Blogs > New Haven Register Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor of the New Haven Register, New Haven, Connecticut, Email to

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Connecticut Constitution is crystal clear on guns

The public needs to be aware of a Connecticut resident's right to bear arms under our State Constitution. The lawmakers need to read it before suggesting new laws that might conflict with our State Constitution. It is very clear. "Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state."
Peter E. Snyder

Nancy Lanza was not a victim

My heart goes out to anyone who has a family member dealing with a mental illness. I know firsthand how difficult it is.
Having said that, I must take issue with Rosemary Serfillppi's letter about Nancy Lanza being a victim, for she was not. Her ex-husband gave her an enormous amount of money in their divorce settlement so that she would never have to work another day in her life and be able to afford help for their son.
Yes, she did struggle, but using a gun range as therapy is beyond the scope of common sense. She did not live in isolation and had outside interests with a quiet social life.
I am sure I am not the only person who puts the blame squarely on her for not properly securing her arsenal of weapons knowing full well her son was unstable. She was not a responsible gun owner and gives those that are a bad image.
This may sound harsh, but the truth is Nancy Lanza should never be considered a victim due to her careless actions, which led to the tragedy.
Loretta Edson Parisi
South Meriden

New Haven Register's anti-conservative cartoons

I’m writing in regard to the fairly recent editorial cartoon switch on your weekday opinion page. Perhaps you feel this view is more in line with the liberal readership of your newspaper, and perhaps you think that the majority of your subscribers is liberal leaning — and therefore in your best interest to pander to this readership.
On the other hand, maybe the cartoons are just cheaper to run. In any event, these simple-minded, blatant and immature cartoons are so unimaginative that you may as well save the New Haven Register a few dollars by eliminating the expense of contracting the cartoonist and instead filling the space with the daily headline: "Republicans and Independents are Bigoted, Self-serving, Gun-slinging, Uneducated Hypocrites."
Lesli Hanby

Reject meaningless restrictions on types of guns

Take two firearms, identical, down to the last molecule (except for serial numbers), and accepted and used by law-abiding citizens for all legitimate purposes. Now add a handle to one of them. That firearm now becomes so onerous that we are willing to alienate and deprive thousands of legitimate users, jeopardize thousands of jobs, forfeit millions of dollars in manufacturing revenue and taxes paid, and incur millions of dollars for an already financially precarious state to enforce a ban on that firearm.
Also consider that a federal commission under the anti-gun government of Bill Clinton violated its marching orders and found that bans are ineffective.
Meanwhile, the unchanged firearm retains all of the functionality and ballistics of the one with the handle and can be owned and used as always. Have we lost our minds? Instead of keeping handles off firearms, I suggest we get a handle on what it is that is being proposed.
Peter Spinner

Malloy's hypocrisy shows on attempt to ban AR-15

Gov. Malloy, let me get this straight, as our elected servant you propose to outlaw (for upstanding citizens) the Bushmaster AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles, but would still permit the manufacture of “banned assault weapons” in Connecticut to be shipped and sold to other states.
But why stop there? Don’t you care about these “death machines” being sold to upstanding citizens in other states? Shouldn’t you put more pressure on these firearms companies, who have a long history of manufacturing in Connecticut, to leave? Who needs their tax revenue anyway? By forcing these firearms companies to leave, your conscience will be clear.
Mr. Malloy, your logic is dumbfounding and shameless. So let me see if I have this correct: You are basically telling these companies, “Go ahead and manufacture and ship these firearms out of state; make sure they end up in other states citizens’ hands as well as any criminal’s hands, but not in the law abiding Connecticut citizens’ hands."
One of this nation’s smartest and most revered presidents had this to say about this very issue: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” - Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).
“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." -Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.
Put on a good show for the public, Mr. Malloy, because in the end, the show is all you’ve got. I, and thousands upon thousands of others, won’t make the same mistake twice come election time. Last thoughts: Would you rather be a victim or a well-armed adversary?
Stephen and Kathleen Famiglietti

Market, not government, should set minimum wage

Your recent editorial on the minimum wage suggests that you believe money is printed in Washington and dispensed at the pleasure of our politicians. It seems to be your belief that some people through luck or chicanery receive a disproportionate share at the expense of the rest of us. And, that this can be corrected by taxing those receiving an unfair share, and raising the minimum wage to compensate those at the bottom.
I disagree! Chicanery aside, I believe that money is the value of our labor. It is the grease that allows me to barter my labor for the printer's ink that I would have no use for if it wasn’t on the paper (which I also have no use for) that you turn into a newspaper.
The market, not government, determines how much you are able to charge for your newspaper, and me my labor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ( ) indicates that the median wage of a skilled machinist is about $20 an hour. Do you really think that Connecticut’s government can, by decree, make a teenager in a part-time job worth half as much as a skilled machinist?
Many years ago I worked dispensing soda for minimum wage at the Burger King on Dixwell Avenue. Have you noticed that job no longer exists? Nor do many other jobs that have been priced out of existence (ATMs come to mind).
I own a small business. None of my employees earn minimum wage because they are all worth more based on their value to the company. From time to time I have hired a teenager to do odd jobs around the shop.
It’s possible that I would not be bothered by an increase in minimum wage but at best I would delay the hiring decision as long as possible. The only way to increase wages is to increase a person’s value to employers.
Randall J. Raines

Connecticut should elect its superior court judges

I write this letter with almost 30 years at the Bar and having tried to conclusion [verdict] a substantial number of jury and courtside judgments. I now have the luxury to speak the truth.
Like the “sheriffs” system was, now taken over by the state as the “marshals,” the judiciary system  of political appointments is fraught with difficulty best solved by having superior court judges elected by the public instead of being appointed.
Judicial appointments (at the state level) remain the last bastion of political patronage. The public is saddled with these appointments, as inferior lawyers, often with no trial experience, are appointed to judge them (the public) due to political expediency or their (the judge to be appointed) political connections.
A new jurist with no trial experience has recently been approved because her Daddy was important in the Democratic party in days of yesterday. The problem is that this is not unusual in the “system.”
The time has come that the Legislature should take politics out of the judiciary by allowing the citizens to directly decide whom is a judge, like many other states, by making them come before the people they judge.
Now, they get appointed politically in a chess trading game between parties. We get a substantial number of inferior judges, and the public at-large suffers as they pick up (direct deposit) their checks every two weeks.
It is time for a change. This paper should investigate what exactly it takes to work the (political) system to become a judge. It is a very complicated political adventure. It is time for legislation to make all Superior Court judges be elected by the public, like many other states do.
Todd R. Bainer

Beach column shows how Nancy Lanza was a victim

I was deeply moved by Randall Beach’s column regarding Marie Romano’s struggle with living with a mentally ill child. Once again Mr. Beach gets to the soul of an issue that other columnists and reporters ignore. He, through his own words and those of Mrs. Romano, brings forward the pain and helplessness of a parent seeking help for her child in our woefully inadequate mental health system.
As someone who grew up with a schizophrenic brother, I know the agony of living with the illness daily; however, my pain was surely minor compared to that of my parents, who struggled unsuccessfully year after year to find help for their son. Only luck made my brother gentle rather than violent.
It is tragic to me to find out that 50 years after my experience, with dozens of drugs, therapies, and experiments under its belt, the system is still so inadequate for Mrs. Romano and millions of others.
I have read countless articles about the Newtown tragedy, and almost none of them count Adam Lanza’s mother among the victims. Because she was killed, we can only guess what she had been through over the years.
My parents, at least, had each other for support; Mrs. Lanza had no one. I hope Mr. Beach’s column showed a few people that the mother, imperfect as all of us are, lived a good part of her adult life struggling alone with her child and his illness, with little help from a system that is broken or was never whole in the first place. I hope a few more people will begin to consider Nancy Lanza a victim along with the precious children and courageous educators that died that terrible day. Thank you, Mr Beach.
Rosemary Serfilippi

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Federal assault weapon ban would harm gun making economy in Connecticut

