Time: 11:11 AM
We'll be visiting Roger's Park today and we'll show you the terrible condition of the playground area including the hole where the pool used to be.
We'll be getting comments from ordinary people and asking questions about the state of the city.
Volleyball STILL in the news
Time: 9:31 AM
Now, Mayor Boughton and city offiicials are claiming that part of Miguel Valverde's property on Casper Street is actually city property. To understand this, you need to go back 60 years to the flood of 1955 when the Still River was rerouted and part of that River is on Valverde's property.
First, you know what's going on here and it very obvious. Boughton and the city officials are trying to pull out off the tricks to close the volleyball game down because the games on Valverde's property is one of the biggest in the city. Second, this will prolong the immigration issue for months because unless Valverde just wants the heat off of him, he's going to take this case to court. Personally, I'd like to see Danbury prove that this is their land as property line cases are not always clear cut and using documentation from the mid-fifites is shaky.
Lastly, again this is simply a case where politicians want to look like their doing something and gain a few political points because immigration is the talk of the day. You didn't hear anything from Boughton last year or the year before that and wasn't Boughton that earlier this year proposed building a area where day workers can gather for work? The mayor doesn't really care about immigrants, he cares about his political life and when his political base complained, he pulled that building proposal off the table and started he crusade against the so-called "illigeal aliens," volleyball games, ads on the windows of stores on Main Street, and whatever else he can find that points to the immigrants.
If you look at the complaints from the neighbors, it's not that they don't like the games, it's that they are played at late hours and they might have a point but that's not how the Mayor and the Common Council want you to believe. They want you to think that "volleyball game " is the problem because all the games bring in alcohol, noise, and traffic problems. Although I said this in a eariler post also, I did not intend to paint the entire scene in this way. I meant it as a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch and the actions of the mayor proves my point
This is a smoke screen and the people in this town are drinking the kool-aid. You never heard of this problem is years past and immigrants from Central America have been here for at least ten years. When will we be able to hear about other issues that are harder to address or problems that are Boughton's creation and should be held accountable for creating such as the increase in condos in the area, the lack of a police contract which is causing policemen to leave the area, an increase in the traffic in the area, the deplorable conditions of our parks although we pay outrageous property taxes, and can't forget that silly Danbury Airport situation that happened under Boughton's watch (and thats no longer taked about).
When will the local media stop writing these stories and change the issue to things that really matter to people in the city. If they keep putting the spotlight on this issue, people will think it's the only issue.
Are the editors at the Danbury News-Times reading my site?
Time: 2:31 PM
Danbury has been the butt of jokes well beyond its borders because Common Council members have been working on an ordinance that would prohibit large volleyball games in residential neighborhoods.Again, I can't understand why had to become such a big issue. Why would the Ecuadorians community bring more unwanted attention to this area and give Mayor Boughton and the Common Council such a gift? All Boughton and the Republicans on the council had to do was act like their addressing the situation and they'd receive political points and walla, that's exactly what happened.
The ordinance doesn't mention volleyball, but proponents have proudly acknowledged that is their target specially the brand of volleyball favored by Ecuadorians living in Danbury.
Thus the round of jokes about Danbury being against volleyball.
Thus the criticism that the ordinance is really about racism directed toward Ecuadorians.
As the debate heated up, it was never clear that a new ordinance was really needed. The crowds, the noise, the cars parked all over streets, the money charged for admission, the tall lights and fences-aren't hese problems covered by existing ordinances?
Saturday, city inspectors went out on the town armed with current ordinances and had no trouble shutting down seven volleyball courts in residential neighborhoods.
The games played on these courts weren't little gatherings. They were big and noisy. Cars filled streets. There was unsafe fencing and lighting. Admission was usually $20 with another $5 charged for food. Inspectors also observed liquor being sold.
These are businesses, and not safe businesses. A residential neighborhood is no place for these enterprises.
Ecuadorian community leaders need to intervene here to help city inspectors gain compliance with zoning regulations.
In the meantime, Common Council members should recognize that volleyball isn't the only inappropriate activity going on in residential neighborhoods.
Focusing on their volleyball ordinance invites jokes and ignores those other violations and annoyances.
Again, this was such a silly thing in the first place. There was no need for volleyball games to get this out of control and made into such an issue that the politicians and press got involved with proposing to create a silly noise ordinance when they're already laws on the books that these volleyball games are violating.
With so many other issues to address in this city, to keep the immigrant situation on the front burner will only help the people currently in office because they can avoid addressing the real issues that are hampering this citysuch as traffic situation, cops working without a contract, residential overdevelopment, lack of schools, high tax rates, etc.
Don't get me wrong, the Ecuadorian community have been the scapegoat of alot of things that are wrong with Danbury and the way people (the "I was born and raised here crowd") are exploiting this issue is just downright unfair and shameful. There is a possibility that the volleyball issue is blown out of wack (I wouldn't put it past the politicians in town to do that) on the other hand but you don't have to draw attention to yourselves by having thses massive games where you charge admission and serve booze.
