The Globe story stirred intense reaction from all sides of the immigration debate yesterday. Romney has grown more vocal in his opposition to illegal immigration as he eyes a White House bid in 2008. He supports construction of a new 700-mile fence along the country's border with Mexico and stationing National Guard troops there until it is finished.
An advocate for immigrants yesterday called the governor a hypocrite.
"Over the past four years, Governor Romney has railed against undocumented immigrants relentlessly," Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant Advocacy Coalition, said in a statement. "To our knowledge, Governor Romney has never offered a solution that respects undocumented immigrants as hard-working individuals striving to achieve the American dream, like the individuals who manicured his lawn for the past 10 years."
A Democratic National Committee spokesman, Damien LaVera, said that "Romney was too busy using immigration to cozy up to the right wing of the Republican Party to bother tending to his own backyard first."
Why do I have the feeling that this isn't the only politically dishonest Republican anti-immigrant hypocrite who's using this issue solely to pander to his political base.
I've received a good deal of emails requesting that I put more local videos on the blog. Here's the deal...right now, I'm in the middle of finishing an important research paper which is taking a great deal of my time. As SOON as I'm finished, I'll be back on the scene videotaping meetings and updating everyone on whats happening in the area.
I've been tivoing several shows on public access including the new Danbury Live which covers local government meetings. Although I believe it's on the wrong time slot, the meetings they videotape gives you a pretty good idea about what's going on at City Hall.
In the future, I might assist those guys with camerawork as I've been doling the same thing for the last three years and have a pretty good idea where to set up and get the best angle and sound quality. For now, I'll stick to focusing my attention on following up on issues that are going under the radar and asking the questions that others fails to bring up.
Look for more videos interviews, commentary and video highlights of several shows on public access, and video highlights of events area the city very soon.
Outside his aqua-colored concrete house here, Rene Alvarez Rosales paused under an almond tree to answer questions about a subject with which he has surprising familiarity: Governor Mitt Romney's Belmont lawn.
For about eight years, Rosales said, he worked on and off landscaping the grounds at Romney's home, occasionally getting a "buenos dias" from Romney or a drink of water from his wife, Ann.
"She is very nice," said Rosales, 49.
About 6 miles away in Copado, a 37-year-old man who recently returned to Guatemala from the United States told a similar story, describing long days tending Romney's 2 1/2-acre grounds.
"They wanted that house to look really nice," said the worker, who asked to remain anonymous. "It took a long time."
As Governor Mitt Romney explores a presidential bid, he has grown outspoken in his criticism of illegal immigration. But, for a decade, the governor has used a landscaping company that relies heavily on workers like these, illegal Guatemalan immigrants, to maintain the grounds surrounding his pink Colonial house on Marsh Street in Belmont.
The Globe recently interviewed four current and former employees of Community Lawn Service with a Heart, the tiny Chelsea-based company that provides upkeep of Romney's property. All but one said they were in the United States illegally.
The employees told the Globe that company owner Ricardo Saenz never asked them to provide documents showing their immigration status and knew they were illegal immigrants.
"He never asked for papers," said Rosales, who said he had paid smugglers about $5,000 to take him across the US-Mexican border and settled in Chelsea.
The workers said they were paid in cash at $9 to $10 an hour and sometimes worked 11-hour days.
Romney never inquired about their status, they said.
Just another Republican using the illegal immigration issue for political gain...sounds familiar?
December 1st is World Aids Day, a oppurtunity for people across the world to work together and fight this deadly disease.
AIDS doesn't care about your race, gender, sexual orientation, or social status...it's an equal oppurtunity killer. This country (and world) is still paying the price for the inaction (and ignorance) of the Regan administration and the view of many during that time that AIDS was a gay disease (may God have mercy on those who did that).
Although we all know better, due to our continued inaction, this disease is STILL killing people at an alarming rate with the hardest hit being children in Africa. Christy Hardin Smith at FDL pointed to a BBC article that does into detail about the suffering in Arfica.
n the countries hardest hit by AIDS economic growth has declined by half a percent every year between 1992 and 2004, the ILO report reveals. Worst affected is sub-Saharan Africa where the loss is higher - point seven percent. AIDS is killing the workforce. In 2005 three point four million people of working age died of the disease, this year that figure is expected to be four and a half million.
