Category Archives: History

CT’s Regionalization: Cost-Savings and Service Sharing

Originally published at Global Site Plans

connecticut-capitol

Unlike most of the United States, Connecticut has no system of county governance. While a regional, “county” government once existed (ceasing in 1960), it didn’t hold much power and had very few functions. Under the laws of the state constitution, 169 towns hold powers similar to that of a city and manage their own administration. To meet the cost-sharing, regional needs of local governments, Connecticut passed a law in 1947 “allowing two or more contiguous towns with planning commissions to form a regional planning authority.” The statute called for these regional planning authorities to be:

“Based on studies of physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends and shall be designed to promote with the greatest efficiency and economy the coordinated development of the region within its jurisdiction and the general welfare and prosperity of its people.”

In 1948 the first new regional planning authority, covering New Haven and a few of its suburbs began operation. Planning authorities would gain more importance in Connecticut in 1954 when new federal grants for projects in cities and regional areas became available, but required that administration be done by official regional agencies. Within twelve years of creation, New Haven’s Regional Planning Authority of the South Central Region served all of the towns in its region, fifteen in total. However, there were holdouts to regional planning authorities and a reluctance to mandate all towns to participate in one.

After the state outlined boundaries for fifteen different planning regions in 1957 in an attempt to make them “logical and economical,” there was often contention and negotiation about which planning region a town was allowed to belong to.  Before that legislation, town contiguity in a planning region could theoretically stretch across Connecticut. To encourage participation, incentives were offered, and in some cases, sanctions imposed. Very often, the state would mandate specific activities be regionalized, or perform the project planning itself, overriding the input of the non-participating towns.

ccm-website-screenshot

Two state-wide groups supplement the regional planning agencies and provide cities and towns with management and technical assistance, research, and lobbying efforts. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), founded in 1966; and Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), founded in 1975, are governed by boards of elected officials of the member municipalities. CCM currently represents roughly 90% of Connecticut towns, and is a powerful lobby at the capitol. COST, represented by first selectmen, mayors and managers, has also been successful, writing and lobbying the legislation which established the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program.

Over time, three types of regional planning organizations have evolved under Connecticut General Statutes: the regional planning agency, the regional council of elected officials, and the newer regional councils of government (COGS), which provide cities and towns a wider ranges of services than the earlier regional planning agencies.  The state has recently consolidated the fifteen regional planning agencies into nine, as part of recommendations negotiated with CCM, COST, and the COGS. As of January 1, 2015, the municipalities within these nine regions must adopt local ordinances to join a single Regional Council of Governments in each of these nine regions.

How is regionalized planning approached where you live? What is the role of government?

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Grenada: Gairy, Bishop, Balance or Coup

PM Eric Matthew Gairy

Grenada PM Eric Matthew Gairy

Eric Gairy held the posts of Chief Minister in the Federation of the West Indies (1957-1962) and became prime minister of Grenada in 1967. During this period, the main opposition to the GULP came from the Grenada National Party (GNP). Gairy argued that Grenada should be granted its independence from Britain. Being a “puppet” for many years prior, it was feared that he would install himself as a dictator over Grenada if independence was dictated on his terms.

 Maurice Bishop meets the Grenadian people, in a still from Bruce Paddington's film Forward Ever.

Maurice Bishop meets the Grenadian people, in a still from Bruce Paddington’s film Forward Ever.

Maurice Bishop returned to Grenada in 1969 after studying law in England. Soon afterwards he helped form the Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP) and the Movement for the Advance of Community (MACE). In 1973 these organizations merged with Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation (JEWEL) to establish the New Jewel Movement (NJM).

In May 1973, Gairy visited London where it was agreed that Grenada would become independent in February, 1974. On 1st January 1974 the New Jewel Movement called a national strike and a Committee of 22 was established by the trade unions, civic organizations and the church to demonstrate against him Gairy.

Manifesto of the New Jewel Movement:
The people are being cheated and have been cheated for too long-cheated by both parties, for over twenty years. Nobody is asking what the people want. We suffer low wages and higher cost of living while the politicians get richer, live in bigger houses and drive around in even bigger cars. The government has done nothing to help people build decent houses; most people still have to walk miles to get water to drink after 22 years of politicians.

If we fall sick we catch hell to get quick and cheap medical treatment. Half of us can’t find steady work. The place is getting from bad to worse every day – except for the politicians (just look at how they dress and how they move around). The police are being used in politics these days and people are getting more and more blows from them. Government workers who don’t toe the Gairy line are getting fired left and right.

The government has no idea how to improve agriculture, how to set up industries, how to improve housing, health, education and general well-being of the people. They have no ideas for helping the people. All they know is how to take the people’s money for themselves, while the people scrape and scrunt for a living.

