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From the "in case you missed it" files

Friday, May 08, 2009
Time: 9:11 AM

Seeing that city of Danbury gets a BIG FAT F when it comes to informing residents about public hearing on their webite, here's another event that City Hall's IT department failed to post.

On April 29, the State Department of Transportation officials held a public hearing in which they presented their plans to make modifications to exit 1 and 2 on I-84. From DanburyTV, here's video footage of the DOT's presenation:



FYI: It's ironic that 1.) The News-Times did a write-up on this meeting where 2.) the mayor's chief of staff was quoted, 3.) DanburyTV videotaped the event, BUT 4). the city dropped the ball in informing the public about the presentation on their website.

...and this is the same City Hall that constantly complains about placing legal notices in the newspaper...

Is there any truth to this?

Thursday, May 07, 2009
Time: 1:14 PM

As someone who's seen this side of the mayor, lets just say that I wouldn't be surprised if this actually happened...
I attended the Common Council Meeting for the first time last evening because I was interested in the Dream Homes item. However, after the meeting I was shocked to witness the Mayor's unprofessional behavior towards Councilman Levy. He yelled at Mr. Levy that his Chocolate festival was dead and he would get no help for the Wooster Cemetery. I don't know what this meant but it sounded kind of like a threat to me. I was embarrased for the Mayor and glad that Mr. Levy just kept walking and did not respond. Mayor Boughton is a jerk.

NOTE: Councilman Levy was the only Democrat who had an opportunity to speak out against Boughton's budget before the mayor's pawns the Republicans squelched all discussion on the topic.

NOTE: Well, well, it seems that it's VERY liekly that this bully tactic from the last honest man in Danbury did indeed happen...and I thought Mark learned a thing or two from Ms. Potty Mouth.

Silly quote of the week


Time: 12:39 PM



Classic Boughton political spin...

Boughton said the budget received "good bipartisan support" from the council"


Hey Mark, here's a newsflash...

Only TWO democrats voted for your hypocritical budget...and the MAJORITY of Democrats who disapproved your budget weren't given an opportunity to explain their opposition (as well as the hypocritical details you slipped in the budget) because they were silenced by the the members of the council that you control.

"Good bipartisan support" my ass...

Property revaluation bill passes Senate; sent to House for vote

Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Time: 10:11 PM

Reval bill passes another hurdle...as CTNewsJunkie reports:
Concerned about the impact the current economic crisis may have on property owners the Senate voted 31 to 3 Wednesday in favor of a bill that allows cities and towns to delay the implementation of a recent property revaluation or the phase-in of a property revaluation until 2011.

Proponents of the bill like Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, said the City of New Haven is anxious to have this bill passed because a one-year delay will save residential taxpayers from a steep property tax hike during an economic crisis.

[...]

But some lawmakers were concerned that the backlog of communities delaying revaluation could mean taxpayers will be just be putting off the inevitable tax increases. In addition lawmakers said they were concerned about the demand for the handful of property revaluation companies certified to do business in the state of Connecticut.

“There’s a lack of reval companies out there,” Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, said. Fasano ended up voting in favor of the bill, but said he’s concerned about what will happen if communities continue delaying revaluations.

As an extreme example, he mentioned Waterbury, which waited so long to do a revaluation that when it finally did one, it sent homeowners into shock and sent the city spiraling into bankruptcy.

Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said a provision in the bill will allow local communities to team up and assess properties on a regional basis without the help of a revaluation company. The provision will take pressure off the revaluation companies and save towns money by using the personnel in the assessor’s office to do the work, Williams said.

In order to delay implementation of a revaluation the local governing body would have to vote on it, according to the language in the bill.

The bill was transmitted to the House for approval.

The level of Boughton's tax increase relies upon the passage of this bill in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Rell's signature.

Republican squashing comment on budget sparks outrage


Time: 6:07 PM

As I stated in an earlier post, Dirk Perrefort's piece in today's News-Times fell a bit short in terms of the level of outrage directed towards Republicans at last nights Common Council meeting.

Democrats on the council were upset that they were not given an opportunity to comment on the budget as a whole when the topic was up for discussion. After Councilman Warren Levy offered his remarks, Republican Robert Riley abruptly stopped all debate on the budget by using a parliamentary maneuver entitled "call the question"
“calling the question” when done properly should be a rare occurrence. If debate has dragged on longer than you feel is really warranted, you can “call the question,” at which time the chair has to immediately ask those assembled to vote to determine whether or not debate should be cut off or continue. The motion to call the question is itself not debatable. If two-thirds of those voting agree that the discussion should have died some time ago, they will support the call. Then, and only then, will the vote be taken on the question itself.

The problem with this procedure is that it's been abused over the years by Republicans on the council in an effort NOT to stop long debates but to stop any debate from happening on any topic (former Majority Leader/xenophobe/hate-monger Pauline bASSo has a LONG track record of pulling this stunt).

Picture 3Good bye bASSo, hello Robert Riley...

In stopping anyone from speaking out against the hidden details of the budget, Riley, after giving a long-winded rant in praise of the budget, moved to call the question, and with all the Republicans on the council voting on approval of the move, future comments on the budget were squashed.

