It is easy to complain and criticize. It is hard work to be a citizen. Really. In my daily encounters I ask, "Are you going to vote?” Too often the response goes, "There's no one to vote for.”
History explains how the invention of the TV moved the citizenry from active participants into complacent armchair spectators. "Fighting City Hall" became a futile waste of energy. We may complain bitterly about issues, but we generally don't make waves. Plato stated if we don't get involved in politics, we will forever be under the rule of inferior people. Any government, be it local, state or national, will only be as good as our involvement in it.
We must begin to pay closer attention, become educated about the candidates and the issues. And we must vote. After all, our elected officials work for us. At least we are footing the tab on their salaries, health care, pensions, golf trips, etc.
Being a citizen is more than just pulling a lever. I used to think that that was enough. Recent years have opened my eyes. The national government does not represent my views nor does the local town government. As the bumper sticker nudges, “Act locally, think globally.” Your local government has a far greater immediate impact on your life than you might think. With a poor economy and rising taxes, being complacent is too expensive. It could cost you your home.
Solutions: get involved, VOTE, call Hamden Homeowners for Tax Relief at 281.0345 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Being a citizen will be much easier, even fun, if we work together.
October 30, 2006
I was happy to see that the Connecticut Education Association recently endorsed Rep. Adinolfi, expressing that Al has "consistently proven himself to be an ally of education” -- CEA president Rosemary Coyle. And I concur that the citizens of Connecticut are "fortunate to have Al in the Connecticut General Assembly," as stated by the CEA..
Along with Al's stance on education, he has a constituent service record second to none, and he can be found at countless Hamden events. Al cares deeply about doing what is right and not just what is politically popular. He is someone who is approachable and always willing to listen. Al will offer the residents of the 103rd District continued leadership and energy. So please remember to vote for Al Adinolfi on Election Day and pull lever 5-A. Vote Republican.
Austin T. Cesare
Republican Board of Education member
The Washington Oscar
One thing I have found out by watching these commercials is that the losers of this November election could get jobs as actors. The reason I say that is because each one of them can be for someone or against someone and still show the same amount of feelings. Only a trained actor can do that and get away with doing it.
I wonder who will win the political actor of the year award? We will have to wait till the polls close. By the way, don't forget to cast your vote for the best actor on Nov. 7.
There is always big money to be spent on political commercials in an election year, but never any big money to be spent on soup kitchens for the homeless. As the saying goes, “Only in America.”
Hamden High Grad Responds to Long
I simply want to comment on the last edition of "Hallway Stories" since, after reading it, I could laugh at how awful and emotionally upsetting a fire drill in the rain must have been for all the Hamden High students. I'm not quite sure why there seems to be such a rift between certain students and administrators, but it's clear that sometimes it exists simply because students are students and administrators are administrators and God forbid they got along.
As a former student of HHS (class of 2005) I must give my 2 cents and assure the readers of the Hamden Daily News that my personal experience at Hamden High was never so melodramatic. Put it this way, everyone was lucky that the fire alarm worked and, yes, you all got a little wet, soaked, whatever. A true high school tragedy, I must say.
I was compelled to write this letter because I feel that sometimes students make it seem like the world is coming to an end because of certain, often banal, situations.
Ed Burt, studying in Madrid
VA Health Care Suffering
America’s military is the strongest in the world. No country will mount a full-scale attack on our military in the foreseeable future. We spend around $500 billion a year on our military -- almost as much as the rest of the world combined.
Here are three programs the military is spending our tax dollars on: Virginia class nuclear submarines, $2.4 billion; Nimitz class aircraft carriers, $6 billion; and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, $245 billion. Combined, these programs cost taxpayers $253.4 billion.
So why is it our Veterans Affairs health care system is rated fourth in the world? You would think that a nation that has the No. 1 military would also have the best health care system in the world for their veterans.
The No. 1 reason the VA is rated fourth in the world is because Congress and the president don’t fund the VA budget at 100 percent. From what I have read on the Internet, the VA medical system is going to be short $550 million over the next three years. If the VA does not get that money, services will have to be cut again. All Congress has to do is not build one Virginia class nuclear submarine.
Our young warriors put their lives on the line for this country every day in Iraq. Our returning warriors should have the best health care system in the world. Tell your Congressperson to fund the VA 100 percent.
Moved By Johnny’s Colon
Not too long ago, former Mayor John Carusone wrote an article about his battle with colon cancer. When I read that article the first time I thought here he goes again with has ego. A few days later I read his article again. This time I saw the article in a different light.
