So much for "People Over Politics"

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Time: 10:39 PM

Typical Boughton...

Ten years ago, then pro-immigrant Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton proposed building a shelter for day laborers who gathered at Kennedy Park...and needless to say that mayor's plan sent anti-immigrant nativists in the city into an uproar.

Sensing that he was on the wrong side of the issue among his base, Boughton pulled a flip-flop and morphed into the dishonest anti-immigrant mayor who we all know and love.

Ten years later, just as the case with John Rowland, I'm not one bit surprised over Boughton's showing his true colors by once again pandering to the fringe element of his base for political points. As a bonus, Boughton is showing another element of his true self that hasn't changed in the last ten embracing censorship and childish intimidation in order to silence his critics and protect his brand.

Via Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is running for Governor, and he’d rather cozy up to the Washington gun lobby than honor his promise to keep Connecticut families safe. That’s why he announced on Facebook that he’s leaving the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.

Boughton’s slogan is “people over politics” -- but when people across Connecticut posted reactions on his Facebook wall, his campaign deleted almost all of the comments from people who support common sense gun laws, including his own constituents.

Boughton’s campaign is trying to silence the voices of Connecticut families, and it’s time to take action so he can’t just delete what you have to say.

Can you write a letter to the editor of a Connecticut paper saying why you feel betrayed by Mayor Boughton? Click here to use our tool and get talking points to easily send letters to the editor online.

What didn’t Mayor Boughton’s campaign want Connecticut to see? Heartfelt, honest messages from people across the state like these:

“I just found out that you pulled out of the gun sense group. I don’t trust any politician who aligns himself with the gun lobby. Shame. You’ve betrayed your neighbor, Newtown.”

Facebook comment

“You certainly don’t have my support or the support of my newly-minted American citizen husband - mom & dad of a Sandy Hook survivor and friend of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung.”

There are dozens more, but Boughton silenced them all. We need to take action so he can't just delete you from a debate that has life and death consequences and let the gun lobby do the talking for him.

Click here to write a letter to the editor of a Connecticut newspaper and express your disappointment in his decision to stop working to prevent gun violence.

We can no longer tolerate candidates for office who won’t do all they can to prevent gun violence. Mayor Mark Boughton made it clear that he stands with the gun lobby. It’s time for us to remind Connecticut of his position.

Thanks for standing with us,

Mark Glaze

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Mark Boughton...putting "Politics over People" since 2004!

FLASHBACK GUEST POST: Former Danbury DTC chairman Joe DaSilva on housing and development

Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Time: 10:45 AM

In response to the remarkably flawed editorial from the News-Times regarding YET ANOTHER study be conducted on the city's downtown area, and the paper's approval of YET ANOTHER seven year tax give-away for residential development, I've decided to provide the public a series of flashback posts which documented how a decade of failures by Boughton administration resulted in the deterioration of a once vibrant Main Street.

To start things off, here's a flashback post from April 2007 from former Democratic Town Committee chairman Joe DaSilva that breaks down Boughton's most outlandish proposals that have had a negative effect on Main Street.

What we don't need is another study in Main Street but an administration that actual cares about Main Street.

As I stated several times in the past, the NUMBER ONE issue on the minds of voters is NOT IMMIGRATION but Mayor Boughton's approach to development.

In a HatCityBLOG first, I'm going to turn this site over to Danbury's Democratic Town Committee chairman Joe DaSilva. In his first guest post, DaSilva will set the record straight regarding Mayor Boughton's failed development policy.

Joe, thank you for taking time to offer your remarks and the floor is yours...

The following represents my own ideas. In other words, I am writing as a resident of the City of Danbury, specifically downtown Danbury; a Democrat; and a soon to be homeowner. While I happen to be the Chair of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee, the opinions expressed here should be not be ascribed to the members of the Town Committee or be considered an exposition of its opinions.

