Unfortunately, I've been advised to keep my mouth shut on this one for now but lets just say that it's stunning to sit back and watch as the hole get bigger...
Since the city started tackling illegal immigration, Danbury officials have sometimes been called underhanded and xenophobic—but not by other city officials in their own party.
That was the situation last week when the Common Council voted not to restore funds to the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury, a move that Councilwoman Jane Diggs says "was all racially motivated" and Councilman Robert Reilly says "made me feel embarrassed for the City of Danbury." Both are, like the council's leadership, Republicans.
On May 22, Cinta-Lowe's successor, Eva Colon, came into an ad hoc committee, chaired by Reilly, that the U.S. Citizens for Immigration Law Enforcement knew about and some of Common Council say they didn't.
"This hate group always seems to have inside information," says Reilly. "It's really a group that, for some reason, has an axe to grind with Latinos." The group has stood frigid with surgical masks on their faces before a Latino crowd, afraid to catch a disease from "the illegals," and ripped up a Mexican flag in front of a rally (despite the fact that most of Danbury's immigrants are from Brazil and Ecuador).
Meanwhile, "quite a few members were unaware," says Democratic councilman Paul Rotello. Of the 12 present, all but one were Republicans and all but one (Reilly) voted two weeks later to turn down funding. (The Danbury Common Council consists of 14 Republicans and seven Democrats.)
The minutes say that Council President Joe Cavo "stated that if there is funding restored, that it is understood that the taxpayers of the city will not stand for legislative advocacy against the city, state or country enforcing its laws." The Danbury News-Times said these comments match USCFILE's "statement almost verbatim"
Reilly compares the treatment of the Hispanic Center to that of Association of Religious Communities, which also took out an ad in the News-Times criticizing Danbury's immigration policies. He says ARC got about $7,000 from the city afterwards. "They just pelted Eva Colon with questions, and I felt embarrassed," says Reilly. (Colon isn't making any statements as of now.) "I don't think anyone on the council is racist but they don't do enough to change the appearance that they are."
As for our lovely City Clerk...
City Clerk Jean Natale, a Republican, counters that she posted notices for the ad hoc meeting in City Hall and gave announcement via the city's website as usual. She faxed us a meeting noticed stamped May 19 at 9:35 a.m. and an email to an IT assistant to have the notice posted online, May 20 2:12 p.m., as proof.
Grr...OH, I wish I could say something about this line of nonsense but for now, lets continue.
Cue up Cavo's attempt at damage control:
Cavo says that "with the economy as it is, I couldn't justify giving money to any group that didn't truly need it." He says a look at the Hispanic Center's books showed that it was financially healthy, and that its political advocacy had a small impact. He says he didn't steal USCFILE's wording—it's vice versa. "I first used those words in reference to plans for the Hispanic Center about a year ago." He doesn't think that they are being fed "inside information," only that they take an active interest.
Lets just say that Cavo added about 5 feet to the hole with that small
Cue up Mart Teicholtz (nice to see that she's taking calls from the Weekly now seeing that she refused to talk to them after her role in the Pauline Basso/Joel Urice racist email scandal was exposed).
Mary Teicholz, a fellow Republican councilmember, also denies that race played a role. "You'd have to ask [Reilly and Diggs] why they said that; I have no idea." As for an image problem for the council, she says, "I don't think most of the city knows what the Common Council is."
So, because, in her opinion, most of the city doesn't know what the Common Council is, people in Danbury won't label the Republicans as racists, bigots, anti-immigrants, or a political party with close connections to a local hate-group. In other words, as long as no one is paying attention, we won't be perceived as a racist, bigoted, anti-immigrant political party with close ties to a local hate-group whose members and supporters have:
• advocated firebombing the Hispanic Center,
• "doing something" about the past executive director,
• allegedly thrown rocks and bottles at the Center,
• desecrated another country's flag on Main Street,
• allegedly assaulted two immigrants at Pippa's after demanding that they only speak English (which resulted them being thrown out and banned from the bar),
• routinely harassed Latino employees at TK's (going as far as to videotape them while they work and in one case, calling one waitress a "spic" and demanding a white waitress that speaks English),
• physically assaulted an immigrant rights supporter by grabbing her arm and screaming at her in front of several witnesses during a immigration forum held at the Danbury Public Library in 2006,
• called upon residents to pick up a gun and KILL the day laborers at Kennedy Park.
I could go on but you get the idea. In Mary's world, the council's racist image problem isn't a problem simply because "I don't think most of the city knows what the Common Council is." In other words, ignore the portion of the city that thinks the common council HAS a racist image problem because they're not in the majority.
Man, that about sums up the entire mindset of the Boughton administration in a nutshell. All hail the "so-called" majority and the hell with the minority...unreal.
...maybe Mary should just stop giving comments to the press all together.