...in other words, with Riley's shameless move, the tradition of abusing this parliamentary procedure (and silencing the opposition) is kept alive and well.

Way to go Rob!

Watch and witness one of the dirtiest tricks in the rubber-stamp majority's arsenal...






HI-RES_BUTTON

After the meeting, an outraged Tom Saadi spoke with me about the Republicans squashing people's opportunity to speak out on the budget.



HI-RES_BUTTON

More on this later...

HatCityBLOG EXCLUSIVE: Goncalves raises concerns with Boughton's budget


Time: 4:20 PM

After the meeting last night, I asked mayoral candidate Gary Goncalves for his thoughts on passage of Boughton's 2009 budget...




HI-RES_BUTTON

After the meeting, the Goncalves campaign issued the following release:

First, It is a tight budget with a 1% tax increase. But, it is yet another tax increase which keeps this administration’s track record of raising property taxes very much alive. This tax increase assumes that the State will allow the City to defer the phased-in revaluation which may not be a given and is reliant on the receipt of certain State funds as revenue sources. Still, $4.3 million of fund balance resources are being used in an attempt to balance this budget.

Furthermore, I am very concerned about the growing debt service where principal and interest payments of $13.8 million equates to almost 7 percent of the current budget required to pay long term debt with more increases on the way. And, this is the first time I remember, perhaps in city history, that the School Board budget was NOT increased with local tax dollars. Based upon global competition for jobs in our country, I remain very concerned about school funding and keeping educators in the classrooms. In the future, I believe a harder look needs to be given toward the consolidation of responsibilities among school administrators and coordinators so we can keep more teachers in the classroom.

The lingering affects of the Early Retirement program trouble me especially given the history and knowledge of our city that is lost when so many good people opt to leave. Our mission must be to sustain a consistent level of services to ensure our city progresses. I believe this budget creates a false impression by deferring certain spending increases into the future. Examples are the potential financial affects of early retirements and the popularity within this administration of providing bifurcated raises.

Overall, I am very concerned about the level of budgetary increases and spending.
Seven years ago the budget was $149 million, now it’s $202 million. Tax increases and $53 million in increased budget spending have occurred while the taxpayers of Danbury realized reduced city services and growing concern over our quality of life.

The charter revision screw-up PART 2: Violation of state law


Time: 2:19 PM

The hits keep on coming for our lovely City Clerk Jean Natale.

It's bad enough that the person more commonly known as the hardest working Justice of the Peace in Danbury wasted taxpayers dollars with an unnecessary 5,000 dollar two full page legal notice. What's even worse is the timing of the notice in this Sunday's paper, which in turn places the ENTIRE charter revision process in jeopardy.

Again, lets take a look at the Connecticut State Statue (Sec. 7-191) that covers municipal charters..take note of the portion in bold.
(a) Charters, charter amendments and home rule ordinance amendments: Hearings; draft and final report; public notice; referendum; effective date; filing of copies with Secretary of the State; file maintained by State Library. (a) The commission shall hold at least two public hearings on the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments; one prior to the beginning of any substantive work on such charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, and one after the draft report to the appointing authority has been completed, but not submitted, after which hearings the commission may amend such report. The commission may hold such other public hearings as it deems necessary.

(b) The commission shall submit its draft report, including the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, to the clerk of the municipality, who shall transmit such report to the appointing authority. The appointing authority shall hold at least one public hearing on the draft report and shall hold its last hearing not later than forty-five days after the submission of the draft report to such clerk. Not later than fifteen days after its last hearing, the appointing authority shall make recommendations to the commission for such changes in the draft report as it deems desirable.

(c) If the appointing authority makes no recommendations for changes in the draft report to the commission within such fifteen days, the report of the commission shall be final and the appointing authority shall act on such report. If the appointing authority makes recommendations for changes in the draft report to the commission, the commission shall confer with the appointing authority concerning any such recommendations and may amend any provisions of the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, in accordance with such recommendations, or the commission may reject such recommendations. In either case the commission shall make its final report to the appointing authority not later than thirty days after receiving such recommendations.

(d) Not later than fifteen days after receiving the final report, the appointing authority, by a majority vote of its entire membership, shall either approve the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments or reject the same or separate provisions thereof. Not later than forty-five days after a vote of the appointing authority to reject such matter, a petition for a referendum thereon, signed by not less than ten per cent of the electors of such municipality, as determined by the last-completed registry list thereof, and filed and certified in accordance with the provisions of section 7-188, may be presented to the appointing authority. Not later than thirty days after approval by the appointing authority or the certification of such a petition (1) the proposed charter shall be published in full at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality, or (2) the portion of the charter or home rule ordinance being amended shall be published at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality with a notice that a complete copy of the charter or home rule ordinance and amendment is available in the town clerk's office and that a copy shall be mailed to any person who requests a copy. The town clerk shall mail or otherwise provide such copy to any person who requests a copy.

Okay, I'll explain the law in layman's terms...

After the Common Council voted on the changes to the charter, THE CITY CLERK HAD 30 days to publish the AMENDED changes to the charter in the News-Times (the newspaper in the area that has the largest circulation in proportion to the number of residents in Danbury).

