Drew Marzullo has never met a municipal improvement he doesn’t like

Oooh, goody! Another way to spend their money!

Oooh, goody! Another way to spend their money!

We absolutely need a new school building ” says he, and a new pool and a new music hall and a new fire house and another new fire house and a new police station and and and ….

In fairness to Drew, his generosity with OPM – other people’s money – is matched by his Republican colleagues, but at least they don’t pretend that this can all be paid for with magic money. The result is the same, but Drew and his gang do incite ire with their pretend financing.

As the Board of Education considers a possible expansion of New Lebanon School, Selectman Drew Marzullo has announced he would support the construction of a new building to address overcrowding at the Mead Avenue school.

“This is unacceptable,” Marzullo said of New Lebanon’s current building during a visit Wednesday to the Byram school. New Lebanon PTA President Mike Bocchino and Samarpana Tamm, a Democratic Board of Education candidate, joined Marzullo on the visit.

“This now goes beyond the Board of Education,” Marzullo added. “This is a townwide commitment that has to be in play here. The Board of Selectmen, the RTM, the finance board and the land-use agencies all have to weigh in on this.”

Bocchino and Marzullo argued that “historically low” interest rates would facilitate borrowing for construction of a new building or a renovation.

Tamm, who chooses to use the cult name bestowed on her by her master,  Jim Jones, ” Ramadamadingdong”, is also a strong supporter of a new building for New Lebanon.

“It would just be so great,” she said of a new building. “It’s such a great community, unbelievably wonderful, and no one wants to leave it. The folks out here just love it. We’re trying to provide a better school for our children here. And with crystals, pyramid power and deep, deep chanting, Krishna will see that that happens. Oooooommmm.”


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78 responses to “Drew Marzullo has never met a municipal improvement he doesn’t like

  1. laming@greenwich.com

    I encourage anyone to take a tour of New Leb. It’s deplorable on every level. The town should be ashamed of itself for letting it get that way. Good for Marzullo for pointing this out. He at least takes a stance.

    • hmmm

      Use misa money to pay for it and all is well

    • No no no – the condition of New Lebanon school is completely unchanged from last year, when the RTM and our BET and our selectmen voted to spend $50 million on a new music hall. The time to have looked at the school was last year, and appropriate choices made. Instead, the town ignored it in order to pretend we had the money to buy the palace, then “suddenly” discovered its deplorable condition.
      This isn’t Drew taking a stance, it’s Drew hopping like an Easter Bunny from one spending opportunity to the next.

    • towny

      New Leb was built to be an overflow school for Byram and Ham Ave. Unfortunately the much larger Byram School was closed -at the distress of BOE-and made into senior housing.

  2. Riverside voter

    Can someone please tell me how New Leb. has gotten in such disrepair? Drew is correct! This is unacceptable!

  3. Anonymous

    I understand parents at New Leb are unhappy. I was not happy when each of my kids was in a classroom that exceeded what was then a cap limit. And I was pretty unhappy when one had to take a class in a large closet (no joke). My kids were in a school that scored well, though, so I guess they didn’t need a new building?!?

    Drew needs to read the data on Ham Av and tour all of our facilities before he champions a new school.

    • RTM member

      I encourage you to take a tour. You have classrooms being used by 3 teachers. You have special need kids sharing a room to small to fit wheelchairs they need. Marzullo points out that buildings because of years of neglect are now in need of rebuilding. The discussion needs to take place and at least he has brought this up.

      • hmmm

        You should resign

      • No no no again! The discussion needed to take place ten years ago, even, as a last resort, one year ago, BEFORE THE TOWN AGREED TO SPEND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS ON A FRIGGIN’ AUDITORIUM!!!!
        The town: the RTM, the selectmen, the BOE, the BET, made a choice: they wanted a music hall. Okay, now we live with that, and that means no new schools. Life’s tough.

        • Bryram resident

          Not the point. Answer the question Chris. What do you do about a school that has been neglected for years. Enough about MISA. That’s over. The school is over crowded and in ruins. So once again I ask Chris what do you do about? Marzullo is correct when he asks how did it get to this point and what do we do about it now. If you think the town should do nothing then say it Chris.

