Hamden Daily News - Your hometown cyberpaper
Hamden Weather
What We Are | Inside Hamden | Letters to the Editor | HDN Contact Info | Archives | Send Us Money
Search the HDN
Click here for
2007 Municipal Election Results

Inside the HDN
General News
Town Government
In Your 'hood
A Chat in Hamden
Kids' News
Mark Your Calendar
Press Releases

Highville Charter School Story
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

At Least Think About This New
The Dunbar Hill Report
Guest Column
HHS Newsroom
My Word
Ron Responds
Tony Talks Sports
Victual Reality New
Whitneyville Before Elvis

Neighborhood News
Mount Carmel Buzz
Wanna be a neighborhood columnist? Please click here.

Special Sections
Hamden Milestones
Hamden Landmark Tales
Hamden's 70th Memorial Day Parade
Scenes from Summer Camp
The Angels of Martyrdom,
a novella by Hamden High senior David Amrani

The 7th Annual Brooksvale Fall Festival
Maple Sugaring at Brooksvale
Inside Hamden's Farmers Market
Hamden Snapshots, 2007

Town Stats
Local Obits
Bad Boys, Bad Girls 2008
Red Hot Calls 2008

Local Politics
Legislative Council '07-'09
LC Committees '07-'09
Board of Education '07-'09
BOE Committees '07-'09
Hamden Democratic Town Committee '08-'10
Hamden Republican Town Committee '08-'10
Hamden Green Party

Local Sports Links
Hamden High Cheerleaders
Hamden Hurricanes
Hamden Fathers' Baseball/Softball

Hamden Fathers' Basketball
Hamden Youth Lacrosse
Hamden Youth Hockey Assoc.
Hamden Figure Skating Assoc.
Hamden Soccer Assoc.
Greater Hamden Baseball Assoc.
Hamden Heronettes Synchronized Swimming

Town Links
The Mayor
Town Clerk
Town Hall Departments
School Superintendent
School Department

Hamden Police Department
Hamden Professional Firefighters
Hamden Arts Commission
Hamden Public Library
Hamden Dog Park
Elections & Registrars


Hamden State Reps.
Peter Villano
Brendan Sharkey
Cameron Staples
Alfred Adinolfi

Hamden State Senators
Martin Looney
Joseph Crisco

Interesting Links
Vision Appraisal, Hamden
Concerned Citizens for Hamden Neighborhoods
Hamden Alliance for Responsible Taxation
Hamden Tax Relief
Hamden: Nobody Gets Out Alive
Hamden High Student Web Site
DEP Newhall Community Blog
Newhall Project Remediation
The Cheshire Town Post
Underground Town Hall
New Haven Independent
My Left Nutmeg
Connecticut Local Politics
Colin McEnroe, To Wit
Kent Tribune
The Huffington Post
Drudge Report

Yale Rep
Long Wharf Theatre
Shubert Theater

U.S. Veterans Affairs

Letters to the Editor

January 29, 2008

Obama: the Only Choice

In politics, I’ve long been a supporter of positive change and tangible improvement plans, whether in our town, our state or our country. Soon, we will have a chance to make a choice for the candidate that will represent the Democratic Party in the 2008 election.

I proudly support Barack Obama and ask that you give him, his policies and positions and his new brand of unifying politics a careful look as you make your decision in the Feb. 5 primary.

On issues ranging from health care, to foreign policy, education, fiscal and tax policy and on and on, Obama is the candidate of real, demonstrable change. I think as president, he can heal the wounds created by eight years of the Bush/Cheney Administration.

We need a president who can heal international wounds, make America a leader on the world stage again -- not just with military might, but with diplomacy and leading by moral example.

We need a president who can address the countless domestic problems that have been either created or ignored over the last eight years.

We need a president who can inspire a new generation of Americans to come back to public service, volunteerism and civic involvement.
I truly believe that Barack Obama can be that president.

The usual politics of saying and doing anything to get elected has created the apathy we see today and it’s not what we need in a leader at this critical time in our history.