Now, I already outlined how Jean screwed the taxpayers to the tune of thousands of dollars by publishing the ENTIRE charter as opposed to just the amended proposed changes...now comes to ugly legal part of her screw-up.

Here's a copy of the Common Council agenda when they voted on the charter...take note of the date of the meeting:
Title
Common Council Special Meeting
Start Time 7:00 PM
Location
Common Council Chambers
Occurs
3/10/2009
Extra Details for entire event

SPECIAL COMMON COUNCIL MEETING –
March 10, 2009

The meeting will be called to order at 7:00 P.M.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE & PRAYER

ROLL CALL

McMahon, Nagarsheth, Halas, Trombetta, Calandrino, Perkins, Visconti, Chianese, Esposito, Saadi, Cavo, Rotello, Diggs, Teicholz, Arconti, Curran, Knapp, Levy, Riley, Seabury, Stanley

________________PRESENT _______________ABSENT

NOTICE OF THE SPECIAL MEETING – There will be a Special Meeting of the Common Council on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 7:00 P.M. in the Common Council Chambers in City Hall to act on the item below.

_________________________________________________________________________

PUBLIC SPEAKING

_________________________________________________________________________
1 – REPORT - Board of Education, Teachers Contract
_________________________________________________________________________
2 – REPORT - Charter Revision Commission – Final Report
_________________________________________________________________________
There being no further business to come before the Common Council a motion was made at _________P.M. by __________for the meeting to be adjourned.


Now, since the Common Council voted in favor of the changes to the charter, the CITY CLERK had 30 days (or on or before April 9 2009) to HAVE THE PROPOSED AMENDED CHANGES TO THE CHARTER PUBLISHED IN THE NEWS-TIMES.

With that being said, take a look at the date when the charter appeared in the paper:

Charter_closeup

Surprise, surprise...Jean Natale SCREWED UP AGAIN and due to her gross incompetence, it's quite possible that the city clerk has placed the city of Danbury into a position where a violation of state law has occurred.

Don't think this is serious...think again. Throughout the entire charter revision process, legal counsel Eric Gottschalk has taken painstaking measures to make sure that the ENTIRE charter revision process was in accordance to the very state statue which I have documented in this post (you can view video answering questions regarding the state statue during the 3/10/09 meeting by clicking here.

In short, the City Clerk's latest in a long list of screw-ups will should become a huge embarrassment to the city as it's only a matter of time until other media outlets pick up on this nonsense...and someone has a great deal of explaining to do.

Where does the city go from here? Is the entire charter revision proposal in jeopardy? Will we have to start everything over again? Who knows...well, let me change that, I'll find out and get back to everyone.

...more to come.

Remember, come November, think before you vote!

The charter revision screw-up PART 1: A waste of taxpayers dollars


Time: 11:00 AM

bumped to top

Oh man, this possible MAJOR screw-up from City Hall is so wide spread, that I don't know where to begin; therefore, I'll have to break this up scandal into multiple posts:

In order to understand this latest round of incompetence, I'll have to present you a little research on the LAW in regards to the revisions to the city charter:

From the Connecticut State Statue Sec. 7-191..take note of the section in bold...

(a) Charters, charter amendments and home rule ordinance amendments: Hearings; draft and final report; public notice; referendum; effective date; filing of copies with Secretary of the State; file maintained by State Library. (a) The commission shall hold at least two public hearings on the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments; one prior to the beginning of any substantive work on such charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, and one after the draft report to the appointing authority has been completed, but not submitted, after which hearings the commission may amend such report. The commission may hold such other public hearings as it deems necessary.

(b) The commission shall submit its draft report, including the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, to the clerk of the municipality, who shall transmit such report to the appointing authority. The appointing authority shall hold at least one public hearing on the draft report and shall hold its last hearing not later than forty-five days after the submission of the draft report to such clerk. Not later than fifteen days after its last hearing, the appointing authority shall make recommendations to the commission for such changes in the draft report as it deems desirable.

(c) If the appointing authority makes no recommendations for changes in the draft report to the commission within such fifteen days, the report of the commission shall be final and the appointing authority shall act on such report. If the appointing authority makes recommendations for changes in the draft report to the commission, the commission shall confer with the appointing authority concerning any such recommendations and may amend any provisions of the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, in accordance with such recommendations, or the commission may reject such recommendations. In either case the commission shall make its final report to the appointing authority not later than thirty days after receiving such recommendations.

(d) Not later than fifteen days after receiving the final report, the appointing authority, by a majority vote of its entire membership, shall either approve the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments or reject the same or separate provisions thereof. Not later than forty-five days after a vote of the appointing authority to reject such matter, a petition for a referendum thereon, signed by not less than ten per cent of the electors of such municipality, as determined by the last-completed registry list thereof, and filed and certified in accordance with the provisions of section 7-188, may be presented to the appointing authority. Not later than thirty days after approval by the appointing authority or the certification of such a petition (1) the proposed charter shall be published in full at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality, or (2) the portion of the charter or home rule ordinance being amended shall be published at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality with a notice that a complete copy of the charter or home rule ordinance and amendment is available in the town clerk's office and that a copy shall be mailed to any person who requests a copy. The town clerk shall mail or otherwise provide such copy to any person who requests a copy.

