Archive for September, 2014

State Representative Matt Ritter 2014

September 25, 2014

State Representative Matt Ritter is running for reelection in the 1st Assembly District. You can get updates from Rep. Ritter on the Connecticut General Assembly website, Twitter and Facebook. See below for links. Rep. Ritter has supported the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act racial profiling bill, our Safe Work Environment Act legislation aimed at stopping workplace bullying and our effort to bring a publicly owned bank to Connecticut. Election Day is November 4th.

http://www.housedems.ct.gov/RitterM/

https://twitter.com/MattRitter308

https://www.facebook.com/RepresentativeMattRitter

No CP Hartford News Column This Week

September 25, 2014

There will be no Community Party Hartford News column this week, due to a Hartford Arts & Heritage special edition of the paper. This week we’ll share Benjamin Mueller’s July New York Times piece on the Hartford stadium plan.

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.

Follow CP on Twitter @CommunityParty1 for state, national and global headlines and updates on the Trayvon Martin, Safe Work Environment and Jane Doe Acts. Visit our No Sellout blog for the archive of CP Hartford News columns. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/ Check out the CP Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcement on our social justice platform. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or samuelssloflo@aol.com.

David Samuels
Founder
Community Party

CRP3 Racial Profiling Report Process Excludes Community Residents, Ferguson Report Finds Biased Policing = $$$

September 18, 2014

This column appears in the September 18 – 25 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: The controversy surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and boxer Floyd Mayweather has sparked a national conversation about domestic violence. If you are a victim of an abusive relationship, call the Connecticut Domestic Violence Hotline toll free at 1-888-774-2900. Readers who live outside of Connecticut call 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)… The VoteSmart.org Political Courage Test is a nonpartisan analysis of the policy positions of elected officials and candidates. Be an informed voter on Election Day, November 4. http://votesmart.org/about/political-courage-test#.VBRJ2WPu3IU

Last week the so-called Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project released a report which showed that (surprise) there is a disparity in the rate of traffic stops between people of color and whites in Connecticut. However the CRP3 report does not tell the whole story. Under the current Alvin W. Penn Act state law, patrol officers must provide all drivers who they stop with an information card, which provides instructions on how they can file a complaint if they believe they have been racially profiled. However, there is no way to track whether or not officers are actually giving these cards to motorists. We have received complaints from individuals who were not given a card, and thus were not informed about their rights under the current law. This gaping loophole destroys the credibility of data on the number of racial profiling complaints that have been filed since the current law went into effect. The Community Party’s traffic stop receipt provision was one of three Penn Act amendments that were passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2012 and scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2013. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/2012-cnn-report-on-the-community-partys-racial-profiling-bill/

Last year the receipt provision was repealed due to political pressure by the police. Under the current law, community residents are frozen out of the data collection process: they don’t know if their race has been misrepresented by the patrol officer who stopped them. The Department of Justice investigation of racial profiling by the East Haven Police Department found that officers Dennis Spaulding and David Cari, who were sentenced to 5 years and 30 months respectively in prison for violating the civil rights of Latinos, either filed false traffic stop reports, or did not enter ethnicity data at all. “Our own review of the data showed that a large number of entries reflecting traffic stops were devoid of ethnicity data or appeared to misreport ethnicity data.” http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/easthavenpd.php The New Haven Independent reported on a study by Yale law school students, who provided statistics on how EHPD officers, including Spaulding, were blatantly lying on the traffic stop reports. “They (Yale students) found that police ‘failed to correctly identify the race of vast majority of individuals to whom they issued traffic tickets. Police reported giving tickets mostly to white people. Police recorded Hispanic drivers for only 4.8 percent of tickets, according to the report. An accompanying graph shows that one officer in particular, Dennis Spaulding, is responsible for 97 tickets issued to people with Hispanic names. Another graph shows that Spaulding reported issuing 120 tickets to white people, four to black people, and none to Hispanic drivers in the same period. Spaulding has been accused by name of racial harassment by Latino business owners.” http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/report_tickets_show_east_haven_targets_latinos/ CP’s traffic stop receipt would act as a deterrent against officers falsifying data and provide community residents with access to essential information they would need to guide their decision about filing a complaint.