I read in the New Haven Register an article titled “Malloy doesn’t mince words on semi-auto weapon manufacturing.” The article quoted Gov. Malloy saying gun manufactures may stay in Connecticut, but the ban will go through.
I went to Gov. Malloy’s web site and left this question/comment there: “Given that Gov. Malloy has said that firearms manufacturers are welcome to stay in Connecticut, would the governor ask our U.S. representatives and senators to remove their support of the bill introduced by California Sen. Feinstein? If Feinstein’s bill were to become law, rest assured Connecticut’s economy could not withstand the closure of the same companies that the governor has so politely said may stay.”
The Democratic members on the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group's own “proposal” says “Effective on passage, ban the sale to Connecticut residents, exposing for sale in Connecticut, transfer to Connecticut residents or importation into the state (but do not prohibit manufacture in the state) of such assault weapons.”
Will these same people pressure the governor to pressure Connecticut’s representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to remove support for a nationwide ban?
 I am opposed to any new expansion of the “assault weapons” ban other than its complete repeal. I am opposed to any limits of the number of rounds a magazine may hold. Why should I only have 10 rounds when the bad guy will have more than me?
I do support a nationwide background check system without transaction registration or recording. We need to amend Obamacare to allow the medical profession the ability to input psychological data into the NCIS.
 I would support efforts to suppress gang and drug activities and urge action be taken to create livable wage jobs here, which is more to the root of the problem of gun violence than gun grabbing legislation.
These proposed gun/magazine laws only affect the law abiding citizens and I consider them an incremental insidious progressive subversion of our state and federal Constitutions. Sen. Feinstein said the other day if only the theater shooter had 10-round mags, then someone could have stopped him while he was changing magazines. Really? So what happened in Newtown while the shooter was changing mags or clearing a misfeed? No one had the ability to stop him being he chose to commit his act in a “gun free zone.”
I work in Newtown and know one family who lost a little one. It is heart-wrenching and has made me furious that with the delay of information from the investigation being released to the public and presumably our elected officials.
All sorts of knee-jerk reaction type legislation is being proposed that will only affect the law-abiding citizens. I do fear that with the passage of some of the proposed bills I will become a criminal for simply possessing an object that is completely legal to have purchased through a system that has some checks and balances one day and the next it is a felony.
In closing I find myself unable to support or vote for any U.S. or Connecticut senator or representative if they should support and vote yea for any legislation limiting my rights and the rights of my fellow citizens, and I will urge my family members, my friends and co-workers to do the same.
Paul Doolittle
West Haven

Connecticut should require GMO labeling

This letter is in response to your coverage last month of the rallying meeting in Hartford for a state food labeling bill that would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. (Opponents of GMO’s push for Connecticut food-labeling law, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.)
As concerned citizens in Connecticut, hoping to be able to maintain our good health as we age, knowing what is in our food is extremely important to us. The article makes it very clear that proponents believe GMOs are safe and because of this, they feel that labeling is unnecessary.
Our feeling is that safe or not safe, we want to know what is in our food. We want to be able to decide for ourselves what we choose to eat. It is not up to Monsanto or any other company to make these decisions for us. As Tara Cook-Littman said in the article, labeling “is such a simple request.” We and many others in Connecticut agree.
Personally, my husband and I feel that if the producers of GMO crops as well as the companies producing food products containing GMO crops, truly believed that there are no health issues connected to long term consumption of genetically modified crops, then they would proudly display “Contains GMOs” on the labels.
Martha Oxnard and Bob Urbani Jr.

Hypocrisy in banning guns in Connecticut, but still making them here

The proposed gun plan would ban the so-called assault weapon and so-called large capacity magazines from ownership to Connecticut residents. Is this not the same weapon and magazines which is proclaimed that it’s sole purpose is to kill? Are these not the so-called weapons of mass destruction? Are these not the same weapons that must be banned to save innocent lives? Is this not the weapon that is said should not be in the hands of civilians?
The gun plan would ban ownership of this weapon of death, this life-taking demon in Connecticut and within the same breath would create an exemption to allow the continued manufacturing of said demon within our borders for sale to any other state.
Are lives not innocent outside of our state lines? Would this weapon cease to be the killing machine it is proclaimed to be in someone else’s state? One can only ponder, is it possible this weapon ,this killing machine, can somehow be transformed into a mere semi-automatic firearm by crossing state lines?
All eyes are upon Connecticut, and from where I sit I can see HYPOCRISY in its darkest form. Connecticut legislation and anti-gun activists are screaming and demanding that this AR-15 shall kill no longer, for we ban thee from our state, for you are the demon for you are the killer of children. But as for you gun manufacturers of the AR-15, you can stay and continue to pay your tax revenue.
This message that is being sent, this course of action being pursued, is far worse than the Adam Lanzas of the world, for we proclaim within the same breathe this AR-15 is a killer and we can still make them here and collect tax money, and as long as it kills other kids in other states, that’s OK.
Is this what our legacy will be? A legacy of hypocrisy? All eyes are upon we citizens of Connecticut. It is time for us to accept the truth and face reality that the human is the most destructive weapon on the planet, not the objects for which we humans command. For if we continue to dismiss the truth, the only thing we will need more of is body bags.
Harold Douglas
New Britain

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New pope takes name of patron saint of the animals

I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals.
Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.
On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town’s sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in winter-time.
I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.
Nigel Hesterheim
New Haven

An open letter to snow

Dear Snow:
Although I think you are very strong and beautiful, I need to sever our relationship at this point. You are always coming to visit uninvited, you lay all over my car making it impossible for me to go anywhere, and you block the roads so I can’t even go to work. This obsession is out of control. Please leave me alone.
So Over You
Kimberly Hronis

Legislator's animal advocate proposal isn't 'nutty'

The New Haven Register thinks the suggestion by Rep. Diana Urban is nutty regarding an animal advocate. That is disrespectful. Rep. Urban works hard protecting people and animals alike. Animal rights are always violated and perpetrators get off with a slap on the hand and maybe pay a fine - a fine paid with money often from winnings from dog fighting. The cost of an attorney is less than the cost of all these animals dying. Stop the abuse.
Ann Ruggiero
New Haven

Impressed by two local businesses

Just wanted to thank two local businesses who went above and beyond with service.
Andy DaRos of DaRos Company was a big help during the snow storm, and Stereo Works on Branford Hill fixed my audio system when the BMW dealer could not, HOORAY!
Daniel A. Bullard

Check with veterans before holding school on their day

There is a proposal to change the school schedule next year so that the regular school year will end earlier, providing more time for snow makeup days. The schools would be open on some holidays including Veteran’s Day.
On Veteran’s Day the schools would have special lessons and in-school programs honoring our veterans and their contributions to our country. This seems like an acceptable proposal, but I could never support it if veterans found it disrespectful.
I encourage the school administration and the Board of Education to reach out to local veterans groups and leaders to get their input on this issue. The people who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve to be actively consulted.
 Tom Jagodzinski

Sequester weakens security as North Korea makes threats

There’s no way to know if United Nations sanctions will deter a North Korean missile attack or provoke one. (“North Korea vows to launch nuclear strike against U.S.,” March 7.)
That’s why diplomacy alone isn’t enough when dealing with unstable leaders like Kim Jong-Un – one day he’s watching basketball with Dennis Rodman, the next he’s threatening a “preemptive nuclear strike”.
But instead of beefing up our defenses, Congress is caught up in a budget cutting frenzy that could leave U.S. cities exposed. The “sequester” cuts are slashing military readiness, putting Obama’s “pivot” to Asia on hold and threatening the ballistic missile defenses we’d need to stop a North Koreans ICBM.
That GMD shield has proven itself in a decade of successful testing, silencing skeptics and winning praise from President Obama himself in his State of the Union address. But it needs continued improvement like larger interceptor fields and better radar to distinguish true missiles from decoys.
The North Korean nuclear threat is real – analysts say Pyongyang could have 48 nuclear bombs by 2105 and it already possesses a rocket that can reach San Francisco or LA. Diplomacy is important, but we can’t put all our eggs in that basket.
Captain Bob Ridder, USMC (ret.)
Memphis, Tenn.