The effect is two fold. The economy becomes sluggish, growth drops, there's no energy for initiatives that will create new jobs. At the same time young people, many below working age lose their parents and are forced to work to survive. Often in dangerous and low paid jobs. For girls especially, that can mean the sex industry. Young people now account for half of all new HIV infections, what's more most young people with HIV don't even know they carry the virus.
Thirty miles outside this down-at-the-heels seaside town, Justin Betombo tends his vanilla plants and cheers the local soccer team as if he had not a care in the world. And in fact, what was once his greatest worry has been almost magically lifted from his shoulders.
In the local prosecutor's office, a file filled with accusations that he had sodomized his 9-year-old niece has vanished.
Mr. Betombo was arrested in 2003 after the girl, Kenia, said he had savagely assaulted her. The police obtained his confession, which he later recanted, and a doctor’s certificate that Kenia had been sexually violated, rendering her incontinent and anorexic. Twice they sent the case file to the prosecutor.
There matters ended. Mr. Betombo attended one hearing in the prosecutor's office, but Kenia’s parents say they were not told about it. The records are nowhere to be found. And Mr. Betombo walked away a free man. Kenia's parents, distressed by what they saw as a travesty of justice, asked that her name be published, hoping that her case would set an example.
Among sub-Saharan Africa's children, such stories are disturbingly common. Even as this region races to adopt many of the developed world’s norms for children, including universal education and limits on child labor, one problem - child sexual abuse - remains stubbornly resistant to change.
Increasingly, African nations are openly acknowledging the problem, partly because AIDS has made children more likely to fall ill or die from sexual abuse. Campaigns against abuse are under way in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya, Sierra Leone and elsewhere.
The impact is apparent in Zimbabwe, where a child rights group estimates that at least 2,000 child rape victims have died of AIDS since 1998. "Literally for the first time in Zimbabwe’s history, child abuse is no longer a taboo subject," said James Elder, a Unicef spokesman.
That said, the response is minuscule compared with the extent of abuse, said Pamela Shifman, a child protection specialist at Unicef headquarters in New York. “We see huge numbers of girls affected," she said. "These crimes are still treated as the fault or the problem of the victim."
We can do so much to stop the spread of this disgusting disease...watch this video to find out one way you can help right now.
Is it me, I asked Lynn Taborsak, or do Danbury's public officials just not have enough to do?
First there was the city's misguided jihad against illegal immigrants. Now it's their misdirected plan to make children safe by running off convicted sex offenders from city-run parks and recreation areas.
It was the mayor's idea, said a deflated Taborsak, the only council member objecting to the proposal.
Of course it was, I thought. All roads to the ridiculous in this town seem to lead to city hall.
This new get-tough policy for sex offenders? A warning for the first offense. A $100 fine for the second. And barely a mention on how to enforce the ordinance, expected to be adopted next week. What, are the cops going to walk around with mug shots of Danbury's 42 registered sex offenders?
So off to Mayor Mark Boughton's office I went.
It's about sending a message that we care about our children, said Boughton, who curiously suggested we converse in Spanish. He speaks Spanish, he said. I speak Spanish. So let's habla español together.
Puzzling, considering this was the man who wanted to deputize state police to crack down on undocumented immigrants. But he did remind me of something.
This latest brainchild of his sounded a lot like his failed battle to deal with the influx of immigrants in town - you know, a big idea that raises big issues without resolving much of anything.
Absolutely not, Boughton said, sounding insulted at my assessment of his past endeavors. It's another tool to deal with a very real concern, he said.
No question. All over the country, cities are concocting creative ways to keep kids safe from sex offenders: Miami established a Halloween Sexual Predator hot line, on the theory that children are especially vulnerable to perverts with candy on Halloween. A flasher in Wilmington, Del., was ordered to wear a T-shirt that proclaims, "I am a registered sex offender." And last week, in West Hartford, school officials sent home a warning letter informing parents about a pedophile on Farmington Avenue. No mention of the other 25 registered in town.
