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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 11-3-22

Hayes is the best for the 5th

Representative Jahana Hayes works hard for all of us in the 5th District and that includes our state and local police forces. A Connecticut Republican Party flyer that appeared in my mailbox today falsely claims that Hayes, who is actually married to a police officer, is anti-police. Nothing could be further from the truth.

She helped pass the Invest to Protect Act, which funds the purchase of body cameras, de-escalation training programs, and improves recruitment and retention for town and city police forces. She supported a law that authorizes law enforcement officers to petition for a protection order preventing individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms.

Jahana has worked to fund crime intervention and mental health programs. Her opponent on the other hand, voted against a bipartisan Connecticut State Senate bill banning devices that increase the capacity of firearms, and criticized a proposed ban on assault weapons, like the ones used recently in Bristol to gun down three Bristol police officers. He also voted against a bill that among other things, would have raised Connecticut  State Trooper pay.

Jahana has worked tirelessly for veterans and their families, so much so that her office has been named the only certified Purple Heart office in the Northeast.  She helped expand early childhood education and the Child Tax Credit for families and passed a law lowering the cost of prescription drugs.    She is a cosponsor of Medicare for All that will provide the most affordable, equitable health care to all Americans.

Representative Hayes continues to protect our environment. She helped pass legislation that invests in zero-emissions technology and provides tax credits for clean vehicles as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan. On the other hand, the League of Conservation Voters just added her opponent, George Logan, a utility company executive, to its “Dirty Dozen” list of worst anti-environment and anti-democracy candidates in the country. The choice is clear. Re-elect Jahana Hayes for the 5th District.

Amy Lake

Lakeville

 

Character counts in Connecticut

When I was looking for candidates to support in this year’s election, whether they were running for office in the legislature in Hartford or  for office in Congress in Washington, I was searching for candidates with strong solid character. That is the most important thing to look for, candidates who will stand up for what they believe in.

Politicians in elected office face a variety of decisions on subjects which many of us have no opinion about. They are forced to compromise in order to get support from the other party, in order to get the bills passed into law. Getting laws passed takes meetings in many committees before the bill is shaped legally to be put up for a vote. If the candidates you support are backing the issues you feel strongly about, you can feel sure, if they are elected, they will make good choices when voting in the legislature in Hartford or in Congress on the many bills they will confront.

We are very lucky this year to have three women candidates with very strong and outstanding characters: Jahana Hayes running for U.S. Congress in the 5th District, Maria Horn running for state Representative in the 64th District and Eva Zimmerman running for state Senate in the 30th District. They are candidates who stand up for what they believe, compromise when necessary, but would not lower their standards if challenged when creating legislation.

Liz Piel

Sharon

 

Experience matters for the Court

There is one race on the Nov. 8 ballot where party affiliation is totally irrelevant and that is the election for Judge of Litchfield Hills Probate Court.  While party affiliation is of no consequence, experience is.  Jordan Richards, the Republican candidate for this position, is the only candidate with Probate Court experience.

A graduate of Cornell University and Quinnipiac Law School, Jordan has spent his entire professional career practicing probate law and has represented hundreds of clients in probate courts throughout Connecticut.  White the primary business of the Probate Court is to administer wills and adjudicate disputes over them, the court is also responsible for administering Guardianships for minors and Conservatorships for disabled or icompetebt persons.  Jordan has experience in both of these fields.

Jordan is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, where his family has lived for generations.  In addition to his law practice, Jordan is active in the Litchfield-Morris Rotary Club and serves on the Litchfield Planning and Zoning Commission and is Vice-Chair of the Litchfield Conservation Commission.

Jordan’s opponent, a criminal defense attorney, is a newcomer to Litchfield County with little or no experience in probate law.  Jordan not only has the requisite experience, he also has the compassion necessary to deal with minors and the disabed in Guardianship and Conservatorship matters.  In fact, one reason Jordan is running for this position is that he wants to “serve and protect every person who finds their way to the court, including those who are unable to hire or afford an attorney.”  Jordan deserves your vote on November 8th.

