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Talking to sapelcovits the other week, I realized that I've mostly written about places very far from where I've ever lived. I wanted to write, instead, about my home area of Fairfield County, Connecticut, and its surprising demographic and political diversity.  I have to break it up into a series, but this entry will have some introductory analysis of the county as a whole, followed by close looks at Greenwich, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, and Fairfield.  I've included precinct-level analysis of statewide elections, State House districts, and the most satisfying "cracking" of a town in American history, along with my own impressions as, for once, a local.


My goal in this diary is to demonstrate that my home region--technically I was born in Westchester County, but I moved to Fairfeld County at a young age--has a lot more economic, ethnic, and political diversity than you might expect.  The image of Fairfield County is rich investment bankers--all WASPs or Jews--living in McMansions.  And, well, there are more than a few people like that.  But the county as a whole is much more complicated.  

Fairfield County is certainly among the wealthier areas in the country.  But far from being uniformly so, the Bridgeport-Stamford metro area (coterminous with Fairfield County) actually has the single highest high-to-low wage ratio of any of the 100 largest metro areas, according to the Brookings Institute.  Admittedly, it does also have the eighth-best wages at the lowest decile.

As for racial diversity, according to Wikipedia,

In 2010, 66.2% of Fairfield County's population was non-Hispanic whites and 10.8% of the population was black. Asians were 4.6% of the population. Latinos now constituted 16.9% of the population.[20]
I previously found that this made Fairfield County one of the closest matches of any county to the racial makeup of the U.S. as a whole.  To be sure, there are plenty of extremely white areas--but vast swaths of the country are far whiter.  The ACS says that 27.4% of the county's population that's lived there at least five years speak a language other than English at home, with 13.7% speaking Spanish, and they also say that 20.1% of the county's population is foreign-born.

As for the "WASP" stereotype, Wiki says that "In 2000, the largest denominational groups were Catholics (with 433,832 members) and Mainline Protestants (with 95,244 members).[22] The largest religious bodies were The Catholic Church (with 433,832 adherents) and Judaism (with 38,800 adherents)[22]".  According to the ACS' 5-year estimates, 18.1% of Fairfield County identifies their ancestry as "Italian", 15.9% identify as "Irish", 9.8% identify as "German", and only 8.7% identify as "English".  Assuming that's correct, and that there isn't much minority overlap, about half of the non-Hispanic white population in Fairfield County identifies their ancestry as Italian or Irish.  (This completely tracks with my experience, by the way, although since my own family is half-Italian, it might not be representative.)

Still, while there is a great deal of diversity, and while this diversity intersects with partisan politics in complicated ways, there are still some simple patterns.

Connecticut has 151 State House seats, each of which should have about 23,670 people.  The American Community Survey (ACS) includes estimates of the demographic and economic information for all current state legislative seats.  

When I sorted the 40 or so State House seats completely or partially in Fairfield County by estimated Median Household Income (MHI), and added which party currently holds the seat, I noticed something pretty remarkable:

Democrats currently hold every seat with a MHI below $70,000, and Republicans currently hold all but four seats with a MHI above it.  As we'll see, this is partly a consequence of the 2010 elections, but even so, I think it's very interesting.  Knowing only the MHI, you can predict a State House seat's current partisan representation with 90% accuracy!  (I'll include the full table at the end of this diary.)

What's even more interesting is that there's supposed to be something the matter with Connecticut--income isn't supposed to be correlated with partisan affiliation, unlike in most states.  Either that only holds higher up the ballot, or 2010 was different, or it only holds across the entire state, or the small sizes of the districts isn't preventing some kind of geographic fallacy problem.  

Still, I'm going to take an even more granular look, where possible, hopefully over a few diaries (since this one only covers a few towns, and it's already quite long).  I can't find precinct-level election returns for every city or town in the state.  In particular, I can't find any for Stamford, Bridgeport, or Danbury, which is quite annoying.  But where I could find the relevant information, I've color-coded the precincts based on who they backed in the 2008 Presidential race and 2010 Gubernatorial and Senate races.  

Since Barack Obama did better than Richard Blumenthal, who did better than Dan Malloy, this should allow for a reasonable stratification of the area's precincts.

"Red" precincts voted for McCain, Linda McMahon, and Tom Foley.  These areas are probably solidly Republican.  

"Green" precincts went Obama/McMahon/Foley.  These areas are probably a mix of genuine swing regions and regions where Obama over-performed.  

"Cornflower/light blue" precincts voted Obama/Blumenthal/Foley.  These are probably Democratically-leaning, but not safely Democratic, areas.  

"Dark blue" precincts voted for all three Democrats, and are probably safely Democratic in most reasonably contested races, although many might have voted for Shays in 2008 or earlier, or for a Republican state legislator.

In fact, since Blumenthal got 55.16% of the vote, and won by about 12 points, his performance should be something close to the baseline (maybe a little worse) in D+7 Connecticut.  So green and red precincts are probably generally Republican, and light and dark blue precincts are probably generally Democratic.

Note: I don't know how to account for absentee ballots, although some towns did it for me, and some towns didn't.  I tried to account for them when they were broken down by district.  


The town:

Let's start with the same town you'd start with if you were driving up I-95: with Greenwich.  Greenwich has a population of 61,171 people, making it easily the largest pure "Gold Coast" town, and I think it's basically the archetype.  Still, as my father often says, Greenwich is more diverse than you might think.  

The variable population density is suggested by the fact that the "blue" and "red" precincts in the above map have roughly equal populations (each a small fraction of the town--it's mostly "green").  

As for ethnic diversity, here is a zoomed-in map, using DRA's "color by non-white" tool:

Yes, Virginia, there are minorities in Greenwich.  I found this NYT article from 2007 on Greenwich's increasing diversity, and the consequences for the schools:

The superintendent, Betty J. Sternberg, has convened a 44-person task force to tackle the problem, bluntly declaring, “Our schools are becoming more segregated.”

“There will always be people who love their neighborhood schools, and that’s fine,” Dr. Sternberg told teachers last month at the Old Greenwich School. But, she said, “we’re getting to be an increasingly segregated town,” adding that she hoped residents, even without pressure from the state, would “embrace the value of being educated in a diverse setting.”

Though Greenwich’s population of 61,000 is 90 percent white, according to the census, nearly a quarter of the public school system’s 8,800 students are black, Hispanic or Asian. Yet their representation in many elementary and middle schools is lopsided.

At the Old Greenwich School, in a neighborhood on the east side of town near Stamford where modest fixer-uppers can fetch $1 million, school officials say the student body is roughly 95 percent white. On the west side of town near Port Chester, N.Y., an increasingly Hispanic area where there is a large housing project, the Hamilton Avenue School is 59 percent minority and the New Lebanon School is 53 percent minority, according to district officials; both are in violation of state law by being more than 25 percentage points off the district average in terms of racial mix. (Old Greenwich, meanwhile, is likely to be found in “impending” violation for deviating from the state average by at least 15 points.)

