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Local 724 Political News
Keep it right here for you latest Team 724 news and events.
Political Director Chuck Flynn will posting vital info to the campaign
and Team 724's next move..


Mayor Mike Passero jumped into re-election mode early with a surprise  announcement seeking a second term during a meeting with The Day editorial board. Brimming with enthusiasm and optimism,  he predicts New London market conditions are about to take off and change the face of downtown. Short on specifics and lacking  any city commitments on how to make those changes happen, he downplayed recent criticisms of the vacant dilapidated condition of the city center district.

While his enthusiasm is appreciated and his optimism even infectious at times, some could argue he doesn't see the failing health of downtown that others see or simply chooses to ignore it.  People and businesses stay away from downtown because they don't feel safe, which in turn means less people resulting in failed businesses  creating a downward spiral that feeds on itself. Downtown conditions are not an indictment of the police officers who patrol the city, we do miracles with the resources we have but we need help which has been slow in coming.
Regular readers of this column are familiar with NLPD descriptions of our decrepit undersized facility issues. Short term fixes have been the norm for the last 15 plus years and all have been met by new failures. Due to poor construction when built complicated by decades of deferred maintenance has resulted in the deplorable condition of the our building: leaking water every time it rains, intermittent heat and air conditioning, a filthy building with many functional deficiencies,  dirty air ducts and rodent infestation to name a few.   
Our most recent publicized episode highlighting a ceiling failure from chronic water incursion resulted in an OSHA inspection. Their findings were no surprise to us highlighting:  poor housekeeping standards (filthy), confirmation of mold, bacteria and fungi found in sampled areas of the building and visible rodent droppings on  personnel desks. Noted  the City had not taken care of as required from a 2016 OSHA compliance inspection.  The City is drawing up  remediation and compliance plan which are great intentions but if local history has taught us anything when dealing with the City that is to follow President Regan's advise with Russian arms control- "Trust but Verify".
With money bleeding out for constant fixes on what can best be described as a marginal building to begin with,  maybe now is the time to establish a public safety building committee to determine current and future facility needs. They could explore options to upgrade the current site, retrofit an existing building or possibly brand new public safety complex.
A new complex proposal could potentially reduce costs by incorporating regionalization ideas with increased police capacity in specialized areas. Examples could include centralized prisoner processing/holding facility, establish state of the art police/fire regional dispatch/911 center, incorporate regional unified command/control center and include community rooms for in-service training classes and conferences to name a few.

This committee could prepare a comprehensive study for a 5 year plan with cost benefit analysis to determine building size, equipment and technology requirements with associated estimates and what state/federal grants are available as a prelude to a serious fact based discussion on best options. We estimate a new 55,000 square foot building would cost in the $13-15 million range. While certainly a lot of money it is only 9.5% of the $150 million city intends to spend on new schools.  Failure to plan is  planning to fail. 

In other news, thank you the Mayor and City Council for proposing and approving  $2.1 million bond funding for desperately needed police IT upgrades and new Computer Aided Dispatch system  from Tri-Tech Software Systems which will piggyback on the Waterford police department's system and link with it to allow the sharing of information.  These upgrades would be phase two of a three phase plan to regionalize dispatch with Waterford, that started back in 2013 with radio system interoperability upgrade
Speaking of money a discussion is in order to review the monies being thrown at the New London Board of Education - at the expense of the city government budgets- with nothing to show for it.  A newly released report indicates a large majority of public schools and school districts in the state earned worse grades this year than last on the state’s annual assessment of school performance. Here in New London Nathan Hale, Bennie Dover Middle School and NL High School had lower scores than last year's  report,  averaging just  52.8 out of a possible 100.
Even more troubling the study indicated the high school has 24% of students with chronic absenteeism rate. Given such poor results shouldn't  BOE be held accountable to taxpayers and explain where does all this money go and why should they get a dime more since spending  their way out of these problems aren't working while all city services suffer.