(e) The appointing authority shall, by a majority vote of its entire membership, determine whether the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments shall be submitted to the electors for approval or rejection at a regular election or at a special election warned and held for that purpose, which shall be held not later than fifteen months after either the approval by the appointing authority or the certification of a petition for a referendum.

(f) The proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments shall be prepared for the ballot by the appointing authority and may be submitted in the form of one or several questions; and, if approved by a majority of the electors of the municipality voting thereon at a regular election or if approved by a majority which number equals at least fifteen per cent of the electors of the municipality as determined by the last-completed active registry list of such municipality at a special election, such proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments shall become effective thirty days after such approval unless an effective date or dates are specified therein, in which event the date or dates specified shall prevail.

(g) Not later than thirty days after the approval by the electors of any proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, the town or city clerk shall file, with the Secretary of the State, (1) three certified copies thereof, with the effective date or dates indicated thereon, and (2) in the case of the approval of charter or home rule ordinance amendments, three certified copies of the complete charter or ordinance incorporating such amendments. The Secretary of the State shall distribute two copies, whether tangible or intangible in form, to the State Library, where a file of such charters, charter amendments and home rule ordinance amendments shall be kept for public inspection.
Did you read the portion in BOLD? Good, lets move along.

Okay, here's a photograph of the charter which was published in this Sunday's News-Times (May 3 2009).

Charter_050309

Notice something strange? Here, lets go back to THE STATE LAW:
...the portion of the charter or home rule ordinance being amended shall be published at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality...

In order words, THE ONLY PORTION OF THE CHARTER THAT NEEDED TO BE PUBLISHED ARE THE PORTIONS THAT ARE BEING AMENDED. If you only take the portion of the charter that's up for changes, the size of the legal notice would be considerably smaller than the two page ad that was published Sunday.

And who's in charge of making sure this gets published? You guessed it....



Wait, wait...it gets better.

The cost of the unnecessary two ad page legal notice is said to be a WHOPPING 5,000 dollars...TAXPAYERS dollars!

Way to go Jeanie!

And which department has to foot the bill for Natale's latest screw-up? If I were a betting man, I would say this comes out of the Common Council budget but we'll have to see...in any regards, in the end, WE THE TAXPAYERS are footing this bill!

And people, look, I'm just scratching the surface on this screw-up. There is MUCH MUCH more to come. Trust me, the rabbit hole goes REAL DEEP on this one.

Remember, come November, think before you vote!

Approved


Time: 10:23 AM

Now that Boughton's budget is approved, in a series of posts, I'll show you how the mayor and his cheerleaders on the Common Council (and the public) fooled you into believing that the spending package was a good thing (while screwing those on the council who wanted to speak out against Boughton's master plan).

More from the MISleader: The tax increase edition

Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Time: 5:31 PM

Another gem from the last honest man:

From Boughton's budget proposal:
The impact of our spending plan to our residents is critical as we seek to balance our budget, protect our quality of life, and reduce costs.

After careful analysis and much discussion with our Director of Finance, I am recommending that we “freeze” the phase- in of our state mandated revaluation.

This means that with exceptions of new construction and adjustments, the assessments of all property in the City of Danbury will be frozen at their current level. By suspending the phase-in, we can ensure that the taxpayers of Danbury will not be saddled with an assessment that may not be reflective of current market conditions.
The suspension of the phase-in will also allow our residents to have breathing room in an unsettled economic time.

A suspension of the revaluation will also reduce the impact of our budget for our residents.

In order to implement a suspension of the phase-in, the State Legislature must adopt a bill that is pending before it which has passed out of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee with strong bi-partisan support. It is my understanding that this bill has a strong chance of becoming law.

In addition to the suspension of a phase-in, I have also asked the Legislature to consider the possibility of allowing cities and towns to discard their most recent revaluation and give the authority conduct a new revaluation before the next scheduled revaluation date.

Assuming a “freeze” of the phase-in of the revaluation, the impact of the proposed budget to our taxpayers includes a mill rate increase of .31 or little over 1%. A typical home that is assessed at $239,900 currently pays $5121.86 in property taxes. Under the proposed 2009-2010 budget, that same home would pay $5196.23 a difference of $74.36 for the year or approximately $6.00 per month.

Should the Legislature decide not to allow for a suspension of the phase in of the revaluation, we will adopt a mill rate that will reflect our spending plan and implement the next phase of the revaluation according to law.

There is only one thing wrong with this...Boughton can't shouldn't present a mill rate based on the assumption that the legislature is going to approve a suspension of the revaluation phase-in.

