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Governor propose cutting state funding for Richter House repairs

Saturday, February 28, 2009
Time: 9:40 AM



UPDATE 5:30 PM: Several people contacted me wanting more info on this subject and I want to make sure everyone understands that what the governor is proposing IS NOT SET IN STONE and is NOT FINAL. The legislature still has to sign onto this and we're at the VERY BEGINNING of the budget process.

Although I did state this at the end of this post but in looking at the title of this post, I can see how someone who did not understand the budget process could get the impression that the funds were cut and that was that. Because of that, I updated the title of the post in order to better clarify the situation BUT without feedback from the public to out local State Reps, you can be sure that this proposal WILL become a reality.





In what's now a sign of the times, the ripple effect of the state's looming budget deficit can be felt here in Danbury as Gov. Rell has proposed cutting the funding to fix repairs at he Richter House.

The Hartford Courant has the details:
As state leaders grapple with how to make do with less, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has proposed canceling $389 million in state and local bond projects, forcing cash-strapped towns to decide whether they can, or want to, fund their own dreams.

[...]

"The projects are pretty clearly not essential in economic times like we are facing right now," said Rich Harris, a Rell spokesman. "They can't be a priority right now."

Not a priority for state officials, perhaps.

"They're projects of local significance," said state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D- New Britain. "If the state doesn't chip in, those are expenses that local taxpayers will have to pick up."

"They're projects of local significance," said state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D- New Britain. "If the state doesn't chip in, those are expenses that local taxpayers will have to pick up."

[...]

Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for the state Office of Policy and Management, said that many of the longtime projects on the list had been added at the request of town officials and legislators, and Rell has said that the state must cut back on its bonded debt.

DeFronzo said that the governor's proposed cancellations would cut nearly 19 percent of the total $2.1 billion pending bond list. He also said that the Senate revenue and bonding committee, on which he serves, would probably try to restore some of the projects.


[...]

A decision has not been made yet on whether projects left on the list will be funded, but they have been deemed a priority, and state officials are hopeful that funds will be allocated in the future, Beckham said.

Before I comment on the Richter House, it's REALLY IMPORTANT TO watch this brief video history lesson on the Richter family and what led to the family donating their land to the city.



Now that you know about the history of the Richter House and the family's love for the arts, now lets get into the meat of the matter.

First and foremost: Richter Park is MUCH more than just a golf course...unfortunately, the people whose job was to oversee the land only thought about the golf course.

The current state of the Richter House is TOTALLY due to negligence by The Richter Park Authority (RPA) as well as the City of Danbury...PERIOD.

To put it bluntly, throughout the years, the RPA have ignored the deteriorating conditions at the Richter House while focusing their attention to raking in the dough at the golf course...all the while ignoring the Richter family's wish that they take care of the home (a wish that was conveyed to the city by at least one living member of the family during a public hearing on the Richter Park Authority.

Instead of attempting to preserve the house, the RPA in it's arrogance cast a 11th hour vote to demolish the family's home. Again, the Richter family wanted that property preserved to "provide for the arts!" The RPA failed to honor the family's request by ignoring the House while focusing their attention to the golf course (i.e. the RPA thinking about tearing up the front lawn of the Richter House for golf course parking).

The RPA vote the demolish the home created a large outcry from the people who use the house for plays, concerts, recitals, and other forms of art...something that the family intended to house to be used for. The result of the outcry was the RPA changing their tune about ripping the house down...for now.

Second, and more important: The city is also to blame simply because they didn't do their due diligence when it came to making sure that the authority was doing what they were suppose to be doing. Remember, Richter Park is MUCH MORE than a golf course and making sure that the house throughout the years was in shape should have equal priority to the condition of the golf course.

This gross malfeasance has resulted in the house to continue to deteriorate and the cost of the repairing the house skyrocket. The end result is a slap in the face to a family that gave so much to this city during a time when they could have sold their land to developers (think about housing developments at that location as opposed to a park).

From April 2008, here's video footage of the numerous people who came out to support the saving of the Richter House and echoed the points I raised.



Our State Representatives worked hard to get state funding to assist in reparing the house but now, due to the budget crisis, that is in jeopardy. To add insult to injury, THE SITUATION WITH THE HOUSE IS DUE TO THE RPA AND CITY and the buck stops with them, not the state.

In short, if the city can magically find money to fund non-essential things such as the Connecticut Film Festival (over 120K) or dish out a whopping 700,000K to preserve the Taylor farm, although NOT ONE DEVELOPER IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS THINKING ABOUT DEVELOPING LAND NOW OR IN THE NEAR FUTURE (look at the "progress" being made at the BRT development at Kennedy Park), than surly the city can find it within their heart to honor the Richter Family and coughing up the cash necessary to fix the roof OR AT THE VERY LEAST patch the home as best as possible. That being said, although the governor killed the funding for the Richter House doesn't mean it's completely dead yet.

I'll have more on this story later...

NOTE: For a full detailed list of funding the Gov Rell has cut for Danbury, click here.