Connecticut residents should know what's in their food

This letter is in response to your coverage last month of the rallying meeting in Hartford for a state food labeling bill that would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. (Opponents of GMOs push for Connecticut food-labeling law, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.)
As concerned citizens in Connecticut hoping to be able to maintain our good health as we age, knowing what is in our food is extremely important to us. The article makes it very clear that proponents believe GMOs are safe, and because of this, they feel that labeling is unnecessary.
Our feeling is that safe or not safe, we want to know what is in our food. We want to be able to decide for ourselves what we choose to eat. It is not up to Monsanto or any other company to make these decisions for us.
As Tara Cook-Littman said in the article, labeling "is such a simple request." We and many others in Connecticut agree. Personally, my husband and I feel that if the producers of GMO crops as well as the companies producing food products containing GMO crops truly believed that there are no health issues connected to long term consumption of genetically modified crops, then they would proudly display "Contains GMOs" on the labels.
 Martha Oxnard and Bob Urbani Jr.

HealthBridge defends plan to switch SEUI workers to 401(k)

I am writing to address errors that appeared in a New Haven Register article titled “Milford health care workers’ pay is up in the air” (March 7, 2013).
The article incorrectly claimed that a temporary court order that implements changes to labor agreements for union-represented employees at five Connecticut nursing homes deprives the workers of pension and health benefits. It does not. Rather than contribute to a union pension fund, employees represented by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 (SEIU), will be able to enroll in a 401(k) plan. The nursing homes will match 25 percent of employee contributions, up to 3 percent of their annual salary.
Union-represented employees were previously given completely free health benefits. Now they are being asked to contribute towards the costs. They are not losing their health benefits. The nursing homes are merely providing their union-represented employees the same kind of benefits that apply not only to their non-union employees but to the majority of the U.S. workforce.
Lowered reimbursements have made it difficult for all Connecticut nursing homes. But in our case, the homes were laboring under the far greater burden of union labor agreements that bear no relationship to financial reality. For example, the five nursing homes spent over 225 percent more on pension benefits per resident-day than the statewide average, and had total benefit costs per day that were 24 percent higher than other SEIU facilities in the state.
SEIU District 1199 represents employees at only 28 percent of Connecticut’s nursing homes. Yet it represented employees at 69 percent of the state’s nursing homes that have closed since 2007. Unless the SEIU starts recognizing economic reality, Connecticut will continue to lose nursing homes and the jobs and quality care they provide just when we need them most.
Lisa Crutchfield
Senior Vice President, Labor Relations
HealthBridge Management LLC
Concord, Mass.

Hamden failed to plan for February snow storm

The test of any leader is demonstrated in how effectively he or she navigates crisis.
A good example of ineffective crisis management was seen with Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.
Successful navigation of crisis is directly related to contingency planning. So what is contingency planning? I took the liberty to research this issue and here is what I found:
"Contingency Planning: Preparing contingency plans in advance, as part of a crisis management plan, is the first step to ensuring an organization is appropriately prepared for a crisis. Crisis management teams can rehearse a crisis plan by developing a simulated scenario to use as a drill. The first hours after a crisis breaks are the most crucial, so working with speed and efficiency is important, and the plan should indicate how quickly each function should be performed. The contingency plan should contain information and guidance that will help decision makers to consider not only the short-term consequences, but the long-term effects of every decision."
OK, now that we have a common basis of understating of crisis management and how effective crisis management is tied to contingency planning, we can OK at Hamden’s snow situation more objectively. As I sit here writing this piece, I have had to undergo a power outage, historic snowfall and unplowed streets for three days and counting. Now with the rain, I can look forward to flooding.
I know I am not alone. People are angry and bewildered by the lack of preparation by this administration. Meanwhile, Mayor Jackson is scrambling around to find plows, pay loaders and crews to deal with what his administration has said was “unexpected” despite the dire warnings and forecast. Roadways are still congested and hazardous. All medical emergencies can be considered life threatening, since it is a hope and a prayer that someone will get there in time. Meanwhile, folks are running low on food and fuel, and things will quickly turn from bad to worse.
Here is my point. There hasn’t been any effective contingency planning on the part of this administration. From our own financial crisis to the mismanagement of this emergency crisis, leadership has been non-existent. Mr. Jackson appears to be reacting rather than planning. Remember in November, or soon ye shall forget.
Ron Gambardella
Chairman of the Hamden Republican Party

Indignities continue for slave whose remains were on display

Can a man suffer further indignity after death? Mr. Fortune most certainly did. After a life of slavery and hard labor that included bringing children into that world, Mr. Fortune died.
Normally, I would imagine, dying brings some peace, and his death certainly should have brought some closure to Mr. Fortune’s most undignified life as a slave.
Enslaved or not, as a Christian man, I would have thought his fellow believers might have seen to it that he was laid to rest upon his death. But no, he would be subjected to further indignity and inhumane treatment when his owner boiled the flesh off his bones, so that he could use Mr. Fortune still.
Visiting colleagues of the slave owner no doubt pawed Mr. Fortune’s remains for years until Mr. Fortune was humiliated again.
According to a recent article in the New Haven Register, he was shipped to Germany so his skeletal puzzle could be fitted together and displayed “properly,” I am guessing. He eventually returned to Connecticut, but somewhere in his journey, parts of him - two ribs, bones from his hands and feet - were lost. Poor Mr. Fortune was not laid to rest when he came back here; he was put on public display in a museum.
It took a long time, but I was glad to read that museum professionals are reconsidering the practice of treating our fellow human beings as objects to be stared at. How many anthropological scholars vs. grammar school children actually gaped at Mr. Fortune’s remains over the many years he remained above the earth?
Mr. Fortune’s sad journey is about to come to an end but not before one last humiliation. The anthropology department at Quinnipiac University and the New Haven Register showed a complete disregard for Mr. Fortune and his family, who no doubt will someday see their ancestor’s body parts displayed on the front page of the newspaper with the unbelievably insensitive caption over his picture, “Final Respects.”
Final respects, indeed. Careful readers of the newspaper will remember just two weeks ago, a story about Quinnipiac’s new medical school. Specifically, the article included an appeal for people to donate their bodies or those of their family members for study. I wrote to the university asking for more information about that and am now reconsidering.
How is it that there could be a complete disconnect between academic disciplines (anthropology and medicine) under one roof? Can the School of Medicine teach the anthropologists and archaeologists a thing or two about the dignity of all human beings in and after death? Or must potential cadaver donors worry that a photograph of their remains may one day end up on the front page of the newspaper?
To the family of Mr. Fortune and his descendents, please know that not all Connecticut residents condone how your forefather was treated. Many of us were saddened and personally touched by Mr. Fortune’s life, now that we know more about him.
Ruth G. Torres
West Haven

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gov. Malloy, Speaker Sharkey should pressure Hewett to resign

State Rep. Hewett is a disgrace to our once great state for sexual comments he made to a 17-year-old girl during a legislative budget hearing.
I am an independently minded Democrat and agree with the editors of the New Haven Register editorial (March 12, 2013), which points out that Hewett has a history of verbal sexual harassment. The editors found out that Hewett is prohibited from having female interns because of “bad behavior.” The Register points out that Speaker Sharkey and Governor Malloy have refused to call on Hewett to resign.
If you agree, call Malloy’s office at 1-800-406-1527 and Sharkey’s at 1-800-842-1902 to put the moral pressure on these men, who should not need public prodding but obviously do.
Connecticut deserves better lawmakers than Hewett.
Tim Chaucer

New Haven Register shouldn't have published details of suicide

First, I would like to say that I do not know Frank Meyer, nor do I condone what he may have done to that young boy.
I was, however, very offended that the New Haven Register felt it necessary to put, on the front page of its paper, the method that Mr. Meyer used to take his life. The Register showed absolutely no respect for his parents, who must be going through the worst time of their lives right now. What possible difference could this have made to anyone? The Register not only added more hurt to this family, it probably gave others on the brink of taking their lives another way to do it. Please try to show more respect and restraint in the future.
Marian Lucibello
New Haven

