Senator Dodd endorses Duane Perkins and the Bethel Democratic ticket
Saturday, October 11, 2008 Time: 8:42 PM
From left to right, 107th Dist. State Rep. candidate David Stevenson, 24th Dist. State Senate candidate Duane Perkins, Senior Senator Chris Dodd, 2nd Dist. State Rep. Jason Bartlett, 26th Dist. State Senate candidate John Hartwell Photo by CTblogger, Bethel Middle School 10.10.08
Yesterday, after meeting with business leaders in Danbury, Senior Senator Chris Dodd made a visit to Bethel Middle School to express his support for 24th dist State Senate candidate Duane Perkins as well as the Bethel Democratic ticket.
Citing Perkins' extensive background in education as well as being a college professor, Senator Dodd offers a rounding endorsement while throwing out some red meat and taking a swipe at the Democratic nominee's challenger...and I think it's safe to assume that we know who the senator was talking about.
It is going to be critically important, not just in the long term, but in the immediate term as well, that if we're going to be a successful nation, a successful state, in the 21st century, we have to produce the best educated generation America has ever produce...Duane Perkins gets that, he understands it.
This is not just a question of someone reading briefing books, or understanding it because he's been educated by people who tried to taught him as a candidate what he ought to be talking about.
He lives it everyday, as a father, as an educator, as a member of the public common council in Danbury, he appreciates and understands the critical need of these issues.
Senator Dodd remarks on Duane Perkins run for State Senate
From yesterday, here's video footage of the press conference.
In the days following the unveiling of Danbury's dark and ugly secret, the local media basically ripped Joel Urice, Pauline Basso, to shreds for their ignorance while blasting Mayor Boughton for hiding in his spider hole and showing a lack of leadership in the moments after the entire Connecticut news media descended on City Hall.
While those involved the scandal cried foul and refused to apologize for their racist actions, many in the community agreed with the level of criticism that was leveled against the parties in the heinous act...which, as I'll show at a later date, had a DIRECT impact on Basso and Urice losing their elections (note: Urice is appointed to the Planning Commission. He ran for zoning in 2007).
It's now been FIVE DAYS since the racial insensitivity, anti-immigrant sentiment, and outright ignorance of Republicans Pauline Basso and Joel Urice has been exposed to the public.
As of this date:
1. Pauline Basso has offered NO apology to the public for her actions and a half-hearted two paragraph to NAACP President Rev. Ivon Pitts.
2. Pauline Basso has only offered this flippant statement to the press.
"I really have nothing to say...I sent an apology and that's it."
3. "Cowboy" Urice thinks the whole thing is a "joke" and offered this boneheaded response to the News-Times Brian Koonz that only inflamed the level of outrage.
I just thought that it was funny," said Urice, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration. "There was nothing intended about anything.
"I am definitely a believer in law and order," he said. "Once again, these people are a burden on our tax system and we're forced to pay for them. It was in no way a racial slur."
Of course, Urice's "these people" remark speaks louder than any denial.
4. Our mayor, the last honest man in Danbury and leader of the seventh largest city in Connecticut, was too afraid to take questions from the networks, refuse to return calls from the networks, didn't give the impression that he took the matter seriously when first informed, didn't make a public statement condemning Basso's actions at this month's Common Council meeting, AND is attempting to distance himself from the matter by playing the role of "The Mediator."
and most importantly...
5. The OTHER COMMON COUNCIL MEMBER WHO'S RECEIVED THE EMAILS HASN'T COME FORWARD AND OFFERED AN EXPLANATION IN REGARDS TO HER/HIS ROLE IN THE MATTER. You know who you are, I know you read this blog and your silence on this matter speaks volumes and will not be forgotten.
Thankfully, I can take a small break from blasting Danbury's symbol of hatred and sit back and enjoy the popcorn while The News-Times take another swipe at the disgraceful bigoted-laced nature of those who're suppose to be leaders of the Republican Party.
