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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 10-20-22

Revenge against Alex Jones

Last week Alex Jones’ extremist lies finally caught up with him to the tune of almost a billion dollars. A Connecticut jury ordered him to pay up for calling the Sandy Hook massacre a “hoax” and its victims “crisis actors.” Those families have been vilified, threatened, and harassed mercilessly ever since Jones decided that their misery could be translated into higher ratings and millions in ad revenue. But thanks to phony bankruptcies, secret accounts and legal delays, Jones may never pay anything.      

We know why he has picked on Sandy Hook and other mass shooting victims. The conspiracy theorist and right-wing radio loudmouth has been trying to discredit those of us who want to end to gun violence in this country, and grieving families are an easy target for a coward.

But that won’t work here.  Our best revenge: passing more sensible gun laws in Washington.

Thanks to the efforts of our 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is the first major law to curb gun violence in 30 years. As the wife of a Waterbury police officer, she recognizes that there are many law-abiding gun owners here, but she also supports reforms like banning assault weapons and ghost guns.   

And that’s exactly what will infuriate Alex Jones.  Let’s show Jones and his wacko followers that we will continue our efforts to stop gun violence. We need to re-elect Rep. Jahana Hayes on Nov. 8th to the U.S. Congress.

Frank Fitzmaurice

Sharon

 

Hayes’ tight race is no surprise

Jahana Hayes deserves to be re-elected as Connecticut’s 5th District United States Representative to Congress. But her close race is not surprising.  While 5th District Democrats have rallied behind her, she needs to win over independents and the undecided. Lawn signs do not do that. Political ads can. Hayes’ opponent, George Logan, is unfit for office. But his ads appeared early on and have been compelling. In contrast, Jahana Hayes ignored his attacks for months; resulting in a tight race. She not only lost momentum, but put herself at a disadvantage in having to now change opinions rather than shape them. While her advertising campaign has finally taken off, it does not appear to be a winning one.

As an effective incumbent, Jahana Hayes has a distinct advantage over Logan. She can tout her accomplishments in concrete terms, as has been the case with Ned Lamont and Richard Blumenthal. So, for example, she has a solid track record in addressing the economy, healthcare, climate change and the environment, to name a few areas of important concern. Instead, she talks primarily values, “leaving no one behind” and displays the wide grin portrayed by those demeaning her as “laughing off” problems confronting us.

Importantly, she has refrained from responding to Logan’s unfair attacks. The 2004 presidential campaign should have taught Democrats a profound lesson. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, ignored the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that questioned his Vietnam service. He was advised that by ignoring the ads, their impact would go away. But that did not happen and he lost the election. Hayes and her campaign advisers have not learned from history.

On the positive side, it is not too late for Jahana Hayes to widen the gap and win. Hopefully, her campaign moves forward into full gear and showcases her track record; letting everyone know why she is the proven candidate.

Danella Schiffer

Salisbury

 

Vote for Harding on Nov. 8

Despite the landscape being blanketed with blue yard signs, perhaps you’ve seen the few for Stephen Harding’s low-budget campaign for state Senate and wondered, as I have, about his bid for that office.

Steve was up here again from Brookfield for the Fall Festival, and I had the pleasure of getting to know him. Even though he’s a practicing attorney, I found him to be very personable, spirited, and well informed.  From Steve we can expect constructive solutions based on common sense rather than his supporting the longstanding tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats.

What a refreshing change it would be to vote for the better qualified candidate rather than a partisan hack.

Peter Becket

Lakeville

 

Thanks for a great Fall Festival weekend

After two years of cancellations, the Salisbury Fall Festival was back for its 65th year. The streets were filled with families and friends who enjoyed three days of activities and events — from live music and a quilt show to artisans and book sales to Martha Graham dancers and a brew fest. Both food tents ran out of hot dogs and comfort food by 1 p.m. on Saturday!

Thanks to our local organizations, churches, schools, businesses and individuals who helped make the event so successful. They planned activities and events, set up booths, created scarecrows, and provided sponsorship. On a beautiful autumn weekend, the Salisbury Fall Festival reflected what is so very special about our community.

In appreciation.

Jeanette Weber

Salisbury Fall Festival Publicity

Salisbury Association President

Salisbury

 

Thanks from former Millerton News editor Whitney Joseph

As many of those reading this newspaper may know, I stepped down as editor of The Millerton News in September, after 20 years on the job.

