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Opinion Contents


Posted November 10, 2018

No Way To Treat A Canvasser (Voices)
Sharon Wirt, Southbury Democratic Town Committee
Sharon Boast Wirt


Hailing from Kansas, I admit to a bit of sunflower naiveté.  Southbury has always seemed like a town of relatively quiet New England reserve spiced with pockets of cultural activity at Arts Escape, Riverview Cinema, and the library.  And Southburians I encountered have been, up until this year, friendly—or at least nice.

Little did I know that seething with anger and, yes, hate—though sometimes just cold contempt—are some members of the GOP living in both the back woods and upscale homes.  Fellow Democrat canvassers got a strong taste of the fallout from our nation’s political polarity and Trump’s continual, divisive portrayal of anyone, or any group, opposing or criticizing him as violent, low-IQ, and/or subhuman.   

Occasionally we canvassers knocked on doors of “mixed” households, wherein frequently the women had voted as Democrats, and the husbands/men as unaffiliated or Republicans.  In the least offensive case, the Republican man of the house told us coldly, with a snippet of contempt, “We don’t want your literature, so bon voyage.”  

The case that really shocked us, though, was a man who, seeing us walking up his driveway and learning that we were Democrat canvassers, erupted with bile:  “I DON’T LIKE YOU!  You’ve RUINED our state!  Take your brochures and GET OFF MY PROPERTY!”

For him, we weren’t fellow Southburians or even Americans but, rather. scum/the enemy/animals with no feelings.  Why did he have to lash out at us?  Because Trump has, by example, given permission to treat others this way.

Fortunately we talked with some Republican men in mixed households who were not only civil but enjoyed talking with us and vice versa.  

And this is the only way we’re going to save our democracy, Toto.  Through civility and respect for others.

Sharon Boast Wirt

Posted October 31, 2018

Bring Back U.S. Ideals

by Gene Kelkres

I am writing this on Friday. October 26, after at least 12 critics of Donald Trump have been the targets of terroristic threats using pipe bombs in the mail.

Our president continues to blame the political divisions and threats of violence in our country on the media. He makes wild, unsubstantiated claims of conspiracies instead of taking personal responsibility for his own part in fostering hate and division for his own political and financial gain.

They incite mob violence repeatedly at political rallies and then claim no responsibility when journalists or protesters are repeatedly assaulted and killed. They support political candidates that “body slam” newsmen and pardons for lawmen convicted or contempt of court.

They give leaders in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Turkey and Russia cover to commit similar crimes.

Please vote to put Democratic candidates in office at all levels of our government to help bring our republic back to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Gettysburg Address.

Gene Kelkres

Posted October 31, 2018

Compare Your News Sources Carefully

by Gene Kelkres

Many people and organizations spend some of their communication time lying, taking advantage of the fact that most of us assume the reverse: that we are being told the truth.  They lie in order to gain some advantage: either personal, political, or financial.

Since we all don’t even see colors the same way, in reality we can assume that we are sometimes being lied to or getting a very slanted point of view from others.  So if most news comes from a specific point of view, how can we hope to take in facts about the world around us and make good decisions about electing political leaders?

I try to make sure that I compare several sources of information.  In addition to learning how to filter the prejudices of individuals, I have learned how to do the same for newspapers, TV networks, and news outlets like Fox, CNN and MSNBC. Obviously someone in management has to assign levels of importance or emphasis for the stories that make up the “news”, so that is a basic level of filtering going on and creates differences in news coverage.

Sometimes interests being served when news decisions are made are obvious and corporate. Sometimes they are more personal and less obvious. But if you listen or read carefully you can learn to see the differences among the organizations and people presenting news, and the points of view they represent.

So the first antidote to relying on “Fake News” is to get your news from many different sources and compare the facts and points of view. If you do this with an open mind and a willingness to reconsider your own assumptions you can better understand  the world around you.

My key sources of news are National Public Radio and print media. Since NPR is funded primarily by donations from listeners, it should have less political or financial bias than any other source. Its stories try to present honest and fair coverage of our politics and society. As far as I can tell none of its reporters have a personal financial interest in slanting the news, which cannot be said for some of the talking heads on the cable networks.

So I consider “Fake News” to be news which intentionally spreads lies or tries to distract you from the real events and issues you need to know about to be a good citizen. Professional journalists are trained to at least try to stay neutral when reporting on controversies, so I get my most of news from them whether it is broadcast, online or in print.

