Archive for July, 2014

Political Roundup: CT Race for Governor, Border Crisis, Gun Violence Engulfs Chicago

July 31, 2014
This column appears in the July 31 – August 7 edition of the Hartford News… Safe Work Environment Act Update:  On Monday New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed the New Hampshire Healthy Workplace Bill. As I have stated in previous columns, the Community Party’s position is that HWB will not protect bullied employees, as workers would have to prove malice and intent by an employer. This is basically impossible. Senator Gary Holder-Winfield will introduce CP’s Safe Work Environment Act in 2015. New Hampshire Public Radio reported on Gov. Hassan’s veto of HWB.
Three weeks ago Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s campaign ad debuted. The Greenwich billionaire was portrayed as a “regular dad“. Foley was shown fixing a car with his oldest son (apparently his on-call mechanics had the day off) and playing with his 21/2 year old twins.
In 2003 the U.S. attempted to crush an uprising by Iraqi workers after successfully overthrowing Saddam Hussein and occupying the country. The U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority busted unions and banned strikes, as they slashed workers wages back to the levels that were in place under Hussein. Guess who was an integral part of these worker suppression tactics? As the Iraqi protests took place Democracy Now! interviewed Progressive reporter David Bacon about his article “The Occupation’s War on Iraqi Workers.”  Bacon explained that $87 billion in funding would not be used to improve the conditions of Iraqis.
“Remember that the $87 billion is on top of the $60 billion that was appropriated to fight the war. So, we have a total of $147 billion that is being spent, or is set to be spent in Iraq — and this money is going to be spent not on improving conditions for the Iraqi population. For instance, there is no unemployment benefit system in Iraq. If you lose your job, if you are one of those lucky people who has a job and you lose it, you’re in deep trouble because there is no unemployment benefit system.
“These new unions being formed in Iraq are all calling for an end to the Occupation as part of what they see will improve conditions for Iraqi workers and also give them some voice over the direction of the Iraqi economy. Right now, workers have no voice over these privatization plans.
They’re simply being announced by Americans, by people from the United States like Tom Foley, who is the Occupation Authority’s representative for private sector development. He gets into the newspapers in Baghdad and announces the industries that will be privatized.
But there is no process, even, of consultation with Iraqi workers, let alone any process in which they can decide over whether or not the property of the Iraqi government is going to be sold off or turned over to private owners.” Foley’s Father Knows Best TV ad did not include any mention of his tenure in Iraq. 
Campaign ads are the most visible representation of money in politics. These ads show candidates telling you how they will return (insert name of state here) to prosperity. The candidate is shown in a factory talking to workers and helping senior citizens cross the street. What you usually won’t see is any specific details about the candidate’s actual policy positions. Attack ads can sink their targets (see Mike Dukakais) but they do not guarantee victory (see Linda McMahon vs. Chris Murphy). George H.W. Bush’s ad team successfully used racism with the infamous 1988 Willie Horton ad against Dukakis, in order to paint Dukakis as being soft on crime. Dukakis was also hurt by the Bush campaign’s “Dukakis in the tank” ad, which was a case study in how a public relations blunder could come back to harm a candidate. Campaign ads are vehicles of misinformation. Candidates are being sold, like all other products.
During a July 7 interview with Connecticut Mirror reporter Mark Pazniokas, Sen. John McKinney laid out his economic plan should he be elected governor. You know the Republican drill; spending cuts, tax cuts (mostly for the rich), coddling of big business and attacks on public employees. While Foley has said that he would keep spending flat, McKinney told Mike Savino of the Manchester Journal Inquirer that he will make cuts. Savino reported that Foley would have to cut spending by $893 million during the next fiscal year in order to maintain the state’s $19 billion 2014 spending level. McKinney plans to demand more concessions from state workers, who have agreed to concessions twice since 2009 (I’m a state employee). 2200 state positions would be cut under a McKinney administration. New state employees would have a 401 (k) program shoved down their throats, instead of having a pension. McKinney told Savino that he will impose a hiring freeze. While McKinney would eliminate the practice of state workers boosting their pensions with money earned working overtime and retired employees would no longer be able to return to work (collecting a pension and a salary), he said nothing about going after companies who sock away far more cash by using tax loopholes. For example, companies like AT&T ship their state profits to Nevada, where they don’t have to pay taxes on the money. McKinney’s budget plan also includes the implementation of income and estate tax cuts.
How effective are tax cuts in stimulating state economies?  Michael Leachman and Chris Mai of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities present Kansas as a case study.
“As other states consider large tax cuts, they should heed these key lessons from Kansas:
  • Deep income tax cuts caused large revenue losses. Kansas’ tax cuts this year are costing the state about 8 percent of the revenue it uses to fund schools, health care, and other public services, a hit comparable to a mid-sized recession. State data shows that the revenue loss will rise to 16 percent in five years if the tax cuts are not reversed.
  • The large revenue losses extended and deepened the recession’s damage to schools and other state services.  Most states are restoring funding for schools after years of significant cuts, but in Kansas the cuts continue. Governor Sam Brownback recently proposed another reduction in per-pupil general school aid for next year, which would leave funding 17 percent below pre-recession levels.  Funding for other services — colleges and universities, libraries, and local health departments, among others — also is way down, and declining.
  • The tax cuts delivered lopsided benefits to the wealthy.  Kansas’ tax cuts didn’t benefit everyone.  Most of the benefits went to high-income households. Kansas even raised taxes for low-income families to offset a portion of the revenue loss; otherwise the cuts to schools and other services would have been greater still.
  • Kansas’ tax cuts haven’t boosted its economy.  Since the tax cuts took effect at the beginning of 2013, Kansas has added jobs at a pace modestly slower than the country as a whole. The earnings and incomes of Kansans have performed slightly worse than the U.S. as a whole as well.  (An exception is farmers, whose incomes improved as the state recovered from a drought.)  And so far there’s no evidence that Kansas is enjoying exceptional business growth: the number of registered business grew more slowly last year than in 2012, and the state’s share of all U.S. business establishments fell over the first three quarters of last year, the latest data available.
  • There’s little evidence to suggest that Kansas’ tax cuts will improve its economy in the future.  No one knows for certain how Kansas’ economy will perform in the years ahead, but it isn’t likely to stand out from other states. The latest official state revenue forecast, from November 2013, projects Kansas personal income will grow more slowly than total national personal income in 2014 and 2015.”
McKinney pummeled Foley in a debate two weeks ago. Although McKinney is full of crap, his passionate speaking style is a sharp contrast to Foley, who talks as if he’s announcing airport boarding times. Foley’s poor communication ability is an extension of his sleep inducing personality. The guy is just boring; his prevent defense campaign strategy is working against him. Foley’s arrogant request to McKinney that he drop out of the primary underscores his sense of entitlement regarding the GOP nomination. Next week we’ll decode Foley’s appearance last Sunday on the WFSB Face the State program. Predictably host Dennis House, Chris Keating of the Hartford Courant and Neil Vigdor of Hearst Connecticut Newspapers didn’t ask any questions about Foley’s urban agenda. Apparently they didn’t think that Foley’s July 10 CNN editorial on urban policy was newsworthy.
Earlier this month immigration advocates protested in Washington DC in support of children fleeing murderous chaos in Central America. CNN reported that families in Guatemala were being terrorized through extortion, kidnapping and murder, including the murder of children. Children from Honduras were fleeing the murder capital of the world. President Obama, dubbed the Deporter in Chief by his critics, did not disappoint. While liberal media pundits railed about House Republicans’ obstruction on immigration reform, they avoided mentioning an inconvenient fact: Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than George W. Bush. Right-wing immigrant bashers certainly don’t want to talk about an Immigration Policy Center report which found that undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than the wealthy.  Democracy Now! reported on the protests in DC.
“In the United States, immigrant advocates gathered at the White House to criticize the Obama administration’s treatment of immigrant children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have been seized at the U.S. border since October, about double the amount over the same period last year. Protesters say many of the children are trying to rejoin their families.
Cindy Monge, CASA in Action: ” ‘We’re going to take action on this. We want these kids to reunite with their parents, because that’s what they came here for. It’s not their fault. Some of them don’t even know what’s happening. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just told, ‘Go with so and so and get here.’ Like, that’s what happened to me. They were just like, ‘You go with these people, and we’re going to see you back here.’ “
“The Obama administration is poised to ask Congress for $2 billion to pay for more detention centers and immigration judges to handle the influx. The White House said most of the children are unlikely to qualify for humanitarian relief and would be deported. According to the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, 58 percent of unaccompanied children detained by the United States could be entitled to refugee protections under international law.”
Obama asked for $3.7 billion. In a classic case of doubletalk, Obama described this situation as an “urgent humanitarian situation” in his letter to Congress, while simultaneously planning to limit the rights of the children at court hearings. This will make it easier to deport them. Immigrant advocates were rightfully furious. The Associated Press reported that Senate Democrats were skeptical of Obama’s immigration flim flam. 
” ‘ Everybody’s very concerned. I’m one of them,’ ” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. ” ‘I just want to make sure that at the end of the day we’re being fair, humane and doing this in an orderly way.’ “
The United Nations called on the United States to accept most of the Central American migrants as refugees. Meanwhile, Obama visited Texas to do fundraising for Democratic Party congressional candidates. The President also found a little time to deal with the border crisis, as he visited with Republican Gov. Rick Perry. Perry has been a vocal critic of Obama’s immigration policy. While the corporate media fixated on the “should Obama visit the border and look concerned” question, Obama held an evening press conference where he reiterated the U.S. position that most of the children would be deported. DN reported on the U.N. appeal for the U.S. to accept most of the migrants as refugees.
“As the White House vows to speed the deportation of migrant children, United Nations officials are calling for most of them to be accepted into the United States as refugees. A report by the U.N. high commissioner for refugees in March found that 58 percent of unaccompanied children detained by the United States could be entitled to refugee protections under international law. The United Nations renewed the call ahead of a meeting Thursday in Nicaragua between the United States, Mexico and Central American countries. The agenda includes updating a 30-year-old declaration on state obligations to aid refugees. The UNHCR says: ‘The U.S. and Mexico should recognize that this is a refugee situation, which implies that [children] shouldn’t be automatically sent to their home countries, but rather receive international protection.’ President Obama is in Texas today meeting with Republican Gov. Rick Perry on the border crisis.”
Malloy’s administration refused to take in 2,000 of the refugees at the request of the federal government, claiming that the Southbury Training School, the designated site, was too small and not equipped to house the children. Latino advocates expressed disappointment with Malloy’s decision and said that another site could be found to house 500 of the refugees. Obama encouraged governors to house the children while Congress debates his $3.7 billion emergency spending bill to address the border crisis. The New Haven Register did not accept Malloy’s lame excuse, as they responded with a scathing editorial. The Register pointed out that the real reason why Malloy gave the refugees the boot was because of his fear of offending bigoted swing voters.
“Despite the logistical reasons Malloy cites, there’s really only one reason we ‘can’t’ help. Our governor is a Democrat facing a tough re-election fight in November. The bottom line is that too many swing voters fear immigrants, and Malloy doesn’t want the ‘optics’ of hundreds of brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking children being bused into Connecticut as uninformed and misinformed debate over border security and immigration policy meet continued anxiety about the state’s economy.” 
Laura Raymond of reported on an inconvenient fact that conservatives would rather avoid, which is that undocumented immigrants from countries such as Honduras are often fleeing conditions caused by U.S. foreign policy. “Since the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, violence and repression have continued to increase. Honduras currently has the highest murder rate in the world. The current refugee crisis at the US border is a foreseeable and understandable consequence of this violence. Unfortunately, after playing a widely criticized role in legitimating Honduras’s post-coup government, the US government is now using this crisis to further entrench its alignment with one of the most corrupt and violent police and military forces in the hemisphere.”