From section 7-4 of the city's charter (Duties of the Common Council on the budget):
The Common Council shall hold one or more public hearings not later than May 1st or the next business day thereafter if May 1st shall not be business day, at which any elector or taxpayer may have an opportunity to be hear[d] regarding appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year. Following receipt of the estimates from the Mayor, the Council shall cause sufficient copies of said estimates to be made available for general distribution in the office of the City Clerk and, at least five (5) days prior to the aforementioned public hearing, the Council shall cause to be published in a newspaper having a circulation in the City a notice of such public hearing and a summary of said proposed budget estimates showing anticipated revenues by major sources, and proposed expenditures by budgets or departments in the same columnar form as prescribed for budget estimates in Section 7-3 of this Chapter, and shall also show the amounts to be raised by taxation. Not later than May 15th[,] or the next business day thereafter if May 15th shall not be a business day, the Council shall adopt a budget and file the same with the City Clerk; provided, however, if the Council shall insert new amounts or programs, increase, decrease or strike out amounts or programs in the budget such changes shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds [( 2/3)] of all the members of the Council. The ordinance adopting the budget may provide for appropriations by department or function, and such appropriations need not be in greater detail than to indicate the total appropriation for each department or function. At the time when the Council shall adopt the budget, together with a provision for uncollectible taxes reserve, it shall also fix the tax rate in mills which shall be levied on the taxable property in the City for the ensuing fiscal year. Should the Council fail to adopt a budget within the time specified, the budget as transmitted by the Mayor, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-3 of this Chapter[,] shall be deemed to have been finally adopted by said Council. The tax rate shall forthwith be fixed by the Mayor and thereafter expenditures shall be made in accordance with the budget so adopted.

In other words, tonight, the Common Council must vote on A MILL RATE for "the ensuring fiscal year."

Lets take a look at his words again:
Should the Legislature decide not to allow for a suspension of the phase in of the revaluation, we will adopt a mill rate that will reflect our spending plan and implement the next phase of the revaluation according to law.

Now, this is classic Boughton sleight of hand at work again. You see, the mayor, in his presentation, is in essence presenting the cart before the horse.

I'll explain...

The mayor is attempting to sell a budget proposal with a 1 percent tax increase WITH the assumption that the CT General Assembly will allow municipalities to suspend revaluations. .

It's misleading to suggest a tax increase based upon an assumption which is completely depended upon the decision of state government because it's not reality. Since the CT General Assembly hasn't voted on the revaluation bill AND Gov. Rell hasn't sign the bill, it would be better is Boughton was upfront with the public and presented the budget, with the tax increases, MINUS PROSPECT OF THE SUSPENDING THE REVALUATIONS. If, in the future, he's allowed to suspend the revals, then he make the necessary adjustments...unless he wants to play hardball like they did in Waterbury.

No where is Boughton's budget proposal does he inform the public what they will be paying in taxes if he doesn't suspend the revals (again, he WON'T do this until the General Assembly gives the approval AND the Governor signs off on it). He can "assume" all he wants but until the suspension of the revals are approved up in Hartford (based on Boughton's wording), the mayor is, in essence, selling the public a bag of goods.

...and given the current budget conflict happening in Hartford, don't expect much movement on anything financial wise anytime soon.

State Rep Jason Bartlett continues the fight for change in school drop out age


Time: 12:24 PM

Bartlett_LOB


Last Thursday, State Rep. Jason Bartlett, along with his supporters*, held a press conference at the LOB building to address his his continued effort to have House Bill 6569: An act concerning reporting of school graduation rates be addressed this session of the General Assembly.

As you might know, Rep. Bartlett has addressed the proposed legislation during a guest post he did at My Left Nutneg in March and the topic sparked a conversation regarding the merits of the bill. Although it died in the education committee, Rep. Bartlett and his supporters were able to collect the 78 signatures needed to allow the bill to be moved to the House calendar.

Specifically, the bill calls for the age in which students can drop out of high school be changed from sixteen to eighteen. Rep. Bartlett and his supporters believe that a drop out age of sixteen is a contributing factor in the state's achievement gap as well as a factor in terms of the number of people either on welfare, incarcerated and/or involved in drug use.



Putting a personal face on the issue, Rep. Bartlett was joined by individuals who told their life stories and the after effects of dropping out of school at a young age.



Finally, lawmakers of the bill gave their rationale behind supporting the bill...



I think it's safe to say that we haven't heard the last of this bill and the debate on the floor of the General Assembly regarding the merits of the legislation should be interesting.

* Supporters for the bill include the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, Latino Affairs, African American Affairs, CT Voices for Children, CT Juvenile Alliance, Connecticut NAACP, and the Commission on Children.

MAJOR CITY HALL SCREW-UP TO BE EXPOSED TOMORROW

Monday, May 04, 2009
Time: 6:19 PM


Well, well, well. It seems like someone will have a GREAT DEAL OF EXPLAINING TO DO.

You'll see what I mean when I unleash the details tomorrow...and it's not good.

GUEST POST: The Crisis and the Creeps, part 1


Time: 2:46 PM

It's been a while since I.C Presumptive has written a piece for this site. Well, I'm happy to report that one of my most avid readers has put together a gem of a three part write-up regarding the economic crisis...and folks, this is required reading.

I.C., the floor is yours





Part One: A description of the forces and persons having brought us to our present financial condition.

