Letters to the Editor
November 27, 2006
Ann Dombrowski, the athletic director at St. Stephen School, is my sister-in-law. I read your article about Ann's appearing at the Hamden Board of Education meeting requesting that the board allow the school basketball team to use the Ridge Hill School gym for practice for free. She devotes a lot of time and energy to her school's athletic activities, and the students and she showed that concern by her appearance in front of the BOE.
Michael D'Agostino, the chairman of the BOE, showed his ignorance in his response. He should have just said no, explain his position and be a little more sensitive. His stupid remark just shows that he's another person who thinks that people who send their kids to a parochial school are affluent. And I can't help but mention the other dumb remark made by Board member John Keegan: "It's really not our concern how they pay." Boy, what a nice guy. He should have at least showed a little sympathy -- even faking it if he had to.
As a citizen and taxpayer of Hamden, I was offended by these remarks. People assume that members of the BOE are educated and intelligent. Maybe they are elsewhere but certainly not in Hamden.Joseph Dombrowski
------------------------------------------------------------- Dadio Deal, $6.5M” in the Hamden Daily News. Mayor Henrici’s concept of using part of the 11-acre Dadio Farm for a base for a town-wide ambulance service is going to be difficult to sell to the taxpayers, when the town looks to be in financial trouble with the town employee’s pension fund.
I don’t understand why Mayor Henrici is looking to create a town-operated ambulance service, when there is a commercially owned and operated one already in town that is doing a good job.
We’re initiating a non-binding petition against high property taxes in Hamden. In our town, taxpayers have no direct way to vote down an unacceptable budget. We are at the mercy of our town government. They decide how high our taxes will be in 2007.
If we don’t do something now the hope for change will never come. It’s left to us to do something to fight high taxes, high costs and the mismanagement of our affairs. We need your help. Our non-binding petition aims to remind our Legislative Council that we are here, waiting, watching and listening. We will present the signatures to the Council during the budget process in March of 2007, with a reminder that more tax increases are simply not an option. For information on signing the petition, visit www.hamdentaxrelief.com.
We’d like your help to support our efforts by collecting signatures from your neighbors, family and friends. Please feel free to print and use the attached form or call us for a few original, printed copies. One signature beside yours will help the Town Council and mayor hear our voice.
Richard and Marianna D’Albis
November 21, 2006
I am writing to acknowledge and thank all those involved in accomplishing the seventh annual Brooksvale Fall Festival last month. The weather was good and approximately 2,000 people attended and celebrated the fall season and Brooksvale Park.
The festival is the vision of Hamden Parks & Recreation, and is accomplished by the efforts of volunteers and department staff. The Friends of Brooksvale leads the volunteer effort, and other town departments provide major support.
The environmental expo featured sustainable living practices and highlighted the efforts of local community groups and town commissions. The traditional crafters offered a glimpse back to a simpler time of our town's adolescence. The family activities offered time-honored experiences that bring one closer to nature. The local musicians and Hamden restaurants provided sustenance.From the looks on the faces of those attending, it all combined to be a great day for Hamden. Thanks to the sponsors, volunteers and the staff.
Ranger Vin Lavorgna, Brooksvale Park
Hamden Parks & Rec
November 20, 2006
Does anyone realize that 85 percent of our student body, myself included, are taxpayers? I don't use the public school system for my children K-8, but my daughter went to Hamden High and played three sports for four years and I paid the fee. If all the parents from St. Stephen who are from Hamden sent their children to the public schools it would cost the city money to educate them.
So as far as I'm concerned, we are saving the city money by sending our children to St. Stephen. We are part of this city, by the way; people seem to think we aren't. And because we are part of this city and pay taxes we should be allowed to use public gyms when they are not being used by anyone, for free. I'm not saying that we shouldn't pay the hardworking custodians but if it is within the time that they are working, I can't see what the problem is.
Maybe it's just a different way of looking at a situation or maybe sports aren't seen as an important part of a student’s life. If it is just the money, I don't see us putting Hamden in a deficit by going to Ridge Hill School on a Friday night from 4:30-6:45 to practice basketball. Is that too much to ask? Well I asked and I got my answer!
A recent story in a local newspaper about naming streets after veterans left me scratching my head in disbelief. No one seemed to know which streets are named for which veterans who were killed in various conflicts. All one has to do is read the names on the walls inside Memorial Town Hall to get the answers.
