REPOST: 2010 CT Film festival ad-hoc committee meeting
Time: 9:38 AM
Originally posted on Sept 18 2009:
From Sept 15, here's video footage of the Common Council ad-hoc committee meeting regarding future funding of the CT Film Festival.
NOTE 1: I missed the first five minutes of the meeting where it was discussed that the person who was to provide the council with the figures from the '09 festival was unable to attend the meeting. For that reason, this committee will meet again when the individual is available to present the numbers.
NOTE 2: This is a "semi" exclusive because John Neumeiller "from Danbury Live" was on-hand to videotape the meeting also...I just beat him to the punch in showing the meeting to the public :-)
NOTE 3: I'm designing a special section of HatCityBLOG that will be dedicated to everything surrounding the CT Film Festival. This includes video footage of EVERY meeting that centered on the funding of the film festival as well as the release of my footage of this year's festival (including the complete audio of the New Media Frontiers panel which I and Fairfield County Weekly reporter Dave Bonan participated on.
Okay, enough typing...here's the video.
Anti-immigrant sexual assault case gets national attention
Time: 11:42 PM
Well, if John McGowan wanted to become famous and once again place Danbury on the map for it's nativist attitude towards the immigrant community, then he just got his wish.
The Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) hatewatch now have their eyes on the former Vice President of Elise Marciano's hate group.
Judge Orders Psychiatric Examination for Nativist Accused of Rape
Posted in Nativism in the News by Hatewatch Staff on September 29, 2009
A Superior Court judge ordered anti-immigration activist and cable television call-in host John McGowan to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine whether he’s capable of standing trial for first-degree sexual assault.
Hey John, congrats! This prestigious honor is LONG overdue...I'm sure we'll be reading more about the case (and hopefully, Danbury in general) on the SPLC site.
BETHEL: Burke applies for accelerated rehabilitation
Time: 12:19 PM
In his brief appearance, the First Selectman of Bethel applied for accelerated rehabilitation and will be back in court on December 4th to determine if he's eligibility for the special form of probation.
RELATED POSTS/NEWS REPORTS
NEWS-TIMES: Bethel First Selectman applies for accelerated rehabilitation in court today on harassment charge
AUDIO: WLAD 11.06.09 noon broadcast
The sexual assault case against John McGowan, day three and four: He's competent!
Time: 10:14 PM
As you know, the former mayoral candidate, former Vice President of Elise Marciano's racist hate group, and anti-immigrant activist was arrested and charged with first degree sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
Well, day three was rather fast and I missed most of it. Basically, during that day, if I'm correct, the prosecutor was successful in getting a protective order that will stop McGowan from naming the victim in any paper work he presents to the court. Afterwards, another date was set in which the results from McGowan's psychiatric exam would be presented to the court.
As always, when called upon by the Judge James Ginocchio, McGowan utters his now infamous line while entering the chambers...
I enter of my own free will. I do not agree to grant jurisdiction.
The judge started by granting McGowan an opportunity to argue why he feels that the state has no jurisdiction over him but only to the limit of the competency hearing.
McGowan starts his diatribe by stating that he already submitted a series of "papers" into the record. Here's how John Pirro described McGowan's "papers" back in September…
If his courtroom demeanor was low-key, that same description couldn't be applied to the sheaves of bizarre papers he has filed in connection with the case.
The thick stack of documents claim to be "powers of attorney" and attachments on various land records, but according to a court clerk are comprised of "legal terms that are strung together but have no legal meaning."
As you'll read later, the prosecutor for the case will expand on the term "no legal meaning" with the greatest of ease, but for now, lets continue with McGowan's monologue.
After being instructed by the judge that he's not going to get into a question and answer session with McGowan regarding "jurisdiction" and that he would only hear his argument (again to the limit of the competency hearing), McGowan continues his bizarre behavior by going on a rant about the court not having jurisdiction over him, which made absolutely no sense to anyone in the court but McGowan and his "supporters."
From how the court had to prove jurisdiction before the case could proceed, to rambling off a series of court cases which, in his mind, back his argument that the state has no jurisdiction over him, when it comes to McGowan representing himself, lets just say that McGowan isn't helping his case.…and remember, McGowan is on trial for FIRST DEGREE SEXUAL ASSAULT which carries up to 20 year in jail YET he still has no attorney AND he's still digging a hole for himself EVER time he opens his mouth.