Hamden Republican leader predicts taxes will double

This from the New Haven Register: “Hamden has roughly $56 million in its pension fund. If it were fully funded, it would have more than $400 million invested for pensioners and current town employees.”
My question is: Does anyone care? Sure, the pensioners have a major concern and they should, but what about the taxpayers?
Year, after year, after year the same people get re-elected who not only have not been able to solve the problem, but worked hard at making it worse. This problem will ultimately deal all residents of Hamden a cruel blow - from renters to homeowners to business conducting their trade in Hamden.
Should the council decide to bond the pension, the interest payments alone would eat up a big chunk of the budget. Remember, we will be borrowing money for the expressed purposes of insuring those folks who worked for promises made by this and past administration are paid in full, some of who are enjoying pensions is excess of $50,000 per year with the highest being paid over $100,000 per year.
Many members of the current administration helped craft the current calamity. They, along with longtime members of the council who endorsed this nonsense are to blame – members like Al Gorman, Jack Kennelly, Carol Nobel, Kathleen Schomaker, John DeRosa and Michael Calaiacovo have become permanent fixtures thanks to voters who haven’t been paying attention.
So what does this mean? The answer is obviously higher and higher taxes. It would not surprise me to see taxes double within 10 years. The only other solution is to file bankruptcy. Ultimately the voters will have to decide this November to continue on the path of financial ruin or maybe, just maybe, the outcome of the election will be different than what history has shown.
Ron Gambardella
Chairman of the Hamden Republican Party

Why didn't soaring stock market help Hamden pensions?

Why, if the stock market is “soaring” (March 11, 2013, New Haven Register editorial) did the Town of Hamden’s gamble on the stock market not pay off (March 10, 2013, editorial)?
Joshua A. Winnick

Bill O'Reilly's narrow view of religion

Bill O’Reilly’s argument that religions are giving way to narcissistic times is interesting but far short of reality.
Conservatives like Mr. O’Reilly are forever telling us that the so-called secular times spell doom and gloom for America. The problem is that Mr. O’Reilly’s idea of religious pluralism is limited only to the three major revealed religions: Catholicism, Judaism and Islam. His narrow-minded narrative always forgets or is incapable of entertaining and respecting other world views, i.e., Hinduism, Buddhism, Pantheism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc.
Even the ancient Greek and Roman Stoics believed that virtue was the highest goal for man. Weren’t they referred to as Pagans? Unfortunately, too many conservatives cannot shake their nativistic tendencies or are forever locked into pre-Enlightenment world views. People like Mr. O’Reilly are often the most intolerant of human beings. As such, one always has to question their moral fiber.
Vincent M. Casanova

Armenia's Oscar nomination presents one-sided view

"If Only Everyone" was Armenia's official submission for the best foreign language film at the 85th Annual Academy Awards (Oscars). Shot under the patronage of the country's president, Serzh Sargsyan, this film promotes a one-sided political agenda on a sensitive subject of the Armenian-Azerbaijani ethnic conflict.
 In 1991, Armenia invaded the neighboring Azerbaijan over the latter's territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. By 1994, the Armed Forces of Armenia occupied the said region and seven adjacent districts - the fifth of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory - and expelled more than 800,000 Azerbaijanis from their homes.
Prior to the conflict, Karabakh's 18th century historic center of Shusha was predominantly inhabited by over 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis. After the Armenian occupation in May 1992, the city lays in ruins with barely 2,000 ethnic Armenian settlers and a fabricated name of "Shushi."
Since 1993, four resolutions of U.N. Security Council and several of those from U.N. General Assembly, Council of Europe and European Union called for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying Armenian forces and for return of Azerbaijani refugees to their homes, but to no avail.
Sargsyan's government also continues to deny responsibility and obstruct justice for the Khojaly Massacre - a mass killing of 613 Azerbaijani civilians, including 106 women and 63 children - conducted by Armenian forces in February 1992. Human Rights Watch called it the worst massacre of the conflict, several U.S. states recognized it as a war crime, while Mr. Sargsyan, the film's sponsor, referred to it as an act of "breaking the stereotypes" of Azerbaijanis.
These are just few of the facts the viewer will not see in "If Only Everyone." Instead the film misrepresents the ethnic conflict as a fait accompli struggle for self-determination to gain viewer sympathy. The claim, however, cannot be justified by mass murder, war crimes and ethnic cleansing carried out under the patronage of its main sponsor. I join all Azerbaijani-Americans, members of Azerbaijan Society of America and Azerbaijani-American Council, to denounce Armenia's 2013 Oscar nomination.
Tarana Jafarova
New Haven

Stop Appalachian mountaintop removal mining

As a concerned citizen, I would like to bring to your attention the dangers of mountaintop removal mining and the urgent steps we need to take to protect our nation's Appalachian Mountains and people, before it is too late.
Mountaintop removal not only destroys and pollutes waterways and eliminates wildlife, but it also affects families' and communities' access to clean water and uncontaminated air, and seriously threatens their health.
There are two things our nation's leaders must do right now. First, the president and the Environmental Protection Agency need to follow the robust science and set a strong, binding clean water rule that will prevent the pollution and destruction of waterways by mountaintop removal mining waste.
Second, Congress must pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act, which will thoroughly analyze the impacts of mountaintop removal on the health of people who live near it, including the higher rates of birth defects, cancer, and early death that have occurred in communities near these mines.
I call on Congresswoman Rosa Delauro to support this bill. I believe we have an obligation to preserve our national heritage for future generations, including our mountains and vital waterways, and to ensure that Appalachian communities are not bearing the brunt of our nation's unsustainable energy decisions.
Francis Mastri
West Haven

President Obama uses children as cover for politics

During the Korean and Vietnam wars, our enemies used children for shields when attacking our soldiers. It seems our president has learned these tactics very well.
He used children when signing executive orders. He used children at campaign speeches. Now he is using children again by closing the White House for tours and threatening to close national parks because of the sequester he signed into law. Does he like children? Or does he only like to use them for his agenda? He has learned well from our enemies. What enemy is he fighting now?
Alice W. Lehr
North Branford

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Unhappy with Scalia's Supreme Court rulings

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia continues to affirm his ideological zealot stripes when it comes to issues pertaining to feminism, race and egalitarian justice requisites. I find him to be more allied with Benito Mussolini than with the impartiality required in dealing with life’s realities as they truly exist and not as he perceives they should be.
His vote allowed George Walker Bush, who many presumed to be illegally elected (before all of Florida’s votes were counted), and his continued views regarding minority rights, and “the perpetuation of racial entitlement” are unconscionable and attest to his alignment with right wing Republicans throughout this nation seeking to disenfranchise millions of citizens of their constitutional right to vote.
There is no question in my mind based upon Scalia’s 27 years of rulings that he fits the image of the “wise guy” (mafiosa) and his omerta (code of silence) pertaining to conservative extremism is analogous to his silence/denial of political influence of his opinions.
Frank C. Rohrig

Visiting architect says don't abandon Sandy Hook Elementary School

This past weekend I was a guest of friends in the New Haven area. While there I happened to read in your newspaper (Feb. 25, 2013) of the several options that Newtown is now considering as to the disposition of Sandy Hook Elementary School in the aftermath of the tragic events of December.
Quite frankly, I was astonished that a town would collectively consider such a drastic move as to abandon or demolish so vital and viable a building as an elementary school. So, too, the economic folly of such a move, even in these trying economic times, is nevertheless last on my list of reasons.
Firstly, as horrific as the tragedy was, those involved should learn to confront and eventually move beyond the nightmare, rather than burying it which is really just denial. Psychiatric professionals know this. To do otherwise will simply be sowing the seeds for life-long phobias, particularly as regards the children.
One hundred and one years ago the Titanic sank and shocked the world. The Titanic had a virtually identical sister ship. No one ever pushed to scrap the nearly-new ship, which continued to successfully sail for another 22 years.
Secondly, to do away with the school would serve to memorialize the perpetrator, not his victims. I am sure that Adam Lanza, in his warped desire to make history, would be highly satisfied in the knowledge that his deranged behavior had resulted in such a drastic move.
Thirdly, in my 40 years in my profession I have been involved with the design and construction of many buildings including schools, one of which was in Connecticut. In all of these years, I can safely state that I have never seen a building that possessed a heart, soul or brain, no matter how highly I thought of it.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School building has done nothing wrong. As an inanimate object it is, of course, incapable of such horrors. Therefore, I urge the people of Newtown, despite the heartbreak and trauma wrought upon their town by a deranged madman, to seize control of their emotions and show their children by example how to deal with tragedy rather than simply hiding from it. This in turn will rightly memorialize the victims and not the perpetrator and by doing so will not encourage undeserved aggrandizement in the minds of future psychopaths.
Andrew J. Cannata
AIA - Architect
Boston, Mass.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No excuse after Newtown for failure to act