In May I returned to my home state of Florida, and was well aware that my leaving the paper was the next logical step. After all, The Millerton News built its reputation as an award-winning local community newspaper due largely to its hard-working and dedicated staff — and it needs boots on the grounds to remain relevant and productive.

When my publisher learned of my plans to move, I was given a three-month grace period to remain editor. That stretched to six months, thanks to my capable and diligent staff and colleagues. I am extremely grateful to them all, and for that extra time. Making the decision to step away from my job and my life did not come easily, yet it was the best decision for me personally and, hopefully in the near future, professionally.

Please know how honored I was to helm such a lively paper, covering news that affected your — our — everyday lives. It was a privilege to get to know so many people in the community while reporting on important news and events. My goal was to also always write editorials that were respectful of all sides and of all people no matter my personal position. I hope I succeeded in that effort.

Thank you to all who read and supported The Millerton News during my editorship, for welcoming the newspaper into your lives and for sharing a bit of your world with us. To those with whom I chatted, interviewed, photographed and perhaps even grilled during my tenure, I so appreciate your time and your willingness to let me do so.

A special thanks to the local leaders and volunteers for their service, and for sharing their time and their expertise with me. That spirit of community and conviviality — threaded throughout the Harlem Valley and its environs — is why I loved being your editor. It is what makes Millerton, North East, Amenia, Pine Plains, Millbrook and Washington, plus all of our other communities, so special. It is what makes The Millerton News so special, too.

Best of luck to you all, and please continue to support this amazing little newspaper — and each other — as you move forward.

Whitney Joseph

Former editor,

The Millerton News

Tallahassee, Fla.

 

Harding is the one for the 30th

In this year’s race for the 30th State Senate District, voters are faced with a clear choice.

Stephen Harding has spent his entire life living in and serving the 30th District. He’s a graduate of Brookfield High School, and is married to a schoolteacher in the New Milford public school system. Steve served on the Brookfield Board of Education before being elected to the state legislature. Steve is serving his fourth term in the legislature and is currently the ranking member of the environment committee. Working alongside Senator Miner, Steve has worked to protect Housatonic Meadows State Park in Sharon, other public spaces and local natural resources. Steve has also worked hard to protect educational funding to our local communities. Steve is well liked by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Hartford, and helped craft a bi-partisan budget curbing tax increases.

Steve’s opponent, Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, is not from the district and has never held any elective office. Ms. Zimmerman, a Hartford native, is in reality a classic political opportunist shopping for a district to run in. She only registered to vote in the 30th district around one year ago. Once appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Newtown town council, she lost her attempt at election to this same town council the following year; was trounced for election to the state Legislature in 2016; and lost her party’s nomination for lieutenant governor in 2018. Her only record of “public service” is as an “organizer” for the far-left Service Employees International Union (SEIU). There’s little doubt on how she’ll vote on state contracts affecting public service unions.

In the 30th district State Senate race, Steve Harding far better reflects the mainstream values of our community. He has a record of accomplishment, and he’s a lifelong resident of the district.

Thaddeus Gray

Lakeville

 

Steve Harding for the 30th  District

Connecticut’s 30th State Senate District, stretching from Brookfield and parts of Bethel and Danbury all the way  up to the Massachusetts border, has long been represented by a distinguished line of moderate Republicans. From Dell Eads, who held the seat for 20 years, to Andrew Roraback to Craig Miner, who is retiring after three terms, these moderate Republicans have not only attracted votes from Democrats and Independents, thay have a long track record of working across the aisle to achieve solutions to problems facing the State.

Steve Harding, currently serving his fourth term in the General Assembly where he represents Brookfield and parts of Bethel and Danbury, is a worthy successor to these public servants.  In the General Assembly, Steve is the ranking member of the Environment Committee and has served for seven years on the Judiciary Committee. In addition to his law practice in Danbury and his service in the Legislature, he has served on numerous town boards and commissions in his hometown of Brookfield, including the Board of Education and the Zoning Board of Appeals. His wife Kelly is a teacher in the New Milford schools and Steve has been endorsed by the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut.

Steve’s opponent, Eva Zimmerman, is a newcomer to the District and has run unsuccessfully for the Newtown Town Council, the General Assembly’s 106th District and Lt. Governor. She serves as an organizer and leader of the Service Employees International Union in Connecticut and Massachusetts, which would raise conflict of interest issues in connection with voting on state labor contracts.