Credit for beginning the naming of streets for deceased veterans should be given to former Town Engineer Pat Zullo, who began the formal process in the 1950s. As a brief example, Robertson Drive is named after my classmate Pierce Robertson who was killed in Vietnam. Ed Duel, brother of Tax Collector Barbara Tito, was killed in Vietnam and now we have Duel Drive. Hearn Lane is named for my neighbor Frances Hearn, who was killed in World War II. Lent Road after Hamden High third baseman Ed Lent. Few names are left for developers to pick.
There is no mystery here. I am simply amazed that this recognition of Hamden vets has gone unnoticed. Might I also suggest that reading the starred names on the veterans’ monument in front of the new middle school will produce the same result.
John L. Carusone
November 17, 2006
St. Stephen's athletic director Ann Dombrowski needs to be reminded that the parents at St. Stephen made a decision to send their children to school there in lieu of Hamden's public schools. With that decision comes the knowledge that any extracurricular activities come at an extra price.
Until this year, students at the Hamden Middle School and Hamden High School paid a student activity fee in order to play a sport. This fee was instituted by the Board of Education because money wasn't available in the budget to cover all the costs for athletics.
It is the responsibility of the BOE to be fiscally responsible with taxpayers’ funds. Ms. Dombrowski should be appreciative of the fact that the rental fee for use of the Ridge Hill gymnasium was waived, and the issue of the custodial overtime fee was avoided due to the BOE's accommodation involving the hours for practice.Debbie DeNicola
November 16, 2006
"Dear Mr. Lamont:
Your “handlers” steered you wrong from the beginning. Apparently, they thought that by winning the primary their job was to hold fundraisers until they got to Washington. You should send them all a copy of the movie "Primary Colors" and ask for written reports.
After the primary, your campaign continued to recognize Lieberman as though he were still a legitimate candidate. You allowed him to use this to get back into the race. You allowed him to bring in all his Republican support teams and dollars and very little was said. You allowed the national Democratic Party to hedge its bets until they could pick a
Steven F. Wilson
November 15, 2006
I read the article in the Hamden Daily News “What a Dump.” This article told a very sad story about a school building that the Board of Education stopped repairing. The Board of Education let the old middle school fall apart when it was still being used as a learning center for our children. I find that to be unconscionable.
When I read the article a few questions about the old middle school came to mind.
Question 1. What did the BOE do with the budgeted money to maintain the old middle school? They sure didn’t spend it on the school.
Question 3. With the school being in such disrepair was an air quality test done to see if there was any asbestos that could affect our children when they where in that school?
November 14, 2006
I would like to extend my heart-felt appreciation and thanks to the people of the 103rd District for returning me to the state House of Representatives for a fourth term. It is very humbling that in a year that did not favor many of my Republican colleagues, I was re-elected with the largest margin of victory I have yet had in any of my elections. I hope to build on and expand on the confidence the district has shown in my service.
There are a number of challenges ahead of the Legislature this coming session, including health care, education funding and tax relief. I look forward to working with Gov. Jodi Rell and the members of the Legislature to make our district and our state an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
November 13, 2006
While I am personally disappointed at losing my first foray into the political arena, I was encouraged by garnering 40 percent of the vote and plan to do better in 2008. Thanks to everyone who encouraged and supported a new direction for the 103rd District.
Beyond the local race, I was ecstatic that the state and national electorate rejected years of growing corruption, cronyism and incompetence by returning control of both the House and Senate to the Democratic Party. The coming years will be challenging because years of one-party control have led us into a laundry list of problems that will require skill, diligence and courage to resolve.
In that vein, I would like to share a statement made by Dr. Martin Luther King following the victory of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a struggle that began with the arrest of Rosa Parks and the later arrest of Dr. King. Here is an excerpt that shows his wisdom, which we would do well to remember as a nation:
“I cannot close without giving just a word of caution. Our experience and growth during this past year of united non-violent protest has been of such that we cannot be satisfied with a court ‘victory’ over our white brothers. We must respond to the decision with an understanding of those who have oppressed us and with an appreciation of the new adjustments that the court order poses for them. We must be able to face up honestly to our own shortcomings. We must act in such a way as to make possible a coming together of white people and colored people on the basis of a real harmony of interests and understanding. We seek an integration based on mutual respect.