I went to see my doctor at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven. She asked me why I wanted a colonoscopy. I told her that I read Mr. Carusone’s article about colon cancer. She set up an appointment.
I went and had a colonoscopy done and it turned out OK for me. Thank you, Mr. Carusone, for writing that article. It had an affect on a lot of your readers.
Now for the sad part of this letter. About four weeks ago my 88-year-old mother was complaining about pain in her lower stomach. My sister took her to the emergency room. After some basic tests they admitted her to the hospital. This was on a Monday. That Friday her doctor told us she had a blocked colon and would need an operation.
After the operation the doctor told us they found cancer and there was not too much they could do. So on Friday the 13th, my mother past away from colon cancer and diverticulosis.
When we were in the waiting room during my mother’s operation, one of my sisters told me that our mother canceled an appointment for a colonoscopy four years ago. If she had kept that appointment she could still be living today.
Why am I writing this letter? I am writing this letter to tell everyone over 50 to have a colonoscopy and to make sure that your loved ones have a colonoscopy. Don’t take no for an answer no matter what your loved one tells you.
Council Ignores Hamden’s Crises
Under the current financial crisis, the Democratic Council should not side with unions, no matter how “hard” workers are working. Most of us work hard, for a lot less. The Council’s only duty and responsibility are towards taxpayers, not the unions. Mr. Flanagan should list all the wages, pensions and benefits (town and Board of Education sides), what we can’t afford anymore, and we could see it with our own eyes who is right.
Which part of the “we can’t pay for it anymore” doesn’t he understand? Again, his job is to protect taxpayers and not the union workers. Homeowners have to sell homes because of the high taxes. The town is broke. The pension fund has been neglected beyond belief over the past 20 years. How do you want to pay for all the promises, Mr. Flanagan? Stop giving our money away.
Mr. Flanagan’s attack is outrageous about people asking questions regarding the failure of the Council in the past 20 years (including his services). Mr. Leng has painted a rosy picture but forgot to tell the Council is trying to explain its neglectful actions because the taxpayers are watching carefully now, how the town gambles their money away.
Taxpayers initiated the phase-in, not the Council. Taxpayers initiated computer updates the Council did not even know about it. Taxpayers are asking the questions about spending $160 million a year, not the Council. It’s not the revaluation; it’s the mil rate -- set by the Council. Of course, none of them gave hard facts and numbers. Both of them know that the facts would talk for themselves. We are in trouble, like it or not.
Hamden Homeowners for Tax Relief
Keep Al in Office
It’s election time again, and the promises are running as wild as ever. It seems that some candidates will promise you anything just to get elected.
Not Al Adinolfi. Al is making only one promise in his campaign for re-election as our state representative, and that is to continue to work as hard as he can to give us a strong voice in Hartford.
No one will work harder for us in Hartford than Al Adinolfi. He is our full-time representative -- working for us not only when the Legislature is in session, but throughout the entire year.
Sure, the campaign promises the other candidates are making sound good. But do we really want someone in office who is only concerned about making as many campaign promises as it takes to get himself elected?
I don’t. I want a proven leader, an experienced representative working for us. We need a strong voice in Hartford, not just another politician. We need Al Adinolfi as state representative.
On Nov. 7, please join me in voting to re-elect Al Adinolfi. Pull Lever 5A and leave it down!
David J. Borowy
‘Give it a Rest, Ronnie’
As one of the Council members with the most service and seniority, I have generally ignored the "Second Opinions" from a second-, no actually third-rate at-large Council person (only by accident of charter), little Ronnie Gambardella. That's because the alleged facts in his diatribes are far from the truth.
However, after reading his nonsense today, I must note that the tripe clearly appears to be the product of a political wannabe merely attempting to spin an inferiority complex into a candidacy for mayor. Little Ronnie should try to do his elected job instead of campaigning for office every meeting.
However, that may be beyond his capabilities. His counterpart, Mrs. Wetmore (the other of the two Council Republicans), gets listened to and taken seriously. He does not.
He is, in fact, in need of Hamden Politics 101. That's because almost every term, there's an inept member of the Council with no concept of what a Council person's function and duties are, who fails to realize that one should have engaged the engine of the brain prior to having put the mouth into overdrive. Little Ronnie has eminently qualified for the honor this term and has meritoriously achieved the lofty rank of 16th on a Council of 15. He's in his third year with no progress. I can only assume that he's been sent back for a third try at getting the first year right.
