Legal marijuana is coming to New England; Connecticut should benefit

Last week, House and Senate Democrats announced a budget proposal that, among other things, would tax and regulate marijuana. As a Hartford City Councilor, this was welcome news. Back in March, I submitted a resolution to support marijuana legalization as a way to generate revenue for our struggling cities that would not increase tax rates. But more importantly, marijuana legalization would create jobs and business opportunities for our youth, something Connecticut needs even more than revenue.

Our garbage can – and so can yours!

When Oscar the Grouch so wisely exclaimed, “It’s called garbage can, not garbage cannot!” he wasn’t just referring to his treasured home on Sesame Street, but to the abundant source of life living – and working – in our garbage to help process our food waste, improve sustainability, reduce landfills and ultimately, help feed the hungry.

A win-win for Connecticut’s economy, neighborhoods and environment

As a mayor, I start every day thinking about how our city can create the conditions for more economic growth, job creation and investment in our neighborhoods. And I know the same goes for mayors across the state. Along with the administration and leaders on both sides of the aisle, our number one priority is making Connecticut the best state in the country for families and businesses to build their future. And while there are many existing economic development tools we can use, there’s a new idea moving its way through Hartford that could have a substantial impact for Connecticut small businesses and homeowners—with positive benefits for our environment, too.

The clock is ticking on sensible state budget reform

I read with great interest Keith Phaneuf’s recent series on Connecticut’s serious budget challenges. He is clearly the best journalist on this subject in our state. Last month I watched Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget speech from the floor of the State House. The governor’s budget has already resulted in significant discussion and debate. Three of his key and controversial proposals deserve comment. Connecticut has waited far too long to address them. It’s not a matter of if related changes will be made, it’s really a matter of when, how and by whom. The clock is ticking and time is not working in our favor.

Reducing illiteracy will help close Connecticut’s achievement gap

One in four children in our country grows up functionally illiterate, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Did you know we spend $2 billion nationally every year on students repeating a grade because they face challenges reading? The state of Connecticut currently sees the second largest wealth inequality in the United States. While the state ranks as the fourth richest in the United States, children are still in need. On Feb. 25, Pi Beta Phi will donate 20,000 brand new books to Hartford groups serving low-income families at a book distribution through Pi Beta Phi’s partnership with First Book®.

Data contradicts popular myths about towns’ ability to pay

In an article published in the Connecticut Mirror dated February 10 (“Legislators begin to push back on Malloy’s new budget”), Ben Barnes, budget director for Gov. Dannel Malloy, supports shifting tens of millions of dollars of school and other expenses to the towns. This shift, besides being a likely economic impossibility, ignores the fact that Connecticut is one of 33 states without a local income tax option.

Ahmadiyya Muslims hold blood drive to counteract intolerance

Amidst a rude awakening of spiking intolerance, my Ahmadiyya Muslim Community perseveres in waging the true spiritual Jihad (striving) of Prophet Muhammad and his Messiah Ahmad, peace be upon them; the Jihad of peace-loving service and life. This holiday season, we warmly invite you to make another life-giving impact at Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque, 410 Main St., Meriden.

A toast for Thanksgiving day in Connecticut

I’m thankful for growing up in a community with such wonderful diversity. I’m thankful to call the same place home where Tracey and I can raise our children to appreciate an even more diverse world. I’m thankful to live in a state that is tolerant, promotes the rights of all people and will always keep a close eye on those among us who have the least. I’m thankful to live in a nation where I can dream of doing great things, move freely from place to place and speak my mind. I’m thankful for the people of Norwalk and Darien for electing me to a job that I truly love.

Westport Dems: No place here for xenophobia, misogyny, and intolerance

Since Election Day, the Westport Democratic Town Committee has heard from many people in our community who are struggling to reconcile themselves to this [presidential] result and what it means for our nation. Tuesday night, a week after Election Day, we had a record turnout at our monthly meeting. People who had never attended a DTC meeting before came to express their fear, their anger, and their worry about the future. They spoke of sleepless nights, of difficult conversations with their children, and of feeling like foreigners in their own country.
In the past week, incidents of racial intimidation and hate speech have sharply risen all around the nation. Sadly, our town has not been immune.