CP has been pushing racial profiling legislation at the State Capitol since 2010. Every year, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association has a different reason for opposing our receipt provision. In 2010 they said printers would have to be installed in cruisers, which is false. Officers already have to fill out a traffic stop report every time they stop a driver. We proposed that a carbon copy of the report be given to the driver. In 2011 Office of Policy and Management Under Secretary Mike Lawlor said that there was no money to fund the receipt provision. The most recent explanation is that the receipt would “compromise officers’ safety”, because they would have to spend extra time on the side of the road in order to provide drivers with a copy of the traffic stop report. This assertion is nonsensical, because officers would be creating the carbon copy while they filled out the original form. Nonetheless we responded to that argument by proposing that drivers could receive instructions on how to pick up the receipt in person at the police department, through the mail or online. This proposal has been met with resistance by CRP3.

Mary Sanders, who wrote CP’s bill language, shared her thoughts. “I have spoken with various people who have been stopped and have NOT received the card informing them of their options. I also believe that the same way federal Department of Justice money was secured to implement this electronic data system, funding could be requested to cover the cost of producing traffic stop report copies for motorists. Funding secured was intended to ensure fair and unbiased policing and the motorists’ copies could make all the difference as far as data integrity. The full CRP3 report shows that profiling is indeed happening. http://s429795233.onlinehome.us/september-2014-report/

We still believe it’s underexposed and thus the need for the motorists’ copies of the stop reports.” We are currently trying to find out if we can obtain information from the Office of Legislative Research on the current cost of producing the traffic stop report forms, and what the cost would be if the forms included carbon copies.

The argument about the receipt being too expensive is a smokescreen. Gov. Dannel Malloy and Democratic Party lawmakers “found” money that they didn’t have so they could “balance” the state budget; this fiscal magic trick was performed with less than one week left in the 2014 legislative session. The transportation and tobacco health trust funds were raided, in addition to other slick maneuvers. If the Democrats can “find” money for the sake of political expediency they can do the same thing for people of color, who comprise a large portion of their voter base.

Every 28 hours, Black people in the United States are killed by police, security guards and vigilantes such as George Zimmerman, who made the news last week for threatening to shoot a Black man during a road rage incident. http://www.operationghettostorm.org/ The shooting of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri has led to a grassroots movement in the city that is exposing the link between biased policing and economic justice. Black unemployment, the racial wage / wealth gap, a racist, profit driven criminal justice system and the Democrats’ complicity in these conditions are issues which are finally being discussed in the mainstream media, thanks to fed up Ferguson residents who personify the Democrats’ biggest fear: they are making the connection between the street execution of Michael Brown and the socioeconomic problems in their community. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman reported on the money cities are making from biased policing.

“As the police killing of Michael Brown has focused global attention on the racial divide in the counties in and surrounding St. Louis, Missouri, a new report may explain why residents’ mistrust of the police runs so deep. It shows how a large part of the revenue for these counties comes from fines paid by African-American residents who are disproportionately targeted for traffic stops and other low-level offenses. In Ferguson, the fines and fees are actually the city’s second-largest source of income, which is expected to generate $2.7 million in fiscal year 2014. We speak with Thomas Harvey, executive director of ArchCity Defenders and co-author of their new report, which has been widely cited — including in a stunning chart in Monday’s New York Times that shows how Ferguson issued on average nearly three warrants per household last year — the highest number of warrants in the state, relative to its size. ‘What my clients have told me since the first day I’ve ever represented anybody is, this is not about public safety, it’s about the money,’ Harvey says.

“So, in Ferguson and the surrounding municipalities, there is a substantial amount of income that’s derived from these low-level ordinance violations. These are the least significant, lowest-level contact with the justice system. They are typically traffic tickets, moving violations. And as a system, as a structural problem, these—revenue from these municipal courts can represent either the second- or third-highest source of income for the municipality. Ferguson is $2.7 million a year. In neighboring Florissant, the adjacent municipality, it’s $3 million a year. It’s a line item on a budget, and enforcement of the laws and ticketing and fine amounts are in keeping with the expectation that that income is going to come in to fund the city.

And our clients believe that they are targeted initially because they’re black, and then they are harassed, and they are exploited because they are poor. And it has led to a level of distrust between the community and law enforcement, that you saw manifested in some of the protests in the last two weeks. I’m not trying to say that traffic tickets are the reason people are on the streets of Ferguson, but it’s certainly a contributing factor when you’ve got the tragedy with Michael Brown and the very same people that my clients believe are targeting them because they’re members of community of color and then exploiting them because they’re poor, are now asking them for patience and trust and promising to get to the right answer involving the shooting. And our clients are skeptical.”

