24th State Senate district Dems endorse Julie Kushner to challenge Mike McLachlan
Thursday, May 24, 2018 Time: 7:04 AM
On Tuesday night, Democrats who make up the 24th State Senate district endorsed longtime union organizer and former Connecticut Working Families Party co-chair Julie Kushner as their choice to challenge Republican incumbent Michael McLachlan.
The Senate voted 31-5 early Friday to approve and send to the House a bill that overhauls Connecticut’s sexual harassment and assault laws and gives lawmakers an election-year claim of solidarity with the Time’s Up and Me Too movements.
The bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecuting many serious sexual assaults, bringing Connecticut in line with most other states, and impose new training standards to address sexual harassment in the workplace.
The state House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that would ban bump stocks, moving Connecticut one step closer to a number of other states that have prohibited the devices used in the deadly Las Vegas shooting last October.
Bump stocks allow semiautomatic rifles to fire at a rate similar to that of machine guns. The bill also would ban trigger cranks and other so-called rate-of-fire enhancements.
States including Massachusetts, California, Vermont, New Jersey, Washington and Florida already have enacted their own bans. The U.S. Justice Department also proposed a federal regulation in March banning the devices.
American voters overwhelmingly support universal background checks for gun purchases by a margin of 95-4 percent. Support is 94-5 percent among households where there is a gun.
"With each American gun massacre, there is stronger voter support for tighter gun control measures," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
There was also support 74-24 percent for a ban on the sale of gun modifications that can make a gun work more like a fully automatic weapon. The question comes after 58 were killed and 546 injured following a mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas where the attacker used bump stocks to make his semiautomatic weapons fire at a rate close to a fully automatic weapon.
Bill Curry hints at Congressional run during Danbury visit
Tuesday, May 01, 2018 Time: 10:23 AM
Since Elizabeth Esty announced that she will not seek re-eleciton for Congress, several people have expressed interest in running for the fifth Congressional seat...and one of those individuals is Bill Curry.
Last Saturday, I attended a candidate meet and greet held at the Lebanon-American Club in Danbury where the two-time nominee for Governor and Presidential adviser to Bill Clinton addressed the audience and talked his interest in running for Congress as well as his thoughts of the present state of the Democratic Party.
FLASHBACK: Nine percent raise for Danbury school officials?
Friday, April 06, 2018 Time: 10:57 AM
Minority Leader Tom Saadi questions Danbury School Finance Director Elio Longo on pay increases to principals at last Common Council meeting on the teacher's contract. Common Council meeting 02.17.09
As the debate over Mayor Boughton's decrease of the Board of Education budget proposal is underway, I thought it would be informative to take a look at the past budget/fiscal battles between the city council and school officials.
I've received a GREAT amount of emails from residents and teachers who are alarmed (and pissed off) to find out that two principals (Broadview and Roger's Park Middle School) are scheduled to receive a NINE percent raise while teachers are scheduled to be laid off under their contract that was approved by the Board of Education but later rejected by the Common Council. Many whom I talked to were stunned to learn about this information and wonder how something like this could happen in this current economic climate (NOTE: The Board of Education (BOE) voted against the administration contract).
ONLY for the purpose of this post, I will stick to the revelation of the raise by Minority Leader Tom Saadi during last week's meeting as opposed to getting into the details/origins of the pay increase (at this time). Here's video footage of what transpired between Saadi, Danbury School Finance Director Elio Longo and BOE chairwoman Susan Podhajski when he brought this topic up. For point of reference, take note of President Joe Cavo's attempt to block Saadi from addressing this issue as well as the reaction from the those in attendance.
(NOTE: Here's a copy of the salary spreadsheet that's being referenced by Minority Leader Saadi (click to enlarge). The principals in question (Broadview and Rogers Park Middle School) are circled and their scheduled pay increases are written on the right hand side of the spreadsheet.)
Last Thursday, during my interview with Minority Leader Saadi, the matter of the pay increase came up...
As Saadi stated, just because someone gives you a mind-blowing nine percent raise, doesn't mean that you have to accept a NINE percent raise. Hopefully the principals of Broadview and Rogers Park Middle school will do the right thing and only take a rate of increase that makes sense.
Equally as puzzling to many is the fact that Mayor Boughton didn't failed to take a stance on the administration contract in the same manner as he's currently doing with the teacher's contract.
So it's good to see that the board and the union have agreed to try mediation again, at the urging of Mayor Mark Boughton. A mediation session has been set for March 4. If mediation doesn't work, the dispute will go to binding arbitration.
It's easy for city officials to demand concessions from the teachers. But their argument is undercut by their failure to challenge the recent contract approved for school administrators, granting a 4.5 percent increase.
The administrators contract had been settled by binding arbitration and city officials said a return to arbitration would be expensive and could produce the same contract.
Still, the teachers are being subjected to mayoral jawboning for contract changes and the administrators were allowed to escape. It's not fair.
Simply put, with education taking a lion's share of the city's overall budget, where was Mayor Boughton when this god-awful administration contract being negotiated PRIOR to it being rejected by the Board of Education sent to binding arbitration? If the mayor can step in and request a mediation between the BOE and the teacher's union, it's logical to assume that he could have done the same thing in the case of the administration's contract and the BOE.