Danbury Live two part special

Friday, February 27, 2009
Time: 4:45 PM

Common Council charter revision meeting:

Part 1 (broadcasted 02.14.09):



Part 2 (broadcasted 02.21.09):


HatCityBLOG VIDEO: Common Council special meeting 02.17.09


Time: 1:45 PM

CC_Teacher
Teachers, school administrators and members of the public attend the Common Council meeting on the disputed teacher's contract
Common Council meeting 02.17.09


From Feb 17, here's video footage of the Common Council Special Meeting regarding the vote on the teacher's contract and recommendations to the charter commission.

NOTE: This will be an ongoing post as I'm still in the process of uploading video files. ALSO, video footage of the teacher's contract presentation (which happened BEOFRE this meeting) will be posted on Saturday.

1: Public speaking:



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2: Debate/vote on teacher's contract:



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Community Forum 02.21.09 broadcast


Time: 12:45 PM

Host: John Gogliettino
Guest: Michael Bonetti, Kathleen Casey, Megan Mitchell


Will these proposals stimulate the economy?

Thursday, February 26, 2009
Time: 10:35 PM



(In honor of New Fairfield's First Selectman outrageous stimulus funds request, this post is bumped to the top.

As you know, President Obama signed the stimulus package which will hopefully aid the economy. Since it's passage, a number of websites were launched that are created to keep an eye on where the money is spent.

Recently, mayor's and selectmen have come under fire from groups that claim that elected officials are using the stimulus money for projects that will not stimulate the economy. That being the case, I decided to look into what Mayor Boughton requested from the government and present it to you.

Well, actually, the site entitled "Stimulus Watch" did all the hard work, all I had to do was click a couple of times.

You decide...are Mayor Boughton's request reasonable in terms of stimulating the economy, or is this a form of "pork" spending?

  • Click on each project (which will take you to the Stimulus Watch website) and vote on whether or not you think the particular item will stimulate the economy.

  • After offering your opinion on all the projects, please cast your vote on the latest poll here at this site...and of you like, give your thought about the mayor's proposal in the comments...


(NOTE: The column entitled "Vote Ratio" is the response value of the vote results from the website. A negative number means the readership think that the particular proposed project is pork spending).


Below are the "shovel-ready" projects for which this city submitted in the 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors report. You can click on a project to read (and add to) its description. You can also discuss the project and vote on whether you believe it is critical or not.

The total cost of all the projects submitted by Danbury is $82,645,000





UPDATE: As a supplement to this post, in a meeting with mayors today President Obama gave municipal leaders a VERY stern warning.
Invoking his own name-and-shame policy, President Barack Obama warned the nation's mayors on Friday that he will "call them out" if they waste the money from his massive economic stimulus plan.

"The American people are watching," Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House. "They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they've earned — they've worked so hard to earn — spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud."

[...]

Using his presidential pulpit, Obama demanded accountability, from his friends in local government as well as his own agencies. He said the new legislation gives him tools to "watch the taxpayers' money with more rigor and transparency than ever," and that he will use them.

"If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it, and put a stop to it," he said. "I want everyone here to be on notice that if a local government does the same, I will call them out on it, and use the full power of my office and our administration to stop it."

Report card


Time: 5:57 PM


As a follow-up to my earlier post, I want to bring to everyone's attention a nifty little organization called the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN)

Here's a little background on this group:
Mission

To close Connecticut’s academic achievement gap, the largest gap between rich and poor students of any public school system in the nation. We will not rest until every child in our state, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, has access to a great public school.

Who We Are

A statewide outreach, education, and research organization with an active member network of parents, teachers, students, and business and community leaders across Connecticut. ConnCAN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

What We Believe

  • The achievement gap is the most urgent social and economic problem facing Connecticut. The time for change is now.
  • All children, regardless of their background, can achieve at a high level when given access to a great public school.
  • Securing “Great Schools for All” will require reforming the way our public schools work by raising standards, giving school leaders greater freedom to innovate, and providing parents with more public school choices.
  • Every child wins when parents can choose among public schools where principals and teachers come together to pursue a shared vision of excellence while being held accountable for results.

ConnCan's site offers a wide variety of tools including a "report card" section. After signing up on thier site (it's free), you can view their performance report on ANY school in the state.

For the purpose of this post, here's their 2008 report on every school in Danbury. To get detailed information on a particular school, just click on the school's name.

...you're welcomed.

Nine percent?


Time: 4:07 PM

Saadi_BOE
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


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.



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(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.)

BOEwages

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.

...as the News-Times editorial states:
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.

HatCityBLOG VIDEO: Common Council public hearing on charter revision

Monday, February 23, 2009
Time: 2:06 PM


Assistant Corporation Council Rick Gottschalk answer inquires from the Common Council regarding charter revision procedures
Common Council Charter Revision Public Hearing 02.09.09


NOTE: This will be an ongoing post. This blog will be bumped to the top as new video clips are added.




On Feb 9, the Common Council held a public hearing the centered on changes to the city's charter.

