New Haven mayor tackles illegal immigration issue with common sense
Wednesday, December 20, 2006 Time: 1:15 PM
Finally, a mayor who looking at the illegal immigration issue with common sense rather than using brass tactics and offering backdoor crackdowns proposals disguised as programs that go after car owners that skip paying property taxes.
New Haven's Mayor John DeStefano received a visit earlier this week from members of Unidad Latina Accion, a grassroots immigrants rights group based in New Haven. Recently, Mayor DeStefano announced that police will have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regards to immigrants who call for assistance. This policy DOES NOT apply to undocumented residents who are being investigated for criminal activity.
For over a year, Unidad Latina en Accion and other immigrants rights groups had pressured Mayor DeStefano to pass a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regards to immigration status. The policy, which was finally unveiled on December 14, forbids police officers from inquiring about a person's immigration status unless they're investigating criminal activity. Now, undocumented residents of New Haven can finally report crimes and cooperate in police investigations without fear that they might be reported to the federal immigration service.
The reason this makes sense is pretty clear. People, regardless of their immigration status, should not be afraid to call in a crime.
Too many times in this area, crimes go unreported for fear of deportation and this does no one any good. Regardless of a person's status, one should not be afraid to call the police if they've been a victim of a crime...period. Unfortunately, due to the tactics of the mayor, many crimes among undocumented residents are going unreported and people live in constant fear of the police.
Unlike Danbury, it seems like New Haven is making the first step in the right direction to let the people in the community know that they don't have live in the shadows for fear of deportation (which can only be done on the federal level).
Here's the report filed by WTNH. To get a better understanding of how immigration advocates around the state feel about the city of Danbury and the current mayor, listen to the comments in this piece.
Hats were made of rabbit fur. Australia had millions of bunny rabbits, which were killed and skinned. The fur was scraped off and shipped to Danbury.
Coning the hats was difficult because the fur was stiff. Company moguls hired a chemist who experimented and found that mercury softened the material and made the process easy.
But there was a heavy price to be paid. Hatters were directly exposed and contaminated by the vats of a mercury mixture. Insidiously, their neurological system commenced to suffer. They could no longer work because they developed what came to be known as "Hatters' Shake." The expression "Mad as a Hatter" was one description for the debilitating condition.
Time passed, love passed, life passed but the hatting legacy remains in the form of mercury poisoning that does not pass.
The city of Danbury acquired a plot of land that was permeated with mercury from a former hat factory. Grant money was secured to pay for an experiment.
Genetically altered cottonwood saplings were planted. Their roots would suck the mercury from the soil, a process that's called phyto-remediation. Months later, they would be replaced by new trees.
Now a legal immigrant family of woodchucks is living there underground among the sucking roots. Will the mercury poisoning legacy strike again? Will a famous Danbury animal activist stage a rescue before the little furry paws start a neurological quivering and shaking? Will the $55,000 EPA research grant cover liability and ancillary ramifications?
This should be considered one of the best letters to the editor of the year...the not-so old timers know EXACTLY what this person is talking about and why EVERYONE should attend EIC and Planning and Zoning meetings.
Is there a development backlash brewing in Danbury?
Time: 11:52 AM
The biggest complain I've been hearing from residents in Danbury is an old topic that doesn't seem to want to go away.
No, it's not illegal immigration, but the sense among many that Danbury is being overdeveloped.
Many residents are up in arms over the increase traffic on the streets and the rise of developments that are popping up all over the place. Yesterday, the News-Times reported on a new BRT development on Crosby Street in which it seems that things aren't going the way the developers wanted in terms of renting the units.
The developer of the 115-unit apartment building on Crosby Street is considering renting all the rooms to college students.
BRT is constructing the 115-unit apartment building, plus another development on Kennedy Avenue called Kennedy Place for approximately 560 apartments. The city gave the developer tax breaks for the economic development benefits likely to come to the city for creating market-rate housing downtown.
Many residents find it hard to believe that the developers had in mind renting these units to college students when they and the city envisioned these massive developments as a way to re-vitalize the downtown area. In the end, was this worth the loss in tax revenue? Will the benefits outweigh the increase in congestion on the roads and draining of city services, which is already suffering from the influx of illegal immigrants (according to those who support cracking down on illegals in the area).
