Politics

Entries related to things political.

The Paris Climate Accord, U.S. Job, and the 2018 Governor's Races

Dayton Ohio Mayor, Nan Whaley, who is running for Governor of Ohio is going to test drive a Chevy Volt. Normally, I'd probably have some sort of snarky comment about this. Test driving a volt now? I've been driving a volt for years. The town of Woodbridge, CT, where I live has a changing station at the town hall and a charging station at the public library. The city of Middletown, CT where I work, which by the way, also has a mayor running for Governor has a fleet of electric vehicles and a bunch of charging stations.

But Connecticut is a different state than Ohio. Nonetheless, right now, as the current President damages job outlooks in the United States by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, it is good to see gubernatorial candidates seeking to bring jobs to their state by pursuing a promising future instead of trying to prop up a dying past.

Woodbridge Municipal Election Pre-Game

Tomorrow is the 2017 Municipal Election in Woodbridge, CT. In a small town election there isn’t often polling done, so just about everyone’s predictions is based on anecdotes or personal experiences. I thought it might be interesting to look at the race from several different angles.

For First Selectman, we have Beth Heller running against Tony Anatasio. It is an open seat since current First Selectman Ellen Scalettar chose not to run again. If we look at this in terms of the previous First Selectman candidates, in 2015, Ellen narrowly defeated Cathy Wick, 1579 to 1523. In 2013, Ellen defeated Cathy 1616 to 1207. So, over the past two cycles the Democrats have won, but it has gotten very close.

In the past two cycles, both Beth and Tony ran for selectman. In 2015, Tony got 1565 votes to Beth’s 1548. In 2013, Beth got 1655 votes to Tony’s 1153. Like with the top of the ticket, we saw the Republicans pick up votes, and in this case, Tony picked up enough to pass Beth.

It is likely to be a very close race. I like Tony. I’ve often spoken with him at events and around town. However, I don’t think his plan for Woodbridge really makes sense. A key part of his platform is “Engage professionals to market the CCW property for sale to independent golf course operators”. I strongly doubt that they are can find an independent golf club operator who is willing to buy the Country Club of Woodbridge at a price and terms that the people of Woodbridge will find acceptable. I’m also very concerned about some of the negative campaigning and misinformation that has come out by people supporting Tony.

I will vote for Beth. She has consistently done great things for Woodbridge and is geniunely a good kind person. She has resisted responding negatively to the nasty attacks.

For the Selectmen, the Democrats have Teri Schatz, Joe Crisco, and Mica Cardoza running against the Republicans Dave Lober, Spencer K Rubin, and Joe Dey. Joe is the only incumbent. In 2015, he received 1505 votes, sixty less than Tony. In 2013, he received 1158 votes. I have long been critical of Joe, going back to 2013 when I wrote, Joe Dey's Missed Opportunity.

Former State Senator Joe Crisco is running for Selectman. Last November, he lost his Senate seat to George Logan. However, he did win in Woodbridge, getting 2,574 votes. People have attacked him for being too close to Gov. Malloy others have lauded him for the long list of things he has done for Woodbridge. It will see how many people that voted for him for State Senate will vote for him for Selectman. I certainly will.

On the Republican side, Spencer K. Rubin is currently serving with me as a fellow alternate in the Zoning Board of Appeals. He is young, energetic, and all my interactions with him have been positive. In 2015, he received 1705 votes for ZBA Alternate. The only person receiving more votes in 2015 was Cynthia Gibbons, who received 1846. In my mind, Spencer is the best candidate the Republicans have for Selectman.

Looking at the rest of the candidates, we have to look at other information. Teri Schatz was one of the leaders of the efforts to get Pease Park built. She has done a lot for Woodbridge and deserves our vote.

Mica Cardoza serves on the Board of Fire Commissioners and prior to that as a member of the Economic Development Commission. I know Mica socially. When my wife and I bought our house in Woodbridge, his wife was our realtor.

The only Selectman candidate is David Lober. I know him by site and by what’s written about him online, but that’s about it.

Heading down the ticket, for Woodbridge Board of Education, my top choice is Nancy Yao Maasbach. I know her through politics and have always been very impressed with her. Steven Fleischman is running on the Republican side for a third term. Back when I used to cover the Woodbridge Board of Education, I found him to be the most reasonable of the Republicans on the board. I don’t really know the rest of the candidates for Woodbridge Board of Education, so I’ll skip over those. Likewise, I don’t really know either of the candidates for Board of Assessment Appeals all that well so I’ll skip those.