I ask you today to take a close look at Obama as you prepare to cast your ballot on Feb. 5. I think you’ll be impressed with what you see.

Curt Balzano Leng
Councilman, 6th District


Obama is the Real Thing (I Should Know)

I'd like to take this opportunity to urge independent Hamden voters like myself to support Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Mr. Obama's solid wins in Iowa and South Carolina provide evidence of what many voters are sensing on an intuitive level -- that this is that rare candidate who can unify a polarized nation for the awesome tasks of the next decade.

The president's crucial role in our democracy is to set an agenda for the nation, and more critically, to inspire us all to embrace and contribute toward that agenda. If we are to achieve energy independence and universal health care -- to name just two daunting challenges -- we will need a president who can transcend boundaries of race, creed and geography, and surmount the pettiness of partisan and interest group bickering.

Of all the candidates in both major party fields, Mr. Obama is the one most capable of that historical contribution.

What impresses me most about Mr. Obama is his character. In him I see that rare combination of intellectual brilliance and even temper that allows for quality decision-making under pressure. When choosing a president we should be less concerned with his ability to navigate every White House hallway on Day One than with whether he possesses the qualities of judgment and character to respond to the unprecedented challenges that will inevitably arise on his watch.

Moreover, I am confident that the character we have seen Mr. Obama display in this primary campaign is authentic. You see, I was a classmate and fellow student activist with Mr. Obama at Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1979 to 1981. The intellectual and psychological qualities we observe in Mr. Obama today were present in him even then. The person we see today is the "genuine article."

Independent voters in particular can play a crucial role in seeing the historical moment represented by Mr. Obama brought to fruition. Hamden residents who are registered as unaffiliated can vote in the Democratic primary on Feb. 5 by changing their registration to Democrat on or before noon on Monday, Feb. 4. This can be done in the Registrar's Office at Hamden Government Center, 2750 Dixwell Ave. Of course, after the primary you are free to re-register as unaffiliated, either in person or by mail. If any unaffiliated voters have questions about this procedure, they should contact the Registrar's Office at 287.7081.

Mark D.G. Sanders
Carleton Street

January 28, 2008

That Deceiving HART

Three months ago, when the Democratic candidates for Council decided they would not participate in a forum sponsored by the Hamden Alliance for Responsible Taxation, they asked me to send a letter to HART explaining their reasons. In that letter I wrote: “HART has misleadingly portrayed itself as an unbiased and nonpartisan organization. As you and your fellow HART members know, that is untrue.”

The Democratic Council candidates and I were criticized by some. HART vociferously objected that it was, indeed, nonpartisan and that we had mistaken the comments of individual members of HART as expressions of HART’s partisan nature.

Around that time, HART created a political action committee called HART PAC. The organizers of HART-PAC were the same people who organized HART itself. The two organizations were, and are, interchangeable. As a PAC, HART-PAC must file reports on its fundraising and expenditures with the town clerk. Two reports were filed, one on Oct. 30, 2007, the other on Jan. 10, 2008. The reports are worth examination.

HART PAC raised a total of $3,990. How much of that came from Hamden residents? Less than half. I’m not sure why people from Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, New Haven, North Branford and Orange wanted to contribute to an organization whose focus was solely on Hamden. But they did. So much for the “H” in HART.

The largest single contribution received by HART? On Oct. 29, 2007, HART-PAC received $500 from the Hamden Republican Town Committee. So much for HART’s feigned horror at being called partisan.

Also, while the Jan. 10 report of HART-PAC shows total income of $3,990 and total expenditures of $3,174.67 -- for a balance on hand of $814.64 -- it owes $922.01, all to Mark Sanders, for an ad in the Hamden Journal, palm cards (presumably for Election Day) and postage, so they ran a deficit. Not a big one, just over $100. But a deficit nonetheless.

Back in October -- shortly before HART accepted that large contribution from the Hamden Republican Party -- I described HART as a local organization equivalent to the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth or Moveon.org. Organizations that are less interested in the truth and more interested in scoring points against their opponents. I decried the direction local politics might go if HART spawned other bitter, single-issue organizations whose purpose is to attack, without risk of a backlash against their candidate. When HART sent out a misleading attack mailer, the Hamden Republican Party could claim their hands were clean.

