Letters to the editor March 26
`We pay taxes too'
I live on the other side of town. I phrase it as such because that is how my fellow "east side" residents and I feel sometimes -- like we are the forgotten ones.
But I have news for the rest of Fairfield -- we like our neighborhood and patronize many of the establishments in the Kings Highway East/Tunxis Hill area. The Stop & Shop on Villa Avenue is my grocery store, I buy my tires at Town Fair, I have had dinner at Mancuso's restaurant and my cat is treated at Highway Animal Hospital. And Kings Highway East often is my regular route home from Fairfield Center, the beaches or the movie theaters.
But each and every time I travel down Kings Highway East, I am appalled at its deteriorating condition. Several properties are being allowed to become unsightly (and that word may not be strong enough), among them are the former furniture store, the former car dealership, a former gas station and a former adult video store and spa. The lots are overgrown with weeds and strewn with garbage. Graffiti is taking over. Windows are broken and boarded up.
What a shame that these properties are allowed to stay in these conditions. Now I understand that the turn in the economy is partially to blame for what has happened to these sites; some of them were expected to be redeveloped. But can't the town administration demand that the owners clean up their properties? Does the blight ordinance have no real impact any longer? If the blight ordinance is not an option, how about some strongly worded requests from the first selectman and the economic development director to the property owners to clean up these sites, including razing the buildings? I would rather see empty, cared-for lots than dilapidated graffiti-covered, boarded-up buildings.
Are town officials truly oblivious? I find that hard to believe, especially since so many town meetings are conducted at the "palace," 501 Kings Highway East, the site of the Board of Education offices -- which is surrounded by the ugly properties I mention.
I am hopeful that the administration will give this side of town a little attention. We pay taxes too.
Project Runway success
On March 14, the Fairfield PTA sponsored Project Runway -- Falcon Edition, a fundraiser to benefit both the Jr. and Sr. Post Proms held at The Fairfield Theatre Company. The Post Proms are safe-alternative gatherings to be held at The Circle Diner after each prom. The event showcased the many talents of the FLHS student-body: fifty-three students from the FLHS Class of 2010 modeled clothing from local merchants, the a cappella group, Close Harmony, opened the show, students from the FLHS Culinary Arts Program made and served specialties they created to those in attendance, and student photographers chronicled the event.
We, as committee chairmen, would like to thank our team: Capri, Encore, Island Outfitters, La Moda Fashions, Mitchells, Teen Scene, The Men's Wearhouse, Salon V, Total Look and The Pantry.
And to the many who made our event such a success -- 3graces.com, A&S Italian Fine Foods, Aj Ruberti, Alphaprep, Amore Bakery, Athletic Shoe Factory, Bagel King Of Norwalk, Billy's Bakery, Black Rock Tavern, Bungalow Basics, Café Madeline, Café Tavolini, Candgpulbications, Card Smart, Centro, Circle Diner, Coreen's Bridge Floral Shop, Dovecote, Fairfield Police Department, Fairfield Stationers, Fairfield Tennis Center, Fairfield Wine & Spirits, Fattibene Family, Fossil, Garden Catering, Hands On Pottery, Hansen's Flowers, Henry C. Reid And Son Jewelers, Isabelle Cresta-Johansen, J.albert Johnson Jewelers, Jim Hughes, Kasson Jewelers, Langan's Restaurant NYC, Mancuso's, Market Image -- Ann Roach, Massage Envy, Modelinia Publications, O'brien's Irish Pub, Nyc, Pizza Palace, Posh Nail Salon, Robeks, Southport Smiles, Stephen P. Roach, Golf Professional, Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course, Taco Loco, The Edge, The Fairfield Theatre Company, The Field, The Nauti Dolphin, The Pig N' Whistle Irish Pub NYC, The Roach Family, The Tennis Spot, The Trumbull Racquet Club, Trader Joe's, Tudo Joia Jewelry -- Amy Silva, Universal Printing, Vineyard Vines, W Magazine, Wear It Promotions, Yoga For Everybody -- we cannot thank you enough.
