Bronin says win due to door-knocking not benefits of $1.3 million or White Privilege

Attributing his political success to his door-knocking efforts rather than the record breaking $1.3 million he raised from city and state contractors, lobbyists and donors from his hometown of Greenwich and out-of-state or the advantages of White Privilege, Luke Bronin’s dream of becoming leader of Hartford has come true.

During the campaign Bronin said he would save Hartford by reducing crime and expanding programs, all while promising not to raise taxes.  The solution, according to the political novice, was more state funding and the wealth that would come with the wave of people moving into the new luxury apartments in the City’s Downtown.

Flanked by Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Bronin claimed victory Election Night but warned residents that “there will be no easy answers.”

In his successful effort to unseat one of the nation’s highest ranking Puerto Rican Mayors, Luke Bronin spent the primary attacking Pedro Segarra for not getting enough money from the Malloy administration, raising taxes and supporting the controversial Dunkin Donuts Baseball Stadium that is being constructed as part of Hartford’s DONO Development.

With his primary victory in hand,  Bronin flip-flopped on the Stadium issue taking tens of thousands of dollars from the Stadium’s developers while remaining quiet about the developers failure to fulfill their contractual obligation to begin construction on the project’s promised grocery store and other elements of Phase II (Parcel E).

As Bronin’s campaign finance reports revealed, not only did he break the record for the most money spent on a mayoral campaign in state history but he funded his political aspirations with campaign donations from nearly 70 city contractors, more than 80 registered state lobbyists and dozens of state contractors.  In the process of raising and reporting those contributions, Bronin and his campaign violated a number of provisions of Connecticut Campaign Finance law, a move that will undoubtedly result in a full-scale investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Of particular note is that while pledging to support Hartford’s Public Schools, Bronin relied heavily on donations from the Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry, collecting huge amounts of money from charter school advocates and Greenwich residents Jonathan Sackler and Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, as well as employees, board members and lobbyists for Connecticut’s charter schools.

Bronin will take office in January 2016.

Malloy – Wyman Team Earn an “F” on Education

Led by Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly have proven, yet again, that they are unwilling to protect and support Connecticut’s public school students, parents, teachers and public schools.

Today the Connecticut General Assembly will rush through a vote on a massive $40 billion spending and tax bill that not only makes record cuts to vital human services and education funding, but provides the “blood money” needed to open two new charter schools in Connecticut…despite the fact that the boards of education in both “host” communities VOTED AGAINST the allowing the proposed charter schools to open.

As Malloy/Wyman demanded, the infamous anti-union charter school advocate, Steve Perry, will get money, diverted from Connecticut’s public schools, to open a charter school in Bridgeport.

Perry’s most noteworthy accomplishment in Connecticut is his use of the “Table of Shame” at Capital Prep Magnet School to humiliate students who failed to follow his rules.  On the national level, Perry, who calls himself American’s most trusted educator, is fond of calling teachers’ unions’ cockroaches.

Malloy/Wyman are forcing the second charter school upon Stamford.  Again, even though the local board of education voted against the proposal and testified against the project before the State Board of Education and the Connecticut General Assembly, less Connecticut taxpayer funds will be going to public schools and instead, a Bronx charter school company will be getting millions so that it can open a charter school in the Governor’s hometown.

As if giving more money to the discriminatory charter schools, while cutting funding for public schools wasn’t enough to earn the Malloy-Wyman Team an F on Education, the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly will end the session by;

  • Failing to decouple the unfair Common Core SBAC test results from the state’s teacher evaluation system.
  • Failing to pass legislation supporting a parents fundamental right to opt their child or children out of the discriminatory and inappropriate Common Core SBAC test.
  • Failing to ensure appropriate protections are put in place to protect the privacy rights of student and parents due to the massive data collection scam that is part of the Common Core SBAC testing scheme.
  • And even failing to make any meaningful changes in the amount of standardized testing that is undermining the ability of Connecticut’s teachers to provide children with the instructional time the need.