Well, they were not. Keep that in mind during the next municipal election cycle in two years. If you get a piece in the mail attacking Democratic candidates, it may be another case of dirty politics, a surrogate attack dog supported and financed by the Hamden Republican Party.

Joseph P. McDonagh
Hamden Democratic Party chair

January 25, 2008

Arrogant & Greedy

There is clearly an increasing problem between the Board of Education and the citizens of Hamden in recent years. Mr. Michael D’Agostino (BOE chair) and Mr. Joe McDonagh (Democratic Town Committee chair) reached an-all time low during the Jan. 17 PTA meeting with Hamden's six state representatives. Their arrogance and unappreciative attitude was clearly demonstrated again.

We’ve heard Mr. D'Agostino's and Mr. McDonagh's demands towards Hamden taxpayers and we’ve seen their defiant behavior towards their own Democratic Mayor Henrici over the past three years. At the PTA meeting, their blind ignorance was aimed at the six state representatives. As a broken record they are demanding more money from everyone. The only thing we never hear from these individuals is their list of accomplishments. What did they do for reducing the BOE budget through the years? Can we recall positive words from any of them such as, “we accomplished savings here" and “we’ve eliminated waste and inefficiency there” and “we are going to resolve, sacrifice, appreciate, reorganize?"

Sooner or later we must realize that 3.5 million people in Connecticut can’t have 169 municipalities with 169 BOEs, 169 superintendents, 169 curriculums, 169 town governments, 169 labor contracts, healthcare and pension plans. The state is offering grants now for municipalities to work together. Is Hamden considering joining, for example, public works with other towns? No. Their selfish deals are too good to give up.

The same attitude fits the BOE. Is there an effort to share costs with neighboring towns? No. Their deal is too good to give up and all they want is more money year after year. What’s most disturbing about their short-sightedness is that they are using children as scapegoats. Yet most of their budget increases are consumed by labor and healthcare cost increases and the children or school infrastructures are not benefiting a penny from it.

Marianna D’Albis

January 22, 2008

'McCain is the Right Choice'

Primary Day is almost upon us. And at the Cesare family dinner table this past weekend, just like in other Republican households eligible to vote in the upcoming primaries, we had differing views on who should be the next Republican candidate for president of the United States. Some of us support Mitt Romney, some support Ron Paul, while others support Rudy Giuliani.

It makes for a lively debate as we break bread and enjoy watching the Patriots roll on toward a Superbowl victory. (Politics is not the only thing we fought over. Some of us support the Patriots while others the Giants.)

It is my pleasure to offer my support to a true American patriot and figure of pride for our nation. John McCain is the right choice for Hamden Republicans to make on Feb. 5. In my opinion, he is the most electable out of all the Republican candidates running for president, and truly represents a voice of reason within the Republican Party. His distinguished service in war and his long and successful career in the Senate make him the most experienced candidate running for president, in both parties.

I urge all Hamden Republicans to take a close look at the record, and the life experiences this man will bring to the White House. He will fight for the common man and against the Washington elite. One only has to look at his record to see that he will be straight with the American people and end pork barrel projects, which run up our national debt. He will lead us to victory in Iraq and keep Americans safe from terrorism at home and abroad.

I happily endorse John McCain. Regardless of whom you choose, I urge all Hamden Republican to go out and vote on Primary Day.

Austin T. Cesare
Board of Education

January 20, 2008

McDonagh Barks Mistruths

Once again, it appears that Democratic Town Committee Chairman Joe McDonagh has taken on the role of attack dog for the mayor. His recent letter to the editor lambasting former Councilman Gambardella's criticism of the administration's ill-conceived plans for the new police station/town hall is as ill-conceived and unfounded in fact as the project he discusses.