Over the next few weeks, I'll bring you reports from residents who have had enough with condo and apartment developments in their area and are fighting back...and fighting back hard. One such resident told me about an idea that is being proposed in Waterbury, another city where residents are fed up with the rise in condo developments.
Although the mayor did but a temporary stoppage to developments a few years ago, the new buildings on the horizon will make the units in the past look like a joke (i.e., the massive 500+ closed gated condo development currently on the books for Kennedy Park). With traffic at an all-time high and sewer rates and taxes rising, you can be certain that you'll hear and see a condo development backlash as we approach 2007. If the EIC meeting I attended was any indication, things are going to heat up next year when more information on these development proposals comes to light.
Think I'm kidding? Well, I just happened to videotape the meeting and when I post the footage (and the interviews I conducted with residents after the meeting), you'll see what I mean.
Between changing diapers, trying to put my daughter to sleep, and writing a research paper on Hawthorne and Melville, I think my head is going to explode!
To add fuel to the fire, people are now emailing me about topics in Danbury that I should report about, asking why I don't criticize Democrats as much as Republicans (trust me, check the archives and read what I said about Dean Esposito back during he last campaign and get back to me on that), and the always popular "can you do a write-up about me on your blog"
Okay, maybe it's me but I'm wiped out. Having a month old daughter who acts just like her daddy (trust me, this isn't a good thing) can drive you nuts. Hell, I still have to get my X-Mas tree from Stew's. I need a break so this is what I'm going to do.
Remember how I said back when I started this blog that I've been collecting video and audio material on anything Danbury related for the last three to four year? Well, I think since it's coming to the end of the year, it would be nice to start and roll out some of that good ol' footage. From now until the end of the year, in between my usual posts, I'm going to do a few flashback videos that I haven't posted here yet. Some stuff might shock you as I'm sure people are going to say "oh man, I didn't know he was there videotaping me say that..." and some videos will be pretty informative.
In the end, the stuff on this site is all about the stuff I see everyday in this great city. Since I recorded so much stuff, I should give everyone a early X-Mas present and post some of my stuff. It will make my life a little easier also since I don't have to do much reporting in my posts and I can devote more time to the baby formula monster.
PLEASE, if you want me to do a story on you or have a business you want to promote, send me an email now at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm not doing ANY feature stories (i.e. resturants, business, charity organization) now but I will get into gear starting in January. If you drop me a line now, we can set something up for next month.
Okay, that's it. I think my daughter has a present in her diaper for me and by the smell of things, this won't be pretty :-(
BTW: Eugene, in regards to your latest News-Times polls, by far the best Eddie Murphy comedy was Trading Spaces. I wouldn't consider 48 Hours a comedy and although Shrek was great, you simply can't beat that performance he gave with Dan Akroyd.
When it comes to X-Mas movies, I can watch A Christmas Tale Story all day while I only think about the movie Ford Fairlane when I watch It's a Wonderful Life (I dare anyone to get the connection). In any case, neither of those movies can compare with any of the old Christmas cartoons and I can't wait to watch every one of them with my kid when she grows up (so I won't look goofy watching and singing along to them alone).
Response to Braodcast meetings video and why this isn't over
Sunday, December 17, 2006 Time: 12:00 PM
Well, it seems like People-Powered Media assisted in bringing the silliness surrounding broadcasting local government meetings to light. The email response to the video presentation outlining the claims by the Mayor Boughton and Common Council President Joe Cavo was incredible. In a matter of days, the video has been seem by over 100 people and generated over 70 emails in support.
Fortunately, the mayor has somewhat seen the light and is now buying the equipment needed to broadcast the meetings from City Hall to public access. Although this is a step in the right direction, I really hope those who fought for getting the shows on the air don't stop now..and here's why.
