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Should we allow the proposed Life Time Fitness gym?

The Board of Representatives voted unanimously yesterday to approve the homeowners' petition, which now allows the full Board to consider reversing the Zoning Board's decision to allow stand-alone gyms (i.e., Life Time Fitness) in a half dozen office parks citywide. Good for the BoR. The homeowners spent significant time and money to produce the petition, and it should not be thrown out on a legal technicality. However, this does not mean the Zoning Board's decision should be reversed. * * * In economics, there is a well-known collective action problem called "concentrated benefits and dispersed costs." A classic illustration of this problem is food subsidies. Take sugar subsidies, for e

RTC filing error leaves Board of Education races this November uncontested (updated: possibly)

UPDATED July 11, 2018 (see below) This November (as is the case every November), three of the nine seats on the Board of Education are up for election. A few weeks ago, the RTC nominated three candidates for the openings: incumbents Frank Cerasoli and Mike Altamura, and newcomer Elisa Esses (yes, relation). Incumbent Democrat David Mannis will also be running again in November, and it appears the Democrats are not contesting his nomination (i.e. he will be the only Democrat on the ballot). However, a filing glitch when submitting the party's endorsements, as the Stamford Advocate generously describes it, has precluded the Republican nominees from automatically being placed on the ballot.

Rep. Anzelmo Graziosi (now R-13) switches parties to run for state representative

Rep. Graziosi has announced he is leaving the Democratic party to run as a Republican for state representative against Matt Blumenthal in state house district 147. We at Team Stamford will refrain from commentating on the state legislative race (we remain focused on city government only). However, Rep. Graziosi's party switch means he will now caucus with the Republicans on the Board of Representatives, bringing the balance of power there to a still-resounding 31-8 Democratic advantage (former Rep. DeLuca's seat remains open pending approval of a Republican successor). Josh Fedeli, the chairman of the Democratic City Committee (DCC), is understandably upset at the switch, and suggests that

Why is there no Stamford teachers pension fund?

Because teacher pension benefits are not negotiated locally, but instead are negotiated and assumed by the state. Therefore, unlike the firefighters and policemen, for example, who have a "Stamford" pension fund for their benefits, Stamford teachers receive their benefits from the state-run Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). The way the pension benefit is structured, benefits are a function of final salary, so Stamford does exert some indirect influence on our teachers' pension benefits by both deciding how many teachers to employ, and what to pay them. Accordingly, Stamford taxpayers are paying for the benefits of teachers from Hartford, and Greenwich, and Norwalk, and so on (and they in

How much do you owe to fully fund city employees' benefits?

$3,370. That's how much each and every resident of Stamford would be required to pay to the city to fully fund our obligations toward retiree pension and healthcare benefits, according to a Manhattan Institute report on pension underfunding in the state of Connecticut and its major cities. As explained previously, benefits for city employees are swallowing up increased tax revenues which could otherwise go to services residents desire. To take just one example, in 2008, the city had to pay $2.3 million to the police pension fund against $18.7 million in policemen salaries (12.3% of the total salary amount). In 2017, those numbers were $7.9 million and $22.3 million, respectively (35.4%) (s

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