Letters to the Editor
December 30, 2007
I would like to respond to Mr. Ron Gambardella’s recent articles in Hamden local print and online newspaper. In these articles, Mr. Gambardella accuses Curt Leng of changing his middle name to cater to the Italian vote in Hamden.
I have known Curt Leng for over 25 years. We have remained close friends despite the fact that I moved from Hamden nearly 10 years ago. He keeps me informed about his career as a councilman and the political goings-on in town. I rarely become directly involved in happenings in my hometown these days, but felt particularly compelled to respond to these recent articles.
Curt’s official name is Curtis Jude Leng. In grammar school, sometime around the fourth- or fifth-grade, as I can recall, he began to sign all of his schoolwork as Curtis Jude Balzano Leng. He continued this practice for several years, perhaps even in to high school. He did this because he always had a close relationship with his grandparents, whose last name was Balzano.
When Curt’s grandfather Andy Balzano passed away, Curt decided to take up the Balzano name again in honor of a man he cares for deeply. I was not surprised that he did so, knowing that he had used it frequently in the past.
While Mr. Gambardella did not originally have the history of the name to inform his opinion, he clearly was looking for a reason to demean Curt. Why not simply ask why he changed his middle name instead of splashing a sensational accusation across the front page of the local paper? Perhaps because Mr. Gambardella has continued aspirations for higher office and sees Mr. Leng as a threat?
Unless Mr. Gambardella thinks that Curt was trying to “court the Italian vote” in the fifth-grade, his column makes little sense and shows that he is willing to make sensationalistic claims not based in fact.
I find it even more shocking that Gambardella would continue to make such a ridiculous claim even after the reasoning for the middle name was explained by Curt throughout the local media. This demonstrates that Mr. Gambardella’s respect for other residents of Hamden and their families is easily cast aside for political gain.
That, in my opinion, is not the quality you want in a town leader.
George T. Mattei Jr.
December 18, 2007
We are the chairs of the Hamden Republican Town Committee and the Hamden Democratic Town Committee. As many of your readers know, Connecticut will hold its presidential preference primaries on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008. This year, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party will hold primaries to choose their presidential candidates. We have not held primaries in both political parties since 1992. In addition, this is the first time since 1952 that neither the incumbent president nor vice president is a candidate.
Your vote counts. But in Connecticut, you cannot vote if you are not registered or if you are registered as unaffiliated. Connecticut’s primaries are only for those who have registered with one of the two major political parties.
If you want to vote in the Feb. 5 presidential preference primary, and if you are not yet registered to vote, or if you are registered as unaffiliated, you have until noon on Monday, Feb. 4, 2008, to register or switch your registration. The Registrars’ Office will hold a special voter registration session on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Registrars’ Office is on the first floor of Government Center, 2750 Dixwell Ave.
We look forward to seeing all of you, Republicans and Democrats, at the polls on Feb. 5.
Joseph P. McDonagh
December 15-16, 2007
I wanted to correct two errors in, and offer a quick comment about, your Dec. 12 article on the status of charter reform in Hamden.
The first error was my own. I stated that we should lower the petition signature threshold necessary to trigger a budget override referendum from 20 percent of registered voters to “not less than 5 percent.” I misspoke. What I intended to say was that we should lower the threshold to “not more than 5 percent.”
I also believe that Ms. Noble erred when she stated that the mayor selects members of a charter reform commission. In fact, state law provides that the commission should consist of five to 15 members appointed by the legislative council. No more than one-third of the members can be public officeholders, and only a “bare majority” can be from a single political party.
Finally, I found it shocking that Ms. Noble declared Hamden’s existing charter to be “as good as the Constitution of the United States.” I suppose it’s possible she intended that statement to be sarcastic -- and the joke’s on me -- but somehow I don’t think so.
Hamden’s charter is not even a well-crafted Connecticut town charter. It is poorly organized, overly wordy in spots and under-informative in others, and has not well served the interests of citizens over the last 25 years. To mention such a document in the same breath as a majestic one such as the U.S. Constitution is laughable -- or worse.
Mark D.G. Sanders
Kudos to the town for making arrangements to help Connex Credit Union rent space at Memorial Town Hall. Connex has fixed up the former Town Clerk’s Office and it looks terrific. The move not only helped a local business, but will generate $4,000 per month of needed revenue for the town.
This outside-of-the-box thought process inside the confines of our traditional town government square will no doubt help increase revenue from non-tax sources. The more revenue we can generate from unusual places, the less we’ll have to ask from our residents in the next budget process.
I do wish that the Hamden Municipal Credit Union had the chance to establish permanent location at the Memorial Town Hall. A previous administration made it difficult for that credit union to stay at Town Hall, and it had to move across the street into Hamden Center office building. Perhaps when Connex Credit Union moves back to its location when it’s repaired after recent fire damage, the Hamden Credit Union can have discussions about the space, should it make sense in its business planning.
Special thanks to Mayor Craig Henrici and Economic and Community Development Director Dale Kroop for their work in making this deal happen.
If any residents have ideas for “outside-of-the-box” revenue that you think could help our town, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Curt Balzano Leng
December 9, 2007
In a thank you letter to the editor, I printed a new middle name in my sign-off, “Balzano.” After it was published, a few local politicians felt the need to comment on my name, including former Republican mayoral candidate Ronald Gambardella. In his column he insinuated that I had started using the middle name Balzano for political purposes, as our town and region is known to have an Italian heritage.
Balzano is the last name of my grandfather, Sgt. Andrew Balzano, a retired Hamden police sergeant. My grandfather has been my No. 1 supporter and advisor from my first days in Hamden politics, over a decade ago now.
