CT-N LIVE VIDEO STREAM: Transportation Committee public hearing on border tolls
Time: 12:36 PM
UPDATE: The committee meeting is over and will be re-play on CT-N tomorrow at 12:35 PM. I will post highlights from the meeting tomorrow afternoon.
ICE arrests/deports woman who assisted in reporting domestic violence (and why no one should be surprised)
Time: 4:10 PM
An undocumented Florida woman who helped her sister report domestic violence now faces an order of deportation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even though her lawyers say she never should have been detected by ICE agents in the first place.
The woman, Rita Cote, 25, is married to a U.S. citizen and has four children, all of them citizens. She has no criminal record. But when police arrived to respond to the domestic-violence call on Feb. 16, 2009, law enforcement instead took Cote into custody, detained her for a week and handed her over to ICE.
Cote now faces deportation at any time to her native Honduras, which she fled as a child in 1998 to escape Hurricane Mitch and its aftermath. If deported, she could be separated from her husband and children for up to a decade.
While law-enforcement officials seek to work closely with their communities to prevent or solve crimes, immigrant-rights advocates say cases like Cote's hurt that cause. The threat of deportation can have a chilling effect on the willingness of undocumented immigrants to turn to the police, they argue, even in similar cases of violent crime, leaving areas heavily populated by illegal immigrants more dangerous and lawless.
ICE officials say their enforcement priorities first target illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes, but in practice, the agency more often rounds up those whose only crime is being in the country without documentation. The Obama administration has set a record for deportations of immigrants without a criminal record -- expelling more such people than those with a criminal record, although deportation of criminals has also increased.
In 2009, Cote appeared on ICE's radar once again following the 911 call on behalf of her sister, who does not speak English. She was still present when police responded to the call. At that point, ACLU lawyers say the responding police officers swayed from normal protocol and required everyone at the scene to present identification. According to ACLU lawyer Glenn Katon, the police took Cote to jail after demanding that she show her passport rather than another photo I.D., which had her married name.
The ACLU lawsuit contends that asking Cote for an I.D. -- and taking it to the level of demanding a passport -- was a matter of racial profiling by the police and claims police and the county had no authority to detain her. "I find that hard to believe that if this was a white family and someone got into a fight at a party, they'd ask everyone for I.D.," Katon told HuffPost.
For those who rallied against the 287g program in Danbury, Cote's case is not a surprise since this case one of the reasons immigrant rights supporters spoke out against the program back in 2008.
The Cote situation is not shocking nor is it that many of the promises made by those on the council who voted in favor of the program never materialized (i.e., monthly ICE ACCESS reports from DanburyPD, program would only be used for serious criminals, lack of transparency in regards to the cost of maintaining the program in the first place, etc).
When it comes to Danbury, the following question still goes unanswered. When will the media (who should know better) stop giving Boughton a free pass on his immigration record and start asking serious questions about the broken promises and misleading claims he and his administration made about the ICE ACCESS program...as well as the Danbury 11 case?
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Progressive Soup 02.16.11 broadcast
Time: 3:11 PM
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Community Forum 02.16.11 broadcast
Time: 2:41 PM
Mayor Mark Boughton versus Republican mouthpiece Mark Boughton: The local revenue edition
Time: 5:55 PM
While Republican mouthpiece Mark Boughton ranted and ranted on the campaign trail about the need for the residents NOT give lawmakers additional ways to raise revenue (a.k.a raising taxes), here's Mayor Mark Boughton talking about his wish list for the city of Danbury.
…so, we need to derive more revenue, not necessarily through property taxes.
There are some proposals out there…I met with some of the governor's representatives and staff today, there might be something like an expanded sales tax, where they cover more products than they covered before. Half or a quarter of that sales tax be brought back to go to the city of Danbury and the other half would go to the state. That's a good thing for us and I'm going to tell you why, we have the mall!
I can't tell you how excited I would be but I'll be twittering all night long about that if something like that were to happen.
That's right folks, Mayor Boughton wants new ways to raise revenue through NEW TAXES that goes into his pocket...the very thing Republican mouthpiece Mark Boughton rallied against last year. This also comes from someone who has placed more of a burden on taxpayers with his out of control bonding, while giving away millions sweetheart tax breaks to residential developers.
Wait! It gets better...
Today, Gov. Dannel Malloy granted Mayor Boughton his wish in proposing the very municipal sales tax that he talked about in the above clip. Not only that, but the governor's proposal also calls for a doubling of the conveyance tax (another revenue stream for cities and towns), giving towns the ability to levy property taxes on airplanes (Danubry Airport) and boats (Candlewood Lake), a commitment to keep Education Cost Sharing at it's current level (which takes some of the cost of education off of municipalities), as well as keeping statutory grants at their constant level.
