Issues of Interest to Connecticut Latinos

post_author brings you a compilation of the latest views and research on issues important to Latinos from media outlets throughout Connecticut. The inclusion of a link to an opinion piece does not indicate this site supports the views being expressed.
Universal Coverage Could Mean Fewer Doctors
Now that government has tackled the problem of Americans without insurance, it needs to deal with a dire side effect: a pending shortage of doctors in Connecticut to treat all of these new patients.
According to a Hartford Courant editorial,”Connecticut’s statistics show the problem. A quarter of the state’s primary care doctors (internists, family physicians and pediatricians) are not accepting new patients, according to a 2010 survey by the Connecticut State Medical Society. And a quarter of the physicians surveyed said they might move out of state in the next five years.”
The editorial adds, “The Medical Society report notes that 40 percent of Connecticut’s doctors are at least 50 years old, “an age at which physicians begin to contemplate reducing their patient hours.” Clearly, Connecticut needs to attract new doctors and give those already here incentives to stay and keep practicing.”
The Courant says the legislature should resurrect a bill that “would have allowed 10 targeted health areas where doctors would be eligible for loans and hiring-incentive funds and communities could get matching grants for their recruitment. The bill, which focused on medically underserved parts of the state, directed the Department of Economic and Community Development to make the funds available through its Small Business Express program. It passed the Senate unanimously, but died in the House as the session ended.”
Read the entire Hartford Courant editorial.
New Haven Police Ignoring Missing Persons Law
The New Haven Register is calling the New Haven Police Department to task for ignoring a state law that requires it to ask reports of a missing adult without delay.
According to the editorial,  “In one case, the failure to act may have indirectly led to the death of William Young, 27. Last seen on Jan. 5, his body was found Feb. 11 in the Mill River. When family members attempted to report him missing, they were told they had to wait 72 hours. A missing person report was not accepted until three days after Young was last seen alive.” The NHPD said it has no policy of waiting 72 hours because time is of the essence when a person goes missing.
The editorial then points out, “Nonetheless, after Mutalib Bello, 18, went missing May 10, family members were turned away on May 13 when they tried to report his disappearance to New Haven police. They were told by a desk officer that young men go missing all the time, according to the New Haven Independent, which reported a string of failures to identify Bello after his body was found May 18 in the West River. It was only through his family’s efforts that Bello’s body was finally identified in July. Police missed tattoos Bello had of his last name on his stomach and his birth date on his wrist.”
Read the complete New Haven Register editorial.
Nation Must Pitch in on Green Initiatives
The Connecticut Post says it does little good for Connecticut to implement green initiatives if the country isn’t coordinated in those efforts.
The editorial says Governor Malloy is right that Connecticut has done much to protect and even restore some health to Long Island Sound with investment in sewer plant upgrades — with more to come — to drastically reduce the amount of nitrogen released into the Sound.
The editorial continued, “But the governor is … right that Connecticut cannot protect the Sound on its own — and we’re not talking just about New York’s reluctance to do its part to protect the great body of water we share, a body of water that is key to our economic and aesthetic lives. Unless the nation, and the world, does more to slow the rise in the planet’s temperature, a little gesture like reducing nitrogen in the Sound will not mean much.
Read the complete Connecticut Post Editorial.
MetroNorth Needs Better Parking
The New Haven Register is praising MetroNorth for its improved train service between New Haven and New York, including improvements like quiet cars and expanded weekend service, but it’s still calling on the transit agency to improve parking at its stations.
“[A]s of July, Metro-North has conditionally accepted 112 of the 405 M-8 cars that are replacing the 30-year-old cars now used on the line. The M-8s now account for a third of weekday trains, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The new cars should be far less prone to breakdowns, particularly in winter snow,” the editorial said.
But, it added, “one major gap remains for passengers leaving from New Haven’s Union Station: the lack of parking. The state and city have yet to agree on building another garage to meet the chronic and growing demand for parking at the station. All the improvements in train service are for naught if convenient parking is not available at the station.”
Read the complete New Haven Register editorial.
Fix Fiscal Problems at the Postal Service
The Connecticut Post is calling on Congress to fix the problems at the United States Postal Service, which is profitable but struggling under unrealistic fiscal demands.
According to the Post editorial, the Internet is not the sole — or even main — cause of the postal service’s crisis, which led to a missed payment of $5.5 billion last week to its Retiree Health Benefits Fund; it will also miss a $5.6 billion payment due in September.
This is, in fact, a manufactured crisis, the editorial said. Congress in 2006 mandated that the postal service fund its retirement system 75 years in advance, a ridiculous standard that no other entity, private or public, comes close to matching. Though its retirement fund is currently flush with cash, it’s not enough to meet the congressional standard, and so the agency is in danger of serious cuts.