Technically, I'm guessing it was always a segregated town, and it's just getting to be a segregated town that isn't all-white.

Wiki tells me that Greenwich has a number of different neighborhoods:

Greenwich has one local government but consists of several distinct sections, some of which have their own mailing addresses and ZIP codes: as Cos Cob 06807, Riverside 06878, Old Greenwich 06870, Glenville 06831 and Greenwich 06830 (sometimes referred to as Greenwich proper, central, or downtown Greenwich).
Indeed, the ACS doesn't seem to have unified information on Greenwich itself!  The distinctions there mostly aren't relevant to our purposes, however.

The politics:

As I said, most of Greenwich is "green"--voting for Obama, but otherwise voting for McMahon and Foley.  (Foley was a Greenwich resident, I think, and remarkably enough, so were McMahon, Blumenthal, and Himes.)  In fact, Greenwich easily backed the entire Republican ticket in 2010.  (One tiny precinct was actually a tie between Obama and McCain!  46 votes each, with 37 votes to "other".  I colored it green.)    My guess is that Obama somewhat over-performed in Greenwich, although few "green" precincts backed him by significantly more than his national numbers.  Obama got 53.4% of the vote in Greenwich, but I don't think it's exactly a swing area in general.

Only four precincts backed Blumenthal, as far as I can tell, and they all backed Malloy as well--1A, 1B, 3, 4 are the four "blue" precincts.  This is almost, but not quite, coterminous with the "nonwhite snake" visible in the above map.  (1A is quite white, while 1 isn't, but went Republican in 2010.  This might be a turnout issue, since 1 was actually stronger for Obama than 1A.  Absentee ballots might have had something to do with it too.)  "Blue Greenwich" has only 9,440 people, but it's only 64.2% white, and quite dense.

Meanwhile, the only precincts to back McCain are in what I've heard described as "back country" Greenwich.  The NYT, in 1995, said this area is "[r]enowned as one of America's most prestigious addresses, [although] the back country of this Connecticut Gold Coast community is not for everyone who is rich. Families of highly placed executives who traditionally shun publicity gravitate to its silent woods and quiet, winding roads..."

"Red Greenwich" has only 9,790 people, and they're quite sparsely dispersed, it seems.  All of the McCain precincts are in State House District 149, which the above table shows to be significantly wealthier than the other State House seats in Greenwich, 150 and 151.

The State House seats:

I'll save a further discussion of State House District 149 for when we get to Stamford (hopefully in a future diary).

District 150 is represented by a Republican, Lile Gibbons.  It gave Obama a surprisingly robust 56.9% of the vote, and it's 75.3% white, 2.8% black, 13.9% Hispanic, and 5.8% Asian.  (DRA is a bit inconsistent here, so I went with the state map.)  Despite this, Gibbons doesn't appear to be in any danger--she went unopposed in 2008 and 2010.  With a MHI of $121,482, it's the least affluent district in Greenwich  (yeah, I know how ridiculous that is).  

District 151 is also Republican, obviously, represented by Republican Fred Camillo.  It gave Obama 53.1% of the vote, and it's 81.6% white, 1.5% black, 7% Hispanic, and 7.9% Asian.  (Which is a pretty high Asian percentage.)  I doubt it's voted for too many other Democrats.


The town:

Continuing up I-95, but skipping Stamford for now, we get to Darien.  Darien is quite a town.  In a recent interview, Chris Shays referred to it as "the center of my district".  If there were any justice in the world, this would be a Macaca-level gaffe.  Darien is wildly unrepresentative of Fairfield County and of CT-04.

It is perhaps one of the wealthiest decent-sized towns in the entire country, with the ACS' 5-year average giving it a Median Household Income of $175,766.  (Note: The link goes by "Mean Household Income".)  20.9% of the population identifies their ancestry as "English"--a rate twice that of the county as a whole--although 27.1% identify as "Italian", 18.8% identify as "Irish", and 17.2% identify as "German".  Only 9.3% of the population is foreign-born.

Some mixture of a local rivalry and my deeply-held values might color this section.  I can't say too much from a personal perspective, since I've never been there.  Not that I could have been from there, really.  Darien has a notorious history as a "sundown town – a town which forbade African Americans to remain overnight via unwritten rules".  It was also, as Wikipedia continues, the basis for the Oscar-winning film "Gentleman's Agreement", about towns that refused to sell to Jewish people.

An agreement that a local realtor, as recently as 2009, was, um, compelled to speculate might still be in effect! One comment to that post might be a minor classic of unconvincing denials:

There have been plenty of people in Darien of Jewish background just not in the fore front as is the same for Italians in Darien. Yes you are correct that there are no synagogues and if you noticed only 2 Catholic churches. Growing up in Darien it never seemed to bother me and I spent oodles of time at Ox Ridge and in the immediate area of that house that just sold. I wouldn’t call Darien anti-semitic but I would say that very few people in Darien on the whole ever speak of their ethnic background.
All right, one more astonishing Darien quote.  Here's the Greenwich superintendent from the earlier article:
“If you live in Darien, none of this applies to you,” Dr. Sternberg said. “It will never apply to them.”
The politics:

Unsurprisingly (let's be honest), Darien is staunchly Republican. That's something of an understatement. It gave McCain 54.2% of the vote, but when Richard Blumenthal was carrying the state by over 3-1 in 2006, he managed to win 500 votes. In that same election, Susan Bysiewicz lost Darien easily, even as she was winning the state by a similarly massive margin.

McCain carried every precinct in Darien, but there's a certain amount of regional variation. He only narrowly carried Darien's District 3 (on the Stamford border), and that's also the only precinct that Dan Malloy lost by less than a 2-1 margin.  I cannot believe that Obama almost won a precinct in Darien.  Do you think they'd have seceded?

The State Senate districts:

Because of the odd layout of Fairfield County's Senate districts, and because of how I'm breaking up these diaries, I can't look at too many State Senate districts, but I can't help but include these two.

You see, unfortunately for Darien, but fortunately for the state of Connecticut, it doesn't have anywhere near enough people to anchor a State Senate district, and it's in between two of the district's urban enclaves.  As a result, both the old and new Senate maps have perhaps my favorite gerrymander of all time:

Aaah, that's the stuff--straight out of an abgin diary, but it's the actual districts!  How's it feel to be the geographically-concentrated ones, Republicans?  The "Stamford" district on the left is a 64.8% Obama district that's 49.9% white, 14.1% black, 26% Hispanic, and 8% Asian.  The "Norwalk" district on the right is a 62.1% Obama district that's 60.7% white, 11.6% black, 21.3% Hispanic, and 4.6% Asian.  

Sorry, Darien.  Next time y'all try white flight, maybe fly a little farther away?  (Those are the new districts--I've drawn the current district lines elsewhere in this diary, but it's pretty much the same here.)


