Archive for July, 2011

Face the State Flashback: Giordano Arrested 10 Years Ago
July 29, 2011

Ten years ago this week, a staff meeting was just breaking up inside the old Broadcast House when someone said we had breaking news:   Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano had been arrested.   We immediately thought it must be corruption, but when the details started to emerge, they revolted even the most hardened journalists.    Giordano was suspected of having sex with children, ages 8 and 10.

It was a scandal so disgusting, it was named #1 on the Daily Beast’s list of all time political sex scandals.  There were 61 scandals on the list.    Giordano beat out Bill Clinton (who made the list three times,)  Bob Packwood, and John Edwards.   Wondering if Giordano is proud of that as he sits in federal prison in Illinois?

The Giordano case dominated the headlines and newscasts in the weeks following the mayor’s arrest on July 26th, 2001.  It remains one of the most twisted chapters in Connecticut political history.

Watch our coverage from that day right here:

Ex-JAG Hoping to Make History in Senate Race
July 29, 2011

The news cycle for the senate race has focused on the fundraising and endorsements of the three Democrats in the race:  Susan Bysiewicz, Chris Murphy, and William Tong.   Reporters are all speculating as to who will jump in the race for the Republicans, but for now there is just one GOP candidate, and he appears on “Face the State” this Sunday.

Brian Hill, is a Hartford personal injury attorney, who grew up in Windsor and still lives there.    Hill has been gone from Connecticut for the better part of this century,   serving in the Navy, and the Army where he attained the ranks of Lieutenant and Major, and worked as a military prosecutor, a JAG. 

During the taping, Hill laid out the reasons he is running, and what he’ll do if he is elected.    He would be the first black senator elected from Connecticut, and only the second from our state sent to Washington.   Republican Gary Franks was the first when he was elected to Congress.    If elected, Hill sees himself as a senator along the lines of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.

Hill is a fiscal conservative, and wants to cut back on government dependence.  He believes public assistance should help people get back on their feet, not be a way of life.   Hill wasted no time in blaming the Obama administration for the current economic problems the country is mired in.

Interestingly, Hill ran for the senate in 2010 as a write-in candidate.   Hill told me he is a lifelong Republican, but felt the party deserted him when they became more like Democrats.   He’s back in the GOP fold, but likely won’t be alone in the senate race for very long.     Among his fellow Republicans considering a run:  former Comptroller General David Walker, former Congressman Rob Simmons, former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele,  Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy, and 2010 nominee Linda McMahon.

You can watch the entire interview this Sunday morning at 11, only on Channel 3.

Boughton Rules Out Run for Congress
July 29, 2011

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton will not run for the 5th congressional seat, and instead will focus on re-election as the leader of the Hat City in the fall.   During  a taping of “Face the State,” the four-term Republican told me prefers to be making the decisions, saying “I get more done in one day as mayor than a congressman does in a career.”    Boughton, the 2010 GOP nominee for Lieutenant Governor, also said it is too early to think about running in 2014 for governor.

The always candid and outspoken Boughton also talked about Governor Malloy.  Boughton told me “we don’t have an honest broker sitting in the governor’s chair.    Governor Malloy is arguably under the influence of special interest groups that he owes for being the governor.”

You can watch the entire interview this Sunday at 11AM on Channel 3.

Remembering my Father In-law, Bruce Sundlun
July 28, 2011

If you were wondering where Kara and I were the past week, we were in Rhode Island, where my father in-law, Bruce Sundlun died.      We were at his bedside when he passed, and it was a remarkable, emotional experience.     Neither of us had ever watched someone die before, and it truly changed us forever.      Kara delivered one of the eulogies at the funeral, which was no easy task.    Writing it wasn’t difficult, because Kara had so much material to work with, but delivering it, took nerves of steel, which my wife certainly has.

My father in-law lived a pretty amazing life.  He cheated death several times, most notably when he was shot down over Nazi-occupied Beligium during World War II.   Bruce later worked for the Justice Department, helped plan President Kennedy’s inaugural parade, ran an aviation company, a chain of stores and television stations.     Along the way, there were all sorts of fascinating moments, like the time he fired George Steinbrenner.    Then, at age 70, my father in-law was elected governor of Rhode Island.  

