Number 1: There is very little real economic development in Mark Boughton’s budget. Instead, taxpayers will be footing the bill for brochures that promote CityCenter restaurants, seminars for CityCenter minority-language businesses and marketing materials for the Nutmeg State Games in August of 2008.
Danbury is a city of 44 square miles Why is economic development limited to Main Street and the Central City Business District? Don’t the other 43 square miles count? And just what is the purpose of the Danbury Downtown Council and CityCenter Danbury? They have their own taxing district and yet Mark Boughton provides them with a grant of $40,000 from the General Fund too. In addition, the city pays for replacement of the antique decorative streetlights, for the landscaping of Library Plaza, Kennedy Plaza and Elmwood Park, and for the beautiful planters and flowering baskets throughout the CityCenter district. Can’t they promote the downtown themselves?
Number 2: Mark Boughton is expanding his blight program and giving it a new politically correct name; “ Livable Neighborhoods”. It looks a SWAT team for street by street zoning enforcement. There are 4 fulltime positions; a coordinator, who happens to be a zoning enforcement officer, a deputy fire Marshall, an assistant zoning enforcement officer, and an assistant building inspector. Their stated mission is to respond to complaints about illegal apartments, blight and overcrowding. It’s complaint driven and negative. It relies on snitches, tattletales and stool pigeons to report ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY in your neighborhood.
Livable neighborhoods actually have many POSITIVE characteristics: There is mixed land use – a mix of residential, commercial, recreation and open space. There is a range of housing options from single family to multi-family, to apartment rentals to condos, in a range of prices. Liveable neighborhoods are walkable, safe neighborhoods with distinctive neighborhood features. Most of all, there is a strong sense of community and all residents participate in defining the needs and direction of their neighborhood.
ZONING INSPECTIONS DO NOT CREATE VIBRANT, COHESIVE NEIGHBORHOODS But support for the development of new community and neighborhood organizations will. The Blind Brook Neighborhood Association is a perfect model. It has turned a declining neighborhood around. But because it was the model for the Eriquez administration, you won’t find it in Mark Boughton’s budget. You’ll find the UNIT…the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team.
Number 3: Mark Boughton has embraced the Republican mantra of corporate downsizing with his plan to consolidate the welfare department into the Health and Housing Department in this budget. It is a step in the wrong direction. We all know the pecking order in Government programs. The Feds pass the buck to the states. The States pass the buck to the towns. This is the end of the food chain. This is our village and there is no other level of government that is going to help people who fall through the cracks.
And this corporate downsizing costs more money! Scott LeRoy, the Director of Health and Housing will get a $13,000 raise to lead this new consolidated department; and his assistant, Paul Sherloh, gets a new title of “Director of Health and Welfare” and a $12,500 raise. While every surrounding town is maintaining their commitment to local social services in their budgets, Danbury, the largest town, is kicking welfare to the curb.
Number 4:Mark Boughton’s budget fails to fund the one-time, non-recurring start-up costs of the new magnet school. He graciously accepts the 21 million dollar state–of-the-art magnet school at no cost to Danbury taxpayers…an elementary school that will provide an incredible opportunity for 160 Danbury students this year and for the next 20 years to come.
Danbury is the host district and to be sure, there are recurring costs that will affect Danbury taxpayers each and every year - teacher salaries, insurance, supplies and transportation. But can anyone imagine a circumstance where adding a new school building wouldn’t add certain one-time costs. For instance, the library at the new magnet school has no books and books cannot be provided through the construction grant. The school is requesting about 25 library books per student as a “start-up cost”. That’s 7500 books this year! Mark Boughton isn’t funding them. He is providing an empty library for those kids. There is a little hypocrisy here when we know that elected officials will take credit for the new school and fight over the scissors for the official ribbon cutting.
Number 5: Just 3 months ago, the Common Council provided a big reduction in connection fees for sewer and water in the Central City Business District. The connection fee went from $1500 per dwelling unit to $500 per dwelling unit with a $2500 cap per building. Of course, this reduction would particularly benefit BRT’s large scale, high density, nine building residential development, Kennedy Place. The giveaway in connection fees will potentially cost the city $850,000. How can the Mayor justify the increase in rates on both water and sewer for users throughout the city? It is not fair. And it is not fair that a thousand gallons of water will cost you $10.79 or $16.78 or $34.70 depending on the size of your meter. After all, how many gallons of water are there in a thousand gallons of water?
Again, the Democrats raise some very interesting points which we'll examine in more detail over the next few weeks.
Nancy Johnson received some visitors at her Danbury office yesterday.
Voters from the 5th district came to Nancy Johnson's office on Main Street yesterday afternoon to express their opposition to the Medicare Plan D and also handed her a really generous check.
Wow, that was really nice of them to give Johnson a check…well, not really.
You see, Johnson is the number one House recipient of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry and the check they brought with them represents the amount of money she received from drug companies.
