Category Archives: Opinion

Response to Mayor Leng’s Tax Hike

As the Hamden Republican Party’s newly elected chair, my desire is to share with Hamden’s residents a perspective that differentiates the philosophy of governing between Republicans and Democrats. In an article recently appearing in the New Haven Register, Mayor Leng admitted that mistakes were made during the revaluation process but the “onus” lies with the taxpayer to bring the mistake to the town; unfortunately the deadline was March 18, 2016 and if a taxpayer has discovered an error, the time has passed to right the wrong.

Mayor Leng also laments about 7 million dollars in property taxes that the Town of Hamden “should” be getting in tax revenue from Quinnipiac University, however we never were eligible to receive that tax revenue to begin with because they are a tax exempt entity and fall under the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program. Mayor Leng states that the 1.2 Million dollar gift from Quinnipiac University is not going to be repeated this year. The town’s support of Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey’s bill to tax Quinnipiac University on homes they have purchased is the reason. This bill was short-sided and created an approximate $750,000 deficit in the budget. Essentially the Town traded a 1.2 million dollar gift for $350,000 in tax revenue. The town is looking to Quinnipiac University as a scape goat while also looking for a bail out.

As Republicans, we would work pro-actively to identify discrepancies in the revaluation process, putting the “onus” on the government rather than on the taxpayer. With regard to Quinnipiac University we understand that they are a vital member of our community. Quinnipiac University is the largest employer in Hamden, increasing economic activity. Quinnipiac provides quality education, excellent sports programs, student outreach services, and a scholarly environment for the community to benefit from. The Quinnipiac polling station is known nationwide and puts Hamden on the map. Rather than treating the university as an adversary, we need to embrace them as a partner.

Holly A. Bryk, MBA
Chairman
Hamden Republican Town Committee

Graffiti in Hamden

Just take a look at some of the graffiti around Hamden, on our buildings, on our sidewalks, schools, telephone poles and you should have no doubt, gangs are here and they are making their presence well known.

Unfortunately, more times than not, gang graffiti is not merely writing on walls. For many gangs and gang members this type of vandalism only serves as a reminder of more violent criminal acts, gangs are capable of committing. In fact, gangs are here, and the more we learn about them, the better we will be able to take preventive action to protect ourselves, our property, and more importantly, our children, against them and their criminal activities.

The days are gone when narcotic trafficking was the primary revenue of gangs. The gangs have expanded and diversified their illegal endeavors to all types of criminal activity. Their use of violence and weapons has created the need for much more pro-active enforcement efforts for their containment and or their eradication.

Become actively involved in Police and Community relations and attend neighborhood block watch and group meetings.

Learn of the problem and communicate directly with your children. Many parents are unaware that their children are involved in gang activity. It is your role as a parent to help them understand the realities of a criminal record. They need to know the finality of death, which so often is the result of gang violence. Parents should encourage children to identify and report other young people who are pressuring them to use or deal drugs or participate in gang activities. Intimidation and fear can preoccupy and destroy a child’s ability to concentrate on his/her schooling and to pursue a meaningful life.

Thomas Alegi

Phil Tripp endorsement from Matt Corcoran

I am very proud to endorse Lt. Col. (Ret.) Phil Tripp for State Senate in the 17th District in this year’s election.

Phil is a Hamden native having grown up on Wintergreen Avenue and is a graduate of Hamden High School’s class of 1976. Growing up, he developed a strong work ethic running a paper route and working on construction for Lucien DiMeo. Phil went on to earn degrees from the University of New Haven and a graduate degree from Southern Connecticut University. Phil understands the issues confronting his neighborhood from the economic downturn suffered by taxpayers throughout the district to the Woodin Street fence issue in which his opponent failed to stand up for the neighborhood which he represents.

Phil is a military veteran of thirty-four years who honorably served our country in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been awarded the Combat Action Badge, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Isaaf Ribbon and Airborne Badge. Phil has excelled in leadership positions in the most difficult of circumstances having served as an Infantry Company Commander and General Officer staff in Kabul, Afghanistan. Phil Tripp will bring these leadership skills to bear as a State Senator for the 17th District.

Phil also has an accomplished career in municipal government and knows how to get things done. Phil, a resident of Ansonia, is the President of the Board of Alderman and is able to work across the aisle to get things done. As a State Senator he will understand the stresses faced by Hamden’s municipal budget and make sure that Hamden gets its fair share.

Hamden needs change in Hartford. Phil Tripp has the unique leadership background, knowledge of the issues confronting Hamden and the integrity to be a great representative for us in Hartford. Please vote for him on Election Day.

Matt Corcoran

Brown: DeLauro Thinks She Knows Better than Parents

In 2010, President Obama signed the Healthy-Hunger Free Kids Act into law. Rosa DeLauro championed the bill, saying that it was a much-needed recommitment to the health of our nation’s children. She said that “kids are going to bed hungry” while others are facing an obesity epidemic. Her answer was to create new mandates for schools on what they can serve children in the cafeteria.

While wanting to keep our youth healthy is a noble cause, coercive federal tactics like these are not the way to go. DeLauro is essentially telling parents that she knows what’s best for their children. Nutritional needs vary greatly from student to student. Those who participate in a sport need more than the 850 calories that are allowed at lunchtime.

As a coach of a cross-country team, athletes burn upwards of 1,200 calories during practice. These kids need more calories to maintain a healthy weight, and the lunches they’re being served are inadequate. One size fits all meals do not make sense. In the classroom, we have individual education plans that are designed to fit students needs. Every student learns differently, just like every student has a different metabolism and caloric requirements, not to mention varying tastes.

Some news outlets report as much as $4 million in food being thrown out each day. The students are forced to take a fruit, even if they tell the cafeteria worker that they’re going to throw it out. This is wasteful, but it also creates artificial demand for the fruit, and the cost of fruit goes up for everyone.

Almost 600 school districts have dropped out of the National School Lunch Program due to the unprofitability of the new meals. They cost more to provide, and if students aren’t buying the lunches, the schools lose money. The profits from selling lunches could be put towards new textbooks and technology to improve the quality of education that the students receive. Instead, school districts that are already on a tight budget find themselves with even fewer resources.

We need to stop these top down approaches to governance. Parents should be educated on which foods are nutritious and which are not, but it is their right to feed their children as they see fit. Congress does not know what’s best for our children. Those closest to the kids, like parents, educators, and administrators are the ones who know what students need. This is not what the government is for. Let’s restore the freedom of choice to parents once and for all.

Herbst: Why is Denise Nappier Hiding?

TRUMBULL, CT- Tim Herbst, Republican Candidate for State Treasurer, made the following statement regarding Denise Nappier’s decision not to attend tonight’s Hartford Votes Forum:

“For Ms. Nappier to withdraw on the morning of our first and only debate gives me great cause for concern,” said Herbst. “I understand Ms. Nappier is citing ‘personal reasons’ for her absence, and my hope is that whatever they are she is able to overcome them and join me in the remaining 29 days to discuss the critical issues facing our state.”

“Ms. Nappier has been silent on the campaign trail, but more importantly, she has been silent during the last four years while this state has gone into insurmountable debt, while the pension fund is facing bankruptcy and pensioners and Connecticut families are looking to elected leaders for answers,” said Herbst.

“What concerns me most is that Ms. Nappier has been unable to demonstrate to Connecticut residents why she deserves another term in office,” added Herbst. “I am genuinely concerned for her well-being and I think Ms. Nappier needs to let the families of Connecticut know whether she is physically and emotionally able to carry out her duties managing $26 billion of assets.”

Tim Herbst will still be appearing at tonight’s Candidate Forum to talk about his plans to tackle the most important issues facing our state.

Brown : School Districts Should Allow Teachers to Arm Themselves

In light of the recent bomb threat at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I suddenly recalled the tragic act that took place there on December 14, 2012, and my reaction to President Obama’s speech at the Sandy Hook memorial service. As a teacher during the Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook tragedies, the issue never truly leaves my mind. While careful to respect the parents and families who lost loved ones on that day in Newtown, I felt compelled to share my view on the issue as a life-long educator.

Being born and raised in Newtown, I fondly remember having little league baseball practices and games at Sandy Hook Elementary. To imagine that type of violence so close to home really struck a nerve. As a teacher, I have been entrusted with educating the next generation, and I would protect the students in my school at any cost. I know other teachers would do the same.

President Obama came to my hometown just days after the tragedy. I was immediately taken aback when I heard the words from the president commending the teachers at Sandy Hook for reassuring the children with “wait for the good guys, they’re coming.”

The “good guys” were already there. The teachers are the good guys. We have dedicated our lives to and have taken on the enormous responsibility for the education and well-being of each and every child. It pains me to think that the on-the-scene good guys were left with the only option of waiting, and praying, that the other good guys got there before the shooter made it to their classroom.
As the president said, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law – no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.”
I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Where the president, my opponent, and I disagree is how to prevent future massacres. Since the Gun-Free School Zones Acts were enacted in the 1990’s, countless innocent souls have perished at the hands of unspeakable violence. Putting a sign on the door of a school that bans guns will not stop a deranged person intent on causing harm. It tells them that the people inside have few options to defend themselves and their students.

It is time to stop pretending that banning certain types of weapons and other gun control measures will stop these despicable massacres. When someone plans attacks like these, they do not care one bit about what the law says nor are they worried about obtaining firearms legally. If they’re hell-bent on causing harm, they will find a way to do so.