Ahmad Noori, a U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, makes his living as a real estate expert for Cartus Corp. in Danbury.
But he also knows a thing or two about teaching.
Like many Danbury residents, Noori was shocked by last week's news that Common Council majority leader Pauline Basso and Planning Commission member Joel Urice had circulated racist e-mails about African women, Latinos and Muslims.
He saw the e-mailed photos of masked Muslim extremists holding up signs that read, "Behead Those Who Insult Islam" and "Be Prepared For The Real Holocaust."
And yet, tangled among the choking images of hatred and bigotry, Noori saw a lesson to be learned. Others in Danbury's ethnic community saw it, too.
Together, they're trying to undo the damage caused by Basso and Urice.
"I don't agree with suicide bombings. I don't agree with the hateful and extremist views that were shown in those pictures," Noori said Friday. "But I do want (Basso) and other people to know there's a big difference.
"For the majority of Muslims in America, particularly in Danbury, we are a peaceful people. We contribute to the community," he said. "For me, what hurts the most is that she's a public official. She knows better."
Noori was a teen-ager when he immigrated to Danbury in 1990. The city never used to be this way, he'll tell you. It was always a welcoming place, a palette where the colors complemented each other.
Hamid Raza, who owns Dollar Discount in Bethel, was also offended by the e-mails. Raza stood behind the counter Friday and shook his head.
"It's a very bad thing. It's not right," said Raza, a Danbury resident whose brother, Ahmed, leads the mosque in Monroe.
"You can't judge people on the basis of their color, or their religion, or their race," he said. "We are all God's children.
"Politicians are supposed to be the bridge that brings communities together," he went on. "They're not supposed to divide them and break them up and create more hate in the world."
"These kinds of things -- racist e-mails and photos, nooses -- they're symbolic of things that are usually swept under the rug in our society," said Dr. Carina Bandhauer, an associate professor of sociology at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
"But these particular symbols indicate there are bigger, unresolved issues with race and power and understanding," she observed.
Bandhauer said the situation becomes more intolerable when elected officials violate the public's trust. The professor also said she doubts Basso's two-paragraph apology to Pitts was sufficient to heal the city's wounds.
"It's particularly offensive when political figures are responsible," Bandhauer said. "(Basso) couldn't possibly have come to terms with what she did, just by writing one brief letter, to understand the issues affecting all of these groups and communities."
Willie Knight, who served as president of the Greater Danbury NAACP from 1984-94, agreed.
"Some of these things, the e-mails and the like, have become too permissible," Knight said. "But collectively, I still believe we have a very good community here in Danbury.
"But when something like this happens, I think it's even more reason to encourage people to take part in the voting process," he added. "You can make a difference. Your vote does count."
It's no different in the Islamic community or the Latino community. The pain might come in different colors, you see, but the votes still count the same.
If enough people keep Basso and Urice out of office Nov. 6, the healing can finally begin in Danbury.
"You can't hide behind the excuse of saying, 'Oh, well. It's just a joke.' This isn't humorous. It's not humorous at all," Knight said.
"When you're an elected official, you have to maintain a higher standard," he said. "Everybody in the city, especially our children, looks up to these people as role models. Martin Luther King said we shall overcome. Well, we're not there yet."
Sunday's editorial gives Boughton an off-handed shot it the head (read between thelines) while BLASTING Basso and Urice to pieces.
The controversy swirling around Danbury officials who forwarded offensive e-mails about ethnic groups has brightened the already glaring spotlight on the insensitivity with which many minorities are still treated in this city and, indeed, this country.
It is truly a sad commentary that such intolerance and bigotry continue to exist in 2007 Danbury and America.
The controversy also highlights the need for community leaders to encourage residents to be more tolerant -- and certainly to refrain from behavior that perpetuates bigoted stereotypes.
