Since the announcement of this week's mayoral debate between Mark Boughton and Lynn Taborsak, I've been very concerned over the Tribuna Newspaper's participation in the event.
In 2007, since records of campaign statements were not available electronically, I decided to create an online database of Boughton's campaign finance statements starting with his first term in office. While many in the media were focused on the illegal bundled contributions made to Boughton from James Galante, I along with the help of others examined Boughton's records and came across several disturbing campaign contributions made by the family that runs the Tribuna Newspaper going as far back as 2005.
The contributions for the '07 campaign cycle are listed below:
April 10 SEEC filing: Publisher of Tribuna (Celia Bacelar) $120 - 2/21/07 -
July 10 SEEC filing: Publisher of Tribuna (Celia Bacelar) $120 - 2/21/07
July 10 SEEC filing: Tribuna Newspaper LLC purchased a advertising slot in Mayor Boughton's program book on 06/13/07
January 10th 2008 SEEC filing/Report: Palmares, Genilson (page 7) - $1000.
This person is the husband of the publisher of the Tribuna (Celia Bacelar).
January 10th 2008 SEEC filing/Report: Angela Barbosa (daughter of Celia Bacelar and and at the time, listed as Managing Editor of the Tribuna) $100.00 on 10/27/08.
It's interesting to note that at the time and the contributions in the Jan 2008 report were made (late Oct 2007), Mayor Boughton and several members of Common Council promoted the city entering the highly controversial ICE ACCESS/287G program. Many members of the public and organizations, including the Tribina Newspaper, spoke out in opposition to the program (including Celia Bacelar's daughter/Tribuna reporter/board member Emanuela Lima who spoke in opposition to the proposal at the Oct 2007 Common Council meeting). It was also during this period where the I witnessed Bacelar ad her daughter Lima attend the open house opening of Boughton's headquarters on the corner of Main and South Street (across from CVS).
After reporting on my findings, another ethnic paper in the city, Communidade News made several mentions of the contributions. For instance, when the Tribuna sent a press release to the media announcing the formation of the anti-ICE ACCESS group, Businesses For a Better Community, Communidade News Editor (and former writer at the Tribuna) Breno da Mata sent the following reply.
This press release was written by Emanuela Lima, Editor of Tribuna
Newspaper, the same group/family that helped financially Mark
Quoting Businesses For a Better Community
> For Immediate Release:
> Press Contact:
> Emanuela Lima
> Danbury Small Business Owners:
> ICE Partnership Will Hurt Our Businesses!
> Danbury, CT - A growing group of small business owners throughout Danbury
> are becoming more vocal in their opposition to the Common Council's support
> of an ICE Partnership. The small business owners point to the Town of
> Riverside, NJ, highlighted in a NY Times article on Sept. 26th, 2007 that
> documented the decimated downtown following strict anti-immigrant
> legislation. Business owners in Danbury, where up to 34% of the population
> is foreign born, is fearful that a partnership with ICE would lead to
> increased harassment and discrimination to Latino's regardless of their
> legal status. A community fearful of police harassment is not a good
> business environment.
> "An ICE partnership is bad for business," stated Wilson Hernandez, owner of
> Mitad Del Mundo Restaurant. "Who is going to want to shop downtown if they
> are scared of harassment by police?"
> "I am nervous that an ICE partnership will hurt my business and make it no
> longer profitable to be on Main St.," stated Minas Bakery & Deli owner
> Marcilio Fernandes. If Latin's regardless of legal status are continually
> harassed in Danbury why would I want to keep my business here?"
> The Town of Riverside watched as the economy plummeted. Hair Salons,
> restaurants, and corner shops that were Latino owned and catered to the
> community boarded up their business leaving Main Street. Danbury business
> owners are very weary of Danbury following Riverside's path.
> "I have raised my family here, I have roots in this community; I don't want
> to watch Danbury follow Riverside," stated Renata Amaral, co-owner of RM
> Recently the town of Riverside rescinded their anti-immigrant ordinance.
> Small business owners in Danbury are hopefully the Common Council will not
> follow Riverside's path.
Instead of addressing the campaign contributions made to Boughton during the 07 cycle, the Tribuna opted to attack the messenger an statement in which it is announced that the paper would "withdrawal" support for Boughton:
TRIBUNA WITHDRAWALS ITS SUPPORT FOR MAYOR BOUGHTON
Mayor's Proposed Partnership with ICE is hurtful to the community and the local immigrant population
Danbury, CT - Since its creation in 2000, TRIBUNA NEWSPAPER has expressed its support to Danbury's mayors. From Gene Eriquez to Mark Boughton, this multi-cultural publication has worked closely with local leaders covering stories and voicing concerns of the local immigrant community.
After announcing its plans to check the legal status of the city's immigrants in 2005, TRIBUNA had several conversations with Mayor Mark Boughton expressing its opposition to his plan. Eventually, the mayor set the issue aside. TRIBUNA continued with its support for Boughton on the last election, endorsing him as the candidate with the best overall plans for the city.