For the mayor not to step in when he had a chance opting instead to allow a binding arbitrator to award NINE PERCENT pay increases is irresponsible giving the current economic state of affairs in this country.
From the time U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty first learned about violent threats her chief of staff made against a former aide, two months passed before the victim was interviewed as part of an internal investigation, emails obtained by The Courant show.
The former aide, Anna Kain, told Esty of the abuse May 6, 2016 — a day after Chief of Staff Tony Baker left Kain a profanity-laden voicemail in which he threatened to kill her. By early July, Kain said, she had become so frustrated with the apparent lack of action by Esty — and so fearful of Baker — that she obtained a protective order from Washington, D.C., police.
It would take until mid-July of 2016 before Julie Sweet, a former top aide selected by Esty to conduct the probe, finally met with Kain. Baker, who remained in his powerful position throughout the spring and later attended the Democratic National Convention with Esty, was terminated in mid-August of 2016.
Esty told The Courant last week that she learned on May 6, 2016, that Baker had called Kain’s cellphone 50 times the night before and said in a drunken rage that he would kill her if she didn’t answer.
The lawmaker said she immediately confronted Baker, who did not deny the incident. But instead of suspending Baker, Esty turned to Democratic lawyer Joseph Sandler, who recommended an in-house investigation.
Esty called Kain on May 11 and used her Yale University email account — she received her law degree from the Ivy League school — to communicate with Kain.
Kain declined a one-on-one meeting with Sandler, arranged by Esty, without her lawyer present. Kain said she heard from Sweet, Esty’s investigator, in July.
Esty’s office declined to give a timeline of the probe or provide a copy of the investigation report to The Courant, citing the confidentiality of staffers who were interviewed by Sweet.
Another former staffer said Esty apologized to the staff for the slow pace of her internal investigation. “She apologized for how long it took,” the source said. “She said, ‘I think it’s best if we all don’t talk about this.’ She’s like, ‘I think it’s best for Anna’s sake if we don’t talk about this.’ ”
When Baker was fired, Esty signed a nondisclosure agreement that also applied to all staff in her office, former aides said.
A female colleague of Baker’s at the time said it was unnerving that he was allowed to stay in the office for months after the May incident.
“I just remember crying,” she said. “To know that I sat next to this man for so many months.”
Another former aide said Esty chose to keep silent instead of publicly condemning the behavior of her top aide.
“We could have been ahead of the #MeToo movement,” said the former staffer, who asked not to be identified. “We could have been the face of it.”
In wake of the latest details, it's clear that Congresswoman Esty needs to resign as opposed to not seek re-election (which will allow her to collect a government pension which she clearly does not deserve).
Former Democratic mayoral candidate fined for ethics breach
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Time: 7:59 AM
Yesterday, the Office of State Ethics announced via press release that Danbury former mayoral candidate and current third ward Democratic Town Committee member Al Almeida paid a penalty for state ethics code violations.
Former Office of Chief Public Defender Employee Pays $750
to Settle Ethics Code Violations
Hartford – Arlindo Armeida, of Danbury, Connecticut, a former Investigator for the Office of the Chief Public Defender in Danbury, CT paid a $750 penalty for violating Section 1-84 (c) of the Code of Ethics.
During 2013, while a state employee, Mr. Almeida was also employed by a private company for which he also provided investigation services. The services he provided for his other employer were unrelated to his state position.
On several occasions Mr. Almeida utilized his state-issued computer and other state-owned equipment to conduct business related to his outside job, and he did so on state time, while receiving pay from the state.
Further, for a period during 2016 and 2017, Mr. Almeida used a state computer and the state e-mail system in his unsuccessful election bid to become mayor of Danbury. Under Section 1-84 (c) of the Code, a public official or state employee is prohibited from using state resources to obtain personal financial gain.
“State employees who turn their offices into private, for-profit businesses will face penalties,” said Executive Director Carol Carson. “In addition, the Code of Ethics is clear that conducting political activity on state time is prohibited.”
Mr. Almeida served in his state position for 24 years and had no prior history of ethics violations. Through a separate but related personnel action, Mr. Almeida resigned his state position and is no longer a state employee.
The Office of State Ethics also released a copy of the stipulation and consent order against Almeida that provided more details in the matter.
In a telephone interview, the 54-year-old mayor of Danbury said he and his doctors are confident he can avoid another seizure by taking his medication and altering a diet that he conceded was heavy on soda and junk food. He planned to attend a St. Patrick’s Day event Saturday and resume campaigning Monday.
“I don’t think a seizure is a disqualifying ground for governor,” Boughton said. “I can manage it.”
Boughton’s campaign initially downplayed the incident, circulating a statement from the UConn Health Center stating he was treated for dehydration and released Friday. It made no mention of a seizure, and his campaign manager, Marc Dillon, said in an interview before Boughton spoke that he was under the impression Boughton didn’t have one.
