Change records so vets get health care

Should U.S. military veterans who received a dishonorable discharge for minor offenses of the Military Code of Conduct receive Department of Veteran Affairs health care benefits?

Sgt. Richard Blumenthal, now Sen. Blumenthal, served in the Marine Corps Reserve beginning in 1970, joining a military unit in Washington, D.C. On a number of occasions, U.S. Senate candidate Blumenthal misspoke by claiming to be a Vietnam War veteran.

A “Vietnam Era” veteran is defined as any veteran who served during the official timeframe of the Vietnam War anywhere in the world as defined by Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

So then Sen. Blumenthal is classified as a Vietnam War Era veteran, not a Vietnam War veteran.

Honor is the foundation of the Marine Corps. If Blumenthal had misspoke while serving in the Marine Corps by stating he served in the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps would have brought Blumenthal up on charges of misrepresenting his military service.

This type of false claim is punishable by being dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps.

Americans pride ourselves on how fair we have become, to the point that this concept of fairness has become a large part of our culture.

Why then are these dishonorably discharged veterans being punished for a lifetime for violating the Military Code of Conduct, for some minor infraction?

Could it be there are two sets of fairness standards, one for political candidates and elected officials and another for everyone else?

I hope not.

The Department of Defense should change the military records of these veterans who have received a dishonorable military discharge for minor offenses to Honorable Discharge.

By changing the military records of these veterans the Department of Veterans Affairs could provide health care benefits to these veterans.

— Thomas Alegi Hamden

Tolls are coming back, against our wishes

Mention “tolls” in Connecticut and people instantly recall the 1983 fiery Stratford tollbooth crash that killed seven people and injured several others. Ask if they want the tolls back. The instant response is “never.” Well, brace yourselves voters. Against all our wishes, the tolls are coming back.

“It’s going to happen,” a legislative member told me last Sunday. The Transportation Committee already has permission from the Federal Highway Administration to proceed. Within five to seven years, tolls will be a fact.

Connecticut levies tax after tax after tax on its residents to try to delay the inevitable results of bad management and Democratic tax-and-spend policies for 40 years. The tolls would be a particularly bad tax because it’s a regressive tax, meaning it will most hurt those who are least able to afford it, those struggling to make ends meet. It’s wrong to make them pay a toll going to and from work. Connecticut’s working backs are breaking under all the taxes.

As to the projected money generated by tolls each year, do you believe it’ll only be used to improve highways? Does anyone believe Connecticut legislators will keep their hands out of such a big cookie jar? They have a wretched history of diverting money. Remember the lottery money that was supposed to fund education?

Bottom line: we don’t want tolls. Investigate eliminating unnecessary and foolish spending. There are plenty of us coupon-clipping housewives who’d be happy to advise you how.

— Connie Jagodzinski Milford

I am a graduate of Colgate University and a physician who has been counseling cancer patients for decades. Many years ago a Colgate football player developed cancer and he taught me and the Colgate football team a powerful lesson which I would like your readers and the UConn women’s basketball team be aware of so they can judge themselves in a healthy way and not feel guilty about their recent loss.

The gentleman I am referring to so impressed the team by the way he handled his diagnosis and difficult treatments that they planned to honor him at halftime during their game against Army at West Point. When the day arrived he was not able to be exposed publicly due to a low white blood cell count related to his chemotherapy. So the football team held a special reception for him in the locker room at halftime. Colgate was losing to Army at halftime and their chances did not look very good. These were the words my hero spoke to the team before they went back out on the field. I hope the UConn women can say they did and everyone reading this lives his sermon.

“I used to think I gave everything I had on every play but now that I have cancer I realize I didn’t. So don’t leave anything in here, leave it all out there on the field.”

Of course, Colgate went back out on the field, upset Army and won the game. When you live his sermon you can never be a loser no matter what the final score is.

— Bernie Siegel, M.D. Woodbridge

Living as a wheelchair-bound senior citizen can be difficult when in public. People are always helpful and, recently, I had a touching experience. I had a few appointments at a beauty parlor called Flip.

The treatment with such caring people was far above anything I could have imagined.

The entire staff treated me like I was their favorite grandmother.

Thank you for this.

— Ann Haire Milford

Dear Governor Malloy,

The Orange Democratic Town Committee would like to express its sincere concerns for the budget you have presented to the state legislature. Whereas we understand the significant fiscal issues currently facing our state, much of which dates back to previous administrations postponing pension payments, we cannot give our full support to the budget currently proposed.

Pushing the retirement funding to the towns is unacceptable. This unfair financial burden will force towns to either increase property taxes or significantly cut services. Neither of these are fair options to our towns.

We agree with state Sen. Gayle Slossberg when she states that the budget cannot decimate the suburbs to support the cities. Certainly, our cities are important to the growth of our state but their importance cannot come at the expense of our suburbs, where many of the cities’ employees live. These are employees who have worked hard for many years to be able to afford to live in the suburbs.

We have watched as the cities receive more and more funding to build new schools. We applaud this growth as we work to find funds to put new roofs on our schools and to increase security for our students in suburban schools.

Please consider all citizens of the state of Connecticut, city and suburban, while working with our elected state officials to bring forth a budget that works for all residents.

Thank you,

— Jody Dietch, Chairwoman Orange Democratic Town Committee