The town:

Continuing up I-95, we reach Norwalk.  Norwalk doesn't get the attention it deserves.  It has one of my favorite movie theaters, the Garden Cinemas, as well as a surprisingly urban nightlife scene in South Norwalk ("SoNo").  According to DRA, Norwalk is 55.7% white, 13.4% black, 24.3% Hispanic, and 4.8% Asian, making it another of Fairfield County's minority enclaves.  It has somewhat more of a "working-class" feeling than the surrounding area, although nearly anywhere looks blue-collar next to Darien, New Canaan, and Westport.  The ACS gives the Median Household Income as $76,161.

The politics:

As I said, Norwalk, which gave Obama 65.5% of the vote, doesn't get the attention it deserves.  A lot of people think that Bridgeport was the only town to vote for Jim Himes in 2008.  (Even I thought so, until I looked it up.)  Not so!  Norwalk did the same.  In fact, Himes carried nearly every precinct in Norwalk, except for 141A, even in 2008.  Blumenthal did the same in 2010.  Malloy, meanwhile, lost 141A, along with 142B and 143B.  

In the 2006 Democratic primary, Lamont beat Lieberman in nearly every precinct in Norwalk.  The two precincts Lieberman carried are an odd pair--the light blue 143B over on the Westport border, and the dense, 36.2% white 140A bordering the other light blue precinct.

Interestingly, Precinct 141 gave Obama 60.5% of the vote--more than many Obama/McMahon precincts. It is also by far the whitest Precinct in the city at 94.7% white.  Unsurprisingly, it might be somewhat autonomous from Norwalk as a whole--it's largely coterminous with Rowayton, where, "[a]ccording to Forbes magazine, the 2010 median home sale price was $1,674,964, counting Rowayton among the most expensive communities in Connecticut as well as the nation".  As Wiki points out, Rowayton has its own stop on Metro North.

The State House districts:

Rowayton--wealthy, white, and with its own Metro stop--is, unsurprisingly, in Darien's State House district, District 141:

With a MHI of $164,146, District 141 is perhaps the wealthiest state legislative district in the state, and (going off an old "Social Explorer" analysis I tried) it might even be the wealthiest state legislative district in the nation.  It's represented by Republican Terrie Wood.  Thanks to Rowayton, it gave McCain a mere 51.5% of the vote.

Most of Norwalk, though, is contained in the three Assembly districts entirely within city limits.

District 142, running along the city's outskirts, is represented by Republican Larry Cafero.  It gave Obama 58.8% of the vote, and, according to the ACS, it's fairly heavily Italian and Irish.  It's no working-class bastion, though--the ACS has the MHI as $97,336, and it has 52.2% of the workforce in "Management, business, science, and arts occupations".  

District 140, on the other hand, is 25.6% white, 25.7% black, and 42.9% Hispanic.  The ACS has the MHI as $55,742.  It's represented by a Democrat, Bruce Morris, shockingly enough.   It's an 80% Obama district.

District 137 is somewhere in between.  It includes Norwalk Harbor, and is 55.2% white, 12.6% black, and 24.7% Hispanic.  The ACS has about 2/3 of the workforce working in "Management, business, science, and arts occupations" or in "Sales and office occupations", and has the MHI as $67,270.  Judging by Google maps, it has much of Norwalk's densest and most "urban" area.  It's represented by Democrat Chris Perone.  It gave Obama 68.1% of the vote.


The town:

Westport!  My hometown, and, politically, the Superman to Darien's Bizarro.  Forgive me if I describe it at length.

It's an unusual place.  Some of the older residents have occupations and affects fitting the rambling small town it used to be.  But even over my lifetime, it's gotten more and more upscale--over the past few years, it's become one of a very few municipalities to have both a Tiffany's and a Steinway Piano Gallery.  In a similar vein, my high school used to be an odd, ramshackle building consisting of a bunch of low buildings--formerly separate--connected by long, rambling hallways.  It was torn down around the time I graduated, and rebuilt at exorbitant cost (even for Westport) into the kind of high school you might see on an ABC Family Series.  Incidentally, my high school newspaper gave the number of students attending Ivy League schools--20, I think, out of a class of about 260 or 270--as well as the number of students who applied.  

Westport has a long history in the arts.  Stephen Sondheim apprenticed at the Westport Country Playhouse when he was 20.  And, most famously, Hollywood legends--and liberal stalwarts--Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward lived here for decades.  Wiki also reminds me--as if I should have needed it--that Martha Stewart shot her first show in Westport for some time, although eventually she moved away, publicly complaining that we had lost our small town charms.  Other notables who have (or recently had) at least one house there include Don Imus, Harvey Weinstein, Linda Fiorentino, and Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas.  

Westport also has a notable Jewish population--indeed, Norwalk and Westport have their own entry at the Jewish Virtual Library.  Exact population estimates are hard to come by, but the Jewish Databank gives a 2001 estimate of 5,000 for the town.  The full report elaborates:

Almost one in five persons in both Westport and Weston are Jewish, compared to 9% in Wilton
and only 4% in Norwalk.

In Westport, a total of 5,814 persons live in 1,975 Jewish households. 14% of persons in Jewish
households are not Jewish. Thus, there are 4,983 Jews in Westport (Table 3-1).

In 2000, Westport's population was 26,644, meaning that about 22% of the town lived in Jewish households.  

According to the ACS, only 12.3% of the population identifies their ancestry as "English" (still somewhat more than the county as a whole) compared to 9.6% identifying their ancestry as "Russian" (nearly three times as much as in the county as a whole).

The politics:

Despite my parochialism, Westport really is worth studying closely.  Perhaps along with nearby Weston and Redding, it might be the greatest anomaly in Fairfield County, or even one of the greatest anomalies in American politics.  It's 89.9% white, it has a MHI of $150,771, it might be one of the most affluent decent-sized municipalities in the country, it's suburban/exurban in character--and it gave Obama 65.1% of the vote.  (My sense is that similar areas like the Bay Area or the D.C. suburbs are somewhat more urbanized, but I don't know if that's actually true.  I had an argument about it with sapelcovits yesterday.)  I'm certain that the town's Jewish population has something to do with this, but I don't know if it's liberal because it's Jewish, or if it's Jewish because it's liberal.  Ain't like they could've moved to Darien.

Obama easily won every precinct in the town.  Richard Blumenthal won every precinct as well, although some of them were closer.  Following that same link, Dan Malloy only failed to win a single precinct, 136-5, covering the King's Highway neighborhood, which is across the Saugatuck from most of the town.  (The next-most-Republican precinct is probably 133-1, in the town's southeast, which a few statewide candidates lost, or lost as well.)

Westport Democrats, including me and my father, natch, backed Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman in every precinct in the 2006 Democratic primary, much to the consternation of Lieberman supporter, and occasional Westport mansion dweller, Don Imus.  Unfortunately, the bastard managed to win every precinct in the general election.  

The State House districts:

Most of Westport is coterminous with House District 136, represented by Democrat Jonathan Steinberg.  (The boundaries changed very slightly during redistricting, eliminating precinct 133-1 instead of precinct 136-5.  Note that those are perhaps the most Republican precincts in the town.)  The ACS gives the MHI of the current District 136 as $151,238.  Again, this is perhaps the biggest anomaly Fairfield the County--that's nearly twice the "cutoff" that separates every Republican district from nearly every Democratic district.  Going off that same old "Social Explorer" project, District 136 might actually be the wealthiest state legislative district in the entire country to be represented by a Democrat.  It gave Obama 65.2% of the vote.