Last week a coalition of immigration advocates held a protest in New Haven demanding that Malloy reverse his decision not to house the refugees. Malloy cowering to bigots for the sake of political expediency underscores his hypocrisy regarding race issues. Malloy claims to be a friend to people of color, but is really a fair weather friend who is unwilling to take the heat and do the right thing. Since the election season began, Malloy has touted his supposed willingness to make “tough decisions”. These decisions, such as his refusal to implement a truly progressive income tax on the rich while he soaked the working class with taxes and cut the Earned Income Tax Credit for the poor, usually work to the benefit of the ruling class.
82 people were shot, 14 fatally, during the July Fourth holiday weekend in Chicago. While the corporate media focused on gang violence in the city, the Chicago Reader examined the root cause of violence in urban communities: poverty. Affluent neighborhoods are not the scene of gangs and street violence. In low income communities of color, the local gang is the biggest employer. Unemployment among young Black males is as high as 50%. Latino unemployment hovers at Depression-era levels. Lacking opportunities, Black and Latino males turn to the underground economy to get paid, where violence is an occupational hazard. Steve Bogira of the Reader talked about the disparate rates of violence between rich and poor neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, the Reader report found that disease and death also occur far more often in poverty stricken communities.
“Every life lost to homicide is a tragedy, of course — and a sense that the life was unfairly taken often heightens the pain. Compounding the unfairness, residents of certain neighborhoods are far more likely to suffer that fate. We illustrated this last month by comparing homicide rates in two sets of Chicago communities — the five poorest and the five least poor. The homicide rate in the poorest neighborhoods was 11 times the rate in the least-poor neighborhoods. And if that isn’t unfair enough, poverty — and especially the concentration of poverty that segregation causes — kills disproportionately in nonviolent ways as well.

“Using the same two sets of communities, we extended our analysis beyond homicide—the eighth-leading cause of death in Chicago—to other, more common causes of death. Our comparison shows that poor African-American neighborhoods should come with a surgeon general’s warning. When it comes to the leading causes of death in Chicago (cancer, heart disease, diabetes-related illnesses, stroke, and unintentional injury), the mortality rate in the five poorest neighborhoods—Riverdale, Fuller Park, Englewood, West Garfield Park, and East Garfield Park—was far higher than in the five least-poor neighborhoods— Mount Greenwood, Edison Park, Norwood Park, Beverly, and Clearing. For diabetes-related deaths, it was almost double; for unintentional injury, it was more than double. The infant mortality rate—the rate of death in the first year of life—was two and a half times as high. And the death rate from all causes was 60 percent higher than in the wealthier counterparts, and 43 percent higher than the citywide rate.”
Jesse Jackson called on Obama to fund economic development and jobs in high crime Chicago areas. Jackson said that Obama should find money to address gun violence in Chicago just as quickly as he did in response to the border crisis. “If we can find $4 billion for those children — and we should — we can find $2 billion for Chicago. There are more children involved, and more have been killed, and more have been shot.”  Obama has not mentioned Black / Latino unemployment once during his two terms in office. The Democrats continue to ignore low income communities of color.  
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts.  Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the archive of our Hartford News columns.  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or   
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report on the impact of tax cuts in Kansas:
Connecticut Voices for Children report on the state’s regressive tax structure:
David Samuels
Community Party

Vote Carlos Camacho for State Representative 2014

July 30, 2014
In Windsor, as in many towns in Connecticut, politics has become frustrating, predictable and most recently, favors the one percent. Voters can predict what a Republican or Democratic politician’s position on a subject will be simply based on whether they have a “R” or an “D” next to their name. At a time when we face serious challenges and problems, we need a different approach. It’s time to put aside the tired, divisive “Conservative-versus-Liberal” debates and start anew. Let’s bring to Hartford humility to understand that real progress takes time, a clear sense of leadership, and the participation of everyone with a stake in making Connecticut a better place. I’m running for State Representative District 60 (parts of Windsor and Windsor Locks). I’m a naturalized citizen from a working-class family that immigrated to America and I’d like to offer an approach to governing that isn’t driven by money from corporations and out of state lobbyists. 
I stand for:
* Ensuring that parents and teachers drive education reform and not politicians and corporations
* Removing the corrupting influences of money in our political system with real campaign finance reform
* Addressing the growing income-inequality that has led the country into an oligarchy 
* Increasing the production of housing of every variety, especially affordable housing
* Shifting our focus to small business owners; the heart of our job creation economy
* Stopping cronyism and patronage from state contracting that cost tax payers money and results in inefficiencies
* Tackling the rising cost of healthcare and addressing their root causes
* Reforming our tax code in a non-partisan modern way to induce investment, while avoiding placing burdens on future generations
* Advocating for a clean environment with a focus on eating locally through more CT farms
* Pushing for improved internet infrastructure in our towns which will help our economies compete on a global stage 
* Repairing and maintaining our existing transportation infrastructure
* Clamping down on rising administrative costs in our colleges to reduce higher education costs
* Making our government fully transparent
* Passing local climate laws that make a global difference
* Increasing ballot access so we can renew our democracy with more choices in our political system
* Upholding the Bill of Rights
We can continue to vote for parties and politicians that have given us Corrupticut. 
Or we can make a bold decision to vote for Justice & Liberty for All.
I would like your vote this November. To earn a place on the ballot, please sign my petition (see comments section).

Deep Poverty Among Children Worsened in Welfare Law’s First Decade

July 23, 2014

This report originally appeared on the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website.

PDF of this report (5 pp.)

By Arloc Sherman and Danilo Trisi

July 23, 2014

Related Areas of Research

Since the mid-1990s, when policymakers made major changes in the public assistance system, the proportion of children living in poverty has declined, but the harshest extremes of child poverty have increased.  After correcting for the well-known underreporting of safety net benefits in the Census data, we estimate that the share of children in deep poverty — with family income below half of the poverty line — rose from 2.1 percent to 3.0 percent between 1995 and 2005.  The number of children in deep poverty climbed from 1.5 million to 2.2 million.

The Rise in Deep Poverty

In the mid-1990s, policymakers dramatically shifted income assistance policies for low-income families with children toward helping workingfamilies.  They replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which had chiefly served families with little or no earnings, with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which offers less assistance and includes stricter work requirements and time limits.  At the same time, policymakers expanded assistance for moderate-income working families, such as by strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and medical and child care programs and creating and later expanding the Child Tax Credit through a partially refundable component of the credit for lower-income families with earnings.