From the first day of this year’s legislative session to the last, the Malloy-Wyman Team maintained their never-ending quest to receive a Grade of F on education.  Instead of doing anything to support public education and teachers, Malloy and Wyman maintained their commitment to the following;

  • More money for the charter school industry
  • More support for the corporate education reform agenda
  • Less money for Connecticut’s public schools, meaning higher property taxes
  • An ongoing attempt to denigrate teachers and the teaching profession
  • An unwillingness to treat parents with dignity and respect
  • And a complete failure to support the value of local control.

Every parent, teacher and taxpayer take heed;

Governor Malloy, Lt. Governor Wyman and the Democrats have proven, beyond any doubt, that they are unwilling to do what is right for Connecticut’s public school students, parents, teachers and schools.

When teachers lose their jobs

When school programs are cut

When local property taxes go up

When students and parents are harassed and abused about the Common Core SBAC testing

When private data on students and parents is shared with private companies

When teachers are unfairly punished by the teacher evaluation debacle

We will know and remember who turned their back when we needed them most

You can read more about the latest education disaster via the following links:

Malloy Flexes Muscle For Charter Schools (CT Newsjunkie)

And from Wait, What?

Hartford Courant reports Malloy got his way with demand for public money for new charter schools

What is the story about Governor Dannel Malloy’s little Bronx Charter School for Excellence

Charter School Mogul Steve Perry owns it all – even without legislative approval

CT Dem Governor Malloy says no state budget without new charter schools

On Common Core SBAC — Still left asking — What the Hell is wrong with these people?

Apparently it really is too much to ask some people to treat public school students and parents with respect.   At the directive of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration, the effort to mislead and lie to parents about the Common Core SBAC testing continues, along with strategies and tactics to bully, harass and punish parents (and teachers) who are fighting to protect our children.

A parent, worried about the harassment they were receiving as they tried to opt their child out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC test recently ran into Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and told her about the problem.  Wyman reportedly responded that it was her understanding that parents DID HAVE the right to opt their children out of the SBAC testing.

Once upon a time Nancy Wyman was considered among Connecticut’s strongest advocates for teachers, parents and public education.  Her previous positions included serving as the chairperson of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and Appropriations Education Sub-Committee where she spent years fighting for appropriate school funding and better support for teachers and students.

However, for the past four years she has stood silently by as her partner in governance, Dannel Malloy, has engaged in an unprecedented attack on teachers, the teaching profession and public education.  In addition to his relentless efforts to denigrate teachers, this year Malloy proposed record cuts to public education and refused to decouple the unfair SBAC test scores from the state’s teacher evaluation program.  What Malloy did do was call for a 25 percent increase in funding for privately owned, but publicly funded charter schools.  Higher taxes, less money for public education and more money for the charter schools that refuse to educate their fair share of students who need English language help, students who require special education services and students who have behavioral issues.

Meanwhile in Trumbull, a principal recently emailed their school’s teachers telling them that they MAY NOT discuss the SBAC or the Common Core Standards with students (or parents).  The principal wrote, “Should your students ask about opting out, please let them know that it is now part of Connecticut law that they participate in the SBAC assessment. Do not engage in conversations regarding opting out.”  The school’s top administrator even observed that, “philosophical and/or political debates regarding SBAC or the Connecticut Core Standards are both inappropriate and unprofessional to have with your students.”

What a wonderful testament to the notion of academic freedom and inquiry, the benefit of discussion and debate or the notion that we live in an open, democratic and just society that relies on having informed citizens.

In Farmington, parents and students reported that at a March Board of Education meeting, the local superintendent of schools told the Board that any high school junior who was opted out of the SBAC test would be punished by being forced to the back of the line when it came to selecting AP, Honors or other advanced courses for their senior year.  Rather than recognizing that this year’s Common Core SBAC test can only undermine a student’s academic plans for college and that juniors who want to go on to college should be focused on improving the grades, doing well on the college application exams and taking courses that will improve their chances of getting into the college of their choice, the local superintendent is apparently going with a punishment strategy aimed at making it making it harder for Farmington’s high school students who have been opted out of the Common core SBAC test to improve their college applications.