After those moments on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when a massacre took place, shattering the bodies and lives of the innocent and challenging the rest of us our very belief and trust in humanity, any defense, excuse or rationale is as “tinking cymbals and sounding brass.”
If we, as a people, and a country, are expected to simply pass this off as part of our culture to pursue and procure that “great American Dream,” then, I so agree with your editorial of March 1. “God help us all.”
It’s not my dream. How brave and generous of little murdered Noah’s mother (“Mom”), Mrs. Veronique Pozner to share something of her beloved and remarkable little son with us. Nothing justifies little Noah’s ruthless, mindless, senseless and brutal murder. NOTHING.
Maria Elena Pignatelli
New Haven

Interest in owning guns grows in Connecticut

One of this country’s largest mail order house for books of all types is located here in Connecticut. I just received their 148-page catalog in my mail.
With all the emphasis on guns and ammunition, I want to share a few of their entries with you. The first titles is “U.S. Army Improvised Munition Handbook. The stated review “This handbook describes in detail how to build munitions from seemingly harmless materials than can be bought at drug or paint stores, found in junk piles, or acquired from military stocks. Features explanations of how to construct explosives, detonators, etc. 600 plus pages. Price: $5.95.
Another book is entitled “Armed: The Essential Guide to Concealed Carry.” Their writeup says, “The thinking gun owner’s bible; this comprehensive volume breaks down not just the tools, but the mindset and choices a law-abiding citizen must go through to become self-reliant, alert, and legally armed. 221 pages, $16.95.
A further listing is “The Modern Day Gunslinger: The Ultimate Handgun Training Manual”. A rundown on its contents follows: “An all encompassing manual that addresses safe equipment, tactics, and best practices for all shooters, etc.”
Two of these books appear on the cover of the catalog which I believe is no accident but a look to a currently hot market.
Ron French

Branford resident wants gas extended to neighborhood

I read your article on natural gas with great interest! For the last six years I have contacted the gas company with no results; the gas pipe stops at the house next door. The gas company wants to charge me $3,000 to extend it down the street to the front of my house. The change-over furnace and necessary piping will cost another $8,000 to $9,000.
I was informed if I recruited four or five neighbors, they might extend the pipe; however, they changed the number to 10 or more after I got four or five neighbors willing to change over to gas.
Gas is 95 percent more efficient and much cheaper and cleaner than oil. Most of the neighbor’s furnaces and mine are near replacement stage. I informed the gas company once I replace the furnace I will not be able to change to gas. No one seems to care even after they sent flyers every year or so looking for new customers. If they install gas pipes down the four streets in my neighborhood, people will hook up.
Frank Silvestro

Good luck to Derby's new Marco Pizzeria

During ribbon-cutting ceremonies of the grand opening of the new Marco Pizzeria last week, located at the former site of the historic Derby River Restaurant, in the Walmart Shopping Center, I couldn't help noticing the gleam in Mayor Tony Staffieri's eyes, as he sampled a slice of Marco's pizza.
I was a River Restaurant customer for some 70 years, and my daughter Elaine, was fomerly employed there. However, I found the delicate and delicious thin-crusted Marco pizza pies I sampled "to be second to none," including the renown New Haven pizza pies.
Good luck to owners Tom Andrew and Bill Severino, who also operate a pizza outlet in Branford.
Stan Muzyk

Raising minimum wage can have negative consequences

Last summer I was in the position of numerous other college students home for summer break; jobless and diligently seeking employment.
After a few long weeks of searching, I finally obtained a waitressing position. I can attest to the frustration of working long, tiring shifts while only being compensated for what feels like very little of the work I actually put in.
However, after reading the editorial article on increasing minimum wages and reflecting back on my experience, I find myself asking, “If I were paid $9 rather than $8.25, would I have put more effort into my job?” I always put my best effort forward in everything I do regardless of my pay, so the $0.75 an hour increase in compensation wouldn’t have made me work any differently. I feel that others would agree in that ultimately the main attachment they have to their employer is working hard to secure a paycheck. And considering how difficult it is to find summer employment in the first place, many don’t even anticipate to be paid higher than minimum wage.
According to a study called “Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamic” done by an assistant professor of economics at Texas A&M, “the net job growth falls in response to an increase in the minimum wage.” If employers are already struggling to maintain their workers in this type of economy, being forced to raise the minimum wage will mean cutting jobs.
The jobs paying minimum wage are targeted for inexperienced works such as teenagers looking for a start in the labor market, whose work is worth less to employers than the mandated wage. Raising the minimum wage will make it difficult for low-skilled workers to get hired, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate.
From my restaurant experience, I have seen coworkers laid off because our employer could not afford having extra help due to the tough economic situation. Further increasing the minimum wage might promote employers to contribute to the underground economy if they have trouble affording to keep their helps on the books.
Employers struggling to maintain their businesses may find creative ways to avoid paying cost of payroll taxes, FICA taxes, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance. An example of a creative maneuver is with the implementation of the Obamacare bill.
Recently, a report done by MSNBC stated that Olive Garden was receiving backlash after employing a greater percentage of part-time workers as a way of reducing the costs of complying with Obamacare. By increasing the minimum wage, overall unemployment will go up and negatively affect the working poor’s situation. A solution to creating jobs and increasing an employee’s wage rate is not to increase the minimum wage, but to increase one’s productivity to deserve a higher salary. Government should also be looking to invest in job training programs and lowering interest education loans.
Alice Ni

Give us answers about Lanza's mental health instead of focusing on gun laws

How are we to understand how to prevent atrocities like what happened in Newtown if we don’t know what really happened?
Where did the system fail? Or was this kind of tragedy not preventable? We can’t know that unless we understand what really happened. My issue lies in not releasing the records for Adam Lanza. Did his mother try to get him help? Did the fact that he was over 18 prevent her? Was he on medication? We need to get answers to these questions!
There is an obsession with gun laws. The politicians are looking in the wrong place to find solutions. My concern is how we handle those with mental illness.
As a mother of a schizophrenic, I understand first hand how your hands are tied after they turn 18. Is that what happened here? Was this poor woman living in fear of her son but couldn’t do anything? Did she have those guns to protect herself? We in Connecticut need and deserve the answers to these questions to properly protect citizens.
Susan Gallagher

People of color absent from St. Patrick's Day photo gallery

Why were New Haveners of color almost completely excluded from the photos of the St. Patrick's Day parade posted on the New Haven Register's website?
The folks marching in the parade are much more diverse than these photos indicate, not to mention the crowds along the parade route (which goes through a couple of predominately African-American neighborhoods, including ours). I don't know if the source of the problem is that the photographers only took photos of white people, or if the Register's photo editor chose to feature only photos of white people. Either way, they whitewashed the parade, the crowds and our city.
Ashley Riley Sousa
New Haven

How much are undocumented immigrants costing taxpayers?