We are sinking. We are in the greatest financial crisis of our time. The dangers, however, are more than economic. They are political, severely so. That is why the old name ‘political economy’ needs to be resurrected and applied. An economy is always political—it benefits some and not others, and too often only a few. Political economy’s new appropriateness is revealed in the Republican payback to President Obama for winning. They have rejected his attempts at bipartisanship out of hand.

James K. Galbraith has analyzed the subject explicitly: “Republican (with a small “r”) government, with its checks and balances, exists to limit the abuse of power. It is a matter of negotiation, compromise, the making of public arguments, and of listening to private dissent.”1 There are differences of reasonable opinion, negotiations of interests, and concern for public welfare in the consideration of public policy. Modern government has evolved otherwise. “Modern corporate decision-making structures exist, on the contrary, to permit senior executives to do what they want. This is the culture that Richard Cheney brought back into government from Halliburton, that George Bush imbibed at his minor perches at Harken Energy and the Texas Rangers.”2 In addition an army of 13,000 corporate lobbyists has appeared to advance the political agenda of such predators.3 Their purpose is to deny public functioning in favor of corporate control. These are the ‘creeps.’ Their values are for themselves entirely, where they actually possess any values other than their love of money.

The predators in the Bush/Cheney administration attempted to stymie the capacity to govern. They largely succeeded. In the short run it will look like a simple incompetence but that is a deliberate illusion. “Nothing will work and nothing will be done about the fact that nothing works. Failure was intended. Failure on that scale is not due to incompetence. Rather it is intended. Inside [such a] government no one cares.”4

There is a willful indifference to the problem of competence in government. The intentional strategy was to turn over government functions to the profit making desires of a voracious class. A maximum appropriation of wealth from the public for that class was intended. It required a mammoth sluice for sucking wealth away from everyday people. They did it without a single qualm.

There is quite probably not a single function of government that has not been damaged or significantly corrupted by the Bush/Cheney administration. It runs from the Forest Service to the Bureau of Mines, from Immigration to the Labor Department to food and drug inspection. The creeps left a very diminished and ineffective government. No lonely walker along desolate, empty streets in any American city late at night has ever been ‘rolled’ as effectively as the citizenry of the U.S. were mugged in broad daylight by the last administration.

In such a situation, democratically minded people must take decisive action in order to reframe the debate and arrive at democratic answers. To fail to do so is to risk more than being merely dismissed. As Barack Obama stated in his campaign, the change is not him, it is us. Otherwise we risk being run over by our inaction. Failing to involve ourselves will leave power and perceptions in the hands of the very predators that brought the crisis on and landed us in the quagmire. This has already happened in the banking sector. By monstrous and vicious propaganda, which has already begun, wing nuts of the right are attempting to undermine the public’s faith in the Obama administration so as to work themselves back into power.

Merely ridding ourselves of these political actors, however satisfying, is not enough. The problem remains more than a ‘few bad apples.’ As John C. Bogle, the founder of Vanguard mutual funds has stated it: “I believe that the barrel itself—the very structure that holds all those apples—is bad.”5 If the disease is structural, however many maggots (sometimes spelled m-a-d-o-f-f or s-t-a-n-f-o-r-d and the like) are feeding off the national economic carcass, that carcass itself is still the problem.

Democratically minded Americans are not well organized politically. An effective campaign of 30 years duration to deny workplace democracy has prevented it. An engaged electorate adequately represented by unions and other organizations has always been seen as a danger to corporate control as the corporate class tries to leverage wealth toward the top. Every effort has been and will be extended by them to prolong it.

In the United States, we live in a flagrant contradiction. Our financial system which rests on public consumption, nevertheless attempts to extract the maximum wealth from that public by low wages prior to its ability to consume. Then by artful pricing and mind soaking advertising, the system attempts to extract even more wealth during consumption. Workers that do not receive sufficient wages from the wealth they create, cannot maintain their existence. That is why so many citizens in the last few years reverted to using credit cards and cash withdrawals from home re-mortgaging to maintain their lifestyles. When such devices also fail to keep up with the bounty of economic production the economic effect is known as ‘lack of demand.’ To the extent such conditions are not reversed, the economy weakens.

Of course, many people were profligate and foolish in their lifestyle choices as they were propagandized to be. The American system is nothing if it is not the purloined attempt to propagate unrealistic expectations from which exceptional profits can be extracted. Unrealistic expectations are the exquisite function at the center of capitalism. It has been rapturously believed in for generations and religiously guarded from criticism. Yet as anyone still standing today and in possession of their faculties can see, capitalism is one sorry excuse for a financial system.

For a time it brought us great perceived wealth though even that wealth developed the strange habit of continually migrating to the top tier of wealth ‘owners.’ As early as 1988 it was perceived that since 1977 the lowest 10% of the public had suffered a 10.5% drop in its income while the top 1% had received an increase of 74.2%.6 This perceived wealth was built on an extensive network of expanded debt and debt devices that have now collapsed. The good times are over. Who is to pay the bill? President Obama’s initial efforts to attach some of that wealth previously grabbed, has been met with howls of corporate indignation. The whining is to cover the great and extensive public fraud that allowed such overweening accumulation in the first place.