And in Fairfield, parents report that both the superintendent and assistant superintendent continue to engage in their ongoing effort to bully, harass and humiliate students whose parents have opted them out of the Common Core SBAC testing.  As the Fairfield administrators explained in an email to selected parents, “Students who chose not to participate will be marked present and will be required to remain with their class in the test room. There will be no alternate instructional activity provided for students assigned to the test session who refuse to participate”

Fairfield and a handful of other school districts remain committed to using the abusive “sit and stay” tactic despite the fact, so clearly laid out in writing, that such an effort violates the SBAC Testing Protocol.

See: No really… Students who aren’t taking SBAC Test MUST be removed from testing rooms

The following is from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC Test Administration Manual which controls that actual SBAC testing process.

“Students who are not being tested or unauthorized staff or other adults must not be in the room where a test is being administered.”

The reality is that we are witnessing government officials, some of who dare to call themselves educators, abuse and bully and demean parents, students and teachers is disturbing beyond words.

Is there really no one in government or in a position of authority who will stand up and put an end to these outrageous abuses?

Anyone?

Is anyone out there?

What the Hell is wrong with these people?

Dianna R. Wentzell – Misleader of parents on Common Core SBAC testing named Connecticut Commissioner of Education

In a press conference today, Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman announced that they were removing the word “interim” from Dianne Wentzell’s title today, allowing her to continue as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education.

Wentzell was named Interim Commissioner of Education this past January when charter school founder and corporate education reform insider Stefan Pryor high-tailed it out of Connecticut.

Before taking on the role of Interim Commissioner, Dianna Wentzell served as the State Department of Education’s point person on the Common Core and the Common Core SBAC testing program.

As Commissioner, Wentzell has dramatically increased her effort to undermine Connecticut’s system of public education with the Common Core, the Common Core testing  scheme and Malloy’s unfair and unprofessional teacher evaluation system.

Wentzell has led the Malloy Administration’s continuing effort to mislead and lie to Connecticut parents about the fundamental and inalienable right to opt their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme.

In fact, Wentzell is the author of the infamous memo instructing Connecticut superintendents to harass parents who attempted to utilize their opt out rights.

Now, thanks in part to Wentzell’s “leadership,” the Connecticut State Department of Education features propaganda worthy of George Orwell’s novel 1984, which one can find under their aptly entitled section, Communication Tools for Smarter Balanced.

It is there that parents are told that the Common Core SBAC test is “good,” although it skips over the fact that the SBAC test is designed to ensure that the vast majority of Connecticut students are deemed failures and that the unfair and discriminatory test results will be used to punish Connecticut’s public school teachers.

The SDE website reads;

Parent/Guardian Communication

  • A parent template letter that provides information about the new Smarter Balanced assessments and explains that the results will be different.
  • A handout for parents about the new tests that helps explain how the results will be different this year.

By keeping Wentzell as head of the State Department of Education, Malloy and Wyman continue to make it clear that it is full steam ahead with their anti-student, anti-parent, anti-teacher and anti-public school agenda.

It is also clear that the only recourse Connecticut parents now have is to stand up and refuse to allow their children to be given the disastrous Common Core SBAC test.

“There are no new taxes” – Governor Dannel Malloy 6/6/13

On Thursday, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman held a press conference to address issues surrounding the newly adopted state budget.  Malloy told reporters, “I think that there are no taxes in this budget that were not present previously…There are no new taxes.”