The results over the ensuing decade were mixed.  The bulk of the evidence suggests that while many parents moved from welfare to work and child poverty declined overall, the number and percentage of children in deep or severe poverty, with family income below half the poverty line or even lower, increased.  The evidence of this increase includes the following:

  • Early welfare-to-work programs increased deep poverty even as they reduced overall poverty.  In one federal evaluation of 11 early 1990s programs that included work requirements and other key elements of the 1996 welfare law, deep poverty rates rose significantly for families in six of the programs (and declined in none) in comparison with “control group” families randomly assigned to a more traditional welfare program.  By contrast, overall poverty rates (that is, the share of participants below the poverty line) fell significantly in five programs (and rose in none).[1]  Although all 11 programs raised employment rates, most also raised the share of families at any given time who had neither employment nor welfare.[2] 

    Similarly, in one of the few rigorous, random-assignment studies of a time-limited welfare-to-work program — Connecticut’s Jobs First pilot study — economists Marianne Bitler, Jonah Gelbach, and Hilary Hoynes found that “there are definitely negative [income] effects on some women, and positive effects on others” and that losses “are concentrated at the lower end, with the positive ones concentrated in the upper half” of the participants’ income distribution.

  • Measured carefully, deep poverty rose nationwide.  Between 1993 and 2004, even as the overall poverty rate fell, the percentage of Americans living in deep poverty rose markedly, according to a study published in the 2012 Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty.[4]  The study counts as income the value of non-cash benefits such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) and tax credits such as the EITC, as most analysts favor.
  • More families are living on less than $2 per person per day.  The number of households with children with monthly cash incomes equivalent to less than $2 per person per day — a standard of poverty more associated with third-world countries — has more than doubled since 1996, rising 159 percent to 1.6 million households in 2011, according to the University of Michigan’s Luke Shaefer and Harvard’s Kathryn Edin.[5]  Counting the value of tax credits and non-cash benefits — housing assistance, tax credits, and SNAP — lowers these numbers considerably, but the growth in extremely poor households with children remains troubling:  a 50 percent increase, to 613,000 families in 2011.  Extreme poverty rose “particularly among those most impacted by the 1996 welfare reform,” Shaefer and Edin found.

Criticisms of Severe Poverty Data Do Not Stand Up

A recent Forbes critique by the Manhattan Institute’s Scott Winship tries to poke holes in the Shaefer-Edin findings cited in this report on the rise in the number of families living on less than $2 per person per day.a  But the critique itself doesn’t hold up well.

Winship questions whether the rise in extreme poverty that Shaefer and Eden report is large enough to be statistically reliable or “significant.”  But the increase — from 1.1 percent to 1.6 percent between 1996 and 2011 — is amply significant, with about a 99 percent chance of being reliably different from no change, based on Census Bureau formulas.

Winship also seems to suggest that the study is invalid because “any reasonable definition of ‘income’” would include the value of assistance from soup kitchens and spare change from strangers.  No nationally representative monthly survey counts this sort of assistance as income.  Census income surveys focus, appropriately, on money received “on a regular basis,” distinguishing between what families obtain in relatively reliable and socially acceptable ways and what they beg (or borrow or steal) as a last resort.b

Winship also argues that extreme poverty would shrink further if Shaefer and Edin somehow managed to attach a cash value to government health insurance.  This point is a weak one, however.  You can’t pay rent with Medicaid, and poverty measurement experts and federal statistical agencies have largely rejected treating medical assistance like cash for the purpose of determining poverty status.c

Finally, Winship cites the work by Columbia University’s Christopher Wimer and his colleagues that did not show a rise in children’s deep poverty after 1996.  But, as discussed below, when we use the same survey, we find that deep poverty did rise when underreporting of benefit income is corrected.

a Scott Winship, “Work-Promoting Safety Net Reforms Have Helped the Poor,” Forbes, June 19, 2014,

b See the Census Bureau’s “About Income” discussion at

c See, for example, “Observations from the Interagency Technical Working Group on Developing a Supplemental Poverty Measure,” Census Bureau, March 2010,

Underreporting of Income Can Mask Rise in Deep Poverty

Some data sources do not show a rise in deep poverty for children, but this appears to be the result of a serious technical flaw:  the omission from these data of a large share of the income from key public benefit programs.  Correcting for this flaw reduces the deep poverty rate in any given year but reveals the increase in deep poverty over the decade that occurred as income from these programs — particularly public assistance — shrank due to policymakers’ actions. 

For example, a groundbreaking and generally thorough analysis of poverty and deep poverty back to 1967 by Columbia University’s Christopher Wimer and his colleagues shows little change in the children’s deep poverty rate since 1996.  But the study uses the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), which tends to miss public assistance income to a greater degree than does the separate Census survey (called the Survey of Income and Program Participation or SIPP) used by the Oxford and $2-per-day studies.  Such underreporting is common in household surveys and can affect estimates of poverty and, in particular, deep poverty.

The CPS missed more than one-third of public assistance and food stamp benefits in 1995, or nearly $15 billion worth in 2004 dollars, according to data compiled by University of Chicago economist Bruce Meyer and his colleagues.[6]  SIPP missed a smaller amount:  $8 billion in 1995.  Over the decade, moreover, the total amount of missing income from public assistance (AFDC, later TANF) and food stamps declined, by $1.7 billion between 1995 and 2004 in the CPS and by $0.9 billion in SIPP.  This made it look like benefits were shrinking less than they really were.  (2004 is the last year for which Meyer and colleagues provide the data needed for this comparison.)[7]

Is this decline in missed income large enough to obscure a rise in deep poverty rates in the CPS?  The answer is yes.  In a forthcoming analysis, my colleague Danilo Trisi and I look at trends in children’s deep poverty in the CPS before and after correcting for underreporting of three major benefits:  TANF, SNAP, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Our corrections come from the Transfer Income Model (TRIM) microsimulation series, which the Urban Institute developed and has maintained over a period of decades for the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Before correcting, our trend is roughly flat, similar to the trend line shown by Wimer et al. (in their Figure 9).  But when we correct for the underreporting of TANF, SSI, and SNAP benefits, we see less deep poverty in any given year but a clear increase over time, from 2.1 percent in 1995 to 3.0 percent in 2005.  (See Figure 1.)  Although the story continued to evolve after 2005 — most notably, with the Great Recession and public responses to it — 2005 is an appropriate end point because labor-market conditions in that year (as measured by the unemployment rate) were comparable to those in 1995.

So what’s going on here?  The key point is that in 1995, public assistance (then AFDC) mattered a lot — it kept 2.4 million children above 50 percent of the poverty line in the corrected CPS data.  By 2005, TANF was a much smaller program, keeping only about 600,000 children out of deep poverty (using the corrected data).

In short, correcting the CPS trend for missing welfare payments reveals the extent to which the old AFDC program lessened deep poverty in 1995, as well as the subsequent increase in deep poverty when the program shrank.  The SIPP data used by the Oxford and $2-per-day studies suffer from underreporting, too, but to a significantly smaller degree.  They show an increase in deep and severe poverty even before correcting for underreporting.


By a number of careful measures, children’s deep and severe poverty rose significantly in the decade after the 1996 welfare law.  This is troubling because, among low-income young children, modest changes in income can affect school achievement and other outcomes, and growing evidence indicates that deep poverty is a threat to children’s future success.  This lesson is worth considering as policymakers consider proposals to alter the nation’s system of income assistance and support for poor families, including the poorest families with children.

End notes:

[1] Stephen Freedman et al., National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies Evaluating Alternative Welfare-to-Work Approaches: Two-Year Impacts for Eleven Programs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 2000, page ES-35, Exhibit ES-10,   Ten of the 11 programs showed some increase in the share of participants below half the poverty line (six of them statistically significant), while nine showed declines in the overall poverty rate (five of them significant).  Taking a simple average across all 11 sites, deep poverty rose by 2.7 percentage points while regular poverty declined by 2.1 percentage points.  The study measured poverty using participant earnings, welfare, and food stamp income from administrative sources. 

[2] Freedman et al., Exhibit ES-9, page ES-34.

[3] Marianne Bitler, Jonah Gelbach, and Hilary Hoynes, “What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments,” American Economic Review, vol. 96, no. 4 (September 2006),

[4] Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Robert A. Moffitt, and John Karl Scholz, “An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States,” prepared for the 2012 Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty, chapter 22. A version of this study is available at:

[5] H. Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin, “Rising Extreme Poverty in the United States and the Response of Federal Means-Tested Transfer Programs,” National Poverty Center Working Paper 13-06, May 2013,

[6] Bruce D. Meyer, Wallace K.C. Mok, and James X. Sullivan, “The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences,” National Bureau of Economic Research working paper 15181, July 2009,

[7] Meyer and colleagues emphasize that the percentage of benefits underreported rose during this period.  But their figures show that the number of assistance dollars missed by the CPS and SIPP fell, as policy changes enacted in 1996 dramatically reduced total benefit payments.  In essence, the number of underreported AFDC/TANF dollars shrank in later years because the size of the program dwindled so rapidly.

WFSB Excludes North Hartford Voices From Stadium Debate, Kennard Ray Update, Safe Work Environment Act

July 23, 2014
This column appears in the July 24 – 31 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: WFSB Face the State host / corporate shill Dennis House aired another infomercial on the Hartford stadium plan. Mayor Pedro Segarra’s communications director Maribel La Luz was a guest; she talked about the stadium in terms of the facility being an anchor for high-end stores. La Luz did not mention the proposed North Hartford supermarket once. The focus of the program was how a stadium / retail complex could attract suburban whites into the city. There were no North End residents on the panel.
Kennard Ray was quietly hired as the Deputy Registrar of Voters for the City of Hartford. Last year Segarra hired Ray as his Deputy Chief of Staff. Ray withdrew from the position after sensationalized corporate media reports about his legal history led to Segarra throwing Ray under the bus. Segarra said that Ray messed up because he didn’t discuss his legal history during the job interview. The city’s Ban the Box ordinance stipulates that an applicant does not have to talk about past legal issues during an interview. Segarra said that Ray had to be held to a “higher standard”. A subsequent review by the Hartford Internal Audit Commission found that Segarra had hired several employees in his office who did not undergo a security background check; some had not even filled out a job application.

In 2015 Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield will introduce the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act.  The AFSCME Local 318 Safe Workplace Committee (which includes John Hollis and I as members) will call for a change to the employee grievance process. We want workplace bullying language added to the contract. Last year SEIU in California was successful in getting a Dignity Clause inserted into their agreement. We also want an independent arbitrator to hear grievances. The current process is a joke, as the employer hears worker complaints. The manager who hears the grievance at Step 1 defends the employer at Step 3. John has submitted an FOI request to obtain the outcome of state worker grievances for the last three years.

Community Party Hartford News columns on structural racism at CVH. Includes CVH workplace bullying survey results and data / internal CVH management emails obtained through FOI requests:
Special Report: Racism and Homophobia at Connecticut Valley Hospital:
Bullying Caused Women’s Suicide, Inquiry Told. The Sidney Morning Herald. Suicide, When Related to Workplace Bullying. by ABC
Workplace Bullying Report  – A Survivor’s Story:
Proposed Nevada workplace bullying bill:
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts.  Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the archive of our Hartford News columns.  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

Political Roundup: Cornell Lewis Defeats DCF / Must Read Article on Stadium Plan

July 17, 2014
This column appears in the July 17 – 24 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: On Monday the Connecticut Mirror reported on independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto’s budget plan. Pelto, who claims to be an alternative to Democratic Party incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challengers Tom Foley and Sen. John McKinney, rattled off the stale Democrat talking point about standing up for the middle class. Pelto did not mention poverty or low income communities of color once. It was hilarious to hear Pelto, who gave former GOP chairman Chris Healy a petition to get himself on the ballot in November, talk about lying Democrats and Republicans while referring to himself as a “truth-teller.” Pelto should pursue a stand-up comedy career after the elections are over… 
Last week CNN’s website posted an opinion piece on urban policy by Foley and Ben Zimmer, the executive director of Foley’s Connecticut Policy Institute. The commentary included the usual GOP propaganda about deregulating businesses, privatizing education and locking up more Black people, cloaked in a message about “solutions” for urban neighborhoods. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Jackson Plan is a truly egalitarian blueprint for addressing the economic plight of the Black and Brown community…
Malloy’s first campaign ad debuted on Monday. The biggest lie was Malloy’s claim about fixing the budget. Yes, the current $1.4 billion shortfall is less than the $ 3.7 billion deficit Malloy inherited from former Republican governor M. Jodi Rell. The ad failed to mention how Malloy’s $500 million “surplus” for the fiscal year ending June 30 shrunk to $43 million, due to a tax revenue shortfall of more than $450 million. Malloy’s “balanced budget” was achieved by the Democrat controlled legislature raiding funds (e.g. transportation, tobacco health trust) and other smoke and mirrors tactics  
Finally, McKinney’s first TV ad consisted of his usual public employee bashing (I’m a state worker) and the claim about how he’s going to reduce the size of state government. Here’s a reality check from Connecticut Voices for Children. “Connecticut’s state and local government has not grown as a share of the economy since 1970. Connecticut’s state and local government is the 5th smallest in the country, relative to the size of its economy.” Have I mentioned that the 2014 gubernatorial election is a false choice?
Aaron Romano, the attorney for Black transgender teen Jane Doe, has called for her removal from the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Jane Doe was allegedly involved in a confrontation with a male staff member and another youth.  Last week DCF Plantation posted a report about the incident.  Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.
Last Friday Cornell Lewis won his arbitration case against DCF, who fired Cornell in retaliation for his activism against structural racism at the facility. The decision came almost one year to the day of his termination; Cornell was fired July 17, 2013. Cornell released a brief statement on his DCF Plantation blog. “I feel vindicated after reading that an arbitrator has decided in favor of overturning my dismissal from Connecticut Juvenile Training School over one year ago. It is my hope to return to work soon.”  The Associated Press reported on the story.  Check out the Community Party’s No Sellout blog for reaction to Cornell’s victory.
                                                                DCF Ordered to Rehire Agency Critic
                                                                              by Susan Haigh

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – An arbitrator says the Department of Children and Families did not have just cause when it fired a youth services officer who has been an outspoken critic of the child welfare agency. Arbitrator Susan Brown directed the agency to reinstate Cornell Lewis to his position at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown. She said in Friday’s ruling DCF must also compensate him for lost wages.

Lewis was fired a year ago for allegedly failing to supervise youth under his care in 2012. The agency also put his name on an abuse and neglect registry. Lewis, who is black, has criticized DCF for having what he calls a racist attitude toward black employees A DCF spokesman said it is reviewing the decision. The agency can appeal the ruling in court.

Thanks to Susan for covering Cornell’s huge victory in the war on structural racism. Congratulations, Cornell! Last week DCF Plantation posted a report about an incident at the DCF girls facility which may have involved a staff member and Black transgender teen Jane Doe.  Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.
Initially I was just going to share quotes from New York Times reporter Benjamin Mueller’s article on the proposed Hartford stadium, but city residents should read every word of what in my opinion is the best piece on this issue.

One Team, Two Cities, and None Are Happy

Hartford’s Stadium Plan for the New Britain Rock Cats Is a Hard Sell

HARTFORD — Two years after a car tore through the St. Benedict playground in this city’s North End, the children’s steel climbing structure is twisted and buckled like a clumsy batter’s legs after he misses a curveball.
The park — still boarded up, the equipment yet to be repaired — is just one sign of the decline in a chronically untended neighborhood. Kiddie-pool-size potholes pock the streets; trash bins are overflowing. Hartford politicians have long pledged improvements for the area, including school repairs and a new supermarket. But residents are still waiting.
Instead, Hartford has caught minor league baseball fever. The city announced in June that it had lured the New Britain Rock Cats, a Double-A Minnesota Twins affiliate, from its home 15 miles away to a plot of land near the battered playground. But in a reflection of residents’ mounting unease over the steep costs of building a 9,000-seat stadium, Hartford officials on Friday backed away from an earlier plan to use public money to pay $60 million for it. Now, the city says, it will seek private partners to help defray the cost. Hartford has sought proposals from developers, and the City Council is expected to consider revised plans in August.
“It’s important for us to expand venues to attract a local population as well as those outside the city,” Mayor Pedro Segarra, a Democrat, said on Friday, adding that new housing and shops would also be built nearby. The stadium, he said, would “spark new development.” But the revisions have not mollified residents. Calling the city’s emphasis on private financing a “rhetorical shift,” Jamil Ragland, a North End resident opposed to the plan, said city leaders were misguided. “The grand goal seems to be to bring in white suburbanites from the outside,” he said, “as opposed to actually addressing the needs of people in the city.”
From the start, the stadium stirred resentment in a state that has grown weary of intertown feuds and overly optimistic development plans. In one measure of the deal’s popularity, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, known for trumpeting his involvement in the smallest development plans, has stayed clear of the project. Negotiated in secret, the Rock Cats’ decision to move stunned Mayor Erin Stewart of New Britain, an ascendant Republican who had proclaimed days before the announcement that the Rock Cats would not leave.
“It’s certainly a feeling of being stabbed in the back,” Ms. Stewart said last week. “It’s really like one community out against another.”
Hartford officials, however, brimmed with excitement, saying the stadium would galvanize a city still smarting from the loss of its beloved National Hockey League team in 1997. The plan has generated interest from at least two private developers, officials said, raising hopes that revenue from the stadium and nearby shops would help sustain the development.
“The opportunity to build a new state-of-the-art facility in the capital city was too great to pass up,” Josh Solomon, the Rock Cats’ owner, said.
Hartford’s push for private financing did not surprise industry analysts, who said that the team-friendly deals that once sailed through city governments were now wilting in the face of concerns over tax increases and cuts to social services. As minor league baseball expansion slows and cities face more trouble drawing outside visitors to stadiums, baseball executives said, Hartford’s plan to draw private investors faces steep hurdles.
“To think they could even come up with a third of stadium costs is not possible,” said Miles Wolff, the commissioner of the Can-Am League and the American Association, two independent baseball leagues. “Ballparks don’t make money. That’s why they’re public facilities.”
Richard Foley, a former state Republican chairman who now heads a political consulting firm, said, “I would be surprised if it ever gets built.”
The stadium was initially to be financed by bonds that would have cost Hartford up to $4.3 million in annual debt payments, a figure that far outpaced the $500,000 in annual rent from the team. Plans for a new supermarket, on the cusp of winning the city’s blessing, were derailed by the stadium. The supermarket was much needed: A 2012 study showed Hartford to be eighth worst in the nation for access to healthful, affordable food when compared with cities of similar size. In the last few years, nonprofit financiers had begun to secure money for a new North End supermarket, which would have been only the second in this city of 125,000. A Shop Rite operator signed on, and Hartford promised to start recruiting developers this year.
But when plans showed the new stadium across the street from the proposed supermarket, a major funding source bailed out and the Shop Rite operator withdrew, saying the store would not turn a profit with stadium traffic clogging the road. For more than a year, as discussions about the stadium went on, Hartford officials did not tell those planning the supermarket about it. Rex Fowler, executive director of the Hartford Community Loan Fund, a nonprofit that coordinated financing for the supermarket, said his group’s plans had been “geared toward benefits for the low- and moderate-income community.” But, he added, “that doesn’t seem to be the new focus of Downtown North anchored by a minor-league baseball stadium.”
Public outcry over the stadium escalated in recent weeks, prompting some city officials to temper their support and turning local political races into what some have called proxy battles over the stadium. Shawn Wooden, the Hartford City Council president and a Democrat, signaled his support for the deal when it was announced, but said more recently that he would refuse to support the stadium if it did not also include private money.
State Senator Eric Coleman, a Democrat who is facing a primary challenge from Mr. Wooden, said of Mr. Wooden’s recent comments, “I would describe it as backpedaling in a manner that would probably cause Michael Jackson to be a little bit envious.”
Sitting in his North End apartment on a recent afternoon, Mr. Ragland, 28, said the priorities of the city’s politicians were misplaced. Boutique fragrance shops and upscale groceries that have recently opened in Hartford seem like a bid for the business of “mobile, middle-class, white people,” he said.
“If we don’t have money to spend on $30 soap or $9 spaghetti sauce or handcrafted beer from a brewery,” Mr. Ragland said, “we just don’t exist then. You don’t want me here.” That same evening, New Britain Rock Cats fans discarded peanut shells on concrete splattered with beer. It was “Bark in the Park” night, and the hundred or so assembled dogs complied with each crack of the bat in the game against the Binghamton Mets.
People were feeling snubbed in New Britain, too. “It doesn’t sound right,” said Connor Noel, 12. “It’s the New Britain Rock Cats.”
Even in an era when dashed stadium dreams litter the Northeast — the once-beloved Newark Bears recently held a liquidation auction in their vacant stadium — fans in New Britain still held onto the notion that minor league baseball promised lasting attachments. Between innings, the Rock Cats fans piled on top of one another dressed as hamburger buns and patties, and rode through the outfield in dinosaur costumes.
For some, a move by the Rock Cats would spoil the camaraderie between the team and its fans. “There’s no loyalty there,” said Jim Langlois, a season-ticket holder. A fresh evening coolness rose from the grass as a group of boys gathered behind an empty Rock Cats dugout after a 9-6 win. They were hoping for a souvenir from a player — a pack of bubble gum or a shard of broken bat — to preserve memories of their team. But they left empty-handed, looking dejected as their mothers coaxed them toward home.
Mueller’s article underscores the Hartford Democrats’ total disregard for the poverty stricken North End, and the anger residents in that neighborhood feel when they observe the elitist, tone deaf indifference of Segarra and Wooden. Many people in North Hartford don’t have disposable cash that they can donate to the Democratic Party war chest, so elected officials aren’t checking for them. As Ragland said, poor people in Hartford are invisible to the likes of Segarra and Wooden; the interests of low income communities of color don’t factor into the policy decisions being made at City Hall. I’ll keep it real. I would love to see Wooden lose the August 12 primary against Sen. Eric Coleman, because it’s obvious that Wooden is a mercenary who is only concerned about his political career. That being said, conditions in the North End have only worsened during Coleman’s time in office; his criticism of Wooden regarding the stadium plan, while accurate, is clearly self-serving. North Hartford loses no matter who wins the Coleman vs. Wooden primary.   
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts.  Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the archive of our Hartford News columns.  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or    
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:
Coming in 2015: Jane Doe Act:
The truth about stadiums and economic development: 
David Samuels
Community Party

