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Thumbs up, thumbs down

November 15, 2016 GMT

Thumbs up to all the candidates who selflessly ran for office, especially the underdogs, during this recent election. It takes a great deal of effort to knock on doors and speak with voters, and fortitude to raise money necessary to wage a campaign. We appreciate those whose participation meant voters had a choice, the essence of democracy in action.

Thumbs down to the shooting of five people at a Park Avenue club in Bridgeport Saturday night. More than 300 young people had gathered to celebrate a Sweet 16 birthday, but a fight in the parking lot led to shooting. Thankfully, no one was killed and all five are expected to recover from their injuries. Police Chief Armando Perez said the shooters, who were not invited to the party, came in a car with New York state plates. He said that off-duty security at the club could have prevented the violence. The incident brings to mind a similar circumstance in August when 13 people were injured at a house party after someone started shooting in the yard. Needless to say, guns have no purpose being at a house gathering or a Sweet 16 party.

Thumbs up to Nicole Hockley, a Sandy Hook mother, for recognition of “25 Women Changing the World” by People magazine. Nicole turned the heartbreak of her 6-year-old son Dylan’s death in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy nearly four years ago into a positive influence for reform. Hockley helped establish the Sandy Hook Promise organization, based in Newtown, that now works for gun violence prevention, mental health reform and school-based peer support initiatives to bridge isolation of classmates. Among the 25 selected by the magazine are Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg.

Thumbs down to the glitches in the state’s new elections results website that deleted results from the presidential race. The system, used by all of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities this year, cost the state between $350,000 and $450,000. Registrars of voters reported many issues with the system, including lost data. Remarkably, the previous process was to fax results. More remarkably, the launch of this upgraded system was still not ready for prime time after issues were identified during primaries in the spring.

Thumbs down to state revenue estimates released last week that project less money coming in from income taxes and other sources than expected in the next two fiscal years. Estimates agreed upon by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office indicate $208 million less in the fiscal year that begins in July and $297 million less in the 2018-19 fiscal year. While state budget officials say revenues are actually growing, just slowly, the General Assembly which convenes Jan. 4 will have to make balancing the budgets a top priority.