He does, in fact, truly amaze me. It must be extremely difficult to speak so incorrectly with a foot so far into his mouth. Lots of practice, I assume.
Perhaps he slept through history classes. (As an aside, last Tuesday, on the record, he admitted that he must be out of his mind; and I complimented his perception.) It may surprise him that slavery was outlawed in the country approximately 140 years ago. And his party was in charge when it happened. Ah, but that's back in the good old days before the neo-conservatives took control of the GOP. It appears they're into pride of ownership now and want unions and public employees to be their new "whipping boys.”
Just as he trotted out erroneous figures on pensions at last week’s Council meeting, he's writing more fiction this week. Sorry Ronnie! (And be ashamed for not having respect for hardworking people.) The hired help get to have a say in working conditions now. They deserve both fair and decent living wages and job conditions. By and large, with a few exceptions, the taxpayers get more than what they pay for from almost every town employee. If he had ever bothered to find out what the hired help really does rather than just running off at the mouth, he might understand what it takes to deliver town services.
I guess he was too busy last week sheepishly trotting into an improperly constituted committee executive session with the Board of Education. He acquiesced in keeping the facts from the public in a matter that can, and probably will, end up costing the town between a quarter- and a half-million dollars unnecessarily. He once again voted against the taxpayers' best interests when it comes to Board of Education funds.
It appears he thinks the Board will win him an election. And he has the nerve to accuse the Democrats of pandering. Give it a rest, Ronnie. And by the way, if I had been negotiating for any of the unions, their contracts would have been a slight better than what they got.
John P. Flanagan
2nd District councilman
Dear Laidlaw: Do Something About This!
"October 5, 2006
Sr. Vice President Operations
Laidlaw Education Services – Eastern Region
150 Grossman Drive, Suite 206
Braintree, MA 02184
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to address the poor service we have been getting from Laidlaw Bus Company at the West Woods School in Hamden.
A parent on our bus route has had her 6 and 10 year old children dropped at the corner of our road (Dunn), approximately a ½ mile from their house on River Road, by the drivers(s) of Bus 36, twice now; once last week and again yesterday. If there is a problem with the drop off, the driver should have at the least called dispatch, who could have called the children’s home or the school.
Last week, as my older daughter was running for the bus, and would have been clearly visible in a rearview mirror, the bus went on without her.
The original Bus 36 driver was replaced, and in the last two weeks we have had drivers that “sort of spoke English,” ones who didn’t know the route and were winging it, ones who didn’t know the route but could read directions, and those who were listening to the children with regard to their drop off. This is totally unacceptable. Drivers need to be properly trained and be able to easily communicate with our children.
It used to be that if you had a kindergartener on the bus, they were dropped at their door, and the driver needed to wait to make sure they got into the house. If no one was home, the child was brought back to school. I have a kindergartener – why isn’t that happening? What if my older daughter isn’t with my kindergartner in the afternoon and I’m late to meet her? Fortunately I have many elderly neighbors who will take her in till I get home, but what if you’re not so lucky?
We’re worried about disgruntled people with guns getting into the schools, but a more likely scenario is the parent with a restraining order picking up the child at the corner before they get home.
Principle Nana has lodged these complaints with the local Laidlaw office. The Hamden BOE needs to hold Laidlaw responsible for their reckless hiring and transport of our children. Laidlaw needs [sic] give the parents of Hamden public school children some answers and a promise of better service.
West Woods PTA, Hamden Board of Education Representative
Ed Sullivan, Hamden Board of Education
Dr. Alida Begina, Superintendent, Hamden Public Schools
Hon. Mayor Craig Henrici
CT State Rep. Brendan Sharkey, 88th District
Barbara Nana, Principal, West Woods School
Eileen Vita, Co-President, West Woods PTA
Cheri Brooks, West Woods Hamden PTA Council Representative
Tim Nottoli, President, Hamden PTA Council
Sharon Bass, Editor, Hamden Daily News
Vote for Al
Al Adinolfi is a gifted and hardworking person who will offer the 103rd District a great deal of energy and leadership and look out for Hamden’s best interests. Adinolfi is not a party hack and votes only for the welfare of his constituents. I hope Hamden residents will give Al Adinolfi the opportunity to serve them again in Hartford as their state representative!
Pull lever 5A and re-elect Al Adinolfi.
Brittany T. Sanders
Community Needs Maureen
To those union members who filed a grievance concerning Ms. Armstrong, shame on you and your union. May I remind you and those in the Whitneyville community that Maureen, literally almost single-handedly, revitalized our branch from a nearly vacant and void space to one of true community pride and value.