Steve Harding has a track record of advocating for lower taxes, support for Connecticut law enforcement and protecting our open spaces.  Steve will ably represent the interests of the 30th District and deserves your vote on Nov. 8.

Tom Morrison

Chair, Salisbury Republican Town Committee

Salisbury

 

Loss of police should lead to thinking of new de-escalation

After the ambush in Bristol on Oct. 12, the crime of Officer Alex Hamzy and Sargeant Dustin DeMante being killed intentionally by a pair of biological brothers, the time for mourning and reflection has spread across Connecticut and beyond. There will be a joint funeral service in East Hartford on Friday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m., which we can all join in by taking time for at least a moment of silence but hopefully longer with some quiet time or a walk or connecting with another for prayers and reflection. We can find time then or over the following days to give thanks and even ring a bell or making a toast to the heroic officers who lost their lives and their families as well as a third brave Officer Alec Iurato who was able to stop shooter Nicholas Brutcher, unfortunately only by firing a fatal shot.

All of the people in service fields especially those that can put their lives in danger deserve our utmost respect and ways to de-escalate the risk that they may face. That can include driving and living as safely and reasonably as possible, with plans and agreements that are followed for asking for help and not allowing small things to become major issues.

Having medical check-ups and allowing others to drive and assist one in making longer-term care or life plans then finding support to make the transitions over time to follow through with needed steps is a pattern more can join in with team efforts. All of these routine matters and bigger efforts can involve a kind of ministry of care and support. Living, driving and walking across streets with care and looking both ways especially during this time of school and colder weather are simple ways to remember to take precautions.

De-escalating conflicts and finding support are also ways to honor the legacy of those lost but never forgotten.

Catherine Palmer Paton

Falls Village

 

Sara died too young, in the 1960s

I remember Sara, I knew her when I was growing up in a small town in northwest Connecticut. She was a lovely blue-eyed girl with streaky blond hair and a quick smile. She was four years older than I. She went to New York City and found a job in an office and sadly got involved with her married boss.

She was not ready emotionally or financially to become a mother but finding herself pregnant in the late 1960s she had no safe alternatives. A friend drove her to Harlem and said Sara was very scared and nervous getting out of the car. Later she was found dead, having bled to death on the table used by the illegal and untrained abortionist.

When Roe vs. Wade went through, I thought of Sara. That ruling would have saved her life. The Supreme Court has now annulled that right, and Sen. Lindsey Graham confirmed that Republicans want to pass a 15-week national abortion ban. Make no mistake, more women will die like Sara.

That is why we need to re-elect Democrats like Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. She will vote for a women’s health bill in Congress and get it signed by the president, which would finally bring women’s reproductive health rights to all women in the country. Only through this legislation, which Congresswoman Hayes supports, will we not have to see more young women like Sara needlessly suffer and die.

Liz Piel

Sharon

 

We need to protect our fragile democracy now

The chaos and political discord in the United States now is both demoralizing and chilling. Where is the respect for each other and the truth? It is clear our democracy is in trouble.

The polarizing effects of social media is one reason for all the havoc in our country. Through social media, fear can be manipulated toward Jewish people, Black people, Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, etc. This fear is used by the rich and powerful to their advantage. What is worse is, it’s happening globally. The rise in nationalism and bigotry is history repeating itself, echoing World War II. Have we gotten to the point where repeating a lie long enough becomes the truth?

The current dysfunction of the United States government didn’t just happen with the appearance of Donald Trump. He certainly exploited the truth and used American’s divided issues of race as his platform, but racism has always been the rot of America. It pervades our society in every area: police interactions, job applications, housing, health care, equal pay, etc. Trump’s rhetoric heightened the fear and bigotry in people despite the increase of diversity in America.

Our political parties reflect the terrible discord of our country. It seems that the quest for votes excuses the strategies of extremism and lies. Immigrants are being used as human pawns to make a political statement. Groups are using violence to establish their opinions. The increase in tribalism in America is dangerous and becoming the norm.

Our nation cannot go down this road if we want to preserve our democracy. We are facing threats at home and abroad undermining our right to free and fair self-government. No one is or should be above the law. When we start to excuse the rich and powerful from their crimes, we are eroding the faith people have in our Constitution and our nation. Have we forgotten about the effort to take down the Justice Department and the FBI?

Our standing in the world has declined enormously. How can our government give direction to other governments when we can’t fix our own?

