Hamden’s Republican mayoral candidate Salman Hamid’s story is so reminiscent of the millions of immigrants coming to the United States in pursuit of the American dream. From humble beginnings, he has risen to the top of the Republican ticket. His love of his community, keen administrative skills and his commitment to the betterment of Hamden, makes him the ideal candidate to run against a deeply entrenched politician. He can reach across party lines and heal the divisiveness that has become so prevalent in American politics today. It is for this reason that I can lend my support for a man who has overcome many obstacles and to get where he is today. Hamden’s residents will greatly benefit by having this man as the next mayor.
State Rep. Dave Yaccarino
The ballad of ‘Old Red’
“Old Red” was still hanging around for many years after her prime. Her brilliant color was fading, but you could see spots of her original tint, from when she was young. She was old, but still useful and still served a purpose. When things got tough, she was there to carry on and in some cases — save the day. Five years ago, she undertook a long journey of close to 400 miles, and did it like a champ. Now she hangs around and waits for someone to “need” her and she’s always ready. She is banged, bruised, and hanging on to life by a thread, but still functional. This old girl has more miles than Tony Bennet, and sometimes purrs just as nice.
“Old Red” is Grandpa Gene’s car, and it gets him to wherever he needs to go. He drove it to CT when he came to live with us about 5 years ago. It’s parked under two sprawling trees and it’s always covered with leaves, bird mess, twigs, and lots of street dirt, but when we need it — it brushes itself off and is ready for duty. Last week, our van went in for repairs and we needed “Old Red” as our main transportation. So far so good, oh yeah, it rattles, it makes noises no human has ever heard, and every small bump in the road seems like all her parts will fall off, but by the grace of God, she keeps moving and getting us around. A couple of times I’ve cleaned her, but she doesn’t like that and rebels by sputtering, coughing and shaking — I get it — I won’t do it again.
Grandpa Gene bought “Old Red” a few years before he moved here, it was a shinny red 1995 Crown Victoria Ford, the ones that the police use because of it’s fast 8 cylinder engine. Well, that 8-cylinder speedster doesn’t speed anymore, but it still guzzles gas by the tank full. It does a pretty good job on oil too. but I shouldn’t complain---it still gets us around and without it we’d be in deep you know what. Every once in a while I pick up coins, floor fries, raisinettes, screws, scraps of unidentifiable paper, small pebbles, broken pieces of plastic and a variety of “small outer space parts” The radio doesn’t work (she did this on purpose) so we can hear all her aches and pains with every move. She is 18 years old and in car years (times 7) she is 126.
Yesterday, my friend Art, who was feeling sorry for “Old Red,” asked me if I wanted to take her to a car wash and he would gladly pay. His eyes, like most everyone else’s, hurt when they see her, they blur and water and they wonder if they’re seeing what they’re really seeing. I respectfully thanked Art for the offer, and so I had to tell him what happened the last time I took “Old Red” to the car wash.
It was a beautiful sunny Monday morning; the type that everyone wants to start the week on and I drove “Old Red” about a mile to a car wash. My brothers both told me about this hard working Mexican man, who owned and ran his own place, and they both recommended him highly. His wife was around to help hand him stuff, get him lunch, take the money from people (while her husband worked hard) and anything else he wanted her to do. Also his 18-year-old son was around, for whenever he got busy, he too was a hard worker. The whole family worked hard, doing any and everything to make money. So I drove in and approached the man. The middle aged, tan skinned, well-built man approached me and nervously asked me if he could help me. I said I saw a sign for a $14.95 car wash, which included cleaning the inside, so he reluctantly asked me to step out of the car. With panic written all over his face and beads of sweat starting to form, he inspected the inside and outside. He started to mumble and stutter, and was trying to figure out how to get out of this, “well I can’t do this right now, I’m waiting for my wife to get here” and just as he was back peddling, his wife appeared. Almost in tears, he said, “OK, I’ll start cleaning”. Fifteen minutes later, he just about got some of the initial dirt, when he called his wife to help; this was too big a job for him alone (by this time he wished he was sweeping streets or riding on a garbage truck).
