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Does Sen. Formica know he represents New London?

I am gathering a lot of scorn for eastern Connecticut lawmakers who have let New London Mayor Michael Passero go it alone these last few weeks, trying by himself to get some property tax equivalent out of the powerful utilities that are planning to use a rebuilt State Pier as a commercial wind assembly stage.

I am still shocked by the news conference performance on Feb. 11 by state Rep. Anthony Nolan of New London, who, incredibly, stood alongside Gov. Ned Lamont as the governor announced the $157 million deal to remake State Pier, with not one new dime pledged to New London to make up for the lack of property taxes.

Nolan that day inexplicably and enthusiastically praised the deal and the governor, who, while sealing the pier deal, left Mayor Passero with no leverage to make his own host agreement with the powerful utilities. Passero was still hard at it Friday.

If legislative and representative incompetence were a crime, Nolan should be in handcuffs.

The other lawmaker representing New London who I would single out for a big heaping of scorn in regard to this topic is Sen. Paul Formica of East Lyme, who apparently needs to be reminded that he represents the city as well as surrounding suburban towns.

Martha Marx of New London, who narrowly lost a bid to unseat Formica in 2018, is preparing for a rematch this year, and I would urge her to load her campaign bazooka with complaints about how Formica has made no loud public pitch for the city to get treated fairly in the pier deal.

I single out Formica because, as a Republican, he should be free to deliver a full-throated forceful attack on the governor for making the deal with the powerful wind utilities while leaving New London with no just compensation and no good leverage to bargain for it.

It appears the powerful lobbyists representing Eversource and the rich Danish wind giant Ørsted in the pier deal are standing on all lawmakers' necks, keeping them from speaking out about how unjust this is for New London.

I asked Sen. Formica by email Friday about what he's done to help, and he said he's been "working behind the scenes." He also complained about the governor "reneging" on a promise to include him in the news conference announcement about the pier deal because he criticized the rushed process.

This seemed like an especially strange lament. Why would he have agreed to attend that news conference in the first place? The deal is an insult to everyone in New London.

If I were the Republican senator who represents a city full of taxpaying Democrats forsaken by a Democratic governor, I would hold my own news conference and excoriate the governor. I would be on a bullhorn in front of the Capitol shouting about the governor's shabby treatment of New London.

And I would enlist all the other lawmakers of eastern Connecticut to join me in decrying this insult to the region and its capital city.

It couldn't be more clear to me that New London deserves the better part of the $2 million to $3 million a year the rich utilities would have to pay on the rebuilt pier, which they intend to use entirely for commercial purposes, to assemble wind turbines used to make expensive electricity that will help create billions of dollars in profit.

The next time you see any of the lawmakers of eastern Connecticut, ask them why these rich utilities get a get a free ride and don't have to pay property tax or the equivalent for a wildly profitable commercial enterprise.

What has the army of lobbyists for the utilities done to earn their silence?

Why is the fix in to cheat the poor city of New London?

Why is Mayor Passero being made to fight this on his own?

I can't wait to vote down anyone on the next ballot that comes my way who was in office while this great injustice unfolded.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


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