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Letters to the Editor

June 29, 2007

‘Hamden Has to Do it Right This Time’

Some Council members have already realized that their effort in office did not turn out the best. Many decided not to run again. We expect that a few more Council members will do the same after they evaluate their accomplishments of protecting taxpayers. Mayor Henrici is desperately trying to save face and take credit where it’s not deserved. His administration has made countless fiscal and clerical errors.

None of these characters should be in charge any longer. Salaries should be frozen until department heads come up with real savings. They should show that they deserve their salaries, paid by us, the taxpayers. It’s time to gear towards performance-based budgeting with a town manager and new mayor in place. And, yes, we should share a superintendent with other towns, as a very smart taxpayer recommended.

Hamden has to do it right this time by electing the right team to work for us, or we can all pack and leave town. No more funny tricks with town positions. No more money to be borrowed for pension obligation bonds and endless salary increases. We must stay vigilant till November. Join “Team Gambardella” at www.Gambardellaformayor.com.

Marianna D’Albis

June 28, 2007

Share a Super

For most of a year, late Superintendent of Schools Alida Begina was unable to work. That is a very long time for the boss to be absent. Did the Hamden school system implode? Did student learning and performance get worse? Did any school building collapse? Not that we know. The only evidence we saw was that no one knew how to turn off the lights in the middle school.

If someone actually stepped into her shoes to pick up the slack, it only indicates that the replacement's job was probably superfluous or that the superintendent position is a part-time job.

Members of the Board of Education, consider the unthinkable: DO NOT hire a new superintendent. Get together with Cheshire and North Haven and share a superintendent. All three towns could benefit from eliminating a very expensive salary, benefits and retirement costs.

Do we have any politicians with vision who can think outside of the box to solve the ever-escalating cost of providing services to our citizens? How many other jobs do the three towns have where it does not make any difference if there are 59,000 or 112,000 residents? Mayors, perhaps?

George Alexander


Ron’s Message Resonating

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers who have emerged during the last two months for Councilman Ron Gambardella's bid for mayor. In all my years in politics, I have never seen a candidate generate so much enthusiasm.

Wherever Ron goes, people come to greet him to say they are ready for a change. One only has to look at the record number of visitors to his new Web site to know that people are interested in his message, and that this message is catching on.
At a volunteer recruitment meeting at the Miller Senior Center Tuesday, over 30 people came to learn more about Councilman Gambardella and his plans for the town. This is grassroots politics at its best. During his four years on the Council, Gambardella took courageous stands on many issues. This has enabled him and his message to resonate with voters of all political persuasions. He has crossed party lines, and has offered concrete, well-thought-out solutions to the town's current financial woes.

One thing is for sure, Ron Gambardella recognizes that in order to make change, you need to bring people with different ideas together. His administration will reflect the wonderful diversity that makes up Hamden. He will listen and lead.    

As we move into the summer months, Hamden residents will see more of Ron. He will be walking the streets, meeting with local business owners and attending civic association meetings. If you would like to volunteer on his campaign, please contact "Team Gambardella" by visiting www.gambardellaformayor.com
Austin T. Cesare
Campaign manager
“Gambardella for Mayor”

June 27, 2007

Didn't Support Green

In the June 21 article on the 5th District campaign for Legislative Council, the HDN misrepresented my campaign activities in 2005. As then chair of the 5th District Democratic Town Committee, I fully supported and worked for our Democratic candidate for Council, Willie C. Mewborn Sr., and thereby did not support the Green Party candidate who also ran.

If I received any campaign support from the Green Party, I am grateful for that support and I would ask that all voters consider my "green" credentials -- in the form of professional experience, political ethics and personal practice -- in my effort to represent the residents of the 5th District in the 2007 campaign as well.

Kathleen Schomaker
Lilac Avenue

June 25, 2007

Beaudette Needs Tranquilizing

My goodness, it took a lot of words for Ed Beaudette to reply to my letter, didn't it? Unfortunately, he apparently didn't read my letter before he "answered" it. If he had, he would have realized that I wasn't writing as anyone's mouthpiece. I wrote because I thought some important actions taken by the Council had been overlooked.

Ed, take a Valium, OK?

Joseph McDonagh
Hamden Democratic Town Committee chair


Cheney Needs Impeaching

Dealing with the local politics of Hamden is enough to keep one busy, but the recent declaration by VP Dick Cheney that he is not part of the executive branch or the judicial branch is astounding. I sent the following to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.):

"Rep. DeLauro:

Now that VP Cheney has declared himself a fourth branch of government, I think you should be advising Rep. Waxman that enough is enough. If, as the vice president claims, he is not part of the executive branch of government, then he is a part of the legislative branch of government and is not privileged to have executive privilege, so, his workings are subject to subpoena.