Today, we have new equipment, new programs and new energy. The library is used by hundreds of families and children a month.
This is what community resources are supposed to be about. Perhaps this is one of the reasons unions are less than one-half the size they used to be in America -- and shrinking. Too much focus on “me” and not enough focus on “us.”
The age-old battle between profiteers who want to make money without regard for local consequences and taxpaying members of the local community who want to preserve their quality of life beginning with a healthy environment has come to a neighborhood near you, West Woods in Hamden.
A developer hired by distant landowners is attempting to obtain approval to turn part of a lovely neighborhood into a commercial gravel pit and to subsequently leave behind 10 acres of stagnant pond water, which will breed mosquitoes and, because of the sharp angle of the slope into the water, will be a constant drowning hazard.
If the Hamden Planning & Zoning Commission, under the threat of further legal action that began after the first application was turned down, approves this project, the landowners will take their money and run. Or more accurately, have it sent to them while the neighborhood pays the true price for this travesty.
We have seen in New London how public opinion reacts when private developers use local government to trample on the rights of longstanding residents of the community. Eminent domain laws are being rewritten around the country as a result. We encourage the Planning and Zoning Commission to once again stand up for the rights and expectations of longstanding members of a residential community and to once again turn down this proposal as being inappropriate. After all, it's the right thing to do. For more information, click here.
Candidate for state representative, 103rd District
Congress Shortchanges Soldiers
Both bills provide $70 billion for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in an effort to avoid the need for midyear supplemental budget requests to keep military operations there fully funded. The budget plans also both supported only a 2.2 percent raise in military salaries next year, despite earlier discussions by lawmakers about offering a 2.7 percent pay raise. Congressional officials said the lower pay raise will save the department more than $500 million.
It looks like Congress wants this war in Iraq to continue, but they don’t want to give our military a 2.7 pay raise. Once again, Congress shows it has its priorities mixed up. How much of a raise did Congress members give themselves?
BOE Should Return the Big TV
The Board of Education’s $6,111.79 purchase of a TV is reprehensible. One is shocked at its extraordinary wastefulness. If there is one such expense, there may be others. A fuller investigation into spending by the Board is in order. Let the Board prove there are none.
Who approved this purchase? That person should be named publicly -- since the act of approval was a public purchase -- and given the option to repay the Board the sum in full or ensure the immediate return of product to the seller for a complete refund.
TV Adds Fuel to Tax Fire
As anyone who ever attended a presentation knows, the same objective can be accomplished with an LCD projector, a small and often portable device which can display the contents of a computer monitor onto a screen (or a flat white wall will serve just as well). These projectors can be purchased for about $1,000, and are a staple in most well-equipped conference rooms. In fact, I'd be surprised if the BOE doesn't already have one.
Purchases such as this at a time when increased property taxes are such a sore spot with Hamden citizens only adds more fuel to the fire.
Town of Hamden
Natural Resources & Open Space Commission
Hamden Government Center
2750 Dixwell Avenue
Hamden, Connecticut 06518
September 28, 2006
The Natural Resources and Open Space Commission (NROSC) of the Town of Hamden, Connecticut is opposed to the proposed gravel mining operation proposed at 4246 Rear and 4280 Whitney Avenue, in the Town of Hamden. We urge the public to voice their opposition to the proposal at the Town’s Planning and Zoning Commission’s Public Hearing for the Special Permit, scheduled for October 10, 2006, 7:00 PM at Memorial Town Hall. We suggest the public confirm that the hearing will take place prior to attending with the Town’s Planning Office, or to submit written testimony to the Commission.
The proposed plan by the applicant calls for the removal of over 250,000 cubic yards of material. The site, in excess of 40 acres, contains numerous wetlands and is crossed by Jepp Brook and Willow Brook, tributaries for our public water supply. A highly successful open space and recreational resource of the Town, the Farmington Canal Rail Trail is immediately to the West of the project. Beyond the impact to the immediate area of the project site, including the natural habitat and private residences adjacent to the site, we believe the impact will extend beyond the borders of the immediate area, impacting the health, safety and welfare of the greater public.
The NROSC strongly urge the Planning and Zoning Commission to deny the application because of the negative impact the proposal shall have upon Hamden’s natural resources, open space, quality of wildlife habitat, as well as the well being of the public.
Aris W. Stalis
Natural Resources and Open Space Commission, Town of Hamden, Connecticut
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