          • What you do about it is …nothing. Bus the kids to Parkway, bus them to North Street, bus them wherever there’s room – we spent the money which could have built a new school on tuba practice rooms.
            What is so hard to understand here? The money is gone. Over. No more.

        • hmmm

          talk to your pta, talk to bocchino he was a cheerleader for misa while your school crumbled…

        • CatoRenasci

          There were those of us on the RTM who warned that MISA would crowd out other capital projects – school and general town. Especially when the cost went up last year (again). Some of also warned about the costs of the Nathaniel Witherall renovations, which are going to cost us over time, too.

          I had mixed feelings about MISA – I had musical kids and have been on the Greenwich Symphony board, so I know exactly how bad the present auditorium is. At the original $22 million price, I figured we could afford it along with the other needs; at the now close to $50 million price not so much.

          But at every stage, in almost every conversation I had with its advocates, I raised the question of the relative priority of MISA and other major capital expenditures coming down the pike. Very few were willing to even listen to the issue.

    • Avid reader

      This would not be happening in Riverside!

  4. Walt

    Dude –
    This Krishna “cultist”, Squeaky Tamm, must understand there is no value in bricks and mortar, right? She understands it is all about belly hair lint, tantric sex, being at one with oneself, and the power of a bald who ha, right?

    Buildings, rules, logic and common sense confine the inner Id. She gets that, right? If not, what is the point of a “cultist” being on the BOE?

    Buildings are material things. We need flying carpets, mystical abilities to lift elephants, and a blind belief in the impossible. A total denial of reality. We need twilight zone stuff so our kids are in touch with their inner self.

    Reading and math are for retards. Squeaky Tamm must know that. INNER SELF DUDE. That is where it is at!! We need – NO WE DEMAND – all the Manson stuff she believed in her entire adult life, the crazy beliefs which alienated her from her daughter and almost destroyed the kid’s entire life. THAT IS WHAT WE WANT!! Francis and Lee demand that.

    If we aren’t getting that from this “cultist”, why not just appoint a normal person? Can you answer that Francis or Lee?
    Your Pal,

  5. Anonymous

    It’s such an f’ing joke that this town spends 50 MILLION DOLLARS (which I’ll bet rises to $70MM by the time it’s done) on a music hall when its elementary schools are literally falling apart. Riverside and New Leb look like crap and are probably chock full of occupancy/code violations. It’s unconscionable. Truly.

    Every single bureaucrat who voted for this should be fired and/or voted out of office.

    • Cos Cob resident

      Tesei championed MISA and the woman running against him wants Greenwich to borrow millions long term. Krumeich wants to spend peoples money like water. This town is in real trouble.

      • Remember this next time some fatuous idiot suggests we borrow at “low interest rates” to pay for “needed municipal improvements”. There is never enough money to satisfy people’s wants. We just signed on for the $50 million (low estimate) MISA in May and the spenders are already back clamoring for more.

        • Long term RTM member

          A functional building thats crumbling is not a need. And to your point about bussing. Are you suggesting Chris we close NL and bus all the kids out. The building is no longer functional and MISA is a done deal.
          You say what Chris?

          • Close the school and bus the kids until we’ve raised enough money to build a new one. Or cancel MISA, swallow the costs to date, use the money as it should have been used originally and fix the schools.

        • hmmm

          I say you too should resign for your incompetence

  6. Undecided voter

    I’m at the BOE meeting. They just voted to fund a focus and feasibilty study for New Lebanon. They will be using funds from this years budget. They are now talking long term planning. Finally! I give Marzullo credit for making this an issue and speaking his mind. The BOE is definitely responding to his strong stance. Good for him!

    • Why wasn’t Drew making this an issue during the past five years he’s been in office, when the condition of New Lebanon was obvious to even the most casual observer? Why? Because first he was “making an issue” of a new Byram swimming pool, then he was “making an issue” of a music palace, and had he spoken up about the deplorable condition of New Lebanon School then, people might have been alarmed, and decided to kill the music hall in order to fix our schools. Drew is many things; a profile in courage is not one of them.