McDonagh's contention that combining the two projects opens up new sources of income from state and federal "historic" funding is simply not true. Those sources of funding were always available when discussing the renovation of the historic Town Hall. They have nothing to do with combining the two distinct and different projects.

In addition, such sources of funding would not apply to those aspects of this project that do not directly relate to the old building. If McDonagh thinks "historic preservation" funding will be granted for the construction of a parking garage or new jail cells or any aspect of the new police addition, he is sadly mistaken.

In fact, there is every possibility that combining the projects would  jeopardize such sources of funding. At the very least, it will be more difficult to justify in a grant application.

McDonagh's comments about the cost of considering siting the police station on the Putnam Avenue property also do not ring true. His mention of the $1.2 million that the town may receive by selling parts of that property makes it seem that this entire sum would be lost if the police station is built there. The truth is only a small portion of that land would not be available for public sale. In addition, with commercial  land in Hamden at a premium, why the unseemly haste to sell this land? Is the administration so desperate for additional revenue to shore up its untenable budget?

McDonagh's reference to the impact of that sum on our mil rate certainly gives the impression that this money will be used to reduce the tax burden on the public imposed by the excesses of the Henrici Administration. Is this not the same administration that decried the supposed use of one-time monetary windfalls to artificially pump up the budget and reduce taxes? Shouldn't this money be added to the town's reserves to improve our bonding status or at least put aside for a rainy day?

McDonagh's touting of the Henrici record for completing projects is also totally misleading. The ice rink was completed by eliminating many of the planned improvements that were originally budgeted for the project, and the middle school  is still dominated by an enormous pile of contaminated soil that needs to be removed after more than two years of inactivity. The cost for this is still up in the air and constitutes part of the total middle school project. Where is this money coming from? How can you say that the project is complete and on budget with that issue still unresolved?

Finally, the whole issue of the cost of the police project is typical of the Henrici way. I have seen no real cost comparison of the merits of new versus renovated and in fact, no real idea of how a figure of $20 million was even calculated. A similar project (without renovation) involving demolition of an old building while building a new one was that of the new Spring Glen School. This project involved a similarly sized building and cost over $14.5 million some six years ago. Considering the escalating cost of labor and materials, this 20-million-dollar figure seems somewhat optimistic.

This is especially bothersome coming from an administration that has presented two flawed budgets in a row and has shown itself to be totally incapable of controlling escalating costs.

In light of this, Mr. Gambardella has every right to question both the method and wisdom involved in this project.

Edward Beaudette
Former councilman


Drop the Blame, Find a Fix

On Jan. 17, I attended the PTA Council  meeting for a conversation with our state legislators regarding educational funding, etc. I no longer have any children going through the Hamden system but was curious about answers regarding funding.

As I suspected, it turned out to be more politically oriented than substantive. The introductory comments were about the state legislators' positions and tenure in the General Assembly. The answers tended to be slanted towards “who’s to blame” -- the governor or the other side of the aisle.

Questions were asked from the gathered interested citizens and at one point our Board of Education chairman was chastised for “how could he point fingers when look at all they have done for Hamden?” What have they done? And who has been in charge in the General Assembly all these years, not just for Hamden but for the state?

Under-funded school mandates, funds initially earmarked for education (lottery revenue), funds supposed to be returned to municipalities (casino revenue), tobacco settlement funds are all now in the general fund to subsidize many superfluous programs and, as the Hamden state reps inferred, to have for more programs.

We are told this is the best way to distribute these funds, as directing them to their intended purpose may not be sufficient in the future. So what? At least the funds are used as intended!

We deserve better and I wonder why we as “Connecticutians” continue to reelect the party that thinks that redistribution of our funds and additional taxes will solve the problems.

At the Jan. 17 meeting, the Hamden state delegation addressed a solution called regionalization and moving programs under the direction of the state government. Will these programs be more efficiently and effectively run under state guidance? Or will they become bloated with misguided use of funds as has our Social Security, Medicare and federal-housing programs have been at the national level? I tend to think this General Assembly makeup will determine that even more funding will be necessary if this happens.