“This is the time that we must evince calm dignity and wise restraint. Emotions must not run wild. Violence must not come from any of us, for if we become victimized with violent intents, we will have walked in vain, and our twelve months of glorious dignity will be transformed into an eve of gloomy catastrophe. As we go back to the busses let us be loving enough to turn an enemy into a friend. We must now move from protest to reconciliation. It is my firm conviction that God is working in Montgomery. Let all men of goodwill, both Negro and white, continue to work with Him. With this dedication we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice."
Hamden residents have defeated the idea of an open mining operation in the middle of a residential area. It’s amazing how all the people, scientists, politicians and citizens formed a great unity against an obstacle that seemed too much to overcome. God knows, the applicant tried for a long time. (The same Pellegrino firm represented the applicant who defeated a small child care center to be built in their own neighborhood a few years ago.)
I’m still amazed that the application process went as far as it did. If you or I wanted to build one multi-family home, the application would have been killed in a few months. Not so with a multi-million-dollar project. On top of it, more and more judges have the nerve to simply overturn the decisions of town officials.
I’m amazed that we still allow the Council, the Zoning Board and so on to decide for us, with so many obvious mistakes on their records. Projects are slipping through, others are not getting done and our town officials are more and more incapable to understand and handle the spectrum of challenges in our town.
We are facing the financial pit problem in Hamden, too. The town has admitted another, approximately $1.5 million, mistake related to contracts -- simple miscalculations. This is just the tip of the iceberg and it’s about to sink our ship. Please join on board and participate in the financial pit fight. See with your own eyes how our money is spent, and the plan is to further increase debt and taxes next year. The officials are claiming there’s nothing they can do, yet Hamden contracts offer a better life than the French socialists: five- to six-figure salaries and pensions, 35-hour workweeks, guaranteed overtime, only 3 percent contribution to full healthcare coverage, longevity payment and more, at Hamden taxpayers’ expense. When will we stop the ever-growing money pit?
November 10, 2006
Congratulations to Republican Gov. Jodi Rell and state Rep. Al Adinolfi for winning their respective races in Hamden with decisive margins. Gov. Rell’s 10,940 votes coupled with Adinolfi’s 1,159 votes shows that Hamden voters have put their confidence in Republican elected officials. Hamden voters proved they are willing to select the best person for the job, regardless of party affiliation.
In 2007, Hamden Republicans will be working very hard to recruit, once again, quality candidates to run for mayor, Legislative Council and the Board of Education. Hamden Republicans will urge all residents to give a good look at all Republican candidates running, and will ask for their confidence and their vote to balance the power in our town.
Hamden Republican candidates will pledge to work together with all other elected officials, put party politics aside and work for the best interest of the entire town, if elected.
We need to control town spending and to keep our taxes from soaring. The Democrats have controlled Hamden for the past 20 years. Union contracts have been poorly negotiated, our roads are in deplorable condition and our taxes are too high.
Hamden BOE member Austin Cesare and Hamden Republicans will have a party in January to congratulate Gov. Rell and Rep. Adinolfi for their tremendous victories. All Hamden residents will be invited.
Dan Potts, Gov. Rell’s Hamden coordinator who passed away just two weeks ago, would be so proud of the outcome he helped to achieve. Congratulations to all newly elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats. I look forward to all parties working together to help make Hamden a better place to live.
Michael R. Iezzi
To all the volunteers and supporters who gave time and money to the Connecticut candidates.
To the Hilltop Brigade and all the Yale students who canvassed for Chris Murphy, which helped bring him a decisive victory and the restoration of checks and balances in the U.S. Congress.
To Murphy, Joe Courtney and Diane Farrell for running campaigns that made us proud to be Connecticut Democrats. In the face of blistering attacks that lied about them and their records, all three maintained their dignity.
To John DeStefano, Mary Messina Glassman and Ned Lamont, who raised issues that had not been addressed and have put the winners on notice that we expect more from them than platitudes and broken promises.
To Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for being such an outstanding representative to the people of Hamden and New Haven County and for attending our event last Sunday evening.
To Susan Bysiewicz, Denise Napier, Nancy Wyman and Richard Blumenthal for sending their words of encouragement in person, and for their continued exemplary public service.
To the Hamden Democratic delegation to the State House, Cam Staples, Brendan Sharkey, Peter Villano and Joe Crisco, for their leadership in Hartford and their unwavering representation of Hamden's concerns.