The town:

Fairfield, where my mother lived until recently, is in between Westport and Bridgeport, and not just geographically.  I wouldn't say it has an urban feel, but it's quite a bit more commercial and livelier than Westport, with more stores, more bars and restaurants, a movie theater, and so on.  (If you're in Westport, and you want to go out, you'll probably end up in Fairfield.)  The demographics reflect this: It has 59,404 people, according to DRA, and it's 88% white, 1.7% black, 5% Hispanic, and 3.7% Asian.  

The politics:

Fairfield, which gave Obama 56.4% of the vote, is among the more swingy and heavily-contested towns we've seen so far.  Overall, the town went for Foley, Blumenthal, and Himes--the latter by perhaps a single vote!--in 2010.

As you can see, it has every kind of precinct: McCain precincts, Obama/Foley/McMahon precincts, Obama/Foley/Blumenthal precincts, and Malloy precincts.  There's a pretty clear regional divide here.  

The McCain precincts--3-133 and 4-134--are in "back country" Fairfield, as is one of the "green" Obama/Republican precincts, 2-134.  It's evident even on Google maps that this area is the least dense and "urban" part of town.  The big McCain precinct, 3-133, contains the entirety of "Greenfield Hill, with its large areas, famous dogwood trees, and picturesque green with its white-spired Congregational church."  Of the other "green" precincts, 1-132 covers ritzy Southport and 9-133 has some of the area in between, including some of downtown (the Metro North stop, notably).  I originally had 9-133 as a "light blue" precinct, but the fact that it's only 55.7% Obama should have warned me.

Meanwhile, the "light blue" precincts cover some more of downtown Fairfield, Fairfield University, the beach, and much of the densest and most "urban" parts of town.  Notably, all of the "dark blue" Malloy precincts--likely the most Democratic precincts--are near the Bridgeport border, although they don't seem to be particularly nonwhite.  Himes seems to have won all the dark blue precincts and light blue precincts against Debicella, with Debicella winning the red and green precincts.  In 2004, there was apparently the same breakdown as Blumenthal/McMahon, with the red and green precincts going for Bush and the light and dark blue precincts going for Kerry.  

(In 2006, Lieberman seems to have won the "blue" precincts 6 and 7, and lost or tied everywhere else, although the precincts aren't broken up the same way, and I'm not sure how absentee ballots are broken down in these two older elections.)

The State House districts:

Much of Fairfield is in Districts 132 and 133.  District 133 currently includes the "leftover" precinct in Westport, one of the "back country" McCain precincts, some of downtown, the Metro stop, Fairfield University, and then snakes its way to the Bridgeport border.  I don't know what the hell that's about.  It went 56.4% for Obama.  It's going to change some in redistricting, pulling out of Westport and the McCain precinct and taking on Southport.

As is, thought, District 133 is one of the four "anomaly districts", as it's represented by a Democrat, Kim Fawcett, despite a MHI of $133,574.  Even in 2010, Fawcett lost the McCain precinct, but carried the other three in Fairfield.

District 132, which includes Fairfield's entire coast, went 58.3% for Obama.  With a MHI of $99,032, it used to be an anomaly, perhaps, but in 2010, Democratic incumbent Thomas Drew lost--by like 13 votes!--to Republican challenger, and current incumbent, Brenda Kupchick.  As far as I can tell from the above-linked 2010 results, Kupchick lost every single precinct other than the sole "green" precinct in her district, Precinct 1--Southport.  It won't be in the new district, although some of the other precincts were extremely narrow.  


Here's the MHI and current partisan representation of Fairfield County's State House seats:

R    State House District 141 (2010), Connecticut    $164,146.00
R    State House District 135 (2010), Connecticut    $164,028.00
R    State House District 125 (2010), Connecticut    $158,190.00
D    State House District 136 (2010), Connecticut    $151,238.00
R    State House District 149 (2010), Connecticut    $148,607.00
D    State House District 147 (2010), Connecticut    $134,430.00
D    State House District 133 (2010), Connecticut    $133,574.00
R    State House District 111 (2010), Connecticut    $132,907.00
R    State House District 151 (2010), Connecticut    $132,791.00
R    State House District 150 (2010), Connecticut    $121,482.00
R    State House District 143 (2010), Connecticut    $117,083.00
R    State House District 112 (2010), Connecticut    $109,784.00
R    State House District 123 (2010), Connecticut    $108,537.00
D    State House District 106 (2010), Connecticut    $108,102.00
R    State House District 134 (2010), Connecticut    $107,008.00
R    State House District 107 (2010), Connecticut    $102,750.00
R    State House District 132 (2010), Connecticut    $99,032.00
R    State House District 142 (2010), Connecticut    $97,336.00
R    State House District 108 (2010), Connecticut    $93,310.00
R    State House District 2 (2010), Connecticut        $84,026.00
R    State House District 122 (2010), Connecticut    $83,309.00
R    State House District 138 (2010), Connecticut    $81,402.00
R    State House District 144 (2010), Connecticut    $80,747.00
R    State House District 120 (2010), Connecticut    $79,060.00
R    State House District 113 (2010), Connecticut    $78,457.00
D    State House District 146 (2010), Connecticut    $69,778.00
D    State House District 109 (2010), Connecticut    $69,219.00
D    State House District 137 (2010), Connecticut    $67,270.00
D    State House District 148 (2010), Connecticut    $63,582.00
D    State House District 126 (2010), Connecticut    $56,332.00
D    State House District 140 (2010), Connecticut    $55,742.00
D    State House District 121 (2010), Connecticut    $54,167.00
D    State House District 127 (2010), Connecticut    $53,910.00
D    State House District 145 (2010), Connecticut    $48,575.00
D    State House District 110 (2010), Connecticut    $44,971.00
D    State House District 129 (2010), Connecticut    $44,574.00
D    State House District 124 (2010), Connecticut    $34,076.00
D    State House District 128 (2010), Connecticut    $31,801.00
D    State House District 130 (2010), Connecticut    $25,233.00

Originally posted to Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nutmeg State Progressives and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, love the detail here! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, parsonsbeach, bumiputera

    As always, a very thorough entertaining diary!  Looking forward to part 2!

    22, male, new CA-18 (home and voting there), LA-2 (college)

    by Jeff Singer on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:52:06 PM PDT

    •  Thanks... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Jeff, bumiputera, DisNoir36

      I might not be able to match this level of detail unless I can find precinct-level information on Stamford, Danbury, or Bridgeport.  (O.K., I seriously doubt McMahon or Foley carried even a single precinct in Bridgeport, but Stamford might be more interesting.)

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:55:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My college friends at Holy Cross all went to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, parsonsbeach

    Fairfield Prep.  My brother went to Fairfield University. The only diversity there was what % Irish and what % Italian you were.