It seems that redistributing the current income tax (another idea to help pay for education) and finding ways to fund more programs rather than an introspective and realistic approach have been the norm for years.

Government works for us and the state is a large corporation (as is the country). You and I don’t get away with overspending or taking money from someone else to pay our bills. Let’s not answer by placing blame or say that we have been working on it. Get the job done and make Connecticut and its towns viable, healthy and desirable once again. Remember, they work for us. Get the right people in Hartford and maybe change will come.

Les Faiman
Deerfield Drive


Republican Army Readying for '09

With the caucuses for seats on the Hamden Republican Town Committee now complete, what a tremendous team was assembled for the next two year! Caucus turnout was high and every district, with the exception of the 3rd, has complete representation.

(By the way, if you live in the 3rd District and wish to join the three members currently seated there, please contact HRTC Chair Mike Iezzi at miezzi@aol.com.)

Interest was high this year for Republican Town Committee seats. In several districts on caucus night, more people showed up interested in seats than seats that were actually available. A first for the HRTC in over 10 years. People smell victory in the air for 2009.

Why, might you ask, would a party that is outnumbered nearly three to one in voter registration -- and has so little representation on town boards and commissions -- see such interest from residents? The answers are simple. People want a two-party system maintained in order to keep democracy alive and well in Hamden. And they have had it with the stale old “politics as usual,” which has become a mainstay in town government under the current administration.

More and more townspeople are saying enough is enough with out-of-control taxes and broken campaign promises. This feeling can be measured in last year's mayoral election results compared to previous elections. In a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans by such a huge margin, coupled with the fact that Ron Gambardella raised half as much money as the incumbent mayor, Gambardella still came within a nose hair of victory. The closest election in over a decade. A far cry from the 8,000-vote victory the current mayor had two short years ago. People are growing more skeptical of the current administration each day that goes by. 

It is a good time to be a Hamden Republican. To coin a phrase from Hillary Clinton: “We have found our voice.” The "seeds" put in place at the Republican caucuses last Tuesday night will make the party very competitive in 2009. The next two years will prove to be quite interesting. Change is indeed on the way!

Austin Tyler Cesare
Hamden Board of Education
Former vice chair, Hamden Republican Party

January 18, 2008

McDonagh Calls Gambardella on (Lack of) Facts

Ron Gambardella's recent column demonstrates that, unfortunately, Ron's opinions are as unfounded today as they were when he sat on the Council. Ron, of course, didn't attend any of the hearings on the design of the new police station on Dixwell Avenue, which would incorporate the police headquarters into a newly renovated Hamden Memorial Town Hall. If he had, I think he would not have written his column.

For some reason, Ron is fixated on the wrongheaded idea that the new police headquarters should be built on Putnam Avenue. He wants a cost comparison of that site with Dixwell Avenue. That is a fine idea, Ron, but perhaps you should read the budget that the Council passed while you were a member. $1.2M of revenue for this fiscal year comes from the sale of the Dadio Farm property; if the police headquarters is built there, the 2007-08 Hamden budget loses that revenue. I think the taxpayers might want to ask Ron where that $1.2M will come from. By the way, $1.2M is about a quarter of a mil.

If Ron had attended the hearings on the new police headquarters, he would have learned that by attaching the new police headquarters to Hamden Memorial Town Hall, we have access to considerably more state and federal funds than we would have otherwise. Memorial Town Hall is an historic building, and that means that we can get funds from other sources for the new headquarters. I think the taxpayers might want to ask Ron why he wants to refuse money to build our new police headquarters.

The only step taken so far is to hire an architect, yet Ron is already worried about cost overruns. Ron, consider the following record of the Henrici administration:

* Ice rink: completed, within budget.
* Hamden Middle School: completed, within budget.

The fact is, since Craig Henrici has become mayor, every construction project has been completed, within budget.

Ron writes, "The mayor falls short in the area of fiscally responsible oversight." Of course Ron doesn't provide anything to back up this allegation. Why should he? After all, Ron appears to be running for mayor again. And as his 2007 campaign demonstrated, he won’t let the facts get in the way of a good polemic.