Bullying Caused Women’s Suicide, Inquiry Told. The Sidney Morning Herald. Suicide, When Related to Workplace Bullying. by ABC.

July 13, 2014

This column appears on the ABC- Anti-Bullying Crusader’s Weblog.

Suicide due to workplace bullying including mobbing, is becoming an increasingly popular topic in the war against workplace bullying. One recent study revealed that 15% of successful adult suicides are related to workplace bullying. It can be a real hard blow for targets, and is usually the first sign of real trouble, after the bullying has begun, and the target gets their first unfair reprimands. Often these first reprimands, are the first reprimands ever received in a target’s usually long career. This in its self, can be the last straw, or the deciding factor for a target who is considering suicide, especially for someone who is already on shaky ground emotionally.

Typically these reprimands are given “behind closed doors”, and are often presented in loud, angry voices, with threats of further reprimand or dismissal. Targets are usually stunned by the bully’s first allegations which may be based on half-true incidents, which are exaggerated, twisted versions of the true events. The target typically tries to reason with the bully boss by describing the true events, but fails, because there is no real validity to the allegations, and the bully has no real intention to resolve issues with the target in the first place. The target is often treated very disrespectfully during these “behind closed doors” meetings with their responses being interrupted, minimized, or met with eye rolling, tongue clicking, moans, groans and outright accusations of lying. These behaviors toward the target are “tactics”, meant to, and often succeeding in, provoking the target to anger, tears, or an emergency medical crisis, such as an asthma attack, heart attack, hyperventilation, or emotional collapse.

You should suspect that bullying is rife, if a company has one or two tiny, windowless meeting rooms, minimumly furnished and intentionally made as uncomfortable as possible. These are modern day corporate versions of medieval torture chambers. The difference being, medieval torture chambers were designed as places which enhance the infliction of physical pain. Modern corporate torture chambers, are designed as places which enhance the infliction of emotional pain. Physical abuse is painful, visable to others, and is illegal. Verbal abuse is just as painful as physical abuse, but is not outwardly visable to others and in most cases, does not cross the line to what is considered to be, an arrestable offense.

The room my bully met with me in was so small, you had to move the chairs to open the door. It was windowless, with a tiny round table surrounded by 3, small, minimally padded chairs. The reason for 3 chairs is, one for the target, and two for the bully boss and a supporter of the bully, usually a Human Resource Rep.. Two against one. Even if the bully boss meets alone with the target, the bully boss has the extra chair on her side of the table, to represent the two to one advantage. There was nothing else in the room. There were no refreshments, not even a glass of water or a paper cup in case you should want to get one. When I was provoked to tears. there were no tissues, so the tears streamed down my face and I wiped the snots from my nose on my sleeve.

They were short on compassion and human decency was nonexistant, as they continued the verbal assault packed with one absurd lie after another. Not even the bully boss could possibly believe her own words. All of this continued, seemingly endlessly despite my increasing inability to maintain my composure. I was left unable to respond, literally speechless and defeated. The bully left the room impatiently while the HR rep advised that I take a walk outside “to clear your head” as she said. I couldn’t even form words to respond, as I walked out the door, my eyes to the floor, hoping no one would even know.

“Behind closed doors” meetings is a common tactic of bullies, described both in anti-bullying literature, as well as in dozens of target testimonies that I have read through the years. It’s unbelievably amazing how similar, details of bullying tactics, such as these, in which I am describing a “behind closed doors meeting room”, will be strikingly similar to meeting rooms that other targets, at different companies, even in different countries, will describe. Other details that target testimonies reveal are that these meetings are often called suddenly, during unexpected times, when the target is the most uncomfortable. Examples being, when the target is hungry, just before their lunch break, or when they first arrive, and feel flustered and unprepared. Choosing a time when the target is exhausted, or is trying to cope with other problems, is another tactic.

The bully’s only real motivation is to engage the target in battle, while having the resources to have an advantage, before the target even arrives. Their intention is not only to hurt the target, but to manipulate, control, subjugate and eventually to destroy and eliminate the target from the workplace. Target testimonies repeatedly identify the two year mark, from the day the bully chooses the target, as the critical period in which the bully is ready to eliminate the target. Targets who sense that they’re about to be fired and cannot cope with that eventuality, are vulnerable to suicide.

Targets are often eliminated right out from under one of these meetings, never returning to their desks. This happens when the target is provoked to anger, and marches out from one of these meeting rooms never to return, or is taken out by security, if not by their own volition, after being provoked to anger, then being fired for insubordination. Then there are some who are carried out by an ambulance crew. Targets who survive these behind closed doors meetings often suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This may cause them to be subjected to sudden flashbacks, in which they have repeated vivid memories or dreams about these very traumatic experiences. Some people can’t cope with these memories, or they become fearful of experiencing another meeting. Sometimes people commit suicide over these obsessive, intrusive thoughts.

Most targets try numerous ways to resolve these issues before falling into despair, such as going to the bully’s boss or Human Resources. There are long explanations in the literature about why doing this rarely works. Briefly stated here, these are unlikely sources of help, because it is simply not in their self interest to believe the target, and if they do believe the target, to act on the allegations made against the bully.

Going to coworkers and/or to trusted mentors, family members and friends, are other sources that first, usually fail to fully believe the seriousness of the target’s issues, and then, even if they do, are unable to give useful advise. Well intentioned advice, by those with little or no understanding of the bullying phenomenon, may well result in an escalation of the problem, rather than resolution. Most people in the United States have never even heard of the phenomenon, and have no useful information to share.

