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.

Singular suggestions for the would-be governor

During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life: University of Connecticut students, people with children in Bridgeport, and people who qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury.

In this installment, we asked people living with a behavioral health challenge in the New Haven area the following question: If you could make one suggestion to the gubernatorial candidates, what would it be?

How can government make a difference in your life?

During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life: people living with a behavioral health challenge in New Haven, people with children in Bridgeport, and people who qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury. In this first installment, we asked a group of University of Connecticut freshmen in Hartford the following question: What is the most important thing government could do to make a difference in your life, to enhance your community, or to improve the state?

Candidates have a responsibility to dispel anti-vax myths

Vaccinations, and especially mandatory vaccination policies, are critical to the health of our society. In the past 20 years, some have questioned the efficacy of vaccinations, skeptical of the plethora of science indicating they are safe, effective and cost-effective. While we all can agree that our state’s mandatory vaccination policies must be based on solid evidence, parents must trust our governmental public health agencies to ensure this is the case. As some rare diseases, such as Mumps or Whooping Cough are making a resurgence in Connecticut, now more than ever, public figures have the responsibility to educate questioning parents about the underlying science and dispel any myths that they may hold.

The fate of the Tree of Life

The murder of 11 innocent worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue — the deadliest attack ever on the Jewish community in this country– occurred on the 80th anniversary of one of the most fateful events in Jewish history. On that day in 1938, in what the New York Times described as possibly “the greatest mass deportation of recent times,” the Nazi government began deportation of 17,000 Polish-born Jews living in Germany and Nazi-occupied Austria.