As I stated in the past, for now I'm going to reserve my thoughts on everything surrounding changes to the charter. At this point, in my opinion, it's more important to get the information regarding what's happening to the charter out to the public...there will always be time to explain the political aspect to the changes later.

Since I'm in the process of uploading the videos (which takes quite a bit of time due their size), I'm going to break the video from the meeting into small clips. This should make it easier for people to watch the portion of the meeting that they want to watch while avoiding the rest of the event.

Again, this is an ongoing post which will be updated throughtout the next couple of days.




1: Input from the public



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2: Debate on procedure:



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3: Debate on four year term limits



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4: City Clerk position



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HatCityBLOG VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Appointment of Mike McLachlan for Dir. of Economic Development ad-hoc committee


Time: 10:25 AM



Due to many requests among my readership, and as a follow-up to the interview I conducted with Minority Leader Tom Saadi and Councilman Paul Rotello, here's video footage of the Ad-hoc committee formed to look into the appointment of Mike McLahclan as Director of economic Development.



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...I'll have more to say on this topic later.

UPDATE: Read the minutes of the meeting filed by our lovely City clerk Jean Natale. Talk about scrubbing the record...read what they said about what Tom Saadi said versus what he really said.



...unreal!

One on one with Tom Saadi and Paul Rotello

Sunday, February 22, 2009
Time: 5:15 PM

Picture 3

Now you can watch what all the hype was about the way it was supposed to be broadcasted.

Here's the video-re-mastered/edited interview I conducted with Minority Leader Tom Saadi and Paul Rotello this Thursday on local access TV.

Topics discussed:

1. State Senator Mike McLachlan's appointment as Director of Economic Development for Danbury.

2. Charter revision changes

3. Teacher's contract

4. Acquisition of the transfer station.

Enjoy!



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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.

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MAYOR BOUGHTON'S DEPOSITION

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MIKE McLACHLAN (then MAYOR CHIEF OF STAFF) DEPOSITION

Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint


Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park


Politics_Over_People
View Boughton's campaign finance statements from 2001-present (COMING SOON)

When questioned, Boughton fails to address the issue of anti-immigrant racism in Danbury

City admits mistakes in firefighter lawsuit, taxpayers forced to pay 450K settlement, and Boughton offers no comment, no details of accountability

READ allegations of wrongdoing by Boughton filed by the plaintiffs

Boughton misleads public about World Cup games "spontaneous" celebrations for FOUR years

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MARK BOUGHTON'S TICKING TIME BOMB

DOWNLOAD AND ANALYZE MARK BOUGHTON'S ELECTION AND PAC FINANCE REPORTS

Why won't Boughton give back Galante money?

Boughton contributor goes to jail

Fairfield Weekly questions Boughton's honesty

Hatrford Courant's Stan Smith not believing Boughton

Connecting the dots

Boughton-Galante connection established


APPEAL HEARING: 10/21/14 @ 09:30 AM

Directions to Litchfield Court House

Decision Day: GUILTY!

Day Ten: Moving forward

Day Nine: DNA

Day Eight: The seven trillion dollar man

Day Seven: Jury Trial

Day Six: Motions denied

Day Five: Endless subpoenas and bizarre motions to dismiss

Day Three/Four: He's competent!

Day Two: Excuses, excuses

Day One: Strange behavior, disturbing arrest warrant affidavit

McGowan arrested, charged with first-degree sexual assault


Read the full report on
the gross incompetence of
City Clerk Jean Natale

Watch Jean Natale's misleading, questionable, and outrageous testimony in front of the charter revision commission

Natale moonlighting during City Hall business hours

Republcian Common Council member claim City Clerk of being "racially motivated" in the Hispanic Center ad-hoc committee case

Danbury News-Times editorial criticizes City Clerk "racially motivated" involvement in Hispanic Center ad-hoc committee case

Photo of City Clerk standing next to skinhead holding anti-immigrant death threat sign

Public complains that the City Clerk is never available in her office / spends most of her time in the Registrar of Voters office

City Clerk confronts and yells at her critics at City Hall

Transcript of Minority Leader Tom Saadi criticizing Jean Natale's performance.

Freedom of Informaiton ruling on a complaint filed against Jean Natale.


Elise_Deer Highlighting the disturbing mind of a hate group leader and her xenophobic followers...

Exposing lies from Marciano regarding death threat made against yours truly

VIDEO: Marcaino shows her anti-Muslim side

I'm an AMERICAN!!!!!

MORE TO COME!!!

TOM "Big(o)T BENNETT HAS ONLY HIMSELF
TO BLAME



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Screen shot 2009-11-30 at 5.12.04 PM 2010 CTTF: Common Council debate

2010 CTFF: Funding ad hoc committee #2

2010 CTFF: Funding ad hoc committee meeting #1

2009 CTFF: Common Council funding debate

2009 CTFF: Funding ad hoc committee meeting

OPENING NIGHT 2008

LOCAL ACCESS: Roundtable discussion on '08 CTFF