Local access television
Time: 6:10 PM
Thanks to TiVo (oh I love it), we've been able to keep an eye on the shows on local access (Comcast channel 23 to be exact) and in the comming weeks, we're going to expose you to what being said by the local talking heads. Some of the programs are informative while others are downright ridiculous and we've going to provide you with video clips of the shows so you can what these people in action.
The two shows we've monitored the most were "In Our Opinion" which airs Friday night at 8 pm and Big T Variety show which airs Friday at 9 pm simply because these are two of the oldest shows on the channel and are the most entertaining (for good and bad reasons). We'll comment on these two shows very soon.
City cracks down on volleyball games
Time: 12:40 PM
On one hand, it truly amazes me that immigrants in Danbury are drawing attention to themselves with the amount of volleyball games being played in the area. It's not the games that are the problem, it's the amount of people attending the games, the selling of alcohol, the disregard of proper parking, and the noise associated with the game that's pissing people off.
On the other hand, it this really an issue or a case where certain people (the "I was born and raised here" crowd) are just finding yet another reason to point the finger at the immigrant population. These are the same people who complain about the amount of immigrant stores and resturants on Main Street (if I hear one more story about Steinbachs, I'm going to freak out). It's not like the volleyball games just popped up out of nowhere. They've been playing the games for years and until Mayor Boughton made immigration a political issue, you didn't hear many complaints from anyone. Now, illegal immigration is the root of all the problems in Danbury and volleyball is just part of the big "illegal immigration" picture.
Whatever the case, Mayor Boughton and the Republicans are trying to pick up political points by cracking down on the games.
From Tuesday's Danbury News-Times
Inspectors from the health, building and housing departments shut down seven volleyball courts Saturday night and leveled a number of code violations against their operators.
Officials said it was the first of what would be several sweeps to clamp down on the boisterous backyard competitions.
[...]One trouble spot was on Casper Street.
Corlis Ward and Eric Monroe are neighbors to the home where large numbers of people play volleyball seven days a week. "It started out it was just Saturday night. Then it was Saturday and Sunday. Then Friday, Saturday and Sunday," Monroe said.
"It's every day between 5 and 6 p.m. They start lining up to play," Monroe said. "It is congested now. When the cars are parked on both sides of the road, a fire truck or emergency vehicle couldn't get through here."
Ward and Monroe have heard blaring music as late as 2 a.m. and they described the volleyball playing as a daily horror show in the neighborhood.
The property owner called that an exaggeration.
Catalina Valverde, who owns the Casper Street house with her husband, Miguel, said only about 40 people — not the 200 cited by officials — were playing and watching volleyball in her yard when officials arrived at around 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Valverde said visitors parked their vehicles on the street on just one side of the road.
"I don't know what is going to happen next," she said. "I try to control where people park and the noise level here. We'll see what happens. We respect Danbury's laws. Volleyball is just a game, nothing more."
Another neighbor, Sinh Ith, who has lived on Casper Street for 20 years, said the volleyball games aren't so bad.
"The police came by at 9:15 on Saturday and told them to stop playing. They did so right away," Sinh said. "The noise level is bothersome a little bit, but they've brought the volume down because more police cars patrol the neighborhood than before."
It's this type of overreacting and knee-jerking to a situation that hurts everyone because instead of talking about real issues that effect everyone in Danbury, we keep talking about the "immigrant problem" simply because it's a hot button topic. Personally, I think too much attention is being paid to this issue and there are many other problems this city is facing that's not being addressed.
Boughton throws his hat into the race for a third time
Time: 9:08 AM
Boughton drew criticism from both sides of the political arena for his stance on illegal immigration (his original proposal of building a place where day laborers can gather away from Kennedy Ave irratated his social conservative political base. His change in strategy by proposing state police be deputized as immigration officers drew criticism from minorities in the area and led to a march in Danbury that drew over 1,000 people).
Boughton, a former social studioes teacher for Danbury High, has also created controversy for what some call an over-development of the city citing an increase in new condominiums (Boughton plans to bring 500 condos to Kennedy Ave, 100+ units to Crosby Ave and has been responsible for the creation of several condominium complexes since winning office back in 2001).
People are also critical of Boughton for the lack of police enforcement in the area (primarily traffic enforcement) as officers have worked without a contract for the last three years. The local newspaper, The Danbury News-Times, reported last week that many police officers from Danbury are now moving to Florida due primarily to the lack of a contract.
The overcrowding of schools in the area (primarily middle schools) is also an issue that critics say Boughton has failed to address promptly (Boughton announced plans to make additions to the Broadview and Rogers Park middle schools).
With these issues surrounding Boughton, it's safe to say that it's going to be an interesting campaign season.
From the News Times:
Issues, like illegal immigration," said Boughton, who drew both praise and criticism this year for drawing national media attention to Danbury's burgeoning immigrant population. "The problem is a failed federal policy, and the lack of a policy that people can understand."
