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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The George Zimmerman-O.J. Simpson double-standard

The black community seems outraged with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder when jurors agreed that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a young unarmed black teenager. Let’s go back to the O.J. Simpson trial ... here ,despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, Simpson was acquitted of the premeditated murders of his former wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman by a sympathetic black jury. After the verdict , there were news reels of black people rejoicing in the streets across America. And, although the majority of the white populace thought Simpson had gotten away with murder,there were no marches and very little protest. After the verdict in the Zimmerman case, blacks are marching all over America, saying the verdict was unjust. Let us ask ourselves, which verdict was more unjust?
 Giulio Meneo
New Haven

Doctor's column reminds us that 'older people are our history books'

Regarding Dr. Steven Wolfson’s thoughtful New Haven Register "Forum" item Sunday, July 21, I was much interested as a longtime healthcare provider.
The heading “All people have stories - health care providers should learn them” reminds me of a cherished University of Massachusetts professor’s maxim “Older people are our history books. We should read them well.”
We are all part of the human connection; establishing trust, assuring confidentiality and acknowledging one another as valuable contributors as the sure/enduring structure is made. Dr. Wolfson’s shared perspective reinforces this so well.
I always enjoy reading the New Haven Register on my summer holiday.
Cynthia Duryee
Boston, Massachusetts

State rep supports banning puppy mill dogs in Branford

I am writing you in support of the proposed ban on the sale of puppy mill dogs in the town of Branford. As the co-chairman of the Legislators for Animal Advocacy caucus in the Connecticut General Assembly, I applaud the efforts of those who are supporting this initiative. This is something we took a big step toward to doing this past session when we voted to undertake a study on this issue because there is a problem finding homes for some of the most innocent and sweetest dogs you would ever want to see due to the many dogs languishing in shelters around the state. I also believe this would benefit pet shop owners who would then have a plethora of dogs they could sell, all coming from the shelters, which would be a win-win situation.
In the end, if we continue to turn our heads to this problem, the only ones who will suffer will be the ones who truly have no voice and are without fault ... the dogs. It also becomes a strain on municipal budgets when animal control and law enforcement officials have to deal with homeless dogs and the problems that creates.
Thanks for your time and consideration on this important issue. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions and or would like more information.
Fred Camillo
State Representative - 151st District

Beware offers of free cell phone use for seniors

I read with interest the full page ad in Wednesday, July 24, paper about seniors getting easy to use cell phones for “free.” There is nothing free in this ad. All cell phone companies are required to allow all emergency calls to 911 no matter what plan you have. The $97 start up fee is a tip-off also.
All senior citizens and people with disabilities are eligible for free phones and 250 minutes of service per month - with no start-up fee. The only requirement is you must be on the food stamp program SNAP or any other number of government programs.
Two companies I know of is Safelink and Assurance. All one has to do is call 211 and ask about these wonderful programs.
Charles R. Hopkins
New Haven

Sunday, July 21, 2013

'Most Influential' section omitted Ribicoff, included Paul Newman error

On June 16, the New Haven Register published a special section titled “The Most Influential People in Connecticut History” a piece I found to be most fascinating and informative; thank you!
The piece raised two questions for me which I would like to comment on. First, I was curious as to why former Gov. Abraham Ribicoff was omitted, a person who was not only influential in our state, but certainly on the national stage as well. His encounter at the Chicago National Democratic Convention made glaring headlines. He served as senator and cabinet member as well.
In addition, in reading through the backgrounds of the individuals, I picked up on an error in the write-up of Paul Newman. The article sites his role in some of his more famous movies, one of which was “Some Like it Hot” with Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. However, he was not in the movie; the other actor who played opposite Curtis and Monroe was Jack Lemmon, not Newman.
Nick Maiorino

If owner of historic Milford home can't restore it, sell, don't demolish

An Open Letter To Mr. William Farrell:
If you truly had been motivated by a desire to rescue and restore the Thomas Sanford/ David Bristol House, at 111-113 North Street, Milford, Connecticut, when you’d purchased it this past January, as you’d recently claimed before the Milford Historic District Commission, then I respectfully implore you to honor your original intentions, and not demolish this unique historic home.
As an owner and restorer of two 18th century homes, each likewise suffering from damage and varying degrees of deferred maintenance, I fully understand how daunting and resource-intensive this process can be. But you’re certainly not alone in this, and there are many of us in the local preservation community who’d be more than willing to listen, and even assist where possible, if you’d only reach out to us.
On the other hand, if you’re unable or unwilling to restore the home, then I request you still remain true to your intentions by seeking out a new owner for the Sanford/Bristol House who’s indeed willing to pursue this path. Once again, there are many of us who could assist you in this process. And, if that seems unacceptable to you, then at the very least, consider an alternative to outright demolition, such as possibly donating the home to a nonprofit willing to relocate it elsewhere. There’s no doubt that finding an alternative to demolition takes time and determination, but a good many others have accomplished this before.
As the great William Morris once observed: “These old buildings do not belong to us only…they have belonged to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants, unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our property, to do as we like with. We are only trustees for those that come after us”. More than anything else, I want my personal legacy to someday reflect that I’d been a worthy trustee of my built heritage. And I’m quite sure you want precisely the same for yourself, as well.
John Poole
Architectural Historian

Tired of New Haven Register's liberal editorials

Another pro-Democratic New Haven Register editorial. Is there any other? Thank God for the two-party system and a Constitution in place. When things don't go his way, Harry Reid wants to change the rules, in this case, the filibuster. If the Register and the Democratics would have their way, that would change.
The "nuclear option" changing the rules governing filibusters would give the minority party even less of a voice in the Senate. It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, but Reid wants to change this to a simple majority in order to push through his liberal agenda more quickly. The filibuster, part of the democratic process, is in place to keep the majority from simply enacting everything it wants, making the Senate a more deliberating chamber.
The tiring pro-liberal editorials that the Register keeps spewing out gives pause to reflect - is this newspaper really worth the paper it's printed on?
Patricia Driscoll

Enjoyed John Lampe's 'Young Frankenstein' in Clinton

The Connecticut shoreline is filled with wonderful resources, views, foods and culture. One spectacular feature are the dramatic productions of the Clinton Park and Rec playhouse under the direction of Mr John Lampe. His most recent production was the musical version of “Young Frankenstein.” The production was a joy with ordinary folks singing and acting as good as what you’d see at Long Wharf Theatre or the Yale Dramat.
I have seen several of Lampe’s works in Clinton and he is a theatre wizard. If you want to see personal transformations of people like you and me. Please go to see ANY production directed my Mr. Lampe. He’s gifted ... so are the players.
James Monahan

How 'pay for delay' is gouging you at local pharmacies

I went to the pharmacy the other day to get three prescription eye drops that I needed to use prior to a complicated eye surgery. These bottles are no bigger than the end of your index finger. Just one of them was $178. I wondered at the time why it was so expensive.
Well, I’ve found out the answer and it’s pure corporate greed. This would not be a revelation if this were just one corporation but the level of complicity within the entire industry is staggering.
What we have here is basically a conglomerate monopoly and here’s how it works: brand-name drug companies are paying off generic drug companies to not make or delay making specific drugs thereby eliminating the competition that could bring down the cost 85 to 90 percent. For example, brand name Plavix costs about $205 for a 30-day supply but generic costs about $13. This practice is called “pay for delay” and costs us $3.5 billion in higher drug costs annually. Drug companies spend more on lobbying than any other industry and what they count on is that most people don’t know what they’re up to or simply don’t know what to do about it.
Here’s what we can do about it: Call or write your state Senator and Representative and urge them to draft legislation that will put an end to this practice which although not quite illegal is simply wrong. You can also contact the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (CONNPIRG) at 198 Park Rd., 2nd fl., West Hartford, Connecticut 06119, 860-233-7554.
Matthew J. Schons
New Haven

