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ABOUT TOWN: 135th debate

Be there Saturday! Where? At the Weston library. The League of Women Voters of Weston’s candidate debate starts at 10:30 a.m., Oct. 13. Ask candidates for the 135th District whatever you want, within the bounds of propriety. Write your questions down legibly on the 5×7 cards that will be provided.

Did you watch the first Presidential debate? This local, one-on-one clash between John Shaban and Leon Karvelis should be every bit as good or better! Both candidates are terrific talkers and have a lot to say!

What are the differences between those two offices, U.S. President and member of the Connecticut General Assembly, House District 135?

To begin with, one is full-time and the other is part-time. While not belittling the role of Commander-in-Chief, I think our state representative could very well have the ability to make an even more direct impact on our lives.

Since this is a league debate, it will be moderated according to time limits and rules of fairness. Candidates are treated equally and not allowed to run amok.

And perhaps most importantly, the audience, members of which make up the questions, is given a clear picture of how the candidates react to both questions and each other. Sit back and take it in.

Did the candidate understand the question, and did he respond to it? Did he sincerely try to answer the specific question? Are the candidates respectful of one another? Did they listen to their opponent’s remarks and follow up if they found fault?

More specifically, I wonder if the candidates will have an answer for this question: How is Connecticut going to keep its promises to the poor, to retired state employees, to the school-aged population, and to the rest of us, if we continue to run large deficits?

How about this one: Is there a “fiscal cliff” for Connecticut? Can cities and towns go bankrupt? Are any close to this level?

Connecticut has 169 towns and cities, and a tradition of “home rule.” There is no level of government having taxing power between the state and the towns. Do you see this changing in the near future?

Domestic Violence

One really good law that passed last short session, and that just went into effect on Oct. 1, was “An Act Concerning Domestic Violence.” It is an example of a bill that became law because the Domestic Violence Task Force, and like minded professionals, made their case to the legislature effectively.

This new law strengthens the power of restraining orders, extending that protection to a full year. There is now better language empowering schools to enforce them. No more can stalking, or even electronic stalking, occur without the possibility of “mandatory arrest.”

At town hall last week, the Weston Domestic Violence Task Force presented a clinic on this new law.  There is now a “model policy,” which includes better guidelines for many of the provisions that protect victims.

For those in need of protection against an abusive spouse — and that includes about one in four women in our state — there should be help. The criminal courts and the family courts in Connecticut must communicate better. Since the Judicial Branch of government is in charge, and considering that the Connecticut Bar does not have a “pro bono” requirement for its members, finding that help will be a challenge.

NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at  This week’s guests are Dan Morley and Dimple Desai of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. 

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