To Hamden’s overlooked but vitally important Judge of Probate Salvatore Diglio for continuing to exemplify the true meaning of "compassionate."
To our Registrar of Voters Margaret Rae for being the most thorough, impartial and unflappable registrar in the nation.
And finally, to the Hamden voters, who helped prove that democracy is alive and well in America. The people have spoken and these are some of the things they said they want:
· A resolution to the war in Iraq and responsible foreign policy
These are not Democratic or Republican issues, they are American issues and we need to solve them together. Now let's get to work.
Mayor Henrici said he does not want to increase our taxes to pay for the under funding of the town pension fund. That is understandable after our high property tax increase this year.
Mayor Henrici said he does not want to increase our taxes to pay for the under funding of the town pension fund. That is understandable after our high property tax increase this year.
November 9, 2006
As a newly elected member of the Hamden Board of Education, I have been lobbying the school district with great enthusiasm to strengthen our district residency office. We currently have only one person in charge of identifying non-residents who attend our schools. She is responsible for doing the necessary surveillance, and filling out the mountains of paperwork required to do the job properly.
She continues to do a tremendous job. In the recent budget, I lobbied hard and managed to obtain funding for a new part-time position (with a cost of about $6,000) to help support this residency officer in her ever-growing task of removing non-residents. This is money well spent. I have received strong support on this issue from the central office administration and many BOE members.
Students who do not live in town but attend our schools have an immediate impact on growing class sizes and in properly determining the resources necessary to provide the teachers, textbooks, classroom space and supplies to our children. Thus far this year, we have had 20 residency cases, of which seven have withdrawn from our schools. Do the math. If it costs approximately $12,000 to educate a Hamden child, this amounts to a long-term cost savings of over $84,000 ($12,000 x 7 = $84,000).
In 2005-06, we investigated 90 cases of which 47 withdrew, thus indicating that they were not Hamden residents. In 2004-2005, 89 cases were investigated and 58 withdrew. In 2002-2003, we had 117 residency cases where 69 students withdrew upon request and 48 students were determined to live in town. These numbers clearly show that each year new cases pop up, and that we have a continued residency issue in this town.
Central office has done a good job with its recent findings, but more can be done. I believe there are currently more than just 20 possible cases of non-residency in our schools. The yearly numbers I cited above show that this is a real possibility. This "stealing" of educational services by non-residents attending our schools has got to stop! My late father, Frank Cesare, a former 2nd District councilman, brought this issue up several times while on the Council in the 1990s, and it was dismissed as "being a non-issue." The recent findings clearly show that residency is indeed an issue.
Along with the hiring of an additional part-time residency officer, I believe another effective tool in fighting this continued problem could be what my Republican colleague, Ed Sullivan, had proposed recently, which is to bill the parents of each non-resident for the $12,000 that they stole from the hard-working taxpayers in this town. Or better yet, bill the school district where the students come from for the educational services we provided to their students. To be fair, we could even prorate this bill based on the number of days the student attended our schools before getting caught.
This is a major issue as we continue to have growing class sizes and ever-shrinking resources to spend on education. We simply have no other alternative but to address this concern. The stakes and costs are too high. If you have any information regarding students attending our schools illegally, you can contact the superintendent's office at 407.2090.
Austin T. Cesare (R)
November 7, 2006
I am writing about Don Werner’s most recent letter to the editor entitled "Hamden Republicans Desperate for Candidates,” in which he said “… local politics are personality driven and have little do with party affiliation …”
Now I agree that as a local elected official, one’s job would be to manage the well-being of the town in the best interest of all parties involved. Now, as I have stated to Don and many other people during discussions while waiting for the Town Council to begin, it should not matter if you are a Dem or a Rep, but it should matter that you’re a Hamden resident first and foremost.
I feel that the vast majority of people do not see that as such; they only see what the media tell them. If you’re a Republican, you are for Iraq and love George Bush. If you’re a Democrat, then you oppose the war and think George is Satan. This is why I feel Republicans get a bad rap. We are not looked upon as individuals but merely Republicans. When a Republican is introduced, people see Washington and national issues and blame these local politicians.