Can some politician explain why all I keep hearing is the state and cities are in a big hole financially, which I believe we are?
So instead of taxing us to death, instead of paying some yo yo $100,000 a year to sit in an office trying to figure out how to screw us more, instead of putting tolls back up, instead of having the police pass out tickets like Halloween candy to get more money (go to any motor vehicle court in the state the lines are out the door every day), instead of raising every fee imaginable, instead of sticking it to us citizens anyway they can, why doesn’t our government go after all the illegals who are working under the table not paying taxes and the companies who hire them to avoid taxes?
I’d like to know how much money the state loses a year from all these people and companies not paying their share. I don’t care what country they come from, nobody can be happy having to pay more in taxes and fees and getting a bogus ticket to make up for lost revenue from the illegals.
Robbone Mele
East Haven

Don't penalize retirees for Hamden's pension short-sightedness

The Town of Hamden’s pension fund has been seriously short-changed over the years, and I find it discouraging and disappointing.
First of all, if past mayors and administrations were required to keep the fund solvent, then it would not be in the situation that it is in now.
Second of all, the fund did not get in trouble overnight, but it was the lack of funds over a period of time that should have sent up a red flag.
Third of all, many people, including the unions, suggested and warned that the pension fund was dwindling and below a safe level.
Fourth of all, it would be unfair, discriminatory and prejudiced to reduce any already retired employees’ benefits to fix this problem, which they did not create in the first place.
Ron Johnson

Hospitals' administrative costs are out of control

The headline in the New Haven Register’s Sunday edition, “Bad Medicine: Hospitals: funding cuts, proposed tax increases may hurt patient care,” is way off the mark.
One place hospitals can cut back without affecting patient care is to reduce the number of administrators and scale back their exorbitant salaries. As “Bitter Pill,” a March 4 article in Time magazine reported, the CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital earns $2.5 million annually, almost a million dollars more than Yale President Richard Levin and more than six times what the president of the United States earns.
I suspected the administration of Yale-New Haven was bloated when I read that at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Yale-affiliated North Haven Medical Center, Yale-New Haven’s CEO was accompanied by the chief operating officer, three vice presidents and three hospital department chiefs. A cursory perusal of Yale-New Haven’s website reveals that the hospital system employs nine senior vice presidents and 14 vice presidents.
Hospital executive salaries are only one cause of the explosion in health care costs. And while Obamacare will expand coverage under Medicaid and private insurance, a laudable goal, it will do very little to contain health care costs. Exorbitant hospital bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
Now Paul Ryan and other Republicans are advocating raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67, a move that would put millions of additional elderly individuals at risk for financial ruin due to out-of-control medical bills. In recent years the Medicare program has been successful in negotiating reasonable charges for what it pays hospitals. Let’s expand the Medicare program to cover all Americans and begin to put a lid on runaway hospital costs.
Carol Merriman
North Haven

Offended by Jeb Bush comment about political reporters

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has begun to explore the possibility of entering the presidential race in 2016 as a Republican candidate. In a recent appearance on "Meet The Press" when asked by host David Gregory about the 2016 presidential election, Bush responded by referring to Gregory as a "crack addict and even went further when Gregory seemed shocked by Bush's response and said OK, "heroin" addict. Bush in this name calling tirade indicated he was referencing all political reporters. Well it's apparent that Jeb Bush is not ready for prime time politics or maybe he is just joining the ranks of many of his fellow Republicans who do not think before they speak.
Clifford Silvers

Touched by stranger's act of kindness

My name is John McCarthy and I am a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
On Feb. 15 I took my girlfriend out to Carmen Anthony's on State Street in New Haven for a late Valentine's Day dinner and to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our relationship.
I am currently moving up to Connecticut, but my girlfriend is a student at Quinnipiac University, which is where we both met, and that is why we celebrated our special occasion in New Haven.
Waiting for the valet, a gentleman slightly older than me looked at me and said, "So you're a Marine?"
I was caught a little off guard at first. Normally my high and tight hair cut and military demeanor are a dead giveaway that I am in the service, but generally people cannot call out what branch I am a part of like that. I asked the man how he knew I was in the corps and he pointed to my car sitting on the curb with a big Eagle Globe and Anchor Sticker in the back window.
He immediately reached out his hand and said, "Thank you for your service." I humbly replied, "Thank you sir. Thank you for your support."
Just before he left I thanked him again for his support, and he for my service, and I told him to enjoy his meal. Our meal was wonderful and my girlfriend and I enjoyed our dinner together. She had waited inside and saw me talking to the man through the window and briefly asked me what we were discussing. I told her the whole story and she said how nice it all was. Then as dinner was ending we asked our waitress if she could bring our check and that we had a movie to go catch. She quickly walked away and we waited for her return.
Finally, out of nowhere that same man appeared at my side with an envelope. He placed a hand on my shoulder and said, "I hear you have a movie to catch." I replied somewhat amazed saying, "Yes. How did you know that?" Then he handed me the envelope and said enjoy your night and walked away.
Once I opened it and pulled out the envelope I guess my eyes bulged out a little bit. My girlfriend quickly said, "Well what is it?" I replied, "Its a gift certificate to this restaurant, for $150." Her eyes were now bulging the same as mine and her mouth was wide open in amazement.
I then looked over and saw that gentleman sitting across the room. I got up and walked over saying, "Sir, there is no way I can accept this." He told me I didn't have a choice. I asked if there was anything I could do like buy him a drink or maybe pick up his appetizer. He insisted that I had done enough. I thanked him once again.
My girlfriend and I finally went back and thanked him and his wife a third time before we left. Each time he thanked me and said, "thank you for all that you do."
We read about horrible things in the paper each day. So much so that it makes you wonder if good people like this still exist out there. Well I can tell you that they do based on this gentleman's act of kindness. Unfortunately because of the sheer shock I was in by the whole event I have forgotten his first name and his wife's first name. All I know is that they were in town for a wedding up here from Delaware. They chose to thank me that night.
I believe the best thank you I can give them is to tell this story so that people will be encouraged to engage in random acts of kindness like this in the future. Regardless of how big or small, they are important. More importantly, they do not just need to be acted upon towards those in the service but towards every human being.

John N. McCarthy
Oakhurst, N.J.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's time to even playing field between private, public school sports

I was glad to see a letter from Alton Eliason of North Branford in the Feb. 28 New Haven Register. The facts presented in the letter represent the way Catholic and private prep schools have operated for decades. I have sent letters to the editor and to sports departments before concerning this subject but they were never published or acknowledged.
It is not fair or equal for these private schools to be able to entice and “up the ante,” so to speak, equating an education/playing for their institutions as “gateways” to better educational institutions or scholarships at prestigious schools. Public school athletes are convinced that they have a better chance in the future for professional sports, etc.
Sure, we in Connecticut have had our share of students who have gone on to the professional ranks. Every state has had them. I like to think it’s because of their abilities and hard work, rather than the school they went to.
Our public schools often do not have the money, facilities, etc. to really promote sports teams. We tend to put emphasis on teaching our children and preparing them for the future. Of course, sports are important, besides encouraging school spirit, friendship and pride, they teach young people how to get along with others, encourage positive thinking and self-worth and enable the children to usually have a great time playing.
But our public schools, which have both young men and women attending, have to compete with private schools, many of which are not co-ed. The games played count for standings in their leagues and for state championship tournaments.
If public schools want to play private institutions, they can but those games should not be included in their leagues. Private schools, whether they are Catholic or just private prep schools, should have their own leagues - other states do this, why don’t we?
I have questioned the CIAC actions and procedures since I was at West Haven High School over 45 years ago. Look at the headline in today’s sports section of the Register for example. Two private schools vying for the SCC title! What schools are featured in the state all-state selections, a lot from private schools. Will this ever change or will private schools still call the shots in high school sports?
Bonnie Amato
West Haven

Do we pet horses or eat them?

