Letters to the editor, March 5
Bob and I are quoted extensively in a March 3 Fairfield Citizen article titled: "Pension Probing." We hope that this article will stimulate townwide discussion of this critical issue.
We would like to use this opportunity to clarify a few points: First, our proposal in no way suggests changing the pension status of current Fairfield employees. Promises are promises; we believe that the town should honor the terms previously negotiated. At the same time, we urge the town and its employees to agree to switch newly hired workers into a defined-contribution, 401(k), pension plan.
Second; this proposal is not intended to punish anyone, now or in the future. We believe that a well-structured 401(k) plan can be a "win-win" for the town's taxpayers and the town's employees. We support a generous plan that includes all available protections for the participants.
Third; Bob and I speak strictly for ourselves. The Board of Finance takes no official position on this matter and individual members obviously have their own views. The Board of Finance is not involved in negotiating with the various town bargaining units and also does not have a role in the approval of any labor agreements.
Please contact the town's elected officials to make your thoughts known. This is a subject that deserves and requires careful consideration.
Kenneth Brachfeld and Robert Stone,
Board of Finance Members,
Helping the hungry
What do you get when you park a Partridge Family bus replica on a church lawn, open all of its doors and ask the community to "Come on Get Happy -- Fill the Van with Cans?" You get a fully stocked food pantry at the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport, thanks to the efforts of the Our Lady of the Assumption's Youth Group, the parishioners and the surrounding communities.
People came out in full force during the weekend of Super Bowl Sunday to fill the van (and then some). Youth Group members and parent volunteers were greeted by Mark Grasso, director of the Thomas Merton Center, upon delivering the food. He and his staff were overwhelmed by the donations and said it was their largest single donation to date.
We'd like to thank Brendan and Teresa Kerrigan for generously loaning their Partridge Family van for the weekend, the Youth Group members and parent volunteers for collecting and distributing the food, the media for their coverage of the event, and most importantly all those who donated to help those who would otherwise go hungry. We thank you all.
Lara Linsenmeyer, Director
of High School Ministry;
Mary Miner and Lorella Struzzi,
Our Lady of the Assumption
Youth Group advisers,
I'd like to publicly thank the following businesses for their generous support of the Fairfield Warde Baseball fundraiser at the recent FCIAC boys' basketball quarterfinals. Their continued support greatly helps our program: A&S Italian Fine Foods, Avellino's, Billy's Bakery, BJs Wholesale Club, Country Cow, Dunkin' Donuts, Garden Catering, Nauti Dolphin, Pazzo Pizza, Pepsi, Pizza Mediterranean, Pizza Palace, Pizza Post, Spic and Span Market, Stop & Shop (Fairfield Circle), Super Duper Weenie, Trader Joe's.
Head Baseball Coach,
What a mess we are in. Democrats against Republicans with both groups not listening to the folks that voted them into office. Time for a change in how we do business America. It is pretty bad when the majority of voters say "no" and Congress says, "We know what's best for you."
To graduate from high school you must pass tests. To graduate from college and get a degree, you must pass tests. Even to get a driver's license you must pass a test. So what's my point? Too many large bills go before Congress where most of which probably have not been read by our senators or congressmen. So they do not read the loopholes or special-interest paragraphs incorporated in the bill that in the long run hurt their constituents. So what is the answer to this problem? Well here's a thought.
Maybe Congress should hire an independent college professor to read each bill and create a test with important questions related to topics within the bill that affect the voters. Small bills may only have a page of questions; large bills like health care could have 100 questions or more.
Before the debate on the bill by senators or congressmen prior to the vote, each senators or congressmen must take the test. Pass and the elected official can participate in the debate and vote either "yes" or "no" on the bill. Fail and the elected official cannot participate in the debate and their vote is an automatic "no." If the majority of senators or congressmen fail, the bill is not worth the paper it is written on or the bill should be delayed until the majority of senators or congressmen pass the test.
The test should also be posted on the Internet for all to read. Posting a 2,000-page bill will not get many middle class to read it. Posting a 10-page test questionnaire with the answers after the test has been given to representatives would. Maybe by state we should be able to see how our local representatives did on the test. This may be an eye-opener to many of us. Could be a good thing or bad but at least we would know.
Hey congress, time to represent the folks who voted you into office. Read the bills before you just salute the party leader. Will this suggestion ever be implemented? About as much of a chance as me winning PowerBall twice. For those representatives reading this who do read the bills, thank you and the test should be easy. Maybe we need some working class in Congress who currently feel the pain of the economy. The majority in Congress are leaders who have no financial problems and either come from money or have built it and forgot where they came from so they do not know the effect in the real world of some of these bills.
The season of Lent is the perfect time to consider a plant-based diet. This 40-day period preceding Easter is when Christians have traditionally abstained from meat and dairy in memory of Jesus' 40 days of fasting and prayer before dying on the cross. Such a gesture would be a tangible expression of Jesus' message of compassion and love for all living beings.
Animals are being raised for food under abject conditions of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, and manhandling. When trucked to slaughterhouses, they travel for days without food or water only to be bled, skinned, and dismembered while still conscious. Wastes from factory farms foul the water we drink and the air we breathe, and meat production accounts for 18% of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Most chronic killer diseases are linked to consumption of animal products.
We have choices, and there are consequences: blessings and curses. We can continue to subsidize these sins against nature with every food purchase, or we can show our respect for Jesus' message by accepting a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains first mandated in Genesis I-29.
For additional information, visit http://veg4lent.org/ or enter "vegan recipes" in a search engine for some exciting cuisine.