first hand knowledge that we were headed into a split government and chose to let this problem happen.
The default won't happen. A deal will be reached. Rates are going to have to raise regardless given how much money the treasury is borrowing and how much the Fed is printing. $6 gas is coming real soon. View Comment
Not satisfied with the $170 million raised for NPS from taxpayers who did not volunteer this amount, Yogi thinks charitible contributions to entities who recieve $0 in taxpayer subsidies should have to match monies to the NPS. Yogi, please stop eating the garbage. View Comment
What was it about the math curricula that was lacking? Given achievement levels of the public school system, perhaps their commissions should be revoked. This sounds like a shakedown if you ask me. View Comment
So in the end (besides eliminating excess at central office) we get more administrators and fewer teachers. How does this improve student achievement? And why do MS need 2 assistant principals when they only ever used to have 1? View Comment