Other goodies for municipalities include:
- Increasing the state hotel tax from 12 percent to 15 percent. Revenue raised by 1 percentage point of that tax would be sent to cities and towns.
- Creating a new statewide, 3 percent surcharge on car rentals. Two-thirds of the revenue would go to the state and one-third to the towns.
- Restoring statewide cabaret tax, a levy on music performance venues. All revenue from this tax would go to the municipalities.
- Adding 0.1 percentage point for retail sales to the 6.25 percent sales tax rate Malloy proposed. Revenue from this surcharge would go to the municipalities in which the sales took place.Source: CTMirror
Here's what members of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities had to say about Malloy's proposal for cities and towns.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said that overall Malloy seemed to have made cities, towns and their property taxpayers a priority in his proposed budget, despite the state’s fiscal crisis.
“This is a brave new world I think we’re entering here and I know that everyone here is enthusiastic to be here and support our governor’s budget because both as a lawmaker and as a mayor, I can tell you that no one has ever uttered the kinds of words that Dan Malloy has uttered today,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.
The state hasn’t had a governor, in recent history, who looks to balance the budget without deep cuts in municipal aid, he said.
The message from CCM was surprisingly unified despite varying party allegiances. Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry, a Republican, said she would have liked to hear more from Malloy about mandate relief and spending cuts but, overall, she thought the governor had kept true to his word.
...and there's more!
"The governor has made considerable efforts to protect municipal aid," CCM Executive Director James Finley said Wednesday, calling the plan "good news for cities and towns." Finley said last week that cutting ECS by $271 million "would have had a devastating impact on (communities') ability to provide public education as they do now."
Municipal leaders have long complained that during tough fiscal times, state officials often reduce non-education grants while protecting the more popular, higher-profile ECS program, a trend they commonly refer to as the "shell game."
But the governor also kept the budget axe away from grants for road construction, local capital improvements, school transportation, adult education and the municipalities' $61 million annual share of slot revenues from Connecticut's two Indian casinos.
Malloy also preserved funding for two longstanding grant programs that reimburse communities for a portion of local property tax revenues tied to colleges, hospitals and state property -- all of which are exempt from municipal taxation.
The Malloy budget took one major step further, however, giving municipal governments access to $85.2 million more next fiscal year, and $129.3 million by 2012-13.
Given everything Malloy proposed to cities like Danbury, which include the local sales tax Boughton wished for and promised he would twitter about if included in the budget, Mayor Boughton and Republican mouthpiece Boughton were at odds with each other.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said that while the city will take what it can get, $1.4 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the city's annual budget of about $210 million.
"Every little bit helps, there is no question about that, and we are certainly grateful for the opportunity to collect these revenues," he said. "But we really need to see some unfunded mandates repealed and changes to the collective bargaining process in the state if we are going to be able to manage municipal government efficiently."
Actually Mark, Malloy's plan for municipalities will give the city aprox. 6 MILLION dollars in additional revenue.
Through the proposals, Danbury could receive as much as $6 million of additional revenue in the next two years, while Bethel would get about a $1 million as part of the biennial budget.
The additional revenue would come through municipalities keeping a portion of the sales tax generated within their borders, as well as an increase in the conveyance tax charged during real estate transactions.
Well see if Mayor Boughton will follow Republican mouthpiece Boughton's advice in not finding new ways to spend his additional revenue stream (a.k.a. money he'll receive from his new local taxes).
I guess dealing with a split personality is hard work.
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Spotlight On 02.08.11 broadcast
Time: 3:58 PM
Open Mic at 1Bar: A rare musical jewel in Danbury
Time: 11:17 AM
For as long as I can remember, I've been a HUGE fan of independent music in Danbury.
From the musical explosion in the early 90s when groups such as Monsterland, Creature Did, Hed, China Pig, the Bunnie Brains, and Gnu Fuz put the city on the map, to later years when watching the jazz group Blue! at The Hat City Ale House became on Wednesday night became required viewing, Danbury has always been a great place to hear music that you couldn't hear on traditional radio.
Fast forward to 2011 and on Monday nights, The 1Bar took Danbury's musical baton with their open mic night for new and upcoming talents in the area. I've been attending the session at the place formerly known as Cousin Larry's on Elm Street for several years and it's great to see that independent music is still alive and well in the area after all these years.
From time to time, I'll post highlights from the open mic session a The One Bar...and I hope that you'll take the time and stop by on Monday night and listen to some of the great musical talent that Danbury has to offer.
From last Monday, here's video footage of a pretty cool spoken word jam session (UPDATE: The name of the artist in the clip is Nantambu and you can usually catch his act every Monday night).
FAIRFIELD WEEKLY: 1Bar replaces Cousin Larry's in Danbury
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Bethel Today 02.08.11 broadcast
Time: 10:17 PM
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