To the Editor:

"Shame" and "glory" are just words, but words mean things -- far less than they once did.

These words rang in my mind while reading the Spectrum's front-page article about bridge repair in this state, Chris Murphy's remarks in particular.

Connecticut doesn't have a financial problem. No, we have a Wisconsin problem.

Politicians and taxpayers know the issue, but are either too cowardly to address it or too complacent in their day-to-day lives to jump out of the almost-boiling water they're sitting in.

I've done many prideful projects in my time that brought me little in the way of financial compensation; in fact, in my years I've taken political stands that cost me dearly.

I said I'd never allow myself to delve into the arena of politics again, but those two words in the first graph haunt me.

Where is the glory in the state's doing a "bridge job" between Gaylordsville and Kent that is going well into its second year -- while any self-respecting private contractor would have done more in weeks?

(And I doubt the old culvert wasn't working perfectly).

Where's the glory when a congressman -- union man in tow -- asks his constituents for more money to repair Connecticut's infrastructure?

I remember (Gov. Lowell) Weicker, who proclaimed an income tax in this state would be akin to throwing gasoline on a fire. He promptly -- as soon as elected -- enacted said income tax.

But he said it would be temporary...

I remember (Gov. John) Rowland replacing expanses of the bridges on I-95, holding traffic (and the taxpayers) hostage for extended periods.

My letter to him got a response (hand signed) that those bridges had to be replaced because -- I kid you not -- the steel I-beams had lead paint on them.

I remember the rep from the National Federation of Small Business telling me no one could ever be elected governor in Connecticut without the support of the unions.

Take a walk in the park. I do. Macedonia State Park. Bridges galore over that famous namesake brook that's at least five-fold the trickle running under the fore-mentioned "bridge" on Route 7 between Gaylordsville and Kent.

Notice the pre-formed concrete blocks and arch sections that were lowered into place, then spanned with steel and covered with more concrete.

Done. No forms, no rebar, no tying up traffic for years -- and no more time to accomplish than a few days, at most.

They work perfectly.

Glory or shame, Mr. Murphy? Our glory or shame are our own.

Jim Griffin