    It's just amazing how you could drive through the mansions of millionaires in Fairfield and then just a stone's throw away in Bridgeport drive through Father Panik Village, possibly the worst slum in the United States.

    The Two Americas continues today, more and more we become like Greenfield Hill & Father Panik Village.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:55:46 PM PDT

    •  To be fair... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      absdoggy, parsonsbeach

      ...Holy Cross might not be a very representative sample :).  But this does remind me why I get so annoyed by people talking about how "WASPy" Fairfield County is.  The "P" is there for a reason.

      I think Stamford probably has the most internal diversity of any municipality in Fairfield County.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:59:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another interesting question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What's going to happen to the 57% Obama district CT-HD-150, which looks to be basically kept intact by redistricting?  Is it continuing to diversify?  

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 03:06:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure where the lines on HD 150 fall (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Xenocrypt, parsonsbeach

        but it seems to incorporate part of Stamford.  

        Unfortunately, I suspect Stamford is trending away from Dems in certain areas.  The problem with Stamford is that for many years now starting with Malloy, there has been a concerted effort to push minorities/more democratic voters out and replace them with more well off urbanites.

        Housing projects on Fairfield Avenue, on the west side, near downtown along I-95 and in the South End have ALL been torn down and replaced with more upscale housing or commercial properties.  

        The South End more specifically was almost completely torn down to the point where it looked like a bomb blew up down there and new high rise office complexes are going up as well as high end apartment complexes.  They can't go up fast enough in fact.  The whole area is the epitome of a gentrified neighborhood.  

        Whole swaths of multi family houses were taken back by eminent domain and sold to a Hedge Fund guy named Antares who pretty much went under but not before selling majority stake in whats called Harbor Pointe to a big time local developer.  This developer is going forward full steam ahead.  This area also got a TON of federal money (Stimulus money) as well as some state assistance and is having all sorts of infrastructure improvements done to support the private development.

        Unfortunately, the new people coming in are employees of the UBS Bank, RBS Bank or Citibank or one of the many high scale corporate companies who now call Stamford home and tend to be more upper class and more well off.  In other words, more like the people moving into neighboring Darien and Greenwich who are more republican.  When RBS Bank was built a whole neighborhood of multi family houses were torn down.  These people were all Hispanic or African American and low income.  In other words the more typical Democratic voter.  This is the same throughout large swaths of Stamford.  There is a definite push to get minorities and lower class people out and replacing them with more well off and whiter people.  

        Fortunately, the south end still has a high concentration of minorities and there are still some housing projects that the current mayor hasn't gotten rid of near there  quite yet.  Although they are slated to be demolished at some point to make way for the Mill River Park which is currently being made across from the Trump Parc in downtown Stamford and is to extend all the way behind the RBS corporate HQ to the Long Island Sound.    

        Eastern Stamford and some other parts in middle Stamford have also resisted this push.  Hispanics are more heavily concentrated along the Darien border and more working/middle class neighborhoods remain north of downtown.

        I can go into more detail about Stamford but I'd save it for later.  One thing I am interested in is to see what the effects gentrification has had in these neighborhoods of Stamford.  It's something to look out for.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:55:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll have to digest this more... (0+ / 0-)

          ...after I look at Stamford in more detail.  But HD-150 is the coastal, very thin Greenwich district--it doesn't go into Stamford then or now.  You can see the map here, although there seem to be lawsuits and such.

          26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:58:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh it's all south of Greenwich (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Then we're fucked.  Especially if it doesn't go into Stamford.

            Although it does incorporate Byram.  I would guess that this district would be much closer to 50-50% then.  Maybe even flipping to Romney.  

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 05:04:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Man, that was a lot to take in (0+ / 0-)


    Peace and low stress ..

    by mdmc on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 03:10:56 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and rec'd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this is what DKE is all about! Great read

    NY-14, DC-AL (College), Former SSPer and incredibly distraught Mets fan.

    by nycyoungin on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 03:21:22 PM PDT

  •  A few notes (5+ / 0-)

    First on Greenwich.

    The part with the highest Democratic representation and highest minority population, closest to NY state is called Byram.  This area is more urban, older and has more modest homes.  There is a housing project and it's typically known as the ghetto of Greenwich.  This area also has very deep and very old Italian roots.  

    The pink area is called Backcountry.  It is very wealthy.  This is where you have 4+ acre estates.  It's very sparsely populated.  There is a gated community called Conyers Farms where ALL the big wigs live, including Mel Gibson.  Tommy Hilfiger calls the Backcountry his home as does Judge Judy and many other notables.  As you stated it's a bit redder than other parts of Greenwich.

    Old Greenwich which you refer to, is a mixed neighborhood.  Because the southern portion of Old Greenwich or OG (Interstate 95 or Route 1 is the dividing line) is on the Long Island Sound, there are many expensive waterfront homes.  

    In addition, there is a train station in OG.  This is something that is very key in many of more upscale neighborhoods, including south Riverside (which is also waterfront), southern Cos Cob (also waterfront and also home to many hedge fund big wigs) and also Greenwich proper.  The area around the train station in Greenwich proper is a bit different in that it is downtown and there are many upscale shops along Greenwich Ave and the area immediately around the train station is more urban.  This train and the stops in Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich are on the Metro North rail and are on  a direct path in 30 minutes to Grand Central Station in NYC.  So as you may expect there are many Wall Street execs who want to live near these stations.  

    New Condos in downtown Greenwich proper within walking distance of the station, the shops and restaurants on Greenwich Ave (and the NY Sports Club) can fetch over $2 million.  New homes can go for more than $4 million.   In Old Greenwich near the train station new houses sell for over $2.5 million and you can get a fixer upper for over $1 million.  Riverside new homes go for over $3 million, fixer uppers for over $1.5 million.  Cos Cob varies more wildly depending where you are.

    North of the Interstate or Post Road (Rte. 1) is a different animal.  Mid Country which is part of Greenwich proper and is equidistant between the two major highways leading to NY State, has new homes selling for $5 million.  These are usually 6000 sq ft on 1+ acre.  Cos Cob north, Riverside north and Old Greenwich north are all a bit lower priced than their southern counterparts.    

    As for politics, Greenwich is republican.  Obama over performed in 08 mainly because the people in Greenwich are fiscal conservatives but not social conservatives and Sarah Palin scared the shit out of many of them. McMahon, Blumenthal, Himes, Foley AND Ned Lamont all hail from Greenwich so it is a mixed bag.  HOWEVER, Grandpa Bush was got his start as part of the Town leadership many years ago and the Bushes still have family in town.  Of course the Kennedy's have roots here as well in Michael Skakel as in the infamous Martha Moxley murderer.    I would not be surprised to see Obama lose more of Greenwich this time around for his perceived attacks on Wall Street, despite the fact that many of them are STILL doing VERY WELL.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 03:58:54 PM PDT

    •  I appreciate this... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      parsonsbeach, bumiputera, ctexrep

      ... very much.  I might have gone into more detail on Greenwich, but it was actually the last town I wrote up, and you see how long the diary is already!  (I also know less about it, honestly.)