To say it was happenstance, the market, that it wasn’t seen or couldn’t even have been seen, is to channel some medieval, political airhead. Jim Hightower has called it “the tsunami myth.” That myth insists that no one could have seen “The Thing from Nowhere” and Wall Street chieftains are merely victims too and didn’t know. But these “masters of the universe” were paid to know. Paid millions to know but didn’t bother to find out, which indicates they either invented the scheme or didn’t want to know who did. “They were making too much money to stop.”7

From the public standpoint, to live a satisfactory life in the modern world requires developing the ability to maintain a creative tension between two opposing forces. The first is a grounded reality, aware of the corruption of the political process. The second is a belief in our essential aspirations for a better life even as the means to that life is diverted to the benefit of a leisure class.8 Our human, democratic need is to correct that indecent misuse not only for ourselves but for the generations who will follow.

The function of a capitalist system is to confound that tension, to dissolve it into an excessive materialism so that public wealth can be plundered for private gain. We have arrived at its result. The system propagated blinders on the citizenry such that they see only the advertising billboards of roadways, magazines, newspapers or TV. It attempts to produce compulsive consumers who are mindless of the human arena of others around them who need consideration. Consumer-ization attempts an individualism that is insensitive, uncaring and impervious to the condition of others.

How do we correct those conditions? Leaving the country to the corporate ‘experts’ brought us to this quicksand and dumped us in. Stuck as we are, shaking ourselves about while screaming for rescuers will only sink us deeper. Whatever rescuers arrive will want a price. It is better that we rescue ourselves by supporting the possibilities of the responsive, democratic government we just elected.

This is not to say fawn over it, believing it without questioning. It means publicly directing its attention to the practices that will best serve us democratically. Experts will be needed. The problem is to use them effectively in a broad context of citizen participation, not a shrunken, secret arena of moral vacancy, allowing the experts to run free to their own tunes and devices as Dick Cheney directed the U.S. government.

It is therefore necessary that we build the broadest possible public understanding of how the present system functions or more precisely, failed to, and continues to fail to function. It means organizing ourselves into a kaleidoscope of actors and organizations proceeding with those others to define our safety and well being in our own terms, building a knowledge base for a new democratic state.

In order to do so and participate in a positive way toward those goals we must understand what is going on, how it has occurred and why. It is not of a very great complexity, but it does have some difficult and obscure details.

Most of the public understands the more obvious causes—the Bush/Cheney administration was a key culprit because it allowed where it did not actively promote the significant disruptive devices. Most older citizens may recognize the Charlie McCarthy/Edgar Bergen relationship of the Bush/Cheney administration. Younger people may have their own names for such a puppet/ventriloquist metaphor. The collusion itself, however, was not a metaphor but a true operating strategy, a malicious corruption of the constitutional basis of our government.

The purpose always was to disguise the real operator of the system in order to free him to perform his intentional funneling of the economy away from everyday publics, toward an already prosperous and piggish class. The puppet, served simply as a ‘front,’ idling away time so as to portray calm and control--‘nothing to get excited about here folks.’ George W. Bush performed this act remarkably well, precisely because he grew up in it, believed in it, benefited by it and paid so little attention to anything else. Whatever he examined was carefully selected for him and supplied to him by Dick Cheney or Cheney’s staff.9 Cheney and associates did not intend the train wreck of the economy, exactly; they merely intended the corruption of government functions including the complete loss of function to prevent a train wreck.

The after effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War are the best examples we have of how the U.S. government was crippled to the point it could not effectively react to the hurricane or execute its own invented war. The mechanism was deceptively simple. It was used with equal or even greater ineffectiveness in Iraq than in New Orleans . After the fall of Baghdad to American forces, the Bush/Cheney/ Rumsfeld administration made use of this mechanism in high volume—they sent in the clowns.

Loyal junior graduates from somewhere, anywhere or plain party hacks were given preposterous positions in Iraq . Jay Hallen, a 24-year-old Yale graduate with no financial background was told to reopen the country’s stock exchange. Jim Haveman, a social worker from Michigan without a medical degree but with an anti-abortion opinion was assigned to rebuild Iraq ’s public health sector. Bernard Kerik, an admittedly experienced New York City police commissioner, was sent in to rebuild, retrain and vet Iraq ’s police forces. Although a previous U.S. Justice Department report concluded that 6,000 foreign police advisers were needed to rebuild that police force, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld sent one guy, Kerik. Upon arrival Kerik spent his time going on midnight raids with interdiction personnel and slept through whatever daytime administration occurred. Then he simply left Iraq without apparent explanation.10

Reading details of the disaster that ensued brings to mind the thought that like the war itself, perhaps the recovery process was also invented destruction. To understand more of the claptrap staffing that went on in the civilian ranks read Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s remarkable book on the calamity that policy caused.

Many more served their political loyalty to similar effect at home. “The Heritage Foundation boasted it had a conservative to fit every position.”11 Why would a U.S. administration delegate so abominably? Why would government officials staff so carelessly and devise so ignorantly? There was one clear, exact reason and purpose. Every appointee and functionary had to be totally loyal to the administration team regardless of the adequacy of training or skill available for the job under consideration. That is, exceptional loyalty was required toward the personages of the White House and Defense Department, never mind the office itself or the Constitution that established those offices.