This post is an outgrowth of conversations I've been having with Al about issues that concern the voters in Danbury. Contrary to the opinions of Danbury's Mayor, the most significant issue confronting Danbury is not immigration. Frankly, its so low on the list that it probably follows confronting litter as an issue to be resolved. Fair property taxes, economic development that creates real jobs that pay a living wage, quality education for every student, and a real plan to combat traffic congestion should all rank higher on the priority list.

One problem that seems to over arch most, if not all, of those challenges is housing and development. This is not a problem that was created overnight and its not one that we will solve in a day. Moreover, it's a problem that faces communities all over the State of Connecticut. The legislature has been working on this issue for several years. Anyone seeking true expertise, I am hardly an expert on this issue, should look at the work that former State Representative Lew Wallace was doing on Smart Growth.

This, however, is my take on the issue of growth, housing and some ideas on how it could be tackled. The first proposition is that growth, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. Growth is however something that should be managed and when it is not is when it causes problems.

1. Residential v. Commercial:

As a city Danbury has a distinct advantage - we have a commercial and business tax base. Properly configuring property taxes allows the city to use this commercial/business tax base to ease some of the burdens on home owners.

Most important, however, is that this is the property upon which economic development should take place. Proper economic development should, hopefully, be targeted to create quality jobs. In an effort to encourage business expansion, the State of Connecticut permits municipalities to defer property taxes in exchange for creating jobs or expanding a business. This is a perfectly appropriate use of tax abatements.(we'll get to a perfectly inappropriate use of them by the current administration later).

Example: "The previous administration under Mayor Eriquez granted tax deferrals for economic development that preserved and created jobs. These tax deferrals kept GE in Danbury; gave an incentive to Belimo Air Controls USA Inc to relocate to Old Ridgebury Road, expand its operation and clean up a contaminated property; and allowed Cendant Mobility (now Cartus) to consolidate its operations in Danbury, becoming Danbury's second largest employer. It should seem obvious that these examples show a judicious use of tax deferrals for the right reasons: the retention and creation of thousands of stable, well paying jobs for Danbury residents. Unfortunately, the current administration seems to miss the point entirely."

Critically, this is one way in which challenges of properly managing growth dramatically affect other issues confronting the City of Danbury. Unfortunately, the current Danbury administration has done little or nothing to address economic development in this manner. Worse, the actions of this administration have actively damaged Danbury's ability to generate this type of growth. The most poignant example: the Westside reserve. Residents of Danbury will no doubt remember the controversy of whether the City should build a baseball stadium or not.

A little background: in 2002, the Boughton administration created a bogey man: specifically they claimed that if nothing were done a casino would suddenly spring from the earth on the west side of Danbury. Of course this claim was absurd. (Anyone seen a new casino going up in Connecticut recently?).

Then, the Mayor pushed for the approval a zone change for several hundred acres of land on the west side of Danbury. The several hundred acres of property are adjacent to the Union Carbide property and represented one of the last significant undeveloped commercial/industrial properties left in Danbury. The zone change allowed the large-scale development of a mixed use project. Specifically, the project will develop single-family housing, condominiums, and some retail shopping.

There were three things wrong with this zone change: 1.) It eliminated the last significant opportunity industrial/commercial development on the west side of Danbury; 2.) The zone change was approved in a single meeting so the residents of the City had virtually no chance to comment on the issue until it was too late; and, 3.) The City received a measly ten million dollars or so in exchange for the zone change; foregoing the opportunity to offset the burdens this development would have on the City by requiring, for example, the building of a west side fire station on reserve property. (Contrast this with the fact that when Commerce Park was developed in the 1960s the developer built a fire station and then deeded it to the City).

2. Residential Development: Condominiums.

Out of controlled growth! Condo Moratorium! Too Many Condos! No one who lives in Danbury and has been awake in the last five years is unfamiliar with these statements. Yet, the current administration has done little to nothing to truly remedy the problem.

The first proposition is this: Condos are neither inherently bad nor good. Condominiums serve a useful purpose for people who either cannot afford a more traditional house or are not interested in owning or living in a traditional house with all that entails in maintenance, yard work, snow removal etc.

