LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Spotlight On 07.20.10 broadcast
Time: 4:01 PM
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Progressive Soup 07.21.10 broadcast
Time: 2:02 PM
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Community Forum 07.21.10 broadcast
Time: 11:46 PM
Is City Councilman Mike Halas violating the city regulations AGAIN?
Time: 2:54 PM
Here's a picture of a piece of property on Route 37 (31 Pembroke Rd) owned by 2nd ward councilman Mike Halas, owner of Halas Farm.
Would you consider this the selling mulch on this property?
For those not familiar with the history of Halas, a little background is in order.
In August 2007, the zoning enforcement department issued Halas a cease and desist order for using his property on Pembroke Rd, which was zoned as a single family parcel, for commercial use. This was a violation of sections 10.B.1.a(4) & 4.A.5.f(8) of the zoning regulations on the property on Pembroke Rd.
From April 2008, here's an interview I did with activist Ken Gucker on Halas' violation.
Halas approached the zoning commission and asked for a request to use the property, which was zoned as residential property, for commercial use. Here's a brief recap of the commission's decision (note the section in bold).
News-Times May 14 2008:
The city's Zoning Commission Tuesday passed a zoning amendment that gives Halas Farm on Route 37 permission to use land across the street from the store, provided owner Michael Halas does not allow retail sales to take place on the property.
While Halas' original intent was to simply store mulch and farm equipment on the land across the street, Halas did acknowledge in April that some customers would be able to purchase mulch and the newly-acquired property.
That triggered safety concerns from members of the zoning commission, which is why they inserted language saying it could be used for storage and storage only.
Here's video footage of the Zoning Commission's amendment to Halas' property as well as an explanation on why the amendment was necessary:
Here's the exact wording of the amendment (via the Zoning Commission minutes: May 13 2008):
Mr. Elpern then suggested they consider adding the phrase “but not sold or picked up by customers” after the words temporarily stored. The language would then read as follows: Products intended for retail sale, as permitted in subsection (8) above, and farm machinery used for the operation of the farm, may be temporarily stored, but not sold or picked up by customers, on a lot zoned RA-40 or RA-80 which lies adjacent to but separated from the lot containing the farm and/or retail sales operation by a public right-of-way, provided the lot is under the same ownership as the owner of the existing farm and/or retail sales operation and is no less than 40,000 square feet in area. All new structures primarily used for housing said products and farm machinery shall meet the general use regulations specified for the zoning district in which they are located; all existing nonconforming structures may be used to house said products and farm machinery. No outdoor storage of said products and machinery may be closer than (1) 40 feet from a front lot line, 15 feet from a side lot line and 5 feet from a rear lot line and (2) 50 feet from the boundary of a lot containing a dwelling(s) in existence on the date of this amendment.
With all of the above in mind, here's what Halas is doing with the property right now.
Would you call this a violation of the ruling from the zoning commission?
...more to come.
NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies
Time: 5:50 PM
MEDIA: I'm having trouble keeping up with replying to people who contact me about his case through my other email address. Please send any inquires regarding the Danbury 11 case to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance.
Yesterday, the New Haven Register (NHR) published a massive 1660 word article on Mark Boughton's deposition in the Danbury 11 civil lawsuit that provides startling new details regarding the mayor's testimony in the case.
Over three times longer than News-Times Dirk Perrefort's July 9th article, New Haven Register reporter Mary O'Leary provided several important details in the testimony of Boughton and officers for the Danbury police department that was noticeably absent in the News-Times write-up.
The first paragraph of O'Leary's article outlines the mayor appearing to admit that using a traffic violation as a pretext for checking a person's immigration status is wrong. According to the NHR report, the problem with the mayor's statement is that Danbury police officers testified that they used this pretext in picking up the day laborers.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, testifying under oath in a recent deposition for a civil rights lawsuit, agreed that using a traffic violation as a pretext to inquire about someone’s legal status is wrong, even though his police department rounded up a group of immigrants in 2006 on a crime they were never charged with.
That issue goes to the heart of the suit filed by a Yale Law School clinic against Danbury officials and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, charging that they had racially profiled 11 men in violation of their due process and unreasonable search protections when they were arrested in a sting operation in September 2006.
