September 10, 2021
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
From Inside The Golden Dome
This Day in CT History
Change of plans...

I started the week thinking I would cover some of the Reapportionment Committee's work, but despite having two public hearings this week, hardly anyone appeared to provide feedback. Each hearing lasted about 30 to 45 minutes with the usual suspects participating, and hardly any true members of the public. It seems as if data and analytics are boring for many!
I began to think about what else matters and decided to recall memories of where I was 20 years ago on September 11th - the day of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America. While it’s often thought of as a national or international event, for Connecticut it was very local.

I was in San Francisco at a Public Affairs Council training session on state and local government serving as a presenter on the topic of integrated public and government relations. A bunch of us got up early and took off for our traditional morning run through San Francisco’s Union Square. As we came down Market Street at about 6:30 am, we spotted a literal army of police cars and emergency vehicles of all types. We looked at each other with quizzical faces but kept running along our normal route toward the Federal Reserve Bank Office, but were abruptly stopped by multiple law enforcement officers who demanded we turn around and immediately return to our hotel and stay there. No explanation given. 
As we headed back up the Market Street hill, we had no idea what was going on. Once we entered our hotel on Union Square we were told to get to our rooms and that there was a “lockdown “for the foreseeable future.
We gathered with the PAC conference planners and learned that something was happening in NYC and they weren’t certain about the conference logistics at this time. Once I got to my room I turned on the TV and caught the image of the second plane hitting the second tower and stood silent in shock. As I got organized for the day’s conference program, I got a call to meet up in the ballroom with other participants. The reports of attacks on the Pentagon, and fear of something happening on the west coast, and specifically the Federal Reserve Bank, which serves as the central office for the western states (including Hawaii and Alaska) and a gateway to the Asian markets, caused a high level concern. We were notified that we were not to leave the hotel. We were informed that hotel staff would be moving extra furniture out of our rooms, which was then placed in the ballroom and common places so that hotel guests who had checked out earlier could return to their hotel and have a spot to hang out. San Francisco was shut down in its entirety- as was the rest of the country.
WOW – the next ten days were a one-of-a-kind experience and a lesson in how a crisis can pull people together. Over the next couple of days, all parking garages were stripped of their cars, streets were cleared of vehicles, cell service had been turned off and San Francisco was a ghost town. We were “quarantined” to our hotel where we ate, hung out, checked in on family/ friends, breaking news and played numerous games of cards for what felt like forever. Being “stuck” with a bunch of lobbyists and government relation corporate types was interesting. One panelist was an integral part of the Red Cross team that was on the ground at the recent Oklahoma City bombings, and the National Guard sent for her and evacuated her out to another location to help. Other corporate government relation participants were called upon by their companies to manage internal crises from afar without the technology we have become accustomed to. Remember, back then smartphones did not exist and flip phones were limited at best. There were no laptops, no social media, and people still used beepers! After a couple days, folks were anxious to get home and those that could teamed up, rented any vehicle they could find and left within several days.
Once the complete situation was known to the authorities, we were able to get outside and walk around, though most of the city was still a ghost town. As you may recall someone connected with the bombings was alleged to be hiding across the Golden Gate Bridge, so that part of the city was still no man’s land.
After days and days of anxiety and concern for what was next, the airport reopened and finally I was on my way back home to Connecticut. Flash forward to September 11, 2008, I was again headed to San Francisco for the same conference but had to make a quick stop at Hartford Hospital to meet my third grandson! A much better memory of September 11th
So as the nation and Connecticut remembers where they were, what they felt and how they managed, it’s important to remember that we are resilient – whether it’s a war we never should have been in, an impeachment of a president, a death spiraling economy, an attack on American soil or a global pandemic, we are stronger when we acknowledge that the American spirit and our Yankee ingenuity is hard to diminish. By standing together we have learned that we can do anything if we do it together.
“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.”
—President George W. Bush 

Return of the TCI

This week, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the release of the 2018 Connecticut Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory, which tracks the state's progress toward meeting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets established in the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The 2018 GHG Inventory study shows that gas emissions from transportation are actually increasing. This is not in line with the significant reduction targets set by the general assembly that will be needed to meet the 2030 and 2050 GHG reduction goals. In 2018, Connecticut emitted 42.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That is 2.9 percent higher than the state's 2020 emissions goal. This is also a 2.7% increase from 2017's numbers.

According to DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, there is an urgent need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The largest contributor to emissions is the transportation sector, with 15.8 million metric tons. Transportation emissions exceeded the combined emissions of electricity and residential emissions. Transportation emissions have actually risen since 1990, even though cars have become more fuel efficient. The GHG 2018 report indicated that transportation emissions would need to be cut by one third to reach the 2030 target. Meanwhile, electricity sector emissions have declined 32 percent since 1990.