Joseph P. McDonagh
Democratic Town Committee chair

January 15, 2008

Paul's the Man

I was trying to imagine the founding fathers at the original Constitutional Convention watching the TV political coverage in Iowa and New Hampshire the past two weeks. What would they think? The minds that went into that convention with great trepidation, as noted by James Madison, created what was to become a new nation representing freedom and prosperity to the masses.

Obviously a lot has changed in 220 years. But the more things change the more they stay the same. Societies change. People change. But one thing should never change and that’s to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. The cry for freedom from government intervention was and is essentially what we the people are still crying for today.

There is only one presidential candidate who has lived the principles of this cherished document and has a record to show for it. How else are we to judge perspective candidates? If sound-bite slogans of change and good looks are what the masses want, then Barack Obama will easily be our next president. If change is what you really want, then Ron Paul is our next president. The time to stand up for the person who exemplifies freedom is here and now. That man is Ron Paul.

Richard D’Albis

January 14, 2008

Bring Back Bobby, MLK -- Vote Obama

The "Connecticut for Obama" campaign had its official kickoff Saturday at Yale's Afro American Cultural Center as a highly diverse crowd of 250 came together to learn what they could do to ensure victory for Obama in the Feb. 5 Connecticut presidential primary. About 15 Hamden residents made up the second largest group at the rally, after attendees from New Haven.

The atmosphere at the rally was, in some ways, like that of a revival meeting, with people shouting out their support and enthusiasm for Sen. Barack Obama. The audience included young and old, male and female, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and caucasians. I have been involved in politics since the late 1960s, and I have not seen such diverse and positive support for any candidate since Bobby Kennedy!

In between chants of "Fired up," "Ready to go" and "Yes, we can/si, se puede," the crowd heard from a host of state and local legislative leaders, all of whom have formally declared their support for the Illinois senator. They included state Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, state Sen. Eric Coleman of Bloomfield and locally, Hamden's own state Rep. Brendan Sharkey and North Haven state Rep. and town selectman Steve Fontana.

Also in attendance were state Reps. Demetrios Giannaros of Farmington and William Tong of Stamford. All pledged to contact their colleagues in the State House and Senate to gain additional endorsements for Obama.

It was also announced that New Haven Mayor John DeStefano was committed to Obama. And the Elm City's Democratic Town Committee Chair Susan Voight was also in attendance as an Obama supporter.

The Hamden group included political veterans like Sharkey and many newcomers from all sections of town. These newcomers came, they said, because they have been inspired by Obama's message of hope and inclusiveness.

The main message of the rally was, as Sen. Williams put it, "There is not a lot of time," to get things done, given that the state primary is just a little more than three weeks away, and that prior organizing efforts had to be delayed in deference to Sen. Chris Dodd's presidential campaign, which ended last week.

Accordingly, those in attendance were asked to sign up to make phone calls, canvass neighborhoods, write letters to the editor, speak at civic events, hold house parties, speak to friends and their political representatives and do whatever they could to find and identify Obama supporters and make sure they voted on Primary Day.

Sharkey agreed to serve as the point person for Obama campaign organizing efforts in Hamden. Those interested in getting involved in or learning more about the campaign are urged to contact Sharkey at brendan@friendsofbrendan.com.

Al May
6th District HDTC member
Spring Glen

January 8, 2008

Flanagan Heated Over Rule Change

Just read your article on the party caucuses. When we (the district chairs) received notice of the January caucus, it was noted that, according to the Hamden Democratic Town Committee bylaws, those interested in running had to notify the Democratic registrar of voters in writing in order to be nominated. That's what I told everyone who asked. A sample notice letter has been posted on the HDTC Web site for weeks.

As far as I know, the HDTC bylaws are in effect. They're in force, just like two years ago, until formally amended. There was never any formal ruling saying that state rules overrode local. State Central just said that it woudn't entertain a request to overturn because there was no provision in the state party bylaws or rules. Besides, contrary to what some would have people believe, power emanates from the bottom up in the Democratic Party -- not from the top down. And, no, to the best of my knowledge, the local Democrats have never voted to change that part of the bylaws.

