The following article was published as a letter to the editor in the Waterbury Republican-American on March 21.
Waterbury's need for transit, other aid must be heard
Jimmie Griffin, NVCC Regional Advisory Council
The high unemployment rate, the lack of mass-transit services after 6 p.m., and cuts to our regional Naugatuck Valley Community College leaves Waterbury more vulnerable to further economic-development setbacks than ever before.
Residents must demand that our legislators fight any further cutbacks and support the addition of a $764,000 transportation bill to add evening bus runs, as was submitted by the State Transportation Committee and co-sponsored by Sen. Joan Hartley, D-Waterbury.
We must press hard to retain the community-college system at increased funding levels as the need for a cost-effective education continues to grow among our less fortunate students in this shaky economy.
Remember that for future generations to rise above poverty, we must support public transportation and public education. But we cannot do it without the wealthy paying a fair share of the costs.
Finally, we should push for the restoration of Community Development Block Grant funding for efforts through HUD to revitalize our local communities through community action and citizen participation.
This funding for communities has been ranked as 12th out of more than 200 federally funded programs when it comes to providing cost-effective programs for poorer neighborhoods.
I suggest we all look at the fact that eliminating existing jobs in the government sector is not the main problem; it is more about our shipping of American jobs, and the outsourcing of services beyond our borders, with no return to the American people. Until we get a grip on those issues, our economy will never turn around.
Naugatuck Valley Community College Regional Advisory Council
Jimmie Griffin is a longtime community activist who shares a deep compassion for human and civil rights enforcement and equal rights. He has been appointed to and served on a number of local and state commissions in Connecticut and is active in several community groups and on boards.