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McKinney Brings Pies, Promises To Bella Vista

by Melissa Bailey | Jul 16, 2014 8:24 am

(10) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: The Heights, Campaign 2014

Melissa Bailey Photo In his debut appearance in a stronghold of elderly Democratic voters, Republican John McKinney brought the pizza that seniors had been waiting for from Gov. Dannel Malloy—and his own promises for what he would deliver as governor.

McKinney, the state Senate minority leader, is one of two Republicans hoping to unseat Malloy this fall. McKinney is running in an Aug. 12 Republican primary against Tom Foley.

On Tuesday, his campaign stopped by the 2,000-person Bella Vista senior housing complex at 311 Eastern St., one of the largest concentrations of elderly and disabled tenants in the state. He made the visit after reading a story in the Independent last week about a visit Malloy made to the same spot. Malloy had come to talk about rent rebates; seniors confronted him with an accusation that he had failed to deliver on a 2010 election-eve promise that he would bring them pizza if they elected him governor.

McKinney, hoping to ride the swell of disgruntlement, arranged his own pizza party Tuesday at Bella Vista’s Victoria Room, the same site where Democrats round up seniors every election eve to dance the tarantella, eat pasta, and remind voters to pull the proverbial party lever. The complex leans heavily Democratic: Malloy out-performed Foley there by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on Election Day in 2010.

Whether Malloy ever brought the pizza he had promised remains in dispute. Malloy’s campaign this week said the governor did bring pizza, two years later, in the run-up to the 2012 elections. The campaign could not provide the month or day of the event. Seniors, meanwhile, widely agreed that he had not brought the pies.

McKinney said he saw the Independent’s video (at left) in which a tenant confronted Malloy about the pizza pledge.

“We thought, look, I’m running to fix things,” McKinney said. “This is something Dan Malloy didn’t follow through on, so I thought I would.”

So his campaign brought 10 boxes of pizza—at a cost of $175, including tip—to the Victoria Room Tuesday evening. McKinney said he didn’t know how he would choose between New Haven’s famous pizzerias (he’s a Pepe’s fan). He said a Bella Vista staffer recommended a spot in East Haven, Capotorto’s Apizza Center, so he went with that instead.

The event drew three dozen seniors into the Victoria Room on a gloomy, rainy evening. After delivering the pies, McKinney made his own promises for what he’d deliver if people vote him into the governor’s seat.

He said he’d end Malloy’s First Five program, which awards companies millions of dollars in tax credits to stay in Connecticut and create at least 200 new, full-time jobs.

“I don’t think you [should] pay companies tens of millions to stay here,” McKinney said.

McKinney (pictured) vowed to shrink the size of government. The state has too many managers compared to the number of rank-and-file employees, he said.

“We’re top-heavy,” he said. He vowed to reduce the number of managers.

“You’ve been taxed too much,” McKinney said.

In a wide-ranging question and answer session, McKinney came out against Malloy’s decision in 2013 to spread Keno, the highly addictive bingo-style gambling game, to bars and restaurants across the state in order to create $30 million in state revenue. (The Democrat-controlled legislature passed the idea into law despite Republican opposition, then repealed it one year later.)

McKinney said he is against expanding gambling in the state, including online gambling. His goal, he said, is for the state not to be dependent on gambling revenue.

He also came out against the use of public money to construct a 25-mile bike path alongside the Merritt Parkway near Greenwich. He said he’s all for biking, but if people want a bike path, “those types of things, they can be done on their own dime.”

The crowd gave him a friendly, but skeptical reception.

A woman who gave her name only as Shirley, a registered Democrat, nibbled at a cheese slice and listened to the candidate. After he spoke, she said she remains undecided in the race.

“They’re all the same,” she said. “All they do is make promises, and they don’t keep them.”

She said she was referring specifically to Malloy’s failure to come through on his pizza pledge.

“We never got no pizza,” she said.

She said she’d like McKinney to come back so that she could suss him out further.

Warren Hammonds (pictured), a Democrat, listened to McKinney’s remarks but didn’t touch the campaign food.

“I refuse to eat Republican pizza,” he said.

Last week Hammonds said he won’t vote for Malloy because of the poor economy; on Tuesday he said he’s still undecided in the race. An independent candidate, Jonathan Pelto, is also in the mix.

Arline Rosenthal and her son Simon (pictured), both registered Democrats, said they would consider voting for McKinney.

They were asked about the candidate’s food delivery.

Simon Rosenthal said the pizza was good. But he offered this advice to candidates looking to win votes at his housing complex: “I like a hamburger once in a while.”

