Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut, Uncategorized

Anne Reilly raises questions regarding Berlin’s Board of Education urging more transparency and accountability

13012717_10207211819267637_1546177010943021041_n-1In a Letter to the Editor, Anne Reilly raised questions regarding Berlin’s Board of Education. Democrats have been objecting to the BOE becoming partisan under the new Charter; however, Anne observed that the Superintendent of Schools and other administrators donated to Berlin’s Democratic Town Committee, and that many BOE members were members of the Democratic Town Committee, suggesting such constituted partisanship.

In addition, she observed that historically the votes on the BOE have been largely 9-0 in agreement, with some votes after private, closed door discussions as opposed to public discussions.

Annie also was critical of the BOE keeping secret a BOE report regarding its defense of a former BOE Chairman, costing $100,000 in legal fees.

Isn’t it somewhat disingenuous, hypocritical, and insulting to taxpayers for one to claim that the BOE has been nonpartisan?

Below is a transcript of her letter as it appeared in the Berlin Citizen, October 20th, 2016.

More transparency, accountability

To the editor:

During last November’s town election, the Republican candidates pledged to create a Charter Revision Commission to review areas of our Town Charter, including greater input on town budgets and a reformed Board of Education.

I am thankful to the commission members. I find it sad that Democrats who appointed their members to the commission now reject every proposal which their own members passed.

The commission made its best effort to be fair and nonpartisan as it grappled with key issues. It is telling that nearly all their key issues received unanimous support. Many residents feel these changes will make the town more accountable and more transparent to the residents.

Why is this needed? Did you know that the Berlin Board of Education has spent almost $100,000 on legal fees to keep secret a report concerning intimidation charges made by a coach against former BOE Chairman Gary Brochu? Why has the board supported Mr. Brochu when the coach was trying to do his job?

Did you know that the superintendent and other administrators donate to the Berlin Democratic Town Committee even though he doesn’t live in town? Isn’t the BOE supposed to be nonpartisan? Many former and current BOE members are also members of the Democrat Town Committee.

Why does the BOE feel it is necessary to have discussions in private and the votes in public? Why are all votes 9-0? Why do they not allow other opinions to be voiced publicly? This does not sound like a school system that supports and teaches respect and diversity.

With the charter amendments, there will be a healthy debate of the issues decided in open session. Neither party can have a “super-majority” on Town Council. This will lead to compromise and communication across party lines.

Please vote “yes” on the five questions for transparency and accountability.

Anne Reilly

Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut, Uncategorized

Berlin High School football recruiting scandal cost Berlin Connecticut taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars


Dennis House: The Berlin High School football recruiting scandal continues tonight. Eyewitness News has learned it cost you the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars. Eyewitness News reporter Matthew Campbell is live at Veterans Memorial Stadium in New Britain where the rivalry between Berlin and New Britain is about to go down.

Matthew Campbell: The game’s gonna kick in about an hour or so and let me tell you the bad blood will be boiling over between New Britain and Berlin. Take a look behind me as the band just actually came into the stadium. There’s two separate entrances: one for New Britain and one for the Berlin fans as well.

And extra security has been added here all after this recruiting scandal that was uncovered by New Britain. Now if it wasn’t uncovered, taxpayers in Berlin would continue paying for players that didn’t live there.

As another chapter in the annual wishbone rivalry is about to be written, an asterisk will forever be placed to this year’s game after the CIAC Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference discovered Berlin was recruiting players from New Britain.

Stephanie Santa: “…I feel very sorry for these boys because they were given something and then it was taken away.”

Matthew Campbell: The four ineligible players from New Britain were taking away spots on the field and seats in the classroom that were always intended for kids from Berlin.

Carol Argazzi: “…weren’t able maybe to have a position on the team because somebody else unfairly took it from them.”

Matthew Campbell: The CIAC handed down punishments this week. The four players from New Britain are banned from ever playing again. Berlin head coach John Capodice suspended by the district. But the scandal goes far beyond the gridiron. It hits taxpayers in their wallets.

Dr. Karissa Niehoff: “Each district is a little bit different but it for a family to come in and take advantage of another school’s resources like that, you know, if you do it for multiple years, you’re talking a lot of money.”

Matthew Campbell: In Berlin the superintendent confirms that each high school student cost taxpayers $14,982 a year. In these four cases that’s money that was being spent on New Britain kids seemingly just to gain an edge here on the field.