      I agree that I'd be surprised to see Obama perform as well in Greenwich again.  For one thing, if stereotypes don't steer me wrong, Mitt Romney is like a Greenwich Republican fantasy candidate.  He's certainly done very well with donations from the area.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:05:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've seen Mitt Romney signs in Greenwich (4+ / 0-)

        for like  a year now.  I really think Romney will do well in Greenwich.  He's their wet dream of a candidate.

        However, I also think Romney will do quite well in New Canaan and Darien.  More so than typical republican would if that's possible.  There is a BIG enclave of Mormons in New Canaan and Darien.  Who would have guessed right?  Glen Beck just sold his house in New Canaan, the former CEO of Jet Blue lives there and there is a temple in New Canaan.  It seems I can't swing a stick in New Canaan and northern Darien without smacking one in the face.    

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:22:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A lifetime ago, in the 70's, (0+ / 0-)

        I worked for the Greenwich radio station, WGCH. We lived briefly in an attic room near downtown Greenwich then moved to an efficiency in Stamford. It sounds like the town hasn't changed much except that housing values have skyrocketed. I was sad to hear recently that Manero's steakhouse closed - we loved hearing the waiters singing "appy boitday to youse" with their thick Noo Yawk accents and the food was wonderful too.

  •  More notes (4+ / 0-)

    on Darien.

    Darien is a mixed bag and not easy to describe.

    The southern most portions of Darien are very wealthy.  Specifically along the LI Sound.  Long Neck Point which is a peninsula in teh LI Sound has some very pricey homes.  Same for the Tokeneke part and along Five Mile River Road which is on a river leading out to LI Sound.

    Unlike Greenwich, the areas immediately surrounding the two train stations (Downtown and Noroton Heights) in Darien are where the more 'modest' homes are located.  Here you can get an old Dutch colonial for between $500,000 and $1,000,000.  New construction for $1.5 million to $2.5 million.  As you go further north into Darien, and closer to New Canaan the prices also go north.  Along the country clubs obviously they are more expensive.  

    Darien is a mixed bag ethnically as well.  There are some prominent Jews that I am familiar with who are in real estate but Darien is not a Jewish community by a long shot (They tend to stay in Stamford and Westport).  Some minorities in Darien but they tend to stay out of Darien and instead stay in Stamford to the west or Norwalk due east.  On the west side of Darien there are some 'affordable' housing if you call $1,600 for 2 bedrooms a month affordable.  Some more modest homes also near Stamford which may be why that area is more Democratic which is being generous as Darien as a whole is like 90-10 GOP-Democratic.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:17:48 PM PDT

    •  When we first moved to Fairfield County in 2011 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      leaving downtown Manhattan after 911, we didn't know too much about it and asked a number of people where to look for a house.  When speaking of Darien, the phrase "the aryans from Darien" was repeated often.   While the town clearly has that reputation historically, I'd never been able to tell if it was fair to say now.  But then a friend bought one of those houses on 106 just below where the train tracks cross it.  They are mixed and half-Jewish. To put it bluntly, they tell me it's one thing to be from the wrong side of the tracks (where they live on the west side) and worse to be Jewish.

      Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

      by Back In Blue on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:59:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The funny thing is (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think I ever hear these kinds of stories about New Canaan, which is similarly wealthy and similarly Republican.  (My main memory of New Canaan is that their math team usually beat us.)  

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

        by Xenocrypt on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:07:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't either and we did look at houses there. (0+ / 0-)

          We ended up living in North Stamford, but later moved to Wilton (schools).  Living in North Stamford we had no stores (save for a small overpriced market) that weren't at least 10 minutes away. So we often shopped in New Canaan and Pound Ridge.  We always liked (and still do) the downtown of New Canaan and met many lovely people there, but we also met enough assholes to be glad that we didn't move there.  There's been a huge influx of new money there, much like most of Fairfield County.

          Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

          by Back In Blue on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:01:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My personal opinion is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Back In Blue

            that while New Canaan is gorgeous, a good number of people are assholes who wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire.  Ann Coulter came from New Canaan and it's no coincidence.  The nouveau riche in town especially are obnoxious.

            Wilton OTOH is a bit different.  There are some assholes but my experience has been that there are lots of NY/NJ transplants and they are a bit more down to earth.

             I also noticed that while New Canaan has more WASPs and as I mentioned elsewhere, Mormons, Wilton seems to have more Southern Europeans and Catholics.  

            Personally I love both towns, especially downtown New Canaan, but given the choice to live in 1 I'd pick Wilton

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:52:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wilton is much more down to earth. (0+ / 0-)

              Very friendly people who don't care too much about what anyone else does.  We've made more friends in town than we ever did in North Stamford.  Lot's of transplants from the city but also from Stamford (who more than likely came from the city and thought it would be OK to live in Stamford).

              The community is very active and inclusive.  Getting involved is very easy here.  My only wish is that is was more racially diverse and that the dems here, and there are plenty, would be more involved and speak-up politically.

              Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

              by Back In Blue on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 09:07:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  All so true (0+ / 0-)

                Especially the part about the Democrats.  Even the Republicans in town are a bit saner.  Some are dissatisfied.

                The interesting thing about Wilton is that the whole lower taxes thing doesn't play as well there as in some other towns.  Wilton residents (and I found it to also be true in Weston) would rather pay a bit higher taxes for their schools.  Wilton has some of the best schools.  That said, they don't like the money to be spent frivolously.  The Selectman got some push back recently for trying to spend money I think on upgrading the internet in public buildings or something like that.  Of course I think this was partly due to him being tough on the teachers whose contract came up this past year as well as all the town employees.  It seems in true GOP fashion, the employees can go fuck themselves at the expense of his pet projects.  It's been rubbing people the wrong way, especially down at town hall.  

                Also in true GOP fashion, he brought in some people for some jobs at very lucrative salaries and them realized they didn't know what the fuck they were doing so he had to hire additional people to do it right.  Despite that he doesn't get more than token opposition.  

                The Dems in town really need to get their act together.  They guy is older than dirt and not all that great.  Shouldn't be difficult to find a more suitable replacement.  

                And don't get me going on Wilton's State Senator Toni Boucher.  I think she's all of 4'10 or something like that.  I didn't know they piled shit that high until I saw her.  Every morning and afternoon I have to sit in traffic down Rte. 7 because she would rather protect the interests of some wealthy business owners along Rte. 7 than allow the Super 7 to be built.  In the morning in Branchville by the Little Pub the traffic backs up a quarter of a mile, and in the afternoon from Cannondale to Georgetown it's a slow crawl.  All this could be alleviated if she would simply allow the limited access highway to be built from Ridgefield to Norwalk connecting at Grist Mill Rd.  The state already owns most of the property if not all.  Plans have been drawn up for longer than I've been alive.  Just fucking do it.  It would be a huge shot in the arm to upper Fairfield County and would allow the growth being generated in Stamford and Norwalk to expand all the way up to Ridgefield, Danbury, Redding and even Brookfield.  It's no wonder that the I-95 corridor is doing well all the way down to Fairfield but it's moribund up Rte.  7.  Rte. 7 is a mess.  Even the railroad is crap.  Diesel not electrified like the other parts of Metro North and you have to transfer in Norwalk.  New Canaan got their own spur and it was electrified.  Danbury gets squat and the sad part is if it was electrified all the way up to New Milford you'd get alot more ridership and Downtown New Milford and the four corners in Brookfield would all explode with growth.  