While McGowan continues to make himself look like an ass, I can't help but think of the hypocrisy of this moron who has made a habit of citing the "rule of law" when it came to his twisted views of undocumented immigrants and how they should be removed because they are here "illegally." Now, here's the same guy trying to say that the same "rule of law" doesn't apply to him when he’s charged with raping someone.
Ah, the irony!
After his incoherent rambling came to a merciful end, Dawn Gallo pretty much sliced McGowan's rant to shreds in what seemed to be less than 60 seconds…I'll try to summarize.
After the prosecutor correctly pointed out that the manner in which McGowan is trying to argue jurisdiction, at the sake of making him look even more foolish (in my opinion of course) prosecutor Gallo basically rips him to shreds by properly stating that McGowan is attempting to use a some federal law that applies to CIVIL cases that have absolutely ZERO meaning in terms of a CRIMINAL matter (such as being charged with raping a person anally). Since a warrant was valid and properly served, McGowan "claim" of jurisdiction doesn't hold water.
Lather, wash, rinse, done.
After the prosecutor made his very easy case against McGowan's jurisdiction nonsense, the judge took about a millisecond to deny McGowan's motion.
Onto the competency report…well that's what we all thought.
Now, the competency hearing should take about a couple of minutes BUT we're talking about McGowan so anything can happen. Before things even got underway, McGowan objected stating that he didn't have a chance to view the report and he wanted an opportunity to view it and see if it's accurate. At this point, I'm shaking my head again thinking to myself "let me get this straight, you want to "view" and possibly challenge a report that states that you're competent to stand trial?)
The judge granted McGowan time to read the report, which meant the case had to go into recess.
…then the real circus begins.
Proving to the public again that he’s a raving asshole, McGowan's sidekick Tom Big(O)T Bennett couldn’t resist pissing off the court. When the bailiff announces the gallery to rise, our local hate-monger decides not to rise, which really pissed off the bailiffs who gave Big(O)T a piece of his mind.
From my scribbles, here's what was said:
BAILIFF: All rise.
Big(O)T: refuses to rise
BAILIFF: ALL RISE PLEASE!!!
Big(O)T; while rising, utters this under his breath "Yeah right."
BAILIFF: Keep you comments to yourself!
Big(O)T: What comment...I grunted
BAILIFF: You said "yeah right"
YOURS TRULY: shaking my head in disbelief
Remember, the judge IS STILL IN THE CHAMBERS while Big(O)T is insulting the court with his antics. Know this moron’s history, I'm not shocked with his antics in court, I'm just shocked that he wasn't thrown out of court.
After a break that took almost 2 hours (due to the face that there were multiple court cases going on at the same time and getting a court room would take a while, after having lunch and transcribing my notes and thoughts into my computer, I went back to the court where the case was already underway.
Michael Genovese, head of the competency unit at the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, takes the stand and basically stated that he and his evaluation interviewed McGowan (about 2 hours) and deemed that although he possess "unusual beliefs," that McGowan was competent to stand trial. A report of McGowan's psychiatric evaluation was submitted into the record.
Seemed rather straight forward…but again, we're talking about McGowan and as expected, he (and his Big(O)T sidekick made things rather "interesting."
Remember when I talked about Big(O)T making a scene in the courtroom when he wouldn't rise as the judge exited the chamber? Well, his bullshit didn't stop there.
As I sat down, the bailiff already walked over to Big(O)T and gave him a few words for something. It couldn't have been but a few minutes when, while the prosecution was asking questions regarding McGowan's competency exam, that the judge yelled at Big(O)T
JUDGE: I've been patient…if I hear one more word out of you!
Big(O)T: I apologize.
Now seeing that he was found competent, you would think McGowan wouldn't have any questions to Genovese right?
McGowan questioned Genovese regarding the notion of his "unusual beliefs" with a series of bizarre questions. Basically, he asked Genovese if he ever stated when he talked to him about his conspiracy theories, whether or not he said that those were his personal beliefs.
Now follow me on this. If I heard things right, McGowan brought in a bunch of whacked-out group conspiracy theories to his competency interview AND talked about his group conspiracy nonsense, YET he's questioning the very person he talked to about his conspiracy theories and asking him whether or not he ever said those were his "beliefs."
Yeah, you could image the look on every one's faces while McGowan is spewing this stuff…all of which has NOTHING to do with whether or not he's competent to stand trial.
After admitting that he didn't recall McGowan saying that the conspiracy theories HE presented to the competency evaluation team were his "beliefs" and a clerical error on the report (they had his age wrong on the report, McGowan ended his ramblings.
