Just say no to Connecticut tolls

Some of my otherwise sane fiscally-conservative friends like the idea of tolls, arguing that they have to pay them in other states while citizens from these states get a free ride in Connecticut. This makes no sense. Just because other states are ripping you off, why do you want to be ripped off in your home state too? These same friends also believe the money coming in from the tolls will repair our roads and bridges because the politicians will put the receipts in a “lock box” and only use the money for infrastructure repair.  If you believe this, I will gladly sell you the Statue of Liberty for a mere $1,000.

High speed rail runs over Connecticut

In China you can travel by high-speed rail between Beijing and Shanghai (819 miles) in about four hours, averaging over 200 mph.  Take Amtrak from New York to Boston and the 230 mile journey will take at least 3.5 hours (about 65 mph). Why the difference?  Because the U.S. is a third-world nation when it comes to railroading.  Our railroads’ tracks (rights-of-way) are old and full of curves compared to China’s modern, straight rail roadbeds.

Municipal fund balances fall far short of needed financial buffer

The CT Mirror’s August 14 report on “The state of CT’s cities and towns in charts” is a detailed, reasoned analysis, consistent with the high quality of work we expect from the CT Mirror. Yet, one of the essential parts of the Mirror’s report — its analysis of municipal fund balances — falls short of presenting the most accurate and clearest understanding of this critical component of municipal finances.

Are union concessions ‘la bancarotta fraudolenta?’

The $5 billion deficit that had opened up for the biennial fiscal year starting July 1 continues to haunt the state government and the people of Connecticut. Republicans proposed to close the budget gap largely on the basis of a restructuring of bloated public sector pay and benefits. Gov. Dannel Malloy wanted none of this. He also did not accept the contention that most of the “concessions” the state received from its unions did not require any “deal” and could have been achieved unilaterally. Significant adjustments to the catalog of the outsized benefits of our government employees are set in statute and could have been addressed legislatively.

Revenge of the Millennials: We quite like it here

It is so incredibly difficult to accentuate the positive in Connecticut.  Doing so is akin to swimming upstream, climbing uphill, and skiing through a revolving door – combined. In fact, when there is positive evidence staring us in the face, our Nutmeg reflexes kick in automatically.  We shut our eyes, the better not to see the hopeful signs or indicators of progress.

State plans to change teacher certification requirements are ‘misguided’

Last week’s CT Mirror reporting concerning the State Department of Education’s plans to once again change the teacher certification regulations to allow more “non-traditional” pathways is both deeply frustrating and sadly misguided. The public indictment of higher education institutions in this article speaks volumes about the “blame game” that the State Department of Education, and particularly the Chairman of the Board of Education, continues to promote towards the very institutions working to provide the high quality, well-trained teachers Connecticut needs.

Senator, military action will not solve the North Korean problem

Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s comments (reported Aug. 10 in the article entitled “Blumenthal: North Korea strike near Guam would put military action on the table”) place too much emphasis on escalating threats. The idea that an exchange of threats or actual violence will resolve any differences with North Korea is at best ill-informed, and at worst, war mongering that only perpetuates our ongoing path of endless wars.

What next for Connecticut education?

Teachers wear many hats. Instructor. Mentor. Advocate. Mystery shopper typically isn’t one of them. But for this teacher and Stratford City Councilwoman, my past life as a mystery shopper has been instructive and complementary endeavor. It taught me a lot about what I believe in today and reinforced vital lessons, like the value of hard work and persistence, and the importance of strong writing and critical thinking skills.

The Citizens Election Program must be protected

Before Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program, unions or corporations could donate as much as they wanted directly to candidates, and expect favors in return.  Some current legislators are proposing the program’s elimination as a way to save money during the current budget negotiations. Fully funding the CEP is crucial to Connecticut’s ability to transcend the days of “Corrupticut.”