Gene Kelkres

Posted October 31, 2018

Send in the Blue Cavalry (Voices)
Sharon Wirt, Southbury Democratic Town CommitteeSharon Wirt

The cavalry is here and ready with novel ideas and proven plans to turn around Connecticut’s economic woes. Along with other strong Row A candidates are Cathy De Carli for state Senate and James Krochko and Greg Cava, both for state House.

Her father having been laid off during his career, Cathy De Carli is aware of the slipping of economic ground under the middle class’ feet. Among her goals is parity between women’s and men’s pay, which will increase a family’s revenue considerably.

Another of Cathy’s targets is reduction of student-loan burden on young people and families.

From a working-class family with its own financial, as well as opioid, crises, James Krochko has close familiarity with economic insecurity. His plan for Connecticut is basically three-pronged: pairing education (his passion being special education) with our businesses to ensure jobs; a shared database among all towns re. opiate use and effective strategies; and, to increase jobs and our tax base, expanding the Small Business Express Program to small businesses that buy in-state supplies via tax credits.

Finally, Greg Cava, a Roxbury lawyer who plays jazz piano and organ, will work vigorously toward the long-term priority of returning Connecticut to financial health.

His goals: making the state a fiberoptic hub; partnering colleges with businesses; attracting R&D firms; gradually raising the minimum wage to $15/hour; ensuring equal pay for equal work; protecting our civil rights; and helping seniors via tax reform and protecting social security.

Send in the blue cavalry on November 6.

Sharon Boast Wirt

Posted October 31, 2018

Greg Cava – How Southbury Lost $21 Million
(Watch Video)

Posted October 30, 2018

The Re-emergence of American Anti-Semitism
The New York Times (Listen)

This is a podcast hosted by  the NYTimes’ Michael Barbaro. He interviewed NYTimes journalist Jonathan Weisman about rising/re-emergence of American anti-Semitism. Please listen to this interview by clicking on this link and then clicking the play arrow.

Mourners outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were killed in a mass shooting.CreditMichael Henninger for The New York Times
Mourners outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were killed in a mass shooting.Credit Michael Henninger for The New York Times


Posted October 16, 2018


If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S.,
You Should Be (Watch Video)


When fascism starts to feel normal, we’re all in trouble.

Posted October 15, 2018

Letter to Editor Rebuttal

Ed Edelson

In his reply to my letter of September 7th (“President Trump Fiscally Irresponsible”), Mr. Hanley noted that he erred by not clarifying that the drop in the employment rate to 2.9% was really about the “Manufacturing Unemployment Rate” at the end of July 2018.  We all make mistakes.  However, it would have been good to mention that manufacturing unemployment rate was lower (2.6%) in November of 2017 and only 1% higher in November 2016 BEFORE President Trump took office (3.9%). In fact, the rate was down from a high of almost 12% in February 2009 just after President Obama was sworn into office.  The US Economy has continued to see the benefit of the economic policies of President Obama.

The manufacturing unemployment rate would have gone higher in 2009 if President Obama had not bailed out the automobile industry, a move decried by many Republicans at that time.  As we know, that bailout was paid back in full, with interest.  That policy did not add to the $3 trillion debt that Mr. Hanley is concerned about.  That was mostly due to irresponsible tax cuts by the Bush administration that were not offset by cost-cutting combined with unfunded military expenditures in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Remember that at the beginning of the millennium, the Federal budget was running a surplus.  Now we have the new Trump tax cuts that will raise the Federal Debt to over $10 Trillion.

Mr. Hanley expresses his concern about the language from the “left.”  Really?  What about the spectacle of the 2016 primaries when candidate Trump mocked, insulted and lied about his Republican competitors?   They were every bit as hard on candidate Trump as the Left is today and rightly so.

President Trump’s supporters say that character (President Trump’s incessant lying, insulting of women, people of color and leaders of other countries, and disbelief in evidence-based information) is not important. They say results are what is important.

Yet when we look at these results, there is not much there.  Take the trade deal with Mexico and Canada that the President vilified.  The newly named agreement uses the same framework as the decades old-NAFTA with a few updates that had already been negotiated before 2017.  It is mostly repackaging.  Just like the New York Times exposé of the fraud, deceit and illegal activities that litter Trump’s business career, he is using the same tactics as our President.

Republican candidates, including all of those in Connecticut, either defend the President or are silent.  They appear to fear the Trump Tweet.  Otherwise, any responsible Congressional committee would be actively investigating the many criminal and constitutional violations of this President and his administration.  Voters have a choice in November and should not vote for any Republican who does not speak out about the President.  If they can’t handle the truth, they should not be in office.

