The Political Scene (this week)

Well, I’ve had my dose of politics for the week and it’s only Tuesday morning.

On Sunday, the Democratic Town Committee held its biggest fund raiser of the year, the Century Club (so named for the century-note, $100, it costs to attend). The event was an opportunity to honor one veteran with the Eunice Postol Public Service Award and a rising star got the Young Turk Award. From what I gather, few other DTCs in the state do something on this scale so it’s kinda cool.

It was held at the posh Patterson Club in the rich part of town, deep in a Republican-dominant district. From 12-3 we hobnobbed, chatted, ate a fine brunch and heard from many people.

Given the density of the party faithful, it was a magnet for candidates so it was interesting watching New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy work the room, lining up support for their bid for the Democratic nod to oppose Jodi Rell in the Governor’s race. Diane Farrell was there, stumping in her quest to unseat Chris Shays in Congress and Ned Lamont, the loud voice challenging Joe Lieberman’s Democratic credentials, was also briefly in attendance. On the more local front, current state rep in the 132nd, Tom Drew, was of course with us as was the Democratic challenger for the 133rd, Kim Fawcett. Our Selectmen, Ken Flatto and Denise Dougiello, were almost eclipsed by the star wattage.

All the pols walked the room, pausing at tables and chatting up the familiar and the new. I had a chance to finally meet our Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, whose work I respect. We’d attending various meetings and functions together in the past but never spoke so he confessed I looked familiar and was surprised we hadn’t met. He immediately added, “And if there’s anything I can do for you, just call.” Deb wanted to know if I asked for a job (I did not).

There were cameras on every table so I wound up in a group shot with Blumenthal and took a bunch of the people at our table. In all, a fine afternoon and I gather we had a great turnout and will have cleared a nice sum for the upcoming campaign season.

Last night I attended my first District Leaders meeting, prior to the monthly DTC meeting. One member carefully constructed two lists, one of standing sub-committees for things like recruitment and canvassing, while another listed campaign-centric activities that needed manpower. We were supposed to discuss the list, finalize it and then have people sign up during the meeting. Sadly, we meandered all over the place so a few things got accomplished but nowhere near enough to justify the hour of my time.

Our DTC meeting was more interesting as DeStefano once more spoke to us in his campaign. We also briefly touched on whether or not the DTC should endorse any candidate currently running for any office. Instead, we passed a resolution that the DTC urges the party and the losers in the contested races to support the actual nominee and work for the greater good. While it sounds self-evident, apparently, a certain Senator has made noises about running as an independent should he somehow lose the party’s endorsement. There was some additional chat about how delegates to the various conventions were selected since they were to represent the will of the DTC but we don’t know how the delegates were leaning, especially since at the time we were picking candidates, most hadn’t made up their minds. An interesting dilemma without a clear answer.

With the rah-rah stuff now past, it’s back to governing. Last week the Board of Finance showed their partisanship with a series of moronic budget cuts intended to hamstring the current administration’s ability to function. Their true purpose and agenda remains unfathomable but it may force the Board of Ed to appeal the proposed $2.6 million budget cut which would fall to the RTM. The political wheels are churning, spoiling a chance to pass a lean budget designed to keep the tax increase down without hurting essential services and programs.