Read the complete Connecticut Post editorial.
Silence Can Be Deadly
The Stamford Advocate is contrasting the murder of a popular West Side resident inside a Laundromat with other killings that have plagued the city this summer. In this case, people came forward with tips and information while in other murders, the police are receiving little if any help.
The editorial states, ” This is a complicated issue. It is easy to say people should just come forward and tell police what they know, but their fear is real. Last month’s rash of gunfire that left two dead and five wounded is likely the result of warring between two gangs on the East and West sides of the city.
It’s not hard to see why people would not want to get involved. At the same time, if the violence does not stop, tragedies will compound and innocent people will get caught, literally, in the crossfire. We saw that happen in Bridgeport last month when a 15-year-old girl was killed by gunfire while on her aunt’s porch.
Read the entire Stamford Advocate editorial
Donovan Should Drop out of Race
The Hartford Courant is continuing its war of words against House Speaker Chris Donovan. In addition to endorsing Elizabeth Esty, his opponent for the Democratic nomination in the 5th Congressional District, the Courant is going a step further and calling for Donovan to drop out entirely.
“For the sake of the state’s reputation, not to mention their party’s, senior Democratic officials ought to persuade Mr. Donovan to step aside and let the two candidates untouched by scandal fight for the Democratic nomination,” the Courant said. The Democratic primary in the 5th Congressional District takes place on Aug. 14.
Read the entire Hartford Courant editorial.
CT Ash Trees Under Attack
The New Haven Register says in its editorial, “This month, Connecticut became the 16th state with the emerald ash borer beetle. It was found in Prospect by members of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. The beetle is also believed to be in the Naugatuck State Forest.”
So, why should folks care about a beetle smaller than a penny and ash trees? The Register says, “Ash trees make up 4 to 15 percent of state forests and are also used extensively in urban landscaping. Daniel Esty, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, estimates there are more than 22 million ash trees in the state. They are all at risk of death or decline.”
Read the entire New Haven Register editorial.
Banning Gun Sales Doesn’t Stop Violence
The Connecticut Post is calling into question the wisdom of asking Bass Pro Shops, which recently announced it is locating in Bridgeport, not to sell guns in the city that has been beleaguered this summer by gun violence.
The Post says, “Oh, it’s a tempting, symbolic target to ask the store to refrain from selling guns. Given the sadness and frustration of the last few weeks, it’s understandable. But beyond the symbolism, it doesn’t really make much sense. The legal sale of hunting weapons, including handguns, is not the problem. Their migration into the hands of homicidal thugs is the problem.”
Read the entire Connecticut Post editorial.
Donovan Needs To Look in the Mirror
The Hartford Courant has harsh words for State House Speaker Chris Donovan about him and his congressional campaign in the wake of the arrest of seven more people on charges of improperly raising funds to benefit his race in exchange for allegedly influencing legislative votes.
It said, “Donovan needs to take a long look in the mirror. If he didn’t know about the conspiracy, he should have been paying more attention. If he was going to run for Congress, keeping the post of House speaker was probably a bad idea. With the Democratic primary less then three weeks away, he has to ask himself how many are going to vote for ‘Public Official Number 1.’” That is in reference to how the FBI refers to Donovan in the indictments that were unveiled last week.
Read the entire Hartford Courant editorial.
Unskilled Workers Cause High Unemployment
The New Haven Register is of the opinion that unemployment numbers would be lower if there were better-trained workers. The jobs are out there but there simply isn’t the right kind of workers to fill the positions.
The editorial also points out there seems to be a lack of interest in what seems the most American of all blue collar jobs. “By one estimate, there are an astounding 300,000 job openings for truck drivers in the United States. There are barriers to hiring: licensing and insurance requirements and the reluctance of many small businesses to train drivers. But, a main reason for the shortage, according to a New York Times report, is that too few people remain interested in this blue collar job.”
Read the complete New Haven Register editorial.
First Hand Perspective on Living with AIDS/HIV
John-Manuel Andriote writes about AIDS/HIV from the perspective of having been afflicted with HIV. He filed an op-ed piece in the Norwich Bulletin from the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington last week.
He wrote, ” I first reported on this conference 25 years ago, the last time it was held in Washington. No one imagined AIDS would become the worldwide plague it is today. I never imagined that I would be living with HIV, confronting life-and-death issues, and choosing to live with courage instead of fear.”
Andriote then lashes out at the City of Norwich for focusing on petty issues, like a new police station he says the city can’t afford, and not more important issues. Looking at this latest tempest in the Norwich teapot from a global conference on a disease killing millions of people, the kindest words I can find for those who have stirred up this latest controversy is: Grow up.”