If Cheney continues to refuse access, he should be impeached. The American voters are dismayed by the cowardice shown by the Democratic Congress. You were voted in to 'clean up this corruption' and so far, nada."

Are there any citizens here who are incensed as I am about this pseudo dictatorship set up in Washington?

S.F. Wilson
Forest Street

June 22, 2007

McDonagh, Let Henrici Explain

Once again, Democratic Town Committee Chairman Joe McDonagh feels compelled to act as Mayor Henrici's mouthpiece in defending the Henrici Administration's latest example of financial ineptitude. Once again, he attempts to hide the real issue by attacking Councilman Ron Gambardella.

McDonagh tries to minimize the issue of the elimination of one of the Fire Department secretaries and the Council's frantic efforts to restore the position. He is certainly right about the overall insignificance of the position but he is dead wrong about the process leading up to it.

Henrici and his ace finance director, after careful analysis, determined that only one secretary was needed in the Fire Department. This was presented to the Council, and after careful analysis it concurred and cut out the position.

Henrici  "thought" that the individual whose job was being eliminated was going to retire, just as he "thought" that one of the assistant police chiefs was going to retire last year. Unfortunately, in both cases, Henrici apparenly didn't take time  out of his busy schedule to actually talk to the individuals before writing them out of their jobs.

Gambardella's legitimate question of the evening was if the secretarial job wasn't necessary when the Council voted it out, why is it necessary now?  Also, if it really was necessary, why didn't the administration know that? If the individual was retiring, would the mayor still be requesting to restore the position?

None of those questions were addressed.

They were not addressed because they could only be answered by admitting that the Henrici Administration is so out of touch with its own departments, and its budget analysis is so poor that the administration doesn't know how many employees it needs. Once again, the mayor can't find the time to talk to an employee about whether she intends to retire, and instead relies on the old fall back of: "I thought it was so."

He also conveniently "thought" he didn't have to post the jobs of fire chief and animal control officer before filling those positions.

In an attempt to cover the $2 million blunder in his latest budget, the mayor also "thought" that you could go back five years when trying to collect auto taxes from college students when, in reality, you can only go back three years. He never bothered to correct his budget projections to cover this error.

There doesn't appear to be a great deal of thought floating around the Council Chambers these days. The truth of the matter is they screwed up the analysis of a department that only has two employees. Did the fire chief object to the elimination of the job in the first place? Did the Council know of his objections? If so, why didn't they object to it when the budget was prepared months ago? If the chief had no objections, why is the position being retained?

Does the Council have a clue about what goes on in the department?

I, for one, have not heard any real explanations other than a "mistake" was made and now it is being righted. The question Gambardella seems to be asking is "right" for who? The Hamden taxpayer?

I, for one, would like the mayor to start giving his own explanations for his mistakes and broken promises. We don't  need Chairman Joe constantly doing a karaoke act for him.

And, Joe, the renovation of the lockkeeper's house making it suitable for habitation was done by the Amento Administration. And the original proposal for a police substation was also an Amento initiative. So don't go giving Henrici the credit for someone else's vision.

Edward Beaudette

June 21, 2007

Nothing to Boast About

This is in response to a letter from K. Morell about the failure of the Hamden Board of Education to maintain a quality school system. Morell wrote: "In 2000-2001 (the most recent year for which this statistic is given) there were 123,385 elementary and secondary schools in the United States."

That's an interesting fact but it has nothing to do with the fact that in the top rated 1,000 schools in the United States, Hamden is not listed and Connecticut only has four schools listed: Ridgefield, Weston, Wilton and Hall. For all the money taxpayers are thowing at this system, better results are required. If Hamden wants to attract new residents with children, don't use this school system as a selling point.

S.F. Wilson
Forest Street

June 20, 2007

What I Meant

I would like to clarify a few things regarding our "Chat" of May 21, 2007, and the way Ron Gambardella misinterpreted me in one of his columns.

I was asked why did I decide to run.I stated that for the years that I've lived in the 5th District before running for the Council position, I'd never seen a sidewalk repaved or a replaced or a tree trimmed or cut. But since becoming councilman in this ward, I've seen numerous improvements around the neighborhood and my constituents are very pleased.

I wish to commend those department personnels who are responsible for the work that is in progress.