Stephanie Santa: “I feel pretty robbed.”

Matthew Campbell: Taxpayers will foot another bill. The CIAC fined Berlin $4,000: a thousand for each violation. The team also had to vacate all wins. So the majority of players, all of whom are innocent, have no shot at the playoffs.

Stephanie Santa: “I feel really bad for the football players because they’ve worked really, you know, from Berlin, well all of them, but they’ve worked really hard for these wins and those were also taken away.”

Matthew Campbell: A live look here at Veterans Memorial as this game will kick in about an hour. And this game will be played for pride. Roaming the sidelines for Berlin will be assistant coach Rob Levesque. The long-term future for Coach Capodice: that’s still unknown.

That’s the latest live here with the mobile newsroom in New Britain.

Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut

Berlin High School football team found to have violated CIAC rules. If true, who is responsible?

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Board of Control (CIAC) came down hard on the Berlin High School football program Wednesday after an investigation into recruiting and residency violations. The sanctions include forfeiting all seven victories, prohibition from state championship competition this season and probation for one year. The school also was fined $4,000, $1,000 for each of four ineligible players.

Who will pay the $4,000 penalty and the cost of the investigation?  Who has been paying the additional cost of educating these four nonresident students when the average annual education cost per student is as much as $15,000 per year?

The taxpayers of Berlin deserve a thorough outside investigation. The Berlin Board of Education should not select the investigators; rather, the Berlin Town Council should select the investigators since the Berlin Board of Education should be included in the scope of the investigation.

All those charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all students in Berlin schools are residents of Berlin should be held accountable.

Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut, Uncategorized

Berlin Connecticut needs candidates from a third political party to stop the strict partisan voting on the Town Council

522156_397391523604538_1693998518_n-506x400There are approximately 5,000 unaffiliated registered voters in Berlin, Connecticut in comparison to approximately 4,000 Democratic voters and 3,000 Republican voters.  There must be reasons why voters did not register with either of the two major political parties.

Perhaps one of the reasons so many voters registered as unaffiliated was because of their disgust with major political parties.  At the national level, our government has encountered gridlock on many important issues, leaving serious problems unresolved.  Immigration, tax reform, money in politics, unfair trade agreements, invasion of privacy, are just some of the issues that a majority of American voters want addressed in this country.

On the Town Council in Berlin, Connecticut, we have witnessed voting by members on key important financial matters along strict party lines even though each election cycle we have been assured that they would reach across the aisle to work with those who belong to a different political party.  The result, in my opinion, has been the party in power succeeding in promoting its party’s economic agenda, whether it be in the best interests of the citizens of Berlin.

Results of referendums have been largely ignored, if not dismissed entirely.  Taxes this year have increased 4.7% over those of the previous year even though real disposable income of the majority of Berlin residents have not been increasing.  Businesses have closed while it has been rumored that some new businesses have shunned Berlin, going to adjacent towns.  Even some residents have voiced concerns over fear of being targeted by employees of the Town of Berlin, Connecticut.  Do you recall the Berlin coaches who feared coming forward publicly to address their concerns with the Town’s School Board?

Are special interests controlling our two major political parties?  Are small cliques of our citizens—who lead and/or control these two political parties—attempting to benefit from these two major political parties?   Do governmental unions control one political party in Town?  Do certain individuals control the other political party in Town, preventing the free expression of views and participation of all of its members?

If Berlin citizens support and vote for individuals running as independent candidates, perhaps we can change the political climate on our Town Council.  For instance, if three Democrats and three Republicans need the vote of the independent candidate on the Town Council, perhaps then control of our Town can be wrested from the dominance of any one political party, which would ordinarily be in control of the Town Council by the mere fact that seven members serve on it.

Let’s consider electing an independent, unaffiliated voter to represent the majority of citizens living in the Town of Berlin.  If you are interested in supporting this proposal, forming a committee to nominate a candidate, petitioning citizens to place an independent candidate on the ballot, or running for office on the Town Council in Berlin, please contact us:

Thank you.

Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut, Uncategorized

Let the spin begin

William Rasmussen

William Rasmussen, Deputy Mayor of Berlin, Connecticut

Letter to the Editor, published June 8, 2015, The Berlin Citizen

“Deputy Mayor Bill Rasmussen, almost certainly nervous about November’s municipal elections, needed an early start in spinning the excuse(s) why he and his comrades disrespected your referendum vote, yet again. Even though this budget, along with many others, was overwhelmingly voted down, as usual, the liberal Town Council-majority did as they pleased. Astonishingly, their decision was not to return to the original agreed upon $790,000 reduction of over a $1 million tax increase. Instead Rasmussen and cohorts were influenced by attendees of a sparsely attended budget hearing, disregarding the more than 900 people that voted “no” and thought the budget was too high.