We are saddened and concerned that two Danbury officials -- Common Council majority leader Pauline Basso and Planning Commission member Joel Urice -- forwarded tasteless, offensive e-mails targeting Mexicans, African women and Muslims.
We don't have a clue why anyone would find humor in these ugly e-mails, or why they would want to share them with others.
And we certainly can't comprehend how or why two elected officials -- one of them the Republican leader of the Common Council -- would participate in spreading around such hateful material.
Criticism of those officials' behavior is not a matter of political correctness run wild, as some defenders of Basso and Urice contend.
This is not a matter of Basso's and Urice's critics failing to have a sense of humor, since it is difficult to find any humor in the e-mails.
Rather, this is a matter of two public officials viewing bigoted, offensive material, apparently finding it amusing, and forwarding it on to others.
It is a matter of two elected officials -- and most notably Basso -- who displayed very poor judgment in spreading incendiary material in a city where emotions already run high over the immigration issue.
Basso's and Urice's behavior raises serious questions about their suitability to serve the city of Danbury.
In Basso's case in particular, it is disturbing to know that an individual in such a key position -- and one who should be spearheading efforts to heal the ethnic divisions in Danbury -- apparently finds offensive ethnic e-mails funny.
And all of this is especially disturbing against the backdrop of racial conflict in Louisiana and the appearance of symbols of hatred like the noose and swastika signs at Columbia University and elsewhere.
What Danbury needs, what America needs are leaders who can heal, not those who exacerbate the divisiveness by perpetuating stereotypes.
We also call on Mayor Boughton to take greater advantage of his bully pulpit to work aggressively to increase tolerance and sensitivity, reduce bigotry and hostility, and create a more harmonious atmosphere in Danbury.
As for Basso and Urice, at the very least they both owe the community at large a sincere apology for their insensitive behavior.
And all Danbury residents -- leaders and ordinary citizens alike -- need to learn from this unfortunate scenario and make sure they act in a tolerant, sensitive, open-minded manner.
Yes, we need to learn from this and DEMAND THAT PAULINE BASSO RESIGN ASAP. As for Urice, he can kiss that dream of being on the zoning Commission good-bye.
Boughton's isn't off the hook and holding the mayor accountable for his role in this matter is also critical. Remember, Boughton KNEW about this matter back at the END OF SEPTEMBER. Not only did he fail to show any sense of leadership until the crap hit the fan on Tuesday, and he ran away from the networks who were demanding an explanation from him.
In other words, when under pressure, the mayor of the seventh largest city in Connecticut ran away from his responsibilities.
Heck of a job Mark.
TO THIS DATE, BOUGHTON HAS NOT ANSWERED ONE QUESTION REGARDING WHEN HE KNEW ABOUT THE LETTERS, WHAT HE SAID TO BASSO, AND HOW DID HE THINK BASSO'S LETTER WAS SUFFICIENT. He didn't bring up the issue during this month's Common Council meeting when a apology on the record could have diffused a good portion of the anger now in Danbury.
Boughton: A failure of leadership. Basso: A failure of intelligence. Urice: An utter disgrace.
Months after Senator Lou Deluca was forced to resign from the State Senate for his relationship with convicted mobster James Galante, Senator Cappiello is looking to be promoted to Congress.
Cappiello has publicly tried to distance himself from his friend and convicted trash hauler but can't hide any longer, as the public has proof of why Galante bundled illegal contributions to Cappiello.
Yesterday, the Hartford Courant released the text of a glowing letter written by Cappiello in support of Galante's character. Cappiello wrote that he was "proud to call Jim my friend", detailing his long history of friendship with the convicted trash hauler that led to Cappiello accepting illegal campaign contributions and thanking him with a gift of wine.
Will the public ever learn the details of the undeniable friendship between Cappiello and Galante? Cappiello's refusal to come clean begs the question of how he expects residents to trust him in Washington.
