Cunningham: FEMA Money Intended for Boardwalk, No Free Lunch for East Lyme Taxpayers

One of the most important lessons in an introductory economics class is the idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch. It was with interest, then, that I read reports which suggested East Lyme was in the process of receiving just such a free lunch in the form of $1.73 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A headline described these funds as a “windfall.” They’ve also been described as a “reimbursement” for money spent to repair the damage from two hurricanes. The record shows that these are not accurate descriptions of this money, at least from

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Saunders: Needleman’s Energy Plan Places Heavy Burden on Consumers

Like many of the families I seek to represent in the 33rd Senate District, I was shocked and upset by the recent steep Eversource rate hike. I’m concerned that the politicians are now attempting to divert voters’ attention from the real causes for this increase. I believe that Eversource isn’t entirely responsible. Much of the blame goes to incumbent State Senator Norm Needleman, chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee. I consider that his recent demand for the resignation of the company’s CEO is simply smoke and mirrors and that this pointless blustering does nothing to solve aproblem he helped

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Cameron: The City Island Monorail

Looking for a fun day-trip for the family?  Don’t miss City Island, a boat-centric New England style “village” just off the east coast of The Bronx.   In addition to some of the city’s best seafood restaurants, City Island was also home to a monorail over a century ago. The three-mile line from the Bartow train station on what was then the Harlem River branch of the NY, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (near what today is Co-Op City in the Bronx) through Pelham Park, over a rickety bridge and ending at the Island.  It would replace the slow, forty minute

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Blacker: Questions Promise of Multi-use State Pier, Calls for Public Hearing

I appreciated Cate Hewitt’s article on State Pier. CT Examiner continues to showcase exemplary newspaper reporting. According to CPA Chairman David Kooris, State Pier will remain a multi-use port.  I disagree. To quote the good judgement of Congressman Joe Courtney: I have to confess. They say they’re going to accommodate other users but I, uh, every time I look at the plans, it doesn’t really look like there’s any space for them to do that. Courtney expressed the hope that the port authority would instead take the opportunity to modify or at least confirm that other users are going to be

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Blacker: The Weakness of our Freight Planning Program in Southeast Connecticut

I enjoyed Jim Cameron’s Aug. 3 column on a great example of commonsense, innovation, and efficiency: the shipping container. In a recent article Cameron laments that a feeder barge service to move shipping containers from places like Port Elizabeth, NJ to Connecticut  with out clogging I-95 was never established. The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments has an important meeting tomorrow.   SECCOG Executive Director Jim Butler said that the Federal Highway and Federal Transit are aware of  “the weakness of our freight planning program in Southeastern Connecticut.”  (20:50 on the recording of 7/15/19 SECCOG BOD Meeting).  This will be the

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Shipping Containers

They’re just a big metal box, but they’ve revolutionized the transportation world in the last decades, enabling global trade at unimaginable levels and changing all of our lives.  The story of the invention of the shipping container is an unheralded part of transportation history. In the old days, freighters carrying cargo overseas loaded and unloaded pallets or bails of cargo, one at a time.  I witnessed this myself as a child when my father, a real fan of the seas, took me on cargo ships as a passenger on trips from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean. At each port

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Dinner at George and Kellyanne’s

The invitation made it seem is if the event was some sort of charity benefit and, I apparently, would be an honored guest. I deduced that from envelope, as it was intimately addressed to “Dear Occupant.” I figured, well, Kellyanne or George were targeting those of us with deep pockets (containing up to $100 or more) for a good cause. But when I arrived at the Conway house, I learned otherwise.             “Welcome,” Kellyanne said, as she opened the door to the house on Embassy Row. I glanced around and saw so no other people in the enormous living room,

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Hats Off to Lowell Weicker and Thirty Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Thirty years ago this week, by votes of 377 to 28 in the House and 91 to 6 in the Senate, the United States Congress passed, and George Herbert Walker Bush signed, the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of perhaps a handful of the most significant pieces of legislation since the Second World War. The principal author of the legislation was then-Republican Senator Lowell Weicker of Connecticut. The effort would be joined by prairie populist Democratic Senator of Iowa, Tom Harkin, Senator Ted Kennedy and others who helped craft and shepherd the legislation to a vote when Weicker was defeated

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Nixon: There You Go Again

The Old Lyme municipal election of November 2019 was, in part, a loud repudiation of the ill‑conceived re-zoning and multi-use redevelopment project proposed by the Halls Road Improvement Committee. But it seems evident that some people didn’t get that message. As reported in this paper on July 13, the committee is currently considering three proposals for a Master Plan for a major redevelopment of Halls Road, and is again dreaming about spending taxpayer dollars to promote development founded on a zoning change desired by only a few interested parties. The projected budget for the Master Plan is $48,000.00. And it

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Pattis: Police Immunity: The Empty Promise of CT’s ‘Police Accountability’ Bill

Connecticut lawmakers undoubtedly thought they did something significant the other day, when, after pulling an all-nighter, they rushed through an “emergency” piece of legislation on police accountability. When it comes to making it possible to sue police officers who engage in misconduct, the law is stillborn. It changes nothing. It does not even address the issue most lawmakers probably thought they were tackling, to wit: qualified immunity.          Such are the perils of acting in haste, and placing a premium on feeling good, rather than doing something productive.          The bill does not eliminate a police officer’s immunity for suit

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Cameron: China Leads the World

Which is the number one country in the world for transportation?  Certainly not the United States.  Not even countries in the EU.  No, you have to look farther east, as Marco Polo did in 1271, to find the future… in China. I’m so tired of ignorant Americans chanting “we’re number one”, when we are not.  Not in healthcare, education and clearly not when it comes to using transportation to bolster our world trade. Compare our crumbling interstate highway system, much of it built during the Eisenhower administration, to China’s superhighways, twice the mileage of our own. Or look at our

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Alberti Lays Out Her Case for Public Safety Building Vote

I’d like to begin by thanking the East Lyme Public Safety Building Vision Committee for their work over the past 1 ½ years in coming up with a plan to utilize the $2.2 million dollars remaining from the $5 million appropriation to retrofit the “Honeywell” building for a Public Safety Building.  $2.8 million of the appropriation had been used to purchase the building. The Vision Committee was under immense pressure to balance the demands of the First Selectman to bring the project within his promised budget and the requirements of the public safety personnel to properly outfit the building.  The

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Saunders: My Concerns with the Connecticut Police Accountability Bill

At the time of this writing, the Connecticut legislature has called a special session to address several key issues, mostly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Included in their session is a bill on police accountability.  With the understanding that bills get amended many times, often leaving the final version looking very different from the first, here are three concerns I have with this bill in its current form. 1.  Qualified Immunity This measure would allow police officers to be sued individually in state court for their actions.  This has the potential to open a “Pandora’s Box” of lawsuits and harm

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Civil Rights and the Railroads

In the history of American transportation, there is one crucial intersection between railroads and civil rights:  the formation in 1925 of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters by A. Phillip Randolph.  This was the first predominantly African-American labor union in the US. PULLMAN CARS It was in 1859 that George Pullman launched the first deluxe railroad sleeping cars bearing his name.  They were an instant hit, offering middle and upper-class passengers the comforts of home. All of the Pullman Car conductors were white but the porters who tended to the passengers were black.  Many of them were former slaves as

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Letter: Closed Spaces, Crowded Places, and Close Contact Settings

The US has over 135k pandemic deaths. Japan has around 40% the population of the US and (with a similar death rate) should have over 50k deaths. Instead Japan has only about 1k deaths. Why is the death rate in Japan only a small fraction (about 2%) of the US death rate???  Japan did not do widespread testing as South Korea did (Japan tested only about 0.2% of the population). Japan did not use surveillance technology like China and Singapore. Over 26% of Japan’s population is at risk (over 65) yet very very few Japanese got sick – and now

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Steel: Follow West Virginia’s Lead to Make Voting More Accessible

West Virginia has one of the highest rates of military service in the country, and consequently many armed service members found voting difficult because they were overseas. In fact, the US Elections Assistance Commission reports 300,000 overseas voters requested ballots which were not returned to their home county clerks due to logistical constraints.  The military then developed a secure mobile voting application with facial identification in conjunction with many other security measures in which  ballots are safely stored until election night and audited by election administrators.   Other states must follow West Virginia’s lead in making our basic constitutional right more

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Claimed $24 Billion in Savings on State Compensation Based on Outrageous Assumption

Ever since former Governor Dannel Malloy announced famously to a state employee union rally in 2014 that “I am your servant,” the general public in Connecticut has grown increasing aware and upset about excessive state employee compensation. Late last month, I wrote a column in this newspaper and the Hartford Courant calling upon Governor Lamont to use his emergency powers to cancel, suspend or delay a large pay raise that all state employees were about to receive on July 1st, a pay hike that Lamont himself had called unfair in the context of massive private sector job losses. State employees

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Positive Pressure Technology Should be Considered to Improve Safety in Reopened Classrooms

At schools, we need to better control indoor contamination. Wearing masks is NOT going to provide adequate protection. Recent Japan research indicates micro droplets of COVID remain suspended in stagnant room air for hours, but there is also some good news. The research indicates that droplets can be effectively disbursed with just a slight breeze – which is something we can create in classrooms. This is how “clean rooms” work that are used to manufacture items such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. We need to apply a similar concept to schools and create “clean classrooms” by applying positive air pressure

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Cameron: Where’s the Legislature?

Where the heck has the Connecticut legislature been for the past few months?  With so many pressing issues, why haven’t they met? Oh, they’ll tell you it’s because of safety that they couldn’t convene. But we know better.  Plenty of state legislatures… even the US House of Representatives… have carried on the people’s business virtually or well-masked while our pols went AWOL. No, Connecticut’s lawmakers finished the budget and just scurried home, leaving the running of the state to Governor Lamont by executive order.  Now they’re jealous of his success. Ned Lamont is no Andrew Cuomo, but most Nutmeggers think

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What Does On Time Really Mean?