This type of unsubstantiated and ignorant commenting is not uncommon for Ron, however, this time he has not only offended Italian-Americans for assuming that a Hamden citizen is going to vote for a candidate simply because he or she is of Italian descent, but he has offended me and my family in a personal manner.
I plan to continue using Balzano as part of my name now and into the future -- whether certain local politicians like it or not. Using my grandfather’s name is about the honor and pride I feel for being a part of his family. It has been a true privilege for me to say that this man was my mentor in life and in politics.
Mr. Gambardella, you owe my family an apology.
Curt Balzano Leng
December 7, 2007
As I’m sure you have noticed, one of America’s favorite pastimes is criticizing George “Dubya” Bush. Newspapers and Web sites publish amusing cartoons, quotations and photos of the impish little man. Unfortunately, the problems our country is now facing are anything but humorous.
The events of recent years have led many Americans to seek a change in government. Several of the 2008 presidential candidates promise change, but there is only one who will truly make it happen. This candidate is set apart not only by his words, but by his actions -- a consistent congressional voting record true to the Constitution of the United States.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ron Paul has been the leading advocate for limited constitutional government, states’ rights, low taxes and free markets. He voted against the Iraq war. He voted against the Patriot Act. He is known among his congressional colleagues and his constituents for having a consistent voting record free from the influence of lobbyists.
Most importantly, Congressman Paul takes a responsible approach to economic policy. The United States is currently over $9 trillion in debt and politicians, lobbyists and the president continue to overspend. Ron Paul promotes a return to sound monetary policies through spending cuts and a return to the gold standard to halt the devaluing of the U.S. dollar in world markets.
If you are one of the many Americans who would like to see real change, I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit www.ronpaul2008.com to learn more.
November 27, 2007
As the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has just passed, I thought it was a perfect time to extend my sincere thank you to the people of the 6th District and all residents of Hamden that supported my campaign this fall. I will be returning to the Legislative Council for a fifth time and it is an honor and a privilege to continue serving and working on the important issues facing our town.
I look forward to working with my fellow Council members and the town administration on a host of issues, especially towards dramatic improvements to our tax relief programs for seniors and veterans, and to finally closing the State Street tire pond environmental debacle.
Again, my sincere thank you for your friendship and support. Please feel free to e-mail me with your questions, concerns and ideas at email@example.com at any time.
Curtis Balzano Leng
November 11, 2007
I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the voters in Hamden’s 8th District who came out to vote and elected me as their district councilman.
I also want to thank my opponent, Ed Sullivan, for running a clean campaign. I thank my friends and supporters, especially the 8th District town committee members, and my wife and daughters who worked so hard on my behalf.
I will work hard to live up to your expectations and represent you fairly and honestly over the next two years.
I want to thank the voters of the town of Hamden who braved the rain and bitter cold on Election Day 2007 so that I could remain Hamden's town clerk. It has been my honor and privilege to serve this great community.
Government is only as responsive and caring as the elected officials who guide it, and I hope to continue serving the citizens of Hamden in an honest, fair and impartial manner as town clerk. I appreciate the opportunity to continue the preservation, technology and education programs I have initiated. As a public official, I feel I hold a primary role in educating the public, especially schoolchildren, about how their government functions.
Lastly, I appreciate my family who has endured all the time I have spent away from my family to meet my obligations at Town Hall.
I sit here on Saturday, just a few days after the election, with many thoughts going through my mind. I must first say that although there are people who feel they must make excuses for why I didn't win the 2nd District Council seat on Nov. 6, I certainly do not agree.
There are no excuses to be made or apologies to be sent. I am not sorry for the way I chose to run my campaign. On the contrary, I am humbled by the wonderful people of the 2nd District that I have had the awesome ability to come into contact with.
I set out on a journey, certainly a journey to challenge myself and my abilities. I have learned so much about the stuff I am made of and I have no regrets. I told the people who said I couldn't win without them, that my plan was to win with the help of the people and not the poiticians. I told them that I wouldn't "sell my soul to the devil," so to speak, and I didn't. I told them that as long as I stayed true to the decent human being I consider myself to be -- win or lose -- I would walk away with my head held high.
Well, my dear friends and my new friends, I come to you today to say thank you with my head held high. Whether you supported me with a lawn sign, a donation, your time as a volunteer or just your kind words of encouragement, I needed you. I needed each and every one of you. I want you all to know that I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart and I will never forget your tireless efforts.
You humble me with your kindness and conviction. You make me so proud to call you my friends, and I hope you will all reach out to me if ever I can be of any assistance to you.
November 5, 2007
The editorial appearing in the Oct. 26 New Haven Register endorsing Mayor Henrici expresses the opinion of the editor, Mr. Charles Kochakian. Unfortunately, several examples Mr. Kochakian provides to back up his endorsement are misleading or simply not true.
For example, Mr. Kochakian states: “Henrici has started an ambulance service that should earn revenue.” The fact is that Mr. Henrici promised to start an ambulance service and to date none exists. Moreover, earning revenue while generating high expenses makes this proposal breakeven at best and could end up costing taxpayers more money.
Mr. Kochakian further states: “The town purchased land on Putnam Avenue for a new fire headquarters …” but failed to mention that we paid $6.2M for the property that the mayor is proposing to sell eight of 12 acres for $1.3M, preventing the construction of a police facility on this site.
Finally, Mr. Kochakian mentions “careful monitoring of expenses,” but fails to mention expenses are up $20M over a two-year period.
It is one thing to endorse a candidate based on accomplishments or a solid plan; it is quite a different story to back a candidate with incorrect facts.
Unfortunately, Mr. Henrici did not keep the majority of his campaign promises and has no solid fiscal plan for the future of Hamden.
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