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:25:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I have. Quite a few infact. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          New Canaan police were sued because they harassed a wealthy African American woman.  Also my ex gf's uncle who is Hispanic and lives in New Canaan has been harassed.   For riding his bicycle early in the morning.  I guess it's ok for Hispanics to be around during the day to mow lawns but not too early.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:30:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I Love Westport but you forgot something (3+ / 0-)

    and it's shame on you as a Westport native.

    You remembered Martha Stewart but you forgot Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  How could you forget the Minuteman statue down on Compo Beach?  That was the focus of the last I Love Lucy show.  

    And who can forget that Marilyn Chambers was also from Westport as well as MANY OTHER PEOPLE

    The only thing I can say about Westport politically is that it IS very liberal but I don't know as you say if that is the case because there is a heavy Jewish population or vice versa.  There are many very artistic people in Westport and I think that has a lot to do with it.  There are also very many Jewish people in Westport.  I think it's just a convergence of many factors.  

    Westport is one of the few areas of SW CT that weathered the housing crash.  Prices dropped a bit but are back up and many wealthy execs from the big Stamford financial firms are moving into Westport. Homes within sniffing distance of the water are selling for ridiculous prices.  The house directly across from the Minuteman statue for example sold for over $5 million.  Not waterfront.  A few homes across from Compo Beach sold for over $4 million AND WERE TORN DOWN.  Again not waterfront.  The homes that ARE waterfront for example along Beachside where such notables like Don Imus, Phil Donahue and Harvey Weinstein all live, have been priced over at $20 million in some cases.  One house sold a few years back for $13 and was torn down.  

    Yet despite this the town remains very Democratic.  Diane Farrell who ran two unsuccessful campaigns against Chris Shays to be representative of CT -04 was the first selectwoman of Westport.

    Westport is a great town to live in if you can afford it.  Some areas remain relatively cheap but are quickly being gentrified.  Westport is known for the teardowns (many of which I've been to both before and after) and the local website (which is GREAT BTW) even has a section dedicated to teardowns with a feature called "teardown of the day".  The website is Westport Now.  The town has plenty of events, shopping and such.  Like I said before I love Westport.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 05:25:00 PM PDT

    •  Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Willoughby........ Next stop Willoughby. Sorry but I couldn't resist. Growing up in Fairfield County, I loved that episode. Thanks for the memories.


      "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:11

      by parsonsbeach on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:35:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  BTW if you need help (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, parsonsbeach

    ask me.  I know Fairfield County like the back of my hand.  I also republished this as it's a great diary with lots of info.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 05:26:49 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary, Thanks! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:11

    by parsonsbeach on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:36:45 AM PDT

  •  great diary (0+ / 0-)

    Great write-up. I'm currently (though not for long) one of these sad and sorry people driving with traffic on I-95 from New Haven to Stamford every day. Can think about this write up as a slowly move along...

  •  more on greenwich, stamford? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    el dorado gal, Xenocrypt, bumiputera

    I thought a little more fine-grained detail on greenwich (& a little on stamford) might be of help, as it is not so simple as "rich plus ethnic". I write as someone who grew up in Riverside in the '60s, and has periodically visited since.

    To me, the best way to understand Greenwich is "rich of any stripe" plus "people who take care of the property". Even now, spring to fall, a typical property in more than half of the town is mostly empty except for those mowing the lawn, babysitting, and cleaning during weekdays (at least until school lets out), and is occupied by the man of the household only after around 7-7:30 pm.

    There was implicit "blackballing" of Jews in yacht clubs at least until the mid-'60s. Between then and now, there has been a massive influx of Jewish rich.

    "The help" have tended to be in nearby neighborhoods within a district.  These were primarily Irish/Italian in the '60s, with some African-American, and the major change has been a large influx of Hispanic.

    Within Greenwich, Belle Haven is "shoreside" mega-rich, and is serviced primarily from Byram, I think. Cos Cob has Indian Point "shoreside" rich, serviced from inland Cos Cob beyond the stores, I would guess. Riverside and Old Greenwich are "second-tier" rich to about-to-be-rich, serviced by the land above Route 1 (Post Road) and nearby Stamford.

    In the '60s, the rich were CEOs and "old rich". I went to class in Greenwich in the '60s with a Rockefeller and a Vanderbilt, among others. Over the last 50 years, there has been an influx of "entertainment rich" (from tennis stars to TV stars like Kathie Lee) and of "financial rich" (hedge fund folks).  In fact, Greenwich is now the physical location of many hedge-fund firms, and is called "the hedge-fund capital of the world." Please don't underestimate just how rich the rich in Greenwich are.

    Stamford in the '60s was partly a middle-class town, and partly (in the north) home to some "overflow rich" from Greenwich.  In the '70s, the downtown went badly downhill. In the '80s and '90s, it was extensively rebuilt as a set of office towers for IBM and the like, a sort of mini-Boston Financial District. However, right now the bloom appears to be off the rose, and a less-active corporate downtown appears to be surrounded by a less-rich north and a lower-middle-class neighborhood south.

    Politically, therefore, Greenwich and to a lesser extent Stamford may superficially seem to be similar to communities in upstate Connecticut or elsewhere, but when you dive beneath the covers, they are quite different. The reason for the superficial similarity, imho, is that in other "gated communities" the help live in other districts/towns, while Greenwich is large enough that the help typically need to live in Greenwich itself.

    I will simply add three of my own personal reactions: (1) Greenwich is an extraordinarily beautiful town in almost all sectors, especially the greenery and beaches; (2) a major proportion of the children of the rich of 50 years ago no longer live there -- they can't afford it -- and (3) in Riverside and Old Greenwich, especially, there has been a steady increase in house size and grandiosity. These are not McMansions; these are full-fledged misdesigned mansions (one of them looks like the largest brick outhouse I have ever seen -- I think they thought brick was classy).

    •  This is one thing I like... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumiputera, Glenn Magus Harvey

      ...about this site: I can post a largely quantitative diary limited by my own experience, and get that supplemented by the experiences of others.  

      (Again, I might have gone into more detail on Greenwich had there been more variation in the precinct-level winners of the recent statewide races I looked at, or if I knew more about Greenwich, or if the diary wasn't already so damn long.)