Jesus isn't your Prozac; Prozac is your Prozac

Cute and catchy but highly inaccurate. Such is the slogan, “Jesus is my Prozac,” at St. Paul’s UAME bulletin board on Dwight Street.
New Haven is blessed (as the pastor would say) with Yale-New Haven Hospital’s psychiatric facilities on both the York Streeet and Street Raphael’s campuses. The Elm City is also fortunate to be home-base for the Connecticut Mental Health Center at 34 Park St.
Indeed, the scriptures were meant to alloy mental illness ... not to induce it. There is, however, no substitute for the first-rate psychiatric care - insured or not - in this city.
We are “doubly blessed” in that CMHC is a teaching adjunct to Yale Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry. To wit: clergy is clergy - medical professsionals are precisely that: professionals in mental health care issues.
Francis P. Shannon
New Haven

Focus on mental health, drug addiction could ease prison overcrowding

Prisons are overcrowded for many other reasons other than the issue of parole.
Many of the inmates, suffer from mental illness. Those that do have a severe mental illness should be housed in a facility that specializes in counseling and programs that will benefit the individual. These people should be looked at and evaluated more closely. Putting them into prison, in many cases, makes the situation worse, which contributes to the high recidivism rate. If these people were given proper treatment earlier on, there is a good possibility they would not return to prison.
Many of the prisons are filled with inmates that suffer from drug addiction, I feel the court should be more lenient and sentence them to rehabilitation. Prisons don’t really focus on drug rehabilitation as well as they should. If people can work on their addiction and be productive, they too would have a greater chance to live a positive, fulfilling life without ever returning to prison. This would impact the overcrowding.
Marcia Cerrone
East Haven

Why does West Haven school superintendent favor devil over Bud Conolon?

I cannot believe that Neil Cavallaro, the superintendent of schools in West Haven, would say that the changing of the name of their town’s summer street hockey league is all about money and marketing the league. For him to do this means that kids will no longer be going to the “Bud Conlon Summer Street Hockey League,” instead they’ll be going to the “Devil.” They now want their league to be recognized as “Blue Devils Street Hockey.”
Instead of honoring someone who created this street hockey league and devoted himself to it, Neil Cavallaro must believe it’s better to honor the “Devil,” and this is reprehensible. I believe it’s time to not only get everyone to push to reinstate the proper name (Bud Conlon Summer Street Hockey League) to the hockey league, but to remove the “Devil” from an educational facility. Would I want my children to emulate Bud Conlon or the Devil? I would want my children to emulate Bud Conlon. Given the same choice, which would Neil Cavallaro choose for the children attending this league to follow? Everything possible should be done to correct this abhorrent situation.
TW O’Donnell

In heat wave, remember danger of opening fire hydrants

During this heat wave, we all try to find ways to cool off, but opening a fire hydrant to play in the water or to get a drink as shown in a photograph in Thursday’s edition of the New Haven Register (page A-11) should not be one of them. Opening a fire hydrant may look like a good way to cool off, but what looks like fun could become a matter of life and death. Opening fire hydrants can lower water pressure so firefighters don’t have enough water to put out a fire. The force of water gushing out of an open hydrant can push you in front of a passing car. Plus, opening fire hydrants to cool off is illegal.
Open hydrants can stir up sediment in the pipes and cause cloudy water for you and your neighbors. If enough hydrants are opened at the same time, a backflow can result, siphoning liquids from factories, swimming pools or other sources and contaminating your drinking water.
For safety’s sake, please don’t open any fire hydrants.
Kate Powell
Communications and Outreach Manager
South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
New Haven

Why didn't puppy supporters show concern for safety of humans?

The recent meeting of the Branford Rules and Ordinances Committee concerning the request for an ordinance banning the sale of pets from puppy mills has certainly been in the news. It is interesting that more than 200 people showed up at the committee meeting on July 2, but not one was present at the full Representative Town Meeting on July 10 for the official vote on the committee’s recommendation. There appears to be lack of knowledge of how an ordinance is voted in. No excuses - if you want to change the rules, you are responsible for learning the process.
So many people turned out for the July 2nd meeting that the fire marshal ordered the number of attendees be reduced to comply with the capacity code of the room. It is ironic that many supporting the safety and well-being of animals left only under the threat of the meeting being called off, not out of concern for the safety and well-being of those present. It is heartwarming to see how much we love our pets; I wish our love of fellow man was as evident.
Margaret Bruno

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cartoon connecticut Martin Luther King, Zimmerman in poor taste

The July 17 political cartoon depicting Dr. Martin Luther King’s statue and lines from his “I have a Dream” along with an Hispanic George Zimmerman caricature labeled “verdict” thumbing his nose is not only inflammatory and racist, it is totally incorrect according to the trial proceedings, evidence presented, and the verdict. If the news media does not respect and support the law and the decision by due process of the law, they should at least respect and tell the truth. It appears the media may want to encourage upheaval to make more news that is felt worthy of print and improve their revenue. That in itself is reprehensive and self-serving. A more balanced view would be welcome.
 Roy Smith

Matthew Harp is no slumlord

Media is everything. It permeates every facet of our lives. It affects what we wear, eat, how we perceive ourselves and who we vote for. Progressively, all elections, from the low level city and town elections to the Presidential elections have become more of a circus of political jargon and smoke and mirrors than platforms that engage real issues. Media is partially to blame for this.
 I was greatly disappointed at the New Register’s front page placement of the Harp slumlord article. I found Kermit Carolina’s comment which slandered Matthew Harp, revolting. In the past, every time Senator Toni Harp has run for political office, the newspaper and her opponents drag up her (late) husband’s business practices. This is a joke.
Senator Harp’s reputation as a policy maker and a leader is impeccable. Her son Matthew returned home when his father was ill and has spent the last two years trying to revive his father’s business. This is not a business he asked for, but one he inherited. To label him as a “slumlord” is not a truism reflective of his nature, but a statement about the poor character of the persons spewing such negativity. Let’s not deflect the attention away from what’s important by creating diversions that only aim to tear down and perpetuate mistruths and untruths. Let’s focus on the issues at hand; crime, job creation and education. These are the issues that will define or decline the city of New Haven in the next few years and these are the issues that should be talked about. Our city needs healing, not hate mongering subterfuge.
Crystal Emery
Executive Director/Producer
URU, The Right to Be Inc.
New Haven

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Beyond a reasonable doubt' unproven, we must accept Zimmerman verdict

The standard for a conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt.” Under the facts of the George Zimmerman case, that level of proof could never have been reached. Not guilty, however, does mean innocent, and the whole affair is a terrible tragedy. If Americans are going to rally in the streets because they do not believe a jury’s verdict and play the “race” card, out goes our entire legal system, full of faults as it is.
James E. McKinney Hamden

Danny Hoff for Foxon councilman

Foxon residents:
I want to suggest that we elect Robert “Danny” Hoff as councilman. He is a man who is for the people of East Haven. He will get the job done and he is a nice guy, too. He will be an asset to our community. He has my vote, and I hope you will help me elect him to the Town Council. Please join me in voting for Robert “Danny” Hoff for Third District Foxon councilman.
Charles Johnson
East Haven