Racial profiling is big business. Are Malloy and the General Assembly resisting true reform of the Alvin W. Penn Act because they are afraid of the effect this will have on the revenue stream currently flowing into Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport? Stay tuned…

Follow CP on Twitter @CommunityParty1 for state, national and global headlines and updates on the Trayvon Martin, Safe Work Environment and Jane Doe Acts. Visit our No Sellout blog for the archive of CP Hartford News columns. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/ Check out the CP Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcement on our social justice platform. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or samuelssloflo@aol.com.

Resources

Democracy Now! report on how the City of Ferguson profits from racial profiling:

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/27/is_ferguson_feeding_on_the_poor

CNN report on cellphone video taken 40 seconds after the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The video shows witnesses saying that Wilson shot Michael after he raised his arms in surrender:

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2014/09/11/new-information-on-aftermath-video-of-the-michael-brown-shooting/

Ferguson youth provide inconvenient facts about racism:

Community Party 2015 Trayvon Martin Act bill language. CP will add a provision requiring, state, county and local police in Connecticut to wear body cameras:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

United for a Fair Economy report on racial economic disparity:

http://www.faireconomy.org/state_of_the_dream_2010_fact_sheet

AFSCME Safe Workplace Committee Meet & Greet November 13

September 16, 2014

Fellow AFSCME clerical members, you’re invited to attend our third AFSCME Clerical Local 318 Safe Workplace Committee Meet & Greet event. Our committee is working to educate AFSCME members about workplace bullying and its effects. One study found that 15% of adult suicides are related to workplace bullying. This is a social event, not a meeting. Come as you are, bring a co-worker and tell us what’s on your mind. The event will take place Thursday, November 13 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the AFSCME Local 318 office, 1800 Silas Deane Highway Suite 182, Rocky Hill, CT.  Visit MapQuest to get directions from your location. http://www.mapquest.com/ FREE FOOD and refreshments will be served.
Coming in 2015: Safe Work Environment Act: https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/coming-in-2015-safe-work-environment-act/

In Solidarity,
AFSCME Clerical Local 318 Safe Workplace Committee

Domestic Violence Hotline

September 13, 2014

The controversy surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and boxer Floyd Mayweather has sparked a national conversation about domestic violence. If you are a victim of an abusive relationship, call the Connecticut Domestic Violence Hotline toll free at 1-888-774-2900. Readers outside of Connecticut call 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Body Cameras for HPD, Stadium Update, Race for Governor, Fast Food Strike, Know Your Rights

September 11, 2014

This column appears in the September 11 – 18 edition of the Hartford News… Trayvon Martin Act Update: Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings has introduced a proposal for all Hartford Police officers to wear body cameras… Police brutality victim Luis Anglero, Jr. appeared in court last week on trumped up charges of interfering and breach of peace. Luis was the victim of an unprovoked taser attack by Hartford Police Det. Shawn Ware last month. The assault was caught on surveillance and cellphone video. Luis’ case was continued until October 15th. We’re still waiting to see if Ware will be held accountable for his crime. Stay tuned for updates on these developing stories.

There will be a public hearing on September 17th, 6:30 pm at City Hall on the Downtown North development proposals the city has received as Mayor Pedro Segarra and city council president Shawn Wooden continue to pursue their Rock Cats stadium vanity project, at the expense of a proposed North Hartford supermarket and health / nutrition complex. The proposal which Segarra sent to the city council would cram a supermarket into a mixed-use complex anchored by the stadium. 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 warning the city not to go this route, as traffic congestion on days that the stadium is in use would make the supermarket inaccessible to shoppers.

“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.

“Other experienced operators and investors concur — if we want a sustainable, successful supermarket that will serve city residents for the long term, Downtown North may no longer be a wise location… In 2011, with growing demand for a downtown grocer, the city provided financial backing to open the Market at Hartford 21. Private investors with industry expertise had passed on that project for a variety of reasons. Six months after it opened, the Market at Hartford 21 closed. More recently, a highly publicized market in downtown Bridgeport closed after less than a year. We should listen to those who know more about this than any of us… Why not bring in a reputable supermarket consultant and let them offer guidance on the best location for a supermarket, one we all agree the city desperately needs?”

The demise of the revolutionary plan supported by Page and Fowler is equally as important as the funding issue which triggered protests against the stadium.

