HatCityBLOG VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Danbury Alliance meeting with Chief Al Baker on ICE ACCESS
Saturday, July 05, 2008 Time: 2:56 PM
Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.
Since I'm spending time on research, I've decided to dig into the video archives and share some footage I have from recent events.
Of all of the comments I get from people around the country, the thing that's repeated time and time again is people want to know more about the movement against the policy of City Hall and the anti-immigrant xenophobia. Well, VERY soon, people around the country will know more than they ever dreamed about the blatant bigotry that's running amok in this area but until then, this should calm those who want to know more about what's happening...
I don't think that this "program" was Bakers idea. That's why he didn't enter into it quietly himself. As I recall, Elise Marciano and other members of an anti immigrant slant sent a petition to Councilman Cavo,(Though Councilman Cavo says the program was his suggestion, as he found it doing research on the net). So it was political from the very start. And THAT is why many feel that Chief Baker is being left to deal with a political situation. Yes, had it been done secretly, people who support immigrants rights would have been angry. But, let's not skew the facts here. Cavo made it an issue. It was supposedly "his" suggestion. Did he do it merely for safety concerns? Well, I doubt it. I think that if it WERE such a desperately needed program, then Baker would have considered it himself, BEFORE Cavo "found it on the web" and brought it to the attention of common council. As a police chief, i'm sure he knew of this program before. It was Cavo payin' back his fan base (Elise Marciano, et al) for their aide during the election season, in my estimation.
This person is going to LOVE my television show when I unleash it on local access stations across the state later this year.
Congressman Murphy calls for increase in drilling, action against oil speculaiton
Thursday, July 03, 2008 Time: 5:04 PM
Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to videotape Congressman Murphy's presser today in New Britain (or Murphy's presser on Wednesday in Danbury that was a stone throw away from David Cappiello's house). That being the case, when it comes to the high price of gas, while I strongly agree with one portion of Murphy's stance in his latest press release...
“While energy traders on Wall Street artificially inflate the price of a barrel of oil, Connecticut families are paying the price at the pump. Until we wean ourselves off of our addiction to oil, we’ve got to crack down on the market that is distorting the price of oil and hurting our economy,” said Murphy.
Murphy is supporting legislation that aims to restore the fundamentals of supply and demand to the oil markets, ending rampant speculation in the energy commodities markets which place a distorted premium on the price of oil. Since 2000, investment in oil futures has increased more than 2,600%, from $9 billion to $250 billion. In testimony before House and Senate Committees, Energy Information Administration (EIA) officials and private sector experts have agreed that speculation has driven up the cost of a barrel of oil. Last week, Murphy voted to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) emergency powers to curb speculation. The House is expected to continue debate on this issue in July.
I'm somewhat lukewarm when it comes to calls for an increase in drilling (although I understand the Congressman's point).
With average gas prices in Connecticut at $4.37 a gallon and rising, Murphy is also supporting legislation to call on the oil and gas industry to drill on the 68 million acres of public lands currently under oil company control but unexplored.
Last week, Murphy voted for H.R. 6251, the Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act – more commonly known as the “Use It or Lose It” bill – which would deny oil and gas companies any new federal leases until they demonstrate they are active in developing oil exploration on the 68 million acres they’ve already leased. Most offshore and onshore oil and gas is already available to be drilled. According to federal government surveys, 82% of the gas available offshore and 79% of the oil offshore is available for leasing – enough land to produce 86 billion additional barrels of oil. The measure has not yet passed the House because of Republican opposition.
“We can’t drill ourselves out of this problem – but the fact is there is land and offshore resources currently available to the oil and gas industry, and they aren’t using it while they know that Connecticut families are paying skyrocketing prices at the pump,” said Murphy.
Although Congressman Murphy's call is better than the ridiculous notion to drill in the ANWAR refuge in Alaska, the bulk of the energy crisis has nothing to do with supply and demand. The origins of this fiasco stems from speculation and greed from energy companies that were allowed to run amok with the help of what's called the "Enron loophole".
Now, I could do a huge write-up on this but recently Keith Olbermann did a excellent report on the history of the Enron loophole that's better than anything I could type.
Watch and LEARN.
As Olbermann notes, and as several people testified in Congress, close the loophole and most of your problem goes bye-bye and greedy oil companies' record profits will become a thing of the past. Increase drilling simply makes no sense when a majority of the problem comes from speculation as opposed to supply and demand.