After an afternoon of resting at home, Boughton confirmed what witnesses said they saw the previous night — his collapse at a crowded forum in Avon was, indeed, a seizure.
“There was a seizure. The dehydration triggered the seizure,” Boughton said. “It was severe, and it was scary. But it was the combination of a very hot room and the fact I drink soda, diet soda, instead of drinking water.”
Boughton said his seizure came after seven days of hard campaigning. He said the seizure, and the lecture UConn doctors delivered to him, were a wake-up call.
“I need to pay attention. It’s easy not to pay attention. I’m not 18 any more,” Boughton said. “I’m going to live a different lifestyle. People around me know I’m a fast-food junkie. Those days are over. I have to stay fully hydrated, follow doctors’ orders. And I’ll be fine.”
UPDATE 3:45 PM: Ryser (HEARST): "It's full steam ahead!"
“It’s full steam ahead,” Boughton said on Friday after being discharged from University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. “The big lesson here is you are going to see a healthier Mark Boughton - eating the way I am supposed to and getting enough water to drink.”
Boughton planned to preside at an annual St. Patrick’s Day event in Danbury on Saturday, and take Sunday off to “recharge my batteries” before returning to work on Monday.
One of the other gubernatorial candidates, Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R-Glastonbury, was among the physicians present who tended to the 54-year-old Boughton. Srinivasan, an allergist, said the candidates were mingling with voters in a ballroom at the North House after the speaking program when he heard shouts for doctor.
“I ran to the back of the room, the entire distance of the ballroom to find Mark on the floor, actively having a seizure,” Srinivasan said in a telephone interview. “His face was blue, bluer than blue. His pulse was very feeble. I turned his head. The position of the head made a big difference. I started giving him cardiac resuscitation.”
Srinivasan said three physicians and a nurse at the event treated him. Boughton’s color quickly improved, then the mayor become aggressive. The medical personnel restrained him until paramedics arrived.
“He just wanted to get up,” Srinivasan said. “I tried to calm him down.”
Srinivasan said Boughton was conscious, but not alert after the seizure. He said after the agitation passed, Boughton appeared to fall into a postictal state, a condition common after the seizure that can be marked by drowsiness and confusion.
UPDATE 11:45 PM Mark Boughton's 2017 mayoral opponent released the following statement (via Facebook):
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who had brain surgery last summer, had a seizure Thursday evening during an Avon Republican Town Committee event.
Boughton, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, was given CPR by Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, who is also running for governor and is a doctor.
According to Srinivasan, Boughton had a seizure and was actively seizing when he ran to help. He said he got someone to hold Boughton’s head so that his tongue didn’t block his airway and he started doing chest compressions. After the chest compressions, Srinivasan said, the color started to return to Boughton and his pulse came back.
“He was practically blue, but his pulse came back pretty strong,” Srinivasan said, adding that Boughton regained consciousness and was conscious when EMTs arrived.
"He was having a seizure,'' said Srinivasan, who is an allergist. "His pulse was very, very weak. We gave him CPR, and he continued to seize. ... He was actively seizing. ... He was in some form of cardiac arrest because he had a very, very feeble pulse.''
Boughton’s rivals were said to be in a state of shock. Observers said Boughton was revived and was alert when taken by ambulance to UConn Health.
“I just heard somebody yelling for a doctor,” said Dave Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general and fellow gubernatorial candidate. “He did have to have CPR.”
Walker said Boughton appeared to be stabilized as he was transported to the hospital.
“We’re obviously all praying for him and hoping for a full and speedy recovery for him,” he said. “It obviously put a big damper on the night.”
Mark Lauretti, Boughton’s mayoral counterpart from Shelton and another competitor for governor, said it was very upsetting.
“Everybody was mingling and the next thing he was on the ground,” Lauretti said. “It was a scene that gives you pause when you see someone who you’ve known for years and have played golf with for years in an unnatural condition. The best thing that could happen was they cleared the room and let qualified people do what they need to do.”
Rep. Arconti named General Law Committee Vice Chairman
Thursday, February 01, 2018 Time: 7:47 AM
109th district State Rep David Arconti moves up the ranks at the General Assembly with his new title as Vice-Chairman of the General Law Committee.
Press release from Rep. Arconti's office:
State Representative David Arconti, Jr. (D-Danbury) has been named vice-chair of the General Assembly’s General Law Committee. Rep. Arconti is familiar with General Law having been a member of the committee since his first term began in 2013.
“I will continue to address consumer protection issues – a key focus of General Law – and work to promote and broaden Connecticut’s craft beer industry,” said Rep. Arconti. “These local brewers are offering consumers some great quality products while adding jobs to the economy and boosting our local grand lists. I appreciate House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz for providing me with this opportunity.”
The General Law Committee has cognizance on all matters related to fair trade and sales practices, consumer protection, mobile homes, occupational licensing (except licensing by the Department of Public Health) and all matters concerning alcoholic beverages.
First elected in 2012, Arconti represents the 109th House District and is Deputy Majority Leader. Besides General Law, he also serves on the Environment and Public Safety & Security committees. Arconti is now in his third term serving the residents of his Danbury district.
On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.