I'm pumped and ready to get to work. This is a big deal."
-Mayor Mark Boughton on his 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness: The News-Times May 2 2006.
Long before he used the issue of immigration for political purposes, Mark Boughton made the fight to end homelessness in Danbury the centerpiece of mayoral agenda. In 2005 Boughton established a task force in which he appointed Probate Judge Dianne Yamin as chair and a host of public officials, business leaders, religious leaders, and Danbury residents to address the issue of homelessness in the city.
In mid-2006, the mayor held a well-publicized press conference where unveiled the task force's detailed and comprehensive plan to end homelessness within ten years.
In the lobby of City Hall on Monday afternoon, Mayor Mark Boughton unveiled the final plan of the Mayor's Task Force to End homelessness.
Boughton said the city will direct resources to implement the plan, including staff resources and some 50,000 toward a 110,000 total between the city, the Association of Religious Communities and the Housing Authority.
The agencies will be responsible for setting up a centralized system where the homeless or people at risk can be identified and assessed for housing services.
The task force's four main objectives are:
* Increase the supply of affordable, permanent housing units to meet the projected need of homeless people.
* Reduce the number of people being discharged into homelessness from state and local institutions and agencies, and preventing evictions.
* Ensure adequate, appropriate and sufficient services to assist the homeless or those at risk to get and retain housing.
* Monitor implementation of the plan
For those who are new to the area or don't recall the events of 2006, Boughton went above overboard in promoting his plan with a PR campaign complete with a detailed 38 page report on his vision for the city.
Make no mistake about it, the Task Force Plan was very detailed and outlined goals that were to be accomplished for each of the ten years. Unfortunately, Boughton's much hyped plan to end homelessness got lost in the background as the issue of immigration became the hot topic of the moment.
Now that it's 2011, Boughton remains optimistic about the next five to 10 years.
"I feel pretty good about where we are," Boughton said. "Will we end homelessness in 10 years? Probably not."
"It's a regional problem. Danbury shouldn't have to shoulder the burden for the whole region," Boughton said.
The purpose of using the term "ending homelessness" was to change the mindset of the homeless and the community, Boughton said.
The mayor also elaborated changes the city has made to track homeless individuals...
Since the plan has been implemented, there is now a single "point of entry" for people without shelter, Boughton said.
This point of entry enables local agencies that help homeless people to track individuals, keep data on them and refer them to the most appropriate resources, Boughton said.
Upon reading the March 8 News-Times article, I wanted to learn more about the issue of homelessness and whether or not Boughton's plan did any good. Based on what I've learned over the lat few months, when it comes to homelessness, things are worse off now than they were in 2005.
Case in point, do you know that there is a rather large tent city in Danbury right in the middle of a residential neighborhood?
Hidden under a bridge on Casper Street yards away from the Mankind Corporation and yards away from residential homes is the highly disturbing homeless complex that words can not describe. Ironically, on the same day of this year's Clean City Danbury. an outraged resident went down Casper Street to videotape and document the city's dirty secret.
As you can see, since access to the shantytown is rather simple, so you can imagine children in the area snooping around under this bridge on the well-known street...and from what I'm told, this isn't the only shantytown in the city.
Didn't the mayor state that the city made great strides to track the homeless population? I guess that didn't include tracking the homeless people living off the Still River right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
In short, if Boughton was really serious about the issue of homelessness as he claimed in 2006, how on Earth can we have large tent cities like the one on Casper Street five years after the unveiling of his so-called plan?
I think it's fair to say that I don't think people who live along Casper Street and other areas of the city where tent cities are popping up aren't buying Boughton's homelessness message.
Some 30 children between the ages of 8 and 16 competed in the official Soap Box Derby, including a group of special needs children who rode in two-seat derby cars with one of the older, former champion riders assisting them. At the end of the afternoon, five competers were crowned winners and they will go on to the national championships in Akron, Ohio.
UPDATE 2: The person who shot the video footage of Casper Street had this to say...
This is the day after Danbury Connecticut Clean up day on May, 8, 2011. This Shantytown has been here for years and has been polluting the Still River. The Still River Clean up day is coming up this week. Maybe they can clean up river for once. Maybe you don't understand that garbage actually flows downstream so why are you always cleaning the same area down stream? I have seen a police officer go down there a few months ago so the City does know. Casper Street is the road where they have the annual Soap Box Derby. Casper Street also has Homes and businesses' with one business being The Mann Kind Corporation. Kind of ironic that a company named Mannkind has a homeless man living right outside the building..not so kind to man after all...
