Jonathan Pelto Exposed

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


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