New Haven Register editorial on Zimmerman was irresponsible

The lead editorial in Monday’s New Haven Register about the George Zimmerman verdict was stunningly one sided - and irresponsible - in portraying the judicial outcome as based solely on racism. There was not a shred of evidence presented at trial that Zimmerman followed or shot Trayvon Martin because he was black. Nor, was there any suggestion that the jury acquitted Zimmerman because he is a white Hispanic.
Your editorial made no mention of the high standard of proof required in all such criminal cases (“beyond a reasonable doubt”), of the often conflicting testimony that could reasonably be expected to give any objective juror reasonable doubt, and the credible evidence presented at trial that supported Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
Yes, Zimmerman exhibited bad judgment (e.g. in following Martin against the instructions of the police) that in the end contributed to the tragic outcome; but that doesn’t make him guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. If the Register was interested in shedding light, and promoting rational discourse, on this complex legal case that had horrible human costs, it failed miserably.
Donald Wheeler

Clergy stand together in seeking justice for Trayvon Martin

Thank you for your article about the George Zimmerman verdict featuring comments from African American pastors and parishioners. I want to make sure everyone understands that white, Hispanic and Asian clergy and parishioners from many churches and other faith communities also expressed concern in worship services this weekend. All of us, of any race, need to speak out for justice for all in this nation. Beyond the court case, we need to remember that if Zimmerman had obeyed the instructions of the police and not engaged Martin (who was not in the process of committing any crime), Martin would still be alive. The culture of suspicion and fear which leads people to violence is something people of all faiths and races must work together to change.
The Rev. Rochelle A. Stackhouse
The Church of the Redeemer UCC
New Haven

Not testifying in your own defense doesn't mean you are guilty

The jury in Sanford, Florida, has spoken, and George Zimmerman has been acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin. According to many legal experts, this verdict was a good call, since the state did not meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. So those who are upset with the verdict as well as those who are jubilant about it all have to abide by the rule of law.
And as is his undeniable right, George Zimmerman chose not to testify in his own defense, an option which is ingrained in our legal system and should, of course, continue. What should not continue, as I have so often heard from my friends on the right, is the presumption that when someone won’t testify citing their right not to incriminate themselves it infers that they must certainly be guilty. That is an argument they can never legitimately use again, since their guy, George Zimmerman took that option. This would indeed appear to be food for thought as a sauce for the goose that is certainly worth a gander.
Norman L. Bender

Trayvon Martin's death shouldn't be compared to civil rights martyrs

Many in the black community are outraged that the jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin. Yet the jury carefully weighed all the evidence and returned their verdict based on Florida law.
Some of the reaction has been a bit over-the-top. Martin’s death was a tragedy. But to compare the circumstances of Martin’s death with those of Medgar Evers and Emmett Till, who were murdered decades ago by white racists because of their color, is both intellectually dishonest and insulting to the Civil Rights movement. Zimmerman, by all accounts and despite any other flaws, was not a racist. And Martin’s well-documented assault on Zimmerman, whatever the reason and despite the outcome, does not render him completely blameless in the tragedy. Zimmerman said he reacted in fear for his life and the jury apparently believed the evidence that supported his claim.
The outrage expressed by so-called black leaders over the Zimmerman verdict seems hollow and somewhat disingenuous considering what they have not done to stem the epidemic of black on black murders in today’s inner cities. Where is their outrage over those crimes? That is a conversation that desperately needs to take place today in America – and it is long overdue.
David G. Johnson

Saturday, July 13, 2013

East Haven's Republican mayor, Democratic chairman need to go

It can’t possibly be true. Let’s get this straight: 12 years of financial neglect at the Police Department; a hand-picked chief from New Haven who used intimidation as his principal management style; and, a public meltdown during a town crisis that embarrassed East Haven across the country. Now, Mayor Joseph Maturo wants to take credit for following a decree he was forced to accept. It sounds like Mr. Maturo wants us to forget about the origin of the problem. Simply amazing!
Coincidentally, Democratic Town Chairman Gene Ruocco continues to use social media with the same enthusiasm as a teenager to mislead for purposes of political gain. Whatever happened to supporting the men and women of our Police Department? Rather, shouldn’t Mr. Ruocco focus more attention on the financial problems facing his candidate for mayor? East Haven is a proud community. After years of political wrangling, we need both of these men to step aside. Enough is enough! We don’t need continued attacks against our officers and we certainly don’t need to be babysat by an outside entity looking over our shoulder. We need people with integrity to lead the way… our way.
Mia Marchitto
East Haven

Grateful for supporters of Wallingford's July 4th fireworks

It was Saturday, July 6. A hot summer night, clear with no rain in sight. And then they began. The town of Wallingford’s sky was lit up with a super spectacular fireworks display. Seeing the colors paint the sky, feeling that boom inside you, seeing the smiles and glee on the children’s faces, feeling patriotic for the love of our country… that’s what it is all about. All this made possible for the Town of Wallingford by the tireless efforts of Jason Zandri, all the wonderful people involved in helping through the Wallingford Fireworks Fund, and all the generous contributions from caring people and organizations.
This was the fourth year that this effort to give The Town of Wallingford an awesome fireworks display was successful to keep an ageless joy and tradition alive. No money was allocated for fireworks in the Wallingford town budget, not for the fireworks, the police overtime, the fire department overtime or any of the other town services; the entire burden was on the Fund to come through with the money and they did in spades as they were able to restore the R Band performance and add to the show’s grand finale. Jason and his effort through the fund saw to it that the children and adults of Wallingford had the thrill of watching the sky sing Happy Birthday to America. It was all grand and the grand finale was second to none. Many Thanks.
“Blasting away on a Hot summers night,
Beautiful Fireworks colorful and bright.
Lighting up the Wallingford sky for all to see,
We are all thankful …
Dianne J. Manville

Double-standard in MSNBC comments about Clarence Thomas

Just imagine if a conservative commentator or someone from the political right had said something on national TV as outrageous as what the MSNBC political contributor/pundit Michael Dyson had recently said about a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and what was said about this same Justice by a sitting U.S. Congressman. Every major network, liberal press media would be calling for more than an apology, they would want his/her head on a platter. Missed these comments, well you most likely did for they were buried by the main stream media and can only now be found online. By the way, the Congressman has since apologized but not Dyson or anyone from MSNBC.
Both were referring to Justice Clarence Thomas in response to the voting rights decision handed down. Dyson compared Justice Thomas to “like a Jew inviting a metaphoric Hitler to commit holocaust and genocide upon his own people”. While Ryan Winkle, D-Minnesota, referred to Justice Thomas as ‘Uncle Thomas in relation to a black person being an Uncle Tom. Mind you this was a sitting member of Congress. Now I know some will say so what, only words and to a degree they are right. But, as I stated, reverse the rolls, have a conservative or someone on the political right make such comments. What would happen? Think about that for just a moment.
Richard Poulton
East Haven

East Haven police probe is political ploy by Mayor Maturo

Although I’m not surprised, I’m appalled the Maturo administration continues to use the police department to satisfy its political objectives. Is Mayor Joe Maturo that desperate to stay in office? What’s really at stake for him and his cronies? Apparently, Mr. Maturo believes it’s OK to sully the reputation of Detective Robert Ranfone in an effort to distort the record of Democratic challenger Gary DePalma. Det. Ranfone is an asset to the Town of East Haven and is above being used as collateral damage for political gain.
The hard-working people of East Haven support their Police Department. Mr. Maturo has trampled their efforts for more than 12 years. Until an outside entity forced his hand, his administration never made an adequate investment on their behalf. For years, they lacked equipment, training, vehicles and manpower. Promotions were made according to political allegiance. Don’t believe it? Ask a veteran cop.
This time, he’s gone too far. Using the Police Department as a political tool needs to end immediately. Mr. Maturo believes we’re here to support his agenda. Fact is, he’s supposed to support ours. And we’re tired of the attention and ridicule he’s forced on us. Leave our officers out of your political dealings. Det. Ranfone is a beloved member of the East Haven community and a highly decorated officer. He deserves our respect, appreciation and support.
Lisa Ruggiero
East Haven