1.) The mayor only agreed to purchase the playback equipment needed to broadcast the meetings on the air. This DOES NOT take into consideration, the video camera(s), tripods, mics, and audio cables (to hook into the sound system at City Hall) needed to record the meetings. As of right now, the volunteers use one camera and one mic from Comcast and lets just say, it's a little outdated. In order to do this right and have the professional quality that Boughton and Cavo stated they wanted, the city really needs to purchase the following:
* One or two digital cameras that have the capability to attach a boom mic to it (for non-geeks, a boom mic can pick up sounds from a far distance. In other words, you don't need to have a normal mic near someone's mouth to pick up their voice, just point the boom mic in their direction and walla),
* Equipment needed to transfer a digital video signal into the computer (guys, the age of videotape is gone. If you use a computer, you can store it on DVD AND transfer it back to VHS tape if needed). This involves buying a firewire card (if the computer didn't come with one).
Let me give you an example of how easy this is.
I use the following for all the personal video footage you see here (i.e. State of the city speech).
* Canon ZR500 (aprox 250.00) * Macintosh Powerbook G4 (2002 model aprox 1,200) * digital tapes (3 for 15) * iMovie (free) * iDVD (free)
Now, you do the math. Note that I don't own a boom mic and I can easily pick up all the audio in Common Council chambers from the back of the room while the audience is talking.
Now, here's the real kicker...The city doesn't really need to buy all this stuff. It's already available at the Danbury High School...in fact the school has a AUDIO/VIDEO department!
Are you thinking what I've been thinking for the last year...why doesn't the city just do what Ridgefield do and set up an internship program between City Hall and the High School!!! Not only would this solve everyone's concerns, it would give the kids at DHS a chance to get some real on-hand experience in broadcasting.
This idea is TOO easy and I'm SURE I'm not the only person who thought this...remember, our Mayor is a former schoolteacher you know. The ball could have been rolling on this back in the summer when the unnecessary stonewalling was going on and these meetings on the air by January; hopefully, I, with the assistance of readers and supporters, can propose this to our local officials and make this a reality.
Don't let this issue be placed under the rug. Purchasing equipment is a good first step but it's not the last...in fact it's far from it. All the equipment will do is give the volunteers a place to drop their tapes off so the entire meeting can be broadcast. They still have to use their old cameras and mics to get the job done and as I heard from many, the amount of money it will cost for the equipment purchased in NO WHERE near the 60-90,000 dollars Boughton estimated. In fact, it should cost well under 6,000.
Make sure to hold the mayor accountable for his words: he wanted professional quality on the air so tell him to purchase the professional quality equipment needed to give him the results he wanted to achieve. Also, PLEASE remember that it was the mayor and Joe Cavo who were SO against this whole thing as early as two weeks ago and all of the sudden, 24-48 hours before his state of the city speech, he alerts everyone that not only is he buying the equipment, but he addresses public broadcasting of meetings in HIS state of the city speech (after stonewalling for over 6 months). If he's NOW going to try to use this as a feather in his hat, lets make sure he goes all the way before he takes credit for broadcasting meeting in his re-election mailers. UPDATE: I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that WCSU has an audio/visual department and could do an internship program with the city also.
Danbury isn't the biggest city and if you read the story, you'll see a pattern...these jerks will ususally hit stores which are close to the highway. Also, if you read the article, these morons are hitting small stores or small gas stations and there are only so many of those places near the interstate.
Keep an eye out when your near the highway. If you see a car speed out onto the road 1.) get out of the way and 2.) try your best to remember what the car looks like and if possible, try to get a look at the license plate (even knowing if the plate is out-of-state could help). Now, no one is expects you to remember eveything but any information is better than nothing.
Look, it's Christmas time and this is the 6th robbery this week. Please help and bring these jerks to justice before the hurt someone else and ruin another family's Christmas.
The suspects, 46-year-old Elizabeth Pisani, who police identified as the gunman, and 29-year-old Harold "Tony" Banks, the alleged getaway driver, were taken into custody at their residence on Sage Road shortly after the 8:19 p.m. robbery. Police quickly tracked them down because a witness gave police the car's license plate number.
As I stated the way to catching these types of morons is to be calm, STAY OUT OF HARMS WAY, and try your best to get the license plate number and remember what the car looks like (remembering what the car looks like from the front or back is best as car look alike from the side, especially when things are happening fast).
I hope these jerks are still locked up on X-Mas day.
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.