Connecticut Magazine Kicks The Valley In The Shins
by Eugene Driscoll | Oct 26, 2011 8:40 pm
A magazine for hot-tubbing rich folk says the Valley is an unenlightened place, existing in a state of intellectual, moral or social darkness.
Actually, list-crazy Connecticut Magazine called us “benighted,” but we’re poor and dumb Valley residents who had to look up the word in a dictionary.
Darn you Connecticut Magazine for employing so many English majors!
The following description is posted on Connecticut Magazine’s website, as part of its “Rating the Towns, 2011.”
“And speaking of rivers, it’s hard not to notice that the Naugatuck River Valley remains a benighted place as far as these surveys are concerned—and has been since our first one in 1992.
From Plymouth and Thomaston, through Waterbury and Naugatuck, down to Derby and Ansonia, the unemployment rates remain stubbornly high and efforts at redevelopment have been spotty at best and non-starters at worst (like Naugatuck’s highly touted “Renaissance” project, which has gone nowhere in the five years since it was announced).
The solution, as always, is threefold: jobs, jobs and jobs. Maybe Gov. Malloy can make the Naugatuck Valley the lab for his much-awaited jobs initiative.”
Man, that’s a lot of words to throw at us, Connecticut Magazine.
Every town in the Valley Indy’s coverage area does poorly in the magazine’s ranking, with the exception of Oxford, which manages to be mediocre.
Towns filled with wealthy people seem to do better on the magazine’s survey.
The magazine likes money, according to its advertising page.
Average net worth of subscribers: $1,318,000
Also, 8 percent of their subscribers own hot tubs.
We have a feeling that 90 percent of the cops and firefighters who protect those nice subscribers are from the Valley, along with 50 percent of the tradesmen they call to do work on their homes and 60 percent of the nurses who care for them when they’re in the hospital.
THE VALLEY FIGHTS BACK
Many of the towns here are still struggling to recover from the loss of the industrial base that once powered the local economy — but, “benighted?”
Here is what our neighbors are saying on the Valley Indy Facebook page about Connecticut Magazine’s words:
NOTE: We cleaned up grammar and typos, since many people were typing from cell phones to post on Facebook.
Steve Lonergan: “Rest easy fellow Chargers, Raiders, Hawks and Wildcats (heck even you Gaels and Wolverines). This is a for profit magazine that panders to it’s advertisers and the communities they exist in. The scoring system awards a high cost of living, therefore the most expensive places to live get the most positive points. It stresses the importance of standardized testing which colleges don’t care much about anyway (but people love to obsess about). Lastly they cite library budgets (can we really compete with New Canaan here?) and the number of “good local restaurants” which if you read their “Best of” food issues is highly questionable. If you subscribe to this rag, cancel it and send the Valley Indy $10.”
Teresa Gallagher: “Not every Connecticut town can be pseudo-quaint and overly precious.”
Helen Beattie Witalis: “Well, I’m slightly offended. Did i spell that right? Since I don’t get out much and I’m a moron, I’m never sure.”
Antoinette Tworkowski: “To me the Valley is a multicultural hub full of . . . ethnic diversity. In other words, it’s family . . . home . . .CT Magazine hasn’t a clue.”
Mike Kellett: “That is an odd way to describe a place where people come together across property lines, city lines, county lines and rivers to help each other and our communities.”
Kristine Princevalli: “Screw you, CT Magazine! There are some extremely intelligent and moral people in the Valley! I’ve lived here all my life and wouldn’t change that for the world!”
Jenny Ames: “Not to mention there are a ton of great kids here in the Valley (esp. Derby!).”
Alexis Gazy: “Proud to be a valley girl!!!! like, TOTALLY!!!”
Richard Armstrong: “We all can’t be Westport!”
Valley Independent Sentinel: “Steve Lonergan for president!”
The Valley Indy’s three-member staff lives in Derby, Seymour and Shelton.
In defense of our home towns, we offer:
I live in Monroe but own a home in the “Valley”. My brilliant kids grew up in the “Valley”. Offended, a little, but it shows their ignorance. As far as the Naugatuck River is concerned, I cannot believe how wonderful it is doing considering what it looked like in the 60’s & early 70’s when I was growing up.