Therefore, I think we should revisit laws that ban faculty from carrying guns on school grounds. The massacres at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, University of California at Santa Barbara, and many others, most likely would have been stopped if responsible faculty members had the choice to go through extensive training and arm themselves. It should be left up to individual school districts and universities to decide if they would allow teachers to be armed. Currently, a teacher has very limited resources to defend a classroom full of students, with little chance of successfully stopping a disturbed person on a rampage.

In defiance of federal law, the State of Utah gives teachers, like Kasey Hansen, the option of arming themselves. On the subject, she aptly stated that, “I want to protect my students. I’m going to stand in front of a bullet for any student that is in my protection and so I want another option to defend us.” It goes to show just how dedicated we teachers are to our students.

In no way am I suggesting that every teacher in the country needs to be armed. However, school districts should have the ability to make the decision to allow interested teachers to go through rigorous, police academy style training in order to carry a weapon in school.
I’ve heard some people worry about students trying to steal the guns from teachers. This is a fallacious argument, as school resource officers already openly carry guns around schools. To my knowledge, there have been no incidents where a student tried to steal a gun off a faculty member.

The many laws passed intended to reduce gun violence have not worked. If a person is intent on causing harm, they will find a way to do so and just disregard the law. We need to approach this issue from a different perspective. At school, teachers are the good guys, and they are the first responders.

James Brown
Candidate for U.S. Congress
Connecticut’s Third District

STATE TREASURER DENISE NAPPIER USES STATE MONEY TO ENRICH POLITICAL ALLY AND MAJOR DEMOCRAT DONOR

TRUMBULL, CT – Today, Tim Herbst, Republican Candidate for State Treasurer, called on Denise Nappier to answer questions about her decision to invest state pension funds with Landmark Partners.

Ms. Nappier claims that she’s acted as a responsible steward of the state’s treasury, but she contracted to invest millions of dollars with Landmark Partners, managed by Francisco Borges, a personal friend, and a political ally of Denise Nappier, despite the company’s $150 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over fraud charges.

Conveniently, Mr. Borges is also a major Democrat contributor, giving over half a million dollars to Democrat candidates and causes including the State Democrat Party and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd.

“The details of the state’s dealings with Landmark Partners are troubling and one of the many reasons why I have committed to enact safeguards that limit the State Treasurer’s role as the sole fiduciary,” said Herbst. “In the wake of corruption Denise Nappier turned a blind eye, and continued investing state pension funds with a firm involved with bribing the former State Treasurer, just to enrich her friend and political ally, who also happens to be a major Democrat Party contributor. Why did she do it? I think the answer is pretty clear.”

“Ms. Nappier has been a silent and willing partner in the financial decline of our state,” said Herbst. “She has mismanaged the state’s pension fund, to the point where some say it could be bankrupt in five years, and she has used her position to curry political favor in Hartford. She needs to answer for these things because Connecticut residents, teachers and state retirees deserve better.”

In 2010, Nappier Committed $100 Million in state pension funds to Landmark Partners:
“State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier has committed $100 million in state pension funds to a partnership established by a Simsbury-based investment firm that was penalized for paying ‘finder’s fees’ to associates of her corrupt predecessor, Paul J. Silvester. The private equity firm, Landmark Partners, is now headed by another former state treasurer, Francisco L. Borges, a longtime personal friend of Nappier’s, who, like her, is a Democrat who once held municipal office in Hartford. Controversy over their relationship appeared to play a role in a decision by Landmark five years ago to abruptly drop a similar bid for millions of dollars from the pension fund, which Nappier oversees as its sole fiduciary officer.” (Don Michak, “Treasurer puts state pension fund in deal with controversial firm,” Journal Inquirer,http://www.journalinquirer.com/, 1/20/10)

Despite The Taint Of Bribery, Nappier Continued The State’s Lucrative Relationship With Landmark:

In 2004, Landmark Partners Held A Part Of The $40 Billion PSERS Investments: “PSERS manages approximately $40 billion and invests in Adams Street Partners, Spectrum Equity Investors, TA Associates, Madison Dearborn Partners and Landmark Partners.” (“Milestone Suit Against Forstmann Goes To Court,” Venture Capitol Journal, 7/1/04)

In 2005, Nappier Had Planned A Multimillion Investment In Landmark: “Other aftershocks of the Silvester case are still surfacing: Just this week, Silvester’s Democratic successor as state treasurer, Denise Nappier, was poised to place a new multimillion dollar investment with Simsbury-based Landmark Partners, whose lucrative pension investments from Silvester in 1998 led to the 2003 conviction of prominent Republican and NAACP leader Ben Andrews. But now the deal is off because of the scandal’s lingering taint.” (“Silvester’s Notes Back In Play,” Hartford Courant, 7/15/05)