      • Republican

        Not fair Chris.
        Marzullo is always speaking up. You might not agree with him but he is. I know for a fact he has spoken out about deplorable building conditions. And then you are the first to criticize him. And yes he supported MISA. And yes he has talked about New Leb. He spoke about this at a debate 4 years ago in Byram. And then again at LOWV debate. If the papers don’t report it don’t blame him for that.

        • Anonymous

          Republican, its simply not enough to point fingers around town and say how this or that is in deplorable condition. Responsible leaders know that budgets and spending are about choices and consequences. When Drew vociferously advocated for the size and scope of MISA, Fire station (that doesn’t even house his own GEMS!), and Nathaniel Witherell, well that had its consequences. It was said over and over again there would be no new projects. Like Chris says, in the free credit world Dems live, there would never be enough. Every project is noble. Every project has an immediate need. In sum, I have no sympathy for Drew or his other free spending Dems crying wolf after the fact.

        • hmmm

          Your tag name should be rino

      • Just my 2 cents

        Come on Chris….
        The guy works on ambulance. He has a lot of courage.

        Be nice….. He’s not going to drive you to the hospital.

      • pulled up in OG

        Third banana’s the last one I’d blame.

        One. Two.
        BOE. BET.

        • Agreed. Drew just put himself in the spotlight, as he is wont to do, so I gave him the attention he’s asking for.
          But Tesei, his underling, the BOE and the PTA are indeed the main culprits.

      • Former RTC member

        Where was Tesei? Where was the BOE? And do we ever hear anything from the brilliant minds of the BET. One could accuse Marzullo of speaking up late in the game but at least he is doing so. I guarantee now that he has others will follow. The BOE will now be compelled to talk about NL, Tesei will of course now give his opinion and support funding NL and the BET will spark a debate about long term bonding.

  7. Greenwich Parent

    I couldn’t agree with you more on your description of Drew Marzullo who freely runs from one capital project to another with Other People’s Money. And, what is appalling is the fact that he is taken seriously by the media and voters. Oh, and of course, the Greenwich Time, jumps in by half reporting the facts showing the enrollment of the elementary schools WITHOUT showing the schools CAPACITY. http://blog.ctnews.com/realtime/2013/10/10/elementary-school-enrollment-in-greenwich/

    So, let me just fill in what is NOT being shown by our OPM Selectman and biased media. The first number is enrollment….the second I have added is CAPACITY of the schools. As you can see NL is the least of the problems—note Dundee, and Riverside have the SAME capacity issues—and yet where is Drew’s outcry for the east end of Town? Also, note 6 schools are far under capacity.

    Cos Cob: 445, 480
    Glenville: 406, 440
    Hamilton Avenue: 335, 400
    International School at Dundee: 378, 320
    Julian Curtiss: 345, 400
    New Lebanon: 263, 260
    North Mianus: 448, 460
    North Street: 368, 500
    Old Greenwich: 397, 560
    Parkway: 225, 440
    Riverside: 495, 500

  8. Anonymous

    Ham ave is a brand new school- has it helped student achievement?

  9. Drew fan

    Be nice to Drew. Drew is very nice. Not as nice as Doron and Jim, but still very nice.

  10. Anonymous

    What is sad is that this, too, will be politicized….and, heck, probably made into a racial issue, and the weak leaders (most of all our Republican First Selectman) will talk about the “surprise” enrollment capacity issue—and we must prioritize this issue.

    And, our First Selectman will continue that we also need a new pool and fire station—and so on and so on. Where are the true fiscal responsible leaders in this Town? Have no lessons been learned looking at the over reach of other Towns? What a sad state of affairs.

    • Marzullo supporter

      I’m still voting for Marzullo! OK because he is nice. And truly a great guy. And yes that’s the reason. But at least I’m honest about it. And you too Chris will do the same. Because you like the guy and he needs your vote.

      • Was undecided

        Marzullo struck a nerve. His comments to the GT made the BOE vote on a motion to fund a study about NL. They talked about NL for over an hour and how bad the building is. So for that I commend Marzullo and will be voting for him. And at least he took the time to actually visit the school.

