Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 10-4-18

What is fair, or unfair, prejudgment?

I would like to address Mark Godburn’s letter to the editor in The Lakeville Journal’s Sept. 20 issue. 

Mr. Godburn states that labeling Christine Blasey Ford (Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault during their high school years) a victim of an assault by Mr. Kavanaugh is a grossly unfair prejudgment. Isn’t it prejudging to say Mr. Kavanaugh should be a Supreme Court justice so “he can show them what real judging looks like,” as Mr. Godburn said? Would Mr. Kavanaugh be a fair and unbiased judge on the Supreme Court? I don’t know, because he’s never been one.

I also take issue with Mr. Godburn’s statement that the Obama administration helped railroad many males who were falsely accused of campus assaults. How on earth could President Obama be responsible for railroading any males on campus on charges of assault? It’s the accuser and the accused being investigated by the campus authorities and the police. Where does Barack Obama fit into that scenario?

Any assault (male or female) and ensuing allegations should be investigated and a determination made based on the evidence. Hillary Clinton and Anita Hill have never said there shouldn’t be a proper investigation into sexual assault allegations, as Mr. Godburn seems to think.

Finally, Mr. Godburn, our news organizations may not be “sainted” as you so sarcastically said, but without the news, our country wouldn’t run with the freedoms we have. Freedom of speech is priceless and the beauty of it is we can all express our opinions without fear of repercussions. No, Mr. Godburn, the news may not be “sainted,” but it is necessary, and for the most part, fair and accurate.

Gretchen M. Gordon



Crime against humanity calls for impeachment

The heartless action of the Trump Administration, authorized by President Donald J. Trump himself, to separate refugee children from their parents, is, in and by itself, grounds for immediate impeachment and removal from office. This imperative is not a partisan political issue. It is a lawful and moral one. Trump has shamed himself and he has shamed his country.

Yes, it’s true that the Trump administration has unquestionably violated the basic principles of the1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a number of subsequent international agreements and conventions on human rights. Trump has also violated specific provisions of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (which the U.S. still hasn’t signed). Trump’s cruelty to children has clearly violated the spirit of the U.S. Constitution protecting the rights and freedoms of all “persons.” Needless to add, Trump has undermined and misrepresented America’s ideals, beliefs and moral values in the eyes of the entire world. 

But more than this, the worst violation of all, is that Donald Trump, as Commander-in-Chief, has personally and without remorse, committed an unforgivable “crime against humanity.” No less an authority on this subject than jurist Ben Ferencz, Prosecutor at the Nazi war crimes trials at Nuremberg at the end of World War II, has concluded that “The Trump family separation policy is a crime against humanity.”

According to the Nuremberg charter principles and final judgment defining what a “crime against humanity” is, the crime specifically includes such offenses as arbitrary deportation and forcible transfer or separation of persons. These principles and obligations, including the duty to prosecute perpetrators of such crimes, apply to all offenders, including a head of state, without possibility of immunity, time limitation, excuse or pardon.  

Donald J. Trump may be ignorant, but ignorance of the law is no excuse. Having committed himself and our nation to the disgraceful role of heartless, systematic perpetrator of a high crime against humanity, Trump has shown himself to be incapacitated and unfit for office. The time has come for immediate impeachment and removal from office.

Once out of office, Trump can be investigated and indicted, under criminal and civil law, for lesser offenses, such as alleged tax evasion, money laundering, bank fraud, accepting “emoluments” from foreign sources, pandering to a foreign enemy, undermining U.S. national and international policies and alliances, hush money payments, short-changing contractors and housing tenants, and lying to Congress and the American people. But Trump’s crime against humanity ranks first, and must be dealt with first.

Tony Piel



Eat the knotweed

In reference to the Japanese knotweed problem, a feature article by David Taft of The New York Times (Sept. 6) offers another solution to diminishing the numbers of this invasive plant. 

“At just a few inches tall, Japanese knotweed is a wild edible that tastes very much like rhubarb.  To harvest the plant at this stage, it must be picked within a week or two of sprouting...when it resembles nothing so much as a fat new shoot of asparagus.”

He goes on to say that harvest time around the city is usually mid-April and that recipes can be found on various sites, such as Eat the Invaders. 

Roberta Gardner



Vote for Ohler in the 64th District

Brian Ohler, as a member of one of Northwest Connecticut’s most industrious families, and an exceptionally dedicated state representative, should be re-elected. He has accomplished much! A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army, having served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has been a volunteer firefighter and EMT for nearly 20 years.

Among his many accomplishments, he has supported common sense bi-partisan budgets, protected essential  health care for women, helped pass laws permitting all veterans to receive mental health and education benefits, protected Meals on Wheels for seniors, championed solid environmental issues, improved state law for victims of domestic violence, reversed Gov. Dannel Malloy’s cuts to state funding for local schools and, most of all, fought to eliminate additional fees and surcharges on small businesses.

  In conclusion, a vote to re-elect Brian Ohler is a balance and reinforcement of continued, representational stability for all residents of the 64th House District.  