Police Chief Pete Richard intends to submit a budget plan in upcoming workshops to hire more police officers in the next fiscal year. He wants to boost our numbers to 76 sworn personnel. We  believe that is a good number. We can think of about four million reasons to believe there are tools available right now in the city tool box to make this a reality. For that reason we urge Councilors and the Mayor to come together, work out the details to educate the voters to our dilemma and make this happen. 
Lame duck Gov. Dan  Malloy now seeking legacy status on his progressive agenda will ask us to dig even deeper into our empty pockets to fund his Connecticut fairness concept of more giveaways, or as Democrats call it investments in people. Some of his fairness includes affordable health care, free community college tuition for all and a final push to raise the age of juvenile offenders to 20 years old to once again keep them from being held responsible for their crimes in adult courts.
US Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) produced  a study from 2000 showing 18-20 years olds nationwide accounted for 23% of all murders and 14 % of all reported violent crimes while 74% of those murders were by firearms. With those numbers in mind can some wizard of smart please explain to us how raising the age of criminal responsibility is  going to stop these violent crimes in this targeted age group? But we digress….
No mention in the governor's speech was made of the economy or taxes just his wish and desire to make the state a "better fairer place" in a state drowning in debt with bonding maxed out. Nutmeggers fed up with tax and spend Connecticut have voted with their feet leaving he state  with 154 of 169 towns reporting a decline in their populations.
Over at the Legislative Office Building our representatives will  tackle establishing electronic tolling on Connecticut highways by mid-2022 and to phase in a seven-cent gasoline tax hike to avert insolvency in the transportation program  and fund a  30-year rebuilding initiative. The  plan would boost the state’s 25-cents-per-gallon, retail gasoline tax seven cents in four stages, starting with a two-cent hike in July. Connecticut would add another penny in July 2019, two cents more in mid-2020, and the final two cents in July 2021. What remains to be seen is where these revenues will go.
Tolls while unpopular on its face would fairly impact all of the state's drivers rather than the old toll system which targeted almost exclusively shoreline residents along I-95 and in particular New Haven and Fairfield counties. New proposed toll locations include 78  throughout the state with 12 on I-95 between Greenwich and New Haven. Studies suggest  vehicle toll diversion is estimated at less than 3 percent. 70% of toll revenues are expected to come from in state residents since they use the roads more frequently. Anti toll groups argue tolls will hurt our residents the most but if tolls are user fees doesn't it make since the users pay the fee?
While almost every Connecticut resident agrees our roads and bridges are horrible and warily agree to tolls if dedicated exclusively to the special transportation fund. But many in the General Assembly not only insist revenues go directly to the general fund, they already talk of new spending plans with this new anticipated revenue for budget deficits and new social investment programs meaning most this new money will  never make it to desperately needed road projects. And to voters that is the rub making this toll idea an even tougher pill to swallow.
As the new General Assembly starts the new session Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM),  Council on Small Towns (COST) and Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and Yankee Institute are all special interest groups trying to lobby legislators to reduce union worker rights and reduce public pensions, remove pensions from an area of collective bargaining, eliminate binding arbitration and push for right to work status claiming all these issues are the root of economic evil to Connecticut  business and municipal spending.
AFSCME, AFL-CIO and other Unions will once again prepare for a fight to defend and protect our hard won rights and benefits for all of our hard working families. Eliminating these provisions and protections will only punish middle class families in a race to the bottom of the economic ladder while CEO's will benefit on our misfortunes. The study contends that the state's current compensation model is unsustainable. "Connecticut faces a substantial budgetary challenge due to high debt and large unfunded liabilities for pensions and retiree health plans,'' the study states. What it failed to mention was since 1978 executive pay at American ?rms has grown 127 times faster that worker pay.  In fact, the ratio of CEO-to worker pay has increased 1,000 percent since 1950, according to Bloomberg.
Gubernatorial hopeful Susan Bysiewicz has paired up with  Joe Trippi a political consultant who worked on political campaigns for many prominent members of the Democratic Party. He is best known for his work on the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean 2003–04, which was an early successful example of online grassroots political activism. Having a national figure aligned with her because of her prior government experience,  having statewide name recognition suggests Democrat leadership believes she has the best chance of winning the primary and the office in November while some political insiders claim Ned Lamont is the best candidate the Dems have.
The nation's business in Washington was once again distracted  in early February by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), with another budget shut down looming.  The core issue revolved around how many dreamers get to stay in return for a border wall and immigration policy revisions for enhanced security.
Assume some type of full or partial amnesty will eventually be granted as part of DACA deal to those already here, but nobody is talking  about those in transit to be the next illegal arrivals intent on sneaking in to be counted before amnesty is granted, or future illegal immigrants hoping to be in line for the next wave of amnesty after DACA is granted.
Democrats  have recited for years the need for "comprehensive immigration plans" but have always failed to include a definitive plan or funding for a wall and other significant mechanisms to control border access other than a promise to offer a future comprehensive study of the issue. Republicans and the President insist any deal must include a secure border with significant policy reforms  to effectively deal with  illegal immigration for the safety a sovereign nation. 
With that in mind here is a glaring example of liberal hypocrisy by our own Democratic diva  Senator Richard Blumenthal who pontificates about the ethical standards of others and a passionate no holds barred supporter of any and all illegal immigrants. Blumenthal has previously stated "a wall is more an ego trip for the president than an effective use of resources". Yet his rural Greenwich home sits on 2 acres completely surrounded by a fence and this large driveway gate.
In 2004 when a Hartford Courant reporter asked to do a story about Blumenthal and his family at his home Blumenthal replied  ``Well, that would be a problem", explaining  he and his wife, Cynthia, do not allow reporters in their home for both security and privacy reasons.
So Mr. Blumenthal the 7th richest member of Congress worth $81 million only believe walls work when it comes to him for his own family's  personal security and privacy  but not for you or the security of the nation. When it comes to future border security without a wall [fence] we say "well that would be a problem Mr. Blumenthal".  Your hypocrisy is Just another example of progressive elitism with do as I say not as I do and clearly out of touch with our hard working middle class families in Connecticut.