Finally, the court set a date for the next court date (Nov 6) where the prosecution will start rolling out their case against McGowan.
All in all, now that the competency nonsense is out of the way, the real case begins and things get very serious. Whether or not McGowan takes the case seriously and hires an attorney is yet to be seen.
…to be continued.
RELATED POSTS/NEWS ARTICLES:
LITCHFIELD REGISTER-CITIZEN: Local man accused of rape is competent for trial
NEWS-TIMES: McGowan found competent to stand trial in New Milford rape case
McGowan arrested, charged with first-degree sexual assault
Court trial day one: Strange behavior, disturbing arrest warrant affidavit
Court trial day two: Excuses, excuses
HatCityBLOG EXCLUSIVE: Person behind SEEC complaint against Derek Roy sets the record straight
Time: 5:04 PM
Today, I had a chance to interview Western Connecticut State University Student Sara Watrerfall, who individual asked the State Elections Enforcement Commission to look into the activities of the Derek Roy campaign.
As stated in an earlier post, Roy's campaign tactics on campus caused a bit of controversy at the university so I gave Waterfall an opportunity to set the record straight regarding the nature of her complaint against the former 5th ward Common Council candidate.
Roy campaign to be investigated by state for possible campaign violations
Roy campaign stoops to a new low
Funny photo of the day (or will the mistakes from this campaign ever end)
Complaints over Roy campaign tactics mounts
Time: 12:28 PM
Lorinda Arconti, meanwhile, said she voted against the proposed changes.
"Mainly because of the bonding issue," she said, referring to the increase to $3 million that city officials could bond without going to the voters. "I didn't agree with it."
Contrary to what you've heard from elected officials (many of whom rarely attended the charter revision meetings), as one of the few members of the public who either attended and viewed EVERY SINGLE charter revision meeting, without question, the issue of MOST concern was NOT the change in terms of elected service from 2 or 4 years, but rather an issue that was debated in great length during the numerous charter revision meetings, as well as the top issue in this past election.
BONDING (or specifically, the amount of bonding one administration can do without the approval of the residents).
When the topic of the charter revision changes was brought before the Common Council, it was suggested by the mayor and members of the council that the topics of most concern (i.e., terms of elected service, bonding) should be placed on the ballot as separate questions. That way, a majority of the other changes, which are mostly cosmetic, would not risk being struck down by the voters who voted against the changes because of a controversial item(s).
Ultimately (and thankfully), the topic of terms of service never made it's way to the voters. As for separating the other contentious issue (bonding), that never happened...and thus my problem with the way the charter revision process was handled by the Common Council and mayor’s office.
Those on the Common Council who had a chance to speak out against the way the question was handled on the ballot dropped the ball. My concern with bonding had nothing to do with the limit the mayor could spend without the approval of the people. My issue stems from the way this mayor ignored the spirit of the charter (you could only bond up to 500,000 per year) and issuing five 500,000 bonds (or 2.5 MILLION dollars) without giving a chance for the voters to have their say back in 2008.
Here's former Mayor Gene Eriquez commenting on what Boughton did back in 2008 (NOTE: Eriquez misspoke when he stated the section of the charter, he meant to say 7-10 and not 17-10):
The level of bonding should had stayed at 500,000 simply because WE THE PEOPLE should have more of the say in terms of how the city spends OUR money. By increasing the level of bonding without voter’s approval, you give ANY mayor more power without you having a say so.
When it comes to the issue of bonding, the charter revision commission should had been placed very definite wording that would prevent the situation we had back in 2008 when Boughton bonded over 2 million dollars without the resident’s blessing...that's it.
Instead, the commission increased the level of bonding without voter’s approval to a whopping 5 million dollars. Add that with their suggestion to change the terms of elected service be changed to 4 years, then you have a scenario where a mayor can spend up to 20 million dollars without your approval.
That’s not the type of change I believe in.
Fortunately, the Common Council thought better and brought the level of bonding down to 3 million (per year cap). I say fortunately because the issue of bonding was not placed, as a separate question on the ballot and not for the council, the level of spending would be set at 5 million dollars per year.
Screwing around with the charter (which is the constitution of the city) should not be taken lightly...in fact, it should rarely happen at all. While most of the changes are cosmetic in nature, some are very serious which will have a lasting impact in terms of how things are handled in the city. That being said, whether it’s by holding town hall meetings in their respected wards or by mailing and calling their constituents, the members of the common council had an obligation to do everything in its power to properly inform the public about the changes made to the charter.
That didn’t happen.