Willie Mewborn
5th District councilman


HDN Didn’t Tell All

Readers of yesterday’s Hamden Daily News no doubt believe that the Legislative Council’s special meeting on Monday, June 18, had only one piece of business: reinstating a secretarial position in the Fire Department. That would be understandable, since the Hamden Daily News chose to report on only that one item. It also seems a bit frivolous for the Council to meet for the sole purpose of reinstating a secretary in the Fire Department. It would have been frivolous, if that were the truth, but it is not.

When the Legislative Council met on Monday, they accomplished the following:

  • A new ethics ordinance, which adds teeth to Hamden’s current ethics ordinance, incorporates language from the state, and brings Hamden’s land-use commissions under the Ethics Board’s umbrella.
  • Approved the creation of a cul-de-sac on Kenwood Avenue (click here and here for background on the project), solving a longstanding traffic problem that the Kenwood neighborhood has had.
  • Approved the establishment of two police substations, one in the Hamden Middle School and the other in the lockkeeper’s house.
  • Reinstated a secretarial position in the Hamden Fire Department.

So why was a $44,922 job the only issue reported on? The first item, the new Hamden ethics ordinance, will certainly have a longer, more positive effect on Hamden than whether or not there are one or two secretaries in the Fire Department.

Perhaps it was because the secretarial position provided an opportunity for the Republican candidate for mayor to grandstand, yet again. Reading the Hamden Daily News, you might think that the matter was extremely contentious. It was not. The minority leader, Republican Betty Wetmore, spoke in favor and voted in favor of the position, as did the 10 Democrats present. In fact, there was only one voice in opposition to what was described as correcting a mistake, and that was the Republican candidate for mayor.

The fact is, the matter was far less controversial than the Hamden Daily News’ article suggested. Perhaps it is time for us to pay attention to the Council’s and the Henrici Administration’s many accomplishments, rather than a few isolated examples of political boorishness.

Joseph P. McDonagh
Hamden Democratic Town Committee chair

June 8, 2007

'It's Time for a Change'

Mayor Henrici has shown over the past two years that he has no understanding of how low-income taxpayers pay their property taxes. These people have to take money from their food, heating and life-saving medicines, to name a few things, so they can pay their taxes.

I have lived in Hamden for the past 40 years and I have never seen so many low-income people do without because of high taxes. It is a crying shame that the mayor and some members of the Legislative Council keep putting more taxes on low-income property owners in this town.

The mayor is repairing sidewalks in town. That is a good thing, but tax relief would have been a better thing. Some taxpayers will vote for him for repairing their sidewalks but more taxpayers will not vote for the mayor and his gang, because they have increased our property taxes by 31 percent in two years.

We can no longer afford to pay outrageous taxes to an administration that does not care about low-income property owners. We need people in office that equally care about all the citizens of Hamden.

It's time for a change. Mayor Henrici has to be voted out of office this year with his rubberstamp Council members. That is the only way that low-income property owners are going to get tax relief. Mayor Henrici and his gang have to go.

Thomas Alegi
Benham Street

June 5, 2007

2 Votes for Ron

Hamden residents have to decide outside of the box in the upcoming elections. We must vote for people regardless of their party affiliations, keeping only their individual records in sight. Locally we must think only about the direction each candidate will take us and not about the party standing behind them.

We are very happy that Ron Gambardella is running for mayor. It represents a breath of fresh air against the stonewalls of the current administration. Mayor Henrici had two years in office to make good on his promises, one of them being to “work with the Council to produce a financially honest budget for the betterment of Hamden.” Everyone who feels that Henrici’s promise was accomplished should vote for the administration and keep getting what we are getting -- outrageous property taxes.

With a “little help” from many Council members, most of us have seen a 30 percent tax increase. A newly elected council working with a newly elected mayor must bring the town government into the 21st century.

Richard and Marianna D’Albis

June 1, 2007

Austin, Do You or Don't You?

Austin Cesare's long letter to the editor was ostensibly in reply to my comments that the 2007 Republican mayoral campaign seems schizophrenic.  Unfortunately, Austin never addressed the reason for my comment. His mayoral candidate wants to cut $2 million from the Board of Education budget, something that Austin and his fellow BOE member Ed Sullivan were quoted as opposing. Austin, just one question: Do you and Ed Sullivan support those cuts?

I am sorry if Austin thinks that is name calling. I am glad to read that the Republican campaign won't be resorting to silly name-calling and election year propaganda. That will be refreshingly different.

Joseph P. McDonagh



Regarding the letter "BOE Gets Failing Grade," in 2000-2001 (the most recent year for which this statistic is given) there were 123,385 elementary and secondary schools in the United States, according to the Digest of Education statistics.

Just saying.

K. Morrell


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