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Ruocco: Republican Indifference Shown Again

To the Editor:

For the third time in lease then six months the Republican Administration of Mayor Maturo has shown indifference to the facts and public opinion.

First it was when he brought back Gallo. Then he refused to admit the DOJ did find things had gone wrong within our Police Department. And now he has decided that the voice and vote of the people of this town mean nothing.

We will all remember the referendum vote that was on the ballet last November as to what the East Haven Voters wanted to see happen with the Old East Haven High School at 200 Tyler Street.

We voted to keep the building in the ownership of the tax payers of East Haven. The building could be used for a Community Center or other functions that the town saw fit, such as an educational facility, but clearly it was to remain in the hands of the citizens of this town.

Last month at the Town Council Meeting, Forth District Councilman Joseph Badamo asked the question as to what the administration was doing about that referendum vote for the Old High School, Chairman Annania call on the Director of Administration and Management, Arthur L. DeSorbo to respond to this question. His answer was it is in the hands of the Town Attorney to see if this vote is binding or not. That he would report back to the council as soon as he received an answer to this question.

This has raised the issue around town that why was this in the hands of an attorney for an opinion? Did this mean that when the people vote on a matter in a referendum that it was up to the Mayor and his attorneys as to the matter being binding?

Well I guess the answer came back to Mr. DeSorbo and Mr. Maturo, but was never brought to the town council.

In the Sunday New Haven Register Legal Section of March 25, 2012, there is an ad, paid for with East Haven tax payers monies, that the Town of East Haven Request Qualifications from Engineering and Architectural services for the Conversion of the Old High School to Elderly Housing. This fly’s in the faces of the East Haven voter.

How many times is this administration going to tell the people of this town that they don’t care what public opinion is, that we, the administration will do what we think is the right thing to do no matter what the cost to the reputation of East Haven is. For surely a suit will result if the indifference to the referendum vote continues.

The people of East Haven will have the last word as to what happens to this building, even if we have to go to court to achieve it.

Listen, Joe Maturo, The People Have Spoken. And if Arthur is saying otherwise the both of you are in for a big surprise. Just how much are we to accept to the dismantling of what people think of our town?

Gene Ruocco, Tax payer and voter, in East Haven.

(Editor's Note: Mr Ruocco is the chairman of the East Haven Democratic Town Committee. Also, the links in this article were added by East Haven Patch.)

Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Okay Luigi, I will admit to "leaning" toward what I think is best for our town. I'm not a fan of the current administration. I have no reason to be.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Other than the "hype" from the other side, you frankly have no reason NOT to be a fan. They have done nothing but act in a manner, they believe is best for the town. Regardless of what you are hearing.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 03:15 PM
That is your opinion. I have my own. And, I have been paying very close attention to actions, words, outcomes of many things, for years. And, I do not agree with you. This is not the thread to discuss any of that, though. I'm not big on hype. Honest. I'm more about proaction and productivity.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 03:21 PM
You are correct, this is NOT the thread for this discussion. Besides I can tell you are someone who HAS to have the "last word". That said, have a good day...... I'll await your final reply (the last word) and leave it at that.
Richard Poulton March 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Ms. Hausler you make two very valid points. One, yes there was a vote taken and one choise was picked. But the best part within your comment concerns the funding questions. Just because funds were once available doesn't mean they are still out there. Without getting an engineer into the building and come up with a design plan will we ever know what the cost will be. And that alone will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which by the way I don't think we have. And I don't mean a town engineer. I for one will be asking questions to my elected officials both in Hartford as well as in DC. via e-mail. Are funds available? At what percentage ratio? Is there a time table? I for one will not take the word of Gene to tell me what it will cost. The vote is one thing - the cost is another.
Richard Poulton March 26, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I promise this will be my last comment regarding the HS. Back on 12/8/2010, then Rep. Lawlor announced he asked the DOT to survey Hemingway & Main traffic light timing due to amount of accidents. He was asked then about the traffic light as promised for Short Beach Rd & Mansfield Grove Rd. He replied, his words " delayed due to the state facing a severe fiscal crisis". The DOT said in regards to S.B.R. & M.G.R., it will not happen. No money. So, if we can't get state money for a traffic light, how in the world are we going to get tens of millions of dollars from the state for the rebuild of the old H.S.? Or has the fiscal crisis ended and no one told us?
Gene Ruocco March 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM
You should have volunteered to be on one of the committees, John Finkle did, and he was on our committee. We made the calls to DC and Hartford. We had an outside engineer walk the building. Plus we in construction know the cost per square foot to renovate a school and we have the drawings of the building that were put together when the new high school was build, so we know the square footage and what the cost will be. These drawings were done at that time because the plan was to change this building into a new East Haven government center. These drawings were left in the town hall when Luzzi lost the election. April found them when she came in, ten years later in the same spot with ten years of dust on them. We had covered all the bases, it was figured with reimbursement the town would have to bond less than 19 million for a building that would serve the town for the next 50 years, and stay in tax payer’s ownership. So go and make the calls, check us out, let’s see what you come up with. But for the record, I for one would not take your word either, Puolton.
Grandmother March 26, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I totally agree with Taxpayer....Mr. Ruocco and Mr. Hungo need to go away and MOVE ON!!!!!!
Robin Carlson March 26, 2012 at 04:05 PM
My concern about the property is not as much as who will own it/what it will be upon initial sale, but what it can become once out of the hands of the town. When voters went to the polls, did they have any reason to believe any of these choices would not be followed after election? The voters want to keep the building, we should move from there. People volunteered and worked hard, in what sounds like a bipartisan effort, to come up with ideas. Those ideas should be honored.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Everyone: Just posted my update on this story. And it does appear the interpretation of whether or not the referendum is binding is open to the town to decide. Here is the link: http://patch.com/A-rR8m
Lise Cavallaro March 26, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I agree with you, Robin. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like many people can be bipartisan.
Lise Cavallaro March 26, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I realize that you are obviously passionate about the town and the Democratic party. However, to say go flock yourselves is completely inappropriate for someone who constantly touts their position in town.
Richard Poulton March 26, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Attention Mr. Roucco. Attention Mr. Roucco. Read the new link. I suggest you get out your check book and appeal this decision if it goes as a non-binding vote, of which I referred too many threads ago. You can have another diiner, charge a fee to help defer the cost of such an appeal. And you say spend 19 million in bonding and get a building good for another 50 years. Are you drinking kool-aid? We have a new high school, a NEW high school, and it is falling apart.
Becki Pastor March 26, 2012 at 06:22 PM
*Hongo And the people spoke regarding the referendum and Mayor Maturo wants to ride roughshod over our decision. Mr. Maturo has more to answer for, as he is in a position of authority and if he pursues this decision to overrule the community, isn't that a misuse of his position? All Mr. Ruocco can do is point out Mr. Maturo's shortcomings and state his opinions, he can't misuse his authority as he has none.
Becki Pastor March 26, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Mayans did not count leap years, therefore we are safe, as we would have been goners about 3 years ago.
Becki Pastor March 26, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Once again Luigi, I appreciate all the attention that is showered on me. Wrong as the content is, the attention is lovely.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 06:48 PM
No thanks necessary Becki, it's all well deserved attention.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 06:50 PM
LOL....Thanks Becki, I was for a minute worried. Hope to see ya through the next election cycle anyway.....
Gene Ruocco March 26, 2012 at 06:53 PM
There are now four Elderly Housing projects that have been passed over the last Maturo Years that do not have one building standing on them as of this day. The reason is the market for elderly housing has tried up due to the fact that every town has build this type of complex and the market is saturated. The only use for that building, were money is available would be for educational purposes, regardless what Mr. DeSorbo states. Just look at New Haven, every school has been renovated or torn down and built new over the last ten years. The Federal money is there and this Building renovated would help the town close at least two or three older schools and reduce the cost of maintaining these old buildings. We do not need more elderly housing in this town and we should never be selling that piece of property because the time will come when the town will have needs for growth in the center of town and they are not making any more land in the center of town. We should not be short sited in this subject. The work was all ready done over the last year, why doesn’t Mayor Maturo open the matter up for public hearings before spending tax payers money on ad's in the paper. We the people of East Haven deserve at least that much.