We believe that the main concern of us all is to (1) prevent the daily rise in prices of all our food and clothes and other essentials (it is unbelievable but that the price you can get for a pound of cocoa can’t buy a half-pound of fish) and (2) develop a concrete program for raising the standard of housing, living, education, health, food and recreation for all the people.

The present situation we face is that we are forced to live in jammed-up, rundown, unpainted houses without toilet and bath, without running water, very poor roads, overcrowded schools where our children can’t get a decent education … We can’t afford the cost of food to feed our children properly and this makes it easier for them to catch all kinds of illnesses. There are very few places near home for recreation. All we have is the rum shop to drown our troubles. It’s almost impossible to buy clothes or shoes these days. The prices are ridiculous.

On 21st January 1974, demonstrators were attacked by police. Several people were injured and Rupert Bishop, Maurice‘s father and the leader of the New Jewel Movement was killed.


_62889134_grenada_eric_gairy_bbcWe are now completely free, liberated, independent. In spite of a wicked, malicious, obstructive, destructive minority of noise-making self-publicists, God has heard our prayers. God has been merciful. God has triumphed.

Eric Gairy, speech 7th February 1974


Eric Gairy and his Grenada United Labour Party won the elections held on 7th November, 1976. However, opposition leaders complained that all election officials were members of GULP and that they had tampered with the voting papers.

The police and military would soon begin “counter insurgency” training from the Chilean Military.

Eric Gairy Prime Minister Eric Gairy of Grenada and President Jimmy Carter meet in the White House on September 9, 1977.

Eric Gairy and President Jimmy Carter meet in the White House on September 9, 1977.

United States State Department reported on the activities of Eric Gairy in 1978 and found that the formation of the infamous “Mongoose Gang” in the early 1970’s – law enforcement agencies outside the provision of the law of the state – was responsible for a series of unspeakable atrocities and terror campaigns against the Grenada citizenry. In 1979 a rumor circulated that Gairy planned to use his Gang to assassinate leaders of the New Jewel Movement while he was out of the country. On 13th March 1979, Maurice Bishop and the NJM took over the nation’s radio station and the rest of the country with the support of the people.

 “Sir Eric Gairy appealed to the US and British for help in capturing what he described as a ‘small group of Communists.'”  ON THIS DAY, 13th March 1979 – BBC

Influenced by the ideas of Marxists like Fidel CastroChe Guevara and Daniel Ortega, Maurice Bishop began establishing Workers’ Councils in Grenada. He received aid from the Soviet Union and Cuba and with this money constructed an aircraft runway to improve tourism. Bishop attempted to develop a good relationship with the United States and allowed private enterprise to continue on the island. His actions improved the welfare of the common Grenadian, and the country as a whole, with improvements across every social measure.

Maurice Bishop with Fidel Castro, 26 July, 1983

Maurice Bishop with Fidel Castro, 26 July, 1983

Bernard Coard, the Minister of Finance, disagreed with Bishops efforts, as did United States foreign policy objectives. On 19th October, with the support of the army, Minister Coard overthrew the government. Maurice Bishop and several others, including Unison Whiteman (Foreign Minister), Jacqueline Creft (Minister of Education and Women’s Affairs), Norris Bain (Minister of Housing) and Fitzroy Bain (President of the Agricultural and General Workers Union) were arrested and executed.

Reagan being apprised of the situation as the U.S. invasion of Grenada.


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Democracy requires inequity and a reaction to it, representative of the Peoples resolve.

Q:How to avert loss of life in on the road to revolution
Q:How to protect self-interest and democratic outcomes in the aftermath

A?:Rule of law, reconciliation, civic reorganization, and popularization of civic involvement.

ideas from:
http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/grenadians-seek-greater-political-participation-new-jewel-movement-1973-1979

Wilder, Ann Elizabeth. The Grenada Revolution Online: http://www.thegrenadarevolutiononline.com/gairya.html

Lewis, Patsy. excerpts: Social Policies in Grenada
Found Online: http://books.google.com/books?id=AMpGrBP507sC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=grenada+social+reforms&source=bl&ots=TyFt2v89dO&sig=9XWy0CWEq3qp816amWhkWJhqIN8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=0_ArUaG7BKKV0QHL-IHYAg&ved=0CHIQ6AEwCTgK#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ferguson, James. Grenada: Revolution in Reverse. Found online: http://dajialai.org/ziliao1/monthly%20review%20press/Grenada%20%20revolution%20in%20reverse%20%20James%20Ferguson.pdf

Williams, Dessima. Summary of Speech to United Nations, 1 October 2012. Found online:
http://gadebate.un.org/67/grenada

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Vacant Alexander Mill – Danielson, CT

Heartbreaking news. I testified against this proposal
Powdrell and Alexander Mill at 42 Maple St. has a new owner.