The MediScare Plan D for those that do not know was a crappy piece of legislation which was pushed and written by the Pharmaceutical Drug and Insurance industries. They paid out millions to congresspeople and wrote the legislation which Tom Delay and other Republicans then rammed through the House by keeping the vote open (in violation of House laws), bribing other politicians on the House floor and lying about the cost. Not coincidentally a few people who worked on the legislation, such as Billy Tauzin, Republican of Louisiana, got lucrative jobs working for the same industry that benefited the most from the MediScare Plan D. Some key negative features of the plan include the infamous donut hole where seniors will have to pay 100% of all the costs between $2250 and $5100 and the fact that negotiating with the drug manufacturers is prohibited. Also, the deadline for signing up is Monday. After that, seniors will be paying a fine.
Seniors paying a fine? Doesn’t sound very American to screw seniors does it? Thankfully, these people came to Johnson's office and gave her a piece of their mind. Unfortunately, Johnson's office was closed (how ironic).
Before the anti-immigrant crowd jumps over this story, let me remind you that brothels are nothing new to Danbury as the city has a long history of with the world's oldest profession. These brothels were well known to the public and existed for many years before closing up shop. The most famous of the well-known brothels was located next to the popular former "Deeps Market" supermarket on North Street and was in existence for at least 15 years. Another was located on Federal Road at the current location of Enterprise Rent-a-Car and was the worst kept secret in the history of Danbury. You probably won't hear much about these places from the anti-immigrant xenophobes becasue those brothels generally catered to the white community while the police spend their time rounding up hookers on Bever Street and High Ridge.
We'll provide you with a full breakdown of former brothels in Danbury (including one "oriental spa" that is still in business to this day). Believe me, the former brothels of the past would of put these last two prostitution homes to shame and you'll see what I mean when I give you all the details later.
The MediScare Plan D for those that do not know was a crappy piece of legislation which was pushed and written by the Pharmaceutical Drug and Insurance industries. They paid out millions to congresspeople and wrote the legislation which Tom Delay and other Republicans then rammed through the House by keeping the vote open (in violation of House laws), bribing other politicians on the House floor and lying about the cost. Not coincidentally a few people who worked on the legislation, such as Billy Tauzin, Republican of Louisiana, got lucrative jobs working for the same industry that benefitted the most from the the MediScare Plan D. Some key negative features of the plan include the infamous donut hole where seniors will have to pay 100% of all the costs between $2250 and $5100 and the fact that negotiating with the drug manufacturers is prohibited. Also, the deadline for signing up is monday. After that, seniors will be paying a fine.
Finally, here's a repeat of the famous MoveOn.org ad for your viewing pleasure...
So much for that backlash against businesses that support immigrant rights.
So much for the backlash against the immigrant rally on April 30th.
So much for the backlash against parents who kept their kids from school on May 1st.
All talk, no action...typical.
Like I said time and time again, the twisted views of the anti-immigrant community represent a minute portion of the views of people in Danbury. No matter how many letters to the editor or silly lectures they give at Common Council meetings, the anti-immigrant wackos can't seem to find many people in the area supporting their cause.
The most recent NY Times/CBS poll is getting headlines for showing that Bush is the lamest of lame ducks, but the most interesting numbers are on immigration.
On the political front, 45% support the Dem position versus 29% supporting the GOP on immigration.
Oh, oh. I guess you can kiss that whole changing the law to make being an illegal immigrant a felony thing goodbye. Sorry guys.
Lets continue as it gets better...
Remarkably, the number of people calling for LEGAL immigration to be decreased is at a historical low. Just last year and for most of the last decades, roughly a majority of the public called for decreasing immigration below its present levels.
Today, just 34% call for decreasing legal immigration, with 39% calling for INCREASED levels of legal immigration and 22% calling for maintaining present levels of immigration. Obviously, some of the message has gotten through that the best way to deal with illegal immigration is to create greater opportunities for legal status for immigrants.
And as for illlegal immigration, only 36% of Americans in the poll believe immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens. But it's on solving the problem that you see the rightwing view being rejected:
61% of Americans favor giving illegal immigrants legal status and keeping their present jobs
and 66% reject building the proposed 700-mile fence at the border.
Poll after poll has come to the same conclusion and the evidence is painfully clear. People are rejecting the views of the extermists which is why groups like the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control and U.S. Citizens for Immigration Law Enforcement can't seem to find new members nor can they get more than 100 people to come to any of their events.
Earth to the xenophobes...NO ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU! I think I likes you guys better when you wore white robes.
Will the Republican-controlled Common Council see the writing on the wall or will they keep digging themselves deeper into a hole? All indications show that they still have the shovel in their hands.
Maybe they should remember that November 2007 isn't that far away.
Well, it was a big night for Democrats in Danbury as Democratic gubernatorial candidates John DeStefano and Dan Malloy stopped into town. With less than two weeks until the Democratic Convention, each candidate is trying to capture as many delegates as possible and both of them put on quite a show. Also speaking at the meeting was Lew Wallace who gave a heartfelt farewell speech to the committee.
I know this is brief post but I'm saving the full story until I get the video uploaded. I'll give a full report on everything that happened at last night's Democratic Town Committee meeting once all the multimedia is loaded.
