Category Archives: 2012 Politics

Recorder Backs Recent CCSU Alumna

The mayoral election for the city of  New Britain is coming up on Nov. 5  and the students of CCSU need to pay attention. The two candidates for this upcoming mayoral race are current New Britain Mayor, Tim O’Brien, and Former CCSU Graduate, Erin Stewart.

Our editorial staff feels that a fresh, new perspective on local issues is just what the student body needs, and that Erin Stewart fits the bill.

This time last year, the New Britain City Council passed some ordinances that have had a direct effect on students living on and around campus. The ordinances focused on the landlords that own properties in the Belvedere neighborhood near campus, which is home to many CCSU students. One ordinance placed an annual fee of $150 to landlords that live outside of the area, which could potentially put an increase on residents’ rent. The second ordinance, called the “hot-spot” ordinance, states that individuals who call 911 10 or more times a year will be fined $500. 

Many of the nuisance calls made in New Britain are made in concern to off-campus students who are considered too loud to some permanent New Britain residents. The ordinances brought much attention to the students who live around the Central, however the attention was very one sided. Only about a handful of students showed up to the council to protest or voice their opinions about the then proposed ordinances, even though their presence in the community was a catalyst to the making and passing of the laws.

Being informed and educated about what goes on in our local New Britain community is key to making the most out of your time residing in New Britain. It would be foolish to think that these policies and decisions do not affect us. 

What many students seem to be unaware of is that they can have a say in the government of our city. If students live on campus or off campus in New Britain, they have the ability to register to vote in the mayoral elections.

Erin Stewart is looking to make students more involved in the local community with opportunities including internships, co-ops and partnering with businesses. This is a stark difference from incumbent Tim O’Brien, who seems to make the issue of off-campus students a way to increase city revenue without turning too many heads.

In an interview with a Recorder staff member, O’Brien stated he hopes to encourage more residential CCSU students to live in the downtown New Britain area. But with a multi-million dollar plan for Centrals campus to receive a brand new dorm, library extensions, fitness building, magnet school, arts building and upgrades to old facilities, O’Brien’s plan doesn’t seem to play into the grand scheme of things.


26-year-old Stewart is fresh out of college, so fresh that she could still be paying off college loans. She is exactly the kind of candidate that CCSU students need to support because she has their best interests in mind. If students at Central want to have more control in what the city of New Britain has to offer them then they need to start paying more attention to who wants to represent them and vote them into office.







Republicans to Blame For Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Crisis

Republican Party Members:
Republican Party Members:

By: Joe Suszczynski

Congress thankfully opened the government back up by voting to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, which did not let the country go into default. However this averted crisis should only get so much praise as funding for the government is only extended to January 15, 2014 along with the debt ceiling being extended to February, 7, 2014. The government is essentially doing what college student normally does when writing a term paper: puts it off and keeps procrastinating on when to start and complete it.

The insane part about all of this is that this whole government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis could have been avoided. Yes, the crisis was averted, which is great and I’m happy that we did not default, but that it is not the point. America did not need to be subjected to a government shutdown costing thousands of jobs for honest hardworking people along with coming down to the wire when making an agreement on the debt ceiling. Congress needs to get its head straight, because it’s currently in an orifice where it doesn’t belong.

Republicans should take a lot of the blame for this crisis. Although, it should be noted that 87 Republicans in the House and 27 Republicans in the Senate voted for the deal. They should get some credit because they played ball and put the country ahead of their politics. However 18 senators and 144 members of congress voted against the bill, all of whom are of the Republican Party. There was not one Democrat, in either house, who voted against this bill. Counting both houses 162 Republicans would have rather have the country default than voting yes on the bill.

That is an utterly despicable and unpatriotic thing to do. It is unpatriotic to let your country be financially destroyed because of your own personal politics being clouded of what needs to be done for the sake of the people you represent.

The problem with the Republican Party is a small sect within the party itself, the Tea Party, is causing all the issues in both Houses. You’d think that a small part of a bigger party would not be a problem, but it is.

After his 21 hour charade of a filibuster Senator Ted Cruz, a prominent member of the Tea Party Republicans, is still out to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. According to an aide, Cruz does not rule out another chance of a government shutdown in the future. I hope that he isn’t serious about not ruling out another government shutdown. The government shutdown cost America billions of dollars so what would possess the senator to do something like this again when it could create more resentment within Americans?