"I think anyone with a kid is interested in ideas that might keep their kids safe," said Sandy Boluch, who was watching her 2-year-old son play at Rogers Park on Tuesday afternoon.
True - but shouldn't the ideas actually work?
"What would you have us do, nothing?" Boughton said. "If this saves only one child, it's worth it."
Here we go... Whenever someone pushing a program or idea hits you with the "If just one person" line, it usually means that's one more than the number of people it will ever affect.
But the real problem is it distracts from the reality: It isn't the clichéd pervert in the park that poses the real threat to children. Danbury need only look at its own history to see that. In 2002, a 25-year-old man strangled a 13-year-old after arranging online to meet her for sex. Fact is, kids are more often sexually abused by someone known or related to them.
And it's that false sense of security that really bothers Taborsak.
"This shouldn't give parents any peace of mind," she said. "The only thing that will really keep a child safe is a parent's own vigilance."
Boluch agrees with that. She actually likes the town's idea; she's open to anything that might keep a pedophile from her child. What parent wouldn't be? But even she knows it's her job first to keep her son safe.
"I don't let him out of my sight," she said, her eyes fixed on the little blond boy climbing up the slide.
News-Times gets the story wrong regarding out-of-state plates
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 Time: 1:21 PM
Oh boy, here we go again.
Back on the 16th, I commented about an article Tribuna did on Mayor Boughton's proposal to go after people who drive cars with out of state plates...primarily people with Massachusetts plates. Now, just as he claimed that the noise ordinance wasn't about volleyball games (yeah), Boughton is claiming that going after people who have out-of-state plates is in no way about illegal immigration but rather about "taxes."
...and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Everyone is Danbury knows that immigrants get around registering cars by going up to Massachusetts and registering the car in that state because the laws in that state more lenient than Connecticut. When you see an car on the streets of Danbury with a Massachusetts plate, there is a VERY GOOD chance that the person behind the wheel is illegal therefore, what better way to track them down than by collecting data on them.
Now, as I stated on the 16th, I think this is a good idea for one reason, if you're an illegal immigrant, you shouldn't be driving around in an illegal, uninsured car. There are too many stories about people being hit by individuals with uninsured cars and it's a problem. The dishonesty comes when (as with the volleyball situation) the Mayor claims that this isn't a crackdown on illegals when there is ever indication to suggest otherwise.
Here's how Tribuna covered the story.
A recent announcement by Mayor Boughton has unleashed a flurry of speculation, suspicion and half-truths - with everyone from news reporters to people in the street talking about the "crackdown on Massachusetts plates."
All we know for certain is that the city intends to make a list of vehicles with out-of state plates that have been parked on local streets for much longer than a weekend visit or a family reunion. What is really going on? Is it about Massachusetts plates? Is it about targeting immigrants? Or is it, as with so many issues today, much more complicated?
Several states have considerably more lenient rules for motor vehicle licensing and registration. For example, just over the line in Massachusetts, one can register a car by presenting proof of ownership and insurance coverage. Some argue that this increases public safety by cutting down on the number of uninsured vehicles on the road. On the other hand, Connecticut has very strict requirements, whether applying for a driver's license or registering a car. At any rate, as the REAL ID Act looms on the horizon - which sets clear and stringent standards for driversâ€™ licenses to be used as identification - all states will need to re-examine their policies to comply with the federal mandate.
As is all too often the case, what should be a relatively minor concern seems to be rapidly growing into a major panic. A local Portuguese-language newspaper described the proposal as "one more measure" taken by the mayor to "make illegal immigrants' lives more difficult." A local Brazilian business owner claims that Main Street's economy is getting so bad because of the â€œcrackdownâ€ on illegal immigrants that many proprietors are closing up shop.
Mayor Boughton said that his stance on this issue has been "lost in translation." For example, while he is well aware of the fact that those without a green card cannot acquire a driver's license or register a car in the state. But, he argued, that does not give people without green cards permission to break the driving laws. "Driving without a license or the proper documents can endanger all residents, regardless of status," Boughton said. "By working together, we can make sure that people can get to the places that they need to be and protect the public safety of all residents. If people are undocumented, they have to look for other means of transportation."