Lastly, although there is good news to report from last night, there are also some rather disappointing news that has to be addressed which I will expalin in full detail later.
"Danbury's (police) headquarters is old, out-dated and worn out," said Chief Alan Baker. "It was built in 1971 for 75 officers and right now our strength is 152."
There is very little parking space, so the lawns at the department double as parking lots.
Baker said the old department was built before each desk had a computer. It was built before much of the modern forensic equipment was created, and its heating, ventilation and air condition equipment is faulty.
"We have six holding cells, and we'll frequently have 11 or 12 people in lock-up after the weekend," Baker said.
The city's police officers have been giving public tours of their building during the last month to show people their working conditions.
The police portion of the bond is $33.8 million. The city's voters have already committed $2.7 million to this project, and the city is in the process of buying the land needed for a new headquarters on Main Street near East Franklin Street.
The next item on the list is the parking garage and if you ever tried to park on Main Street, you understand why another garage is needed.
The second item on the bond vote is a parking garage for 386 cars on Library Place. A November 2002 feasibility study concluded that the city's biggest need for downtown parking was on the west side of Main Street.
The parking-needs study concluded nearly 160,000 square-feet of vacant space exists along Main Street, not including the vacant Palace Theater, and that parking would help property owners renovate and open that space up for leases.
Several downtown renovations were rejected by the city in the last several years due to the lack of parking.
A garage on the west side of Main Street (where Library Place is) could have the same impact the Patriot Garage had on the east side of Main Street, said John Kline, president of Union Savings Bank in Danbury.
"A new garage enhances the perception that downtown is more convenient," Kline said. "A whole section of Main Street will benefit."
The last portion of the bond is for improvments to the sewer plant. Hey, this is a no-brainer as I don't want any problems with the sewer system.
The sewer portion of the bond is $5.8 million. The money will be used to remove nitrogen from the effluent flowing from the plant. The city now pays $390,000 a year to release nitrogen into the Still River, and that expense will disappear when the plant is improved.
Hopefully, voters will approve the 48 million bond package but it's up to you to do your duty as citizens of Danbury and vote.
A jury has found Keith M. Foster guilty for his role in the gruesome 1997 killing of 13-year-old Maryann Measles of New Milford.
The jury returned its verdict this afternoon in Superior Court in Waterbury. Foster, 29, was convicted of felony murder, conspiracy to commit murder, three counts of first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping, tampering with a witness and tampering with physical evidence. He was found not guilty of murder.
Foster said nothing, but sobbed as the jurors announced their verdict.
Save your tears Foster. The only person who should sob are the family members of this poor girl.
For those who don't know the details behind the killing of Maryann Measles, let's take a look at today's article in the Hartford Courant as it takes a brief trip down memory lane.
The jury believed the state's contention that Foster was a key player in a conspiracy to silence Maryann after she filed statutory rape complaints against him and another man, Alan M. "A.J." Walter Jr.
Those complaints to New Milford police put into motion a plan that led to Maryann's kidnapping from a grocery store parking lot while her mother shopped and her transit to a secluded pull-off along the Housatonic River north of New Milford. There she was terrorized, brutalized, gang-raped and murdered.
While Foster was not accused of physically killing Maryann, his participation in the conspiracy and acts that led to her death made him culpable for felony murder and murder.
He faces life in prison.
Like I said, don't shed a tear for Foster. Life in prison is the least he deserves...
To my delight, Mayors John DeStefano and Dan Malloy had an interesting debate on WTIC's Beyond the Headlines Sunday morning (which is by far, the best political program in Connecticut).
The two Democratic Gubernatorial candidates answered a wide range of questions from host Shelly Sindland and The Hartford Courant Capital Reporter, Chris Keating which were informative and useful for those who are still unsure about their primary choice. The two mayors even answered questions that were submitted from voters which I thought was a rather refreshing change from the usual questions from the political pundits.
If you're like me, your probably undecided when it comes to picking which one of these two guys should challenge Jodi Rell for the top spot in the state. In that case, this program might be informative and in case you missed it, here are some highlights from Sunday's program.
NOTE: the video clips are rather large so if you're experiencing any playback problems, pause the video and give your computer a couple of minutes to download the clip.
NOTE: a rep for Joe Lieberman will also address the committee which begs the question, why hasn't Ned Lamont been invited to the meeting? The convention is next Friday and this is the last DTC meeting before the delegates cast their votes. Seeing that Danbury is a pretty large city, it seems only fair that the DTC invite Lamont if they're going to invite Lieberman (who also spoke to the Danbury delegates at the Stony Hill Inn last month).
Lamont supporters from Danbury should attend the meeting and ask them why hasn't Lamont been invited to address the delegtes while Lieberman and his campaign has already met with the DTC at least two times since late March.
04.25.22 (RADIO): WSHU Latino group call on Connecticut lawmakers to open a Danbury charter school
06.03.22 (OP-ED): KUSHNER: "Career Academy ‘a great deal for Danbury"
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.