Let Border Patrol decide strategy

To the editor:

Let me get this straight. In 2006, a Democratic Congress voted billions to erect a border fence to affirm their “toughness” on border security. The fence proved useless (maybe some Dems were happy about that?). Now, these same folks refuse to support a wall — which unlike the idiotic fence might actually work — on the grounds that it would be demonic, racist ... ah, you fill in the blank. They complain about the $5 billion price tag just a few short years after approving the $800 billion dollar Obama stimulus package which promised hundreds of “shovel ready” projects which President Obama was forced to admit weren’t shovel ready. Can Democrats be truthful just once, admit that it’s not the wall they’re against, but rather the guy who wants it built?

Here’s a suggested compromise solution. Take President Trump’s wall request of $5 billion and subtract the Dem’s offering of $1.6 billion. The difference between the two figures is $3.4 billion. Split the difference in half and add it to the Dems’ figure, leaving a total of $3.3 billion. Then let the primary agency in charge of protecting our border, the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, decide how the $3.3 billion should be spent. If they feel the money would be better spent in a different security capacity, direct it there.

Neil Kavey


Lamont must deal with the underfunding problem: teacher pensions

To the editor:

“For as long as Jim Brown is allowed to campaign in local Hearst newspapers about the injustices of teachers having an exorbitant pension plan,” so begins a recent letter to the editor from a retired teacher.

Presumably, the writer did not teach English or reading comprehension. I have never once written that pension plans, in general, are unjust or that Connecticut teachers plans are exorbitant.

I did write that Connecticut teachers, all new hires that is, should participate in the federal social security retirement and disability system as a base benefit. I also said that all new teachers should participate in a reasonable pension plan on top of the federal program. I have advocated for the same changes right here in town for the union cops and firefighters, too, although for slightly different reasons. I have never been one of those in favor of replacing pension plans with 401(k)s

The state teacher pension plan is the most underfunded teacher retirement plan of any state plan in the country. It is also the most underfunded pension plan of any of the pension plans administered by the state of Connecticut. And make no mistake, history shows the state teachers union has been as much a part of the problem as the governor and state Legislature.

Lamont must deal with the underfunding problem. Even Malloy has said, on his way out, that it will be a better day for Connecticut if he does.

Jim Brown


Try as we might,

we cannot all prevent violence

To the editor:

Few people can prevent violence when it’s about to happen. We can all be reminded to help prevent violence by minding what we say under certain circumstances, or by curbing our own appetite for violence, which, thankfully, many of us, if not most of us, do.

It is only when or because of a slight or a perceived offense that is taken and retribution in some form or other is thought warranted, that some of us feel inclined to seek revenge, otherwise — and, often, even then, talk of revenge is cheap and the thought of it, only, much cheaper.

All of us, at one time or another, are incensed by something, a simple slight is complex in its deconstruction when it involves in a plot, however ill-conceived, that would permit us to attain the status of the avenged, somehow.

I may be wrong, but Steve Gaynes has written before about his love of teaching, his primary profession, now, if teaching was not the first of his career endeavors. A good many of us who have been teachers know the value of helping kids while knowing, at the same time, that they are not all perfect, as we are not — even though, as kids, we all have had a sense of them as all having within them the seeds of near perfection as young people.

Elementary school teachers must often experience this. A good number of students grow up with the advantage of having a head start on success in life, either through their own efforts or through the love and help given them by their parents, close friends, or guardians, even under very difficult circumstances.

It pains the parent, rich or poor, when a son or daughter — but, more often, a son — falls on the wrong side of the law.

Even as all of that is so, there are instances when a few — sometimes too many — lose their way, maybe through no fault of their own. Sometimes because they were failed, sometimes they failed their parents, guardians, brothers and sisters. I, too, have known some who have caused national sensation by the nature of their crimes, even as it is often very, very difficult for their loved ones to understand why or how they could have, all by and of themselves, fallen into the depths of inscrutable horrors and, often, punishment.

Gerard Coulombe