That is, the Governor is suggesting that the following are not “new taxes”…

  • The largest gas tax increase in Connecticut history that will take effect on July 1, 2013.  At present wholesale prices, the additional gas tax will add about 4 cents per gallon.  This increase will bring in about $60 million to Connecticut’s Transportation Fund.  However, as the CT Mirror noted, “the new budget then shifts $91 million from that fund into non-transportation programs next fiscal year.”
  • $17.5 million more from extending the $2.50 per megawatt-hour tax on power plants from July 1, 2013 to October 1, 2013 (Malloy had wanted a 2 year extension).
  • $44 million more in FY14 and $74 million more in FY15 due to retaining the 20 percent surcharge on the corporation tax that was supposed to end on July 1, 2013.
  • $27 million more each year as a result of keeping the cap on an insurance premium credit program for businesses.
  • The state will also have an additional $21 more next year by reducing Connecticut’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent of the federal EITC to 25 percent.  It would then go to 27.5 percent in the second year of the budget.
  • As the CT Mirror also reported, the new budget has a huge impact by re-directing the money that was coming in as a result of a tax on hospital bills.     “Hospitals have been paying $350 million a year through a provider tax since July 2011. But the state had been reimbursing hospitals for all of those dollars, using the tax as a mechanism to qualify for more federal health care assistance.  This new budget reduces aid to hospitals by more than $500 million in total over the next two fiscal years, including about $400 million cut from the grants used to reimburse hospitals for the provider tax they pay.” (CT Mirror)
  • And approximately $31 million in new state revenue as a result of allowing Keno in Connecticut bars and restaurants.  (The $31 million is after the Compact with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are modified to provide each tribe with 12.5 percent state’s Keno proceeds.)

In addition, the two-year budget is balanced by shifting money to the state’s General Fund that was supposed to be used for particular purposes and paid out of dedicated funds:

  • $25 million from the banking fund.
  • $12 million the tobacco and health trust fund.
  • $35.4 million from energy efficiency programs.
  • $35 million from CRRA (the quasi-public trash authority).
  • $10 million from a stem cell research fund (But the state will barrow an additional $10 million for that research.
  • $1 million from the probate court fund.
  • And the new budget also utilizes this year’s entire $221 million projecting surplus, instead of using it to pay down outstanding debt.

Happy CMT Day – Connecticut Mastery Test Day!

All across Connecticut, today – and for much of the next two weeks – educational activities will come to a halt for Connecticut’s 570,000 students.  In the state’s more than 1,100 schools, teachers will stop teaching and children will stop learning. 

Instead, the attention of teachers and children will turn to the Connecticut Mastery Tests and the task of filling in bubbles.

Faced with a growing state deficit, state and local government are increasing taxes and cutting services….including some of the most vital and essential services provided by government.

However, over the next two weeks, approximately $30 million in Connecticut taxpayer funds will go to one of the nation’s largest for-profit testing companies to pay for these standardized tests, scoring these tests and the necessary profit that goes along with their “work.”

Add in the lost teaching time and overhead and Connecticut will be diverting at least $50 million away from its already underfunded public education system.

All this so that we can determine that, in fact, poverty, language barriers and the need for special education services continue to be the three single biggest factors in determining standardized tests scores.

With less poverty and language barriers, suburban students will do better.

With more poverty and language barriers, urban students will do worse.

Students who require special education services will perform better or worse depending, in part, on whether their districts are providing them with the services they need and deserve.  And more often than not, the answer to that question depends on whether the local school districts have the funds necessary to properly cover special education costs.

So that is an expenditure of $50 million to tell us what we already know.

The only difference is that this year, if Governor Malloy and his administration, including Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor have their way, the test results will then be used to punish teachers for factors that are clearly beyond their control.

In honor of this crime against our children, here are three (3) things to consider doing;

1)      Sign the Parents Across America – Connecticut Chapter petition against the overuse of standardized testing:  Reduce the use of Standardized Testing in Connecticut 

 

2)      Drop a note to Governor Malloy, Lt. Governor Wyman and Commissioner Pryor:

http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=3998&q=479082
http://www.ltgovernor.ct.gov/wyman/cwp/view.asp?a=4001&q=471414
[email protected]
 
 
3)     Order yourself a Tested to Despair Bumper Sticker:  See the link to the right of the Wait, What Blog or click on: TESTED TO DESPAIR BUMPER STICKERS

 

An Endorsement? No, No a Recommendation – The two are very different

Early tomorrow morning, Connecticut Democrats will begin arriving at Central Connecticut State University’s Kaiser Hall to hold their 2012 Democratic Nominating Convention.

