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Saturday, August 20, 2005

This is not a campaign flier?

If it sounds like a pig and smell like a pig...

There is no way any person can tell me that this latest flier from Gov. Rell's office isn't a campaign flier and if a Democratic governor did something like this, the Republicans would be screaming "foul."

This so-called annual report is one big ol' promotion document with numerous pictures of the governor and positive "spin" phrases scattered throughout the pages. This reeks of bad judgement by the governor she hasn't announced that she's running for office yet she making taxpayers pay for this obvious campaign document.

In my opinion, with this flier, Gov. Rell has crossed a line with the voters in the state and at this point, she needs to say whether she's running for re-election or not. You can't take taxpayer's money (3,000 dollars for 10,000 copies of the flier) and use it to promote yourself in this manner during an election season (remember the Rowland commercials during his re-election campaign back in '98).

From the Hartford Courant

It's as slick as any campaign flier: a three-page foldout printed on thick, glossy stock with no fewer than 19 photos of a leading state politician and glowing descriptions of her "bold approach" to leadership.

But the politician being touted, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, isn't running for office - yet. And 10,000 copies of the flier, titled "Annual Report of the Governor," were paid for by taxpayers at a cost of $3,000. Now Rell - who has championed ethics in state government, as the brochure points out - is facing questions from critics about whether she has misused state resources.

"I thought she had announced for governor and somehow I had missed it," said Roy Occhiogrosso, a longtime state Democratic operative and now a consultant. "It's either the least informative annual report ever, or it's a campaign mailing and she owes the taxpayers a lot of money."

"All that's missing is the canoe and Patty Rowland," Occhiogrosso said - referring to the controversial, taxpayer-funded tourism TV commercials in which Rell's now-jailed predecessor as governor, John G. Rowland, appeared with his wife in a canoe.

Like I said, you can't expect your critics to not scream "foul" at this so-called report which lead me to this next point, when has a governor ever filed a annual report?

Rell's use of the term "annual report" sounds official, but her color brochure is a far cry from the annual reports that state agencies submit for compilation each year in the "Digest of Administrative Reports to the Governor."

The State Library keeps bound copies of those annual digests, which now are maintained online. Those digests include dry, statistic-filled reports from various agencies of the state. Although the reports are submitted to the governor, the governor's office itself does not file one.

A library staff member said there is no legally mandated annual report that Connecticut governors file. A computer search of the library's records revealed only an "Annual Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands" included with some federal documents.

Rell's annual report includes the following news for citizens: "My pledge, as your governor, is a simple one: I will work tirelessly with honor, dignity and civility." That Rell quote is on a flap of the brochure beneath a photo of Rell speaking at a lectern with a "Save Our SUBASE" poster on it. At the bottom of the flap, the word "bold" is printed twice, once in italics and once in regular type.

Yeah, this sounds like an annual report...

Throughout the brochure are subheads including: "Breaking the Transportation Gridlock" and "Investing in Our Children's Education."

The governor's office had the brochures printed through the state Department of Administrative Services via a competitive bid awarded to a Winsted company, Harris said.

So far, about 300 brochures have been mailed to town halls and tourism offices statewide. Harris said the remaining 9,700 or so brochures may be distributed at times "when the governor does a speech, or something like that."
Okay, now we have an annual report in which the governor is going to hand out during her stump speeches and this ISN'T a campaign document. I'd expect better from someone who doesn't want to be connected with the scandals of the Rowland administration.