Prioritize children and families; defend the Office of Early Childhood

Faced with a projected two-year budget deficit of over $4.6 billion, you and your administration will soon be confronted with many difficult choices. Amidst these challenging decisions, and with an eye toward the future of Connecticut, we offer you one easy answer. To ensure that young children and their families can thrive while contributing to the shared prosperity of our state, preserve the independence, momentum, and power of the Office of Early Childhood.

Our differences are killing us — in spirit

How ironic that we vilify black men and Muslims for their violent tendencies, when between 54 and 63 percent of the mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982 have been committed by white men.  White men make up the majority of males in our country.  Some might say statistically that makes sense.  Some might say white men are the enemy. I say let’s stop exclaiming that all people who share the same ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs are the same.  They are not, any more than all white men are the same.

How would you vote if there had been no polls?

When I ask my Democratic friends who they believe is the best candidate for governor, all save one, respond Oz Griebel.  When I ask them who they plan to vote for, they all respond “Ned Lamont.”  I ask why.  The answer is universal, Oz Griebel can’t win and they fear Bob Stefanowski .

When I ask my Republican friends who they believe is the best candidate for governor, all save none, respond Oz Griebel.  When I ask them who they plan to vote for, they respond “Bob Stefanowski.” I ask why. The answer is universal, Oz Griebel can’t win and they fear Ned Lamont.

‘Spoiler,’ ‘wastrel’ or ‘noble:’ An assessment of voting for an independent

My vote for the most noble political people in Connecticut this week: the 60,000 who voted for petitioning governor candidates without succumbing to “spoiler” condescension from their families, colleagues, and friends. That nobility includes independent candidate Oz Griebel himself. He faced a lot of pressure from very well-meaning people, but Oz upheld his purpose, and stayed steadfast to the cause of so many voters who wanted him to succeed.

Local journalism then and now

If “All politics is local,” as the legendary pol Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill averred, the same bromide should apply to journalism. It certainly does in my experience. I started my writing career in 1973 at a content-challenged weekly newspaper in rural New Hampshire. It didn’t have an editor or a reporter. I was hired to be the ad salesman, but spent most of my time writing stories and editing press releases. I wasn’t selling many ads so there was a lot of white space to fill.

Can we ever have fair fares?

How much should it cost to ride mass transit?  Are our fares too high?  Would lower fares increase ridership?  If so. why not make the trains free? As I’ve noted any number of times, fares on Metro-North in Connecticut are among the highest commuter railroad fares in the U.S.  That’s because our state’s subsidy is the lowest… about 24 percent, compared to a 50 percent fare subsidy on the Long Island Railroad. Of course, Hartford’s attitude is that everyone in Fairfield County is a millionaire and can afford to pay more.

What country was Cesar Sayoc, Jr. fighting with pipe bombs to take back?

October came and went without much fuss in Connecticut if you looked through the peephole of Filipino-American History Month observed by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) in Seattle since 1991 and officially recognized by the U.S. Congress in a resolution in 2009. Who knew?  And actually, who cares and who needs to know about Filipino-American history here in Connecticut? But wait, last month a ginormous news story, by the seat of your pants captivating, all-consuming, gotta watch 24-hour cable news channels, sent many in the Filipino-American (Fil-Am) community around the country running for cover.

Our next governor faces ‘mission impossible’

Each of the major party gubernatorial candidates have discussed the usual litany of expected issues facing Connecticut: budget deficits, high taxes, unfunded pension liabilities, high salaries/benefits of state and municipal workers, depressed cities, exodus, lack of jobs, disadvantaged educational funding, lack of school funding in the inner cities, health care, needed reforms in provision of social services to our most needy residents and so on. But in casting a broad net of promised reforms/action steps, none of the candidates have zeroed in the “mission critical” actions to help restore our state’s economy.

America’s Health Care 2018: Your call does not matter

I’m in line with my friend Liz to get a flu shot at the CVS pharmacy counter. The man in front of us is told that the prescription cream he needs is not covered by his insurer.

“Can I pay for it myself?”

“It’s very expensive.”

“How much?”

“$750.”

“For a tube of cream?”

“Yes.”

‘Tax talk:’ And why it might be misleading our votes

In many ways, Connecticut’s gubernatorial race has boiled down to a referendum on taxes. Many residents feel they can’t spare another cent on taxes, especially when it doesn’t seem like it ‘comes back’ to them in any substantial way. We want to ‘save money.’ But how? ‘Tax talk,’ as I like to call it, is often convoluted at best. One candidate will say he would ‘cut taxes’ and argue that his opponent would ‘raise’ them. But then his opponent will say the very opposite. Voters are left scrambling to make sense out of what often feels like an overwhelming, convoluted heap of conflicting claims. In this chaos, it’s all too easy for us to end up voting against our own interests.