New Haven Register shouldn't glorify food eating contests

This letter is in reference to a photo that appeared on page B4 of the July 5 New Haven Register. Once again I have to protest. There is nothing admirable or celebratory about eating contests. Every year the Register publishes a picture of Joey Chestnut and his pals eating and wasting enough food to feed a family for a week. It’s a slap in the face to those parents who have to scrounge and sacrifice in order to provide for their children. It seems that the least the competitors can do is donate some of their winnings to the local food banks. (Or does overeating prevent them from understanding the news?)
Harriet V. Harris
West Haven

Term limits needed for members of U.S. Congress

Congress and the Senate have an approval rating of under 20 percent. Continual bipartisan bickering; politicians bowing down to special interests funding their next campaign and not addressing the needs of the country makes a valid argument for term limits.
House Speaker John Boehner, son of a tavern owner, is more interested in cutting taxes for the country club set with whom he can play golf than passing legislation. His inability to control the Tea Party shelved the budget agreement he had agreed to with the President Barack Obama. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whose single purpose is to defeat any Obama proposal (he failed to prevent the president’s second term, his avowed strategy) offers no solutions on immigration, infrastructure needs, tax reform, et al. He would rather filibuster.
On the Democratic side, there is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was unable to get the Senate to pass a gun control bill requiring background checks despite 90 percent of Americans supporting such a proposal.
These are just a few examples of how ineffective our elected officials are in performing their duties. With gerrymandered districts, we are stuck with elected officials, good or bad, as long as they determine to hold office. Our founding fathers never intended to create permanent jobs for congressmen and senators. It was expected that a citizen would serve his term and return to original employment.
With term limits we may throw out some “babies with the bath water,” but based on popular opinion 80 percent of our elected, ineffective officials would be ousted sooner rather than later.
A proposal might be two four-year terms for Congress. As it is now, two-year terms have elected officials doing nothing but fundraising and campaigning. Senators should be elected for one six-year term (two if more practical). I would suggest one six-year term for the president, so he or she does not have to spend two years campaigning for re-election.
A solution might be limiting campaigns for all elective office to three months with public funding. Eliminate private, corporate and union financing. The amount of money spent on national elections is obscene. The question is how to bring term limits to referendum. We know our politicians will not initiate legislation.
Robert F. O’Such

Ann DeMatteo deserves Outstanding Person of the Year award

There is truly only one person deserving of the New Haven Register's honor for "outstanding person" this year .... hands down! That person is Ann DeMatteo.
Her weekly columns were always the very first thing our family turned to each week. Week after week, month after month, Ann touched the lives of the entire community ... from the youngest child to the oldest senior citizen. She was everywhere, knew everyone, called our attention to everything! Mention her name and everyone has a story to tell about her. Whether she was making us aware of an upcoming fund-raiser for a worthy cause, or a story about a special needs person, an art event, a race, a talent show, an upcoming concert, etc., etc., etc. It was always Ann who tuned us in as she gave press coverage to whatever timely and noteworthy event that was taking place. We can think of no one else in the community that has impacted the lives of so many.
It is mind-boggling to think that she carried on so bravely in spite of the cancer that ravaged her and even shared her difficult journey with all of us ... teaching us about her struggle and showing us how she dealt with her illness. She sugar-coated nothing, no shrinking violet was she! Until the end, she continually thanked her readers, her friends, her family and especially her remarkable mother. Can you believe that she thanked US? There will never be another like her. Our family nominates Ann DeMatteo for this award.
Carol and Vincent Cangiano

Milford Historic District Commission defends demolition vote

The Milford Historic District Commission recently received and acted upon an application to demolish the Sanford/Bristol house located within its boundaries at 111-113 North Street. During the course of the two extensive public meetings it held, the Commission was presented with testimony from the applicant, as well as his architect and professional engineer regarding the current condition and renovation prospects for this historic structure. It also listened carefully to the neighbors and other interested parties who spoke both for and against the application. In addition, it arranged for and conducted a site visit to enable each commission member, and anyone else who was interested, to personally view the property. Finally, to ensure the thoroughness and accuracy of the Commission’s deliberations, it retained its own highly qualified engineer to provide an independent opinion as to its structural integrity and safety.
Two of those interested parties have chosen to disagree with the Commission’s final determination to authorize demolition. That certainly is their right. What is disturbing, however, is their ad hominem attacks on the individual members of the commission - accusing them of “abdicating their trust and responsibility” and suggesting that the Commission has “forgotten why they formed this commission in the first place”. Both letter writers spoke during our meetings; they were given all of the time they requested to make their case. Neither came to our published site visit and neither came to our second meeting when the Commission’s engineer’s report was distributed. On the face of it, it would appear that neither was willing to have their pre-established opinions contradicted by plain facts and professionally qualified judgments.
This commission is statutorily charged to respect the rule of law - to allow for the full airing of facts and to apply them to the standards which the Connecticut legislature and Milford’s ordinance prescribe. We all have personal opinions; unlike our critics, as commission members who have a sworn duty to follow the law, we put them aside to protect our community - not to advance our personal agendas. We will truly miss the presence of the Sanford/Bristol house in our neighborhood; we regret the thirty plus years of neglect by prior owners which mandated our decision. We will not, however, allow unjustified accusations to force us to make politically expedient decisions.
Arthur W. Stowe
Milly V. Beyer
John W. O’Neil
Suzanne M. Whittaker
Linda B. Stephenson
John Carissimi
Robert L. Berchem, Chairman

Milford Historic Commission wrong to back demolition of 1700s house

On Monday, June 24, the Historic Commission voted to demolish one of our historic homes: The Sanford/Bristol house at 111-113 North St. that dates back to the 1700s. It is in the historic district and on the National Register, which is supposed to be protected.
Bill Farrell, who is the first vice president of the Milford Historical Society, is the person who bought the Sanford/Bristol House and is requesting that the house be demolished.
The Historic Commission was formed to protect our historical homes in historic districts. The commission consists of president of the Milford Historical Society Arthur Stowe, Linda Stephenson, Millie Beyer, Chairman Robert Berchem, Suzanne Whittaker and Dr. John O’Neil.
They all voted to demolish the Sanford Bristol House except O’Neil, who voted to save the house. I guess you can say that the Historic Commission has forgotten why they formed this commission in the first place.
The structural engineers that Bill Farrell has hired are saying that the foundation is not secure enough. I find this hard to believe since the house is more than 200 years old and it is still standing. The foundations on many homes they build today are not as solid as the foundations they built over 200 years ago.
I ask you why even bother having a Historic Commission? I always believed that members of such boards and commissions were there to protect history not demolish it.
The Milford Preservation Trust hand delivered to Robert Berchem’s office a resolution before the meeting June 24. It was a resolution to the Historic Commission opposing the demolition of the Sanford/Bristol house. Our Historic Commission has made a major statement with their vote and you have to ask yourself is the history of Milford in jeopardy?
Barbara Genovese
Vice President of Milford Preservation Trust

Unhappy with changes by New Haven Register and AT&T

Upon receiving my New Haven Register renewal bill, I am considering not continuing my subscription. The new print size is very senior citizen-unfriendly. Is it that the New Haven Register does not care if senior citizens read their paper? We also like to keep up-to-date with the news, sports, and editorials and at times do a crossword puzzle.
AT&T is another company who is also not senior citizen friendly with their new telephone books. The small print makes it impossible to find a telephone number. Their new format with the one surname followed by a list of first names makes it hard to locate a phone number. They might think it is more profitable to charge a $1.89 fee for a senior citizen and those people with a problem seeing to call information for a number. When I contacted AT&T to find out if there is a larger print telephone directory for subscribers who have a problem with their sight, I was advised to use the white pages of the Internet.
I suppose the newspaper could also be read on the Internet. My concern is not for myself, who has access and is knowledgeable of the Internet. My concern is for the more elderly seniors and those with eye problems unable to utilize the modern convenience of the computer world. New Haven Register and AT&T, shame on you both.
Susan Brady

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reader misses 'Love Is' cartoon in New Haven Register

I miss the cartoon “Love Is”. Since your new look it only appeared once. I have cut them out countless times and sent them on when the subject fit. They are always well received. Can’t we have it back. It’s one of my favorites and many others feel the same way.
Lorraine Burns
East Haven

Why wasn't 'white boy' comment a hate crime?