And why would you want in increase in the production of oil? Shouldn't we be talking about this country getting off it's dependency of oil? What makes more sense, cars that get 100 MPG (which is available NOW), or cheaper gas, a return to the arrogant SUV era, and back to business as usual? I'd rather deal with the speculators that brought us such goodies as the power shortage in California and hopefully Congressman Murphy will focus on this problem before even thinking about an increase in drilling.
A Christian congregation in Bethel is appealing a decision from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals that prohibits it from building a new church on Shelter Rock Lane.
"The ultimate goal, of course, would be to reverse the decision the Zoning Board of Appeals made and to be able to build a church on that lot," said Peter Scalzo, the attorney representing His Vineyard, Inc.
His Vineyard, lead by pastors Gary and Kerry Baldelli of Danbury, wanted to move from 8 Grassy Plain Street in Bethel to 22 Shelter Rock Lane in Danbury because most of the congregation's 200 members live in the city.
The ZBA rejected the application June 12, with one member, Gary Dufel, saying he wanted to preserve the city's industrial zones for economic development.
Dufel pointed out there are plenty of other places in Danbury to build churches.
However, in documents mailed to Danbury Superior Court June 30, Scalzo and fellow attorney Frank Scinto argue that churches should be allowed in the industrial zone just as hotels are allowed.
Both are places of public assembly, the attorneys argue, and prohibiting churches while allowing hotels is a violation of a federal law that gives houses of worship some leeway over local zoning regulations.
I'll stay on top of this story as this has all the makings of an interesting land-use case.
Tierney criticizes Perkins but doesn't offer his view on any issues in first television appearance
Time: 10:05 AM
With the 24th State Senate Democratic primary well underway, Terry Tierney made an appearance on local access television to talk about his candidacy.
As someone who's staying neutral on this primary, I wanted to see what Tierney had to offer in his first interview on T.V. and what I learned about him was mostly biographical and not much in terms of where he stands on issues. Although the interview focused primarily on his background, Tierney did manage to give a few critical remarks about his challenger Duane Perkins and the Democratic endorsed nominee's recent press conference at City Hall last week.
All in all, I was somewhat let down by the fact that Tierney didn't offer any insight into his stance on the issues plaguing the 24th State Senate District during the interview. It's one thing to have a flier with your stance on the issues, it's another thing to be asked questions directly on where you stand on various topics and in my opinion, that's where this particular interview fell short.
That being said, if I were someone who didn't know anything about Tierney, I would say that Terry's appearance was very informative in terms of educating people about background as his family's ties to the area and for many, that could be a factor in their vote.
SEX OFFENDER SAGA FLASHBACK: Second ad-hoc committee meeting on ordinance...SEVEN MONTHS later
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 Time: 7:01 PM
With the first ad-hoc committee meeting (which was primarily designed to address the zone-hopping loophole that ties the hands of the police department from properly enforcing the sex offender ordinance), the following is video footage of the second meeting of this ad-hoc committee that decided to meet SEVEN MONTHS AFTER the first meeting of the committee AND one year and three months since Minority Leader Tom Saadi offered his amendment that would have close the zone-hopping loophole back in December 2006.
As you'll notice, all of the items during the second meeting of the ad-hoc committee has NOTHING to do with the zone-hopping amendment. Remember, that was solved in a matter of 1 minute and 45 seconds during the first meeting. Also added to the ordinance was language that stemmed from a police officer who recognized a sex offender who was in a child safety zone...not by the officer WITNESSING the person in the zone BUT by reading about the offender in the child safety zone from an article from the News-Times. Personally, I think if the offender wanted to push it, he could take the city of Danbury to court because the officer didn't see him in the zone and the additional language added to the ordinance during this meeting seems to indicate that the city is covering it's tracks.
At a later point, I'll explain why the largest item during this meeting (listing of all the child safety zones) could have been resolved during the drafting stage of the original ordinance back in 2006.
SEX OFFENDER SAGA FLASHBACK: First ad-hoc committee meets EIGHT MONTHS LATER
Time: 6:27 PM
Copy of the letter requesting that an ad hoc committee be formed to address the "zone hopping" loophole in the sex offender ordinance dated 12.06.06
First posted back in March, in it's entirety, here's video footage of the ad-hoc committee that was set up after the passage of the sex offender ordinance.