Obviously who ever is living in skid row under the Casper Street Bridge next to the Still River needs help. Looks like Danbury could use a tent city. How about Lee Farm?
Sadly we all see homeless people from time to time, and not just on TV. But until you see it up close you realize you have to do something. We have the resources. So it's definitely a misuse and abuse of resources that is causing this problem to happen. How do you educate the public about how everyone is responsible for making sure that our resources are being used properly?
This is not just about being homeless. People need consoling, drug addiction help, education and job skills. They also need friends and some kind of support group that listens to them and understands their needs and struggles. So you need to properly train enough people to give this kind of help.
In a story this week about the federal Secure Communities or S-Comm program, I referred to a 2007 case involving the arrest of undocumented immigrants in Danbury. The city of Danbury earlier this year paid $400,000 to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of those immigrants.
But I mistakenly attributed the arrest to the Danbury police. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton informed me via email about the error, saying that two different immigration courts “have ruled that the ‘Danbury 11’ were not arrested by Danbury Police Department, they were arrested by [U.S.] Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The involvement of the Danbury police was to have one of their officers pose as a contractor looking for day workers. He drove to a location where immigrants often wait hoping for work, picked up 11 people and, instead of taking them to a job site, delivered them to ICE agents and it was the feds who made the arrest.
For a paper like the Fairfield Weekly to allow Boughton to get away with this statement is remarkable because the mayor was signing a different tune about Danbury's role in the immigration raid at Kennedy Park to The Weekly (as well as the Hartford Courant, WTNH, and WVIT) between 2006-2011.
Mark Spencer, Hartford Courant, 12.14.06:
A group of students at Yale Law School is expected to file suit today in federal court in a bid to find out how Homeland Security put together its sting on Sept. 19. The students want to know what role Danbury played in the operation and if the policies guiding the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm may be unconstitutional. Their inquiry began with a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act. "We asked nicely," said Simon Moshenberg, a second-year student from Washington, D.C. "They didn't answer. We sued."
In an interview Wednesday, Boughton insisted that immigration police acted alone. They notified Danbury police this summer that they'd be making some arrests this fall but offered no other details, he said.
WTNH, Dec. 2006:
Boughton said the city played no part in the September 19th action...
WVIT, Dec. 2006:
He [Boughton] said the city was not involved in the planing of the raid...
A year ago, eleven Ecuadorian day laborers were sneakily apprehended in Danbury's Kennedy Park by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with help from some men pretending to be contractors. They had some hard hats, a van and, according to recently uncovered information, a few Danbury police badges.
Why were the local cops assisting in a federal sting? Well, according to remarks from Danbury mayor Mark Boughton last December, they weren't. He repeatedly said the city played no role in the ICE raid.
Simon Moshenberg, a Yale Law Student representing the "Danbury 11" in a federal court case that began Monday, received the booking report for the arrests after placing a FOIA request. Under "arresting officer," was the name "Lolli," which turns out to be the name of a Danbury police officer. The Danbury News-Times quotes Chief Al Baker explaining that the arrests were initially made because of complaints about the day laborers' effects on traffic and that Danbury police did drive the van. The department chose not to further comment on their involvement when approached by the Weekly.
Boughton elaborated in an e-mail that "the city provided logistical support to ICE," which is "common" and "does not mean that the Danbury PD planned, organized or carried out the raid." He stands by his comments from December.
Keep in mind that Boughton stated to the Fairfield Weekly that he "stands by his comments from December " when you read what he said UNDER OATH during his deposition in the Danbury 11 case.
Line 8-12, page 248:
Q. Do you agree that the immigration police acted alone?
A. No. I've always said that the Danbury Police Department provided logistical support to the federal law enforcement agency.
Line 20 to line 25 page 249:
Q. As we sit here today, do you agree with the statement that there was no specific planning with the City prior to September 19, 2006?
A Again, I haven't seen any information either way to wither debunk or to affirm that statement.