John and Susanne Funchion



Maria Horn deserves your vote for the 64th District

I have not been active in the political arena for nearly 25 years, but have long been frustrated by what I perceive as a shallow pool of talent for many elective offices. I experienced a rush of adrenalin, however, when I first learned of Maria Horn’s extraordinary credentials. Her initiative has restored much of the hope I had lost for the future of Connecticut. The 64th District can ill afford not to send this woman to Hartford.

Like Maria, I was born into a solid but traditional Republican family. I served as vice chair of the Salisbury Republican Town Committee in the mid-60s to early 70’s. From 1984 until 1990, I had the pleasure of serving in Ronald Reagan’s second administration. I can recognize much of my own political DNA in what Maria Horn stands for.  

Maria will head to Hartford with an arsenal of ideas to address such local issues as the threatened closure of Sharon Hospital’s maternity ward and the opioid addiction crisis. She will endeavor to find ways to reduce the increase in prescription drug costs and tame federal policy encroachments on the existing Affordable Care Act.

Maria will not be able to avoid the political hurricane as the Legislature confronts desperately needed fiscal reforms. There will be no option for “on-the-job-training” when it comes to the requisite skills for confronting the State’s bankruptcy. Her competition’s worthy record as a decorated war veteran and services as a citizen volunteer, laudable as they are, do not equip one to do battle with political and fiscal hurricanes.

It is probable that Maria’s experience as a former prosecutor for the Southern District of New York and financial analyst with J.P. Morgan make her the single most qualified person running in the entire state to sit in that particular chamber at this time. I can confidently suggest this because I preceded Maria’s tenure at J.P. Morgan with my own career there. I know first hand the nature of the rigorous training and discipline this most respected of global financial institutions instills in its officers.

Maria’s training can spot a flaw in a spread sheet 20 pages thick. As a criminal prosecuting attorney, it would be supremely reckless for anyone to try to pull the wool over Maria’s eyes. Meanwhile, her service on Salisbury’s Board of Finance gives her an intimate familiarity with the options all nine municipalities in our district might have to consider in the face of further cuts in the funding of local programs.

The citizens of Connecticut’s 64th District are extraordinarily fortunate to have Maria run for this office and I, for one, am honored to give her my endorsement.

Howard (Chico) Aller



Thanks to our free press for its doggedness

Last Friday, Sept. 27, our nation watched the Senate Judiciary Committee vote change course. We then remained fixed to our televisions to understand why and how the voting process did not proceed according to the Grassley-McConnell playbook.  Much credit was rightly given to two women, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, who engaged Jeff Flake in a historic elevator encounter.  Their impassioned spontaneous entreaties had an unprecedented effect on the unfolding drama and decision to demand that an investigation take place.

However, as I woke up the next morning and mentally replayed those TV real time moments, it occurred to me that one enormous chunk of credit due seems to have been overlooked: the dogged role of the news media, specifically reporters and camera people. Isn’t it possible that the only reason Jeff Flake and his two female staff members did not close the elevator door on those two women was that a reporter and camera operator had the chutzpah to follow him down the halls, hold a clunky camera in the elevator doorway, and “get in his face?”

Isn’t it also true, as was stated by Christine Blasey Ford, that the reason she finally went public was the media hanging out in front of her house and disturbing her dog? And what about the reporter who visited her classroom without asking politely? Not fun for Dr. Blasey Ford to be staked out, for sure.  But her sense of civic duty and ensuing bravery overcame her reticence and fear, and look at what we now have to work with as we weigh the suitability of this nominee for the highest court in the land.

So much is made by us all about how omnipresent and destructive the media is to our privacy. Our current president has made a point of ridiculing the very press corps that covers his rallies and dares to ask follow-up questions at Sarah Sanders’ press briefings.

It is now entirely appropriate – and long overdue – to thank the press dogs who dare to sniff out the stench emanating from committee rooms in Congress when its members think they can substitute lip service for public service.

Molly S. Fitzmaurice



The attack on our environment

The environmental news from the administration in Washington is depressing. Refusal to admit there is climate change is absurd, but reducing the regulations concerning Methane, an important climate change pollutant, is criminal. The continual gutting of EPA standards on clean air and water will hurt everyone’s health. There should not be exploitation of our National Parks by drilling. Those lands belong to the Public and have been preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Maria Horn, who is running for Representative in the 64th District, thinks we should not give up on the bad news from Washington, but work in Hartford to clean our air and water and to fight for a comprehensive energy strategy. She wants to support a state constitutional amendment that would bring the decision-making on conveying public lands back to the people of Connecticut.

When faced with the hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, sea turtles, birds and fish who die from entanglement in plastic lines and ingesting plastic bags, Maria Horn says we can do our part to stop the 8 million tons of plastic waste entering our oceans each year. She proposes doing what some cities and towns in Maine and Massachusetts have done by banning plastic bags and using paper bags instead.

Maria Horn is correct, we can do a lot in Hartford to resist the disaster taking place in D.C. No wonder Sierra Club and other environmental groups have endorsed her. This is why a vote to elect Maria Horn is so important.

Liz Piel



Send a message with your vote

What is happening to our country today is unconscionable. The Republicans are about to appoint an accused rapist to the Supreme Court. We have to send a message every way that we can that this can’t happen. And, we must stand with the Democrats in the mid-term elections. Everyone!

Joan Finch Lomask