Political Roundup: Wooden Flip-Flops on Stadium / Republicans Support Pelto

This column appears in the April 26 – July 3 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: Black transgender teen Jane Doe was moved to the Albert J. Solnit Children’s Psychiatric Center, a Middletown facility run by the Department of Children and Families. Jane Doe’s lawyer Aaron Romano talked to the New Haven Register about the move. “All along we’ve said that jail was inappropriate for Jane and we’re pleased with this move. It’s not perfect, but it’s not jail.” http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140624/jailed-connecticut-transgender-teen-moved-to-psych-center The Community Party will introduce the Jane Doe Act in 2015; this bill would prohibit DCF from incarcerating their clients. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/coming-in-2015-jane-doe-act/ Check out Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog for news and commentary about structural racism at DCF… http://dcfplantation.blogspot.com/  
Those calling for the United States to “stabilize” Iraq must have forgotten about this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0 Bring the war dollars home!
Last Saturday Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman attended the Working Families Party convention. Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror reported that Wyman thanked state workers for their votes in 2010 (I’m a state employee). “ ‘Without you in 2010, we couldn’t have survived and become governor and lieutenant governor,’  Wyman said, making the political personal. ‘Dan and I know we couldn’t have done this without you.’ ” Malloy was singing a different tune during an interview with New York Times reporter David M. Halbfinger in February 2011, three months after he was elected. “There is much skepticism in Hartford about whether Mr. Malloy will ultimately win what he needs from the unions, which provided critical support for his election. Even labor leaders question whether the governor will force concessions, he said. ‘I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘We got you elected,’  Mr. Malloy said. ‘And my quick retort is, ‘Yeah, and you’re the reason it was so close.’ Because lots of people voted against me as a way to express their anger against them.’ ” You’re welcome, Dan…     
Raul De Jesus and Alexander Aponte were the latest councilmen to jump ship on the New Britain Rock Cats stadium deal; last week both said they would not support the construction of a stadium for the Rock Cats without funding from the private sector. City Council President Shawn Wooden has been performing daily on his Corporate Media Spin Tour, claiming that he told Mayor Pedro Segarra’s administration from the beginning that he wanted private investors to fund the stadium. However Wooden never made this demand publicly when the deal was announced, which would have been to his advantage because he’s challenging Sen. Eric Coleman in an August 12 primary.
Last Sunday Wooden appeared on the WFSB TV Face the State program with former major league baseball player and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville. The fact remains that Wooden didn’t make his support conditional when he stood grinning next to Segarra three weeks ago; he started using the word “if” AFTER protests erupted over the deal. That’s a fact dude can’t talk around. Wooden’s claim would mean that he and Segarra proudly announced the stadium deal even though they both knew at the time that the city didn’t have the money to pay for it. Segarra told the media that the stadium plan was a “done deal.” 
During his Face the State appearance Wooden repeated the specious claim that sports stadiums = jobs; this report by economists Andrew Zimbalist and Roger G. Noll tells the inconvenient truth about stadiums, employment and economic development.  http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/1997/06/summer-taxes-noll  Glanville told some warm and fuzzy stories about his experiences as a minor league player, but couldn’t provide concrete numbers to support the corporatist propaganda about stadiums.
What you’re seeing right now is a candidate for state Senate who is desperately trying to put out a fire before voters in Hartford hit the polls.
A component of this issue which has been lost in the sauce is the planned North Hartford supermarket that is now in limbo because of the stadium deal. http://www.courant.com/business/real-estate/hc-hartford-conn-supermarket-plan-ballpark-20140618,0,3945527.story Thomas E. Deller, the city’s director of development services, says that the supermarket deal is still a priority. Food deserts are a serious problem in low income communities of color. http://connectoc.org/Talk/ConnectOCBlog/tabid/116/PostID/92/Families-Landlocked-in-Food-Deserts.aspx Opponents of the stadium should also be talking about the need for this North Hartford supermarket to be built…
Councilman Kyle Anderson’s letter in last week’s edition of the Hartford News was an attempt to distort the fire safety issue that Mary Sanders, Adam Osmond, myself and others have attempted to get the city and the Hartford Fire Department to address. I did not contact Anderson only about Bowles Park; I emailed and called him and his aide to talk about Westbrook Village and privately owned buildings in the North End that I personally inspected. Anderson can play tit for tat for the sake of political expediency all he wants, the fact he cannot dispute is that he never responded. As I mentioned in a previous column, I did not hear from Anderson until after I called him out in my column. Even then, Anderson said only that he wanted to talk to me about my remarks. He did not mention the security bars issue at all; I still have the voicemail on my phone. Anderson is engaging in damage control because I named him in one of my FOI requests. If Anderson had put the same energy into this public safety issue as he has into covering his butt politically, he would have been better off. The city and the HFD have been totally uncooperative, which is why I made the FOI requests. You can read the March 19 email I sent to Anderson at CP’s No Sellout Blog.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/31914-email-to-councilman-kyle-anderson-re-security-bars/
HFD Captain James McLoughlin abruptly cut off our interview when I asked him if he would support an ordinance banning security bars without the quick release device. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/the-bedford-street-fire-tragedy-an-interview-with-hfd-captain-james-mcloughlin/ A City Hall employee refused to give me anything in writing pertaining to Wooden’s supposed efforts to enforce the law against security bars without the quick release device. The Office of Legislative Research provided State Representative Matt Ritter with a copy of the state law, which specifically prohibits security bars without a quick release device. Rep. Ritter and I will work on finding out if the buildings with the bars that violate state law were equipped before the law was passed, or if this is an enforcement issue. After we get more info we will discuss next steps. It will take 4-6 weeks to get additional info from OLR.
Jonathan Pelto, who has been collecting petition signatures in an effort to be added to the 2014 gubernatorial election ballot as an independent candidate, met with ex-Republican state chairman Chris Healy and gave him a petition. Healy of course circulated the petition among his GOP colleagues. Pelto claimed that he never expected Healy to do this, which is like me giving Bernie Madoff my ATM card and PIN number, then being surprised when my bank account was wiped out. Pelto’s actions are proof for his critics who say that Pelto is running for governor so he can stick it to Malloy, who would not give Pelto a job in his administration. Are we supposed to believe that when Pelto gave Healy a petition, he thought that this influential Republican operative would have the petition framed and hang it on his living room wall? Call me crazy, but the only reason why I would hand somebody a petition is for them to circulate it. Pazniokas reported on the Pelto / Healy meeting.