Here are some things to note that you should take note:
1. During the December 2006 meeting, although he NEVER SPECIFICALLY EXPLAINED WHY THIS WAS THE CASE, Corporation Council Dan Casagrante stated that Tom Saadi's amendment (which would close the zone hopping loophole) would drastically change the scope of the ordinance which would have it go back to a public hearing, then back to the council for a vote.
2. Several Republicans on the Council, including President Joe Cavo, stated that they did not want to delay the passage of the ordinance (again, although corporation council never specially explained why Saadi's very minor amendment would require such a delay).
3. The Republicans wanted to vote on the ordinance in order to keep the children safe and would form an ad-hoc committee to address the zone hopping loophole as soon as possible.
Now, while taking these points into consideration, it's critical to note that:
1. This ad-hoc committee (which was primarily created to address the zone hopping loophole that was hindering the police department from effectively enforcing the ordinance) did not meet until SEVEN MONTHS LATER in the late summer AS KIDS WERE OUT OF SCHOOL on summer break and populated the city parks (a.k.a child safety zones).
2. Although Corporation Council stated in December that Saadi's amendment would DRASTICALLY CHANGE the scope of the ordinance, he did not address HOW this change would change the scope of the ordinance with the ad-hoc committee. In fact, Dan Casagrante spent approximately 1 minute 45 seconds addressing the Saadi amendment with a majority of his speech being historical in nature.
3. The ACLU has informed the City of Danbury that the ordinance is unconstitutional.
Here's the transcript (which starts at 1:42 of the video):
CORPORATION COUNCIL: I want to go to the change that was requested by Mr. Cavo first. That's on the last page of the ordinance.
On the floor of the council meeting, it was brought up that there was a potential flaw in the way the ordinance was drafted, was written. As written it said if a police officer encountered a sex offender in a child safety zone, as defined in the ordinance, that person would receive a infraction, I'm sorry a warning. And then, if that person refuses to leave or is later found in that child safety zone, then person would receive an infraction.
It was pointed out that basically would not prohibit an offender from say going from Roger's Park, getting a warning there, a then being found on Candlewood beach Town park the next day. The Council felt that the warning...that the offender should stay out of all child safety zones should suffice so that the next time, the person would be given an infraction.
We added the language in the last page...if a person refuses to leave or if is later found to be in the same or any other child safety zone, the penalty set forth should apply.
THAT'S IT! From that moment until today, that's the only thing Corporation Council has said about the Saadi loophole amendment.
One minute a 45 seconds EIGHT MONTHS LATER on an issue that by all accounts could have been resolved back in December 2006. Instead, the council tied the hands of the police and prevented them from properly enforcing a law that was designed to PROTECT CHILDREN.
...also note that this ad-hoc committee involved a laundry list of other changes to the ordinance AND was continued till a later date (that date being SEVEN MONTHS LATER).
SEX OFFENDER SAGA FLASHBACK: What's wrong with this picture
Time: 2:00 PM
In honor of tonight's long overdue changes to the sex offender ordinance, here's another post I did back in March that further exposes flaws with this law which should have been avoided in the first place.
Later, I'll post video footage of yours truly addressing this problem with the mayor and comment on his response (which yet again calls his honesty with the public into question).
Blind Brook Park exposes a problem with the sex offender ordinance. Blind Brook Park, 02.28.08. Photo by ctblogger
Can you tell what's wrong with this photo (click to enlarge)?
This is a photograph of Blind Brook Park in the city's 6th ward. Now, I posted this photo to bring attention one of the several problems with the city's sex offender ordinance in it's current condition.
Blind Brook Park is one locations where, current sex offender ordinance, child predators are barred from entering. Under the established city ordinance, each child safety zone is required to have a sign in plain sight alerting parents and police that offenders are barred from entering the location. There's only one problem...there's no sign at Blind Brook Park alerting residents that the park is a child safety zone.
Now as I parent, I have a problem with this for obvious reasons as this type of nonsense can lead to uncertainty and confusion. Is this place off limits? If it is, after a year and two months of the passage of the ordinance, where is the sign?
I brought this problem to the attention of Mayor Boughton at last week's town hall meeting and to his credit, he stated that he would look into that particular issue (NOTE: I'll post the video from my encounter with the mayor at the town hall meeting at a later date). Unfortunately, that doesn't negate the underling concern regarding several problems regarding this ordinance, which were brought up by several council members who attempted to address flaws within the law back in December of 2006.
