Archive for October, 2011

Williams Drops out of Race for CT-5, Calls on Donovan to Step Down from Redistricting Panel
October 30, 2011

Democrat Mike Williams is dropping out of the race for congress in CT-5.     The New Preston Ph.D made the announcement this morning on Face the State, citing “the best interests of the Democratic party.”    His fundraising had lagged behind the other Democrats in the race, and said he didn’t want to waste money.

As he departed the race, Williams made a courageous call regarding the powerful Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan, the perceived frontrunner in the race for the seat now held by Congressman Chris Murphy.         

First some background:  every ten years a committee of state lawmakers  redraws the congressional districts, to reflect the most recent census.   This year one of the members of the committee redrawing the district is  Speaker  Donovan, who is from Meriden.

Anyone who looks at the current congressional map might question some of the quirky lines.   Some cities and towns are split, others jut out into other districts.   Murphy said on Face the State earlier this year that he think the cities should be united.   Congressman John Larson has echoed that sentiment.

There are a few scenarios for redistricting, and one could certainly make a strong argument Meriden should  belong in the 1st or 3rd districts, especially if Torrington and Waterbury were put completely in the 5th.    What would the Speaker’s reaction be if anyone suggested that?

Citing an obvious conflict of interest, Republican Mark Greenberg called on Donovan to recuse himself from the redistricting process; Donovan refused.   The state’s largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant, also called on Donovan to step down from the committee, calling the speaker “ethically oblivious” if he thinks it is appropriate to remain on that panel.

Some Democrats have privately said Donovan should go, but none publicly until this morning.   On Face the State, Williams said Donovan needs to step down from the committee for the good of his party. 

“The Democratic party stands for transparency. We are supposed to stand for inclusion and fairness and the Speaker has fought for that throughout his career in Hartford. .   By staying on the committee he is damaging himself and the Democratic party.  It is clearly a real ethical issue to stay on the committee.  The speaker keeps saying there is no reason to step down because there is nothing in it for him, well, then why not step down?

The complete interview with Mike Williams can be seen beginning Monday afternoon on www.wfsb.com.

The Debate over Jackson Laboratories
October 28, 2011

The battle over the controversial Jackson Laboratories deal is over.    The company is setting up shop in Connecticut and taxpayers are helping with the move, to the tune of $291M dollars.     Democrats are thrilled, Republicans remain deeply skeptical.

This Sunday on Face the State, we’ll hear from both sides.  We are joined by Catherine Smith, the Commissioner of Economic Development who helped broker the Jackson deal, and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, who voted against it.

Tune into Channel 3 this Sunday at 11AM to catch their debate.

Winsley takes on Powerful DeLauro
October 28, 2011

The political road is littered with candidates who have taken on Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and lost.      The New Haven Democrat is now seeking a 12 term and this year’s GOP challenger is Wayne Winsley, and he promises this year will be different.

During a taping of Face the State, the Navy veteran launched his candidacy, talking  about his goals for the campaign and he acknowledged defeating Delauro  won’t be easy.      “It’s going to take a lot of money, dynamite and a backhoe to get her out of there,”  Winsley told me.

The author, commentator and broadcaster plans to attack DeLauro for her spending of taxpayer money as a Washington insider.   Winsley also will remind voters about DeLauro’s delay in returning from a vacation to Italy, while parts of the 3rd district suffered from the devastating impact of Hurricane Irene.    It’s an issue that dogged the usually teflon DeLauro and even made national news.

Democrats will focus on Winsley’s residency.  He just recently took residence in Naugatuck, but his family will continue to live at their home outside the 3rd district in New Milford.  If he wins, they will all move to the 3rd.   

Winsley elaborates on this and much more this Sunday morning on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

Here Comes….Alfred
October 28, 2011

With a few days to go before Halloween we are getting ready for a winter storm!  Yikes.   Our team of meteorologists at WFSB has named this one Alfred. 

My favorite Alfred is Alfred E. Neuman, but the storm is not named after the MAD mascot.

Alfred, engineering wizard/butler for Batman?

No, and I intentionally used a picture of Alfred from the 1960′s television series rather than the one from the movies.

This first winter storm of the season is named after Alfred Hitchcock.

Tune in to Channel today and all weekend for the latest on Winter Storm Alfred.  For more on the history of why Channel 3 names storms, read this post from earlier this year:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/snow-storm-named-after-actor-denis-leary/

Flashback: The Connecticut Rams?
October 27, 2011

That story you are looking for has moved to here: http://dennishouse.tv/2011/10/27/flashback-the-connecticut-rams/

Nappier Inducted into CT Women’s Hall of Fame; Calls HPD Incident “Unfortunate”
October 26, 2011

State Treasurer Denise Nappier has been inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.    The state’s longest serving constitutional officer said “on one hand I feel so grateful and overwhelmed by this prestigious honor, but on the other hand I feel I’m too young for it.”   Nappier is the first black woman in the country to be elected state treasurer, and is the highest ranking black woman in Connecticut political history.

The induction ceremony was held before a full house at the Connecticut Convention Center, and for many there it was the first time they had seen Nappier since the incident in Hartford’s North End that made headlines at the beginning of last month.   

Nappier was stopped by police and arrested at the scene when it turned out her state issued car was not properly registered.    Soon thereafter, there were suggestions of racial profiling.  Nappier gave a brief interview to Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant , but declined all requests for television interviews, including more than one for “Face the State.” 