We encourage all to support those who supported us.
Co-Chairmen, Project Runway --
An inconvenient truth
I am not surprised that in Kirk Lang's two-part series on the town pension plan, not a single town official has yet to mention the mismanagement of the plan that led to placing a $20 million bet with Bernie Madoff through a feeder fund and letting it ride into the sewer. All of them would like the taxpayer to forget about it but nobody has and nobody will. Inconvenient truths just never seem to go away despite the best attempts by politicalcronies like Paul Hiller who occupy town hall.
I'm sure more than a few took issue with a letter appearing on March 19 titled "Health Care is an act of Patriotism" by Mr. Kunstler. The author questions "our moral compass," claims we lack compassion for our own citizens and twists the words of Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King to suit his purpose. It's ironic that he is incensed that we are not patriotic towards tyranny.
Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama have twisted arms, cut special deals for some states (including ours), threatened to hold back funding from members of their caucus come re-election. This bill can't pass on its own merits so the liberals has to resort to strong-arm tactics, legislative trickery and manipulating the Constitution. A majority of Americans -- 55 percent -- objects to Obamacare, according to Rassmussin, and still the leadership is blind to its own tyranny. This bill has little to do with health and everything to do with ideological warfare. Once these socialist principles are institutionalized there is an unelected bureaucracy that rules without accountability to the federally mandated participants. Right now it's the Democrats -- will you feel the same when it's the Republicans?
You quote Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happines,s" and then you pervert his words by saying "ill Americans without health care are denied these rights." The creator grants the unalienable rights. Not the government.
Then you go on to say these government granted rights "are literally the very essence of what it means to be an American." Liberty is the core of America. Freedom. Other nations you tout as being compassionate because of their universal health care -- lack the freedoms you are so willing to give up. The sonnet on the Statue of Liberty reads in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The premise behind this was to offer freedom to oppressed people knowing that through liberty they could root themselves in their faith and in their hope and with charity, make it possible for others to do the same. That was the essence of what it means to be an American. Unfortunately, the offer Lady Liberty extends is not sustainable with all of our entitlements and our national debt looming at 13 Trillion.
We have come to a crossroads where it is time to choose -- your choices are the way of Europe, Canada, China and Cuba or America. Hint: Choosing America is patriotic.
`Usual cynical politics
from the right'
Julie Criscuolo seems to think that she hit a rhetorical home run over Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams' recent decision to have a rare cardiac procedure at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She repeats Glenn Beck's lie that this procedure "is not available at any price in Canada." In fact the premier's office has stated that the operation couldn't be done in Newfoundland, a remote and sparsely populated province that could fairly be called Canada's Alaska. Richard Ross is absolutely correct; this is not proof of a medical meltdown in Canada. The meltdown is, in fact, taking place right here, where my small business has seen medical premium increases averaging 25 percent a year for the last several years.
Ms. C. is flogging the same old right wing dead horse about how health care in the United States is the best in the world. And indeed, the United States offers some of the best physicians and facilities on the planet. But a health care "system" necessarily entails notions of access and that's where the U.S. meltdown is taking place. Criscuolo seems to be arguing that any American can be provided with highly specialized medical care at a top-ranked hospital--and at a reasonable cost. Yeah, and I have a bridge over the East River that's available for purchase.
The current health care debate is not about whether the wealthy will have range of choices regarding medical care. (Danny Williams was a successful lawyer before going into government and reportedly donates his salary to charity.) Rather, this debate is about whether all Americans ought to be provided with a basic standard of care at a cost that won't result in financial ruin, which will provide Americans with an enhanced degree of security and, in the opinion of many, improve economic productivity.