The race for governor kicked into full gear following the Labor Day holiday. A new Tom Foley ad touted Foley’s tenure in Iraq during the the U.S. occupation. Foley was the Occupation Authority’s representative for private sector development. The ad stated that Foley “created jobs” in Iraq. Um, not quite. Foley actually put many Iraqis out of work as the point man for the U.S. privatization campaign. ICYMI I talked about Foley’s history in Iraq in a July column. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/political-roundup-ct-race-for-governor-border-crisis-gun-violence-engulfs-chicago/ Last week Foley promised not to lay off state employees as part of his plan to close a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit (I’m a state worker). Foley made the comments on his budget plan in interviews with the Connecticut Mirror and WDRC-AM 1360. Most state employee unions are due for wage negotiations next year. The current contract covering health care, retirement and other benefits does not expire until 2022. Both Foley and incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy have promised not to attempt to renegotiate the benefits contract.

Malloy, who did not mention Black and Latino unemployment or poverty once during any of his State of the State addresses, talked about urban employment on Monday in a shameless attempt to get votes. Malloy’s “urban initiative” is the equivalent of a playboy putting the moves on female customers during happy hour at the local bar. Malloy told people of color that he really loved them and will hook them up after he gets elected; just forget about that minor ignoring you during my first term thing. Following the mass shooting in Newtown, a legislative gun violence task force was created. Urban legislators were excluded. The task force visited suburban towns, including Newtown, while avoiding gun violence plagued cities Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. There have been over 200 homicides in Hartford during the past decade. During the debate over the gun bill that was passed in 2013, Rep. Douglas McCrory spoke passionately on the House floor about the bill lacking any provisions regarding urban

gun violence. Now that he wants the Black / Latino vote, Malloy is promising the urban community that he will make everything better. The Democrats have controlled communities of color for decades. How has that worked out for areas like North Hartford, where the poverty rate is annually among the highest in the country? Black and Brown folks, don’t fall for this election year bs. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Jackson Plan is a real blueprint for economic justice. http://mxgm.org/the-jackson-plan-a-struggle-for-self-determination-participatory-democracy-and-economic-justice/

Last week fast food workers in 150 cities, including Hartford, staged a strike for a $15.00 minimum wage and the right to unionize. 13 strikers were arrested for acts of civil disobedience during a peaceful protest on Washington Street. The Socialist Equality Party makes a persuasive argument for why all low-wage workers should make a living wage as high as $21.00. http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2014/06/socialist-equality-party-seattles-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-of-little-benefit-to-workers/

“In a statement May 29, Socialist Alternative hailed the impending passage of the (Seattle) minimum wage increase, declaring, ‘One hundred thousands workers will be lifted out of poverty.’ This is a lie. Even with a full-time job, which many low-wage workers are denied, at $15-an-hour a family of four cannot sustain a decent standard of living and still qualifies for food stamps. Speaking on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ program, Seattle’s Democratic mayor, Ed Murray, admitted, ‘The minimum wage would be about $21 an hour here in the city of Seattle, which is a very expensive city, if we actually wanted to get a real livable wage. Fifteen dollars would still be very hard for someone making that wage.’ ”

Know Your Rights: How to Handle Police Encounters

Courtesy of attorney Peter M. Baskin who practices law in Arlington, Virginia.

DEALING WITH COPS ON THE STREET

If approached by a police officer, ask if you are free to leave: if yes, walk away immediately. If approached at home, stay inside.

Refuse to answer all questions except about your identity.

Refuse to consent to any search, or home entry, unless shown a warrant.

Refuse to admit to anything or to explain anything.

Refuse to take any sobriety or other tests on the street.

Demand to have a lawyer present when questioned.

TRAFFIC STOP DO’S AND DON’TS

DO: Be calm and keep your hands visible at all times.

DO: Identify yourself fully and agree to come to court.

DO: Give your license to the police officer as soon as possible.

DO: Tell the officer you will talk only about your identity and a court date without a lawyer present.

DO NOT: Admit to anything, explain anything or consent to any search.

DO NOT: Take any sobriety tests or other tests on the street.

DO NOT: Answer any questions except about your identity.

DO NOT: Believe any statement that you will “help” yourself if you “cooperate”. Cooperating means giving up these rights and only helps the police by giving them evidence they will use against you!

IF ARRESTED

DO NOT RESIST: You will be handcuffed, searched and pomptly taken to a Judicial Officer for bond. Identify yourself and agree to come to court. SAY NOTHING ELSE AND CALL A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY!