Read the entire Norwich Bulletin op-ed piece
New Britain Police Praised for Recruiting Minorities
Active outreach into the Latino and other minority communities by the New Britain Police Department is drawing praise from the New Britain Herald in an editorial.
The editorial said that as of July 13, there had been 139 candidates through an online application website. After New Britain police actively recruited at a local Puerto Rican festival, the number jumped to 216 with another 40 asking for help with the application.
The Herald observed, “The city decided in recent weeks to actively recruit at civic events and reach out to various communities within the city, including Latinos, in order to get as many qualified candidates to apply as possible. … It’s a good first step. Now it is up to the department’s leaders to follow through.”
Read the complete New Britain Herald editorial.
GOP Candidate Calls Islam a ‘Cult in Many Respects’
The Hartford Courant is blasting GOP Congressional candidate Mark Greenberg for “xenophobic” remarks he made while appearing on a WNPR radio show.
Greenberg, according to the Courant editorial, told host John Dankosky that Islam is a “a cult in many respects,” and said “I don’t believe in all manner that Islam is a religion of peace.”
That provoked muted ire from the Courant’s editorial board. It said, “How the world’s second largest religion, with at least a billion adherents, can be referred to as ‘a cult’ is a mystery. And as for Islam’s not being ‘a religion of peace,’ evidently Mr. Greenberg isn’t familiar with even the basics of the faith; perhaps he should take a brief course in comparative religion before commenting further.”
Read the entire Hartford Courant editorial.
Boy Scout Ruling on Gays Called Wrong
Amidst the backdrop of the Greenwich Council of the Boy Scouts of America celebrating its 100th birthday, the Stamford Advocate criticized the organization for deciding to continue its policy of discriminating against gay Americans.
The editorial proclaimed,  “As this country makes strides toward extending equal rights to homosexual Americans, which they traditionally have been denied, one of its bedrock institutions announces it will continue to teach its young men that it is OK to discriminate, it is OK to exclude, it is OK to look down on others as less that yourself, not because of things they have done, but because of who they are.”
Read the entire Stamford Advocate editorial.
Norwich Bulletin Endorses Chris Shays
In its July 22 print edition, the Norwich Bulletin has endorsed former U.S. Rep. Chri Shays in his primary battle against former WWE CEO Linda McMahon for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. (On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy is being challenged for the nomination by former CT Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.)
The Norwich Bulletin says, In January, the combined seniority of Connecticut’s two senators will be a total of two years. In an institution such as the U.S. Senate, where seniority is both valued and cherished, Connecticut will be at the bottom of the barrel.”
Read the complete Norwich Bulletin editorial
Impound ATVs to Protect Parks
The New Haven Register is backing a plan by Milford officials to impound ATVS that illegally use parks within its borders. According to the editorial, ” Milford has a continuing problem with all-terrain vehicles ripping up land in its parks and open spaces. A 2002 ban on ATV use has failed to be a remedy.”
It adds, “In a new push to stop the damage to the land caused by the ATVs, the city has sent out more than 600 letters to neighboring residents asking for their help in protecting the open space. Police have stepped up patrols and surveillance. Those efforts have led to apprehensions.”
Read the complete New Haven Register editorial.
Cultural Months Important
Stacy Davis, a columnist for the Connecticut Post, says in an op-ed piece that “It is important to recognize the achievements and contributions that people in these groups have made to the country. If we don’t take time to recognize them, they will be overlooked.”
Davis said it in her piece that it is necessary to maintain cultural celebrations like Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place in September. “Some people say cultural months like these are unnecessary. They say these months are divisive and separate the American people. Well, I disagree,” she wrote.
Read the entire Connecticut Post op-ed piece
Gun Violence Requires Action
A deadly dispute between two groups in Stamford has heated up to the point that two people have been killed and at least four have been wounded. The editorial states, “We need sensible gun laws that protect police officers and enable police officers to protect the rest of us.”
But don’t think the editorial wants to crack down on gun ownership. It seeks tougher controls on the sale of guns. The editorial states, “[N]o one is calling for a ban on guns; ownership is protected in the Bill of Rights. But the Second Amendment should not preclude tightening up incredibly liberal gun laws that enable a ceaseless flow of firearms into our communities.”
Read the entire Stamford Advocate editorial on gun violence and what needs to be done.
Governor’s Business Policies Lack ‘Grip on Reality’
The Waterbury Republican-American is coming down hard on Gov. Dannel Malloy a and the General Assembly for being anti-business, in spite of the governor’s proclamation that Connecticut is open for business.
The newspaper says, Gov. Malloy makes this assertion despite the fact he and his Democratic allies in the legislature have enacted some of the most anti-business policies in the country, leading many state residents to wonder if he’s lost his grip on reality.”