“A former Republican state chairman is gathering signatures to help get Jonathan Pelto, a Democratic critic of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, on the ballot as an independent candidate for governor, telling GOP voters that Pelto will draw votes from Malloy.

“Chris Healy, who stepped down in 2011 after four years as GOP chairman, wrote an email to Republicans in his hometown of Wethersfield urging them to sign a Pelto petition. He told The Mirror he was circulating a petition he obtained from Pelto, whom he has known for years, in a recent meeting over coffee.

“Healy and Pelto give the same the account of that meeting only to a point: Pelto says he gave Healy the petition, but not with the intention that Healy get signatures. Healy says he explicitly told Pelto he would circulate the petition.
‘I told him I would do what I could to help,’ Healy said. ‘I certainly did not ask nor would I expect any help or support from the Republicans. We’re doing just fine on the petitions,’ Pelto said.
“Whatever the case, Healy wrote an email to Republicans in Wethersfield, making the case that Pelto could do to Malloy in 2014 what Tom Marsh did to Republican Tom Foley in 2010. Marsh was a Republican selectman from Chester who ran for governor as an independent. He attracted 17,000 votes, a factor that Foley, the front runner for the GOP nomination this year, blames for his loss to Malloy by 6,404 votes.
“Joe Visconti, a Republican who failed to quality for a GOP primary, also is petitioning at get on the November ballot as an independent candidate for governor, stressing his opposition to gun control and the Common Core. Pelto, who tried and failed to get a job with the Malloy administration, has been a critic of Malloy since he took office in January 2011 as the first Democratic governor since William A. O’Neill left office two decades earlier. As the party’s political director, Pelto played a role in O’Neill’s last campaign.”
Pelto had the gall to rip off Martin Luther King while he spoke at the Working Families Party convention last Saturday; he used Dr. King’s quote, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” After promising me that he would formulate an urban agenda, Pelto rolled out a platform without one. Pelto has betrayed communities of color with his silence on issues such as poverty, Black / Latino unemployment, racial wage / wealth disparity and police containment. He lied to me, and is lying to his supporters and the media. Pelto could get some votes if he put the same effort into connecting with the urban community as he does chasing after unions who don’t want anything to do with him. Pelto could have made a difference, instead he is just more of the same. Blacks and Latinos, don’t waste your vote on this con artist. The 2014 gubernatorial election is a false choice.
I’ll let teacher Stephanie Sans have the last word; she posted this response to my column last week on Pelto excluding an urban agenda from his platform. Stephanie will share more info about her experience with Pelto in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…
“Does one need a platform on this issue if one is perhaps not running for governor but as a spoiler? Where is the education platform, especially for inner city schools given the achievement gap? While education was mentioned, it is very, very, vague – too vague for me as a Rocky Hill, Manchester, and Hartford Public School teacher.

“Where was Mr. Pelto on the nights we coalesced on behalf of the community for Clark School and America’s Choice at SAND? At home blogging about it rather than showing public support. My former principal Steve Perry was front and center both nights. His tweets following both meetings made me quite uncomfortable, especially as the first HFT Building Rep in the history of C Prep. Politicians have agendas and certain groups carry the weight of those agendas. Perhaps we are just a platform for soundbites. Just food for thought.

“In my life, I judge actions, not just words. Sometimes, it’s up to an individual or small group to make a meaningful difference. It’s not as easy but “doing” is better than just talking. A heart with true intentions is compelled to act upon his/her words. Talking or blogging gets your message out to larger audience but then there must be a “history” of actions behind the talk. Blogging about Clark Uprising was good but being there in support of the teachers and community was better. I know, I was there. I look around and it’s so fascinating to see those who often shout the loudest run away the fastest when push comes to shove.”

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          
David Samuels
Community Party



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