        • As I said, the school was open to visitors the entire time Drew (and Tesi) were in office.
          What’s the matter with you people? Did you really not listen to the debate that raged over MISA all these years? The condition of our schools, especially New Lebanon, was brought up again and again as the argument why we shouldn’t plunk our money into an auditorium project that will cost at least half of what the entire high school originally cost(and that’s in inflation-adjusted dollars).
          Those arguments were made and were rejected. Okay, but don’t feign surprise, don’t express shock to discover what you knew all along. You chose MISA because you figured you could then move on to the next big thing and in this town, with the politicians we’re saddled with, you may be right.

          But there’s nothing noble or brave about one of our local pols demanding we spend still more money – that’s just business as usual.

      • I will not vote for Drew because he is an anti-gun zealot and this election I’ve decided to be a one-issue voter. But if I needed another issue to withhold my vote for him, it would be this.

        • Independent voter

          What’s the alternative. Or shoud I say who is the alternative. Look Marzullo might advocate for issues that are not to your liking and he might want to spend money but as you know the BET controls the purse. So I say vote for this guy because its true when people say he’s a great guy ( and I think he likes you.) How often do you come across a politician that is well liked by both D&R’s. I don’t claim to know him well but the one time 2 years ago I called the Selectmans office he actually got back to me and solved my problem ( full disclosure… It was a small problem but the guy got back to me.) Think about it Chris.

        • hmmm

          You must be kidding right? The BET ha! They could have stopped the last round of funding for MISA but didn’t…that’s a sham too!

  11. My reason for voting Marzullo

    I’m also going to be honest…. I’m voting for Marzullo because a year ago he picked me up in the ambulance and I could not of asked for a nicer guy. He is an amazing medic and true professional. This might not be the best reason to vote for him but its mine. I’m glad he’s at town hall.

  12. District 7 RTM member

    Just leaving the BOE meeting now. Marzullo was there. No other Selectman ( not Tesei or the old guy what’s his name .) They spent a good majority of the meeting overcompensating trying to address Marzullo’s statement on NL. They are now going to commit dollars for a study. So I credit Marzullo for speaking out. And they obviously listened. Good for him. All the others will now follow his lead. Just watch.

    • District 7 voter

      I think his name is Dan Theise
      He’s 84 and sleeps a lot. But because of his age I excuse it.

    • Anonymous

      District 7 RTM member…..what is so courageous of Marzullo championing his latest favorite cause right before his election? You do not belong on the RTM spending MY taxpayer money with the little you require to win admiration of your fiscal leaders.

  13. Marzullo supporter

    I’m voting for Marzullo as well!

  14. Tesei supporter

    I will again be voting for Tesei. Look at his record. His opponent ( Beth Krumeich) doesn’t seem to have a clue. She is championing long term borrowing and increasing the debt cap.. She has no problem spending money. On everything. Her Op Ed in the GT tonight says it all. It’s scary. Please re elect Tesei!

    • Anonymous

      Explain the difference of the two….Tesei champions new firehouse, new senior center, new GEMS facility, new NL school, MISA, firehouse, nursing home….without mention of nary of a cut……I’d really like to know what is the difference?

  15. Ghost of the FAR Czar

    Chris is right – no one wants to live with the consequences of their choices, particularly the BOE or the Selectmen.

    This result was telegraphed when the BET asked the BOE to cut $2mm out of their $10mm annual facility maintenance budget once MISA was passed and the overruns started to surface.

    The BOE made a choice when they sacrificed years of capital improvements at any other school building in the district to get the MISA. Now they regret it. And they want us to just keep paying for their mistakes.

    The Selectmen had a choice as well. When the BET tied on party lines on the stop MISA vote, Peter Tesei took the GOP members to the woodshed for an hour before he finally convinced the chairman to break the tie in favor of continuing MISA after he had just voted no on the motion. All because he was scared to see Republicans show some fiscal restraint in an election year.

    All we have to do is look to Hartford for the example of what your financial condition is after years of out of control spending and pension fund mismanagement. Wasn’t that long ago when the State had a “AAA” bond rating too.