The mayor emphasized that no proposal on this matter will be announced until his State of the City address in December. "The purpose of this â€˜possible initiative' is to generate revenue through unpaid taxes from [cars with] out-of-state license plates. [Mayor] Fabrizi in Bridgeport launched a similar program and found thousands of cars that were not registered in Bridgeport or Connecticut. It cost the city millions of dollars. This is not about immigrants. All people have to obey the law."
Although Connecticut cities and towns raise more than $600 million a year in car taxes, Danbury isn't getting its share.
Without citing any stats, the reporter makes this claim about Danbury not getting it's fair share of taxes in the FIRST GRAPH.
The city wants to hire a firm to scour the city's neighborhoods and businesses, looking for cars that are registered out of state or out of town. A person who owns a car and lives in Connecticut is obliged to register that car at his home address within 60 days.
The city wants to duplicate earlier tax collecting success by Bridgeport, which hired a firm to help it collect the car taxes it is owed.
"The city of Bridgeport found it had 8,610 cars not registered in Bridgeport or Connecticut," said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. "That was worth $4 million in lost revenue."
Boughton said Danbury is about half the size of Bridgeport, which means Danbury could collect more than $1 million in lost revenue if it finds even half as many cars unregistered or registered out of state.
"We're talking about a lot of money," Boughton said.
Ah, yeah. Think about this for a second.
A person is here illegally and they're going to somehow register their car in Connecticut and/or pay property taxes? IS anyone following this logic?
But there is more...
Boughton said Danbury will do the same thing. He said state law allows Danbury to collect three years of back taxes on cars that were improperly registered -- and that is back taxes plus interest of 18 percent a year on the unpaid balances.
In addition to the owners of private cars, the city is also looking for businesses that are located in Danbury but register their trucks or other corporate vehicles in New York, Pennsylvania, or any another state or town.
"It has everything to do with collecting the city's fair share of taxes," Boughton said.
Not one time did the News-Times ask the obvious, is this a backdoor crackdown on illegals. Again, as EVERYONE IN DANBURY KNOWS, most out-of-state plates are from Massachusetts and are registered by illegals who in turn drive on the roads uninsured. Unlike Tribuna, the News-Times doesn't even feel the need to raise the obvious question...is this another attempt by Mayor Boughton to crackdown on illegals without saying that he's cracking down on illegals (again, remember the volleyball situation).
On Nov. 9, the Danbury Common Council approved the recommendation of an ad hoc committee to allow the mayor to enter into a contract with a group of investors who want to build a sports and entertainment complex on the city's westside.
Remember the baseball stadium we didn't build? That's the land.
You may remember that we rushed to judgment on the "Planned Neighborhood Development" to avoid a casino on the former Union Carbide site.
There was a big rush on this deal, too. It appeared on the Common Council agenda Oct. 3, was referred to an ad hoc committee Oct. 19 and was approved by the council with little debate Nov. 9.
It's ironic that public broadcasting of Common Council meetings gets delayed for months while the Republican majority council just rubber stamps anything the mayor wants.
Here are the questions that need to be answered:
Is a sports entertainment facility the best use for these 13 acres of city land? Is this land a possible site for a third middle school? Is it suitable for single-level affordable elderly housing?
Does this proposal detract from our effort to revitalize City Center? Does it threaten the profitability of the ice arena? Does it directly compete with the O'Neill Center on Western Connecticut State University's westside campus?
Does the claim that we are getting a "community facility" at no cost to taxpayers jibe with the proposed 99-year lease for 99 bucks?
Should the mayor enter into an agreement to the exclusion of any other investor or interested party that may have a better idea than arena football, hockey, lacrosse and "Disney on Ice"?
Please call the mayor and council president Joe Cavo to let them know what you think about this idea.
I don't think it's in the best interests of our community.
People, if I said it once, I'll say it again, YOU SHOULD BE CONCENRED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING AT CITY HALL.
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.