As usual the New Haven Register has shown it’s bias in the article about the bicycle thieves in the city. I thought that shouting a racial epithet, such as “run, white boy, run” while committing a crime, automatically elevated a misdemeanor larceny to a felony hate crime. Where were Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson’s comments on this crime?
Brian P. Coane
North Branford

New Haven firefighters deserve appreciation

In recent months, I have had to call for medical help numerous times. I would like to commend the City of New Haven for a top rate fire department and emergency medical technicians. These men and women have shown me compassion, kindness and professionalism at its best.
Engine 17 is close to my heart. They are the best of the best. I am glade I fought the mayor to keep this fire station open. They saved my house in 2002 from a 6-alarm fire and have been here to help me for many emergencies. Thank you to all of these great men and women who serve us and may God keep you all safe.
Cecilia Proto
New Haven

We need fair and balanced reporting on Benghazi

Kudos to George Owler for his letter about the Register’s lack of addressing the House committee hearing May 8, 2013. Benghazi is a tragedy. Four lives were lost. Families were devastated. Lies were told again and again. What difference does it make? Fair and balanced reporting of the whole truth make all the difference in the world.
Karen Wilkinson

New Haven Register should pick on a town other than East Haven

After another “forced” article in today’s paper, I am again glad I cancelled my subscription to the New Haven Register last year! I refuse to pay for such trash, and it even annoys me as I read it for free online! It’s become not only a waste of money, but a waste of my time. There is no reason there needs to be a third article on this subject, let alone back to back articles. The investigation is under way. Why is it important to get “expert opinions”... couldn’t you have just included the comments in yesterday’s article? Instead, you include two to three “expert” comments and rehash the same article you had yesterday. The fact that you continue to dig and bad mouth the Town of East Haven is incredulous! Do you live in this town? I’ve lived here for 48 years - yes we have our share of problems, but so do other cities and towns. Why don’t you do some real investigative reporting, perhaps OUTSIDE of East Haven. Last time I checked there were over 160 other city and towns in the State!
Beth Purcell
East Haven

Attacking Toni Harp on Keno won't work in New Haven mayor's race

New Haven mayoral candidate Henry Fernandez is desperate to tie the newly legalized gambling game keno directly to rival Toni Harp — the operative word being “desperate.” Fernandez is grasping at straws to smear Harp and the only thing he has come up with is the “keno strategy.” His attempt to lay keno at Harp’s doorstep shows a dangerous ignorance of the state legislative process. Knowledge about the system is essential to being mayor of a big city like New Haven and Fernandez clearly doesn’t have it.
The real story is that a gaping hole appeared in the state budget when grassroots opposition sunk Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposal for an energy auction when the spending plan was being finalized. There were several options to fill the shortfall: Raise taxes (cigarettes, income and others), cut vital services to the most vulnerable citizens of the state or legalize a gambling game that already exists in all Connecticut’s bordering states and the Native American Indian casinos in the state. Legislative leaders chose the gambling solution given that the state already has a robust gaming industry.
Here’s what Fernandez doesn’t understand — it’s the Senate president, speaker of the house and governor who have the final say on the budget and what is in or out. Leaders chose the best of the bad options available. Yes, Senator Harp too sided with the gaming option because she didn’t think cutting important services to the people of the state was a viable option and the governor was dead-set against burdening taxpayers with another tax increase after absorbing the largest tax increase in state history in 2010.
Fernandez is quick to criticize the decision to go with keno but he doesn’t say how he would have plugged the budget hole. Would he have cut social services? Does he think he has the juice to convince the governor to raise taxes? Fernandez is right that keno is not a great thing in and of itself and will bring about some problems. But nothing compared to the problems that cutting crucial services would bring. Being a leader, whether it’s in the state legislature or the mayor’s office, is about making tough choices. Senator Harp has shown she has what it takes to make those difficult choices. Fernandez has been relegated to naively sniping from the sidelines.
Patrick Scully
Cambridge, Mass.

Patrick Scully is a former director of communications for the Senate Democrats and is now a communications consultant.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

DePalma will send East Haven Spiraling Backward

Gary DePalma’s negative campaign is proving that he completely lacks the qualities necessary to serve as mayor of East Haven.
Since launching his campaign in early April, DePalma has become the poster child for negative campaigning. He is completely out of touch with the fact that a poison pen and hateful words are not what’s needed to move East Haven forward.
DePalma claims to offer a new direction for East Haven. Yet, he seeks to run on the same old issues raised four years ago. In 2007, the same people running DePalma’s campaign brought East Haven in a “new direction” upon defeating Mayor Joseph Maturo: spiraling downward. In Maturo’s absence, the Town ran three straight deficits, suffered a crippling 17 percent tax increase, and had its credit rating dropped twice.
Since 2011, under Maturo’s renewed leadership, the Town has run two straight surpluses, lowered taxes for 7,000 households, and given education the largest single-year increase in funding in the last four years. Because of Mayor Maturo’s solid record, Gary DePalma has no real issues to run on this year. So he’s digging out the playbook from 2007 and running one of the dirtiest, negative campaigns in East Haven’s history. DePalma’s campaign is proving that the only “direction” Gary DePalma is capable of taking East Haven is backward.
Carl Ruggiero
East Haven

Hamden firefighters grateful for fireworks support

The Hamden Volunteer Firefighters Fireworks Committee would like to thank everyone who contributed to the 2013 Independence Day Celebration on June 28. This was our 20th year coordinating this event. This event would not be possible without the people who support our efforts year after year, everyone who mailed us in a donation, made a Paypal donation, put money in the bucket at Stop & Shop and Home Depot, purchased our T-shirts or filled our buckets at the fireworks.
We also thank the following for their support of the 20th Anniversary Fireworks display: Hamden Rotary Club, International Operating Engineers Local 478, Guymark Studios Inc., Hamden Professional Firefighters Local 2687, Quinnipiac Bank and Trust, Thomas G. DiPietro Foundation, Inc., Beecher and Bennett Funeral Home, American Legion Post 88, Whitney Center, Wepawaug-Flagg Credit Union, Nolan’s Hamden Monument Co., Hamden Fire Retiree’s Association, Hamden Town Hall Employees Union, Hamden Supervisors Union, Shop-Rite, Unitas Club, donations in memory of Mildred D’Aniello, everyone at Sheperd Glen School, Utility Communications, Country Portables, Wildman Creative Services and Quinnipiac University and WQUN 1220 AM.
Special thanks to Mimsie Coleman and the Arts Commission, Traffic department, Hamden CERT team, all the Hamden volunteer firefighters and town departments that helped make our event the success is was. Donations may still be mailed to P.O. Box 5104, Hamden, CT 06518.
Karl Olson

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hobby Lobby has a right to operate freely as a private business

