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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 75,559

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Scott Brown wouldn’t say no to a spot in Donald Trump’s Cabinet

CLEVELAND — Former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown says he was honored to be listed among the potential VP candidates for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and that he would consider a position in a prospective Trump 

“It was an honor to be part of it,” Brown said on Boston Herald Radio, 
referring to his name being bandied about among the potential VP picks.

Asked about a possible spot in a Trump Cabinet — the presumptive GOP nominee is reportedly expected to unveil at least some of his would-be Cabinet secretaries during this week’s Republican National Convention — Brown said, “I’m not looking for anything … but it doesn’t matter who the president is, if the president calls, you answer that call.”

Brown praised Trump’s selection for VP, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and Pence’s conservative bonafides, calling him “a very solid choice.

Read more: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/2016/07/scott_brown_wouldn_t_say_no_to_a_spot_in_donald_trump_s_cabinet

School superintendents hit the books over public records law

A university researcher earlier this year set out to learn more about the pay differences between male and female educators in Massachusetts. Instead, he got a lesson in stonewalling under the state’s public records law, after more than 200 school systems initially ignored his requests for information.

Now, the superintendents of those school districts are being told to sit down for their own lessons.

The Secretary of State’s Office took the unusual step last week of ordering them to undergo training on how to respond to public records requests. The sheer number of affected districts makes the ruling one of the broadest single actions the state has taken to enforce records laws.

The state also directed the school systems to respond to the requests made by a research assistant for Joseph P. Price, an economics professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/07/19/school-superintendents-get-lesson-state-public-records-law/eYFuKi5nukaZE1kx5ltMEM/story.html

Impact of DEEP budget cuts outlined for state lawmakers

Twenty-seven more positions will be left vacant while overtime, travel and use of state vehicles will be reduced and there will be a longer wait for response to spills and wildlife calls.

In addition, obtaining permits and enforcement of environmental regulations may take longer and local emergency crews may have to handle more incidents as a result of almost $10 million in cuts to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s current budget.

On Monday, DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee met with members of the legislature’s Environment Committee to outline how the agency is absorbing the 14 percent reduction in the funds it receives from the state’s General Fund. Of the agency’s total $178.6 million budget for fiscal 2016, about 37 percent — $61.5 million — will come from the General Fund. The remainder comes from a mix of federal funds, revenues from utilities regulated by DEEP’s energy division, transportation funds and other sources. DEEP originally anticipated receiving $71.3 million in General Fund revenues, but, like all other state agencies, saw deep cuts as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature worked to achieve savings to close a deficit. In fiscal 2014-15, the agency received $70.8 million in General Fund revenues.

In the presentation Monday, Klee reviewed the impact of the cuts. DEEP staff, which numbered 869 in fiscal 2012-13, fell to 836 in 2014-15, and totals 809 employees this year.

Read more: http://www.theday.com/local/20160718/impact-of-deep-budget-cuts-outlined-for-state-lawmakers

North Haven man sentenced to four years in prison for receiving $1.5 million in bribes

NORTH HAVEN — A local man was sentenced to four years in prison Friday for receiving about $1.5 million in bribes while serving as executive director of the West Haven Housing Authority, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement.

Michael Siwek, 56, of North Haven, also failed to pay taxes on the illegal income, the statement said. Siwek will serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

Siwek was also ordered to pay about $1.5 million in restitution, as well as about $360,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest, the statement continued.

On Sept. 4, 2014, Siwek pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with a program receiving federal funds, one count of bribery and one count of tax evasion.


Connecticut mortgage fraud scheme ringleader gets 9 years in prison

BRIDGEPORT >> A California man, indicted in New Haven, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison Monday for his leadership of a mortgage fraud scheme that spanned several states, according to the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Aria Maleki, 33, of Santa Ana, Calif., was arrested along with six others in January after investigators found Maleki had directed a fraud scheme that had cost more than 1,000 homeowners more than $3 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release Monday.

“This defendant presided over a scheme that preyed on struggling homeowners in Connecticut and across the United States, falsely offering mortgage relief in exchange for thousands of dollars that the victims clearly could not afford to spend,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Deirdre Daley said in the release. “The investigation revealed that the participants in this scheme specifically targeted homeowners who were behind on their mortgage payments, whose homes were ‘under water,’ or who had recently experienced a financial hardship, such as a lost job. This is an appropriate sentence for a defendant who profited handsomely from such heartless, criminal conduct. I thank our federal and state law enforcement partners in New England, New Jersey, California and Oklahoma for investigating this matter, shutting down this scam and bringing those responsible to justice.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Maleki and the other defendants, who have all pleaded guilty and await sentencing, called and victims and offered to provide mortgage loan modification services. The conspirators targeted those having trouble repaying home mortgages.