Tom Morrison

Chair, Salisbury Republican Town Committee

Lakeville

 

Proposal needs scrutiny

While COMCAST is under consideration for a contract with the town of Sharon,CT., perhaps it would be important to note the following: COMCAST has come under serious criticism for spending huge amounts of money to further the proposition of destroying net neutrality.

I, for one, would like to know more about how this might affect us here in Sharon, and whether we could have a say regarding this issue.

Mary Whitehead

Sharon

 

Shared world more important than profit

I’m finding it nauseating that this election has veered from principles to payouts.

School taught me that democracy and elections are ways each of us could collectively shape the way our land is governed. The Constitution pointed me towards ideals such as justice, tranquility in our homeland, defending each other from threats, promoting general welfare, and looking after our posterity.

Judging by roadside signs on and rhetoric from the right, however, this upcoming election is all about money, kale, moolah, hard cash, whatever you want to call it. Forget about making our union a better place; let’s elect whoever promises to put more money in your pocket. “If you like inflation and taxes, vote Democrat”, say the signs. Might as well say, “Vote for Mammon instead.”

Am I the only one who finds this sickening? In essence, some Republicans are telling us that American votes are for sale to the party who bids the highest. My disgust stems not only from the dishonor this stance casts on well-meaning American voters who sincerely want to make our world a more just, humane, and safe place for ourselves and our descendants—and are willing to make sacrifices to do so.

I’m disgusted also that these Republican rhetors believe we’re naive/credulous/stupid enough to believe that the cause of current inflation is one and a half years of Democrat policies rather than a side effect of a newly pusillanimous Russia and a legacy of two brutal years of a global killer pandemic that threw oil production, supply chains, and consumption patterns into a whirlwind. And I’m insulted that I’m expected to believe that by magically hand-waving (and by not being Democrats) the right will actually solve our current economic woes, given that they have come forward with no strategy to do so other than to cut taxes on the rich.

Meanwhile those who are existentially threatened by poverty in our country risk the rug being pulled out from beneath them, even more so than four years of the previous administration accomplished. So may I politely suggest, in spite of my disgust, that we all put on our thinking hats when we place our votes in the coming weeks, rather than give up these precious, powerful essentials of our hard-won democracy to those who believe we would sell them to grub for a little more spending capability?

Let’s vote on behalf of our towns, states, country, fellow citizens, and our shared world, not for more HDTVs, gas guzzlers, and fatter wallets.

Robert Buccino

Salisbury

 

Vote on internet access in Sharon

More than 250 homes in Sharon have no access to high-speed internet. The Sharon Connect Task Force formed in 2019 to change that. For years, our town had petitioned incumbent providers, Comcast and Frontier Communications, to either finish wiring unserved parts of town (Comcast) or upgrade its equipment to support stable high-speed internet (Frontier). The pleas were ignored. When the COVID shutdowns hit, too many families were unable to work or attend classes from home. That was unacceptable.

The task force concluded the best way to help these families — since Comcast and Frontier have no obligation under state law to offer universal access — was to determine the cost for Sharon to build its own network. In January, we presented a plan in which the town would pay $12.5 million to construct a town-owned fiber-optic network to connect 100% of homes and businesses. The plan was well-received, though many gulped at the capital expense. At $89/month, the town needed 550 homes to subscribe to cover annual operating expenses. We asked for pre-construction commitments. An initial 47 households pre-subscribed.

We started to work on getting more pre-subscriptions. That’s when we heard from Comcast, now willing to talk. In June, Comcast proposed a public-private partnership in which Sharon would pay $1.6 million and Comcast would finish building its network along 28.5 miles of unserved roads and connect all 250 homes along these routes at no extra charge for the homeowner, regardless of distance from the road.

The task force members agreed the Comcast plan was the most cost-efficient, quickest and most reliable way to get our unserved homes connected. With the leadership of the Board of Selectmen and support from the Board of Finance, Sharon has a nearly finished contract.

The Comcast plan doesn’t do everything — there are still families that want high-speed internet, but they live on roads already served by Comcast’s network in homes that are more than 300 feet from the nearest Comcast box, so they’d have to pay extra to get connected. That can amount to thousands of dollars. We will continue to work on connecting those homes. 