Ed Edelson

Posted October 14, 2018

Lamont Does NOT Equal Malloy

David LevinsonDavid Levinson

Bob Stefanowski is trying to convince us that Ned Lamont is Dan Malloy.  Not a bad strategy, given that Malloy is deeply unpopular, not just with Republicans but also with some Democratic and unaffiliated voters.

But the Lamont = Malloy strategy has one big problem:  it’s not true. The facts are pretty clear.  Ned Lamont is not Dan Malloy, and we can expect a very different and successful economic approach when he is governor.  How do they differ?

First, Malloy is a career politician and public servant. Lamont is a successful career entrepreneur and businessman. Second, Malloy is a political insider. Lamont is an outsider. He defeated Joe Lieberman in the 2008 senatorial primary and lost to Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. He is no supporter of Malloy; in fact, Lamont has been one of Malloy’s major critics, a major reason the Democrats chose him as their candidate.

Finally, and to cut to the heart of the Stefanowski false comparison, Lamont has no plans to raise taxes, the major criticism of Malloy. Rather, Lamont actually plans to cut property and small business taxes to help the middle class and stimulate economic growth.

So, it’s clear that Lamont is not Malloy.  And since we are making comparisons, this then begs the question of whether Stefanowski is Trump, an issue for further consideration.

Click here to see where Ned Lamont stands on ALL issues.

David Levinson

Posted October 13, 2018

Lamont’s Blueprint for Reviving Connecticut

Sharon Wirt, Southbury Democratic Town CommitteeSharon Wirt

Because of the heavy salting of daily conversation with the word awesome, I tend to avoid using it.  Like antibiotics, overuse reduces its effectiveness.  But after reading the “Issues” section of Ned Lamont’s website, issues, my admiration went through the roof.  It’s, well, awesome.

This Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s blueprint for reviving Connecticut is extraordinary!  Far from being a Malloy clone, Lamont has analyzed our state’s resources (e.g., educated workforce, world-class universities, stunning landscapes, gifted artists and scientists) and also outlined those disadvantages requiring attention (e.g., costly healthcare, affordable housing shortage, lack of quality education for some children, steep property and small-business taxes).

Lamont identifies 14 major problem areas that need addressing, among them Creating Jobs, Providing Property Tax Relief, Building a Fair Economy, Women’s Agenda, Addressing Climate Change and Expanding Renewable Energy, Combatting the Opioid Epidemic, Investing in Arts and Culture, Access to Affordable Healthcare, and Preventing Gun Violence.  Under each of these he’s included several detailed subsections devoted to solutions.

To arrive at solutions, Lamont extensively researched, e.g., states with healthy economies, cultures, and parity along gender and color lines.  His expansive blueprint reflects the exceptionally perceptive, caring, and creative thinking that defines a great governor.

Not only is he business savvy and committed to equal pay for equal work (evident in his own thriving company), but he’s also included other sectors of life that can be enhanced with his wise, long-term plan.

His goal: a Connecticut that’s more inviting culturally, economically, and environmentally, to attract a diverse population and vibrancy in all realms of life.

To accomplish all this, Lamont’s going to need more Democrats in the “purple” state legislature, so please support him by voting for those fine candidates, too:  Your vote matters!

Sharon Wirt

Posted October 10, 2018

Crucial Election for Seniors

Chuck Jones, Member of the Friends of The Southbury Democratic CommitteeChuck Jones

Rarely have we seniors had such a stark choice in such a crucial election. Democrats, on both the state and national level, have fought for decades first to create, and now to protect, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Republicans have fought just as hard to privatize or shrink these essential economic mainstays. We’re already seeing the results of these attacks: growing food insecurity, loss of health care coverage, fears about losing homes, and economic ruin.

While many of us have additional retirement assets, “for about half of seniors, [Social Security] provides at least 50 percent of their income, and for about 1 in 5 seniors, it provides at least 90 percent of income” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]. Cutting Social Security funding will have devastating effects for millions.

We may think that Medicaid is for the less fortunate. Increasingly, however, it is also the last resort for many of us middle class folks when our lifespan and medical costs outstrip our assets. With nursing care facility costs topping $15,000 a month, many of us will unexpectedly need Medicaid. As Republicans keep attacking affordable health care, Medicaid will become even more important to not only pay for medical care, but also to avoid bankruptcy and stay in our homes. Thanks to Democrats in Connecticut, we have one of the strongest health care exchanges in the nation. Republicans, on the other hand, want to allow insurers to deny you coverage for pre-existing health conditions.