The timeline is clear - Cappiello accepted the illegal contributions in 2002, after Galante's first stint in jail. In the recently released letter, dated June 3, 2004, Cappiello admitted that he knew Galante had been previously incarcerated on tax charges.
Senator Deluca Resigns and Cappiello Seeks Promotion! Outraged?
Call Cappiello And Tell Him TO Come Clean With His Relationship With Galante- Cappiello will be talking to John Dankosky on NPR's Where We Live Tomorrow (Friday) from 9am to 10am. NPR's "Where We Live" Friday, October 10th (860) 275-7266
Serious unanswered questions remain.
Do you always give wine to campaign contributors especially those who give illegal contributions?
When will you release all records of your communications with Galante and his associates?
Why did you write the letter after you knew had plead guilty on tax charges?
What other criminal enterprises do you have relationships with?
I suppose Cappiello thought he was doing the right thing when he spent hundreds of dollars on wine to thank his friend Galante for receiving his illegal contributions. (Hartford Courant, October 12, 2007) (Politico.com, November 5, 2007) (Hartford Courant, October 12, 2007)
Yet last week, state prosecutor Christopher Alexy told the press that Cappiello "didn't tell the whole story" the first time he spoke to the FBI about his relationship with Galante. And finally, in state court last week, Galante couldn't keep the lie going. He plead guilty to just one offense - the one involving Cappiello.
If Cappiello had done the right thing, he wouldn't have lied to the FBI, he wouldn't have accepted the illegal campaign contributions, and he wouldn't be covering his tracks now.
UPDATE: ctblogger For those who are not keeping score, here's the Galante-Cappiello time line.
* 2007 -- After a story broke about his PAC receiving Galante money, Cappiello lied about when he donated the money to charity. (Hartford Courant, October 13, 2007) (Associated Press State & Local Wire, October 12, 2007) (FEC.gov)
* 2007 -- Cappiello was Against New Plans to Regulate Refuse Industry. After Galante's indictment, Cappiello opposed proposals for licensing trash haulers. (Danbury News-Times, June 12, 2007)
* 2005 -- Cappiello and DeLuca were two of just three senators to oppose a bill to expand the state's bottle bill by also letting water bottles be redeemed for deposit. A massive lobbying effort then killed the bill in the House, led by Sullivan & LeShane. While they represented the beverage industry, they were also representing Galante companies, and this bill would have hurt his bottom line by reducing municipal reliance upon curbside recycling. Sullivan & LeShane have boasted how they have defeated this expansion of the bottle bill, beginning in 1999. (Connecticut Common Cause, September 27, 2005)
* 2004 -- Cappiello Voted Against Reforming "Evergreen" Contracts. One of the abusive features of Galante's company contracts were "evergreen" clauses, which he used in Connecticut even after such contracts had been outlawed in Westchester and New York City. In 2004, Cappiello voted in Judiciary Committee against SB 399, "An Act Concerning... Automatic Renewal of Consumer Contracts." (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2004/jfr/s/2004SB-00399-R00JUD-JFR.htm) (New York Times, August 12, 2001)
* 2002 -- Cappiello solicited James Galante to contribute $100,000 at a Red Cross Fundraiser that raised $117,000. Cappiello and DeLuca repeatedly worked together in soliciting and honoring Galante; both were members of the "Italian-American Legislative Caucus."
* 2002 -- Cappiello took $15,000 in illegally funneled money from Galante for his State Senate PAC. Cappiello spent $202 at Danbury wine & liquor to thank Galante with "bottles of wine or champagne" (Hartford Courant, October 12, 2007) (Politico.com, November 5, 2007) (Hartford Courant, October 12, 2007)
* 2002 -- Italian American Legialtive Caucus, of which Cappiello is Treasurer, gives Galante its highest award. The ceremony was held in a room off the legislative chambers, just over two years after Galante had served time in Prison for tax evasion. (Danbury News-Times, 3/29/02) (Hartford Courant, 9/19/99)
EMAIL SCANDAL ONE YEAR LATER: Hate-email press conference
Thursday, October 09, 2008 Time: 7:32 PM
The anti-immigrant establishment were in an uproar when the publication of the disturbing emails were made available to the public. One of the organizations that received the largest amount of criticism was the NAACP led by Rev. Ivon Pitts.