Late last month Frontier Communications expressed interest in its own partnership with the town. Newly emerged from bankruptcy, Frontier has aggressive plans to string fiber-optic lines along its antiquated copper wire network. Our task force held an informational meeting on Nov. 1 to hear from Frontier directly about its plans. A video of that meeting is at sharonconnect.org. We will keep talking to the Frontier, but don’t want the 250 unserved families to wait any longer to, as one of them said, “join the 21st century.”

Please come to the Town Meeting next Friday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m. at Sharon Center School to vote on whether to approve the Comcast contract. Any owner of $1,000+ of property assessed in Sharon can vote — you don’t need to be registered here. You must attend in person; there are no Absentee Ballots for this. If you’re already connected, do it for your neighbors.

Jill Drew

Co-Chair, Sharon Connect Task Force

Sharon

 

Remember our shared history; vote

On Sunday, Oct. 30, we at the Salisbury Congregational Church celebrated our 278th Annual Meeting. As a bit of history, starting in 1744, our congregation’s first two Meeting Houses were used as centers for town gatherings and debate, which continued in the present Meeting House after 1800. Imagine how much of our town’s history, people, events, these meeting houses have known. Imagine the heated debates the walls of our town’s Meeting House might recall from the Revolutionary War days.

Mostly at the meeting, we were grateful for a communal place to share our cares, prayers and various perspectives in a peaceful way.  We don’t always agree, but we pledge to try and tell the truth, and to reach out to those in need.

In our upcoming elections, I know so many are working hard to secure a fair, just and safe election. Volunteers mostly; all citizens who care about our 246-year-old democracy, and its future.

On Nov. 8, we have a chance to vote for candidates who wish to extend the freedoms and privileges that belong to our democracy. While our church should not and will not promote any specific candidates, I am moved by my faith to select the candidates who will best represent our goals as a nation. We must choose those whom we feel in our hearts are telling us the truth. With peaceful, respectful communication, we can preserve our democracy.

Kerry Noble

Salisbury

 

Vote for Hayes, for real progress

We are in a fight for our future on Nov. 8. Republicans are boasting and planning to undermine many of the economic steps that have been taken by the House. Although the Democrats have been stymied by universal Republican opposition to every effort to expand the social safety net, some positive steps have been accomplished by the Democratic majority in the House and the very slim majority in the Senate. All progress will end and we will be placed in a more defensive posture if the Republicans capture the House or the Senate.

For example, and this is no joke, the Republicans have stated clearly in writing — in a proposal by Florida Senator Rick Scott — Republican intention to sunset Social Security and Medicare, end their existence as earned benefits, and require periodic renewal by Congress if the Republicans win a majority in the House and the Senate. And don’t believe that any Republican elected will not go along willingly with that program. Remember, the vast majority of Republicans have gone along with the program and those who haven’t are being driven out of the party.

Sunsetting Social Security and Medicare would jeopardize the economic security of millions of average working-class families by holding these benefits hostage to a vote of a majority in the House or a filibuster proof majority in the Senate — a disaster for every senior and wage earner in the nation, including you and your family!

Why would Republicans do this? Their pretext is fiscal integrity — debt control. The reality, however, is greed. This is nothing less than a corporate raid on the trillion-dollar Social Security trust fund that is held in Treasury bonds. Hedge fund kings are salivating at the possibility of gaining control over that mass of funds. And Republicans, with their business can do no wrong mentality, are just the ones to turn the funds over to their corporate friends.

Don’t be bamboozled into risking and sacrificing your earned Social Security and Medicare benefits to corporate greed by voting Republican this November.

And please, do not despair about the numbing media hype about the polls. Voting numbers are up and have increased substantially. Millions more of us are aware of the stakes this November and are motivated to organize and mobilize to get to the polls and to help neighbors get to the polls to vote to defend the interests of working families by voting to increase Democratic margins in the House and the Senate. Do everything you can to help the forces of good by telling the truth about who stands with the working people, all working people regardless of color, age, sex, citizenship status, national origin or sexual orientation.

Jahana Hayes is one of the progressive Democrats who can be counted on to stand with all working families and support economic policies that strengthen our social safety net that will enable us all to thrive. She and other Democrats like her deserve your support and vote.