You’re on a Metro-North train headed for Grand Central, nervously looking at your watch.  “Will we be on time?  Will I be late for the meeting?” you ask yourself as you pass 125th Street, usually just 11 minutes from the final stop. Then, you hit congestion and the train crawls through the Park Avenue tunnel, stopping and starting.  You’re going to be late, and sure enough your train pulls onto the lower level platform five minutes after the scheduled arrival time. But technically, your train is not late.  It’s on time. How?  Why?  What feat of magic does Metro-North use

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Jahncke: Cancelling Raise For State Employees Could Raise More Than Lamont’s Final Toll Proposal and Almost Half of his Original

June 27, 2020 — Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, sees the unfairness of about 50,000 state employees getting a $350 million pay raise next Wednesday, July 1st while almost 600,000 private sector workers in Connecticut have lost their jobs. He said as much at a mid-June food bank give-away. It’s not just wages: the state workforce enjoys a contractual no-layoff guarantee through 2021 as well as gold plate health care and pension benefits. Yet Lamont cannot bring himself to cancel, suspend or even delay the raise, which follows a raise of roughly similar amount a year ago. As a result of the

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Getting There: How Safe is the Train?

As New York City businesses reopens it’s expected that one million people will get back to work, some of them from Connecticut.  But how they get to those jobs is the big question. While I’ve written for weeks that I expect many Nutmeggers will opt first for their personal automobiles, the resulting traffic mess will soon have them reconsidering a return to Metro-North and the city’s subways. The big issue, of course, is keeping everyone safe by maintaining social distancing and requiring face masks for all riders. MORE TRAINS & SUBWAYS Metro-North has already expanded rush hour service by 26%

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Before a Second Wave Hits… Repeal the Immunity for Nursing Homes from Civil Penalties

In ordinary times, checks and balances and the separation of powers between co-equal branches of government – legislative, judicial, and executive – are a defining feature of American governance on both the state and local level. But in extraordinary times – states of emergency – governors and presidents have by tradition and precedent been granted great deference to act unilaterally by executive order. As Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist No. 23 in 1787, because “the circumstances which may affect the public safety” cannot be reduced “within certain determinate limits … there can be no limitation of that authority which is

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Peace Officers: Strengthen Communities

In the last session of the Connecticut General Assembly, a bill — SB 380 — to help support more transparency in police — now called peace-officers throughout the state of Connecticut was introduced and subsequently signed into law by Governor Lamont. At the time, SB 380 was an important bill. Now in light of the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, it is an even more important bill. The bill’s ramifications are important for police accountability to the public. It is crucial because it stipulates that camera footage of incidents by

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Twenty Year Telecommuter Misses the City

Joe Connolly has been a telecommuter for 20 years. You probably know him from his award winning business reports on WCBS Newsradio 880 or his Small Business Breakfasts held annually in Stamford.  But you might not realize that Connolly lives not in New York City but in eastern Connecticut. He’s up and working weekdays by 4:30 am, driving first to pick up a print copy of the Wall Street Journal before heading to his office /  broadcast studio near his home, where he seldom opens the window-blinds.  “I’m here to work,” he says, “not for the view.” In his broadcast

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Letter: A Shout-out for Gladeview in Old Saybrook

I wanted to write and tell about the place my Dad lives at, Gladeview in Old Saybrook. In March of 2016, my Dad was sent to Gladeview from the VA, we chose this place because of out of all the places we visited in Guilford, Madison and Old Saybrook, this was the cleanest! My Dad, Al Paier, suffers from COPD, Emphysema and chronic lung disease. He has the best care, great friends and most of all, he hardly has bronchitis anymore, staying there has definitely extended his life. No doubt, he would not be here if it wasn’t for Gladeview

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Letter: Old Lyme’s EDC Encourages the Public to See the Results of its Study

The Economic Development Commission launched three initiatives, as the first step, in crafting a “smart growth” economic development strategy for Old Lyme focused on maintaining the small-town character and charm of our unique town. We realized the success of the plan depended upon providing opportunities for the public’s voice to be heard. Therefore, we designed the project with this in mind. The three studies are now complete, and we are pleased to share the results with you. We believe the findings in these reports will provide essential insights for not only the mission of the EDC but will provide valuable

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Letter: Ledge Light Health District Affirms our Commitment to Equity

While so much of our attention is focused on COVID-19, it is clear that we cannot respond to this pandemic as though it is an isolated public health emergency, occurring in a vacuum and separate from any other community health concern. The data regarding COVID are no different from so many other health outcomes; Black, Latinx and Indigenous people are more likely to experience serious health outcomes and premature death. There are widespread and pervasive racial disparities in health in our country and region. We must recognize these for what they are – the unjust and preventable results of systems

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