Such loyalty was essential because the process of wrecking a government is a nefarious and terrible thing. It is a betrayal of constitutional function and national values if it is not criminal behavior besides, and probably should be considered as such. Wrecking government performance therefore was judged too fraught with danger to be placed in any person’s hands who was not the perfect toady. For every function of government that could be driven off a cliff, its staff savaged or displaced, a profit making private company could be inserted with which to extract enormous wealth. For example, Blackwater guards for American Pro-Consul Paul Bremmer were paid $1000 per day while American soldiers functioned on chump change.12 Blackwater’s CEO Erik Prince, recently resigned, has become a billionaire on the no-bid contracts.

So in this crisis the major predators, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld turned loose on the nation a civilian army of lobbyists, cronies, loyalists, and saboteurs. It granted them clear and absolute access to steal and destroy resulting in, guess what—theft and destruction. That is to say it made for a ‘mugging’ of public and governmental functions for the maximum amount of wealth that could be grabbed. Or as James Galbraith has presented it: “Bush II simply and systematically nominated the most aggressive anti-environmental, anti-safety, anti-consumer protection advocates they could find to every regulatory position it couldn't afford to leave unfilled. It empowered the reactionary wing-- the predatory wing-- within each branch of business.”13

It was a strategy to grab hold of the national cake and eat it too. These thugs did not invent, however, all the means at their disposal. They adapted many procedures, reversed the purpose of others, threatened and silenced key officials and bureaus, expanded the scope and reach of most of the devices they inserted or manipulated and thereby profited immensely.

The ‘creeps’ then are those personages who redeployed the U.S. economy for outrageous personal gain for their class as well as themselves. Continuous propaganda insists that the work of those who benefited was and is so ‘difficult, inventive and extraordinary’ that they must be paid in the high millions of dollars if not billions, for their manipulations. This ‘hard work’ characterization is the great white hope of Republican and Democrat predators alike. It is the basis of their claim that it is anti-democratic to tax away, restrict or otherwise diminish what these men and a few women received for what they have done. There are other opinions.

Thorsten Veblen , America ’s great turn-of-the-last-century economist called such predators the “higher barbarian culture.” James Galbraith has paraphrased his position:

  • “The leisure classes do not work. Rather they hold offices. They perform rituals. They enact deeds of honor and valor. For them income is not compensation for toil and is not valued mainly for the sustenance it makes possible. Income is, rather, a testament by the community of the prestige it accords the predator classes, to the esteem in which they are held. It is a way, in other words, of keeping score. [They are] predatory as a matter of course. [Prominent are] the absentee landlords and the vested interests, who live off the work of others by right and tradition, and not by their functional contribution to the productivity of the system…Predators rely on prey for their sustenance, but they also require and must motivate their assistance…The success of the enterprise depends in turn on keeping the predators sufficiently in check. If in their compulsion to fight, they lay waste to the environment, then neither they nor their prey will survive.”14


In a second essay I shall attempt to lay out where and why the citizenry must educate itself to the weaknesses and dangers of the American economic system. It will include how that system overextended itself by deceptive devices built upon a weak and poorly thought out superstructure and finally crashed. Obama is trying to save it much like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to save it in the 1930s. The question today is whether such a mendacious and deceitful contraption is worth saving.

The analogous questions are not merely how we extract ourselves from the present but what democratic, truthful economic institutions we must build for the future. Only habit and fearfulness can conclude that we have to save what has proven so deceitful. That no other system supposedly exists to put in its place is only partially true. The public has not been allowed to consider another such system for 70 to 80 years. How would we know? There are thinkers who have considered such and it may well be necessary in this time of crisis to listen to them.



1 Galbraith, James K. The Predator State . New York , The Free Press, 2008. p 144.

2 Ibid.

3 Hightower, Jim and Phillip Frazer, eds. The Hightower Lowdown, v 11 no 3, March 2009 p. 4

4 Galbraith, p. 148.

5 Madrick, Jeff. “Mistrust Funds.” New York Times, Jan 29, 2006. A review of John C. Bogle’s The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2005.

6 Ross LaRoe and John Charles Pool, “Gap Grows Between Rich, Poor,” Columbus(OH) Dispatch, July 16, 1988 in Kevin Phillips The Politics of Rich and Poor. Random House, 1990. p. 14.

7 Hightower, Frazer, eds. The Hightower Lowdown, v 11 no 4, April 2009 p. 2

8 Parker Palmer. As guest on Bill Moyer’s Journal, PBS Channel 13, 2/20/09. His book Let Your Life Speak is essential for a modern awareness. My debt is here acknowledged for taking his centered understanding out of its original context of a spiritual life and applying it to here to the mundane.

9 Galbraith, op cit. p. 146

10 Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. New York , Vintage, 2007. Passim.

11 Thomas Frank. The Wrecking Crew. How Conservatives Rule. Henry Holt & Co. 2008 p. 127

12 Ibid, pgs. 150-172, passim and p. 254

13 Galbraith, op. cit p. 143

14 Galbraith, op. cit., p. 127


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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.
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3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

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

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

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