Editorial nails it

Thursday, August 04, 2005
Time: 9:25 AM

Here's an excellent editoral from the Sioux City Journal that correctly describes the current climate in Danbury when it comes to the immigrant situation.
It has come to this: The latest battles in America's culture wars are erupting not in Congress or in state legislatures but on volleyball courts and baseball diamonds.

Those Americans who are constantly up in arms over illegal immigration will say that what angers them most is the "illegal" part, the fact that so many people seem to feel as if they can cross our nation's borders without the proper documentation. But that's only part of the story. The other reason there is so much resistance to illegal immigration is because, with so many immigrants coming in at once, a lot of people are concerned that newcomers aren't assimilating into American culture as rapidly or as completely as they should.

For what it is worth, those concerns don't seem to be justified. There doesn't seem to be much evidence that this latest wave of immigrants ... which is coming mainly from Latin America ... is much different from the Irish, Italian or German immigrants who immigrated 100 years ago. Nor will the experience of their children be much different, one assumes. Assimilation happens, and no one can prevent it.

Still, Americans are on edge over cultural issues, and all they need is the slightest provocation to set them off. And who knew that the simple act of gathering to play volleyball in a city park, or uttering a few words of Spanish at a Little League game, could be so provocative.

Yet, apparently it was to some residents of Danbury, Conn., who decided that the latest threat to their way of life was coming from the groups of Ecuadorian immigrants who congregated in the back yards of private homes and in city parks to play volleyball. Town residents claim that the "ecuavolley" ... as it is known to the immigrants ... is a magnet for all sorts of illegal activity. But leaders in the Ecuadorian community say that allegation is unfounded and that volleyball is just an excuse. What really rattles residents, they say, is that their town is becoming more ethnically diverse as immigrants arrive to take jobs in the construction field.


There is more here than meets the eye. This isn't about volleyball or baseball. It isn't even about immigrants or Spanish. It's about fear of change and how irrationally it can make some people behave. It is worth debating the emotionally charged issues of language and immigration, but there is a place to have that debate. These are not the places.
I couldn't of said it any better myself.

New York Times jumps on the volleyball bandwagon

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Time: 9:00 AM

Surprise, surprise!

Volleyball is back in the press. It's like these isn't anything else of interest in Danbury than volleyball which is what the press wants you to believe.

Here's the latest entry in the volleyball drama from the New York Times

Six weeks after more than 1,000 immigrants marched down Main Street to demand respect from the mayor, he is taking steps to stop their sometimes raucous volleyball games, which officials say are occasions for illegal enterprise.

The evening games, a passion among Danbury's growing population of Ecuadorean immigrants, sometimes draw more than 100 people to backyards in otherwise quiet residential neighborhoods. After a nighttime sweep by code enforcement officers on July 23, city workers issued cease-and-desist orders for seven properties.

"What we shut down was seven illegal businesses that happened to have volleyball as their draw for selling food and alcohol," Sean P. Hearty, the city's permit officer, said of the backyard games.

Mr. Hearty and other city officials said they also found overcrowded apartments, cars parked illegally on neighboring yards and fire and building code violations, including nets rising more than 20 feet over backyard fences - to keep the volleyball in the yard - and extension cords buried below ground to power lights for night games.

While the sweeps that Saturday night were a first, they reflected persistent tension in a city that has become a battleground in the national debate over illegal immigration in smaller cities and suburbs.

In April, Mayor Mark D. Boughton asked the state to seek federal permission to deputize state police officers to enforce federal immigration laws in the city. On June 12, a coalition of Ecuadorean immigrants led a mile-long march on a stretch of Main Street whose storefronts, once empty, have been transformed with new Hispanic and Brazilian businesses.


Critics, including some marchers, have said Mr. Boughton is biased against immigrants and using the issue for political gain. In an interview on Thursday at City Hall, the mayor, a Republican who announced his candidacy for a third term on July 25, rejected the claims and said he wanted to make sure "the issue doesn't get driven down to a racial issue."

As he has in the past, he blamed a "failed federal policy" that leaves local officials with few tools to deal with the pressures of immigration at the neighborhood level. Mr. Boughton said he had spoken with officials in other states, including California and New York, and that he hoped to create a coalition of mayors who would work toward immigration reform.

For now, Danbury has responded with stricter code enforcement.


Working with Danbury police officers, the team, which includes enforcement officers from the city's fire, building, zoning and health and housing divisions, cited seven private homes and apartment houses. City officials said they visited properties during the games, identified themselves, asked homeowners if they could enter the properties, then spoke casually with people who, for example, told them they had paid 50 cents for a beer and $5 for a plate of chicken or pork.