Target’s often find it hard to get others to believe the seriousness of the situation as mentioned above, because it is so unbelievable. Authors of anti-bullying literature describe bullies by using the example of “Jekyll and Hyde” known for being a “master of deception”. Bullies feign trust in coworkers by confiding half, twisted stories about the target, and by pointing out the increased stress level the target may be displaying, which are really symptoms of the bully’s emotional abuse. This creates doubt among coworkers about the targets mental health, competence and loyalty, and sets the stage for workplace mobbing, where coworkers unwittingly participate in the abuse. This is described in much more detail in my article on this weblog about workplace mobbing.

Isolation, a bully’s most harmful weapon, and described in more detail in another article by this title on this webblog. adds to the emotional crisis that can lead to suicide. A target is first reprimanded repeatedly by their bully boss who cites incidents that are described completely different from that of the target’s perception of the same events. The incidents the bully cites as issues, are usually of a trivial nature concerning relationships with coworkers, personal insults and put downs. Rarely are there serious work related issues, because most targets of workplace bullies are better than average workers. Then, coworkers begin to shun the target and unwittingly participate in the emotional abuse. Going to the bully’s boss or to Human Resources only escalates the problem. The last straw being when Family, friends and mentors either don’t believe the target, or have no useful information to share, and become tired of hearing the target obsessively repeat issues that can’t be resolved. The target is now very much alone and increasingly vulnerable to suicide.

Some people are more prone than others to commit suicide, if faced with the same measure of stress. This is due to a person’s preexisting intellectual, emotional and psychological health, strengths and weaknesses. These are determined by each person’s individual genetic makeup, as well as the number, types and kinds of both physical and emotional environmental and interpersonal interactions and experiences a person is previously exposed to. This creates wide berth for diversity, in regards to how each individual will cope with any given stressor, making predictability of suicide difficult at best.

Obviously, a person who is already depressed or who has a history of depression or of suicide attempts are at higher risk. Someone who already has poor self esteem, or who is highly dependent on the approval and acceptance of other people, are at high risk. Then there are people who you would not expect to be at risk. This includes very intelligent people who are very capable of high level productivity and performance. They could be very capable of competently managing a large complex department, but when faced with a bullying problem that they can’t understand and resolve, resort to suicide.

Intelligent targets who take their own lives, usually have emotional problems which deceive their intelligence. One emotional problem that could cause targets of workplace bullies to take their own lives, is one that they share with many bullies. That is, having fears of inadequacy and shame which took root in early childhood experiences. Bullies who have this problem, often target employees who are especially good at their jobs, because their feelings of inadequacy and shame, are heightened when they compare themselves to that of the better performing target.

Targets who have fears of inadequacy and shame, actually believe their bully boss’s vague lies about their interpersonal relationships, petty flaws and insults. Their intelligence deceives them into believing that a boss would never be capable of lying about performance issues, because there is no logical reason to do so. Believing the bullies lies, their feelings of inadequacy and shame spiral out of control and they begin to obsessively search for the specific reasons and things that they did, to cause these issues, when they did nothing at all, and there are no real reasons that exist. With the obvious increase in the target’s stress level, coupled with the lies and influence of the bully, behaviors of the work group change. Shunning and mobbing behaviors slowly take hold, which further convinces the target that they must be at fault for these changes. As the target continues searching for reasons that don’t exist. coworkers become increasingly concerned and fearful, causing most people to distance themselves even further from the target. The targets obsession with a problem that doesn’t exist, the inability of their intelligence, the thing that always succeeded in guiding them successfully in the past, doesn’t help them understand their current crisis, and their feelings of inadequacy and shame only convinces them further, that they must be at fault.

Their abandonment by coworkers, and the impatience of family members and friends who no longer know how to help the target, leads to utter loneliness and despair. Convinced they have an interpersonal problem that drives everyone against them, a problem they don’t understand, because it doesn’t exist. Everything they try fails, then their intelligence runs out of ideas, they lose all hope, then suicide is considered.

Another type of emotionally vulnerable target at high risk for suicide, are those who love their jobs to the extent that their job becomes a part of who they are. Their position becomes a part of their identity. This type of attitude is wonderful for the business, the customers, as well as the employee. Most people with this kind of attitude enjoy successful employment with the same company for decades. They are the “go to person” in their company, being highly respected for the knowledge that took decades to attain, and are looked up to by long term employees and newcomers alike. How could someone like this become a target of a workplace bully?

It usually takes something big, like a merger or company take over for someone like this to become the target of a workplace bully. Mergers, and company take-overs are great for fixing what ain’t broke. New managers can suddenly take over who have no history with the existing employees. These new managers can be ruthless while giving directives that already had been decided on, without consideration for the opinion of the talented people, who are their new employees. It is during these kind of chaotic conditions that extremely talented, productive employees, can be let go, without much thought at all. Out with the old, and in with the new, as they say.

It is of little consequence to the talented young managers, who newly take over, that they prematurely ended the most valuable part of who a person is. That’s how deeply dedicated people feel about their jobs. When someone who loves their job, suddenly loses their job, it’s like they lost a part of themselves. People like these, are often late middle age, and held no other jobs in the past 20-30 years. They often have chronic illnesses of middle age such as high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. All of these factors lessen the chances that they will settle into another job. More often, without proper support from family, friends and society, people such as these, are unable to find meaningful employment. They grieve the loss of their job and are left feeling deeply embittered and betrayed by the employer who they dedicated the best part of their lives to. If unable to move forward, they may fall into despair and be at high risk for suicide.

We must never underestimate the affects our jobs have on our emotional health. Most full time employees spend more time with bosses and coworkers than with our closest family members. Take care to be kind and cooperative with everyone you interact with at work and be vigilant in recognizing workplace emotional abuse early while it’s still very subtle. Expose problems early, by naming them what they are, “bullying and mobbing” if that is what it is. If you see it, and do nothing, consider yourself part of the problem. Instead, speak out and educate others about the phenomenon. Point it out, name it and end it where ever you see it. Don’t be afraid to stand together against workplace bullies and their mobs. United we can end workplace bullying and mobbing together. ABC

Reaction to Cornell Lewis’ Victory Over DCF

July 13, 2014

Activist Marcia Morris wrote an essay on Cornell Lewis’ victory over the Department of Children and Families. Cornell was fired by DCF July 17, 2013 in retaliation for his activism against structural racism at that agency. On Friday an arbitrator ruled that DCF must reinstate Cornell and reimburse him fully for lost wages and benefits. My reaction follows Marcia’s essay.

David Samuels


Community Party



                                          VICTORY FOR US ALL
It is with some great joy that I have heard the news this week of the arbitrator’s ruling in favor of Cornell Lewis’ reinstatement in his job at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, with full compensation for missed time, full pay and benefits. This is a victory of reasoned justice and common sense.  
At this juncture, I pause to take note, with admiration and respect, that it is also a victory of one man’s “radical integrity”… his unyielding insistence, in the face of a great deal of pressure and temptation otherwise, on being treated with fairness and respect.  The good news for all those who have stood by him throughout this long ordeal is that what he has demanded for himself, is also won for his fellow colleagues and all others who are struggling to be heard. 
We can only hope that this will be an opportunity for DCF to take a time out, to re-evaluate their response to some of the criticisms that have been leveled by Cornell Lewis and others, and to try to more fully understand the basis for some of the accusations of unfairness toward employees of color at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, rather than fight to defend themselves reflexively against  charges of bias and discrimination they do not seem to understand.
I suspect management at CJTS is mystified by Cornell Lewis’ arguments.  I can imagine that it is terribly difficult for people who have devoted their careers to the “helping professions” to begin to see their world through his eyes.  But his perspective is of importance to their work, and if they would cease defending and begin instead to listen and reflect on some of his challenging statements, positive change might be possible.
I have no doubt that DCF officials are appalled by the accusation that there is in any way an instructive analogy between the way the agency operates towards its employees and the “plantation system” of slavery that is the unavoidable legacy of our nation.  I am sure they find this suggestion offensive.  It flies in the face of their self perception as people devoted to bettering the lives of the underprivileged and impoverished.  
However, it behooves us all to take a hard look at the ways in which insidious institutionalized racism performs the function of reproducing hierachies of power that have plagued our democracy for generations.  There is merit in acknowledging that we have more hard work to do before we can truly say that people of color have achieved an equal place at the table and that we have empowered them to become fully independent agents of their our destiny – even in their own communities.  
As long as management retains a sense of being a privileged elite, and workers perceive themselves as submissive underlings, we cannot say that we have achieved racial or economic equality.  As long as upper level management is disproportionately white, and rank and file employees are people of color, the power disparity within the bureaucracy will create festering wounds amongst even the most talented.  
The really hard truth is that well intentioned people in government have unwittingly created a large, profitable industry of the “helping professions” including DCF, with high barriers to entry at the upper levels of management including expensive advanced degrees from elite universities which tend to “self select out” many talented people of color.  These jobs pay high salaries to privileged white people, and some people of color who find it possible to work within the present system – to “go along to get along”.  For better or worse, Cornell Lewis will never be one of these people.
Finally, and most  importantly,  I also happen to believe that this week’s victory for Cornell Lewis is also a victory for the students at the CJTS.   I suspect these young people stand to benefit greatly from his capacity to understand their lives, their struggles and their challenges in a way that other more privileged, educated members of the elite simply could never do.    In addition to his professional training and experience, Cornell Lewis has the lived experience which is an essential component of helping young people overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to turning around their lives.  
Marcia Morris Activist
New Hampshire
July 13, 2014
Cultural Dictionary


He who laughs last, laughs best definition

You may laugh now, thinking you have won, but you may not prevail in the end.