February Update

A recent January article in The Day on our police staffing issues certainly did not sit well with police rank and file officers. Unfortunately some politicians like our mayor suffer from very selective memories when it suits them so let us remind our readers of his prior positions using his own words.
In 2014 then Council President Passero stated the city [Mayor Finizio] had a responsibility to make public safety a top priority in the budget." Then in 2015 Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Passero called for a "return of respect for public safety employees with plans to restore…staffing levels at the police department, calling a well-functioning police department a key to quality of life in the community".
Fast forward to 2018 Mayor Michael Passero now washes his hands of our shortage claiming "the issue comes back to the City Council. It’s the council that approved only enough money for 70 officers". When it comes to standing by his own immortalized words requiring minimum staffing ordinance of 80 officers his explanation is "the number 80 was a compromise… it was more important to get something into writing than to bicker over the precise number".
Well forget the guessing Mr. Mayor had you even bothered to look no further than the expert report requested and paid for by the city 10 years ago recognized law enforcement experts recommended 118 officers for NLPD. ( READ OSS REPORT )

The number of 69 officers is a misleading number. Once you take away command staff, supervisors, investigators and support services the actual number of patrol officers is 37. Now subtract injuries, training, days off, sick and vacation leave are added in that number drops off precipitously to cover the entire city 24/7.
To the doubters, many from outside the city who provide comments without slightest understanding of facts suggest more police officers don't solve more crimes. Remember famous words from former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts and political society wants things simple but what is not discussed, will not be advanced.
We say more police means timely responses to calls for service. more pro-activity allowing us to focus on quality of life issues which has been proven to reduce other crimes, in particular street crimes of opportunity like- car breaks, daytime burglaries, robberies street corner drug dealing and pan handling to name a few.
A recent example is our Vice and Narcotics Unit added another investigator to the unit a few months back with a dramatic uptick in unit activity. Not only increased on site street level drug dealing arrests but significant activity with larger complex investigations utilizing search and seizure warrants resulting in impressive seizures of drugs, money and guns and multiple arrests.

Properly staffed police agencies can and do provide a full range of police services which allows us to be responsive to more community policing concerns. For those non believers we suggest you drive around the city with your eyes wide open and tell us how clean, inviting and attractive the city is right now and explain to us why any new business, developers or residents would want to move here. A sentiment echoed in a recent David Collins article on the state of downtown.
Borrowing a quote "The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity." Maybe we have arrived at that moment, after a several recent and brutally honest discussions with police administration and City Hall involving very early stages of coordinating a plan to increase staffing in the next fiscal year to add patrol officers another detective and Deputy Chief.

Funding will be contingent on collaboration with Councilors for their approvals in upcoming budget workshops, but we came away believing this may, might, could be, the start of a new opportunity for the police department. One of the plans calls for certifying a new batch of promotional lists for Detective, Sergeant and Lieutenant in place by early spring which is not only welcomed but timely if we are to increase staffing.

As Connecticut remains in a polarizing quagmire of high unemployment, huge debt, crumbling infrastructure and a population fleeing the state our lame duck Governor Malloy tries to remain relevant joining our Sesame Street twins, Bert (Richard Blumenthal) and Ernie (Chris Murphy) as always reliable with their Democrat National Committee puppeteers to parrot the latest Never Trump rants while Congress and our own General Assembly proves inept to solve any problems in front of them except to kick it down the road.
We hope all Connecticut voters remember how our self absorbed Senatorial twins and darlings of the progressive left turned their back on every American citizen and our military not once but twice in a week's time by not only voting to shut down the government choosing instead to support illegal immigrants but a second time when they voted no to end the government shutdown. Elections have consequences especially Murphy who faces 2018 re-election.