The problem in Danbury isn't that there are too many condos, its that there are too many condos in stupid places. For example: the West Side Reserve. Need another? Drive north on Route 37 toward New Fairfield. Between Padanarum Road and Stacy Drive, I bet you will see what I'm talking about: (Stetson Place?).

The Route 37 condos don't look particularly bad in an architectural sense, nor do they look cheap or shoddy. They do, however, look absurd in that they are far too close to a major roadway! Moreover, they add several hundred units and the associated traffic generated thereby to an already over burdened road.

Contrast this with the new project on the corner of Division Street and Park Avenue. These units also appear well constructed and well designed. Importantly, they also replace old and run down housing stock and create real housing opportunities in the downtown Danbury. Most importantly, however, all of the units in this project are three bedrooms. This creates real opportunities for home ownership by families. (More on this below).

3. Tax abatements and downtown development:

The current housing controversy in Danbury concerns the granting of tax deferrals to a major developer for the development of two large developments in downtown Danbury. Specifically, the City of Danbury approved, on the urging of Mayor Boughton, the granting of a seven-year tax abatement for the construction of a 115 unit apartment building on Crosby Street and the development of over 500 condominiums on Kennedy Avenue.

Mayor Boughton stated that he wanted to spur market rate housing in downtown Danbury and claimed the tax give away would be necessary because otherwise no developer would commit to the down town.

This claim and the project were both absurd and damaging to the future of Danbury.

First, tax abatements were not necessary and claiming they were is nothing short of insulting the intelligence of Danbury residents.

Unnecessary: There are many projects in downtown Danbury overseen by responsible developers committed to Danbury that didn't receive such breaks. For example: new three bedroom condominiums are being built on the corner of Division Street and Park Avenue. For example: several years ago the Nolan family developed the Harrison Square apartment project on Main Street. For example, the Nolan family has rehabilitated several multi-family houses on Terrace Place in downtown Danbury. None of these developers received a windfall in the form of a tax abatement; yet they committed their time, energy, vision and money to creating real housing opportunities in downtown Danbury.

Damaging: the tax abatements will cost the City of Danbury millions of dollars in lost taxes and lost sewer and water charges. Moreover, the developer has decided to market the rental building on Crosby Street to college students as an alternative to dorm living. I hold two degrees from Western Connecticut State University. I truly believe the college adds a lot to the City of Danbury and I have no problem with the concept of college students living in downtown Danbury. I do, however, recall that the reason the mayor and the developer gave for the granting of the tax abatement was to spur economic development through the creation of market rate housing in the downtown area. Even if you agree with this argument, it is hard to envision exactly how much economic activity will be generated by college students!

The 500-unit complex on Kennedy Avenue hasn't even begun yet. Once its open, however, this will generate traffic on an already congested downtown. Moreover, this will generate burdens on the Danbury Schools and the Police and Fire Departments. Yet while this project will create these burdens to the owners will not be contributing to the costs because of the tax abatement. Instead, the rest of the property owners in Danbury will have to carry these costs for seven years!

4. Real housing opportunities:

Every level of government is encouraging home ownership. Home owners tend to be more committed to their communities and have a strong motivation to take care of their property.

Unfortunately, owning a home in Danbury is very expensive, though substantially more reasonable than lower Fairfield County. In fact cost of housing is creating other problems for our state. The following story was shared by New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. A couple of years ago he spoke at our town committee meeting and this story stuck with me. He was discussing jobs and economic development in Connecticut. He related that a business owner in Stamford was moving out of Connecticut. Not because of high taxes or salaries but because his employees couldn't afford to live in Connecticut. They couldn't afford to purchase homes in lower Fairfield County and traffic is so bad they couldn't get to Stamford from the more affordable areas to the east of Bridgeport (Stratford or Milford for example) or northern Fairfield County (Danbury or Bethel for example). Mayor DeStefano pegged this problem clearly: housing is too expensive and we aren't creating opportunities for working people to own their own homes, especially since the vast majority of construction is centered on either McMansions or Condominiums. Unfortunately, there is little or no development of small single family homes for people starting out or seniors looking to downsize. In other words, what Connecticut, and Danbury, needs is a return to building regular houses for regular people. The example that Mayor DeStefano used was the housing boom that greeted the GI's returning from World War II.