Not surprisingly, former president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Ann Lynch has a problem with Hobby Lobby’s business practices. She penned a letter to the editor that was published on Tuesday, June 25, doing her best to turn the public against the retailer which just located to an area town. Her beef is with them being closed on Sundays and health insurance coverage policies.
I don’t know if she misunderstands the American concepts of religious liberty and private business ownership, or if it’s an activist mindset which makes the letter so disconnected.
She tries to frame her issues with Hobby Lobby as one trying to protect victims. Hobby Lobby’s employees aren’t victims of their employer.
An employer is not obligated to violate their conscience for the happiness or comfort of their employees. Hobby Lobby and any other businesses recruit workers by offering a combination of wages and benefits. These are made known prior to the interviewee saying, “I’ll take the job.” If Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to pay for abortion inducing drugs or birth control pills (which can be obtained at the Target pharmacy in North Haven for $9 per month with no health insurance) then that was a condition of employment. If they aren’t required to provide health insurance at all, how can you assert what must be covered if they freely choose to offer it in the first place? Moreover, it never ceases to amaze me when people -- usually well to do people -- complain about the wages of entry level, low skill jobs (no advanced education or specialized skill required) as if these jobs are supposed to pay more than they do. These jobs are not intended to support families with their wages even if people use them as primary employment. They are supplemental income and stepping stone jobs, not careers. It should be expected that one would eventually move on or move up to a higher paying job.
Nothing productive comes from demonizing a business which employs so many people in an economy where the number of people without work is at an all-time high.
John Barron Jr.

FOIA protects democracy, but it will only work if we use it

This Independence Day marks 47 years since the landmark Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into federal law – yet Americans are still distrustful of government.
A 2013 Pew Research Center poll showed that only 26 percent of Americans surveyed say they can trust government in Washington “almost always or most of the time” — among the lowest ratings in the half-century since pollsters have been asking the question.
FOIA established our right to access government records and to know what our government is doing – both its successes and failures. Exercising our right to know gives us – the public – power. It allows us to contribute to our government and hold government accountable. From food and transportation safety to the use and disposal of chemicals, FOIA has enabled the public to ensure the health of our democracy and our own well-being.
FOIA (and related state and local laws) are only as good as we demand that they be. For decades, members of the League of Women Voters have acted as government watchdogs at the federal, state and local levels -- observing government meetings, conducting document audits and empowering citizens, but more work needs to be done. The key to a healthy, open and trusted government is public participation.
The government access organizations – OGAT in Orange, WGATV in Woodbridge, and Bethany meetings on Comcast channel 10 – offer our local citizens such participation in their own homes, on television and online. Honor this FOIA anniversary by exercising your right to know- attend a meeting, contact an elected official, or visit your town website:
Orange: (This has the link to OGAT Live)
Pua Ford
League of Women Voters of Amity

Children deserve good education, regardless of income or zip code

I want to thank every New Haven mayoral candidate who attended the June 21 debate, and engaged in a critical conversation about their respective visions for strengthening public education in our state’s second largest city. In the midst of their discussion, all candidates proclaimed their support for ensuring that New Haven kids receive increased access to high-quality public school options.
Over the past decade, New Haven has taken important steps to improve public education. In fact, the city’s landmark teacher and principal evaluation system serves as a model for educator evaluations that will be rolled out statewide.
But even though progress has been made on education, we still have a long way to go to ensure every child has access to the quality public education they deserve.
In New Haven, only one in three third graders are reading at grade level, and nearly three in four Black and Latino third graders are reading below grade level, according to the State Department of Education. That’s unacceptable. Kids across New Haven are counting on our next mayor’s leadership, and we cannot afford to let them down.
Fortunately, all seven candidates made strong statements on the record about their commitment to continuing education reforms that ensure every child has access to great teacher, principal, and public school. Thanks to the other hosts of this debate and to all of the New Haven mayoral candidates for participating in this event. We look forward to future events and community discussions with the candidates so that we can learn more about their specific plans for the city’s public schools. It is critical that the next mayor is deeply committed to investing in our children, as we cannot afford to dial back efforts to ensure every child has access to a high quality education, regardless of wealth, race or zip code.
Jennifer Alexander
New Haven

The writer is acting chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN).

Lawyer for Mianus River Bridge victim says investment needed

I was counsel to the estate of the young man who died as a result of the Mianus River Bridge collapse, which happened 30 years ago. In that case, the State of Connecticut was negligent when it failed to properly inspect and repair the Mianus River Bridge. Now, in part due to the recent Transportation for America study, it is clear that the State is on notice of the structurally deficient nature of 102 bridges in Fairfield County alone. Three of these bridges are specifically in the Greenwich/Stamford/Norwalk stretch of I-95. This is particularly important because more than 100,000 people a day drive over these bridges.
It is imperative that the state move to repair these bridges now before another tragedy happens, but how do we pay for the necessary funding?
Halting the diversion of funds away from the maintenance of bridges is a necessary first step. Placing tolls on I-95 might increase revenue, but would cause colossal traffic back-ups. A solution, which would make sense at this particular time, is to have additional long term state bonding. The interest rates on bonds right now are near an all-time low.
Restoring our bridges to safety should be a first priority of the coming year’s legislative session.
Richard A. Silver, Esq.
 Silver Golub & Teitell LLP

Unhappy with recent changes to New Haven Register

We are currently a subscriber to the New Haven Register and have been for 53 years. However, during the summer months of June, July and August, we sometimes cancel our subscription and then renew when we return to Hamden. We have never had a problem with the delivery service. The paper is bagged to protect it from the weather and is always early approximately 6:15 a.m. weekdays and a bit different on weekends.
Our problem is with the new edition and how it looks and the readability... font size,darkness of print. The paper looks like it's a faded gray print shade, not the dark black it used to be. Also, the font size is too small ... difficult to read even with my reading glasses impossible without them compared to older issues we are comparing with.
Also, in June, there were several columns that ended without finishing the story on a new page. How does that happen? I guess it’s not proofread very carefully. That never happened before with this newspaper. The quality and the appearance has deteriorated. The quantity news items has also suffered. We read the local section with obituary section each day. Also, the sports section, which has had a revision that is terrible. Why was that changed so much?
I thought that newspapers were trying to keep loyal customers. Sometimes it seems the opposite with the New Haven Register. Also, the public opinion page is now gone from page 2 why was that eliminated? It was corny but an interesting column to read. Sometimes we also need something funny to read.
I realize that times change for many reasons. It's just very difficult to enjoy reading your newspaper these days. Please help!
Tom Geirin

Public has responsibility to act on puppy mills

I was literally left mouth agape as I read the response by All Pets Club owner Jerry Pleban regarding the puppy mill dog sale ban. He stated, “My mother always said if you don’t like something, mind your own business.” I do not believe I have ever heard a less civic-minded sentiment in all my life. Not to compare puppy mill atrocities to the civil rights movement, but this statement and idea contradicts all that has been done to strive to make this country a more civil and humane place. In the '50s, it was not illegal to discriminate against minorities and was actually an institutional construct in many places until laws were amended.
Simply put: Just because something meets “the bare-minimum standards” (by his own admission) as outlined by the law, does that make it justifiable? Is it really better to “mind your own business” than to enact laws and affect change in ways that make us a more humane species? Given this “mind your own business” attitude, minorities could still be treated as second-class citizens. Would that be okay with Mr. Pleban’s mother? He also stated “we are not hurting anyone.” Of course, anyone here does not include the puppies they try to sell as family members. But in this instance, it is more convenient to see them as products of commerce than as a part of the family. His callous attitude towards these puppies is the exact reason why a law needs to be enacted.
Michael Antonetti