It is completely asinine to the point where even members of his own party are speaking out against him. Arizona Senator John McCain called Cruz a “wacko-bird.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker criticized Cruz’s filibuster and has said, “I’m just asking the question, is it more important to the senator from Texas and the senator from Utah (Mike Lee) that the people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint?”

Cruz really needs to dial it back now that the government is back open for business and the popularity of Republicans have been going down. Pew Research Center currently has Republican disapproval rating at 72%. That isn’t very reassuring when nearly three quarters of Americans disapprove of the Republicans in congress.

It is time for the Republicans to stop obstructing the government and start working with it because if they don’t and keep staying the course then their popularity will go down and will potentially cost them seats in the House and Senate in future elections.

The modern Republican Party has been around over 150 years now and has boasted some great presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, but as of today they are beginning to show some signs of instability. The Tea Party has been driving the Republican base more and more to the right where even moderate Republicans cannot get elected. The moderates have either been thrown out of office or forced to keep moving right on the issues at hand.

The fringe elements of a political party should not be the place to set up the base of the party because it is so extreme there would not be any room for any type of compromise, which is essential to running a multi-party government. Republicans need to start moving and advocating more centrist or center-right positions in order to gain any favorability with the American people.

If the Republicans keep moving too far to the right, they just might fall off the cliff and the party will be no more.

Taxes, Education Focal Points At First Mayoral Debate

By Taylor Skirvin and Eric Stadalnik

New Britain- Republican Mayoral candidate and CCSU graduate Erin Stewart continued to sell her youth as the right answer for the city during the first debate at Trinity on Main Saturday afternoon.


Stressing that the current administration’s tax hikes and wasteful spending was not sustainable for the future, the twenty-six year old GOP nominee asserted that the city needs change and deserves better than incumbent Tim O’Brien.


I’m different, I’m not a politician, but I’m sick of seeing our city leaders mismanage our future,” said Stewart. “With Mayor Erin Stewart, you’ll always get straight talk; I’m a New Britain girl.”


Stewart, a lifelong New Britain resident, believes that the city government has not been working for the people over the past two years while showing fiscal irresponsibility leading to debt growth.


In contrast, Mayor O’Brien feels that the future is bright for New Britain. According to the Democratic nominee, the deficits and social shortcomings left for him when he took office two years ago have been fixed under his administration.


There is so much possibility that New Britain has for a better tomorrow. We have accomplished, in my administration, so much in such a short period of time and we have such great possibilities to build in the future,” said O’Brien.


A surplus of $2.9 million in the general fund was announced this past week which O’Brien restated at the debate. The extra money was said to come from payroll reductions and department reconfiguration while not raising taxes, although many audience members jeered the Mayor when he made the statement and Stewart brought her car taxes to refute his claim. Along with the surplus, O’Brien proclaimed that he continues to create jobs in the city as well as supporting local businesses.


A city partnership with CCSU was also discussed in regards to helping the development of downtown New Britain, from moving programs to the Technology and Business Development facility to being a major stop on the CT Fastrak when it is operational.


I have made a very strong effort to make sure that our city’s arts are properly funded, turning around years of underfunding to be able to make sure that our city is going to be able to have the quality education that our kids deserve and that our city economy will need,” said O’Brien.


Stewart agreed with her opponent in regards to the importance of education as she has been serving on the New Britain Board of Education shortly after finishing school. She believes that she and her fellow B.O.E. members have made substantial changes to quality of life of students.


Although young, Stewart has been around politics much of her life, having been a legislative aide at the Capitol, and growing up with a father in politics. The eight years prior to O’Brien’s term as Mayor, Stewart’s father Tim Stewart was mayor of New Britain.


A second Mayoral debate is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st at 7:00 P.M. at New Britain High School but O’Brien has turned down a third debate sponsored by the Citizen Property Owners Association, a group that has been highly critical of the Mayor’s policies over the last two years.


An additional debate is being discussed though, according to the Hartford Courant, which would take place at CCSU, jointly sponsored by campus Republicans and Democrats.


Former CCSU Professor Chosen As Presidential Inaugural Poet

by Acadia Otlowski

A former CCSU professor has been selected as President Obama’s inaugural poet, joining the ranks of a select group of talented poets such as Robert Frost.

Richard Blanco is the youngest inaugural poet to be chosen thus far, who at 44 has gone to school for engineering, gone back to school for creative writing, and has taught at three different universities, CCSU being the latest.