What are we to make, moreover, of Deloitte Consulting's estimate that, in 2007 alone, 750,000 Americans traveled to India, Eastern Europe and elsewhere to obtain medical care that was felt to be as good as that available here, but at a discount of as much as 75 percent. Again, the rich can go to the best hospitals in the United States and pay the tab. For the rest of us, it's a different story. And the recent revelation that Saint Sarah's family availed themselves of Canadian health care? Too rich for words.
But really, Criscuolo's letter is not motivated by her well-reasoned position on health care policy. Most Americans agree that U.S. health care needs fixing. Ms. C. just can't abide the idea that Barack Obama might get credit for it. The entire tea party movement is a relentless, scorched-earth effort to deny Democrats any significant legislative accomplishments prior to the November elections. (See Sen. DeMint: "Health care = Waterloo.") The GOP and the tea partiers are bereft of any ideas beyond tax cuts, "tort reform" and repeal of the estate tax. On jobs their policy is to hope that unemployment stays in the 10 percent range until next October and to do nothing to alleviate the misery (and anger) brought on by the current recession.
It's the usual cynical politics from the right -- fear, division and distortion -- animated by the "MacGuffie postulate," the belief that those who yell the loudest are right.
In the face of national surveys showing 70 -- 80 percent of Americans in favor of health insurance reform, there have been some letters to the editor from a vocal minority claiming with alarm that the proposed changes to the system would be detrimental to us all. These same letters suggest that we contact our representatives and tell them to end this assault on the American system.
I have a different perspective. Even though this has been an inordinately long process, I believe our representatives, particularly Congressman Jim Himes, are working diligently to materially improve our situation by reforming the current ineffective and costly health insurance system.
Using the district-wide town meetings as a venue, Himes has sought out the views of his constituents throughout the process and returned to Washington to impact legislation to meet the needs of his district.
Let's get specific. The health insurance reform that Himes has worked with others to craft will give millions of Americans access to affordable insurance through a competitive insurance market, not one protected by antiquated anti-competitive sweetheart arrangements with the large insurance corporations.
The proposed reforms will also hold insurance companies accountable to keep premiums affordable and prevent denials of service.
With key reforms in place, there is an important side benefit for all of us: the welcomed reduction of the federal deficit by $100 billion over the next 10 years.
Perhaps these improvements are not important to the small group of letter-writers who are apparently comfortable with the current arrangements. However, in the larger picture, most Americans realize that this country can establish a better health insurance system for its citizens.
Accordingly, I suggest that you call or e-mail Himes to encourage him to continue his fight for these common-sense reforms that will benefit us all.
John A. Cunningham
It took a lady
Did you catch the photo of the congressional staff applauding Nancy Pelosi in one of the halls of Congress after the win?
Have you noticed that no one has mentioned that it was a lady and a mother champion who got the job done? Why do you suppose it took a woman? What does she know that a lot of the guys don't know?
In a way it's a fitting tribute that she was not immediately singled out because of her gender and that her accomplishment was seen as that of a great Congress person doing their job.
So how do you compare the quality of her accomplishment as a lady and a mother to that of the Republican leadership which is already looking for monkey wrenches and has already set off to repeal the work of thousands? These men and dads have not quite come across as being very worried about their families or constituents -- people who get just as sick and lose their coverage just as often as members of the other party. What's their secret?
People are going to remember that it was a woman who championed and pushed the health care bill through and left the good ole boys starring into the headlights. She understood Mitch McConnell's and John Boehner's tactics and was undaunted.
For 14 months these "men" obstructed and demonized the work of thousands of health care experts and hundreds of Republican and Democratic congressmen and senators who, for 30 years, have mixed the mortar and baked and laid the bricks to build the foundation for health care reform. McConnell and Boehner chose pandership over leadership instead, and to represent narrow interest groups instead of 300 million Americans.
You need to tell me, anybody, how we are going to be able to solve our other big problems by following any of Mitch McConnell's and John Boehner's advice.
Hats off to MVP Nancy Pelosi and the ladies and guys who get it.