Thursday, July 28, 2011

Save the FITP

Connecticut's Film Industry Training Program (FITP) is currently being threatened by budget cuts. This program is essential to creating a workforce for the many feature films that are being produced here in Connecticut.

Right now there are quite a few major features scheduled here during the next several months, with high profile stars such as Robert De Niro (above), Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Keir Dullea and many others. These films require a crew of up to 100 workers or more, and by providing a well-trained workforce of state residents, they won't be forced to bring in workers from out-of-state.

These jobs help remove people from the unemployment roles. It's much better to employ residents than to simply give them benefits. And by creating and maintaining a viable film workforce here in Connecticut, I hope we'll see more studios take up residence here and provide permanent jobs.

The FITP's budget is miniscule compared to the return. State residents who receive this training will be employable for life in the film industry, and that translates to tax revenues and less entitlement expenses.

You can help. There is a legislative sub-committee meeting to work on the budget. We have until Tuesday, August 2nd (that's next week!) to contact the members and ask them to continue funding this extremely low-cost program and keep it alive. The committee has to come up with a trade-off cut for anything they save. With respect to FITP, equivalent funding could be taken from the "CETC Account" at the Dept. of Labor as a trade off for saving the program.

Anyone who lives in areas represented by these legislators or knows them personally can be very effective by letting their feelings known ASAP. The co-chairs are particularly important, Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Bob Duff (D-S25) (860) 240-0414, and Rep. Bryan Hurlburt (D-53) (860) 240-8585. Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Andrew Maynard (D-S18) (860) 240-0591 and Deputy Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) (860) 240-8700 also sit on this committee. If we can rally legislative support, there is a chance that we can save the program for at least another year. PLEASE CALL ASAP, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT!

Now that the state unions are almost definitely going to vote to approve the concession package, many of the budget cuts that were proposed weeks ago will be revisited. This is our chance to restore funding to this program.

In these tough economic times, it is important to remember what has been accomplished by the FITP. The program now has 421 graduate trainees and over 7,500 days of work, paid and unpaid, internships, and deferrals. There are currently MANY graduate trainees and over 20 interns working on the seven features of various sizes now in pre-production or shooting in Connecticut. This will likely bring the total FITP graduate trainee days worked to near 9,000!

If you want more info, please contact

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wild Kingdom

Yes, we now have bobcats in Milford! This photo was taken in a backyard about 2 miles from my house. More in the Milford Mirror.

What's next? Bears? Wolves? Angry Birds? Ill-tempered Mooses?

Sheesh! I'd head for the hills, but it looked like the hills have already headed here!

But wait!!!

There IS a solution coming this way...


Well, I feel safer already!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blake nominated for mayor of Milford

Last night, life-long Milford resident Ben Blake was unanimously nominated for mayor at the Milford Democratic convention.

Blake, an attorney, has been on the Board of Aldermen for eight years, and served as Chairman for several years. He has experience in running the city as Acting Mayor, and he presided over the Board during the only time in city history that there was a tax reduction!

Democratic chairman Rich Smith speaking before a packed house. We had a bit of trouble with the microphone for the PA system, but luckily I was able to rig an emergency backup mic and the convention ran smoothly. (I guess that means I'm on the A/V committee now.) Video of the event will be online in the near future.

Additionally, Suzanne Manning was unanimously nominated for City Clerk. Suzanne has also served on the Board of Aldermen, and has the knowledge and experience to lead the office into the modern age. Venerable former City Clerk Alan Jepson nominated Suzanne.

Tomorrow (Friday, July 22nd) there is a very special fundraising event:

An Evening on the Beach with Ben Blake (and special guest Governor Malloy)

Please join Ben Blake and special guest Governor Dannel P. Malloy for:

An Evening on the Beach with Clams, Cocktails, and Conversation
a fundraiser for Ben Blake for Mayor

July 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm.

Tickets for the event are available, please call NOW 203-430-4579 or email for reservations and details.

Come on out and meet the governor, and help Ben Blake become the Mayor that our city truly deserves.

Suggested donation: $250, $100 for young professionals and students,
maximum donation $1000.

Please visit for more info.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moving the goalposts

Yesterday leaders of the fifteen state unions voted to change the by-laws to allow a simple majority of unions and members to approve the concession deal currently on the table.