As governor, Bruce made some bold decisions, some of which had an impact here in Connecticut.    Bruce spearheaded the effort to expand and modernize T.F. Green Airport.  As a result, Rhode Island attracted Southwest Airlines and almost immediately, people from Connecticut were coming to the Ocean State to get cheaper fares out of Providence.    A few years later, Bradley Airport was expanding and modernizing.

My father in-law was also instrumental in the revival of Providence, turning it into a retail and tourist destination.   He loved to tell me the story of how he and then Mayor Buddy Cianci traveled to Seattle to try to persuade Nordstrom to open up shop in what was believed to be a dying New England city.   It worked.     Nordstrom now anchors the Providence Place development, which  has attracted national retailers, upscale condominiums, and companies that have relocated to Providence because it has become  very cool city.   


Bruce pushed for the Rhode Island Convention Center and Westin Hotel and the reclaiming of  rivers that were once buried downtown.      Providence has received national acclaim for its revival and has become a model for how small cities should re-invent themselves.

Shortly thereafter, leaders here in Connecticut pursued the same course of action for our capital city and there were plenty of comparisons with Providence.     We built the Connecticut Convention Center, a luxury hotel, the Science Center, housing and Front Street.  

Bruce Sundlun visiting the Connecticut Science Center, 2010

Bruce would often ask me about Connecticut politics, and we discussed at length his work on turning Providence around and what would work here in Hartford.  He acknowledged our capital city had advantages over his city, but when he looked around he told me they were obviously not being used to their fullest potential. 

At Bruce’s funeral, I asked Cianci why downtown Providence seems to be faring better than Hartford.  Without hesitation, he said Hartford’s problem is that “they tore everything down, and they are left with so much barren land.”  Cianci told me how he and my father in-law worked hard to preserve and rehab buildings and accentuate them with new construction.    He has promised to come on Face the State sometime in the future to talk about the two cities.

I only wish my father in-law could join him.

Time to Bring Back the Cannon to the Old State House?
July 19, 2011

Im intrigued by the state’s new campaign, “Still Revolutionary,”    and it reminded me of a throwback to the 1700s that used to be a big part of modern Connecticut life.    It was nearly 11 years ago that tradition came to an end, and perhaps now is the time to bring it back.

 Twice a day, a crew dressed in colonial gear, would fire a Revolutionary War cannon in front of the Old State House in Hartford.  

I remember when I first moved to Connecticut from Michigan and I was walking across State House Square when I saw this for the first time.  It was very cool and whenever I had visitors I would take them there to witness something you couldn’t see just anywhere.  After all, Connecticut is one of the original thirteen colonies.

Don’t quote me on this, but as I recall the cannon was fired in the morning, and then again around 4PM.   We could hear the reverberations from the blast a block away inside Broadcast House.

Then 9/11 came, and a few weeks later a transformer exploded at the Hartford Civic Center, alarming thousands of people, whose nerves were already raw from the events at the World Trade Center.   A decision was made to cease all firing of the cannon in the name of security.      

The cannon has been fired at least once or twice since then for special occasions, but the daily tourist attraction has been closed for the better part of this century.     With Governor Malloy’s new emphasis on tourism and the new slogan, perhaps it is time to resurrect this great re-enactment of our local history.   What do you think?  

While we are at it, it would also be nice to to resurrect at least one cobblestone street in downtown Hartford.   Just about every Revolutionary War era city has one including Boston,  Newport, Portsmouth, New York…you get the picture.    

We are still waiting for the Old State House to open on Sundays like its neighboring tourist attractions the Wadsworth Atheneum and Connecticut Science Center.   The Old State House in Boston is open Sundays.


Analyzing the Potential GOP Senate Field
July 15, 2011

Former State Senator and  wordsmith extraordinaire Kevin Rennie joins us on Face the State this Sunday to analyze the race for Joe Lieberman’s senate seat and the race for the 5th congressional district, which will likely be the two hottest races in the state next year.