He has also published three books, the most recent of which being Looking for the Gulf Motel, which was published in 2012.

Blanco is also the first openly gay and Latino poet to be chosen for this honor.

“His themes of searching for identity, for home, resonate powerfully across ethnic and cultural lines,” said Jill Weinburger, a retired colleague of Blanco who worked closely with him in the creative writing program. “His selection as inaugural poet strikes me as a testament to his body of work as a contemporary poet of substance and extraordinary skill, whose work speaks to and for us all.”

His colleagues in the English department of CCSU spoke highly of him, referencing his gentle nature and charming personality.

“When I think of Rich, the word that comes to mind is ‘sweet’ as in ‘what a sweet guy.’  He impressed me as a very kind, caring, thoughtful and modest person,” said Susan Gilmore, an English professor and former colleague of Blanco. “His work isn’t about his ego.  He’s invested in exploring language, identity and reaching out to readers and students.”

Others reflected similar sentiments.

“He was a great colleague, friendly, positive, worked hard in the department and his students spoke very highly of him,” said Christine Doyle, a colleague of Blanco’s who worked in the office next door. “As I have said to several people in the last week or so, this is one of those cases where, when you say, ‘It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person,’ you really mean it. “

Many in the English department spoke about how Blanco’s selection as inaugural poet was a reflection on the quality of his work.

“I don’t know how this process worked for President Obama, but I would say Richard Blanco was chosen for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that he is an excellent poet,” said Gilmore.

Obama has picked inaugural poets to speak at both of his inaugurations, making him the third president to have an inaugural poet at all.

Blanco was hired at CCSU in 1999 to replace the former poet in residence, Diane Garcia.

“She was wonderful and left a big position to fill,” said Gilmore, “I remember serving on the search committee and going through the applications and coming across Rich’s materials.  It was exciting, he really stood out from the start.”

Students took a liking to Blanco early on in his career at CCSU, recalls Gilmore.

“When he came for his interview at Central, we all found him instantly likeable and the demo class he guest taught with our creative writing students was wonderful.  We were very fortunate to have him on the faculty here,” said Gilmore.

This positive energy continued throughout his career at CCSU.

“He was and is a world-class good person.  He cared very much about his students, and was collegial and a pleasure to know.  He has a fine quiet sense of humor, and of course he has a poet’s eye to see details of everything around him,” said Mary Anne Nunn, another English professor at CCSU.

Blanco will be remembered at CCSU for his personality and the quality of his poetry, the common consensus is that Blanco is more than worthy of this honor.

Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Address

by Irene W. Yukash

Those who attended the inauguration sit inside the Newseum and watch President Obama’s speech from the big screen.
Photo: Irene Yukash

President Obama delivered his inaugural speech on Capital Hill Monday afternoon. Laced with excerpts of the Declaration of Independence he addressed LGBT rights, equal pay for women and climate.

“What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago,“ said Obama. “We recall that what binds our nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenants of our faith or the origins of our names.”

People from all over the United States arrived in DC that morning. Warding off long lines, rambunctious vendors pushing Obama memorabilia and security checks were part of the hike to Capital Hill. According to some, his deliberation was similar to that of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“Off the charts, it’s very lovely, very moving,” said Natalia Combs Greene, DC resident. “What I thought was most moving was when he talked about a safety net for poor people and that this country can afford to do it.”

“It touched many peoples hearts including my own. It’s great to see him passionate about serving a second term,” said Martino Avery, Atlanta, Georgia.

Avery attended inaugural celebrations at the Newseum with friend Kappitola Williams. Throughout the day, Williams drew a lot of attention to herself by her choice of attire; a gown made entirely of newspaper clippings collected since Obama took office.

“I don’t know that they can be compared, the first time was momentous for everyone all around the world and the second time is an affirmation of what this president has been trying to do during his first term,” said Combs Greene.

Combs Greene and Avery attended Obama’s first inaugural address four years ago and felt compelled to display their patriotism outwardly this time.

“What better way can I come and represent and give honor to my president of the United States of America?” interjected Kappitola. She said she plans to stay in DC until Wednesday or Thursday and plans to wear her patriotic ensemble each day.

As Obama concluded his speech, DC erupted in applause and cheer. Teary eyed parents held their children close and couples embraced.

“My fellow Americans we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together,” said Obama.