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posted by: HewNaven on July 16, 2014  9:07am

These articles about Bella Vista voters seem to portray a group of demanding seniors, many disabled, who only care about food and no nothing about the ‘issues’.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on July 16, 2014  9:32am

Okay, I have to admit that a politician like Malloy sometimes makes me sad. But Team McKinney makes me want to jump off of a cliff!

Who the heck is running McKinney’s weak campaign? And to think, he was the guy Democrats were actually scared of!

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 16, 2014  9:37am

People are not merely being cynical when they look at politicians as the source of so many broken promises; they are being accurate.
The state income tax was supposed to produce a repeal in the “nuisance” taxes, but didn’t.
The sales tax has increased.
The RE conveyance tax (state and local) was instituted when RE was flying high. It was supposed to “sunset”, but was extended instead.
The gas tax is one of the highest in the nation.
As for using tax credits to keep businesses here, it’s just a kind of bribe.
If the tax system is not supportive of people or business, why isn’t there an agenda to reform it?
As long as folks focus on pizza and party levers, they’re not going to produce change.

posted by: Wooster Squared on July 16, 2014  9:50am

Good grief. This whole back and forth about the pizza is indicative of the “gimme-gimme” attitude of too many senior citizens in this country.

The governor doesn’t “owe” you pizza and even if he did, get over it. It’s just a pizza.

Unemployment among youths and recent graduates is sky-high. Young adults are struggling to gain even a foothold in today’s job market. Young people today would kill for the opportunities and robust job market that these seniors had when they were just getting started.

And I don’t say this as a young person - I’m not. I’m fortunate to have a strong career and I feel for a lot of these young kids who are entering a job market that is beyond tough to get a start in. I consider myself lucky that I’m not starting out now.

These folks in Bella Vista need to stop thinking about themselves and the pizza they think is somehow owed to them and instead focus on how they can help ensure that the next generation has the same opportunities they had.

posted by: HewNaven on July 16, 2014  11:02am

Wooster Squared,

Well said. Can you go have a talk with the thousands of voters at Bella Vista? They need to hear that.

posted by: FacChec on July 16, 2014  11:42am

Pizza & Hamburger notes and quotes:

Food for thoughts:

McKinney:

1.“I don’t think you [should] pay companies tens of millions to stay here”.

2. “We’re top-heavy,” he said. He vowed to reduce the number of managers”.

3. “You’ve been taxed too much,”

4. McKinney said he is against expanding gambling in the state, including online gambling”.

5. “He also came out against the use of public money to construct a 25-mile bike path alongside the Merritt Parkway near Greenwich. He said he’s all for biking”.

The crowds response: “We never got no pizza,”

1. “I refuse to eat Republican pizza,”


2. “Simon Rosenthal said the pizza was good. But he offered this advice to candidates looking to win votes at his housing complex: “I like a hamburger once in a while.”

Obviously, McKinney was talking policy and taxes, this crowd was responding.. “food for votes, give us more food”.

McKinney should have been talking about health care.

posted by: Carl Goldfield on July 16, 2014  12:59pm

It’s just a fact of life that many people tend to focus on their own narrow concerns and don’t see the big picture. I can’t tell you how many times when I was campaigning I wanted to talk about school construction, school reform, budget priorities, initiatives to reduce crime etc. and all the person I was addressing wanted to talk about was the sidewalk right in front of their home.

Many elderly people lead severely constrained lives.  They may not get out much, they may be on a limited budget and free pizza becomes a big thing.  Don’t be too critical-wait until you are 80 and we will see what you consider important.

posted by: Threefifths on July 16, 2014  3:57pm

Pizza or No Pizza.Both parties are the same.One does the bank job,The other drives the getaway car.

posted by: accountability on July 16, 2014  4:30pm

Enough with the pizza already.

The people I know at Bella Vista are smart, informed and have strong opinions. Malloy will win Bella Vista by a wide margin because in the end seniors understand their own interests.

The rest is fake media non-controversy, and insulting to the voters.

posted by: HewNaven on July 17, 2014  11:10am

Many elderly people lead severely constrained lives.  They may not get out much, they may be on a limited budget and free pizza becomes a big thing.  Don’t be too critical-wait until you are 80 and we will see what you consider important.

Carl,

That’s exactly the point. Politicians prey on your weakness. If children could vote, would it be OK to win them over with candy? Of course not. It’s a disgusting trick.

BTW, the Onion beat the Independent to this story:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/potential-employee-uprising-quelled-with-free-pizz,2441/

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