Just before the induction ceremony, Eyewitness News has the opportunity to talk with Nappier.    Here’s what she had to say: 

My mom and dad taught me the necessity of working hard being honest doing the right thing and being a law abiding citizen and that is the way I conduct myself throughout my career as state treasurer.

“It was an unfortunate incident depending on perspective it was unfortunate.”

” I didn’t say it was racial profiling,  it was a question asked of me and I said that is a good question and I don’t have the answer to that.”

The charges were dropped and Nappier considers the case over.

Face the State Flashback: Yanks Win ’96 World Series
October 25, 2011

worldseries

What was once lost, has now been found. We’re talking about the video of my assignment nearly 17 years ago: my very first World Series. I recently found the tape, and you’ll see it this Sunday in our Face the State Flashback.

WFSB photographer Brian Elba and I got the assignment to head down to Yankee Stadium to cover Game 6 of the 1996 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves.   The Yankees led the series 3-2, and if they won, it would be a huge story.   Channel 3 needed to be there.

world series

Brian is a Brooklyn-bred Yankees fan so this was the ultimate assignment for him, but for me, a Red Sox fan, it was bittersweet.   Obviously, it was a great assignment any reporter would want,  yet would be an even bigger story if the dreaded Yankees won. 

The Yankees did win, and the celebration on the field was ridiculous.   We were waiting in the media area near the dugout and as soon the game was over we sprinted up the stairs onto the field with our CBS crew running the cables so we could report live right near the first base line.    We were “good to go” in a few minutes just in the time for the 11PM news.

worldseries1

The clip you’ll see was anchored by Joe Tessitore, our sports director for much of the latter parts of the 90s, who is now at ESPN. At times, I seem a bit breathless and amazed by the frenetic scene that surrounded me.

 

The noise was incredible.  Fans cheering and music blaring over the loudspeakers, yet we pulled off our live reports.   The high moment of the night was when Wade Boggs trotted by us on an NYPD horse, as we beamed the images back to our viewers in Connecticut. When you see it Sunday, you’ll have to admit, it was a pretty cool moment in local television.

My next World Series was eight years later at Fenway Park, as a spectator, with my brother.  That was much more fun.   

Watch the clip right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8951077
 

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Yikes! Another Bad Yearbook Picture
October 21, 2011

Yeah, it is high school reunion season.  This was yours truly many years (and pounds) ago.   I’d like to be able to tell you I got a better haircut after that, but I actually grew it longer.  #mulletswereinstylethen

What’s Next for Occupy Hartford?
October 21, 2011

Thousands of people have driven by it and thousands more have seen them on the television news.  The Occupy Hartford movement seems to be at a crossroads.  The crowd of people camping on a vacant lot alongside Interstate 84, seems smaller as of late, and recent interviews with some of the protestors revealed the lack of a common message.     

This Sunday on Face the State, we are joined by Cassandra Donnelly, a spokesperson for Occupy Hartford.   Donnelly talks about the movement, the agenda, and where it goes from here.     She also expressed her disappointment that no members of the Connecticut congressional delegation have stopped by to show their solidarity. 

UPDATE:  Here is the interview that aired on Face the State http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6379328&autostart=true

Will State Renegotiate Deal with Foxwoods and Mohegan?
October 21, 2011

The big political story next week will be the special session called by Governor Malloy to talk jobs.  Talk jobs is what we did during a taping of Face the State with State Representatives from Watertown and Waterbury.  Republican Sean Williams and Democrat Jeffrey Berger disagree on why there is a special session, but these neighbors agree there is enough common ground to accomplish something.     Both agree more will need to be done after the special session.

After Williams and Berger debated the increasingly controversial Jackson Laboratories deal (and you can see them make their points on Sunday) I asked them about an issue the state may have to face sooner than later:  casino gambling.

Massachusetts is on its way toward legalizing casino gambling.  It’s not a done deal yet, but if Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun get some competition to our north, it could be a big blow to our economy.   The Hartford Courant’s Rick Green estimated the loss to the Connecticut casinos at a $1 billion dollars a year.   

The argument for casinos in Massachusetts  is to keep the estimated $775 million a year Bay Staters gamblers drop in our state every year,  in Massachusetts.     It is likely gamblers from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and parts of Rhode Island would pass on a trek to Connecticut and take the shorter drive to one of the four proposed casinos in Massachusetts.

If the revenue at Foxwoods and Mohegan drops, then so will the amount of money (roughly $350-$400 million annually) that goes into the state coffers.  The Mohegans have already seen the writing on the wall, and they are in line to open a casino in Palmer, Massachusetts.

So what can the Malloy administration do?    Right now the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes  have a monopoly on casino gambling.    According to a deal negotiated by then Governor Lowell Weicker in the 1990s, no one else can open up a casino in the state, and the casinos are required to pay a quarter of their slot revenues to the state.   Massachusetts will take 40%.   The only option seems to sit down with the tribes, and renegotiate.     I asked both Representatives Williams and Berger about that, and they are open to doing that.   

Would the state really be able to ask the casinos for a bigger take, when total slot revenues will be lower because of competition from Massachusetts?   Or would the state seek to expand casino gambling?  Remember, it was less than 20 years ago when Hartford and Bridgeport wanted casinos.   

If Massachusetts legalizes casino gambling, it will have an impact on every city and town in Connecticut.    It will be interesting to see what our state’s reaction will be. 

watch Williams’ and Berger’s comments right here:  http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6379315&flvUri=&partnerclipid=&topVideoCatNo=0&c=&autoStart=true&activePane=info&LaunchPageAdTag=homepage&clipFormat=flv

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