Taking a stance against racial intolerance, Rev. Pitts led a coalition of groups and organizations that were appalled by the demeaning images of immigrants, African-Americans, and Muslims depicted in Pauline Basso/ Joel Urice's emails. Rev. Pitts leadership in this dark episode was a shining moment where a radical, dehumanizing segment of the local population brought great shame on a city which was once known for it's multi-cultural diversity.
EMAIL SCANDAL ONE YEAR LATER: How the scandal played out on television
Time: 1:16 PM
(click on image to enlarge)
Here are a sample of two of several emails that were shared with members of the media and public on 10.09.08. The following emails in the image originated from Planning Commission member Joel Urice to then Common Council Majority Leader Pauline Basso, who then forwarded the email to others, including 7th Ward Common Council member Mary Teicholtz.
We'll take a look back at the events that unfolded on that faithful day when the ugly side of Danbury was exposed to the public by looking at how the networks covered the story.
When you watch the news reports, take note of how Mayor Boughton and then Common Council majority leader were no where to be found (although they were seen by people at City Hall earlier that morning).
Today marks the one year anniversary of one of the darkest moments in the history of Danbury.
During this period, the names of Common Common majority leader Pauline Bssso, Planning Commissioner Joel Urice, and 7th ward Common Council member Mary Teicholtz were forever connected in a shameful state of affairs that has by and large brought further shame to Danbury by labeling the city the most racially intolerant place in Connecticut.
One year after the exposure of racist emails by anti-immigrant politicians that sparked an outrage across the state of Connecticut and nation, we'll take a look back at that ugly moment in time explore how nothing has changed one year later...in fact, things have gotten worse.
Sorry folks, I'm STILL processing video from two events. The Health care forum AND the Ridgefield debate I attended between John Frey and Di Masters as well as Toni Boucher and John Hartwell.
To add insult to injury, my harddrive is full so I have to archive a bunch of videos. To give you an idea of what I'm going through, digital video in it's raw format is called a .dv file. 20 minutes of video equals about 4 gig of harddrive space. That means for every hour of video, you need to burn 3 DVDs. I have to transfer the .dv files from one computer to another on my network AND for every DVD of video I burn, I make a backup copy...getting the picture.
Getting the picture.
To top things off, the news doesn't stop so that I can finish archiving my work and I've been running around covering different races in the state, which eats up my time when it comes to covering local stuff.
Blah, blah, blah, just writing this post is eating up my time. I'll have things worked out soon.
Last night at City Hall, I attended a forum on health care reform and for those who didn't make it, you missed some really heartbreaking testimony from people who are suffering from a lack of affordable health care.
People spoke and offered their thoughts before the HealthFirst Connecticut Authority. For those who don't know, HealthFirst is a group that was formed by the state legislature last year and is currently going around the state listening to people's health care concerns. Later, they're going to offer recommendations to the state legislature about ways the state can move towards offering residents affordable quality health care (which according to the speakers is GREATLY NEEDED).
Although the News-Times did a very good write-up on last night's forum, you really needed to be there to hear the pain and suffering from people who are suffering because of the health care crisis in this state and country.
Later I'll add to this post photographs and video footage from the event.
UPDATE: The email response to last night's forum is pretty remarkable. I haven't posted anything today because I'm busy at work editing the footage.
I'll provide contact info for HealthFirst and get the video up as soon as possible. I'm in the process of splicing video from two cameras without the assistance of a time base corrector (geek talk for a program that syncs two video files for easier editing). I'll have everything set soon.
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.