The suit concerns the events of Sept. 19, 2006 at Kennedy Park, when a Danbury police officer, posing as a contractor, picked up the 11 day laborers and drove them to another parking lot, where immigration officials were waiting. They were processed in Danbury by its police. Subsequently, ICE sent them to immigration facilities around the country, several as far away as Texas.
In their own depositions, Danbury police officers testified that the men were picked up for an alleged traffic violation, such as “illegal use of the highway by a pedestrian,” as they approached stopped vehicles seeking workers, but the men were never charged with any such infraction, according to the booking records.
The only charge was illegal entry into the U.S., which is a federal violation.
To the best of my knowledge, this critical piece of testimony from Boughton and the Danbury Police Department never appeared in any of the News-Times articles on the case.
Even more troubling is this portion of Boughton's testimony.
Boughton said he did not know about the arrests or any planning leading up to them, and was not aware that the men had been booked by Danbury police until about a year ago, something he became aware of “through this case,” referring to the civil rights suit.
He said that’s when he learned about “courtesy booking and understood that we provide courtesy booking for the FBI, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), as well as ICE or anybody else that asks for it.”
The problem with this portion of the mayor's testimony is that the revelation that the Danbury Police Department booked the day laborers came out back in 2007 in the Danbury 11 deportation case, which is different than the civil case. In fact, I reported on this in an AUDIO interview I did with Yale Law Student Simon Moshenberg back on Sept 18 2007.
Back when the civil case was announced, I also specifically asked the law students about when they learned about DanburyPD's role in the case. Also, during Boughton's press conference on the day the civil suit was filed, the mayor was questioned by the media about the disclosure in the deportation proceedings that the city played a larger role in the raid.
If O'Leary's reporting of the mayor's testimony is accurate, it appears that Boughton is not telling the truth about when he learned about the day laborers being booked by Danbury PD…something that did not appear in Perrefort's article although he had a copy of Boughton's deposition.
NHR O'Leary asked several attorney's, including the attorney who defended former Danbury Mayor Jim Dyer against income tax fraud charges in the 1980s for their take on the Boughton's "courtesy booking" terminology.
“There is no such thing,” said Hugh Keefe, a well-known criminal defense lawyer, of the term “courtesy booking.” He said he’s heard of FBI officers using a police facility to fill out their own paperwork, but not local police booking federal suspects.
“Danbury has a lot of real crime. It seems to me they have their hands full already. This is clearly a pretext arrest. When was the last time you heard of a police department arresting someone for being an unsafe pedestrian?” Keefe asked.
Also absent in all of the News-Times articles on the case are the quotes from an ICE agent and DanburyPD found in previous court documents that appear to contradict Boughton's comments.
In numerous news accounts at the time of the Sept. 19, 2006 arrests, Boughton said the operation was not ordered by the city, but was rather a federal operation that Danbury assisted with, based on information he received at the time from Police Chief Alan Baker.
ICE agent James Brown, according to court documents, rejected that description. “He (Boughton) said the city did not order the operation, that ICE was already on the way. That is not correct, not for this activity that we are talking about on Sept. 19,” Brown testified.
Danbury police Lt. James Fisher, in a separate deposition, testified that Danbury police initiated the action by seeking ICE assistance, which ICE approved after the third or fourth request. ICE agent Richard McCaffrey in his deposition, said Boughton was pressuring the police chief, who pressured the department’s Special Investigations Division “to do something about” the day laborers at Kennedy Park.
I highly recommend that you go to the New Haven Register and read the entire article and re-read Perrefort's News-Times piece. Afterwards, ask yourself which article is more informative and why are key portions of Boughton's testimony absent in Perrefort’s write-up.
NOTE:The New Haven Register revised the headline of the article online but several websites copied the original headline before it was altered.
Time: 1:48 PM
Today marks the 5TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY of HatCityBLOG!
I like to take a small moment and thank YOU the reader for viewership as without your support, this site would not exist.
Here's to another five years...
BREAKING NEWS: Shocking new details of Boughton's Danbury 11 deposition exposed by New Haven Register; News-Times reporting questioned
Time: 10:46 AM
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