Nappier Defended Her Inaction Against Landmark Because State Funds Were Not At Risk: “Nappier has defended her lack of action against Landmark, which the SEC says was part of a kickback scheme to get two 1998 deals from the now-convicted former treasurer, Paul J. Silvester. Nappier’s inaction on Landmark has been in contrast to the strong legal action her office took last month to protect $200 million in state pension funds under the control of Triumph Capital Group of Boston, the only other investment firm to fall under federal charges — both civil and criminal — in the Silvester mess. …Nappier said she has had no reason to fear that funds invested in Landmark are in any jeopardy.” (“State Looking At Investment Contract,” Hartford Courant, http://articles.courant.com/, 11/12/00)

Francisco Borges Donor Information: http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=Borges%2C+Francisco&cycle=All&sort=R&state=CT&zip=&employ=&cand=&submit=Submit

Brown Questions Plan to Train and Arm Syrian Rebels

Just over a year ago, President Obama told the nation that he would not intervene in Syria. In the last twelve months, we’ve seen the consequences of congressional and presidential inaction. ISIS forces have ballooned to over 30,000 jihadists, according to the CIA. This build up could have been prevented had we acted swiftly and decisively a year ago.

Earlier this month, Congress voted to spend 500 million taxpayer dollars to arm and train Syrian rebel forces. Previously, the president said these rebels were “former farmers or teachers or pharmacists” and he was concerned about their ability to take on ISIS jihadists in battle.

At this point, it’s been reported that it will take a year to train merely 5,000 Syrian rebels. It is time to end the practice of using American legislation to arm other forces, which have questionable loyalties, to fight our battles for us. The United States Armed Forces are the most advanced and well-trained military in the world. If we’re going to spend tax dollars and resources, then we should use the best personnel available, instead of wasting time training others.

It is unthinkable that thirteen years after the World Trade Center attacks, we once again find ourselves debating the merit of sending American troops to the Middle East to eliminate a terror group who has not only publicly executed Americans, but also wishes to raise their flag over the White House. It won’t be easy, or popular, but it may need to be done. If we want to definitively end the threat that ISIS poses to the homeland, the Middle East, and the world, America must lead.

If Congress deems that the way to end this complex conflict and unconscionable violence is by authorizing the use of force, then Congress and the American people must be prepared to fully commit America’s military. Otherwise, we should not be involved.

HERBST: Nappier’s Priorities are Out of Balance

TRUMBULL, CT – Saturday, the Herbst Headquarters was flooded with phone calls and emails from people who received a push poll asking very offensive and convoluted questions about the State Treasurer’s race.

“How can a campaign ignore the media, dodge debate requests and avoid the public, but can find the time to organize and execute such abhorrent and toxic political activities,” said Tim Herbst, Republican candidate for State Treasurer.

Tim Herbst spent his Saturday participating in a live radio show and at community events in Guilford and Wethersfield talking with voters about his plan to lead by example to put Connecticut’s fiscal house in order. Meanwhile, incumbent State Treasurer Denise Nappier refuses to debate the issues and defend her failed record to Connecticut residents and state teachers and retirees.

“What’s most disturbing is that Denise Nappier is using taxpayer dollars to employ shady political tactics to run a smear campaign, including attacks against my own mother, but she refuses to address me in public to defend her failed record and talk about the issues,” said Herbst.

“An $80 billion unfunded pension liability, a pension fund that analysts say will be bankrupt by 2019, and a leading CPA saying that Connecticut is in worse financial state than Detroit,” said Herbst. “These are the issues Denise Nappier should be addressing.”

“I think voters are tired of politics as usual in Hartford, and these are exactly the kind of tactics they’ve had enough of,” said Herbst. “The polls show voters believe Connecticut is headed down the wrong track and as an executive officer of the state, Denise Nappier has been part of the problem in Hartford.”

“It’s clear Ms. Nappier doesn’t want to defend her record, and she doesn’t have the fortitude to meet me in public debate, so she is going to engage in back room political games because it’s all she knows,” concluded Herbst.

The push poll was conducted by a firm called Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, a paid consulting firm out of California, who touts their left-leaning client list, which includes Connecticut Senate Democrats and State Treasurer Denise Nappier.

These paid calls were being made from a paid phone bank using a New Haven phone extension. Callers asked a series of questions, many times referring to the current State Treasurer as “Dennis” as opposed to “Denise,” showing immediately their lack of connection to the state or the race directly.

As the push poll continued, the questions became inappropriate and misleading. One question implying that voters’ opinions of Tim Herbst’s mother, who serves her community as the unanimously elected chair of the Board of Education, would affect their vote in November.

Tim Herbst has served as Trumbull’s First Selectman since 2009 and has worked tirelessly since his first day in public office to lower taxes, address an unfunded pension, as well as cut his own salary and refuse a town pension to get the town finances back on track. He leads by example, and was raised by two hard-working teachers who instilled in him the value of being a honest steward of his community.