Last week, food safety officials in the United Kingdom, France and Sweden found traces of horse meat in ground beef sold across Europe. Massive recalls and lawsuits are ensuing.
Can it happen here? Horse slaughter for human consumption was banned in the U.S. between 2007 and 2011. But now, a New Mexico slaughterhouse is getting approved by U.S. authorities to slaughter horses for human consumption, and a Philadelphia restaurant has already announced plans to serve horse meat.
I marvel at our hypocrisy of rejecting the notion of horse or dog meat on our dinner plates while condemning cows, pigs and chickens to the same fate. Obviously, we have established special relationships with horses and dogs as our companions, protectors, and sports protagonists, rather than as food.
But where is the ethical and logical distinction, given that all these animals are endowed by individuality, sentience, and an ability to experience the same feelings of joy, affection, sadness, and fear that we do?
Fortunately, our health food industry has spared us from having to choose which animals to pet and which ones to eat. Their delicious soy and grain-based meat alternatives are available in every supermarket.
Nick Harkner
New Haven

American lives more important than 'hurt feelings'

My name is James Gill and I am a retired captain of the New Haven Police Department as well as a retired inspector from the state attorney’s office.
Regarding Norman Pattis’ Fourth Amendment dissertation, he cites all the poor libertarian victims of the Fourth’s granted exceptions, but fails to mention the objectives of those exceptions: the engineers of 9/11, wherein died more Americans than we lost at Pearl Harbor. Does this suggest we should be more concerned about “hurt feelings” rather than lost lives?
James A. Gill

Crack down hard on illegal dirt bikes, ATVs

The recent article in the New Haven Register on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs once again points out the severity of this ongoing problem.
The police are not allowed to chase them and the fines are too low if they get caught. This works in favor of the illegal riders as current laws do nothing to discourage these riders.
Social media is also at fault here as it often encourages riders to show off with videos.
State legislators are currently looking at bills to address illegal dirt bikes and ATV riders. The legislators need to consider total confiscation of these bikes and ATVs the very first them they are caught. No possible way of getting them back. To this add a fine of at least $2,500.
This bill would also need to be signed into law long before the summer of 2013 arrives. It’s time to take a more aggressive stand with this issue, and our legislators have the ability to finally address this problem, if they so choose, with more stringent laws.
Dennis N. Silvestri
New Haven

The beginning of life and the Bible

When does life begin? Life is like the universe, it cannot be created or destroyed. Life has been and will always be. Life is in trees, flowers and animals. At conception the body starts to develop an embryo and then evolution takes over. God created us in his image which is spiritual. We are spiritual people in a human body. The body can be destroyed but the spirit, which is life, continues on. For those of you who do not read the Bible, it’s the best book ever written. BIBLE stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
Dino Zaino

An 'assault weapon' can't exist until it's used in an 'assault'

An assault weapon is, by definition, any weapon used in an assault. An assault weapon can therefore be anything used by one person illegally against another person or group of persons.
How this term “assault weapon” has evolved into the widely accepted pseudo legal definition for firearms is a curious and disturbing disuse and misuse of language.
Putting the distortion of language aside for the moment, I should point out that Connecticut has had an “assault weapon” ban in place since 1994. This is nothing new. The current highly charged debate is therefore really not about an “assault weapon” ban, it is about broadening the definition of what weapons might be used in an assault by someone who is, by definition, breaking the law by assaulting another.
Ultimately this definition could grow to include almost everything imaginable and not eliminate criminal or deviant behavior or assault. To follow this reasoning, one must agree that there can be no “assault weapon” without there first being an assault. It is therefore not the weapon, but the one using it illegally against another that we must punish.
We can manipulate language until the cows come home, but in the end, restrictive laws only punish the law abiding by taking away the freedoms and the liberties that have made America the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. Let us be brave, let us enforce our existing laws and punish the criminal use of weapons, while we honor with freedom, rather than criminalize via new laws, the legal law abiding owners of firearms in Connecticut.
We are fortunate to have been given by our founders a Constitution that guarantees us freedoms and liberties never before found on earth. We must cherish those freedoms and preserve them and our liberties for our children and their children. We must not allow them to be lost through distorted and manipulative language, and overcharged, albeit understandable, emotion. Let us not rush to judgement when the future of what is America is at stake.
Richard H. Woodford
New Milford

Appreciating Rand Paul's filibuster protest of drone program

I applaud Sen. Rand Paul for his inspiring, informative and just filibuster of CIA Director John Brennan. It is important to understand the precedent the Obama administration is setting with reserving the right to kill U.S. citizens without due process.
Imagine if Dick Cheney made this claim in 2006! The Illinois senator for whom I voted for president in 2008 stood up to George W. Bush's illegal actions in the name of “national security” (trademark Karl Rove).
Not only is Sen. Paul bringing attention to the illicit and immoral drone policies of our current administration, but over the past two years he has saved more than 50 percent of his office's budget, without firing a single employee, returning over $1 million to U.S. taxpayers!
U.S. senators take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution." I am glad to see at least one politician is taking their job seriously!
Bill Craven

College students and multitasking: A myth

College students believe they have skills that allow them to engage in multitasking.
The term multitasking comes from computer processing, where computer processors perform more than one task simultaneously.
College students are not capable of multitasking. Students think they are multitasking or engaging in several activities concurrently, such as texting friends, visiting social sites, listening to music and listening to professors during class time. Research shows that this may make them feel as if they are accomplishing more work.
However, students are concentrating on only one activity at a time. That is, they are switching or sequentially performing tasks. Students hide their smartphones under books, papers or desks and text friends, visit social sites and play games during class time. Students engaged in these activities during class time think they can listen to lectures at the same time. Research shows students cannot do so and earn lower grades.
Professors charged with the responsibility of providing a classroom environment conducive to learning undertake this responsibly seriously in most cases. However, some professors believe it is acceptable behavior for students to use their smartphones during class time for personal use if they do not distract students. This is spurious thinking. The students using their smartphones to text friends, visit social sites or play games are distracted and cannot pay attention.
Kevin Synnott

Bonnie Franklin had a career as director, too

I enjoyed reading the write-ups on Bonnie Franklin in your pages and other papers. However, I would have liked more on her career as a television director. She directed three episodes of the classic 60s sitcom, "The Munsters."
Robert Becker

'26 reasons to act' shows need for gun regulations

We wish to express our appreciation for remembrances of the angels and heroes of the Sandy Hook School massacre through the “26 Reasons To Act” series.
Reading about each victim is both heartbreaking and deeply moving. We must press our local and state lawmakers and, even more importantly, our congressmen and senators, to pass a federal as well as a state law banning the sale of military-style, semi-automatic rifles and all magazines of more than 10 rounds.
By itself, a national ban (excepting the military and the police) is the sensible first step in keeping these firearms from being used by madmen. Further, we must stop the gun show loopholes of little or no state and federal background checks and easy purchase of these weapons. We are gun owners for more than fifty years, but we can’t see the need for civilian ownership of these guns. Please, keep the pressure on our lawmakers!
Richard and Betty Ardolino
North Haven

J.P. Morgan puts profits ahead of economy, people

Shame on you, J.P. Morgan! Are you not making enough profit? Are billions not enough? Is it not time to invest in labor, in the country’s economic condition, in our way of life?
Large companies are destroying themselves by not investing in labor: There will be no one to buy or utilize their products and the government will have to continue to hire if no one else does. It is time for labor, for the middle class, for decent wages. Large profits for investors is freezing the economy.
Ruth Brooks

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hamden pension problem is politics as usual

Anyone who has followed Hamden politics shouldn't be surprised at the pension fund problem.
The consultant hired by the town recently proposed a number of options, which included a scaled-back tax increase, concessions from town workers, implementation of 401(k) plans and the securing of a pension obligation bond from the state.
With the mayor preparing to announce the new town budget, the only question is will it be politics as usual.
If one were to listen to police union President Ambrosino, town workers shouldn't be asked to concede anything since the fiscal mismanagement that has plagued this town for decades is not their fault. Neither is it the fault of Hamden taxpayers who have had to absorb consecutive tax increases over the last several years.
I'd like to think differently but since it's an election year, I'm afraid the answer to that question will be politics as usual.
Frank DePino

