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How much money does the city receive from traffic violations?

Libby Carlson, special assistant to Mayor Martin on communications, has a piece in the Advocate defending the city's traffic enforcement policies. In sum, she argues that Stamford does not make much money from "speeding tickets and traffic enforcement," so accordingly the DUI checkpoints it sets up are not implemented to drive revenue. How does this claim hold up? Fairly well. Carlson states that the city only gets about $120,000 a year for issuing traffic tickets. And the budget numbers for fiscal year 2016 (on page 102) confirm that the city only received $119,346 from the state in fines. But what about other violations, such as parking and pedestrian infractions? As Rep. J.R. McMullen

Suggestions to eliminate waste and abuse in city spending

This week, we learned that the supervisor of the long-neglected city marinas has been spending taxpayer dollars on drugs and alcohol for his personal consumption. Among other questions this raises, why is the marina publicly run in the first place? Do we have any reason to believe that running marinas is something government does well? Alternatively, do we want to subsidize boat-owners who dock their boats in Stamford? It appears there are at least four privately run marinas in the city, so it's not as though this is a service that won't be provided if government doesn't step in. Separately, I have a few suggestions on how to eliminate waste and abuse in city government: 1. Adopt zero-b

RIP Springer Show (1991-2018)

After 27 years and nearly 4,000(!) episodes, it appears the Jerry Springer show is finally calling it quits. I never made it to a taping. My folks tried once, but the line was too long and they didn't make the cut. They said they didn't recognize anyone in line either; did Stamford people even attend the tapings? Were we ever subjects of the show? Over the years, when introducing myself and my hometown of Stamford, I'd joke that you may have heard of Stamford because we were home to both the world's largest trading floor (at UBS) and the Jerry Springer show. Looks like I'll have to update my material. #JerrySpringer

Stamford streetlights with Wi-Fi?

So says a News12 article. In addition to internet, these new streetlight antennas will include weather indicators and sensors, and an ability to track pedestrian and car movement. Sounds beneficial, and for the right cost ($0.00). One potential concern I have, however, is that people will loiter around the streetlights in a socially undesirable way. In New York City, free charging stations for cell phones and other electronics have become magnets for the homeless [NYT]. Hopefully this pilot program will not present similar issues.

Budget cuts, and the elephant in the room

Predictably, the Mayor chose to cut the highly visible fireworks from the budget in response to the Board of Representatives only granting him a 1.6% budget increase (instead of the 2.4% increase he requested). The Advocate dutifully reports on the usual hand-wringing from the parties on the virtues of More Spending or Less Spending. The Republicans (and Anzelmo Graziosi) argue the Mayor's office is bloated and further cuts can be found without reducing city services. The Democrats respond that the budget came in tight and we need to provide services to our residents. Every year, just rinse, lather and repeat. * * * Have you ever wondered why the public debates about municipal spending ar

Did it cost taxpayers anything to bring the Marilyn Monroe statute to Stamford?

And if so, how much? The Advocate says only it is part of a series from the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, which is funded by taxes on property owners in the DSSD, and has a budget of $2.44 million for the 2018-19 tax year. Update (June 15, 2018): I saw the statute in person. It's fairly amusing. And much larger in person than I anticipated. #DSSD

Who has the right to appoint the representative to replace Gabe DeLuca (R-14)?

As discussed in yesterday's Advocate, Rep. DeLuca's passing opens up a seat on the Board of Reps. That vacant seat must now be filled. But how? The city charter provides that when a vacancy occurs in the Board of Reps, within sixty (60) days following the vacancy, the Board must elect a successor to full such vacancy. Sec. C1-80-2(b). Further, the successor must be the same party as his predecessor. Sec. C1-80-3. So, Rep. DeLuca's successor must be a Republican. And while the Board customarily elects the nominee of the relevant Town Committee (here, the RTC), they are under no obligation to do so. "The city's Charter is clear; any resident who is a registered Republican has the right

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