The mayor and members of the council hardly lifted a finger in terms of informing the public about the charter revision process, which is evident when you see the number of people who attended the meetings on a regular basis. Again, I attended a majority of the meetings and I can name every person who was there with me (and they know who they are and are probably shaking their heads in agreement right now). Placing the changes to the charter on a website is hardly any way to inform the public about the what’s happening. As someone in the middle of politics in the city, I know about the changes because I deal with City Hall all the time BUT that's not the case with most people in this commuter city.
Case in point, look at this quote...
Regina Ofiera, a moderator at Danbury High School during Tuesday's election, said there were voters who didn't answer the charter question.
"I think there were a lot of voters who didn't know what it meant, so they just didn't answer the question rather than making an uneducated vote," she said.
While many didn't vote for the changes due to a lack of knowledge, many DID vote for the changes having no knowledge of the changes and just trusting their elected representatives who vetted and approved the changes to the charter…and this is one of the most dangerous things we face in terms of dealing with a public that has no knowledge of how politics works in this city.
If given the chance, I strongly believe that the issue of increased bonding would had failed if the voters had a chance to deal with that charter revision change separate from the other changes. I say this because, in this day where people are facing economic hardships, the LAST thing you would want to do is to give government MORE money to spend without their blessing.
Instead what we had here was a case where all the changes to the charter were lumped together and THE PEOPLE were not given a choice on what changes they liked versus the ones they didn't like.
Who gets blamed for this you ask?
Should we blame Mayor Boughton or the Republicans on the Council for not separating the question of bonding on the ballot?
Should we blame the minority party on the council for not taking action in making sure that the issue of bonding be listed on the ballot as a separate question?
Should we blame the candidates running for Common Council for not making the topic of the charter changes a part of their campaign platform?
Should we blame the Democratic Town Committee for not holding the mayor and council to their word when they said they would separate the question of bonding from the other charter changes on the ballot?
Should we blame the mayor’s office broadcasting more meetings on local access television.
Should we blame the media for not doing a better job in reporting on the charter revision meetings that took place over a 17 month period?
BLAME YOURSELVES for allowing the mayor and Common Council to go back on their word in terms of having separating the controversial charter revision questions on the ballot.
BLAME YOURSELVES for not telling the candidates running for Common Council about your concerns regarding some of the changes to the charter when they came by and knocked on your door.
BLAME YOURSELVES for not placing MORE pressure on City Hall to broadcast more meeting on the government access channel.
BLAME YOURSELVES for not speaking out when there is a chance to make a difference (as opposed to after the fact).
In short, when it comes to casting blame, take a look in the mirror.
VIDEO: Common Council charter revision public hearing: Feb 2009
Common Council vote on final charter revision changes: March 2009
Interview with Charter revision chairman Chairman Carlo Marano and Minority Leader Tom Saadi
A way in the way the city spends money (or are we getting the short end of the stick).
Danbury 2009 election numbers
Time: 8:15 PM
HatCityBLOG VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Election night Bethel 2009
Time: 4:03 PM
Last night Democrats in Bethel rejoiced as Matt Knickerbocker became Bethel's First Selectman-Elect beating Republican Larry Craybas and current First Selectman (and Pro-Bethel candidate) Robert Burke.
I'll do a more in-depth report on everything that happened in Bethel as there is an awful lot to cover and I'm running short on time. For now, I wanted to make this video report from the municipal center and Democratic headquarters available for the readers.
Using city vehicles for campaign purposes?
Time: 3:35 PM
Can someone at City Hall (specifically, the public works department) explain to me why truck number 30 had a Republican Zoning candidate "Cousin" Larry Stramiello campaign sign on it?!?
The ECHO: Roy campaign to be investigated by state for possible campaign violations
Time: 12:36 PM
The election might be over but former 5th ward Common Council dormitory student/candidate Derek Roy's troubles seem to be increasing by the day.
As stated in a previous post, students at Western Connecticut State University were rather pissed to see their midtown campus littered with Roy's campaign material.
As someone with a tad bit of knowledge at Western, I questioned whether it was even legal for Roy to place campaign material all over the campus.
Well, according the a recent article in The ECHO, I'm not the only one questioning Roy's tactics....
Students at Western Connecticut State University may have noticed a large amount of campaign posters hanging around campus promoting the campaign of Derek B. Roy to be elected to the Common Council in Danbury's 5th ward. Some students at WestConn expressed concern about these posters.