Here's my favorite…line 10 page 252:
Q. These arrests generated quite a bit of controversy, correct?
Q. And that controversy included disagreements in the press with statements that you were making; is that correct?
(City Attorney) MR. CASAGRANDE: Wait a minute. Read that back. (Whereupon, the question was read back)
MR. CASAGRANDE: Object to the form.
A. Disagreements with who?
Q. The press was reporting a different story as to what happened that you were being reported as having said about what happened; is that correct?
A. I don't know what you are talking -- you have to restate that.
Q. Did the press report a different story as to what happened on September 19 than what you said happened on September 19?
A. There were, I'm going to guess, dozens upon dozens of press accounts of what happened. None of them have been right. Many of them never talked to me. There are press accounts that were written today that are completely inaccurate as to what --- from what limited information I know, which I shared with you already happened.
So if you're going to rely to be the press as the arbiter of the exact sequence of events that day, you're going to chase your tail all day with that. They're never accurate. They're never right, and particularly now, because papers have been decimated with reporting, they don't do a lot of reporting. So to answer your question, there certainly have been inconsistencies right up until three months ago in terms of the accounts of what happened that day.
A. And were there specifically controversy about whether what you said happened was different from what actually happened?
MR. CASAGRANDE: Objection.
A. I don't recall any controversy.
So after he stated to the Weekly in 2007 that he "stands by his comments from December " where he "insisted that immigration police acted alone", "the city played no part in the September 19th action", and "the city was not involved in the planing of the raid", when placed under oath years later, Boughton makes the laughable claim that the media was inaccurate in their reporting OF HIS OWN WORDS...then this week, he gives the Fairfield Weekly a totally different account of Danbury's role in the Kennedy Park raid.
You can't make this stuff up folks! When will the media get serious and stop giving Boughton a free pass on the numerous misleading statements he made regarding the Danbury 11 case?
According to sources, members of the police department are in dismay over the claim made by Iadarola in which he stated that the temperature at the police station has never risen over 73 degrees. Sources tell me that photographs, which I'm in the process of obtaining and publishing, that were circulated among police officers, and city hall officials, allegedly show a very different picture.
In a video clip that has gained popularity and a sharp rise in viewership on YouTube since it's initial posting six days ago, after Iadarola made the questionable temperature claim to the members of the council during their meeting this month, the director seem to backtrack on his temperature claim when confronted by Councilman Paul Rotello.
Sources also claim that the real problem that's being overlooked by the public stems with problems people at the dispatch department are experiencing, as well as a host of serious problems with the new police station, which are well known among the many rank and file members of the police department who use the building every day.
It appears that Iadarola's comment has probably opened Pandora's box when it comes to the serious concerns over the LONG list of problems with the new police station that have been in existence since the opening of the new building.
Today, at their regional HQ in Farmington, leadership and members of UAW Region 9A will announce their endorsement of Chris Murphy for Senate in 2012. In doing so, they become the first statewide organized labor union to endorse in the 2012 CT-SEN race.
“Ultimately this Senate race will be about fighting for, and protecting, the regular, every day working person as they strive to make a better life for their families”, Murphy said. “I can think of no better partner in this effort than my friends at UAW. It’s an honor to have them as such an early part of our grassroots campaign.”
Although I couldn't attend the endorsement announcement, fortunately the Director of UAW Region 9A lives in my neck of the woods. Last night in Danbury, I had an opportunity to speak with UAW Region 9A Director Julie Kushner where she elaborated on the union's endorsement of Murphy.
A bill that would have required parental approval to let their young teenagers go to a tanning parlour got torpedoed at the last minute by a amendment sponsored by state Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, that required parental permission for abortions. ... That infuriated supporters of the tanning bill, who say it might have done something worthwhile -- reduce the number of young people getting skin cancer.
"I have no idea why he did this,'' Nancy Alderman, executive director of Environment and Human Health Inc., a North Haven-based advocacy group, said of McLachlan.
He did it because he is an asshole. But I digress.
His T-Shirt says "I'm with me."
In a sane world, this kind of thing would be greeted by legislative punishment - Sen. McLachlan's bills would be killed in committee, or on the floor, without a chance of passing, until the tanning bill passed.
But this isn't a sane world. Because in this world, Sen. McLachlan's bills are so rife with jackassery, so completely unserious that they kill themselves out of stupidity.
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.