The primary agenda item is the endorsement of a Democratic candidate to run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by one-time Democrat Joe Lieberman.

Congressman Chris Murphy is poised to easily win the nomination.  The only question is whether Susan Bysiewicz, who at last check had about $1 million in her campaign bank account, will force a primary which would take place in August.

While Murphy’s nomination has been assured for quite some time, when State Representative William Tong withdrew from the race on May 1st,  Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman (neither of whom have Susan on their Holiday greeting card mailing list) were free to endorse Murphy.

Murphy already had the endorsement of his fellow Connecticut members of Congress, as well as, Attorney General George Jepsen, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

In the great Democratic tradition where “primaries are good” unless you are the nominee or support the nominee, Connecticut’s Democratic leadership has been working hard to limit support for Bysiewicz.

Today’s wait, what? post is designed to clarify the big difference between the concept of an endorsement and a recommendation.

You see, “endorsements” are very different from say “recommendations.”  For example, one is an endorsement and the other is a recommendation.  To make matters more complex, it appears that an endorsement can be a recommendation but a recommendation is not an endorsement.

This confusion arises, in part, from the investigative work of Stamford Advocate and Hearst newspaper reporter Brian Lockhart who, in February 2009, wrote about Governor Rell’s successful effort to get Linda McMahon a seat on the State Board of Education.

It took a Freedom of Information request by the Hearst newspapers to fully unravel the whole story, but it turned out that the senior staff from Governor Rell’s Office, McMahon’s lobbyists and the WWE’s vice president of global public affairs were forced to put in some long hours working to “polish McMahon’s image, craft her confirmation hearing statements and schedule as many one-on-one meetings as possible with legislators.”

It all began when the co-chair of the Legislature’s Nominations Committee told the Governor’s Office that she had heard from a constituent who was “concerned about whether Mrs. McMahon would be an appropriate role model.”

Worried about the potential fallout on McMahon’s nomination, the team kicked into high gear.  The WWE vice president informed the Governor’s office that “we are going to be announcing a new community-based program in early February…We also are going to post some clips of Linda speaking at the Republican National Convention, doing stand-ups at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions with our Superstars and addressing high school students at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C…”

The FOI also revealed a memo in which McMahon’s team provided the Governor’s Office with “notes” responding to “a list of concerns being circulated by Jonathan Pelto.”

However, the most intriguing information came with the news that the WWE and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office were scrambling to gather “letters of recommendation from a variety of bi-partisan sources.”

The packet of letters of recommendations, which was presented to legislators on the day of her confirmation hearing, included letters from;

1. Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy

2. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz

3. U.S. Congressman John Larson

As well as a host of others including the President of Sacred Heart University, the past president of the League of Women Voters of the United States and the President of UBS Investment Bank

Upon further investigation it turned out that Linda McMahon and her family had been very generous campaign contributors to some of the people writing the letters of recommendation.

So, should it come up at tomorrow’s Democratic State Convention, it’s important that the delegates remember that regardless of whether they are persuaded by Governor Malloy’s endorsement of Chris Murphy or Susan Bysiewicz’s endorsement of herself; recommendations are not endorsements, but endorsements might be recommendations.

For one of Lockhart’s great blogs on this issue see: http://blog.ctnews.com/politicalcapitol/2009/11/18/linda-mcmahons-list-of-supporters-print-clip-and-save-for-future-use/

The United States and Connecticut – Where Failure is a Viable Option

Oh and add prophet to the resume of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

On April 11, 2011 Paul Krugman wrote a commentary piece in the New York Times entitled “The President is Missing.”

In it he wrote “…Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion — a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!”

Krugman ended with “I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing.”

One wonders if Krugman realized just how prophetic his comments were – for the nation and for Connecticut.

Here in Connecticut, in a state that could and should be showing the way forward during these dark times, we are saddled with a chief executive who appears to be an even greater failure when it comes to fulfilling his promise and his promises.

Since Dan Malloy released his proposed budget back in February we have been careening toward this terrible moment… reached yesterday when Malloy and Wyman released their revised budget to deal with the $1.6 billion hole in the state budget.

