‘PLATE-GATE’ BREAKS UP RELATIVE CIVILITY

First, allow me to observe that when you don’t have it, even for a day, you realize just how dependent we all are (well, at least most of us) on the Internet.

Everything seemed to be going along very well since Dannel Malloy was sworn in as our new governor after a harsh campaign cycle. His appointments, particularly to top positions in his administration, were roundly praised—or at least not seriously criticized. Bannon, Barnes, DeFronzo, McDonald, Occhiogrosso and others are serious and talented people all. The Republicans concentrated on the massive budget deficit and how it will be fixed.

So what broke up this mini-lovefest? Financial wrong-doing? Political dirty tricks? A break-in at the Holiday Inn Express (well, we don’t have a Watergate). Nope. Anger flared over double- and triple-digit license plate numbers.

Incidentally, I just don’t get it. The new governor says when he sees a car with a low-numbered plate, he “cranes his neck” to see who it is. The Shad doesn’t. All I care about is that the driver stays in his lane and doesn’t run me off the road while talking on a phone.

In any event, Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reported on his blog that now-State Auditor Bob Ward doled out the plates to Friends of Rell at the request of Rell Bully-in-Chief Lisa Moody. Things got very interesting when it turned out that Occhiogrosso was the one who gave Rennie the information upon Rennie’s request.

Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy then had a nutty, claiming that Occhiogrosso may have violated federal privacy laws designed to help stop stalking. The laughable thing is people who want the low-numbered plates do so because the person wants to be noticed. Apparently, that’s the point.

Things to consider:
• As some who has run a communications department, in fact, the one Occhiogrosso used to run at the Senate Democrats, I can tell you that your first instinct is to provide information to the media when they ask, as fast as possible.  A happy reporter/columnist is a friendly reporter/columnist when his fingers hit the keyboard. It’s just smart operating.
• The thought here is that Occhiogrosso should get a break. The administration has is a little more than a month old. Roy O. has been in “campaign mode” for more than 6 years, just with Malloy.  Before that there was the 2.5 times Bill Curry couldn’t get in the office. As a Capitol insider said to me yesterday, Occhiogrosso needs to move from “campaign mode” to “governing mode.”
• I certainly would have given Rennie the information he wanted. It would not have occurred to me to run it by the chief counsel. However, you can bet your life I would have read the list before handing it over.
• In the bigger picture, the Rell administration left office in a disgusting manner. Handing out civil service jobs to friends (and not even being smart enough to do it in such a way that Malloy couldn’t undo it). Rell-Moody was incredibly unhelpful to the new guys.  As far as that issue, Rell’s people not only didn’t bring anything to the table, they were stealing the silverware.

So Dems and Rs are sniping at each other, calling for investigations, accusing people of misdeeds and it’s snowing.  All is right in the world. Oh yeah, there a sort of an important budget address on the 16th. But for now, it’s license plates.