The editorial also mentions that CNBC has ranked the state 44th best for business overall
Obamacare Ruling Helps People of Color
Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation in Hartford, writes in an op-ed piece in The Hartford Courant, “The historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act represents a major opportunity to level the health care playing field in Connecticut, where communities of color face many daunting health care challenges.”
Among the statistics she cites: Latino residents are roughly 5.4 times more likely to lack health insurance compared to whites; Latinos are 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes than white residents and are 3.8 times more likely to be hospitalized for related complications that require an amputation of an arm, leg or foot; and nearly 24 percent of Latinas received late or no prenatal care in the first trimester of their pregnancies.
Read the complete Hartford Courant op-ed piece.
Too Many Kids Missing School
The Stamford Advocate is saying all of this emphasis on teacher evaluations as part of job performance is slightly misguided. Teachers can’t do their jobs effectively if too many students are absent – and their appears to be high rates of absenteeism among Connecticut students.
As the Advocate points out, “… more than 25 percent — missed from 10 to 20 days in 2011-12. Even worse, 8.9 percent missed 21 days or more. How do we hold a teacher responsible for a student’s poor performance if that kid has missed more than 21 days of school?”
Read the Stamford Advocate editorial on kids missing school.
House Speaker Not Cleared by Report
Congressional Candidate Chris Donovan (D-Meriden)
The New Haven Register is declaring that an investigation paid for by House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign committee is not the final say on the Meriden Democrat’s innocence or guilt in a campaign finance scandal that has racked his election bid. The report was compiled by former U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Stan Twardy, now in private practice.
The Register says, “Because of its limitations, Twardy’s investigation cannot fully clear Donovan of involvement. The public and 5th District voters must wait for more definitive answers from the criminal proceedings in federal court.”
Read the New Haven Register editorial on Chris Donovan.
Cold Cases: Victims Are Stilled Owed Vigilance
The Danbury News-Times says in an opinion piece that the state Department of Corrections focus on solving cold cases is a much needed boost for the families of victims. The Corrections Department has created a deck of playing cards for distribution to inmates in the hopes a convict will spill the beans on an unsolved crime.
As the News-Times points out, “… if a picture on the back of a playing card … can jar a memory or a conscience, then by all means, play on.
Read the Danbury News-Times editorial.
A Report Card on Malloy’s Urban Agenda
The Hartford Courant is out with might best be called a progress report on Gov. Dannel Malloy’s work in Connecticut’s cities. What starts out as tepid criticism evolves into fairly strong-praise for the first-term Democrat, a former Stamford mayor.
The Courant says Malloy’s predecessors (John Rowland and M. Jodi Rell) were more interested in making cities nicer places to visit. It adds, “Malloy, on the other hand, has focused on making the cities better place in which to live.”
Read the Hartford Courant editorial
Deaths of 950 Medicare Recipients
Hospital errors led to the death of 950 Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 in Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. The errors, or “preventable adverse events” as the medical profession calls them, include unsupervised falls and incorrect medication dosages. The number of deaths may be higher because only hospital deaths were tracked.
The Connecticut Post acknowledges there are financial pressures but says basic standards of care have to be met.
Read the Connecticut Post editorial
Legislature Needs Corruption Committees
The Hartford Courant is calling on the General Assembly to “finally create standing legislative committees to investigate credible allegations of misconduct against members of the state Senate and House.”
The Courant is squarely placing the blame at the feet of the Democratic leadership, which has controlled both chambers for many years. Republican legislators are using the federal investigation into House Speaker Chris Donovan, a Congressional candidate, to renew the call for the committee.
Read the Hartford Courant editorial
Fighting Blight of Vacant Homes
Meriden has developed a “Clean and Lien” program that targets vacant houses that become rundown and overgrown during foreclosure dealings that proceed seemingly endlessly. As the Meriden Record-Journal points out, these properties as they fall into disuse severely affect property values and poise legitimate public safety concerns.
As the Record-Journal observes, “This program will be of aid in stopping properties caught in drawn-out foreclosure mechanisms from devolving into health hazards which negatively affect neighborhoods.” It’s an idea that could be implemented in many poor neighborhoods around the state.
Read the Meriden Record-Journal editorial
Get to Source of Gun Violence
The Stamford Advocate is calling on state officials to look beyond the use of guns in crimes and establish the history of the guns. It says there is a pool of urban young men who are either pointing the gun or being pointed at by a gunholder.
The newspaper says, ” Authorities need to go the next step, which is to establish the history of the weapon. Where did it come from and how did it get into the hands of a criminal? The nation’s patchwork of gun laws makes it very easy for guns initially sold legally to quickly make their way onto the black market – which grows dark as it travels from South to North. ”
Read the Stamford Advocate editorial