I can only hope that as badly as our democracy has been bruised, we protect our country from further damage.

Gretchen Gordon

Sharon

 

Exit, voice, loyalty: Treatise still applies today

A slim, muscular treatise “Exit, Voice, Loyalty: Response to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States” was published by Albert Hirschman of Princeton in 1970. Hirschman cited three ways people react to deterioration, dissatisfaction with any organization as Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Exit is to leave, vote with ones feet while Loyalty retards Exit to exercise Voice, when permitted, to clarify dissatisfaction, advocate for change, promote betterment in product, policy, organization.

Daily we see this treatise in action. In Russia, a hundred thousand men have Exited in resistance to Putin’s move to beef up his large yet puny military through conscription.  Roads at Russian borders are laden with abandoned vehicles as this Exit of Russians now adds to the thousands who fled at the outset of Putin’s Ukraine Project (the invasion of Ukraine) in March.

Russia has no viable independent Voice mechanisms, the vote is rigged, Putin is always the far away winner in any election. Citizen Voice is muted and those individuals daring Voice opposition are silenced — incarcerated or assassinated.  They are Exited; fear, not Loyalty, is the counterweight.

Some here at home assess the GOP as deteriorating. Its voting suppressions, its denial of a presidential election outcome, its pending laws to have state legislatures override voters, the slate of GOP candidates who are extreme, dishonest, over the moon on removing and intensifying constricts on women’s rights.

Many of us sincerely question why, given the prevalent violent rhetoric and daily incitements, traditional Republicans are silent — dead silent: Trump threatens McConnell, Trump takes government documents to his resort, Lake struts her denial script, Mastriano swells his violence rich rhetoric on women, on democracy, Vance espouses support for women being ready victims of marital abuse. MAGA conspiracy theories trumpet rampant pedophilia by Democratic opponents.

In this mayhem, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse is Exiting.  Sasse of Nebraska, re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2020 through 2026, is expected to resign his Senate chair. Sasse will return to academia as University of Florida’s president. He leaves a chamber of silence where traditional Republican Voice is seemingly repressed, snuffed out. Sasse perhaps is joining a cadre of former Republicans Exiting a party under the auspices of a conspiracy ladened base with 45 in the lead.

Will more Exits come on the right, for what is right?  Will Senators as they resign/Exit their offices this fall Voice appraise candidates running to replace them: Toomey in Pennsylvania, Portman in Ohio, Blunt in Missouri. One may not agree politically with those retiring but one didn’t question their character.

When Loyalty is tattered, when Voice is denied then Exit is imminent, demise is assured.  Let’s hear from all — a plethora of Voices — for the principles and practice of democracy and decency.

November 8th is fast coming. Can we prevent here Joseph Stalin’s conviction: It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.

Kathy Herald-Marlowe

Sharon

 

What a group of women to vote for in northwest Connecticut this election season

Through the magic of redistricting, I feel like I won the Trifecta! There are three intelligent, well spoken, well informed, caring and feisty women that I get to vote for on Nov. 8: Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, State Senate Candidate Eva Bermudez Zimmerman and State Representative Maria Horn.

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is on two important committees: Education & Labor, where she fights for the education, well being and safety of America’s students and also for workers, making sure they get a fair shake; Agriculture, fighting for our small family farms, so they have a say against the huge farming centers of the West, and so they can be there for our children and grandchildren.

Our congresswoman serves as the Chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, believing that a hungry child cannot learn. She also serves on the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.

Eva Bermudez Zimmerman is a dynamo. Eva fights for union workers, education,the environment, LGBTQ rights and healthcare. Eva received the Latino Person of the Year from the Connecticut Legislature for signing up 15,000 people for the Affordable Care Act. Eva fights for causes she believes in.

Representative Maria Horn is up for re-election in the Connecticut 64th District, but is new to the voters of Washington. Maria chairs the Public Safety Committee, and serves on the Environment Committee and Energy & Technology Committee. She previously served as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee. All this since coming into office in 2018! All three women work for Women’s Rights, small businesses, the environment,Voting Rights, Affordable Housing, Gun sense Legislation, First Responders, Veterans and Social Security and Medicare.

All three have worked on both sides of the aisle to promote bipartisanship. I admire all three women immensely.

Everything is on the line this year. I strongly encourage each of you to join me in voting for the entire Democratic slate of strong, qualified people who care about us.

Mary T. Weber

Washington, Conn.

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