Marcia graciously tried to give DCF management the benefit of the doubt in her essay. I cannot be so forgiving. Data and internal management emails that Cornell, Adam Osmond, my Connecticut Valley Hospital co-worker John Hollis and I have obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and the results of CVH’s own workplace bullying survey, which they tried to suppress, say otherwise (see Resources). The racist disparity in terminations and suspensions at DCF and CVH is reprehensible.  When Cornell confronted DCF management with these facts, they lynched him, just like whites lynched Blacks back in the day who didn’t stay in their place. These murderers would bring their children to witness the event. After the lynching was completed, whites would cut off pieces of the Black person’s corpse and keep them as souvenirs. DCF management behaved in a similar fashion.
Unsatisfied with just taking his job, DCF attempted to figuratively dismember Cornell by employing legal tactics to prevent him from working with children. They vigorously fought Cornell’s effort to get his job back. The response of DCF and CVH management to allegations of racism, despite the overwhelming statistical evidence, is to deny, deny, deny. Internal CVH management emails show that they have been constantly monitoring my social media activity and attempting to manufacture excuses to target me for termination and / or legal action. John, who is white, has been subjected to ruthless intimidation tactics. 50 years ago, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner , who were both white, were murdered along with Black activist James Chaney near Philadelphia, Mississippi. They were participating in a campaign to register Blacks to vote.   
DCF and CVH management are fully conscious of their racist policies; they use Policy and Procedure to target employees, especially Blacks. My position is supported by the data we have obtained from both facilities. The pattern of racial bias is clearly systemic. Since John and I publicized the results of  the CVH survey and the racist disciplinary  data, the hostile behavior by supervisors and managers has continued; in grievance hearings they continue to give nonsensical excuses when we confront them with irrefutable email evidence of workplace mobbing on their part. This is an obvious indication that their superiors continue to support and encourage their sociopathic behavior. The objective is clear; to maintain total obedience by the workers. Although racism is a key component, classism is also a major factor as employees of all colors are being oppressed. The CVH survey results are proof.
Cornell was buried alive by DCF management. He has clawed his way through the dirt, wiped off his shirt, and emerged victorious. Other victims of workplace bullying have met a different end. A 2008 study found that 15% of total adult suicides are related to workplace bullying. The  CVH managers who are stalking me online will read that statistic, go to bed tonight, sleep like babies, and resume their bullying tactics when they return to work tomorrow morning. This is the criminal element that workers around the world, some who are already battling mental illness, must face every day.
In 2015 Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield will introduce the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act. The AFSCME Local 318 Safe Workplace Committee (which includes John and I as members) will call for a change to the employee grievance process. We want workplace bullying language added to the contract. Last year SEIU in California was successful in getting a Dignity Clause added to their contract. We also want an independent arbitrator to hear grievances. The current process is a joke, as the employer hears worker complaints. The manager who hears the grievance at Step 1 defends the employer at Step 3. John has submitted an FOI request to obtain the outcome of state worker grievances for the last three years.
Congratulations to Cornell for winning his battle against DCF. The global war against workplace bullying continues.
DCF / CVH disciplinary data, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests:
Community Party Hartford News columns on structural racism at CVH. Includes CVH workplace bullying survey results and data / internal CVH management emails obtained through FOI requests:  

Special Report: Racism and Homophobia at Connecticut Valley Hospital:

Workplace Bullying Report  – A Survivor’s Story: 
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:

DCF Plantation Report: Possible Incident at DCF Facility Involving Jane Doe

July 12, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


The DCF Plantation blog was informed that the new girls facility in Middletown might have a problem. Sources report that a Youth Service Officer has been removed from the girl’s facility and might be under investigation. There is speculation the problem associated with the YSOs transfer back to Connecticut Juvenile Training School is linked with transgender youth named Jane Doe. There are no further details at this juncture.

Again, this is news from anonymous sources and nothing is confirmed, as usual DCF management will not talk to staff writers from this blog.

DCF Critic Cornell Lewis Wins Arbitration Case

July 12, 2014

Cornell Lewis struck a huge blow against structural racism at State of Connecticut agencies, as he won his arbitration case against the Department of Children and Families. The decision came almost a year to the day that Cornell was fired by DCF; he was terminated July 17, 2013. Read below for an Associated Press report on Cornell’s victory and a statement from Cornell. These posts appear on Cornell’s DCF Plantation blog.

Friday, July 11, 2014

APNewsBreak: DCF ordered to rehire agency critic
by Susan Haigh

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families was ordered Friday to rehire an employee who’d been an outspoken critic of what he sees as the agency’s racist attitude and was fired over allegations about his performance.

DCF did not have just cause when it fired the employee, youth services officer Cornell Lewis, arbitrator Susan Brown ruled. She directed the agency to reinstate Lewis at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown, the state’s only secure facility for delinquent teenage boys. In Friday’s ruling, first obtained by The Associated Press, Brown said DCF must also compensate Lewis for lost wages and change his record to instead reflect a 60-day disciplinary suspension.

DCF has 30 days to decide whether to appeal.

Lewis, who is black, has been involved in a number of protests over the years, attempting to draw attention to what he claims is a racist attitude at both the agency and the school. He is part of a discrimination lawsuit that is pending. He also writes a blog about the training school called “DCF Plantation.”

Lewis said Friday that he feels vindicated.

“It is my hope to return to work soon,” he said in a statement.

Lewis, 64, was fired a year ago for allegedly failing to supervise young people under his care in 2012. DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said last year that Lewis was found on a computer with two other officers looking at non-work-related content when a teenager was seriously injured.

Kleeblatt said last year that Lewis had failed “his most important duty and responsibility.” In addition to firing Lewis, who worked at the training school for six years, the agency placed his name on an abuse and neglect registry, which Lewis is challenging in a separate lawsuit.

In her ruling, Brown questioned the seriousness of the injury, saying the state did not prove the teen suffered a concussion as the agency asserted. Brown also pointed out that other employees also determined to be inattentive received mild discipline, such as a three-day suspension for a youth service officer who watched TV for 25 minutes while a resident he was supposed to supervise one-on-one rifled through staff belongings.

“The failure to supervise in this case, standing alone, does not provide just termination,” Brown wrote. She also determined that Lewis’ use of the Internet, which he has acknowledged was a violation of DCF policy, also did not provide just cause for his termination.

Kleeblatt said Friday that DCF is reviewing the arbitrator’s decision.

Lewis’ attorney, Lewis Chimes, said the ruling was good for his client and the other workers at the training school.

“He never should have been discharged in the first place,” Chimes said. “I do believe it was retaliation for activism.”

Cornell Lewis arbitration decision as reported by DCF plantation blog staff writer.

I feel vindicated after reading that an arbitrator has decided in favor of overturning my dismissal from Connecticut Juvenile Training School over one year ago. It is my hope to return to work soon.

Jonathan Pelto Exposed

July 10, 2014

This column appears in the July 10 – 17 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: ICYMI Martha Page, executive director of Hartford Food System and Rex Fowler, executive director of Hartford Community Loan Fund, the two organizations working to bring a full-service supermarket to Hartford, wrote an op-ed to the Courant. Page and Fowler advised against the city’s revamped stadium plan, which would include a grocery store.
“We needed an operator with a unique skill set for a Downtown North store. We found one in Connecticut, one with decades of experience operating successful, community-oriented supermarkets in cities, serving highly diverse customer groups. The operator was eager to incorporate the supermarket into a larger vision for a ‘Healthy Hartford Hub’ that might include a community teaching kitchen, an in-store nutritionist, a walk-in health clinic, a pharmacy and a culinary training program for city residents.

“Following the announcement of the city’s new vision for Downtown North, no longer to be anchored by a supermarket but instead by a baseball stadium/entertainment venue, our operator and investors indicated the proposed development’s change in orientation increased the risk of our project too much. Many if not most of the supermarket’s projected shoppers would still be driving to a Downtown North store and might understandably opt to buy food in the suburbs on game days to avoid stadium traffic.

That doesn’t mean supermarkets and stadiums can’t co-exist. The risk is mitigated in cities such as Boston and San Francisco, where good public transportation systems allow stadium patrons to take a subway to a game rather than drive, or where supermarket customers are more likely to walk to the store rather than take their cars. Hartford isn’t there yet.” The letter by Page and Fowler is yet another effective argument against the stadium. North Hartford needs an accessible supermarket to address the food desert problem in that area. This stadium plan is just a vanity project for the city’s power brokers.

This week we’ll share reaction to our report on the candidate forum with independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto, and his running mate Ebony Murphy.

Jonathan Pelto Ducks a Question on Racial Justice

Gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto and his running mate Ebony Murphy both ducked Community Party member Mary Sanders’ question about racial justice issues during a candidate forum on Monday. Watch for yourself at the 1:26:21 mark of the Connecticut Network video…

10 Responses to “Jonathan Pelto Ducks a Question on Racial Justice”

1. Ebony Murphy-Root Says:
July 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm edit
Hi David. At least you’re not calling me a ‘token’ this week, so that’s something to pleased about this Fourth of July. Is being a ‘token’ the flipside of being ‘uppity?’ How dare I, some teacher from Laurel St, ponder running for public office?