Read more: http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20160718/connecticut-mortgage-fraud-scheme-ringleader-gets-9-years-in-prison

Auditors find million-dollar mistake in state construction projects

Lax accounting and documentation potentially cost taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue at state facilities and in unapproved change orders on construction projects, according to a recent state audit.

“Without sufficient documentation and evidence of authorization, there is less assurance that transactions are completed in accordance with state policies and procedures,” auditors wrote in the report released Thursday.

An initial review of the state Public Works Department of construction services revealed that 20 randomly selected change orders totaling $1.3 million were incomplete and lacked proper approval.

Further review showed that 11 change orders totaling $537,394, or 31 percent of those examined, didn’t have required signatures, and that obsolete forms lacking accountability controls were used in 13 instances. That indicates that work commenced before actual approval was given, auditors say in the report.

Read more: http://www.journalinquirer.com/connecticut_and_region/auditors-find-million-dollar-mistake-in-state-construction-projects/article_5e067b46-4d04-11e6-b53a-f30793b3b1fb.html

Connecticut Democrats Outraising GOP In Congressional Campaigns

Republicans running for Congress in Connecticut face an uphill climb when it comes to collecting campaign cash, according to recent reports with the Federal Election Commission.

The state's all-Democratic delegation raised between $144,227.17 (Rosa DeLauro) and $303,874 (Jim Himes) in the last quarter. John Shaban, a state legislator challenging Himes in the 4th District, was the top Republican fundraiser in the same period, collecting $27,570.

The newest quarterly reports include contributions from April 20 to June 30 and include the dates of a dramatic two-day Democratic protest in Congress over Republicans' unwillingness to vote on gun control legislation. The sit-in that stretched from June 22-23 was denounced by the GOP as a fundraising stunt.

But an analysis of donations received by Connecticut Democrats during that period shows no major spike in fundraising. U.S. Rep. John Larson, one of the chief architects of the sit-in, collected about a dozen donations in the days that followed the protest, mostly in the form of checks for a few hundred dollars from in-state donors that totaled around $5,000.

Read more: http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-connecticut-congress-fundraising-20160718-story.html

Connecticut Court Reaffirms Ruling Abolishing Death Penalty

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Supreme Court has reaffirmed its decision that Connecticut's abolition of the death penalty must also apply to those already convicted of a capital felony.

Monday's ruling comes in the case of Daniel Webb, who was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of Diane Gellenbeck. The 37-year-old bank vice president was killed in a Hartford park after being abducted from a downtown parking garage.

The court last August found the 2012 state law that banned executions for future crimes did not go far enough, ruling the death penalty was unconstitutional for those already on death row.

The court on Monday said the same reasoning applies to Webb's appeal and ordered him to be resentenced. He now faces life in prison without parole.

Read more: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-ap-death-penalty-connecticut-20160718-story.html

Cuts To Parks, Environment Programs Trigger Frustration, Calls For Change

HARTFORD – State lawmakers – who earlier this year cut spending for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – voiced frustration Monday about the cutbacks that have reduced hours at state parks and campgrounds and limited when lifeguards are on duty at state beaches.

Several lawmakers demanded to know why Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration isn't looking harder at dramatic changes in the way the state pays for Connecticut's parks and protecting the environment. Others questioned the administration's priorities, including opening a new Seaside Park in Waterford while reducing hours at popular venues such as Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam.

"Seaside was the worst decision ever to come out of this agency in the last two years," Rep. Melissa Ziobron, R-East Haddam, told DEEP's top officials. "We don't need that park."

Ziobron said a developer was already offering to turn the former tuberculosis sanitarium on the Long Island Sound shoreline into a resort with public beach access. Malloy decided instead to turn the property into Connecticut's first shoreline state park in 50 years, and plans now call for a $10 million state investment in Seaside.

Read more: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-cuts-to-parks-environment-trigger-frustration-20160718-story.html

Raimondo declines to sign bill to protest R.I. budget cut

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Governor Raimondo has allowed a bill to become law without her signature, using the legislation as an opportunity to express her distaste with the General Assembly's decision to cut $700,000 from the budget of the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner.

The bill requires the office to issue a report to the House and Senate by Jan. 1 recommending guidelines for a system that would give patients electronic access to their medical claims data.

"Although I support this legislation, I am concerned about OHIC's ability to implement it," Raimondo wrote Thursday in letters to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. "As a result of this budget cut, OHIC will have limited capacity to take on additional projects. In fact, OHIC faces the difficult task of choosing projects to put on hold."

The OHIC is responsible for protecting consumers from excessive health insurance rate increases. It is also responsible for the oversight of the hundreds of insurance policies created under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Read more: http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20160715/raimondo-declines-to-sign-bill-to-protest-ri-budget-cut
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