"We're not targeting a certain demographic," said Timothy J. Bunting, the assistant zoning enforcement officer. "We're targeting problem areas."

Mr. Hearty, the permit officer, said no arrests were made, nor were fines issued. City officials have said in the past that backyard volleyball games have involved gambling and drugs, though no such activities were cited in the recent sweep.

Seems like the "born and raised" people of Danbury are getting their wish for now but I like how the Times exposed one of the locals rumors that certain people and city officals running for re-election have been saying which is that immigrants' activities encourages crimes like drugs and prostitution. This and other rumors is the most frequent thing you hear from people and groups which want the immigrants off of Main Street and kicked out of town (kind of like what they did to a majority of the low income Africam-Americans with the projects which arelocated far away from any major street (besides the one on Main which was a major eye-sore for many years).

Since it's an election year, Boughton is simply scoring political points by raising the stakes in teh immigrant situation and making this his number one priority (although immigrants have been in the city for years).

Whether his actions will result in votes reamins to be seen but the democrats in the area better get their act together soon and make a stance for or against Boughton's political actions. If I was a democrat seekeing office, I wouldn't just allow Boughton to get all this free press and free exposure.

Honesty gets you a "Get out of Jail Free" card?

Sunday, July 31, 2005
Time: 11:11 AM

This is too rich!

The two teens who broke in to the Danbury Airport and stole a plane with pilot Philippe Patricio are asking the judge for acceralted rehbilitation which, if they finish the program, will result in having the charges against them dropped. Their reason for receiving rehabilitation...they were honest.

From the Danbury News-Times

Thomas Cascio and Andrew Mentch, both 16 and from Bethel, are hoping to get the felony charge of circumventing airport security against them dismissed by a special program called accelerated rehabilitation.

On Friday, Mentch, accompanied by his parents and a lawyer, applied for the special program. Cascio applied last week.

"He's a good kid and he's only 16 years old," Mentch's lawyer, Tom Beecher, said. "That will give him an opportunity to have a clean record."

Cascio and Mentch were passengers in an airplane that was allegedly stolen June 21 from Danbury Municipal Airport. The pilot, Philippe Patricio, 20, who was allegedly drunk, landed at Westchester County Airport at about 4 a.m. Patricio faces charges in Danbury and Westchester County Court.

Paul Estefan, the airport administrator, said Friday that he appreciates Mentch's honesty when speaking to police July 9. That's when Mentch talked about how he, Patricio and Cascio got into the airport. Mentch told them that "we jumped the fence on the left side of the sliding gate."

In a prior statement on June 22, Mentch told police that they entered through a locked gate after Patricio opened the gate using a code.

A court document also states that Patricio told police he used his code to open the gate that allows access to the area where the plane had been parked.

"He was very honest," Estefan said of Mentch. "I can tell you, his honesty is a good thing."

The honesty "answered a lot of questions for a lot of people and that has to count for something," Estefan said.

Estefan said he will be present at the teens' hearing on Aug. 23 and will speak then about whether he thinks the teens should receive the program. He wants to discuss the case with Mayor Mark Boughton before making his opinion known.

Now I understand that these two are teens and while a agree that their punishment doesn't have to consist of a felony conviction, it wasn't like these two are completely innocent and didn't know what they were doing and as records indicate, were drinking also. They had to have known that scaling a fence at and breaking into a airplane was probably a wrong thing to do and flying around with a drunk pilot who could of killed people on the ground wasn't that smart of an idea either.

They're as much responsible for what happened than Patricio simply because they were they participated in this ridiculous crime. They could of said "hey, lets's not do this" or "no, maybe we'll let you (Patricio) fly us some other time. Maybe if they would of objected to going to the flying, Patricio wouldn't gone to the airport in the first place.

For all the unwanted national media attention these teens created (some of that press was good because it exposed the lack of security at the facility), they should receive at the very least a really good slap on the wrist. Why should honesty mean you can get off the hook?

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Danbury candidates quarrel over charter school, education funding

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Danbury residents plead for charter school funds in 9-hour state budget hearing: ‘Just exhausted’

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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.



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

(02.25.08) Court docket

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

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint

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

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

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

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

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

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

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City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

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(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

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

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

trans_button Santos Family Story
VIDEO: Tereza Pereira's ordeal with ICE agents

VIDEO: Danbury Peace Coalition Immigration Forum (April 2006)
featuring Mayor Boughton and Immigration attorney Philip Berns

VIDEO: 2007 Stop the Raids immigration forum at WCSU

2007: Community protest anti-immigration forum

A tribute to Hispanic Center Director and immigrant activist Maria Cinta Lowe



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Newstimes Dean Esposito profile (10.25.05)

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