I got one more: this may be a ****hole, but it’s MY ****hole. And I love my ****hole!
As a Torrington resident (a city I love, but which also doesn’t get any love from “Rate the Towns” features), I think you’ve got a lot of valid points here. Would love to see a “Defense of the Valley” published in Connecticut Magazine and the New Haven Register.
If being “benighted” means I don’t have to be a stuck-up snob, then I am proud to be “benighted.”
I should probably point out, as the editor of Connecticut Magazine, as the person who recalled that word “benighted” from a high school vocab test (or maybe from an old Jethro Tull album), that I am a lifelong resident of the Valley myself. Born in Waterbury, raised there, live there still. I feel like I know it back and forth, up and down, inside out, and it it as disheartening to me as to anyone that these towns finish near the bottom of our survey every year. But as I said, jobs are the answer to a lot of local ills and I hope the state focuses its efforts here. In the meantime, there are lots of way to react to not-great news like this. I like the way you did it, and the people who responded did it. Here’s the way some people in Bethany responded. Hope you enjoy it. And I hope we can continue the dialogue.
Uh, you know Waterbury isn’t the Valley, right?
That’s terrific Mr. Monagan. You insult our Valley and now you are feeling sorry for us because we just don’t measure up. You may live close to the Valley, but you do NOT know the Valley; that is pretty obvious.
Is this the same Ct Magazine that said, just last month, that the “Best of CT” for Apple Pie was Oronoque in Shelton, and the “Best of CT” for Buffalo Wings is Archie Moore’s (one of which is located in Derby), and the “Best of CT” for cheescake was Stockbridge in Shelton, and the “Best of CT” for for Saketini was Asian Bistro (one of which is in Shelton), and the “Best of CT” for Fresh pasta was Pasta Fina in Shelton, and the “Best of CT” for Soup was Liquid Lunch in Shelton, and the “Best of CT” for Wine was Jones Winery in Shelton. For these “Best” to locate in the Valley, means they are patronized by customers who appreciate quality and demand excellence. And those type of folks are in - the Valley.
Having been born and raised in a town which often ranks near the tops of these lists, I actually have to agree with CT Magazine on this one. Go down to Wilton, Ridgefield, or New Canaan. The towns are simply a lot less trashy. Even going into a local grocery store, look around you and you can see the difference. The Valley schools are underfunded, there is rampant drug use (apparently by Aldermen and school administrators alike), and even yesterday a nice drug ring of crack, cocaine, and heroine was busted up. When I moved to the valley a few years back, I was amazed not only at the general trashiness, but also of the extreme racism I have seen around these parts.
The Valley was an industrial powerhouse. WAS. It’s time for the residents of Derby, Ansonia, and other towns to stop living in the past and realize that much of the industry is long gone, and to get the standard of living up in these towns they gotta clean up. Having lived in both the Valley and in a “top town” I can say that yes, it does seem like the Valley is stuck somewhere in the 1970’s and 1980’s, while the rest of the world has moved on. It’s almost like that crappy Tom Cruise football movie from the 1980’s, where the game is everything, and if he doesn’t get that scholarship he will be working in the mills the rest of his life. Except in the Valley, the mills are gone, so he will probably end up selling drugs. Go ask Yolande Gillard.
Tom Cruise only made one football movie in the 80s. All the Right Moves. Craig T Nelson, baby!
Unfortunately, I totally agree with Modgi Cat.
I also agree with Modgi Cat. I don’t think the article/list was attacking the citizens of the valley and it is no secret to what the criteria of the list is since the magazine clearly states them. It is simply saying that compared to other towns mentioned, the valley has the worst education, SAT scores, employment rate, crime rate, etc. It is a pretty objective list. Instead of being in denial, shouldn’t we face these problems and try to fix them?
Voter turnout statistics. Does it really matter the municipality population size? State avg: 78.14% Above that: Shelton. Below that: Seymour, Derby, Ansonia. Not sure it is the best indicator of civic participation in the electoral process.
OK, we lose on this measure.
Equalized Mill Rate, State Avg = 14.18.
Shelton 25th place at 10.63
Oxford 50th at 12.45
Beacon Falls 88th place 14.24
Derby 90th place 14.34
Seymour 100th place 14.96
Ansonia 110th place 15.40
Info on mill rate: