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CONNECTICUT NEWS

Rick Green    Rick Green

Asleep At The Inaugural

January 9, 2007

Could we give Gov. Rell some credit? She's doing her best to let all of us sleep in.

She even kept one of her loudmouth critics locked up last week so he couldn't mess up the somnolent inaugural celebration.

Throwing harmless peacenik Ken Krayeske in jail for trying to snap her picture during the inaugural "parade" is the least of our problems. We're all in danger of slipping into an easy-listening slumber for the next four years.

But just as I thought everyone, including this newspaper, had succumbed to a blissful Rellian nap, I bumped into a dangerous troublemaker willing to slap me hard with the truth.

I found shopping center developer R. Michael Goman addressing the annual economic summit of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Goman, a pro-growth developer who is also on the board of education in Simsbury, gets it. Things aren't fine. There's no growth, no job creation. Development decisions are burdened under our endless local approvals process.

Officers, arrest this man!

"This isn't the edge of being in trouble. This is being in trouble," Goman told the suits gathered in the ballroom at the Connecticut Convention Center on Friday morning, where he was the keynote speaker.

I'm not wild about strip malls, including one currently proposed in Goman's hometown by his company, Konover Development. But we better start paying attention to Goman's prescient words.

I wanted to warn Goman that if he isn't careful, he'll be sharing a cell with Krayeske. He's far more of a threat: Here's an elected Republican with something to say.

"Economic growth is essential," Goman warned. "That seems to be a message that has gotten lost."

No doubt they already have Goman's picture over at the state police central intelligence unit and the Connecticut Intelligence Center. People such as Goman could ruin everything.

Last week, just when Jodi Rell could have set an agenda for the future, we were treated to a lavish Krayeske-free party where cocktailing lobbyists forked over thousands of dollars to wear party dresses and top hats with our elected leaders. Why do any of these characters need to be celebrated?

We have urgent issues that can't wait until the governor locks up her critics and finds time to address the legislature next month: Property taxes, electricity bills, thousands of children who can't read, young people moving away, the runaway costs of health care and housing.

Instead, we have Gov. Rell - oddly channeling Bill Clinton and Al Gore - telling us it's time to "cross the bridge to a new future."

I don't want another bridge metaphor. I want businesses hiring workers who can pay taxes, buy homes and support their public schools. I want a governor with a plan, not a message from a Hallmark card and a high school graduation speech.

Our neighbors aren't snoozing. New York's new governor, Elliot Spitzer, chose his inaugural moment to promise action - and banish Rip van Winkle.

"New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by," said Spitzer - who refused an inauguration party. "We have seen what can happen when our government stands still in the face of great challenge and inevitable change."

In Connecticut, though, we're happy to stand still. Rip van Winkle is no longer welcome in Albany, but he's got a comfy bed here.

So go back to sleep. Everything will be fine as long as we keep Krayeske and Goman quiet.

Rick Green's column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at rgreen@courant.com


E-mail: rgreen@courant.com

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