Becki Pastor March 26, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Gene there is a 55+ condo community which I know has 3-4 units sold/occupied and the site is approved and plans call for 19-20 units all together. The units began to sell in 2008 I believe. Unfortunately they were slow to sell because of the market in general but many older folks were very interested but for the market and selling their current home to move. I will admit I have not followed up, they could all have been sold and built by now. They are behind the Stop & Go and they were built by a local East Haven group. (Can't remember the name of the complex though sorry.)
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Mr. Ruocco, I agree with you. From what I know, a great deal of thought and work went into developing the plans that were voted on last year. I also know that grant money is always available, even if our qualifications for said grants differs from that of New Haven. Does East Haven currently have a dedicated grant writer? If so, perhaps the best course of action would be to investigate those options. Working within the confines of the proposal that was VOTED on. It would be nice to know if money is available to follow through on the plan. It doesn't seem right to start over. That's a waste of time, to begin with. I question the integrity of any plan that involves throwing out a previously voted on idea. I think that would potentially be a huge waste of taxpayers dollars, moving forward.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Sorry but the plan voted on, is the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars. Want to save the land, fine. Raze the building and save the land. Short of that option, I don't care how many "grants" are out there, any proposal to save this dinosaur of a building will end up costing this town money into the next century. WAKE UP people.....wake up! Maybe you'd like another 17% tax hike, or more to support the up keep.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Dear Luigi, I'm simply asking questions. I don't know everything involved. I'm not "in the know". My background consists (for one thing) of working in a grant winning environment. I simply think that there must be avenues investigated prior to throwing out a voted on idea. I'm trying to understand how we got to this point. And, believe it or not, I'm not interested in politics behind any of it. I simply want to get to the heart of what's best for our town, moving forward. I have questions. I'm wondering if these questions have been asked and answered. You may be absolutely correct. I have little understanding. I'm all about transparency and full disclosure. Also, though I really could use a nap, I'm wide awake.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Sorry Doreen I sometimes get passionate. You certainly can, and should ask questions. I think you may find different answers to your query depending on whom you ask. Take a nap and get back to it later........
Mike Liso March 26, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Why wasn't this school, which is was built the same year and design as Hamden High renovated when Hamden did theirs? Why did we have to build a new high school under the Luzzi administration? Why did the Town at that time, try to get the new high school named after Luzzi? Why are there so many mechanical and structual problems at that "New School". So many questions that have never been answered.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I'd love to hear answers to these questions, also. Since you brought them up. However, I understand that hindsight is 20/20. I have to assume (and we know what can happen when we assume) that budget concerns existed that prevented us from addressing those issues, at the time. I hope that was the case. Again, though. I'd ask. How do we prevent such travesties from happening in the future? I'd venture to say we need grant money. I'd really like to know if anyone is pursuing this option.
Rosie March 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Why? Because it wouldn't have made the Dems look as good to renovate the old high school, as to build a brand spankin' new one. It was all about the status. Don't think for one second it had to do with expense...that new high school was way overpriced and the design is horrible. And for all that money, it has not been well maintained, as most schools in this town, and is falling apart and filthy. It is an embarrassment, especially with all the tournaments and functions that go on there. But you are correct, Mike, these are questions that have never been answered.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Well. I'd hate to think that this is what it's all what it's been about. That's really short sighted. I tend to have more faith in people. I'd like to think that those in charge had the town's best interests at heart, when making such decisions. I'd hate to think that corruption, or favors came into play. It's difficult to navigate, for newbies. I'm a novice. I trust the "powers that be". Or, at least, I used to. I don't any longer. Haven't for awhile. So while many of you go along pointing fingers, I ask questions. I have a lot of questions. This should not be. I don't agree with your assessment of why things are what they are Rosie. But...I'm willing to address the issues.
Dave Hausler March 26, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I served on the referendum committee with other residents who put in hours of time to research the three options presented to the public. Only one plan out of the three provided the possibility of saving the town money over time- the education plan. The details of the plan are here: http://www.box.com/s/0c54e90cafafb009de3e This was a bipartisan effort- Both Gene Ruocco and John Finkle were invited to serve on the team that worked on the education plan, as I did. By using federal and state reimbursement to renovate 200 Tyler Street first and then the middle school, the town could eventually save a million dollars per year by closing redundant elementary schools without affecting the capacity of the school system, and without having to pay for temporary classrooms. We won't avoid renovating the middle school forever. The building's mechanical systems are hopelessly outdated and the building is not fully ADA compliant. We have a choice to make today- sell 200 Tyler Street for a fraction of its value to private developers, or preserve this unique parcel of land to become the next step towards consolidating our wasteful school district.
Rosie March 27, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I also had more faith in people, Ms. Hausler, until I really started to "listen" to what was going on around me. And, unfortunately, in this town, as I am sure in many others, not much happens without a benefit to one person or another. It's just the way it is. And believe me, I ask questions, too. Lots of them. And most of the time, I don't like the answers. Not for me, but for all. There are a lot of back door deals that go down, all the time. I try to ask questions and research, and I am never above learning. I love to learn and like to think I learn something new every day. And sometimes, some of the things I learn, I wish I didn't. It would make life so much easier to turn a blind eye. And if I am wrong, I say so, and take my lumps. But, like you, this is my life long home town, and I feel I have a real stake in what happens. And if I have to point fingers, then it is what it is. I am not afraid to stand up or speak up for what I think is right, or to give my opinion. My opinion may not always agree with others, but I don't just randomly speak without thinking. Living here my whole life, and knowing a lot of people in this town, you learn a lot about what goes on. One just has to listen.

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