Connecticut is now the shining example of the Democrat’s inability or unwillingness to take a stand and confront the politics of greed, fear and failure.

We have come to the day when, to borrow liberally from Krugman’s piece, “Shared sacrifice” means that the poor must accept big cuts in essential services, the middle class must pay more in taxes while accepting big cuts in vital programs and the corporations and super rich must accept tax breaks (like Cigna) and government policies that ensure that they don’t have to pay their fair share (like the .02 percent increase in their income tax rates). Oh and in Connecticut, Shared Sacrifice means public employees are public enemy number #1 and thousands must now face the unemployment line.

The Malloy/Wyman Plan:

Layoff over 4,400 public employees in the Executive Branch and eliminate 1,599 vacant posts regardless of how important those positions might be.

Layoff or eliminate at least 600 public employees in the Judicial Branch

Cut $60 million more from Connecticut’s public colleges and universities (after already cutting over $70 million from their current service budgets).

A new asset test for Medicaid patients preventing many lower-middle class people from being able to access vital health and human service programs.

A massive cut to community health centers and school-based health clinics.

No more placement of clients into group homes when vacancies occur despite a backlog of people who can no longer live safely on their own.

Reduced funding for HIV prevention services, including testing, prevention intervention, housing and emergency financial assistance.

Eliminate the state’s drug treatment and rehabilitation program at Connecticut Valley Hospital.

Reduce services for Connecticut veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs including therapeutic, recreational, laboratory testing, and on-call health care services. Also cut was the state subsidy to help veterans’ families install special grave markers.

A 15 percent rates hike on the Metro-North line and similar increase on Shoreline East.

Eliminate the Dial-A-Ride program for all non-disabled patrons while cutting subsidies for bus, rail and transit services.

Ending the Rocky Hill-to-Glastonbury ferry and the Chester-to-Hadlyme ferry.

Closure of two state prisons by releasing some prisoners and having others sleep in gymnasiums.

Eliminate 57 state trooper posts, reducing the force to 178 below the statutorily mandated level of 1,248.

A 10 percent cut in funding for the state’s nine fire training schools.

Eliminate drug courts in Danielson, New Haven and Bridgeport and close other judicial facilities.

Major funding cuts for the environmental protection programs for mosquito control, emergency spill response, clean air and solid waste management programs.

And the list goes on and on.

CTNewsjunkie and CTMirror both have links to the Governor’s plan:

http://www.ct.gov/opm/lib/opm/budget/2012_midterm_budget/budget_balancing_plan_july_15.pdf

http://ctmirror.org/sites/default/files/documents/budget_balancing_plan_july_15.pdf

When the “Game” Eclipses the Truth…

(Cross-posted from Pelto’s Point at the New Haven Advocate)

Whether it is in Washington or Hartford the reality is that the “game” has become so important that it trumps the truth almost every single time.

Take the on-going debate about raising the U.S. debt ceiling – an action that “must happen” in order to prevent economic chaos and melt-down.

Even faced with reality, the “politics” is what matters to most of the politicians and the media that cover them.

The “game” is what it is all about.

In a recent speech to Wall Street executives, Speaker of the House John Boehner said that while “It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible,” Republicans would not vote to increase the U.S. borrowing limit (and avoid default) unless they got “trillions of dollars in cuts” to the federal budget.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann says the United States doesn’t even need to raise its debt ceiling and that default wouldn’t be that bad. Like her fellow Tea Party followers she will vote against raising the debt ceiling limit no matter what.

It’s is hard to know if these two Republican “leaders” actually believe the stuff they are saying or even know the difference between the debt and the deficit but what is clear is that to them, and to most others in Washington, the game – the political pandering and positioning – has become more important than doing the “right thing”.

While it is hard to accept or even believe that dedication to the “game” has eclipsed even the truth here at home as well.

Yesterday, Gov. Malloy issued a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman in which they “expressed regret” for the massive layoffs that are now taking place.