In his cautiously-worded Op-Ed, Rasmussen neglected to reveal that this year’s 1.43 mill rate increase will cost you an additional $300 in taxes based on a home assessed at $200,000. This latest increase adds to a decade’s worth of “cup of coffee a day” tax increases, which now equal thousands more in taxes for you to pay up each July.

Doesn’t Rasmussen understand a continually-rising mill rate is one of the major deterrents to economic development and families fleeing town, resulting in a reduction to the grand list which has already occurred? Most informed citizens know this. Yet Rasmussen continues to argue for a higher tax because a lower tax increase would have resulted in the delay and completion of projects. Does this mean he needs more of your cash to cover the bungled BHS project that is more than $10 million over budget?

After years of ignoring your votes, decade’s worth of tax increases, and mismanaged projects haven’t you been snubbed enough? For the town’s sake, do not give Rachel Rochette, Bill Rasmussen, Margaret Morelli, and Peter Rosso another majority this November. Change is desperately needed, and it is up to you.”

Scott Veley

Former Deputy Mayor – Berlin

Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut, Uncategorized

Dream on

Berlin Citizen, Letter to the Editor, June 16, 2015

So the Berlin High kids got Monday, June 1 off … no… not a special event or holiday, it’s just the delayed construction on our multi-million dollar high school repairs to create a high school as-new not only is running late, but totally falling apart! Ceiling collapses, flooded roof – way to go, Town of Berlin!

And you want a new multi-million dollar police station? Keep dreaming! You can’t get the high school done, and in budget, let alone fortify it as a constructionally sound building and we should up our taxes for a police station? Will it be designed and built by the same people that are at the high school? Yikes!

Suzanne Helm

Berlin, Connecticut

Berlin, Berlin Connecticut, Connecticut, Kensington Connecticut, Uncategorized

Why Bernie Sanders is destined to lose


Save your money folks and don’t contribute to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. You will be throwing good money away because Bernie Sanders is destined to lose. Why? Because he has been merely grandstanding, apparently only promoting his value as a politician by his continued refusal to fight the good fight for his supporters.

Although Bernie Sanders calls his campaign a political revolution, he is not a fighter. Yes, he gives speeches on issues; and he is an excellent gadfly; however, gadflies don’t fight but merely annoy. And to defeat an opponent with the backing of Wall Street, name recognition, an establishment of professionals in one’s campaign organization with a war chest of $2.5 billion, Bernie Sanders needs to fight and fight hard. After all, isn’t he calling for a political revolution? Giving speeches to an empty Senate chamber may make for great oratory, but elections involve calling out and attacking one’s opponent on one’s political positions and history. Bernie Sanders refuses to do so.

Bernie Sanders keeps saying that he has “enormous respect” for his opponent. But his opponent represents Wall Street, not Main Street, the very evil that he wishes to overthrow, and his opponent would continue the destructive policies of the economy for the middle class, the environment, the Bill of Rights, etc. How can one continue to say that one has enormous respect for someone who would continue the destruction of America for the 99%?

Yes, Bernie Sanders is destined to lose. Next April, the primary will be over and his opponent will win. Those who think otherwise are naive, gullible idealists, if not delusional Pollyannas. Never has a revolution been won solely by cheerleading and minuets; history is full of many involving countless bloodbaths. Permitting oneself and one’s supporters to criticize one’s opponent is not only ethical, but a necessity in order to prevail. It’s not as if substantive criticism constitutes a bloodbath.

Of course, Bernie, as a Senator, has his pension with full benefits to fall back on, and will retire to his country estate and work on his $30 million book deal after his defeat. After all, he is not paying for his campaign, but rather his supporters are. Unfortunately, because of the unwillingness of him and his supporters to confront his opponent in thoughtful, substantive, and critical attacks, his supporters will be doomed to another eight years of his blue-dog Democratic opponent representing the will of Wall Street and enriching the 1%.

In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. And if the people are unwilling to fight the good fight against the tyranny of Wall Street, and the spokespeople of Wall Street, they deserve to lose.