Vacationing East Haven mayor shirks finance duties

Here we go again! Apparently, Mayor Joseph Maturo still believes his job at Town Hall is a part-time position. It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Maturo lied about and, subsequently, had to defend an excessive vacation schedule during his first tenure as mayor. The debate over this perceived entitlement also included his duties as chairman of the Board of Finance. During his first term, Maturo missed 122 of 131 meetings. A principle responsibility of the position of mayor is to attend and preside over these meetings. Maturo’s attendance at these meetings is not optional, as a matter of principle. To date, he has attended 3 of 18 scheduled BOF meetings during his latest term in office. Overall, he has attended 12 of 149 BOF meetings during his combined 12 years as mayor. He’s a part-time employee, at best.
No doubt Mr. Maturo will dismiss these facts with the same response he’s used in the past. He’ll state that while the Town Charter makes him chairman, it doesn’t require that he go to the meetings. The Town Charter also doesn’t say much about his attendance at work every day or other areas of responsibility that are supposed to be understood. It’s his job. It’s what he was elected to do. Some things never change. Neither does Joe.
Joey Fazzino
East Haven

Hard to read New Haven Register's new design

On the new New Haven Register look, first, I would like to comment on the size of the print. It is smaller and very hard for us with eye problems to read. Also the print is light. We can hardly see the daily number section. We miss “Love Is” as we see ourselves in the cartoon. I expect you probably will keep improving as you go along.
Phyllis Terrasi
West Haven

Connecticut Democrats put more tax burden on middle class

As a registered independent, it is once again time to thank the governor and Democratic-controlled state Senate and House leaders for their statements regarding no new taxes in this year’s budget. Governor Dannel Malloy, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz have also indicated their continued support for the middle class and their desire to do everything they can to help us. I guess you can only surmise they must think the middle class doesn’t drive cars, the gasoline tax isn’t really a tax and creative accounting wasn’t used to craft a balanced state budget.
Wally Mowen

East Haven needs criminal investigation into political corruption

Corruption simply defined is “dishonest proceedings” or “bribery,” which, when committed by a public official, is classified a felony.
I raise the subject recalling the concern of Mr. Vincent Arpino, a fellow resident, regarding the Grand Apizza property purchase during former East Haven Mayor April Capone’s tenure, supposedly for the use of our fire department. Besides the property owner and real estate agent, who else benefited from the sale?
Taxpayers' money is sacrosanct. It is not spent arbitrarily for it represents the collective labor and contribution of each resident, to ensure its government is administered competently and without prejudice or favor.
Deviations from that principle other than exceptional cases could be viewed as questionable, which given the flooding problems of that location, we cannot but presume the sale was politically engineered with the end in view of anticipated benefits for the political office holders; not the community’s.
Major business transactions involving our government do not on merit alone move officials to act without the political leadership’s machinations; ever watchful of opportunities to preserve its party’s hold on power.
Towards that end and to make their enterprise appear more judicious and principled, both political parties opportunistically engage in what could be viewed as dubious justifications, to provide moral cover for their decisions.
Sadly, in the current political culture, questionable, even disreputable behavior, is marketed as badges of honor to delude us into believing they represent the community’s best interest; deserving our trusts and ultimately our votes.
But it cannot be argued. East Haven needs a renaissance, and the first step towards recovery is admitting the problem. If I were mayor, I would initiate a criminal investigation to help re-establish integrity and credibility in our government if only for our children, for they deserve nothing less. You can count on it.
Oni Sioson
East Haven

Thursday, July 4, 2013

DeStefano, Malloy and Looney hurt 'legal' taxpayers

There is something inherently wrong with this state and even this country when our “dedicated” representatives find it nearly impossible to pass any bill that would be of benefit to the ordinary tax paying citizen. It seems to be too much to ask. If they are not passing bills that line their pockets,they are pandering to the new/future voting block, the illegal immigrant.
In Connecticut. the charge is led by the three stooges. They are New Haven’s illustrious soon-to-be former mayor, John Destefano Jr., who was not satisfied with giving “illegal”aliens identification cards to make life easier for those who pay no taxes,or with interfering with his police officers sworn to uphold the law of the land when dealing with “illegals.” No-siree-bobby … He finds like minds in two other stooges, Senator Martin Looney and Governor Dannel Malloy, who together push through a bill authorizing the issuance of valid Connecticut driver’s licenses to these “illegal”aliens claiming this somehow will help with fewer unregistered vehicles and non-insured drivers.
One can only wonder what they are smoking. Further, they sponsor and push a bill to give children of “illegal” aliens college aid, paid, of course, by the taxpayers of Connecticut. They call them immigrants and fellow co-workers, but in the end the key word they forget is “illegal.”
Finally now Moe, Larry and Curly have totally crossed the pandering line by passing a bill that limits state and local agencies from holding and/or notifying ICE of these “illegal” aliens unless they are shown to be felons. What is wrong with this picture? This is no way to bring a change in immigration laws. Until these people are taxpaying citizens they are a financial drain on state and local governments. I want to know when our alleged representatives are going to stand up for the rights of legal, tax paying citizens.
Paul Standish
North Branford

Move out of East Haven if you don't like Joe Maturo

I feel the need to respond to a letter from June 27 by Tina Barrett on behalf of the people in East Haven  who trust and support Joe Maturo.
Tina, my advice to you is if you don’t like something try to fix it in a diplomatic manner not by malicious accusations Joe Maturo has done more for this town in his years in office than any other mayor in a long time. Everyone is entitled to a vacation, and that includes our elected officials. They earn their time just like anyone who works in the private sector. Joe is always in contact with his office no matter where he is, so to say he hid his vacation time from the public is just a downright lie.
The bottom line is, if you don’t like how the town is run you have other choices, one is to move ... Joe Maturo has my vote along with a lot of other people in this town.
Ruth Cross-Reynolds
East Haven

Connecticut endangered by wood smoke

Wood smoke has become the new “secondhand smoke.” Wood smoke has many of the same components as cigarette smoke, and yet while cigarette smoke is highly regulated wood smoke is almost completely unregulated.
In summer months many people burn open fire pits, chimineas and other wood burning equipment -- many of which cause neighbors to breathe in wood smoke - even in very hot weather. The affected people often call Environment and Human Health Inc. looking for ways to stop the wood smoke from coming into their homes and asking why town, state and federal agencies do not protect them.
The situation explodes in the colder months when outdoor wood furnaces pollute the air of so many towns - with none of the government agencies willing to remediate this serious problem. An outdoor wood furnace bill died once again this year in the Connecticut legislature.
Wood smoke is dangerous when breathed in on a continual basis, just as cigarette smoke is. It is taking all too long for states, towns and health departments to deal with this serious health issue.
Nancy Alderman
President Environment and Human Health Inc.
North Haven

 Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), is a 10-member, nonprofit organization composed of doctors, public health professionals and policy experts dedicated to protecting people from environmental harms.

President Obama's climate change speech falls short

I was glad to hear that President Obama was going to take a stand against climate change and announce his administration’s Climate Action Plan for cutting carbon pollution. After all, I had been looking forward to some action on his part since he was elected.
But President Obama’s speech left the citizens of this country – our residents, our farmers, those who support land free of oil spills – just as concerned about the environment as they were, or should have been, previously.
 Firstly, the President, or his speech writers, don’t seem to realize that increasing the amount of fracking – the horizontal drilling process through which natural gas is extracted from the Earth below us – will not support a climate plan or support a healthy future for anyone. Personally, however, my worry is that they do realize.
Secondly, President Obama said that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would only be approved if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” falling short of saying the pipeline would be rejected. What does “significantly exacerbate” mean? Those words leave lots of room for energy companies to come in and argue for over-running some of America’s most beautiful lands so they can transport oil from Canada to Texas for export to China.
 It is true that if you compare the daily emissions from coal and natural gas humans already breathe worldwide, the emissions the pipeline would generate are estimated to be less than half of 1% of that.
But the pipeline would transport up to 35 million gallons of oil a day into the U.S. from Canada’s tar sands — one of the dirtiest energy sources in the world. It would not decrease U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and, according to the Center for Biological Diversity it would threaten at least 20 imperiled species (from the whooping crane to the pallid sturgeon), pristine wildlife habitat and a massive Midwest water source.
Those who claim the pipeline would create tons of jobs, the State Department says the project would actually result in just an estimated 20 permanent, operational jobs in the United States and 2,500 to 4,650 temporary jobs. While, as Christopher Helman argued in Forbes Magazine, no one can say that the Keystone pipeline would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution’ worldwide,” I have to wonder, as I hope my fellow citizens must, does this mean this pipeline project will be approved?
Christopher Zurcher
New Haven

Christopher Zurcher is editor & publisher of CT Environmental Headlines.

