Political Roundup: Jonathan Pelto Enters Race for Governor / Response to Mike McGarry

Community Update: State Representative Matt Ritter is looking into the security bars issue. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/political-roundup-jonathan-pelto-reportedly-considering-run-for-governor-fire-safety-in-hartford/ The City of Hartford has responded to my Freedom of Information request on this matter but the Hartford Fire Department has not. Stay tuned for updates… What a difference two weeks and public outcry makes… On June 4 Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden stood next to Mayor Pedro Segarra, as they proudly announced a deal with the owner of the New Britain Rock Cats to bring the minor league baseball team to Hartford. Since then community residents have voiced outrage and state legislators – including Sen, Eric Coleman, who Wooden is challenging in an August 12 primary, expressed dismay at the lack of transparency surrounding the deal. Wooden initially continued to defend the Rock Cats move, saying that community residents would understand after they got more information. Wooden has now officially flip-flopped, saying that he will not support the construction of a stadium for the Rock Cats unless private investors put some money up.

Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie opined that the Wooden / Coleman primary has become a referendum on Rock Cats-gate.

“Any sports team, but especially baseball, is a bauble politicians cannot resist. Decades of economic studies, however, have frequently concluded that their benefits are oversold to entice taxpayers into footing the costs of building stadiums for rich team owners.

A baseball stadium is a major investment and serious risk to city finances that requires meaningful public participation. Giving the people who are going to have to pay for the stadium a voice in how or whether to proceed appears to be what Segarra and his allies fear most. They trust a duplicitous Boston real estate developer but fear the people of Hartford. However you feel about the proposal, the manner in which it was shaped, presented and defended ought to give you pause. Thanks to Eric Coleman, thousands of Hartford Democrats will have a chance to express themselves in a meaningful way. A Coleman victory and Wooden defeat on Aug. 12 will send the kind of message politicians do not need translated.”

Coleman is obviously taking advantage of a golden opportunity to throw some dirt on Wooden, who was endorsed by the Democratic Party over the longtime incumbent. Still, the latest development is great news for opponents of the stadium…. Activists in New Hampshire achieved a major victory, as the state legislature passed a workplace bullying bill. Check out the Our Bully Pulpit blog for details. http://bullyinworkplace.com/2014/06/14/new-hampshire-legislature-passes-workplace-bullying-law/

Jonathan Pelto officially turned the 2014 gubernatorial race in Connecticut upside down when he announced his third-party candidacy on June 12. A glaring omission from Pelto’s platform is an urban agenda, which means that Republican Tom Foley remains the only gubernatorial candidate who has publicly acknowledged low income communities of color. A few weeks ago Jonathan assured me that he would formulate a racial justice plan; I have not hear a word from him since, even after I sent him a follow up message on Sunday reminding him of his promise. Foley’s “urban think tank” can only be viewed as an election gimmick, considering the GOP’s overwhelming whiteness and their history of totally ignoring the socioeconomic issues which affect Black and Latino neighborhoods, such as poverty, unemployment, racial wage / wealth disparity, mass incarceration and felony disenfranchisement. Well, that’s not totally true. Republican Congressman Paul Ryan had this to say, “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with…you need to get involved, you need to get involved yourself, whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is to make a difference. And that’s how we resuscitate our culture.”

Ryan is clearly a student of the Southern Strategy, which was explained by GOP strategist Lee Atwater. “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’ ” This 1968 George Wallace presidential campaign TV ad is a good example of the Southern Strategy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RZ4G251WR4

Ryan launched a so-called War on Poverty which consists of shredding the remaining strands of the safety net. Ryan’s House budget is a continuation of his war on the poor. The Center on Budget broke it down. “For several years now, Chairman Ryan (R-WI) has proposed annual budgets that would deeply cut programs for the poor. The Ryan budgets have consistently secured between 60 and 67 percent of their budget cuts from programs for low- or moderate-income people.” Atwater would be proud…

Pelto needs 7500 petition signatures by August 6 to appear on the ballot as the “Education and Democracy Party” candidate; he told the Hartford Courant that a squad of 200 volunteers had already collected 2200 signatures since he launched a petition drive the previous week. Pelto told the Courant his thoughts on Democratic Party critics who warned that Pelto would be throwing the election to the Republicans. Gov. Dannel Malloy and Foley were tied in the most recent poll. “That’s the Democratic process…. We are better off as a nation, a state, and a society when you have more candidates bringing in more issues. … Democracy has repercussions. What we’re going to witness here in Connecticut are the effects of a democratic system.” The problem is that Pelto isn’t bringing in “more issues” regarding low income people of color. He’s also engaging in tokenism by naming a Black woman, Ebony Murphy, as his running mate. Pelto is behaving exactly like his archrival Malloy. He’s obviously only interested in being a gubernatorial election alternative for white liberals.

Pelto had said that he wouldn’t run if he couldn’t win; that position has morphed into a broad definition of being a “credible” candidate who would provide a “strong voice” on what he considers to be key issues. The Democrats whine about Pelto’s selfish motives, but they clearly brought his candidacy on themselves by continuing to embrace a center-right, corporatist agenda. Pelto’s silence on core urban issues means that, as usual, low income communities of color will remain invisible as the gubernatorial race plays out.