Disband or disarm the Department of Homeland Security

People ask why many of us want to own an assault weapon.
I ask, "Why is the government creating an internal army?" We have the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Customs Agents, National Guard, Capitol Police, State Police, Local Police, DEA, ATF, NSA, FBI and CIA. We're even arming Social Security agents, for God's sake.
Now, we create, build and arm the Department of Homeland Security.
Why the heck do we need an internal army? Who are they supposed to be preparing to attack or defend? Why do they need 2,700 light-armored tanks, more than 1,600 assault weapons and 1.6 billion bullets?
Again, are we being invaded? Anyone study history? How do you think the Gestapo, the Nazi S.S., the Soviet KGB, the East German Stasi and hundreds of other "internal" secret police that controlled their people in other countries got started?
We do not need the Department of Homeland Security. Its design and intent is to spy on and control the people under the guise of a terrorist threat. I thought that was the job of the FBI and CIA?
The Department of Homeland Security declared veterans returning from combat a potential threat. Homeland Security has a "pre-terrorist" organization list. Any person or group “(who) believes that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack” is declared by them as "right-wing extremists!"
So, Homeland Security is now defining how they think you should act as a citizen.
Question your government and you are a threat. Didn't the Nazis and Communists do the same in their countries before and after they took over?
I and many others question our government, which is still our constitutional right. I'm neither left nor right wing. I'm a veteran, a citizen and my Constitution gives me the right to question anything and protect myself. I took an oath to the Constitution and to protect my country from ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.
Homeland Security can and WILL eventually be used against the people if not disbanded or at least disarmed. They don't need guns or tanks to investigate and secure. They can call the police or military like the government tells everyone else to do. The government keeps creating more "control" agencies, funded by OUR tax dollars without OUR input or vote. No one questions this? Why?
Jim Pace

Legislators invent language to justify gun restrictions

Here is the Second Amendment: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
As this amendment is written, a ban of any particular weapon is an infringement. Note that the Second Amendment makes no mention of hunting/target shooting, but it does mention the security of a free state.
The AR-15 is no more deadly than most sporting or hunting rifles, and is not a "military style assault weapon." It may look similar in appearance, but it functionality is not the same.
With regards to magazine size, a 30-round magazine is not "high-capacity," it is standard capacity. A high-capacity magazine would be a 50-round, or 100-round drum magazine.
The terms "assault-style weapon" and "high-capacity magazine" are terms coined by the legislators who wish to pass the new legislation. After all, when the Department of Homeland Security buys AR-15s they are called "personal defense weapons" but when citizens buy them they are "assault weapons."
Under the new legislation, criminals will still have access to standard capacity magazines, so why can't we defend ourselves with the same? The government won't tell us that the new legislation is infringing on the Second Amendment, just like they won't tell us that the changes in the NDAA 2012 violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, or that the SOPA act violates the First Amendment. But must they come out and tell us so plainly?
Anthony Lanzaro

Newtown aftermath should target mental health, not guns

There’s only one part of Gov. Malloy’s proposal about gun legislation that almost makes sense.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission begins with the statement, “While issues related to mental illness and behavioral health are complicated, it is clear that keeping guns out of the hands of those whose behaviors indicate that they pose a risk to themselves or others is essential to protecting public safety.”
I don’t want to go any further or mention any of the other issues brought up in the proposal because this is the only one that needs to be addressed. Proposing more gun laws isn’t going to solve the problem. The bottom line is that a gun cannot shoot itself. Guns cannot kill unless there’s someone to pull the trigger. End of story.
What we need is a collaboration of professionals to look at behavior issues and possible mental illness. If you want to talk about mandatory reporting, how about teachers talking to each other if they feel they have a student with a behavior or mental issue. See if the student displays antisocial behavior in other classes. Then take that to a person in the guidance office who can talk to the student and decide if mandatory reporting is warranted.
Now, bear with me because I’m about to make a statement that will upset people. Yes, Adam Lanza shot his way into the school after killing his mother. But I wonder if he didn’t have access to the weapons that his mother bought legally and taught him to use, he could have spent an hour at the library or 10 minutes on the Internet and he could have built a bomb. So, instead of killing 21 children, he could have blown up the school and killed every single child in that building.
The guns didn’t kill anyone. He did.
The problem with dragging the skeleton out of the closet (mental health issues) is that it would cost the state money rather than make money for Malloy and lose jobs for those of us who work for the gun manufacturers. The state would have to reopen mental health clinics and institutions and staff them. They might actually have to help the homeless (of which many suffer from mental illness and have nowhere to go except the streets) as well as those who’ve gone undetected.
Sorry, it’s easier to add more gun laws and put people out of jobs and add all new kinds of licensing and taxes to make money for the state than to spend money doing something that might actually make a difference.
A person who’s determined to kill is like a person who’s determined to commit suicide. You can take away the gun, but they’ll just find another way to accomplish their goal. I say it’s time we stop adding duct tape to the dike that’s already collapsed and try building a new wall in order to stop the flood that’s already affecting us all.
Bonnee Pierson

Replace ineffective Daylight Savings Time

It's that time of year again. Daylight Saving Time starts this coming Sunday.
Now I've done all the research into claims of energy savings, crime reduction and other supposed benefits of this outdated practice of "spring forward - fall back," and can't find anything to substantiate any of it.
So I'm proposing a compromise: Permanent Year-Round "Half-Hour" Daylight Saving Time! That's right, all states participating in DST shall turn clocks ahead one half-hour, and leave them that way permanently. Other countries may go along as they see fit.
Imagine, no more labor lost changing the time on who knows how may appliances and other electronics. No more "jet-lag" effect the first one or two days after this Sunday. No more pitch-dark mornings in mid-March or November, or kids crying because they still want to sleep another hour. No more spikes in heart attacks or motor vehicle accidents right after clocks are moved forward.
Half-hour DST will ensure a fair share of daylight for both early birds and folks who like those long summer evenings. What do you think about it?
Christopher Kozicki

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Public opinion stands against immigration reform

I would hope that Governor Malloy, Michael Lawlor and Mayor DeStefano read the Sound Off comments in Thursday, Feb. 28, edition of the New Haven Register.
Of the 32 opinions, 28 had a negative reaction to reforming U.S. immigration laws, the consensus being, enforce our present laws and not change them to benefit illegal immigrants and their outspoken advocates.
It was evident to me that the majority of the people represented by the aforementioned politicians, don’t agree with their ideas or policies regarding illegal immigrants.
By not seeking to strengthen and enforce our existing laws, they show no regard or respect for the opinions of us citizens.
The prime example for not changing our immigration laws is Jose Marie Islas. Michael Lawlor claims Islas is not a bad person because although in 2005, he illegally entered the country and was deported multiple times, he is not a violent offender and should not be deported. So he knowingly and repeatedly snubbed our laws, but since he hasn’t committed a felony yet, let’s let him stay.
Mr. Lawlor, don’t insult us by using Mr. Islas case for fighting deportation. We are just not that gullible or stupid.
ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein states in 2012, 225,390 illegal immigrants were deported. 1,215 for homicides; 5,557 for sexual offenses, 40,448 for drug offenses, 36,166 for driving under the influence. With these statistics, why would anybody want to make it easier for illegal immigrants to enter and remain in our country?
God bless America. And may our politicians remember who they are representing. Their policies should reflect the wishes of us citizens and not the demands of illegal immigrants and their supporters.
Anthony P. Esposito Sr.
New Haven

Secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership needs exposure

Soon, U.S. negotiators will be working behind closed doors in Singapore on a massive agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s being sold as a “free trade” agreement, but actually TPP would give new rights to corporations that are not in the interests of the American people, such as offshoring jobs, and importing foods that do not meet American safety standards. It would even ban buy-American procurement policies that reinvest our tax dollars locally to create jobs here.
Eleven countries are involved in the secret talks, and it’s open for more to join. It would expose the U.S. to corporate attacks before foreign tribunals demanding compensation in our tax dollars, simply because foreign firms may not like our laws.
President Obama has called for completion of the TPP by October of this year, yet after three years of negotiations, the public and Congress know almost nothing about what U.S. negotiators are proposing in our names. Will you please cover this story so that the American people become informed about what may be a disastrous policy and can react to it?
George Veronis
New Haven