I deal with issues of racial justice on a personal level daily with two brothers ages 19 and 25 who are both in that ‘targeted for incarceration’ demographic. I worry about them every time they get behind the wheel of their cars. I have had my own experiences being pulled over and ‘accused’ of stealing my own car most recently as August 10, 2013, in Manchester. I also happen to be a black person myself, and have been for almost 32 years, though you may not have noticed because I happen to be a WOMAN at the same time as being black, so even I ‘wanted’ to dodge issues of racial justice, racism, and sexism, which I don’t, I could not.

You know what’s funny is my entire adulthood, and before then, too, I have been ‘accused’ of talking too much about race and then simultaneously ‘accused’ of being a ‘token’ or not being black enough. These are experiences I am sure you can relate to, David. Obviously, I care about the profound economic disparities in our cities and in our state at large, and the issues such as mass incarceration and access to education and training, that intersect with racism and poverty. The reason I became a teacher all those years ago at a GED program for pregnant and parenting teens is because I see clearly how all these issues come to together to affect the lived experience of young people and their families and communities. So ‘ducking?’ Nope, here I am.

2. Chris Senecal Says:
July 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm edit
I was at that event and this was a very complex and multi-faceted question that occurred at the very end of the evening with time running short- if you have read any of the writings of Jonathan Pelto or Ebony Murphy you would know that they are champions of racial justice issues and to suggest otherwise based on this one particular example is disingenuous.

3. David Samuels Says:
July 4, 2014 at 11:16 pm edit
Ebony and Pelto’s sycophants clearly have their orders to start spinning. Note that Pelto himself hasn’t responded to my comments about him welshing on his promise to me to include an urban agenda in his platform. I guess Pelto is too busy handing out his petition to Republicans. I will post the conversation between Jonathan and I on this blog. As for the rest of the yapping from Pelto’s camp, all I will say is that a video is worth a thousand words.

4. David Samuels Says:
July 4, 2014 at 11:50 pm edit
The text of my Facebook message exchanges with Pelto is now online.

5. Ebony Murphy-Root Says:
July 4, 2014 at 11:52 pm edit
Thank you for posting the message exchanges, David.

6. BlackWomaninCT Says:
July 5, 2014 at 3:39 am edit
And as someone as vociferous as you are, how ironic that you’re moderating comments. Pure comedy.

7. David Samuels Says:
July 5, 2014 at 3:48 am edit
What’s really funny is how you’re talking out of your a–. I said that Perry is a workplace bully who is being used by Wall Street to attack public employees; state / municipal employers are the biggest employers of Black people. The whites who you’re defending refuse to talk about Wall Street’s racist agenda against Black people. So what does that make you?

8. David Samuels Says:
July 5, 2014 at 3:56 am edit
These whites can always find a house n—– to speak for them…

9. David Samuels Says:
July 5, 2014 at 4:32 am edit
That’s what I thought… This is an example of a tool being unable to hang in a fact based conversation. If Blacks like Steve Perry and BlackWomaninCT (if indeed the poster really is a Black woman) would stop acting as stooges for white people, our race would be much better off.

10. David Samuels Says:
July 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm edit
Looks like BlackWomaninCT just “moderated” herself; she took down her other comment. Ha…

My Conversation with Jonathan Pelto re: Urban Agenda

Below is a series of Facebook message exchanges between myself and independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto. As I mentioned in previous columns, Pelto welshed on his promise to me to include an urban agenda in his campaign platform. Note that Pelto did not respond to a message from me reminding him of that promise. Pelto told me that he would draft a racial justice plan covering economic and criminal justice issues, and share it with me prior to releasing it publicly.

January 15

David Samuels

1/15, 5:56am

I’m going to call a spade a spade. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. After observing Steve Perry critics for the past few months, I now believe that he is correct when he says that race is a factor in the campaign against him. When I started out criticizing Perry on my Twitter page, whites were retweeting me, becoming followers and interacting with me. When I started talking about the need for folks to stop fixating on Perry and educate the public about what he represents (Wall Street’s war against public employees, systematic oppression of workers through bullying), whites became offended and acted like they didn’t understand what I was saying.

I see that I’m still being kept on the outside by you and others who started the campaign against Perry. I’m not going to allow myself to be used as a token while a predominantly white led coalition goes after a Black target. One of my pet peeves is phony white liberals and I’m definitely seeing what I consider to be a racist element in the strategy whites are employing against Perry.

You used to be a lawmaker. You know that changing public policy is the only way to improve the conditions in this country. Even if the Board of Education got rid of Perry TODAY, you know that the profit driven charter school system and the attacks on public schools and teachers will continue. The Community Party is working on legislation which would address Perry’s bullying of teachers and you have done nothing to support the bill. I told you weeks ago that we’re holding a public event this month which will give teachers and parents an opportunity to share their complaints with a lawmaker; you never responded. Buttering me up with a blog post and a flowery holiday email cannot obscure what I’m seeing. I am insulted.

•January 18

Jonathan Pelto

1/18, 1:53am

David, I’m sorry I certainly didn’t intend to keep you on the outs. I’m trying to work on as many pieces of this corporate education reform stuff as possible and still work on all the other issues. I’ve tried support your work on the profiling stuff and I on the workplace bullying. If I dropped the ball i’m sorry and hope we can resolve the problem.

•January 18

David Samuels

1/18, 1:10pm

Are you going to promote Matt Ritter’s town hall on your blog? Are you going to email your coalition and encourage them to attend? Will you attend and bring some teachers with you to tell Matt how they have been bullied at Capitol Prep? Are you going to publicly support our effort to expand the Safe Work Environment Act to cover city employees such as public school teachers?

•January 18

Jonathan Pelto

1/18, 7:54pm

yes, will publicize, will share with teachers, will do all i can to support

•February 18

David Samuels

2/18, 3:02pm

Do you know about this bill? It would allow charter school employees to unionize.

Bill Status
Connecticut General Assembly Official Legislative Site for Bills, Legislation, Statutes, and sessional activity. Visit our site to find all your legislative information

•February 19

Jonathan Pelto

2/19, 6:46am


David Samuels

2/19, 7:07am

No problem. This bill would provide employees with some protection against workplace bullies like Perry.

•April 6

David Samuels

4/6, 2:43pm

You wrote a column about how the state is playing Clark School parents, but it seems like members of your coalition (AFT CT, Hartford Rising) are also playing them. What’s up with that?

Jonathan Pelto

4/6, 5:22pm

Fair question – I’ll start looking

David Samuels

4/6, 5:24pm

I’ll be doing the same…

•April 20

David Samuels

4/20, 3:07pm

I suggested months ago that you run for governor; you should definitely do it. Blogging is not enough. The Democrats take voters on the left for granted. The people need an alternative and the Democrats must be challenged from the left. A third party candidacy would give liberal / progressive voters a real choice.

•April 27

David Samuels

4/27, 11:20am

I’m deeply disturbed that since you’ve been discussing your possible gubernatorial candidacy you haven’t talked about racial justice issues, specifically poverty, Black and Latino unemployment and racial wage / wealth disparity in Hartford and other urban areas. You’ve talked about poverty often in your blog; I’ve quoted you multiple times in my Hartford News column. You have also talked about the Community Party’s racial profiling bill, which I sincerely appreciate. That being said, I’m going to have a lot to say about any gubernatorial candidate who ducks racial justices issues. I know how candidates water down their message for the sake of political expediency.

Tom Foley has created a think tank on urban policy. That’s a smokescreen, but at least he said the word “urban.” If I don’t hear any talk about urban policy from gubernatorial candidates on the left, I’m going to have a big problem with that. I’ll call a spade a spade; I think it’s good you’ve been holding Malloy accountable for the past few years but I see that like other liberals (Black, Latino & white) you avoid talking about the layered aspects of structural racism, which I know is the reason why you tend to distance yourself from me. I’m just going to give you fair warning that I will hold you accountable if you don’t use your platform to talk about race and how structural racism impacts the economic and criminal justice systems in this state. You should also know that a few months ago an urban legislator asked me to ghostwrite a public message to 2014 gubernatorial candidates, demanding that they include an urban agenda as part of their platform.

•April 28

David Samuels

4/28, 4:37pm

Malloy ignoring you for four years did not work for him; I don’t know why you think that will work for you. Have it your way; it’s on…

•April 30

Jonathan Pelto

4/30, 5:52pm

David, the fault is simply being overwhelmed with things…. and still trying to make a living and raise a family. I assure you I will not run without a breakthrough urban platform and will not develop one without sitting down to discuss and include the work you and the Community Party are doing. Politicians like to use words like – promise – but I promise you that i have it on my top tier to do list. jonathan

David Samuels

4/30, 5:55pm

Jonathan, I’ve been hearing this from you for years. We’re all overwhelmed in our own way. I’ll believe what you’re saying when I see it.

•May 2

Jonathan Pelto

5/2, 11:43am

Fair enough… I’ll put things down on paper and share them with you.

David Samuels

5/2, 11:53am


•June 15

David Samuels

6/15, 10:54am

I just heard on Fox CT that you’re running; there weren’t any reports on the media outlets I check daily on Twitter. I don’t see an urban agenda listed on your platform. I haven’t received the plan for low income communities of color that you promised.

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts. Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the archive of our Hartford News columns. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or


The truth about stadiums and economic development:

David Samuels


Community Party