Connecticut Mirror political reporter Mark Pazniokas explained the challenge Pelto will face as a third-party candidate. “General-election ballot access is relatively easy: He must gather 7,500 signatures of registered voters, less than required to qualify for a Democratic or Republican primary. But qualifying for public financing requires raising $250,000 and gathering 111,000 signatures, and the payoff is smaller: one-third of the $6.5 million available to major-party nominees. ‘As a third-party candidate for Governor, I recognize that the campaign system is rigged to make being elected as difficult as possible, but I see a clear path forward and I am indeed running to win,’ Pelto said.” If Pelto really wanted to win, he would have been proactive about reaching out to the underserved, overlooked urban community. The last time we spoke, Pelto promised that he would adopt an urban agenda the same way that a lazy husband promises that he will take out the garbage. Disappointing, but not surprising…

The possibility of a four-way race for governor looms, as Tea Party member Joe Visconti is collecting petition signatures in his bid to run as an independent. If Visconti’s bid is successful, the GOP gubernatorial nominee would also face the possibility of a third-party candidate siphoning votes. The Tea Party is still basking in the glow of economic professor David Brat’s shocking June 10 victory over House Speaker Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary. Cantor became the first sitting House majority leader to lose a primary since 1899, when the position was created. Cantor raised $5,447,290 compared to Brat’s $206,663 total, a mammoth 40-1 spread; a post election analysis revealed that Cantor had spent more money eating at steakhouses ($168,637) than Brat spent on his entire campaign ($122,793). While Cantor will now have plenty of time to check out lunch specials, his colleagues have to deal with the repercussions of a defeat that has shaken the GOP to its core. Meanwhile the Democratic / Republican duopoly in Connecticut is being challenged from the Left and the Right by Pelto and Visconti, respectively. Foley faces a three-way GOP primary against Sen. John McKinney and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a candidate with a history of inflammatory remarks about immigrants. The long anticipated Malloy vs. Foley II sequel is being altered by a Democratic Party dissident and three conservatives who obviously didn’t get the memo about Foley’s scheduled coronation.

Last week Mike McGarry claimed that opponents of the New Britain Rock Cats stadium deal have not provided any answers to the economic issues affecting this city and region. I routinely present solutions such as the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Jackson Plan, a $15.00 minimum wage indexed to inflation, a progressive income tax, and closing corporate tax loopholes that allow corporations like AT&T to ship profits made in Connecticut to Nevada, where they don’t have to pay taxes on the money. I have also called for the regulation of corporate welfare such as Malloy’s First Five initiative, a single payer health care system, and a publicly owned bank. Revamping this state’s regressive tax structure, making corporations pay their fair share of taxes and creating a public bank would generate revenue which could be shared with cities and towns, allowing Hartford to reduce taxes on its residents. Rep. Ritter introduced CP’s public infrastructure bank bill in 2013. I can only assume that Mike chooses to ignore my column, which appears next to his every week.

Mike, you’re entitled to disagree with the Left, but you’re being disingenuous when you say that we don’t have answers. The single mother who you referred to needs job training to make herself more marketable, and a living wage so that she can enjoy a modest but secure lifestyle. The report on sports facilities that I included in my column last week clearly states that a new stadium has “an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment.” I’m not sure what the “new, stinking weed” is that you’re referring to, but I would be happy to discuss that topic if you will talk about the poison known as the extrajudicial killing of Blacks every 28 hours in this country by the police. http://www.operationghettostorm.org/ Let’s deal with facts, not rhetoric.

Last week WNPR reported that activists are discussing a campaign to collect the 1400 signatures needed to trigger a referendum on the stadium. It was interesting to watch City Council President Shawn Wooden backpedal while talking about the stadium issue on the Fox CT Capitol Report program. Wooden is now saying that the “private sector” must step up with some money to pay for the stadium. There will be a public hearing on the stadium issue July 21.

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the archive of our Hartford News columns. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/ Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.

Resources

Open Secrets Twitter page: Open Secrets provides analysis of the influence of money in politics:

https://twitter.com/OpenSecretsDC

The truth about stadiums and economic development:

http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/1997/06/summer-taxes-noll

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Jackson Plan:

http://mxgm.org/the-jackson-plan-a-struggle-for-self-determination-participatory-democracy-and-economic-justice/

Fight for 15 Twitter page:

https://twitter.com/fightfor15

CT Voices for Children Budget and Tax reports:

http://www.ctvoices.org/publications?issue=1

Community Party A Public Bank for Connecticut page:

https://www.facebook.com/PublicBankCT

Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog on structural racism at the Department of Children and Families. Includes data charts and info on Cornell’s Legal Defense Fund:

http://dcfplantation.blogspot.com/

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

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3 Responses to “Political Roundup: Jonathan Pelto Enters Race for Governor / Response to Mike McGarry”

  1. teachers unite Says:

    Finally an honest assessment. You’re not the only one who has been handed promised by Mr. Pelto only to never hear back. There will be many invisible issues as the gubernatorial race plays out.

  2. David Samuels Says:

    Pelto is a fraud. This is all about him getting even with Malloy.

  3. teachers unite Says:

    It’s so refreshing to hear someone speak the truth! Amen.

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