Just because one district (the 8th) violated the bylaws two years ago does not mean the bylaws are not in effect on Jan. 10 (the date of the Democratic caucuses). In 2006, eight districts obeyed the bylaws. For example, in 2006 there were 16 candidates who submitted letters in the 2nd District. Two withdrew on caucus night leaving two full slates. Then one slate counted votes in the caucus room and never put names in nomination, but decide to petition to primary.

If there hadn't been that primary in the 8th District two years ago, the HDTC could have refused to seat some members of the caucus delegation from the 8th because some were elected in violation of our own rules. However, the results of the primary made it a moot point.

I have asked the town chair for a copy of the section of the bylaws that he cited in his notification letter. And I'm going to want written clarification if the bylaws are not in force. Because if they're not in force, then there can't be any caucuses because there would be no authority to call or convene one.

At that point, if the bylaws are no longer in force, I've got better things to do on a cold Thursday night in January, such as a candidate to work for in the Feb. 5 presidential primary. And everybody can petition for a very interesting "zoo" of a primary day in March.

John Flanagan
Chester Street

January 5, 2008

Work for the Taxpayers in 2008

The taxpayers of Hamden deserve more transparency, detail and accountability of how their tax dollars have been spent. We have submitted a recommendation to modify the upcoming 2008 budget process via an ordinance or resolution. Many of us, as public citizens, experienced the confusing, long and ineffective budget discussion last year. The public was not allowed to participate in a dialog format, ask direct questions or make recommendations.

The Council must initiate merging departments before the budget process begins for the sake of efficiency and savings. Coordination between the Board of Education and town must be achieved. Why pay for waste and duplication? Will they listen? Voters clearly sent a signal to the administration that they’re not happy. Will the Democratic majority be open for change? It doesn’t seem that way.

The mayor’s refusal to reveal his mileage record is one example. If all the people in charge of a $173 million budget are incapable of handling such a simple task correctly, how can we ever trust their judgment on much more complicated issues? The political games and intimidation by the Henrici Administration continues.

The mayor did not hesitate to put public safety in jeopardy. The only qualified animal control officer and the longtime emergency management volunteer were dismissed as what seems like political retaliation. It’s another clear signaling of a continued unwillingness to work with and for taxpayers, for the betterment of our town.

Marianna D’Albis
Hamden Tax Relief

Open Minds, Hearts for 2008

I want to take a quick moment to wish all Hamden residents a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 2008 has the potential to be a great year for Hamden, with several important decisions on the near horizon concerning significant projects and the town's finances.

I hope that the town can come together to work on these projects -- ranging from new tax-relief programs for seniors and veterans, to funding our new police headquarters, to our new budget -- with open minds and the needs of our constituents at heart.

I sincerely extend wishes of happiness, contentment and health for you and your family in 2008 and beyond.

Curt Balzano Leng
6th District councilman



When will the people in this town understand we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time the mayor or the Council does something? Mileage logs have been used for years in this town.

The mayor did wrong by not filling out his mileage logs properly. The man is an attorney so he should understand the legal ramifications of his actions. But what did he do? He tried covering up his mistakes by not making those records public when asked. And what the citizens of Hamden now have on our hands is mileagegate.

Remember what happened to President Nixon and his coverup of Watergate? That may happen to Mayor Henrici. We may have the first mayor in Hamden history that has to resign as mayor. Just because he could not bring himself to say that he made a mistake with the mileage logs.

One Internet newspaper and its investigative reporter in less than three years has opened up my eyes to more wrongdoings in our local government than all of the other newspapers that cover Hamden have done in the past 30 years. 

I thank the Hamden Daily News for showing us at times how our local government leaders have misused our trust in them.

Thomas Alegi
Benham Street

January 3, 2008

HDN Unfair to Henrici

I have been following the controversy over the mayor's mileage reimbursement/personal car here and in the other local press. I have been a reader of the HDN for some time, and I am disappointed to see the editor's coverage of this controversy.

