Every other week, John J. Ryan, a former Republican state representative, and New Canaan Advertiser editor Joshua Fisher, former editor at The Darien Times, share their back-and-forth about news going on around the state, among other items of interest. Links to all the articles and other items mentioned in the column can be found in the Opinion section of DarienTimes.com
Ryan: I’m trying to ignore that your Cincinnati Redlegs clinched a playoff spot long before the Bronx Bombers did as we focus on Connecticut government news.
Fisher: It’s encouraging to note that you found some good news to talk about since there never seems to be much positive news relating to the state of the State of Connecticut.
Ryan: It is interesting that no matter what topic you delve into, it’s difficult to find something encouraging. For instance, do you want to be sick in the Nutmeg State? See “Connecticut 1 of 3 states in nation with no ‘top performer’ hospitals” (MiddletownPress.com, Sept. 21).
Fisher: Are we suggesting that Connecticut’s government is making its taxpayers so ill our fine local hospitals can’t keep up?
Ryan: That’s entirely plausible.
You must have seen this item from last week: “UConn/Courant Poll On Economy: Half Change Habits At Grocery Store” (Courant.com, Sept. 28) with this subheading: “Connecticut’s Likely Voters Report More Dire Changes Than U.S. As A Whole.”
Fisher: Connecticut only seems to be leading in taxation. But it’s nice to know that Hartford is more interested in wasting our money than letting us waste it on groceries. All the recent tax increases have really cut into my National Enquirer impulse purchases in the checkout line. And I can’t remember the last time I visited one of our state’s casino “resorts.”
How are those casino’s doing?
Ryan: I’m beginning to think that we need to switch roles for this column, at least for a week. You obviously noticed “After 2nd Wave Of Layoffs in 2 Years, Mohegans Look Beyond Gaming…” (Courant.com, Sept. 28). Maybe all those millions and millions being spent on “economic development” and “tourism initiatives” will kick in soon, after all, “Dog Owners May Be Next in State’s ‘Still Revolutionary’ Tourism Marketing” (CTByTheNumbers.info, Sept. 30).
Fisher: Well, all of this unrelenting poor economic news surely indicates that state government must be leaning to cutbacks and down-sizing, right? For anything else would appear irresponsible — and possibly political suicide for the party in power.
Ryan: Don’t hold your breath; note the back and forth in “Malloy touts efficiencies as budget challenges loom” (CTMirror.org, Sept. 25). We suggest that if you read between the lines, there are yet more tax increases on the way. And remember that “deal” with the state employee unions a while back?
Here is one less-than-favorable analysis: “Shared Sacrifice or Sham? Connecticut’s deal with state employees works out well for unions” (City-Journal.org, Sept. 18).
Fisher: It seems like in Connecticut, it pays to be working for the government. Maybe if Gov. Malloy can get us all to join state unions, he can get 100% of the vote in 2014. After all, it seems like private businesses in the state are shrinking more than expanding.
Fisher: If only I had half those frequent flyer miles, I could book a trip to Great American Ball Park to catch the Reds in the post-season, which begins this weekend.
But before I contact a travel agent, is there no news from Bridgeport, where so many of our tax dollars go?
Ryan: There is always news from Bridgeport, and an item (that I would have predicted incorrectly) may impact a future mayoral race there — namely the political comeback of convicted ex-Mayor Joe Ganim: “Ganim denied law license” (CTPost.com, Sept. 27). As always, read this column online and you can get the text of every story that we reference.
Fisher: So much news, so little space. And with non-stop election coverage dominating the next few weeks, where do we go in future columns?
Ryan: Maybe we should review the news items that don’t get the attention?
Fisher: Focusing on facts sounds informative. But the state media will likely be more into the circus that is Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy: Two of the worst choices Connecticut has ever had to send to the U.S. Senate. But bad choices always make for good copy.
John J. Ryan is of counsel to the Darien law firm Tibbetts, Keating & Butler, and served 14 years as Darien and Rowayton’s state representative — and has been writing this column for Hersam Acorn even longer.