I know, Don, that you and I have some very similar views on things on the local level. We have both honorably served our country in the military, and we both care very deeply what happens in our town. I just think that as people go to the polls, they should be thinking with their heart and their head when pulling the levers of our outdated voting systems.
Don, as you point out: “Democrats, on the other hand, have so many quality candidates that every available seat -- mayor, Council, BOE and the Democratic Town Committee -- is up for grabs in the convention and has led to primaries in the last two elections.”
That is only because people do not vote on those candidates as individuals, but simply look to their party. Again, Republicans are not liked because of national politics.
Here is what everyone should base their votes on:
If you can find a candidate that fits those ideals then by all means vote for him or her, but one should not vote for a candidate because you either hate Republicans or Democrats. Remember that wherever one goes in politics, they will usually already have personal values and beliefs that determine how they vote. When Joe Lieberman or Rob Simmons go into their chambers to cast a vote on a bill, they usually have an idea what the state wants. But in the case where there is no clear direction, they ultimately make a decision based on personal values.
So just give a moment before you rally behind the Donkey or Elephant. In local politics it’s about the whole town and the betterment of all who pay taxes and call Hamden home.
Lastly, I would like to echo your sentiments about holding caucuses before scheduled committee or Council times: “Another thought. I believe the Dems on the Council would better serve their constituents, their party and the opposition by holding caucuses and executive sessions before the published time of the public meeting. Leaving the Republicans and the public staring at the clock only raises questions about smoke-filled closed-door backroom deals. Let the light shine!”
Don, I look forward to our many good conversations during Council meetings.
November 6, 2006
Councilman Ron Gambardella has been echoing anti-Democratic vitriol that appears on some local Web sites, forgetting that local politics are personality driven and have little to do with party affiliation other than one has to be something. Local politicians (I believe) choose their affiliations based on national policies.
The Hamden Republican Party has been unable to recruit candidates that appeal to Hamden voters. Evidence: The only elected reps (Council and Board of Education) are mandated by charter -- not by the electorate. Republicans didn't have enough candidates for the Board of Education, endorsed the Democrat for town clerk and were beaten by a third-party candidate (who siphoned votes from the Democrats) in the 5th District in last year’s elections.
November 3, 2006
Ron Gambardella is a freethinking councilman expressing opinions and proposals he believes to be in the best interest of Hamden. Unfortunately, his current vendetta against town employees is misinformed and ill-advised.
Four or five years ago, the Public Works union received concessions in its contract to allow for an outsourced janitorial service to clean town buildings. It didn't last a year due to poor performance, lack of rapid response, etc. I predict the same for the current Board of Education debacle.
On Oct. 20, members of the Hamden Police Department served as waiters and waitresses at the annual Tip-A-Cop fundraiser for Special Olympics Connecticut at T.G.I. Friday's, 2335 Dixwell Ave. The night was a great success with $2,100 raised for this worthy organization.
I would like to thank the following people who made this night such a success. Police Chief Thomas Wydra for his continued support of this event. Mayor Craig Henrici and his staff for attending, and their donations. Ray DeNardis, general manager of T.G.I. Friday's, along with his managers and staff for their continued hospitality and cooperation. Bob Garguilo, director of special events for Special Olympics Connecticut, for his assistance and attendance each year at Tip-A-Cop. Global messenger and athlete Carrie Rosabianca for doing a tremendous job selling torch run pins at the door. The Hamden PBA and Screen Tek printers for donating T-shirts.
Thanks to all the families, friends and patrons of T.G.I.'s for their attendance and generous donations. Special thanks to my fellow Hamden police officers who donated their time and efforts to serve as waiters: Lt. Timothy Wydra; Sgts. John Riordan, Thomas Raggozino and Steven Crowley; Detectives Colin Kearns, Ray Quinn and Stephen Rossacci; officers Greg Curran, Richard Dzieken, Eric Goclowski and Mark Sheppard; and records clerk Karen Johnson. Without them the night would not have been possible.Detective John Marks
Hamden Police Department
November 1, 2006
Has anyone noticed that we are being invaded? Not by Iran or North Korea, but by Dunkin’ Donuts. We have nine Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Hamden and four are within a mile of each other.
The population of Hamden is about 58,000. Let's divide 58,000 by nine. That comes out to 6,444 people. (I don't know how many people don't eat doughnuts or drink coffee so I will use the 6,444 as an example.) Each store is helping to pay the property taxes of 6,444 people.
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