      I'd be interested to know more about Greenwich's minority community, and how much it's tied to the rest of Greenwich--either as "the help", as you suggest, or in some other way--and how much it's instead tied to the proximity to Port Chester, which has a significant nonwhite population.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:55:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re nonwhite population (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I wish I could help on this. All my knowledge is pretty much anecdotal. I know that the black/African-American community was a very small presence in the public schools from 1955-60, and that the neighboring Stamford community was extremely proud of their ties to Jackie Robinson, and rightly so. I know that Gene Moye Jr., who I played chamber music with in the mid-60s, had a very bad sense of humor (he kept producing wolf whistles on the cello in the midst of performances), was and is very good (according to the NY Times, "one of the foremost cellists of his generation"), and lived in OG.

        His father at the time was a police officer in OG.  When I brought the first moped (Velo Solex) over from France in '65 and started riding around on it, he was on me like a hawk with a ticket for not having a helmet. He was one tough hombre.

        As for Asian-Americans or Hispanic, I can remember few if any in the schools, public or private. You can't imagine how lily-white they were. Btw, if you're curious what happened to Native Americans, read Anya Seton's That Winslow Woman. First almost wiped out by disease, then brushed aside by the first settlers. Among whom, iirc, was a Bush.  Yes, those Bushes. Prescott Bush was First Selectman (nominally in charge) of Greenwich, I think in the late 1950s.

        My impression is that the diversity of the public and private schools has changed dramatically from that time to this.  But then, it has never been about culture; just about who is richest.

    •  Oh, and... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I had to rec for that "brick outhouse" line, if nothing else.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:55:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL don't laugh (0+ / 0-)

        I once came across a stone playhouse that was previously used for some Rockefeller kids and moved to be on the Byram river.  It  was restored and is used as a reading room by the current owner.  Decent sized structure, I forget size but it was probably something like 16x20.

        Brick shithouses seems to be the new thing in Riverside and Old Greenwich.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 02:40:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  IMHO - Western Connecticut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is pretty much Republican Country - not necessarily socially but fiscally.

    Cities such as Norwalk; Bridgeport and to a lesser extent Danbury, Waterbury and Torrington bring the meter back to the blue side a bit.

    Connecticut Republicans or to a conservstive Republican would consider most Conn Republicans RHINO's.  A lot of ticket splitting goes on so a Connecticut Republican can be a friend.

    The Republicans do a good job of decorating Rte 7 and Rte 6 with lawn placards I must say.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:23:44 AM PDT

    •  You're right about (0+ / 0-)

      the lawn placards, that's for sure.  I wonder if some of those "backcountry Greenwich" mansions have Romney lawn signs that can be seen from a low-flying plane.

      The question of ideology is an interesting one too.  The reason I included "representatives" in the title is that I was thinking of looking at everyone's voting record--which I still might do, but again, the diary's long as it is.  

      I did look at a few votes highlighted by Project Votesmart where Elizabeth Esty voted "Nay" against most Democrats.  Joe Mioli, then the state Representative for HD-136 (most of Westport), voted with her on a few of these, as did some other Fairfield County Democrats.  

      I didn't see Westport's other "anomaly" representative, Kim Fawcett, on there.  But she voted "Nay" on a few big things as well, including same-sex marriage!

      That's very surprising to me.  Here are all the Democrats who voted against same-sex marriage:

      CT    3    Rep.  Minnie  Gonzalez 
      CT    7    Rep.  Douglas  McCrory 
      CT    22    Rep.  Elizabeth  A.  'Betty'  Boukus 
      CT    29    Rep.  Antonio  'Tony'  Guerrera 
      CT    45    Rep.  Steven  T.  'Steve'  Mikutel 
      CT    57    Rep.  Ted  Graziani 
      CT    72    Rep.  Larry  B.  Butler 
      CT    73    Rep.  Jeffrey  J.  Berger 
      CT    75    Rep.  David  Aldarondo 
      CT    79    Rep.  Frank  N.  Nicastro  Sr.
      CT    104    Rep.  Linda Menna  Gentile 
      CT    116    Rep.  Louis  P.  'Lou'  Esposito  Jr.
      CT    119    Rep.  Richard  F.  'Dick'  Roy 
      CT    133    Rep.  Kim  Fawcett 
      CT    136    Rep.  Joseph  S.  'Joe'  Mioli 
      CT    140    Rep.  Bruce  V.  Morris 
      CT    145    Rep.  Patricia  Billie  Miller 
      As for the Fairfield County ones...Morris represents a majority-minority district in Norwalk, and we know about Fawcett and Mioli.  Miller represents a majority-minority district in Stamford.

      This is very, very surprising to me.  Same-sex marriage would be just about the last thing that I'd expect Westport Democrats to be conservative on.

      Here are the Republicans who voted for it:

      CT    14    Rep.  Bill  Aman 
      CT    55    Rep.  Pamela  Z.  Sawyer 
      CT    68    Rep.  Sean  Williams 
      CT    69    Rep.  Arthur  J.  O'Neill 
      CT    113    Rep.  Jason  Perillo 
      CT    114    Rep.  Themis  Klarides 
      CT    125    Rep.  John  W.  Hetherington 
      CT    134    Rep.  Tony  Hwang 
      CT    142    Rep.  Lawrence  F.  Cafero  Jr.
      The Fairfield County ones?  We know about Cafero.  Hwang represents the part of Fairfield I haven't covered yet, as well as some of Trumbull.  Hetherington represents New Canaan and maybe some of Wilton.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:22:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coleytown? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, bumiputera

    Westport Pizzaria's dripping windows in the middle of winter, daring one another to actually swim in the quarry, dodging rocks thrown by Salinger while we cut through his yard. Ah, the memories of Westport!

    Remove BP's corporate charter for environmental terrorism.

    by Picot verde on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:43:05 AM PDT

  •  Love it! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, parsonsbeach

    BTW, the best pizza in CT is Carminnucio's on rt 25 in Newtown. Just sayin'.

    Fairfield County is also home to Danbury, Newtown, Ridgefield and other Housatonic Valley parts of CT 05.
    Look forward to more!!

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:38:57 PM PDT

  •  More Common Than You'd Think (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, parsonsbeach, DemFromCT

    Lots of (superficially) demographically similar and upscale towns and precincts that behave very differently are side-by-side.

    I found this out when playing with Dave's App in NY. Eastchester didn't care much for Obama..neighboring Scarsdale very much did. In MA the only numbers were Coakley/Brown...lot of lines there you wouldn't necessarily expect, both between and within towns.

    Awesome diary BTW!

    Stuck Between Stations : Thoughts from a bottomless pool of useless information.

    by Answer Guy on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 02:57:37 PM PDT

  •  Good diary, this from Stamford (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Stamford can be tough, I.e. in north Stamford we share a senate and house district with eastern back country Greenwich. Or did. Stamford can probably run with the rest pretty well on diversity.

    Re Greenwich mix, your account seems right, but useful to recall that there is a historic designated area around a former mill (textile) that ran continuously from 1800s until about 1850.  Even has a former RR depot for the line that was never constructed through the back country to Ridgefield and connection with current line to Danbury.

    Greenwich overall has become more upscale in my 25 years next door ... As the housing boom led to redevelopment of fairly ordinary middle class areas.

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