Leonard Polletta

Lakeville

 

Care for one another, and vote on Nov. 8

With the season of harvest and Halloween prompting Trick/Trunk-Or-Treats, costume parades, parties, and walks at dusk and in the dark, traditions spread, mainly bringing joy but not preventing all risks.

Hopefully the result is big fun and a sense of friendship. It’s a time also to reflect on ancestors and life from over the decades. Remembering those in spirit over the fall season is a way to feel connected to loved ones and to the circle of life. Those who died recently remind us of the precious gift of each person who has walked the earth and had ties to many others over the generations and in each life.

The waves of compassion can be felt for those near or far. More ways to show that care would be helpful even via social media but with practical care too if teams can be formed.

Along with the Connecticut police officers who died, the three graduate students from India who died recently in a car crash in Sheffield, Mass., also deserve our shared condolences. Unbelievably sad also is the loss of 150 so far (including 26 from other countries) in South Korea in an enclosed alley area during a festive gathering of 100,000.

Prevention of danger by governments and local people and pacing our plans for each part of life can bring more safe living, driving and events to fruition.

Yet with all the sorrow we face, there is magic that unfolds as well as miracles and healing.  We can share in thanks if there is a turnabout of danger such as close calls on the road or an unexpected remission or healing of cancer or other medical issue.

The Option Institute in Sheffield offers an amazing outreach to help people in many walks of life, particularly when facing  challenges with a process of inquiry that opens hearts and minds. Their website option.org has an array of programs every country and state would do well to access for many people-centered concerns.

The founders, Barry also known as Bears and Samarhia Kaufman have faced incredible challenges over the years and recently with Bears’ cancer diagnosis. Thankfully, Bears so far has lived over five months beyond what was predicted with a remarkable remission.

Many of us have friends and family who have shared their journeys on caringbridge.com. There are people of all ages who have had support in facing a medical challenges plus extra care, funds, rides, meal trains and prayer chains. However people are able to ask and receive support is all part of the real magic that makes a community shine.

Thank you to all who are the bridge to help those in dire need and others along the way with many practical or difficult life issues. Now is the time to make more magic happen by voting for more people to have basics, healthcare and reproductive rights. Every choice to care about one another with a team is a step toward shared success.

Catherine Palmer Paton

Falls Village

 

Vote for Jahana Hayes in the 5th

So much is at stake in this midterm election, so many wrongs to right. For me these issues stand out among many, as we watch in real time our Democratic Republic fade into authoritarianism:

Voting rights – our most fundamental right.

I want our representative for the Conn. 5th to fight for The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The Women’s Health Protection Act. Women must have reproductive freedom and be able to make their own health care decisions without government intervention.

The Equality Act. Prohibition of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The Gun Violence Prevention Act. Stop the killing of innocents and ban the sale of assault weapons.

Truth be told, our Representative Jahana Hayes has been fighting for these issues and so much more for all of the folks in the 5th District. And she lives here!

Vote with me to re-elect Congresswoman Jahana Hayes to Conn. 5!

Judi Gott

Salisbury

 

Vote for Logan, a voice of reason

On Aug. 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. Prior to its passage, 230 economists signed a letter addressed to the House and Senate stating that the bill will not actually reduce inflation. Separately, a non-partisan analysis published online on Aug. 12 by the Penn Wharton Business Model, a group of economists and data scientists who analyze public policies and predict their economic impacts, revealed “The Act would have no meaningful effect on inflation in the near term but would reduce inflation by around 0.1 percentage points by the middle of the first decade.

These point estimates, however, are not statistically different from zero, indicating a low level of confidence that the legislation would have any measurable impact on inflation.”

According to the Penn Wharton Business Model, the Inflation Reduction Act is estimated to (1) spend $385 billion on climate change initiatives, (2) increase taxes on businesses by $200 billion, which will get passed onto consumers, and (3) allocate $147 billion to the IRS, primarily for hiring and training of tens of thousands of new IRS agents. Didn’t we just spend trillions of dollars on other government spending packages, which in turn have been direct drivers of inflation?

When Republican candidate for Congress George Logan was asked what he thought about the Inflation Reduction Act, Logan made it clear that he does not support it. He said families and businesses in the district are telling him they’re already paying double and sometimes triple what they were paying just over a year ago for everyday goods and services. “The same excessive spending packages that got us here are now being doubled down on,” he said.

