Best and the rest of the past week

Best and the rest of the past week
1558415524 Best and the rest of the past week


Thumbs down

to the appearance of impropriety. Joe Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, is within his rights to cash in his unused vacation time for more than $5,700. Ganim returned to office in 2015 promising to be as ethical and transparent a mayor as anyone could find. He had to, considering his past. In this case, he’s not breaking any rules. But consider that he only had so much vacation time to cash in because the city allowed him to “bridge” time from his previous stint as mayor in the 1990s, as if nothing happened in the interim. Consider also that Ganim is to receive a 4 percent raise in the city’s new budget. And then consider that Ganim is saying all those days last year he was chasing down support in his ill-fated run for governor he was serving equally effectively as mayor, and had no need to take time off. For someone who promised to make ethics central to his second time around as mayor, who ought to know that all eyes are on him, it’s not a good look.

Thumbs down to another month of disappointing job gains in Connecticut. The state gained 300 jobs in April as its unemployment rate dropped by a one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday. That drop in unemployment, though, is likely because more people are dropping out of the workforce, analysts say. Connecticut has been in a jobs drought for so long it’s getting hard to remember what a bustling economy with robust job growth looked like here.

Thumbs up to a bill to allow public businesses or places to stock epinephrine auto injectors — EpiPens — in case of an allergic reaction. State Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, has been pushing the bill since his own reaction to food that contained peanuts last year in Hartford. It was so severe he had to be taken to the hospital, and it could have been avoided with medication quickly available. With the incidence of allergies on the rise and more people in need, having help on hand in public places makes good sense.

Thumbs down to new confusion over plans to build a casino in Bridgeport. The long-standing proposal by MGM Resorts to build a waterfront casino, with a job-training center slated for New Haven, has faced many obstacles, not least being the compact between the state and Indian tribes that prevent other casino operators. It was pushed into further confusion with news that Gov. Ned Lamont may want to see the tribes themselves build in Bridgeport. Whatever the merits of the project, there are so many moving parts that it is difficult for observers to know where the idea stands, and little indication the picture will be cleared up any time soon.

Thumbs up to a proposal to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from facilities established for the breeding of dogs in conditions that are regarded as inhumane, otherwise known as puppy mills, outside Connecticut. While there are some unanswered questions and some advocates would like to see the proposal go further, it’s a welcome step. And for people looking for a pet, there has never been a shortage of cats and dogs — or whatever animal someone is looking for — in need of a home of their own.

Thumbs up to the signing of a new contract between the Navy and Stratford-based Sikorsky to build an additional dozen “King Stallion” heavy-lift helicopters, a deal valued at $1.3 billion. This is the value Sikorsky provides to Connecticut, and why it was necessary to keep the company in the state rather than see it move to South Carolina or Alabama. With thousands of well-paying jobs and thousands more promised in years to come, Sikorsky is indispensable to the region.

Thumbs up to the fight by former state House candidate Caitlin Clarkson Pereira, who recently sued the State Elections Enforcement Commission over its ruling in April against the use of public campaign funds for child care. The system should support people running for office beyond those who are independently wealthy and can finance their own campaigns. That means supporting parents, people caring for elderly family members or other people with pressing daily needs. Campaigns are hard work, and no one should have to choose between running one and supporting their family.

Thumbs up to graduates across the region, high school, college and beyond, getting ready to start the next chapters of their lives. While many universities have recently held commencement ceremonies and others are soon to come, grade schools around the region are entering their final weeks. Barring another tornado like we saw last year, no one is likely to see the school year extend through June with graduation pushed back by weeks, as many saw in 2018. Congratulations to all the new graduates, and to those soon to be.

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