This is somewhat understandable. Developers create and build projects in order to make money. This is how they make a living. There is a clear motivation to maximize what they can make on any single project. This does not mean that developers have bad motivations or are bad people. It means that we need to provide an incentive to create stock that is needed.

Thus, there is an opportunity here. The City of Danbury, and municipalities around Connecticut, should provide an incentive to developers to build affordable, starter level single-family homes. This type of construction has a lower impact on services, while simultaneously creating opportunities for working people to own their own single family home. This is an instance where tax abatements for residential development may be appropriate.

A modest proposal could permit the granting of a tax deferral to a developer who constructs three or four bedroom single-family homes under a certain number of square feet. The length of such a tax deferral could be pegged to the price, number of bedrooms, the total square footage, and/or the number of such houses created by a particular project.

While I am normally opposed to the use of tax deferrals for residential development, the above proposal would not create a significant burden for other taxpayers or city services. At the same time, it would create incentives to the development of housing that is needed and better serves the long term needs to the City of Danbury.

The foregoing are arguments and a modest proposal. There are many ways to address the issues of development and growth and reasonable people can disagree on which approach or blend of approaches would work best. Even the current administration has had limited successes. Specifically the UNIT inspection team program which targets properties that are non-compliant with zoning and building codes. While the program does, by the nature of its mission, over target multi-family property and thus tends to effect lower income and working people, the program has real benefits to the City. The other positive change effectuated under this administration has been the requirement that houses face, under most circumstances, face out to the street. This effectively combats the wedging of houses on undersized lots by spinning the house so that a side of the house faces the street.

These two actions represent the limit of this administrations positive vision. The balance of Mayor Boughton's attack on housing and growth represents a complete sell out to big developers and an abandonment of the rest of the city’s homeowners. A comprehensive plan to address growth and development must concentrate on preserving viable industrial/commercial property for the creation of good jobs, while at the same time limiting condominium development to appropriate places and encouraging the development of needed and under-constructed housing. Unfortunately, this type of comprehensive plan that targets the concerns of working families and property owners in Danbury over the concerns of big developers is unlikely to come from the current administration.

Just what downtown Danbury needs...ANOTHER study

Monday, April 07, 2014
Time: 10:57 AM

Good grief...the people of Danbury deserve better than this nonsense.

City officials interested in revitalizing the downtown should explore a formal economic analysis of the city's center, former Congressman James Maloney said recently.

Maloney, president and chief executive officer of Connecticut Institute for Communities, made the proposal Thursday during a meeting of the Danbury Main Street Partnership, a group of city officials and stake holders who are charged with revitalizing the city's center.

"The issue in my mind is that the economics of growth need to be evaluated," Maloney said during the meeting.

"We need to look at both incentives and disincentives that exist concerning growth in the downtown."

The last time a similar economic analysis had been done in the city was in the mid-1990s, according to Planning and Zoning Director Dennis Elpern.

That study, he said, encompassed the entire city and was not focused on the city's core.

Maloney said the partnership could develop a scope for the project before issuing a request for proposals.

Hiring a professional firm to conduct such a study, he added, could cost around $50,000.

While I respect former Congressman Maloney, the LAST thing we need is another study/suurvey that will be ignored by elected officials.

What's needed is not another study or survey but new leadership at City Hall that actually cares about downtown as opposed to the westside section of the city.

Want to revitilize downtown Danbury, get rid of the dishonest mayor who turned a once vibrant downtown into a wasteland.