Logan is an engineer and small business owner. He knows that spending hundreds of billions on climate change initiatives while gas prices and food prices are at the levels they are right now is just simply not based on common sense. He has said before that he is in favor of renewable energy and the weaning-off of fossil fuels, but he acknowledges it doesn’t happen overnight.

Logan is practical, approachable, and would be a voice of reason in Washington. I encourage everyone to vote for him on Nov. 8.

Paul Serbaniewicz

Lakeville

 

Evidence supports the need for L & D services at Sharon Hospital

I was a practicing attorney and resident of Sharon 33 years and have had years of both personal and professional experience at Sharon Hospital. The doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and staff always delivered essential healthcare required in a rural community. Therefore, it came as no surprise that in its profile, Nuvance Health describes itself “on a relentless drive to uncover new ways to help the community be healthy and stay healthy” comprised of “imaginative people who never settle” with “the courage and agility to forge new and better paths together, the ingenuity to reinvent.”

Those statements certainly describe the dedicated professionals who devote their lives to serve our community. But when the Nuvance Board presented its “transformation plan”  to eliminate labor and delivery, to significantly limit surgeries and to cut intensive care unit, those themes of drive, courage, agility and empathy became hollow and empty, a mere marketing scheme.

The challenges of operating a rural hospital were clear for decades, so when it acquired Sharon Hospital, the complexities ahead of it were known. The board needed a long-term plan and an efficient strategy to meet the predictable problems. Alas there was no long-term approach, and this new plan to eliminate and cut services equates to poor judgement that will end in disaster. Proof of the impact of the “transformation plan” is well established.

Articles abound, which confirm that OB closures mean women face lengthy journeys that contribute to preterm, outside hospital or emergency room births without OB care, all of which carry greater risks for mom and baby.

NBC News 11/21/2021: Due to cutbacks in OB services, pregnancy-related deaths have risen steadily in the U.S. and a lack of access to quality health care — before, during and after pregnancy put rural women at greater risk. U.S. News, 6/13/2019: Despite technologic advances, the rates of maternal and infant mortality have increased substantially. It’s more dangerous to birth a child than it was 20 years ago, and this is particularly true for women of color and women living in rural communities. Center for Primary Care Harvard Medical School, 3/25/2021: There are alternatives to chop and slice measures.

I am certainly not qualified to provide the board with a comprehensive plan to combat long-term complex issues but two things are apparent.

First, the “transformation plan” to cut essential services will fail on its face to correct any problems.

Second, there are viable alternatives that must be considered. The Board must follow to its own words and “uncover new ways to help the community be healthy and stay healthy” to “never settle” and have “the courage and agility to forge new and better paths” “to focus on long term stability.”

Amy D. Schuchat

Sharon

 

Historical perspective on hospital

My connection with Sharon Hospital runs as deep. I lived in Sharon until my retirement last year at the age of 84. Sharon has and will always be my home. I was born in Sharon Hospital.  My father and grandfather were born in Sharon. My children, grandchildren and my great grandson were all born in Sharon Hospital.

That is why I was sick to hear that the board of Nuvance Health would even consider the possibility of eliminating labor and delivery as well as cutting the surgical and intensive care services. I have devoted my entire life to serving the Sharon community. I was a member of the Fire Department for 50 years and along with my father. I was in the FIRST EMT graduating class from Sharon Hospital. My father and I drove the only ambulance serving Sharon and Salisbury and I can tell you that it was something driving that big white Cadillac through the rural hills and dirt roads.

I learned the importance of a local, rural hospital and the needs of the surrounding communities that relied on the care and services it provided. As Chairman of the Sharon Planning and Zoning Commission for over 50 years, I personally witnessed the growth of this beautiful vibrant area and the role that Sharon Hospital has played in its development and success. Sharon Hospital is the lifegiving and live-sustaining anchor of our community. It is not only the largest employer in Sharon it is without question a fundamental part of our past, present and future. To cut essential services will never be sustainable.  To eliminate labor and delivery, the very essence of life itself, will destroy the hospital and eventually the community.

Barclay Prindle

Sharon

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