Student Sara Waterfall was particularly concerned with the posters and decided to send them to the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC). This means that the State of Connecticut will now begin an investigation into the issue of the posters at WestConn
DOH! I think someone is in trouble...
To add insult to injury, listen to Roy's explanation...
...Roy went on to explain that from his understanding, the signs were hung by Danbury High School students. When asked if he thought it was appropriate for signs to be hung on campus, Roy replied, "I think it's important to advertise, but you need to advertise correctly. The SEEC does have certain rules and regulations, I think it's important that candidates use the law and follow the law and enforce it with their volunteers.
WTF?!? Let me get this straight.
Roy's campaign stuff has been all over Midtown campus for weeks (if not at least a month), YET he's attempting the blame the situation on "Danbury High School students?"
Hmm....who TOLD THEM TO PLACE THE campaign material on campus?
If you're someone who wants to uphold the law, why didn't you remove your material from the campus grounds (a state facility).
...and lets not forget the FACT that some of your campaign material clearly stated "ATTENTION WESTCONN STUDENTS" which mean you meant to place the material on campus.
...anyhow, take a look at Roy's continued comments in the student paper article.
...Roy seemed annoyed that he was being reported to the SEEC at all. He was very insistent on the ideas that issues should come before politics. "It's about the issues, it's not about a sign, it's not about tape."
No Derek, this is NOT about politics but rather you placing your political material at a state institution to the annoyance of students.
...oh by the way, Roy seemed to have also pissed off the higher ups at the university.
With all the controversy surrounding the campaign posters on campus, The ECHO contacted Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Walter Bernstein. In an email statement, Berstein said "The University, or any other state agency, may not be used as a place for candidates to promote their candidacy. Because of this, we have asked Mr. Roy to take down any such signs that may be on campus."
Seems like someone has been sent to the principal's office for bad behavior.
UPDATE: In all seriousness, I've covered many campaign in Danbury as well many municipalities and I've never heard of one candidate creating so much controversy in such a short period of time than Roy. As I stated, I don't have it out for the kid but DAMN, did he piss off a lot of people in the 5th ward as well as on campus.
By demand, here's a copy of the article as reported by The ECHO as well as his response to the piece that was made as an insert in the paper.
Roy campaign stoops to a new low
Funny photo of the day (or will the mistakes from this campaign ever end)
Complaints over Roy campaign tactics mounts
FLASHBACK: Words to remember
Time: 11:44 AM
-Common Council 6th Ward member Paul Rotello remarks on Mayor Boughton's win, News-Times Nov 7 2007.
To add onto Rotello's remarks, there isn't much one can do when Boughton is able to get away with crap out (i.e., mislead the public) without a media outlet that keeps tabs on him.
Then there's the whole thing with FREE and OPEN debates and the mayor running in essence a reactionary campaign comprised of the same material he used in 2007 (92 percent bipartisanship claim, taking credit for things that he had NOTHING to do with, misleading the public regarding taxes, etc).
Blah, blah, blah, you've heard it before and watching the activity at City Hall for years, you can be sure that I'll touch on these subjects again...but for now, time to move on.
ELECTON DAY LIVEBLOG
Time: 10:35 AM
10:30 AM: Well, that day has finally arrived but unlike 2007, I'll be reporting on election day activities in both Danbury and Bethel.
If you have any voting stories, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post it for everyone to read. Make sure to tell us the time you voted, whether you’re voting in Danbury or Bethel and which ward your reporting from. Also, if possible, tell us the number of the counter when you insert your voting ballot into the machine.
Here's the first field report from a reader:
Voted at Danbury High School at 9:40 AM and forgot to look at the number when scanning my ballot but was 71st for my "street starting with location" ... steady stream of people ... did overhear one woman walking out saying, "I only voted for one Republican"
12:30 PM: I just finished voting at Broadview Middle School.
Turnout was pretty good for this time in the afternoon. I couple of people forgot that the ballot was two-sided (which is to be expected). Here's a pic of the ballot before I filled it out.
Counter on the voting machine was at 1042 when I cast my ballot.
Here's what the area looked like when I arrived.
Both Democratic (Barbara Carey, William Tanner) and Republican (Joe Cavo, Jack Knapp) candidates for Common Council (3rd ward) were on hand as well as poll standers for Warren Levy, Lori Kaback, Don Taylor (whose handmade signs are the WORSE I've ever seen). Democratic poll standers clearly outnumber Republicans at this point.
Remember to email me your voting experience. Make sure to include the time you voted, where you voted, and the counter number on the voting machine.