When it comes to the Zoning Board of Appeals, however, I know several of the candidates. Henry Nussbaum is the one incumbent. Four years ago, he received 1342 votes. He and I do not always agree on various appeals, but he is very experienced and well thought out. Other than myself, of course, he is the candidate that I most support. I know Jeffrey Atwood all that well, but the interactions I’ve had with him have always been very positive.

On the Republican side, Mary Hill is running. I serve with Mary on the Government Access Television Commission. I believe she is the best Republican candidate. I’ve met Wanda Luciani-Kesses but don’t know her very well. I’m sure she would be fine. I don’t know anything about Kim Giangrande other than what I’ve read online.

Four years ago when I ran for Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate, I felt it was important to go to a ZBA meeting before the election so I would have a good sense about what I was getting myself into. I’m glad I did that. As far as I know, the only new candidate for ZBA or ZBA Alternate this year to do this is Yonatan Zamir. I’ve had several great discussions with him and I believe he will be a great ZBA Alternate. The Republican candidate for ZBA Alternate is Robert Wiznia. He received 1164 votes for Amity Board of Education four years ago. I’ve seen him on the campaign trail, but really don’t know him very well.

Finally, for Amity Board of Education, I’ve already mentioned that Pat Cardoza was our realtor when we bought our house. I hold her in the highest regard and strongly support her re-election. Four years ago, she received 1509 votes. Also running as a Democrat for Amity Board of Education is Robyn Berke. Currently serves on the Amity Board of Education, having been appointed to fill a vacancy. She has always been involved in town and is a valuable member of the Amity Board of Education. I hope she gets elected to a full term.

Hal Smullen is running again as a Republican. Two years ago, he received 1348 votes.

Making Eden Great

Now the serpent was more crafty
than any of the wild animals
the LORD God had made
and he said to Adam and Eve,
“I’m going to make Eden great again.
I will be the greatest president
that God ever created.”

When they heard the boasts
and found them pleasing to the ear,
they cast their vote for the serpent
and elected him their leader.

Then they heard the sound of the Lord God
walking in the garden
and they were afraid,
so they said to the serpent,
build a wall to keep us safe
and drive out those who are different from us.

When the Lord heard this he said,
“Because you have done this
by the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

Yet still the serpent boasted
“and when I return to dust,
I’ll be the greatest dust ever”,
and the serpent’s daughter
made fancy clothes
that were too expensive
and nobody liked
and tried to sell them in the stores.

And so the serpent started working on his agenda
And he attacked the judges and reporters
That thwarted or criticized him
And he said
“Nobody knew that healthcare
could be so complicated.”

Virgin Mary Crushing a Snake

In Orthodox iconography
we often see
the bare foot
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
crushing a snake.

It is a symbol
of her victory over evil
her willingness
to be a servant
of compassion.

In recent years
the snake has been co-opted
in alt-right iconography,
a symbol of defiance
and fierce independence
leaving little room
for servanthood
to compassion.

Don’t tread on me, Mother Mary.

A Meta Narrative on Sensitivity

According to the Pew Research Center, President Trump has the highest rating among Republicans during the first month of his presidency since Ronald Reagan. He also has the lowest rating among Democrats and overall. What are we to make of this?

A starting point is that the problem is much bigger than President Trump. I saw an interesting discussion which may shed some light on this in a Facebook writers group. Someone posted to the group about an article in the Chicago Tribune, Publishers are hiring 'sensitivity readers' to flag potentially offensive content.

The post has now gotten ninety five comments ranging from “I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous.” and “Hmm, next, ban drama since it may cause negative emotional reactions” to “It's just another type of editing, I don't see anything to get up in arms about” and “This sounds like a great idea. It'll hopefully stop authors accidentally writing very offensive things”.

Others talk about losing the scare quotes and “sensitivity writer” and about how when people see the word “sensitivity” they get all up in arms. Another person noted, “Sensitive to sensitivity as a concept. It's totally meta, man”.

Where does this backlash against sensitivity and political correctness come in? My academic friends may see this as a reaction to emerging counter-narratives and my friends interested in issues of diversity and justice, may think of the quote “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”. Yet I’m not sure that helps us find any sort of middle ground, and others suggest that there can be no middle ground with evil or oppression.

I think the blog post by Bishop Doug Fisher puts it into a good context, Desiring a Christ-Centered Life, Not a Trump-Centered Life

“Will you seek and serve Christ in ALL persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”

“Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” With God’s help, we can do that.

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