Previously the unions required approval of a super majority (or even a super-duper majority) of 14 out of 15 unions to vote in favor of the deal, which represents 80% of the membership.

Roughly 57% voted in favor of the deal last time around, which was a reasonable majority but not nearly enough to meet the stringent threshold for approval.

Now it remains to be seen how soon a vote will occur. I'd guess it will happen within a month or so, and probably take two weeks to allow the rank and file time to vote.

I'm actually quite impressed with how this is going. Not everyone is going to be happy about it, but then again, are they ever? It's getting accomplished, and hopefully we'll avoid some of the more drastic cutbacks in state services that are being proposed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Event for Homeless Vets in Waterbury

No Vet Left Behind, Inc. and the City of Waterbury

No Vet Left Behind, Inc. will join City of Waterbury– on July 22, 23, 24 2011. In Hosting a three day Stand Down to be held at Waterville Park, 1522 Thomaston Avenue, Waterbury CT. We are asking for all service organizations to volunteer to participate in this event.

Briefly I will explain what Stand Down is; the original Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.

That is the purpose of the Stand Down for homeless veterans, and achieving those objectives requires a wide range of support services and time. The program is successful because it brings these services to one location, making them more accessible to homeless veterans.

Support services provided with the goal of helping veterans transition into civilian life. Services include providing assistance with navigating the VA benefit system and locating transitional housing.

No Vet Left Behind, Inc. will be kicking off this event on Friday July 22 at 0730 am, and ending Sunday 23 1200pm. Any Volunteer or Veterans organization interested in participating are encouraged calling No Vet Left Behind, Inc. 203-893-8341 or 203-906-0533. It is important for us to be the leader and make a contribution to our community. For the past 5 years No Vet Left Behind Inc. has provided for our veterans summer spring and fall and with you help we can continue this great tradition of giving back to those who have given so much for all of us to be free.

For Immediate release: July 13, 2011
Contact: Mary Porter 203-906-0533

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And so it begins...

The first layoff notices went out today to over 300 state workers, as Gov. Malloy works to balance the budget after the state unions voted against a concession package that would have guaranteed them absolutely NO layoffs for the next four years.

Here's a detail from the press release:
Grand Total - 328

Recap by bargaining unit:

Managerial 9
Service/Maintenance 10
Administrative Clerical 16
Correctional Officers 191
Protective Services 2
Health Nonprofessional 33
Health Professional 36
Education B 9
Engineering, Scientific, Technical 8
Admin and Residual 1
Correctional Supervisor 13

Total 328


1.) Does not include layoffs or separations prior to June 1, 2011.
2.) Noticed employees may have legal and contractual rights such as bumping rights or may choose to retire in lieu of layoff.
3.) Position counts are unduplicated.
4.) Does not include Legislative or Judicial branches or constituent units of higher education.
Expect to see many more layoff notices in the immediately future.

And can somebody tell Google to fix it so I can upload .pdf files to Blogger? Jeez, what year is this? Screw Google+, just do this for me and I'll be happy as a clam.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ron Paul to retire

Tea Party favorite Ron Paul announced today that he'll retire from Congress at the end of his current term.

Paul ran for president in 2008 as a proto-Tea Party candidate before the Tea Party actually became known, only to get severely thumped in the primaries. This, despite his fancy blimp that he floated around the nation during his brief run.

The Congressional redistricting will change his district's demographic, and probably would have caused problems for him should he chose to run again. Paul's 2012 presidential plans are somewhat uncertain at this point, but I'd guess that he'll succumb to the wishes of his few but enthusiastic supporters.

Keep those fabled "money bombs" coming, and maybe he'll get a new blimp for next year.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Some pics from our vacation!

Joyce kayaking by Salt City Island in Northport Bay, Long Island.

An awesome sunset featuring our friends' Tim and Lori's boat "Ebb Tide" in Port Jefferson.

The sunset tinted everything reddish, including me.

Joyce relaxing the way she enjoys the most: reading a book and drinking a glass of wine (hidden by the chair).

It was Joyce's birthday last Saturday, and our friends gave her a special treat! We never got around to opening it yet, but you know I'll have to try one.