  16. My thoughts

    The real people to blame are Greenwich elected Republicans. They are the majority party who continue to allow out of control spending. They approved MISA ( thank you Mike Mason ) Central Fire House, Witherell and a tax increase. And they too will follow Marzullo’s lead on demolishing NL. Marzullo spoke his mind but its not a surprise. He took the opportunity and did it well to influence BOE members before their Thursday meeting. And it worked. Politically it was masterful. The BOE did exactly what he wanted and I credit the guy for that. Will I vote for him. I’m actually considering it.

    • Anonymous

      My thoughts….I say this in the gentlest way….but did you sit their silently as the “special interests” advocates made their case? Your silence is as “loud” as their rants for more spending.

    • CatoRenasci

      You’re right, the Republicans are the problem, but electing the Democrats would be even worse Neither party represents the interests of the ordinary, hard-working Greenwich citizens or taxpayers.

  17. Riverside voter and Pz

    Believe me when I say…. It’s a matter of time when our town leaders join Marzullo in support of funding a new school. He was the first to suggest such that lead the BOE to vote and approve financing a NL study. They will all line up with Drew.

  18. District 2 RTM member

    Thank you Drew Marzullo

  19. Byram gal

    I’m voting for Marzullo. He deserves a third term.

  20. NewsJunkie

    Why have Marzullo’s supporters on this thread forgotten that several elementary schools are under capacity. I say close NL if it’s in such disrepair and send NL kids to Parkway and North Street. Try that experiment for at least 2 years before rushing to rebuild NL. Who knows….that might solve the racial imbalance and improve performance!

    • Tired of the nonsense

      Why should they be bussed so far? Close it and redistrict to 10 neighborhood schools.

    • Anonymous

      NewJunkie…..that kind of rational, thoughtful thinking doesn’t make the headlines with associated pictures. What I love are the quotes from Bonnino the PTA president acting like the Town has been so miserly and stingy—ands he was one of the chief advocates for MISA and he won. As CF says….Never enough. Never enough.

      • Anony

        Sorry, why is it NSS and Pkwy parents should bear the brunt of responsibility for the problems at NL (structural or achievement-wise)? What basis is there to say that mixing those kids into NSS and Pkwy will improve scores or life for anyone in the mix?

  21. greenITCH

    HA enjoy your blog CF and if anything hopefully at the very least we can all make more informed decisions when voting …ironic to me and my wife though as life long Republicans … we will be bullet voting Peter Sherr for BOE but largely voting Dem across the ticket …while I agree town needs some long term vision on capital projects I find the towns amenities for anyone under the age of 55 to be deplorable . Yeah we have some nice town benches and Todds point etc etc .. but really from anything that has been done or not done with public ( OG Civic Center,Schools, Byram pool etc ) or private money ( YMCA ) ….the towns amenities are deplorable . Thanks CF for bringing many of these issues to light

    • Anonymous

      greenITCH….I’m glad that you have rationalized your excuse for more spending in the Town—by saying its for the kids. I wish your children and grandchildren well as they pay off for many years ahead your approval to build $50 million edifices—and increasing the spending in this Town from $500 million to much more. And, btw, as a Republican, you deface the party by stating you are voting for leaders who are so irresponsible with yours (and mine) tax dollars.

  22. Anonymous

    I read $100k (for a report) will be spent to put the famous camel’s nose in the tent—so that “easily” grows into the new capital project. Over and over (and over) again this Town shows no planning, no innovation in thinking, and reactive management. The competency and caliber of the folks leading at both the BOE, BET, and BOS is almost negligent. Politicians like Marzullo who ride around town screaming about more capital spending has no credibility when he (and his party) speak nothing to what they will cut in operating (union $$ and headcount) in order to spend in capital. Nope, the answer is only to add another credit card to the wallet. We spend $500 million per year for 60k residents and its not enough. Its sickening.

  23. Publius

    I think the clip sums it up nicely plus it adds some comic relief.

    Politicians like to build things and there is never a project that should be rejected. There is no effort to allocate a scarce resource (tax revenue) to its best and highest use. It is not endemic to Greenwich but plagues our federal and state and local governments. This is why we have so much debt but our critical infrastructure is in deplorable condition. A stadium, convention center, high speed trains to nowhere, MISA? You bet!! A school, bridge or road? Not so much. We don’t make choices anymore, we just say yes.