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10.03.18 (PDF):
"Approval of Danbury Prospect Charter School"

10.30.20 (HatCityBLOG VID): Charter School discussion during 2020 interview with Julie Kushner

2018 (RADIO): WLAD
"State Board of Ed signs off on Danbury charter school proposal"

08.20 (VID): CT-LEAD
"Stand up for Education Justice" Rally

08.20.20 (OP-ED): KUSHNER: "Charter schools are not ‘magic bullet’ to improving Danbury schools"

09.13.20 (OP-ED): CHAPMAN
Candidate for state Senate supports charter school for Danbury

01.15.21 (VID): CT-LEAD
Danbury Prospect Charter School press conference

03.19.21 (OP-ED): CT MIRROR
"Danbury leaders do not want a charter school"

04.01.21 (OP-ED): CT-LEAD:
"Why did Sen. Kushner vote against us?"

05.06.21 (VID): Danbury rally to fully fund public schools

10.07.21 (VID): Danbury City-Wide PTO "Meet the Candidates" education forum

10.07.21 NEWSTIMES
Danbury candidates quarrel over charter school, education funding

01.10.22 NEWSTIMES
"New operator named for Danbury charter school: ‘I’m a huge advocate for parent choice’"

01.10.22 NEWSTIMES
"Some Danbury Democrats ‘open minded’ about charter school after new, CT operator named"

01.21.22 (OP-ED): CT MIRROR
"Lessons from Danbury: Ending the dual process for charter school approval"

02.09.22 NEWSTIMES
"Proposed Danbury charter school won’t open in 2022, governor leaves funding out of budget"

02.18.22 NEWSTIMES:
Danbury residents plead for charter school funds in 9-hour state budget hearing: ‘Just exhausted’

03.05.22 (LTE):
Time has come for Danbury charter school

03.12.22 (OP-ED): TAYLOR
"Why I am excited about the Danbury Charter School"

03.16.22 (LTE):
"Why a Danbury Charter School?"

04.02.22 CT EXAMINER:
"Crowding and a Lack of Options for Danbury Students, But No Agreement on Solutions"

04.04.22 (OP-ED): DCS
"Danbury Charter School plans debut"

04.07.22 (PODCAST): (CEA)

04.18.22 (VID): CT-LEAD
Protest press conference

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.



Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint

Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park

trans_button Santos Family Story
VIDEO: Tereza Pereira's ordeal with ICE agents

VIDEO: Danbury Peace Coalition Immigration Forum (April 2006)
featuring Mayor Boughton and Immigration attorney Philip Berns

VIDEO: 2007 Stop the Raids immigration forum at WCSU

2007: Community protest anti-immigration forum

A tribute to Hispanic Center Director and immigrant activist Maria Cinta Lowe



11.15.23 Recanvass return
(Head Moderator Return Format)

11.07.23: Election night returns
(Head Moderator Return Format)

11.07.23: Initial returns

Oct 10 2022
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Apr 10 2023
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Dem/GOP slate/ballot position

VIDEO: DRTC convention
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(VID) DDTC nomination convention
(PDF) DDTC campaign slate flyer

(VID) DRTC nomination convention
(PDF) DRTC campaign slate flyer

(VID) 2021 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum

First quarter
Alves Apr 10th SEEC filing

Second quarter
Alves Jul 10th SEEC filing
Esposito Jul 10th SEEC filing

Third quarter
Alves Oct 12th SEEC report
Esposito Oct 12th SEEC report

Alves "Jan 6th" attack mailer 10.21.21
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Danbury 2005 election results
Newstimes Dean Esposito profile (10.25.05)

Danbury 2007 election results
(VID) Helana Abrantes TV ad
(VID) BRT tax deferral presser
(VID) Helena Abrantes "Community Forum" interview

Danbury 2009 election results
(VID) 2009 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum
(VID) 2009 Danbury Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate
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(VID) 2013 DDTC nominaiton convention

Danbury 2015 election results

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(VID) Al Almeida concession speech
(VID) 2017 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum
(VID) Al Almeida nomination acceptance speech

Danbury 2019 election results
(VID) 2019 NewsTimes Editorial Board interview with Mark Boughton and Chris Setaro
(VID) 2019 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum
(VID) 2019 Danbury Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate
(VID) 2019 convention endorsement speeches from Mark Boughton and Chris Setaro