...more field reports later.
1:00 PM At Pembroke School (2nd Ward).
No sign of any Republican poll standers but Democratic poll standers are around including Common Council candidate Phil McAllister. The other Democratic candidate, Daniel Abrantes, has been non-existent throughout the entire campaign so not seeing him here (or a sign with his name) is not a surprise.
Machine counter is at 1009 as of 1:10 PM.
Found another hand-made sign from Don Taylor...laughable at best.
...what's the deal with the Police?
1:15 PM At Danbury High School (1st ward).
Phil Curran, Shay Nagarsheth, Phil Colla, and members of the firefighter union are standing around for the Republicans while Barry Rickert, Frank Anders, poll standers for Lori Kaback, William Totten, and Warren Levy are standing for the Democrats.
Didn't get a machine count.
1:30 PM At Mill Ridge School (7th ward).
Eileen Coladarci (City Clerk candidate), Common Council candidates Phil Cervone and Joselyn Cotillo, and large Democratic presence are on hand while the worst City Clerk in the history of Danbury, Jean Natale, and a handful of Republican poll standers are on the scene.
2:00 PM At the War Memorial (5th ward).
Talked to Common Councilmen Duane Perkins and Fred Visconti who are in high spirits. Poll standers for the candidates as well as Warren Levy and Lori Kaback are all around. Standers for Derek Roy are also around.
Received MORE complaints about Derek Roy's campaign tactics over the last 24 hours. The following picture is from a supporter for Visconti-Perkins who’s irritated to see that someone from the Roy campaign placed a lawn sign on the property. This is the kind of nonsense that's been going on from Roy's camp for some time.
2:30 PM Park Ave School (6th ward). Saw Democratic zoning candidate Al Pena, Common Councilman Ben Chianese, and poll standers for Lori Kaback and Warren Levy on hand. One stander for Mayor Boughton was on hand.
Went to get a picture inside but my camera died.
2:45 PM Talked to Democratic Town Committee chairman Joe DaSilva who reports that turnout has been low.
3:30 PM: Stopped by Democratic Headquarters to see what's happening. As in any election, the get out the vote (GOTV) effort is critical. With people predicting that this year's turnout will equal 2007's, calling people to remind them to go to the polls is more critical than ever.
4:00 PM: Taking a small break before heading over to Bethel. In the meantime, here's an interview Gary Goncalves did on local access television.
4:30: I find it laughable that someone like Elmer Palma is running on the Republican slate for the Zoning Commission. Click here to read my write-up on the Palma and the traffic nightmare he's created with his irresponsible diner location.
5:00 PM Oh the hypocrisy!
Statement from The Tribuna (a family-owned newspaper) dated February 2008:
TRIBUNA WITHDRAWALS ITS SUPPORT FOR MAYOR BOUGHTON
Mayor's Proposed Partnership with ICE is hurtful to the community and the local immigrant population
Danbury, CT - Since its creation in 2000, TRIBUNA NEWSPAPER has expressed its support to Danbury's mayors. From Gene Eriquez to Mark Boughton, this multi-cultural publication has worked closely with local leaders covering stories and voicing concerns of the local immigrant community.
After announcing its plans to check the legal status of the city's immigrants in 2005, TRIBUNA had several conversations with Mayor Mark Boughton expressing its opposition to his plan. Eventually, the mayor set the issue aside. TRIBUNA continued with its support for Boughton on the last election, endorsing him as the candidate with the best overall plans for the city.
TRIBUNA is a strong voice against Boughton's proposal since it knows that the recent mayor's plans of a partnership with ICE are a true harm to the community. It makes sense for authorities to expect that illegal immigrants who committed crimes to be deported. But TRIBUNA will no longer support a mayor who would pass a plan that would also deport immigrant workers, who came to this country legally and don't have a green card because they are waiting for the conclusion of their legalization process. A plan that could take children away from good parents, divide families and close businesses owned by honest people who have contributed greatly to this city. TRIBUNA once again invites Mayor Mark Boughton to reconsider his support for this measure and its impact in this city.
Tribuna newspaper November 2009:
As an immigrant, I disagree with the way Mayor Mark Boughton addressed the partnership agreement with ICE in 2008. As a member of the Danbury community, however, I cannot judge a mayoral candidate's platform based only on the issue of immigration.So lets see, in 2007, after being criticized by another newspaper for giving numerous campaign contributions to the Boughton administration between 2005 and 2007, the higher ups at The Tribuna comes out with a statement in which they withdrew their support for the mayor.