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From Vacant Alexander Mill – Danielson, CT, posted by Dan Malo on 5/15/2012 (30 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2


(Vacant Alexander Mill – Danielson, CT; 30 photos)

Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential

"African urban legislation is based on the 1947 UK Town and Country Planning Act, where the legitimacy of informal settlements is not considered. As a result, mass evictions and demolitions have occurred over the years, leading to rebuilding of structures or relocation of residents. Slumlords and politically connected individuals take advantage by settling people on public land and unused private land."

Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential for Urban Development in Nairobi
Pressed via: The Grid | Global Site Plans, Author: Constant Cap

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Slavery Turns Black In The New World

0474Eurocentric modern African history begins alongside the discovery of the New World. Europeans and the Church needed labor in abundance. Indians were susceptible to European diseases, and not suited to the hard labor that was demanded of the New World cash crops. Relying on the long stable Arab Slave Trade, Spain imported the first Africans to Hispaniola 1501.

At this point in history, Africans were a tiny minority of the world’s slave population. Most slaves were non-moslem Arabs; this included many captured Europeans of Barbary raids, traded across Northern Africa.

As labor demand ratcheted upward, more slaves were needed. Europeans pressed and plied African rulers or undermined local power structures to acquire their labor pool, and many slaves were created out of political enemies. Between ten and twenty million survived the Atlantic passage. In the New World, they faced disease and death.

The total number is inexact, and just as many slaves perished in the process of passage or capture. Tens of millions of people were removed from northern Africa, a depopulation of human capital unprecedented in scale. The Portuguese middle-men of the Atlantic Slave Trade would turn Africans into the overwhelming majority of the world’s slaves by 1800.

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Religion & Slaves: 1600’s Atlantic Coast

Atlantic-America-North-CoastMap of New Netherland, Virginia, and New England by Joan Vinckeboons (1639)

The religions mentioned herein were persecuted or outlawed in 1600’s Europe.

Boston, the “City on the Hill” was founded by Puritans in 1630 to mostly to serve god.  Other religions soon occupied New England, themselves also seeking freedom. The Back Bay was used through the 1640’s for the trade of seafood, slaves, and sugar. This challenged the Puritanical mores and ethics of “a just price for goods” to mitigate the “sway” of trade.

In the 1660’s, backlash from worldly gain forced many of Boston’s wealthy traders and religious dissenters elsewhere. Puritans left Boston earlier, settling New Haven in 1638, a slow-growing planned community. Many Quaker and Jewish merchants moved their fleets to the harbor of Newport, expanding their role in the slave trade and the manufacture of rope and sails.

Amsterdam began as Dutch fur post in 1625 and became a safe haven for the persecuted Jews of Portugal and Spain. In 1664, the British take New Amsterdam and rename it New York. Charleston was settled in 1670 by English Bermudans along secular lines to be a “great port towne.” It would attract a diverse lot of people trading rice, lumber, and African slaves.

The wealthy Quaker, William Penn, was granted land by Charles for debts owed to Penn’s father. He established Pennsylvania in 1682, a distance from Europe and New England as a refuge for Quakers. Considered a “green country town” in it’s early days, by 1800, Philadelphia and it’s suburbs would be the biggest city in North America.

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Language: ∞ Description of Experience

Language fosters organization of thoughts, complex actions, and the making and using of tools. It allows for social interaction and the organization of labor. It can be said that language is an evolutionary development and that humans were ‘created’ as language developed. Language is best understood as a discreet combinatorial system of letters and symbols, forming words.

Each sign, sound, or symbol is reference to a notion.(Credit: _marqs via iStock)

  1. Phonology – The parts to use
  2. Morphology – The rules of the recursive combination
  3. Syntax – Ordering to form meaning
  4. Semantics – The interpretation

image and related pop-sci article: Salon – Where does language come from?

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Historic Aerials: Main St. Over the Quinebaug, Danielson

1934

Danielson, Connecticut and Quebec Square
google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/eNmJ6
UCONN – Historical Aerial Photographs
http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/mash_up/1934.html

1952

1970

1995

2014

And again, if you’d like to play with the maps:
Danielson, Connecticut and Quebec Square
google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/eNmJ6
UCONN – Historical Aerial Photographs
http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/mash_up/1934.html

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Early African Islam: Trade & Literacy

Prevalent across the northern half of the continent is the religion of Islam. Not African in origin, it was brought by Arab traders across the Sahara beginning around 700 and downward through the Sahel and East Africa thereafter. Between 900 and the 1800’s, the religion spread throughout the Sahara via trade networks and jihad. Rather than seeking domination, practitioners of the faith sought to influence their trade partners, and bringing with it a high rate of literacy as a result.

image via http://islamandafrica.com/

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New England’s Flirtation w/Independence

pressed via the Hartford Courant:
Hartford Convention of 1814 started secession, states’ rights talks in New EnglandA Map of New England from 1830

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