The Hartford Courant columnist and author of the Daily Ructions blog talks about the potential GOP candidates:  Linda McMahon, David Walker, Michael Fedele, and Rob Simmons.    Rennie has some interesting information about McMahon.    There is one official GOP candidate, Brian K. Hill.   We also talk about the Democrats in the field who have raised nearly $3,000,000 combined.   

As for the 5th, Rennie discusses how Lisa Wilson-Foley will have some explaining to do to fellow Republicans about her role in the defeat of a fellow Republican, Congresswoman Nancy Johnson.

Tune in this Sunday at 11AM for Face the State.

“Courtney Vulnerable” says Novak
July 15, 2011

Madison businesswoman Daria Novak is back for another crack at the Republican nomination for the 2nd congressional district, a seat currently held by Democrat Joe Courtney. 

During a taping of Face the State, Novak talked about what she learned from loss in 2010 race to Janet Peckinpaugh.    She also shares her ideas of what she would do in Congress, and I asked why she feels she is a better candidate than fellow Republican Chris Coutu.

Coutu predicted 2012 would be a Republican year, and Novak agrees, explaining how the 2nd district is ripe to flip.

Tune in this Sunday at 11AM for Face the State.

Ojakian: “There Were Worse Choices”
July 15, 2011

“It’s a very unpleasant experience.”   That’s how Deputy Budget Director Mark Ojakian described what has been going on at the Governor’s office in terms of the cuts, layoffs, closings, and service reductions announced this week.    

During a taping of “Face the State,” the former aide to one-time Comptroller Nancy Wyman, explained the cutbacks, and talks about the only way they can “possibly”  be prevented.   

Tune in this Sunday morning at 11AM for Face the State, only on Channel 3.

UPDATE:  Here is the interview with Mark Ojakian that aired July 17, 2011 on Face the State

Larson Says U.S. Moving Toward Legalizing Marijuana
July 1, 2011

Marijuana has been a hot topic this year.  First, it was decriminalized in Connecticut, and then just last week Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul announced they would introduce a measure to legalize the drug.   During a taping of Face the State, I asked Larson if supports that measure. 

JL:  “I think that legalizing marijuana is only a matter of time for our country”

DH:  “Really?”

JL:    “I do   I think when you look at what is happening with our prisons and the number of people in there and why they are there in respect to drugs, people need to wake up…..Parts of Barney’s bill go a little too far for me, but I think it is a matter of time, Dennis…….I think reasonable minds can come to some sort of compromise on this”

Larson also talks about Libya,  President Obama, redistricting, a massive Hartford project, and Michele Bachmann.   Read about the Hartford story here:

Tune in this Sunday at 11 for Face the State, only on Channel 3. 

oq: country has to wake up it is because of drugs

Ex-FBI Agent Clark Vows to Repeal Obama Health Care Plan
July 1, 2011

We’ve had plenty of candidates and politicians come through Face the State over the years, many of them lawmakers, lawyers or businesspeople, but this weekend’s guest has a unique job on his resume.  Republican Mike Clark is a former FBI agent.   One of his most interesting cases:  the investigation of John Rowland nearly 8 years ago. 

Clark is one of 8 or 9 candidates seeking the 5th congressional district seat, currently held by Chris Murphy.    During a taping of Face the State, the chairman of the Farmington town council explained why he believes his experience, including his years at the FBI, make him the best candidate.    Clark has been talking with former Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, the last Republican to be elected in the 5th.    Clark feels the bad economy will have voters turning to the GOP.  He says his number one priority will be jobs.

With the former governor still popular in some circles in the state, I asked Clark if his role in bringing down Rowland has created any awkward situations among Republicans.   “Bygones be bygones,” Clark told me.   So what about appearing on Rowland’s radio program on the WTIC?    

You can see the complete interview this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.    And, yes, that is a seersucker suit I am wearing.  Hey, it’s Independence Day weekend!


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