The issue of the mayor's car or town vehicle, which he himself started as a campaign promise gone awry, deserves to be reported and investigated. I do not believe he should have reneged on his original position not to have a town vehicle. He eventually gave up the town vehicle (which is reportedly being put to other good use) and switched to a mileage system using his own personal car. My understanding is that the intention of the council was to simply reimburse the mayor for the mileage he puts on this car (as he would have put mileage on the town vehicle).

The original proposal (by the mayor) for a simple monthly car allowance would have been much cleaner, but I think a genuine attempt was made to save town funds and have the expense more accurately track the actual use. Unfortunately, this was (typically for the council) neither well thought-out nor well-documented, in the sense of a written policy being put in place.

As a worker in the private sector, I would have thought that the reimbursement would have covered his "business" miles, those spent on town business, not commuting or running personal errands.  However, in this case, the reimbursement policy was replacing having a town vehicle at all times. I do not know what was required of Mayor Henrici or prior mayors in the way of documentation for their mileage when driving the town vehicle. Were they required to document personal miles? Are other town employees, such as Fire officials or Public Works officials, who take town vehicles home required to document their personal miles?  My understanding of the tax law is that if the mayor receives reimbursement for personal miles, he must report that as income, and at least in the private sector if someone has a company vehicle of which they make personal use, the personal percentage must be also reported as income (I admittedly have no idea if this applies to vehicles required for public safety).

In any event, in my opinion the situation in question is much more a misunderstanding than any sort of sinister plot. However, the editor of the HDN has seemingly gone from reporting on this as a news issue to actually "creating" the issue through her filing of "complaints" on the issue with bodies such as the IRS and Division of Criminal Justice. It is clear that any sort of professional relationship between the editor and the mayor has been dissolved for some time, for reasons I as a reader am not privy to, but that does not excuse what borders on a witch hunt over what I, as simply an interested observer, see as at most bad public policy decisions.

I would call on the editor to rethink her approach to this issue. I would call on the mayor to be forthright in how he is preparing his mileage logs and handling  the reimbursement. And most of all, I would call on the Legislative Council to establish clear procedures on how the mayor should be tracking his mileage and for what mileage he is entitled to seek reimbursement.

(Editor's response: Filing complaints of potential misconduct is equally open to reporters as well as to the general public. Criminal justice agencies rely heavily on these reports. IRS travel reimbursement is strictly for business trips, which are to be documented. The mayor did not do that, hence the HDN investigation.)

Paul Begemann
Guenevere Court


Local Bodies Needed for Cable TV

Established in 1990, the Cable Television Advisory Council for Hamden, New Haven and West Haven represent the interests of all TV-viewing members of our three communities. While our local governments appoint us, we are not political and our authority is derived from the state, through the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control.

Currently we have three vacancies from Hamden: one from the Board of Education, one from the library and one for a representative at-large. If you are interested in serving, please contact us at CTAC@cableadvisory.org or call Hamden Town Clerk Vera Morrison at 287.7112.

For more information, visit our new website and participate in our forum.

George Alexander
CTAC Commissioner


Auto Accidents
860 343 3443

email us

Check us out!

Help support the Hamden Daily News by clicking a link below. If you purchase something at one of the advertised businesses via that click, we get a few bucks -- while you don't pay an extra cent.

21st Century Insurance
Anna's Linens
Barnes & Noble
Beau Ties
Beyond Bedding
Big Mans Land
Cheap Trips
Constructive Playthings
The Container Store
Cuban Crafters
Dancing Deer Baking Co.
Green Cine
Kaplan Test Prep
Lane Bryant
National Pet Pharmacy
Nirvana Belgian Chocolates
Office Depot
Sierra Club
Thrifty Rent-a-Car

Talk To Us
Talk To Us
Letters to the Editor
Copyright© 2005 Hamden Daily News
Site designed by Joanne Kittredge

Tip Us Off
Send news tips