He gave the car a “pre-wash,” while his wife was inside the car, pouring sweat and scrubbing wherever she could (seems like “Old Red” was resisting, but the faithful wife kept cleaning). Finally, the wife got out of the car and told her husband, she had to get home or something like that. As she was leaving, she was mumbling and trying to wipe the sweat and dirt off herself, and tried to put herself together again. She quickly got into a vehicle and sped off. By this time, the man called for his son to help him, and his son reluctantly came over and started working. His son started off neat and clean and within 15 minutes he looked like Ned Beatty in the movie Deliverance.
It was about 45 minutes later and about 30 dirty looks later (from father and son) that the man (with tears in his eyes) said he was done and “Old Red” was shiny and beautiful. I reached in and gave him $15 and a $3 tip, and he stood there with his hand out, so I reached in my pocket and found $2 more. He again stood there with his hand out and disbelief in his eyes, so I went back into my pocket and found my last five-dollar bill and gladly gave it to him so as to avoid a killing (mine). I smiled, he frowned and I drove away quickly. On the way home, “Old Red” let me know she didn’t like her new look. She sputtered, back fired, her front tires wobbled from side to side and everything clanged and banged much louder than usual. Within 4 or 5 blocks, I assured her that I would never take her to a car wash again and all of a sudden, all the clanging stopped, the front end stopped wobbling and she stopped back firing, what a crazy experience.
A month later, when the car wash people regained their dignity, I rode by and waved to them, they all turned away and pretended not to see me. Oh well, by not cleaning “Old Red” we’ll make everyone happy. Thanks for the offer Art, but I think I’ll pass.
John A Fortuna
A case for part time teachers
My daughter is a teacher. It is not uncommon for a high school teacher to have a classroom size of 25 students and five classes per day, for a total of 125 students. High school teachers are encouraged to give out homework each day. Assuming each student completes his or her assignments, that translates into 625 pages of homework each week at the extreme end of the range. It is highly unlikely that a teacher can give a detailed review of each assignment with comments back to the student for action, correction, and follow up. A more likely scenario is that a teacher checks if the assignment was completed, and the papers are returned to the students with a minimum of corrective action. As a result, at-risk students may receive less attention, due to the teacher workload.
After speaking with Republican mayoral candidate Salman Hamid, I came away impressed with his proposal to allow part-time teachers to teach a class or two. He said that there are many teachers who may be retired or raising a family and who could fit one or two classes into their schedules. Rather than having 125 students, part-time teachers would have a maximum of 25 to 50 students. The workload would be much more manageable, allowing part-time teachers to give at-risk students more time and attention. The cost of a part-time teacher is less to the taxpaying public, the benefits are greater to the students in terms of time and attention, and the part-time teacher is given an opportunity to teach when previously there was none. What’s not to like? We need more politicians who can think outside the box and come up with solutions besides spending more money.
Likes new app
I am very excited to see that the Hamden Police Department will soon launch a new app for Hamden residents called TIP-411. This app will allow citizens to anonymously report crimes directly to the police, while also opening a mobile channel for residents to receive important emergency information and updates directly to their handheld devices. Now that’s smart.
I think this is a great effort by Mayor Curt Balzano Leng, as well as Hamden PD, to help make our community safer. Who has heard of the phrase “if you see something, say something?” Well, this app helps citizens do that in a more effective way than ever before. Sometimes, folks can be hesitant to report a crime for a number of reasons. By having the option to report anonymously, I think more residents will feel comfortable confiding in our police and will be more inclined to really help make our neighborhoods safer. This really is a tool that can help every neighbor do their part in keeping our families and friends safe.
The app serves as a crucial informative tool which will now allow officers to inform residents by giving them notifications as emergency scenarios are unfolding right to their mobile device. It’s convenient, effective, and easy to understand - exactly what residents need in emergency situations.
It’s clear to me that Mayor Leng and the Hamden Police have our residents’ best interests in mind. TIP-411 has the potential to provide a voice to all residents, and to seriously improve the safety of our neighborhoods. Mayor Leng and Chief Wydra have already taken the lead adopting new bicycle patrols and walking beats around Town - and this is just one more solid example of Hamden’s leaders taking charge and implementing applications and programs which will help our town.
Great job Hamden Police, and keep it up Mayor Leng.