Recent e-mails to the press have claimed that TRIBUNA's previous support weakens its participation in the community coalition fighting against the proposal. These e-mails were sent by a former disgruntled employee of TRIBUNA, who was fired for unethical behavior shortly after TRIBUNA was launched. This incident was well documented. But most importantly, we would like to remind all that this is not a time for bickering amongst immigrants and attacks for personal gain.
TRIBUNA is a strong voice against Boughton's proposal since it knows that the recent mayor's plans of a partnership with ICE are a true harm to the community. It makes sense for authorities to expect that illegal immigrants who committed crimes to be deported. But TRIBUNA will no longer support a mayor who would pass a plan that would also deport immigrant workers, who came to this country legally and don't have a green card because they are waiting for the conclusion of their legalization process. A plan that could take children away from good parents, divide families and close businesses owned by honest people who have contributed greatly to this city. TRIBUNA once again invites Mayor Mark Boughton to reconsider his support for this measure and its impact in this city.
Almost a year to the day when they announced their "withdrawal" of support for Boughton, campaign reports show that Barcelar's daughter/Tribuna Managing Editor/Reporter Angela Barbosa attended a fundraiser for Boughton and donated 120.000 to his campaign. Later that year, in a reversal from their 2007 declaration in which the paper withdrawal support for Boughton, the paper wrote the following endorsement of Boughton over 2009 Democratic mayoral candidate Gary Goncalves.
Tribuna Editorial, Nov 2009:
As an immigrant, I disagree with the way Mayor Mark Boughton addressed the partnership agreement with ICE in 2008. As a member of the Danbury community, however, I cannot judge a mayoral candidate's platform based only on the issue of immigration.
The reality is that during Boughton's four terms, the city saw new schools, such as Western Connecticut AIS Magnet School and Ellsworth Avenue Elementary School (formerly Roberts Avenue), newly paved roads, the new Firefighter House Engine 26 on the west side, an upgraded athletic field in Rogers Park, and a modern Police Department. The new station revitalized a sector of the city considered challenging, and lifted the morale of the police officers that today are able to work in a safe, efficient facility. All of these improvements benefit the residents who are citizens, as well as the immigrants in Danbury.
For these reasons, Tribuna is endorsing Mark Boughton for Mayor of the City of Danbury.
In response to the paper's reversal, The Communidade News had this to say (NOTE: Originally written in Portuguese, translated to English via Google Translation so the grammar is a bit off):
This week the residents of Danbury will know who will lead the city for the next two years. If the current representative of the office, Mark Boughton or his opponent, Democrat Gary Goncalves.
During the period in which the election was open, few have ventured to point out openly the possible winner. With the exception of the Brazilian community, who pushed a change to continue to hope that one day they can live in the city without fear. Fear that this was built over the past six years thanks to the dishonest and intolerant policy, focused on their own interests of the current mayor.
Gary Goncalves represented the change we needed. The Brazilians had them. But not all. Just a week before the election, the community was again the victim of its own people. One of the newspapers, they say Brazil, but that proves year after year that just uses the community will once again show their "true colors" to use an expression in English.
Official support of this journal to the current mayor proves, once again, which side they really belong. The justifications presented in an editorial is ridiculous, to say the least. It says at one point that "does not agree with the position of mayor as a partnership between police and immigration, still reinforces the support for it.
How well a friend said, it is as if a Jew would support the candidate of the Nazi party. Unbelievable!
Again opportunism and unhealthy desire to be close to the "power", speaks louder than the well-being of the community. Over the past four years, the policy of persecution and fear a reduced number of shops in Singapore a few stores, which are today for a daily sacrifice to keep the doors open. And this same newspaper, which supports the city, also called for listing them.
Contradiction? More than that, lack of character to assume that, in addition to not share the difficulties of the local merchant, still working behind the scenes, and now publicly, to make their lives worse.
Unfortunately, these same traders who place their ads in this newspaper do not realize they are funding their own bankruptcy. But how? Let me explain: in recent years the family owned this newspaper has donated significant money to the campaign of Mayor. In 2007, for example, while the community protested against the adoption of the law 287G, they donated money to the campaign of Mayor. Money left in the pocket of the entrepreneur Singapore through the site.
Everyone has the freedom to choose the way forward. But we have to have the honor to take on a public way, without double play and try, at all costs, take advantage of both sides.
To this date, although they have written numerous articles on Boughton and the municipal elections, neither the Tribuna Newspaper (in an official statement), Barcelar as Publisher, or her daughters who hold board positions at the newspaper have disclose their history of campaign contributions Boughton with the public and in my opinion, their behavior is not only wrong, but also unethical.
For this reason, the Tribuna should recuse themselves from this week's debate between Boughton and Lynn Taborsak.