They rationalized their action by saying; “To be clear, this is not the road down which either of us wanted to go. It’s the reason we both worked hard and in good faith to come to an agreement with SEBAC that would have avoided the layoffs of rank-and-file state employees and managers…But at this point, with no clear path to reach a ratified agreement with SEBAC, it’s our job to find a way to fill the $1.6 billion hole in the budget and ensure our budget is balanced honestly.”

Of course it makes political sense that the Governor and Lt. Governor are trying to wash their hands of the impact their layoffs will have on thousands of hardworking Connecticut families and the tens of thousands of people who rely on the vital services that some of them provide.

Furthermore, as Malloy and Wyman reveal, the game “requires” them to find someone else to blame for these problems – in this case – SEBAC and the state employees themselves.

But the truth is – their statement is simply a lie.

Their claim rests on the notion that “with no clear path to reach a ratified agreement” they have no choice but to take this vicious action.

The fact is, however, that nothing could be further from the truth.

There are a wide range of paths that would lead to an agreement that would save the state billions and preserve existing state positions but Malloy and Wyman have chosen not to pursue those paths.

And yes, there is certainly enough blame to go around…

For one thing, SEBAC leaders could have and should have done a better job putting together the agreement and educating the state employees about the agreement.

But those issues miss the most important point of all. We are facing a financial crisis of unparalleled proportions.

The Governor and Lt. Governor were elected by the people to do the right thing.

Instead, at this moment that their leadership is needed most, they have retreated to the safety of putting their own political gain above doing what is right.

While the issues in Washington and Connecticut are different and the players are different, the failure to step forward and take responsibility for doing the right thing is shockingly similar.

It is a sad state of affairs we are witnessing.

An Open Letter to Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman – You are needed – now – more than ever

July 11, 2011

Nancy Wyman

Lieutenant Governor

State Capitol, Hartford, CT.

Dear Nancy,

You know, perhaps better than anyone else who has ever served in the Connecticut State Capitol, that our state’s employees deserve better.

They are not the problem nor are they the enemy.

They are dedicated public servants who deserve our respect and our support.

In this time of economic crisis our state employees have an especially fundamental role to play as Connecticut seeks to overcome the challenges that face our state and our people.

Your career is living proof that there are elected officials who understand and live by that creed.

I’m not writing to you because of our shared experiences over the past three and a half decades or because of the close friendship we once had.

I am writing because I know that I speak for thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, who voted for the Malloy/Wyman ticket because Dan Malloy chose you to be his running mate and governing partner.

Dan Malloy could not have made his intention any clearer.

He chose you because of your extraordinary record, your unique understanding of the state budget and the budget process and because by choosing you he was making it clear that he too believed in the vital role state government and state employees have played and must continue to play if we are going to make Connecticut a better place to live.

Of his many quotes about the type of Lt. Governor you’d be, one stands out above all others and that was when he told the CTMirror that “when it comes to the budget, all of the major decisions, she’ll be in on them.”

Yet despite that promise and pledge, Dan Malloy and his Administration have declared war on our state employees.

Unnecessary and immoral layoff notices have begun to go out.

In the coming weeks, thousands of hard-working state employees will be brought to their knees as a result of this unwarranted attack.

In the greatest recession of our lives, thousands of middle class families – all across Connecticut – will face financial chaos and personal trauma.

As you know better than anyone, not only is Malloy’s present approach to getting a concession package counter-productive but it is hurting innocent people.

Your supporters realize that you are in an untenable position, but Dan Malloy promised to make you an equal partner and because of that commitment he picked up the support that would eventually lead to his victory in November 2010.

The mean-spirited approach that is now being played out can’t possibly reflect your wisdom, your advice or your input.

For the good of the state and the values and principles we all share, the time has come for him to stop this madness, fulfill his promise to make you a real partner and return to the bargaining table so a fair and equitable concession agreement can be reached and adopted.

You know what is at stake. You know that an agreement could be easily reached and easily passed.

To end this disaster and put Connecticut back on the right path, your leadership is needed now, more than ever.

Your supporters and admirers beg you to step forward and make things happen.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Pelto