A year and two months after the ordinance was adopted and one of the popular small neighborhood parks (which is less than a 1/2 mile from City Hall) goes unnoticed is clearly unacceptable for the parents in that section of town.
UPDATE: Since posting this piece, I was able to find other locations with the same problem in the city.
For the record, 1 YEAR, 6 MONTHS, AND 26 DAYS after the adoption of the ordinance, THREE months after posting this report and MONTHS after notifying Mayor Boughton and Sex Offender ordinance ad-hoc committee chairwoman Mary Teicholtz about the situation, and WEEKS after schools were closed for the summer, the problem at Blind Brook Park STILL exists.
SEX OFFENDER SAGA FLASHBACK: Problems with sex offender ordinance AFTER the ordinance was approved
Time: 1:43 PM
Continuing with my coverage of tonight's 1 year 6 months and 26 day overdue change to the sex offender ordinance, here's a post I did back in March that outlined other problem which were found in the ordinance ONE YEAR and THREE months after it was voted upon.
Here are some points I found from the ordinance that are alarming. NOTE: The additions to the ordinance being considered are highlighted in bold:
1. Note that the city had to insert the term "school" in definition of a Child Safety Zone, section 2(a)(i). The addition of the word "school" begs the question...how can the council forget to define a "school" as a child safety zone within the ordinance? Does this mean that all the schools in Danbury do not have a "child safety zone" sign?
2. A listing of all the child safety zones are going to be listed in the ordinance. Make sense right? Everyone doesn't know what makes a child safety zone so it SHOULD be outlined in the ordinance. There's just one problem, this was proposed by the Democrats during the ad-hoc committee for the ORIGINAL draft of the ordinance BEFORE the vote in December 2006. This recommendation, brought by Councilman Ben Chianese, was requested by the Republicans on the committee and was never adopted into the ordinance.
3. The zone hopping problem is finally fixed but this begs the question, if the zone hopping nonsense wasn't caught by Minority Leader Tom Saadi, then it's quite possible the other problems within the ordinance would have gone unnoticed until someone attempted to enforce the ordinance. For example, a sex offender was caught on the parking lot of a school and is warned that he's violated the ordinance. The offender challenges the warning in court and it's found that the ordinance doesn't state that the parking lot of a school is part of the child safety zone (not second to last portion of the drafted ordinance in the above graphic.
Food for thought...
UPDATE: Since the posting of this piece, Corporation Council is on record in stating that schools are child safety zones by default because each school has a park (which are called playgrounds).
Today's posts will center on tonight's vote at the Common Council meeting on the amendment to the sex offender ordinance.
Did Mary Teicholtz and the Republican-controlled Common Council put your children's safety at risk?
1 YEAR, 6 MONTHS, AND 26 DAYS
This is the amount of time the Republican-controlled Common Council (led my sex offender author, Mary Teicholtz) has knowingly allowed an idiotic loophole in the sex offender ordinance to stay in effect. This alarming and grossly irresponsible loophole has tied the hands of the police department from properly enforcing the sex offender ordinance and keep sexual predators away from YOUR children.
During the Common Council meeting, in an attempt re-visit several problems with the ordinance, Tom Saadi offered an amendment to fix one of the various loopholes in the ordinance (note the portion in bold):
Mr. Saadi moved to amend the main motion to change the language in Section (3) Enforcement Procedure, that reads “If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in the same Child Safety Zone....” to “If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in “a” or “any” Child Safety Zone....”. Seconded by Mr. Chianese. Mr. Saadi stated that the current language would allow offenders to “zone hop”.
Zone Hop basically means the following. As the ordinance is written, if a sex offender is in a Child Safety Zone, the police will give one warning; if that person is caught in the same Child Safety Zone a second time, then he'll gets a slap on the wrist by the police. In other words, under the current language, the offender is only slapped on the wrist if he's found in the same Safety Zone two times as opposed to being caught in ANY Safety Zone in Danbury.
Seems silly (a.k.a. a loophole)
Saadi's amendment would have changes the language in such a way so if a sex offender is found in ANY child Safety zone a second time, he'd get a slap on the wrist by the police. In other words, if an offender is in a Child Safety Zone, he'll be in violation of the ordinance and be fined if he's found in ANY Safety Zone as opposed to the same Safety Zone.