Due to the findings of this study, DEEP believes that they are required to pursue strategies recommended by the Governor's Council on Climate Change, which includes the implementation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI). According to the Governor's website, "(TCI) will establish a declining cap on carbon dioxide pollution from gasoline and on-road diesel fuel sold into participating jurisdictions, and require fuel suppliers to purchase allowances auctioned by participating jurisdictions to cover the emissions from the fossil fuel components of that fuel. Once implemented, proceeds from allowance auctions are projected to generate up to $89 million in 2023, increasing to as much as $117 million in 2032, for Connecticut to re-invest in clean transportation options and infrastructure." The TCI was passed out of committee last year. However, the bill died after not receiving a vote due to to its controversial nature. It will be interesting to see how the legislature tackles this important issue next session. For more information on the TCI, click here.
We have a quick local election update in West Haven. As we reported out earlier this year, there were several Democrats vying for the top spot in West Haven, now there is one less. Former Mayor Ed O’Brien announced this week that his name will be off the ballot for this November in his challenge to unseat Democrat  Due to a technicality and missed deadlines required to be on the ballot, Former Mayor O’Brien will not be eligible. September 1st was the deadline for a statement of endorsement due to the Secretary of State’s Office and despite collected the necessary signatures, the submission was never received. Not only will former Mayor O’Brien be off the November ballot, but also the other 14 other candidates he had join him on the “Action and Accountability” line. That leaves candidates on the Democratic, Republican and Independent line and a vexed former Mayor. O’Brien this week did not comment on whether or not he would seek legal remedies to the error.
Redistricting is Under Way!

The legislature's reapportionment committee has begun work creating redistricting recommendations for the General Assembly. According to the state constitution, the committee must submit its recommendations no later than September 15th of this year. The committee is currently in the public hearing process, with three in-person hearings being held in Norwich, Hartford, and Shelton, and one Zoom hearing being held on September 14th. The process has been hindered slightly due to COVID related delays. However, the committee chairs are working hard to bring together formal recommendations by the deadline. If the deadline passes and no recommendations can be agreed to by the bipartisan committee, then the job will go to the Supreme Court.

These hearings give Connecticut residents a chance to provide input into the redistricting process. Two hearings have been held already, and the general theme seemed to be a need for transparency. Testifiers criticized the redistricting process' "business as usual", and advocated for an open, transparent process. Testifiers from the League of Women Voters stated that the committee should clearly communicate what considerations they are making, and how they are making decisions when it comes to district reapportionment. Others, like David Nowakowski from Lisbon, asked the committee to ensure that towns with populations of less than 5,000 residents would be prevented from being split into multiple districts.

While the committee has not made public any potential district maps that they may be considering, there are three third party websites that allow users to play with the census data, and see how the districts may be affected. Those sites are:
Connecticut's overall population hardly changed over the previous decade, with just .9% growth. However, the population was not static. To see how Connecticut's population moved over the decade, click here to access the CT Data website, a site dedicated to analyzing the state's census data.
September 10, 1942: Madison Square Garden Gets a Two Minute "Pep Talk" from a Boxer Headed for Greatness

Today in 1942, Connecticut boxer Willie Pep began his meteoric rise to stardom when he knocked out featherweight Frankie Franceroni of New Jersey just two minutes into the first round, shocking a crowd of thousands at Madison Square Garden. Just two months and five more wins later, the twenty-year-old Pep became the World Featherweight Champion, having boxed 52 straight rounds without suffering a single defeat.

Born in Middletown in 1922 as Guglielmo Papaleo and raised in the “Little Italy” neighborhood of Hartford’s East Side, Willie began fighting as an amateur in his teens to make some extra money for his family during the Great Depression. He fought his first match as a professional in 1940 at the age of 18, and became a household name — and a hero to Italian-Americans across the country — after winning his first world championship in 1942, with many of his bouts aired live over the radio. Willie Pep was one of the most prolific boxers of his time, fighting nearly 2,000 rounds in his 26 year career, and winning 229 out of a total 241 fights (65 of them by knockout).

Willie Pep remains one of the greatest boxers in American history: he was named the greatest featherweight of the century and the fifth greatest boxer of the century by the Associated Press in 1999, and greatest featherweight of all time by The Ring magazine in 1994. Pep was inducted into The Ring’s Boxing Hall of Fame in 1963, and was a member of the 1990 inaugural class of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. After formally retiring from boxing, Pep remained active in the sport as a referee and inspector. He spent his final years living in Wethersfield and Rocky Hill before dying from complications from dementia pugilistica (better known today as chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE) in 2006.

The full article from the CT Humanities Council can be found here.
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