Legislators balance budget on backs of the poor

In defending Keno, Ms. Tony Harp says it was a “last ditch effort not to raises taxes” (July 2, page 12). This sounds like someone was hastily retreating from an unidentified, powerful, opposing force. Needing money, and down to their last option, they grab onto Keno for their life saving raft.
Ms. Harp and other legislators “worked hard … to get payments in lieu of taxes for cities like New Haven”. Commendably, they did not want to impose more burdens on the hard working, overtaxed people. They have, regrettably, spared not only the hard working people; they have hidden the rich in with the poor.
Who thinks the rich will play Keno? They have their pot of gold. No, only the working poor, and addicted gamblers, will be playing. They are still looking for their share of the American pie and dream. Keno will rob the poor to protect the rich and powerful.
Instead of Keno, the rich must fulfill their civic duty and pay their fair share of the taxes. They will not feel the workers’ pain. Historically, the rich and powerful do not yield except under pressure from whoever has a powerful influence over them. Who might be the workers’ hero, their David against Goliath?
How about our state legislators? They have a constitutional duty to promote the common good, and unless they have considered taxing the rich, that is there obligation to us. Unless they do, we have two elephants in the room, dancing drunk on their power, and stepping on a lot of toes in the process.
The Boston Puritan, John Winthrop, told his people, everyone is in the same boat; it behooves us to do all we can to keep it afloat. Let’s all (wo)man the oars!!
George Morrison
New Haven

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A 4th of July message about America

E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, One.
As we prepare to commemorate our Declaration of Independence on July 4 let us embrace unity. Let us unite under one flag, with one language and a singular citizenship, not one hyphenated in the name of political correctness. May we stand unwavering in the knowledge and comfort that a Supreme Being ordained this nation and continues to guide Her, even as She sometimes stumbles.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” - Abraham Lincoln
Reject the divide-and-conquer tactic of politicians and special interest groups who know that an emphasis on our differences will weaken us. Reject and roll back the Reconquista, the Jihad, the tyrannical momentum and all infiltrations that look to destroy us from within.
America, there are those that would have us believe we have an identity crisis; that we must bend to suit on demand. Nay, the opposite is true. The individual must assimilate to the concept that is America if he is to thrive here. America must not bend to pretzel logic. We know who we are, ‘…One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all;’ defined through our Declaration of Independence and Constitution; words cast in stone to withstand the test of time.
We honor the memory of those who forged this nation. It is in their names, as well as those of all generations past and to come, that we who love Her will ensure that the Republic endures.
Linda F. Czaplinski

Remembering Derby's daredevil pilot

Sixty-three years ago, former Derby Caroline Street resident Alexander F. Trabka performed an Evel Knievel-type of American death defying spectacular airborne bravery when he successfully flew a piper cub aircraft through a small and narrow water flow opening beneath the Derby-Shelton bridge. No one else has ever attempted a similar flight under the Derby-Shelton Bridge in it’s 95-year history. It would perhaps be fitting tor Mayor’s Tony Staffiieri and Mark Lauretti to jointly honor Alexander Trabka, who now resides in Monroe, as “Derby-Shelton Daredevil of the Century.”
Stanley F. Muzyk

Bridgeport power plant is holding the city back

As I look toward a master’s degree in UConn’s science program, I often find myself reveling in admiration of my start at Housatonic Community College. For three years I gained increased appreciation for the growing facilities and outstanding faculty at this gem in the heart of the city of Bridgeport. That is why I am consumed with a deep bitterness when I hear that the striped smokestack-boasting coal plant merely blocks away has had over 700 air pollution violations in my time there. The same city where myself, my parents and their parents were born in is now the major source of the state’s smog and soot—making kids in Bridgeport ten times more likely to die of an asthma attack.
With considerations of beginning my own family in the future, I cannot play ignorant to these increasingly fear-warranting facts, and will avoid any risk of these implications by remaining outside of the thirty mile wide radius of the coal plant’s effects. Hopefully, as the community becomes increasingly educated with the degenerative effects of the last coal-burning plant in CT, we will realize that nothing is worth the risk of our future. Let us remove the black film from this city of opportunity by finally closing the doors to the coal plant.
Susan Smith

Newtown inaction is on mental illness, not guns

In response to the editorial “6 Months after Newtown, Shameful Inaction,, I agree with the statement, however, I think the elephant in the room is being ignored. Mental illness.
As the mother of an adult child with schizophrenia, the topic of mental illness is near and dear to my heart. I have experienced the heartbreak of the loss of a child to mental illness. I feel deeply for those in Newtown who have suffered at the hands of an extremely disturbed young man.
I heard the 5,000 figure and I was curious, how many deaths have there been that can be tied to mental illness? What I found surprised me. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2010 that there were 38,364 suicides. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 90 percent of those who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental illness. That means that over an identical time frame of six months, 17,263 suicides occurred that can be attributed to mental illness! More than three times that of gun deaths! With that kind of statistic, I would think improving our treatment of those with mental illness would be number one.
Sadly, it isn’t even close. I almost lost my son to suicide. He came close to being a statistic, and it wasn’t with a gun.
Susan Gallagher

Unhappy with redesigned New Haven Register

I am not happy with your paper for the following reasons:
1. You reduced the size and quality of the paper. Did you save any money?
2. The print is too small. You need a magnifying glass to read most of the paper. Terrible!!!
3. You stopped “Sound Off”. I enjoyed that the most. Did the corrupt politicians get to you? What happened to free speech? Are you afraid of them?
I don’t like to read the paper any more. Please do something at least to enlarge the print.
Mario Pozza

Editor's Note: We did not change the size or quality of the paper we use at the New Haven Register.

Rosa DeLauro helpes Connecticut families by defeating farm bill

A bad bill is defeated, thanks to Rosa DeLauro Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on the Farm Bill reauthorization. The bill would have slashed essential programs for low income families, including a $20.5 billion cut in SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) over the next ten years. SNAP benefits are a critical work support for low-income families across our state, putting food on the table and helping make ends meet. The cuts would have entailed a steep reduction of benefits for the more than 152,000 Connecticut households that rely on this program; over 13,500 in New Haven alone.
It was a bad piece of legislation that greatly threatened to harm the most vulnerable. Thanks to the efforts and leadership of Representative Rosa DeLauro, however, it never came to pass. Representative DeLauro played a crucial role in convincing her colleagues to vote against the bill. Her leadership on this issue has been one of the hallmarks of her tenure in Congress. DeLauro works tirelessly to help families in need make ends meet and to create opportunity for them. Her compassion for and dedication to helping those who are struggling were again on display last week in Washington, D.C. She is an incredible advocate for the citizens of New Haven and Connecticut, and we are fortunate to have her as our representative.
Jim Horan
Executive Director
Connecticut Association for Human Services, Hartford
Sharon Langer
Interim Executive Director
Connecticut Voices for Children, New Haven