Republican At-Large Council member Mary Saracino joined the Democrats in approving the amendment but once again the Republican-majority rejected a Democratic-sponsored amendment in an effort to rush the entire proposal though the process. In the video, you'll notice the frustration among many Democrats (most notably Duane Perkins and Ben Chianese) who wanted to pass the ordinance free of any loopholes that allows any offender to get around the ordinance.
In the end, all but one council member approved the ordinance and in conversations with several Democrats who approved the ordinance, they plan to address several of the loopholes in the ordinance in the future. If one is concerned about the welfare of children, then every step should be taken by the common council to fix the loopholes so this ordinance has the real enforcement capability it needs.
Now, the above post was written about the debate on the sex offender ordinance back in DECEMBER of 2006.
Here's video highlights of the debate on the ordinance including Saadi's informing the council of the loophole, his attempts to fix the problem, the Republican's objections, and the outrage that developed afterwards.
McMahon (R-1st Ward): No Nagarsheth (R-1st Ward): No Johnson (R-2nd Ward): No Trombetta (R-2nd Ward): No Cavo (R-3rd Ward): No Esposito (D-4th Ward): Yes Saadi (D-4th Ward): Yes Perkins (D-5th Ward): Yes Visconti (D-5th Ward): Yes Chianese (D-6th Ward): Yes Basso (R-At Large): No Diggs (R-7th Ward): No Teicholz (R-7th Ward): No Cutsumpas (R-At Large): No Riley (R-At Large): No Saracino (R-At Large): Yes Taborsak (D-At Large): Yes
Knowing that the ordinance will tie the hands of the police department from enforcing the spirit of the ordinance (keeping offenders from children), the Republicans (for the exception of Mary Saracino) refused to change one simple word that would have added the teeth to the ordinance the police needed. Instead, for 1 year, 6 months and 26 days, the ordinance was led to people having a false sense of security which could have been easily avoided.
Now that you understand the origins of this deeply flawed ordinance, later I'll go through everything that has happened since the passage of this ordinance and highlight other problems I've noted about this law that has (to this point) not been resolved.
What if all the leading anti-immigration groups were founded by the same man, funded by the same organization, and [had] ties to White supremacy?" So begins Heidi Beirich's narrative in "Behind the Veil"-a new video being released today that details the common origins of many of the country's leading anti-immigration groups and their ties to White supremacists. In the video, Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-the nation's premier monitor of hate groups-discusses SPLC's research on organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and the Social Contract Press.
Did you learn something? Don't worry, there is more to digest before we really get into things...
Well, it didn't have all the fireworks and special effects that you see on television, but you didn't hear one fan complain about last night's wrestling event at the Ice Arena...except when the mayor screwed 2 Cold Scorpio out of his title (SHAME, SHAME).
From the wrestlers, the mayor, and the fans you can tell everyone was having a great time during the match. My favorite character during the match was the evil manager for 2 Cold's opponent made such legends as Captain Lou Albano and "Classy" Fred Blassie proud as he really played up tot he crowd heckling the mayor and even getting into it with Sgt. Kapinsky a couple of times outside the ring.
For most of the match, the mayor called it right down the middle UNTIL he got sandwiched between a frogsmash 2 Cold landed on his opponent. While he stumbled to the ground, the evil manager of 2 Cold's opponent jumped in the ring, grabbed the mic and screwed "I quit." Thinking that 2 Cold made the announcement, Boughton gets off the floor and proclaimed that 2 Cold lost the match (even to the objections to Sgt. Kapinsky who tried the set the record straight). The match ends with total bedlam in the ring and that evil manager being chased out of the arena with the mayor and Sgt. Kapinsky in hot pursuit.
All in all, it was a really fun night for the fans and it was a great way to spend a hot summer night. The final match highlighted some fairly major talent with such wrestlers as Team 3D, Justin Credible, and Lufisto and you could tell the the crowd all in all really appreciated the show.
Here's a slideshow of last night's action.
UPDATE: Look, I'm serious, THE MAYOR WAS NOT ATTACKED NOR WAS HE HURT!!! I know the top photo paints a slightly different picture but you have to understand what that I took that picture with a flash which captures a snapshot of time at 1/60 of a second. If you look at the video (which I was not allowed to shoot) it will paint a drastically different picture.
Hell, with all the hype over the photo, I think the mayor should consider making a gimmick out of the whole thing whenever the wrestling crew comes into town (granted they have more time to work everything out).
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.