In November, he will face Democrat Dean Esposito, a former town clerk and Common Council member who works as a house painter. "He's running?" Esposito said, jokingly, on Monday night. "With all his problems, I wasn't sure he was running again."
Esposito said Boughton has flip-flopped on the immigration issue. He said Boughton first called for the creation of a hall where day laborers could meet potential employers.
"Then he gets a bunch of phone calls attacking him for proposing a hall, and so he goes out and attacks illegal immigrants," Esposito said. "It's obviously an issue, but it has to be addressed at the federal level. If I was mayor, I'd be talking to the governor, to the state representatives and to the senators."
Boughton said one of his administration's most recent accomplishments is to address run-down buildings and other blight in the city.
A blight task force issued 400 citations in 2004. It has focused on finding and closing illegal apartments in attics and basements of homes. City officials say the added units are often poorly built and create crowded conditions and fire hazards. With a handful of families living in what were originally single-family houses, cars park illegally on lawns or jam streets.
"Our neighborhoods are a core component of a successful city," Boughton said. "We're bringing them back."
Prejudice against Ecuadorians or a noise problem
Time: 10:24 PM
Nathan Thornburgh for TIME magazine did an great piece that scratches the surface in what will be a hot button issue this campaign season.
The staid townspeople of Danbury, Conn., have diagnosed a cancer on their city's body politic. Formerly upstanding houses have degenerated, residents say, into raucous dens of illegal alcohol sales, gambling, even prostitution. "This used to be a nice place to live," laments schoolteacher Corlis Ward, who has been on the same quiet street for 30 years. "It's sad, but now I'm thinking about moving."I'd like to see a noise ordinance used on a group of kids who play wiffle-ball every night in the street (I wouldn't hold my breath). Comments like "it's not just volleyball" is dishonest to say the least and Boughton's next sentance exposes his true feelings.
What's to blame for the moral rot? It's not drug dealing or gang wars. In Danbury the vice, according to local officials and longtime residents, is volleyball. Specifically, "ecuavolley," a form of the game so beloved in Ecuador that when Ecuadorians began migrating en masse to this small working-class New England city, they built backyard courts all over town, some big enough to accommodate up to 150 fans and players.
Neighbors complain that the games are overrunning residential areas--and that some organizers are running prostitution rings on the side. The Ecuadorians deny such charges, defending what they call harmless relaxation after a hard day's labor. "This is an overreaction about other issues," says Wilson Hernandez, a leader in the Ecuadorian community. "Volleyball is just the excuse."
As Hispanic immigrants spread beyond their strongholds in New York, California and Texas, summer sports--and the spectators that cluster around them--are turning up the heat on already simmering ethnic and class tensions, according to Princeton University sociologist Douglas Massey. "There are complaints in parks and fields all across America. Volleyball just happens to be the local version in Danbury," he says. "But if you know anything about Latin cultures, this is pretty innocent stuff. They bring their families. The men aren't getting totally drunk because, really, they are there for the sports."
Danbury's problems, of course, go deeper than that particular game. Over the past decade, the number of undocumented workers, many drawn to the city by landscaping or construction jobs in more affluent surrounding towns, has swelled to as much as 20% of its population. The influx, officials say, has also led to overstuffed apartment buildings, milling crowds of day laborers and legions of uninsured patients.
Volleyball, however, is the biggest sticking point. Mayor Mark Boughton tried--and failed--to get local cops deputized as federal immigration agents, but he's still urging the passage of an ordinance banning "repetitive outdoor group activities." Boughton insists that the ordinance is crafted broadly enough to prevent rowdy Wiffle-ball games, for example, and not just volleyball. "We're not singling out Ecuadorians or immigrants in general," he says. "It's the illegal immigration that is hurting our town."
Creating a few volleyball courts at Roger's park (that Ecuadorian will not use because of the surface and will not be maintained because the park is in such poor condition presently) or passing a noise ordinance (which no one will adhere to) will not solve the overall problem.
Legal or illegal, they'll still play volleyball. Legal or illegal, they'll still be day laborers lining up on Kennedy looking for work. The point is even if every person was legal, you'll still probably have the same problems you face now. A person could be have all the legal papers in the world, get paid under the table, and probably not own a car or drive one unregistered which means you would still contribute next to nothing in the form of taxes and still drain the resources that the Mayor and certain people complain about.
The people of Danbury have real concerns and deserve real solutions, not the current red-meat rhetoric that the local politicians are spewing out there because it's an election year (where were all the complaints last year or the year before).
We've been researching this issue for the last year and will debunk most of the misinformation thats being spread in Danbury in future posts.
A work in progress.
Time: 6:39 PM
Unlike my other blog CONNECTICUTBlog this site will focus on things that are happening in Danbury and the surrounding areas (such as Newtown, Bethel, Brookfield, and Ridgefield). I've been collecting political programs from the local cable station, Comcast channel 23, and I'll be attending as many political events as possible.
As always, I'm looking for stories, tips, or anything that you think is not being reported so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also take videos, photos and I'll will post any relevant information.
I'll be doing more postings very soon so PLEASE come back often and spread the word!
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