The reality is that during Boughton's four terms, the city saw new schools, such as Western Connecticut AIS Magnet School and Ellsworth Avenue Elementary School (formerly Roberts Avenue), newly paved roads, the new Firefighter House Engine 26 on the west side, an upgraded athletic field in Rogers Park, and a modern Police Department. The new station revitalized a sector of the city considered challenging, and lifted the morale of the police officers that today are able to work in a safe, efficient facility. All of these improvements benefit the residents who are citizens, as well as the immigrants in Danbury.
For these reasons, Tribuna is endorsing Mark Boughton for Mayor of the City of Danbury.
Okay, fine BUT...
In the time since their statement, the owners of the Tribuna have witnessed:
- Threats made against organizations that support immigrants rights who were outspoken in their disapproval of the ICE ACCESS program,
- The mayor and the Common Council withhold their support for the Hispanic Center (based entirely because of the organization's opposition towards the ICE ACCESS program),
- Misleading statements from the mayor regarding the city's role in the raid at Kennedy Park (Danbury 11 case), which were finally revealed in court documents.
- Know of several people at City Hall who has ties to Elise Marciano's anti-immigrant hate-group
- Have heard of numerous reports from store owners on Main Street who were told to remove their Gary Goncalves campaign signs from their windows.
- People in the immigrant community talk about living in a state of fear in Danbury (due in large part to the tactics of the Boughton administration that goes largely unreported)
Yet, the people at the Tribuna can criticize Gary Goncalves because of the way he answered a immigration-related question, overlook the above matters that happened over the last two year in which the immigrant community were attacked by City Hall (to a point where people refuse to speak out against the mayor due to fear) to not only flip-flop on their word to withhold support for Boughton, but also sponsor the Mayor's Ball (almost a year to the day in which Boughton and the council approved ICE ACCESS), and, as reported in Boughton's July 2009 campaign finance statement, also attend one of his fundraiser and, in the case of a high ranking member of the paper, return to the habit of providing campaign contributions?!?
Now look, I know the people at the Tribuna as I've reported on the attacks form City Hall towards the immigrant community since late 2004-early 2005. Celia Bacelar and her family are good-hearted people who do care about Danbury. That being said, this editorial, and the fact that they completely went back on the word they gave their own community cannot go overlooked.
The fact that any editorial or senior ranking member of a newspaper giving campaign contributions to a candidate diminishes their editorial writings when it comes to endorsements (without, at the very least, disclosing the campaign contributions to the public), the fact that The Tribuna can, on one hand, criticize a candidate because he didn't answer to a question regarding immigration to their satisfaction, while completely overlooking the tactics of a mayor who has attacked the very community their paper serves, while endorsing the mayor mainly based on paved roads and new buildings, reeks of hypocrisy.
Funny how time changes things huh?
6:00 PM: Time to switch gears and go to BETHEL!!!
Here's a field report from a voter in Bethel.
Just voted at Berry School in Bethel (Dist. 5)....nobody there! No candidates, poll standers, or voters. But my machine had a count of 183, so people had voted earlier. Hopefully the after work hours crowd boosts turnout.
6:55 PM: Okay, a little more than a hour to go until the real fun begins and I can start providing post-election coverage. Hopefully at 8:01, the candidates will start pulling down their lawn signs and things around here can get back to normal.
REMEMBER: Please send your voting experience to email@example.com. When you send your email, make sure to tell me where you voted, the time when you voted, and the count on the voting machine.
8:05: Polls are now closed and I went to every polling place in Bethel. I'm now blogging from the Municipal Center (thank goodness for the iPhone). I'll fill you in on what happened at each poll ASAP but from hitting all the polling places, the word I received regarding the turnout is that it's VERY VERY high.
8:15 PM: RESULTS from BETHEL are coming in now...
Burke wins district 4, Knickerbocker sins district 2 (and I think 1). I'm running so I'll update this info with the actual numbers soon.
8:45 PM Here's better numbers...I'll update this list as I get more info.
Knickerbocker/ Straiton: 195/195,
(not in yet as of 8:45 PM)
D5: (not in yet as of 8:45 PM)
TOTALS BETHEL (winners in bold): 9:30 PM
9:00 PM RESULTS FROM DANBURY
District 6: Duane Perkins and Fred Visconti easily win re-election over Derek Roy and Linda J. Ossenfort
12:30 AM: Since I was not in Danbury for the results, I don't have the official totals but here's the latest.