Meanwhile the list of hopeful candidates for governor is growing by the day, each believing they have what it takes to fix this mess but none to date offering any meaningful solutions. Currently none of the Republican hopefuls have statewide voter name recognition and face a tremendous uphill challenge.
There is one exception though, 30-year-old New Britain Mayor Erin Stuart in her third term, who appears ready to jump into the race. A self-described fiscal conservative who is moderate-to-liberal on social issues, she wins consistently in a city where Democrats dominate the voter registration rolls, and for the past two election cycles, she has won endorsement from municipal unions could pose a serious challenge to the status quo.

As for the Democrats there are three names that stand out: former Secretary of State Susan Bycewicz, current Hartford mayor Luke Bronin and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont each capable of raising big campaign money and each offer their own version of reshuffled deck of progressive politics that differs little from Dan Malloy in substance.
Recall if you will Malloy stated in 2010 and again in 2014 he and he alone would turn the Connecticut economy around. Well he was right , he single handedly tanked it. He asked for and got a $2.6 billion tax increase in 2011 only to burn threw it like am inept lottery winner. Then in April 2017 with the state economy and especially struggling cities on life support - except for his hometown of Stamford - he was bold enough to echo this myopic claim, "I know that Connecticut must continue to change and grow and strive for a more perfect tomorrow".

Malloy's record of failures (killed off Route 11, emptied the transportation fund, soaring energy costs, 95 and mass transit a mess while state infrastructure crumbles) all broken promises resulting in a high disapproval and failed policies – all the while raising taxes, increasing regulations, misleading voters not to mention driving away business and jobs represents the worst of our governors. Hey Dan how about do no more harm and quietly go away!
To be clear this is not personal but business, Dan Malloy is a personable guy that we whole heartedly supported and endorsed twice because he supported unions, hard working middle class families and upheld collective bargaining rights. While challenger Tom Foley made clear his first order of business was to blame all the state's problems on union employees and go after our public sector jobs and hard fought contracts. But that was then, this is now and new blood is needed.
Oh then there is one Independent candidate, Oz Griebel the former Executive Director of the Hartford Alliance (greater Hartford region chamber of commerce). A personable businessman with plenty of optimism but short on cash who at best plays a spoils position in voter tallies. I'm sure if he can survive to Election Day and sway some votes he will be rewarded by the victor with a plumb job. But a day in politics can be a lifetime allowing plenty of time for twists and turns along the way.












Why Political Action

THE DECISIONS that a legislative body makes, whether it is a school board, city council, county board, state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, affect AFSCME members and their families in dramatic ways.

Elected officials vote on budgets that affect employee wages, benefits, working conditions and pensions. They vote on issues of particular concern to AFSCME members, like privatization, and they vote on broader issues of concern to all working families, such as health care reform and workers' compensation. That's why working people need to have allies among elected officials. And that's why working people need to work to elect these allies.

The Local 724 executive board has the collective responsibility to provide vision and direction for the local. It is up to the leadership team to look ahead, set goals and develop a plan to make strategic planning a critical element to having a strong union which can only come about when membership is informed, educated and active.

Unions can never hope to match the hundreds of millions of dollars big business pours into every election. But working people have superior numbers, so they can get out in the streets and work for candidates. And if members pool their cash, unions can help make sure that their endorsed candidates have enough funds to compete against business-backed opponents in the ever-more important media ad wars.

Through the political process we can be involved in setting important public policy. Through the political process public employees can elect representatives who are sensitive to maintaining vital public services and committed to dealing with workers fairly.

Local 724 accomplishes this through political action in conjunction with the exercise of collective bargaining process, growth and community involvement to produce a just and rewarding workplace.


Local 724 gets recognized on the national level!

On January 28, 2011 at the Council 4 Campaign for the Middle Class Seminar in Meriden The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO thanked the New London Police Union- Local 724 for their efforts in the Labor 2010 campaign.

Lee Saunders, International Secretary-Treasurer and AFSCME Council 4's Sal Luciano who is also an International Vice President honored Local 724 with a certificate "In recognition of their tireless work and commitment during the 2010 State of Connecticut general elections". To this day labor leaders throughout the state continue to praise our Malloy/Wyman Pre-Debate Rally as a new benchmark of what local labor can achieve when committed to a goal.

Chuck Flynn was honored to accept the award on behalf of our entire membership which will hang proudly in the 724 "Hall of Justice". I want to personally thank everyone that participated in some way no matter how big or small. Our election success was due to the collective efforts of our TEAM-Together Everyone Accomplishes More.


724 helps East Lyme fight the cause

Why Political Action

Shooting from the lip
Political Director C Flynn

4 Crippling Leadership Mistakes