To maintain these bulwarks for our financial security, we seniors need to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket on November 6. Otherwise, as Republicans try to find money to pay for the tax cuts and massive budget shortfalls they created, these programs will surely feel the axe.

Chuck Jones

Posted October 9, 2018

Why Your Vote Is So Important … Six Issues

by Mary Doherty

November 6, 2018 is fast approaching and registered voters will soon be voting in an historic election.  The outcome of this election will have serious consequences impacting several extremely important issues that determine the quality of hundreds of millions of Americans’ daily lives.  I urge citizens to be informed as to where the two major political parties stand on these issues.

Issue #1: Health Care.  Democrats will work for quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.  Republicans will work against it.

Issue #2: A Living Wage.  Democrats will fight for a living wage for ALL workers, whose purchasing power has remained stagnant for the last forty years [Pew Research]. Republicans will not.

Issue #3: Taxation. Democrats believe that the wealthy, who benefit the most from the American economy, need to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden to relieve the financial stress on the working and middle classes. Republicans believe in huge tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the working and middle classes.

Issue #4: Preserving Our Planet.  Democrats trust the science behind climate change and support investment in green energy as crucial to our ability to have a sustainable and abundant energy future.  Republicans scoff at climate scientists’ warnings, and even go so far as to label climate change a “hoax”.

Issue #5: Women’s Equality.  Democrats support the full equality of women, including pay equity and full autonomy over their bodies.  Republicans do not support women as equal citizens.

Issue #6: The Social Safety Net.  Democrats support fully funding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Republicans have been on a decades long crusade to under-fund and privatize these life sustaining programs.

Your choice could not be clearer.  If these issues are important to you then you need to vote for Democrats on November 6.

Mary Doherty

Posted September 28, 2018

Jahana Hayes Supports Decent Healthcare For All

Chuck Jones

At a time when Republican leaders will have to start cutting the federal budget, we need to support lawmakers who are firmly committed to preserving Medicare and making decent healthcare available for all. Recent analysis shows that very soon our nation will be spending more on interest on the national debt than on our military, mostly to cover the deficit caused by tax cuts for the very wealthy. And where is this money going to come from?

Jahana Hayes is running to fill Elizabeth Esty’s seat in Congress. The National Teacher of the Year in 2016, Hayes is a former social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy High School; she currently serves as the Talent and Professional Development Supervisor for Waterbury Public Schools. She has stressed moving toward Medicare for all, lowering prescription drug costs, and making healthcare more affordable. In addition, she is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic in Connecticut and expanding access to addiction treatment. She will also work to ensure that women have full access to reproductive healthcare and maintain their right to choose.

Hayes is not a professional politician, but as a teacher she knows how to manage a group of (often unruly) people, accomplish much with few resources, meet (often unreasonable) deadlines, and bring about consensus, even on contentious issues. Her passion, strong work ethic, and commitment to families and family issues—these are what we need in Congress today. If you believe that we need new blood and new ideas, I encourage you to support Jahana Hayes on November 6.

Chuck Jones

Posted September 19, 2018

Republican Gubernatorial Economic Plan Irresponsible

Ed Edelson

I have taken the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s challenge to read his economic plan. For those who want to believe that cutting revenue from some sources without having specific ways to make up for that revenue or for reducing expenditures, this plan may be appealing.

However, states like Kansas and Oklahoma have done this and now find themselves cutting essential services.

Looking at one type of tax (e.g. corporate) in isolation is sophomoric. For example, the plan notes that Connecticut has a business entity tax of $250 and Massachusetts does not. But the plan fails to mention that Massachusetts has a minimum corporate tax of $456 and Connecticut does not.

So how can you conclude that Connecticut taxes are anti-business? (For a thorough comparison of Connecticut and Massachusetts taxes, go to )

The plan also gets cause and effect confused with correlation. There are many reasons for Connecticut’s job losses and out migration. However, the plan does not address these and instead makes simplistic associations.

For example, the plan states that high estate taxes cause people to move to states like Florida. Given that estate taxes for the vast majority of people are quite small this seems to be shoddy analysis at best.

In my experience, this is the most irresponsible campaign plan I have ever read. When did the Republican party become the party of fiscal irresponsibility? We don’t need that in Hartford.

Ed Edelson

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