Boughton easily wins re-election while picking up one seat on the common council.
Warren Levy loses Common Council seat.
Andrew Wittmore is OUT on Zoning.
Complaint is filed against Derek Roy for his campaign tactics.
Still waiting for results on the Board of Ed races.
I’ll update this site with my video coverage from the Bethel race (including my interview with First Selectman-Select Matt Knickerbocker tomorrow morning.
I'll update this site with my reports from the rest of the wards in Bethel and Danbury, as well as my video coverage from the Bethel race (including my interview with First Selectman-Select Matt Knickerbocker tomorrow morning.
NOTE: Covering the race on the road is getting easier with the advent of 3-g mobile phone technology but it's REALLY hard to be at all the places at the same time. I promise to fill in the gaps tomorrow morning.
Roy campaign stoops to a new low
Time: 4:37 PM
There are now numerous reports that the Republican dormitory student who's running for the Common Council 5th wards seat is going around to people residents and asking them to vote for vote for himself and Fred Visconti as if they're on the same ticket (Visconti has a long and distinguished career as a firefighter and Roy is a volunteer firefighter).
What's worse is that my same sources are telling me that after, after giving the impression that he and Visconti are on the same ticket, Roy's camp is dropping lawn signs in people's yards without their permission.
Again, I've received this from multiple VERY reliable sources in the 5th ward that are VERY angry.
From illegally using his military outfit in a campaign video, abusing his role as a firefighter in another campaign video, placing campaign material on state property (Western Connecticut State Univ) and people's cars, to misleading voters, enough is enough.
Derek, you're not running for the Student Government Association where child-like campaign tactics are quite common, you're campaigning to a spot on the Common Council. This nonsense needs to stop and it needs to stop now.
Funny photo of the day (or will the mistakes from this campaign ever end)
Complaints over Roy campaign tactics mounts
Anger in the wrong direction
Time: 9:55 AM
The shortage of textbooks and access to online books at Danbury High School is alarming, to say the least. How did this happen, and what will the implications be for the students' overall education? What will this mean for students taking SATs next year and applying to college?
Perhaps the city will be moved to do something when the results of this book deficit become apparent in standardized test scores, the litmus test ensuring that "no child is left behind." Before long, without books, what student at Danbury High won't be left behind? As a parent of a student at Danbury High, I am outraged by this situation.
For the most part, books are being handed out at the start of class and collected at the end; in some classes, multiple students share a single text. Online books are virtually nonexistent. Students at Danbury High this year are really being shortchanged. Without books, students don't have the opportunity to reinforce what's been taught during class. Homework and classwork have become one and the same thing.
Since covering more education-related issues, I've heard this complaint repeatedly from teachers and outraged parents and as a parent (and taxpayer) myself, I'd be a bit pissed if my child was in a book shortage situation.
That being said, Garry's next paragraph is not quite accurate.
A lot of attention was paid this year when the city, under Mayor Mark Boughton, a former teacher, approved payment for not one or two but several school board members and administrators to accompany the superintendent when he traveled to Arizona to interview Danbury High's new principal. Given the severe book shortage at the high school, I am very concerned about the school board's spending priorities. One would hope that due to the economy, every effort would be made to cut back on superfluous spending so that our students would have something as basic as books.
I respect the outrage, but in bringing up Boughton's name, the outrage is pointed somewhat in the wrong direction.
The Board of Education is a separate entity from the legislative (Common Council) and executive branch (Mayor's office) of government. The connection between City Hall and the Board of Ed comes into play during April and May time when the Common Council approves the budget. After the budget is approved, the board decides how to handle the money it receives from the city, not the mayor.
When it comes to trips, the Board of Ed makes that call, not the mayor's office. In the case of the trip to Arizona, that decision was made completely my the board...in fact, the mayor and Common Council were not too pleased when they learned about the trip.
Watch this video clip from June 2009.
To recap (and in simple terms):
The Board of Ed is a separate entity. It's comprised of elected officials who don't really report to the Common Council or mayor's office (Not the same way as a department head). The Board is responsible for school-related issues while the Common Council dishes out the cash.
Would it be fair to hold the mayor accountable for the shortage in books. Well, yes in a sense simply because he's the chief elected official in the city, as in the case of this letter, parents would first point the finger in his direction as opposed to school officials and the board of ed.
That being said, in the case of the trip to Arizona, the board can take complete credit for that situation as it's not the Mayor and/or Common Council to micromanage other elected officials or commissions.
...holy shit, did I just defend the mayor?
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