Follow CP on Twitter @CommunityParty1 for state, national and global headlines and updates on the Trayvon Martin, Safe Work Environment and Jane Doe Acts. Visit our No Sellout blog for the archive of CP Hartford News columns. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/ Check out the CP Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcement on our social justice platform. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or samuelssloflo@aol.com.

Resources

United for a Fair Economy State of the Dream report on racial economic disparity:

http://www.faireconomy.org/dream

David Samuels
Founder
Community Party

Missing Hartford Teen Found After Two Weeks, Police Say

September 11, 2014

Hartford Courant report….

By NICHOLAS RONDINONE, nrondinone@courant.com

7:15 p.m. EDT, September 10, 2014

HARTFORD — A city teen missing for more than two weeks was found “in good health” in an out-of-state location, police announced Wednesday night.

Police say they are working to reunite Jillian Burgos, a 14-year-old student at CREC’s Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, with her family. No details were released on where she was found or where she has been..

Burgos was last seen when she asked her father to go outside on Aug. 25 about 2 p.m., according to the family. She was told by her father to stay in the backyard.

MISSING: Jillian Burgos

September 4, 2014

Jillian is a Hartford teen who has been missing since August 25. Check out this link for details: http://www.hartford.gov/police/police-news/1395-missing-person

Political Roundup: Democrats Pimp Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown for Votes / Police Body Cameras / Race for Governor

September 4, 2014

This column appears in the September 4 – 11 edition of the Hartford News… Last week reports surfaced about the Democrats setting up voter registration booths at rallies for Michael Brown, the unarmed Black teen who was shot and killed by patrol officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. In 2012 and 2013 I wrote columns about the Democrats exploiting the lynching of Trayvon Martin. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/democrats-pimp-trayvon-martin-michael-brown-for-votes/ Author Kevin Powell et al. turned CNN’s coverage of Michael’s funeral into a Democratic Party infomercial, with the November elections weeks away. What we need is body cameras for cops (Ferguson officers have started wearing cameras). Memo to Powell: voting for Democrats won’t stop police murder. Urban areas occupied by police have been controlled by the Democrats for decades. Community residents must organize to address this issue. An inconvenient fact for Powell is that the Democrats. beginning with President Lyndon Johnson, have collaborated with the Republicans and the police in the containment of Black and Latino neighborhoods: Black Agenda Report commentator Glen Ford laid out the history of militarization of the police. http://blackagendareport.com/node/14372 Hillary Clinton added to the Democrats’ embarrassing handling of the Michael Brown case. Clinton ignored a reporter’s question about the shooting after a Westhampton, New York press conference promoting her memoir, Hard Choices. She finally made a crocodile tears statement in response to the subsequent backlash. Party operatives are working hard to lull Ferguson residents to sleep, with little success. Labor Day protests included community residents blocking Interstate 270.

Luis Anglero, Jr. appeared in court September 3 after being charged with interfering and breach of peace; the case was continued to October 15. The barbaric taser attack on August 19 by Hartford Police Det. Shawn Ware on Luis, which was captured on video, is an example of the brutal tactics police use to contain urban neighborhoods and underscores the need for state, county and local police to wear cameras. Criminal justice professor Charles Katz told MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell that there is a 40-60% reduction in misconduct when police officers wear cameras. Complaints against officers also dropped: in Rialto, California, the number of complaints fell by 88%. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_CwpgUvDic&feature=youtu.be My message to the buffoons in Hartford who call themselves “community leaders” is stop stepping and fetching. We cannot pray our way out of this problem; you know that. Instead of leading city residents in circles, you should grow a spine. Keep it real for the first time in your life: push elected officials to support public policies which will provide low income communities of color with a layer of protection against police violence. Every 28 hours a Black person is killed by police, security guards and vigilantes. The right-leaning Courant endorsed the cameras in a recent editorial. http://articles.courant.com/2014-08-28/news/hc-ed-cop-body-cameras-needed-20140828_1_body-cameras-police-force-police-department Lieutenant Troy Kelsay of the Iowa City Police Department described cameras as a “win-win” for community residents and officers. http://www.kwwl.com/story/26322224/2014/08/19/ferguson-shooting-shows-why-iowa-city-police-use-body-camera The Community Party will add a provision to our 2015 Trayvon Martin Act requiring state, county and local police to wear cameras. See our Resources section for the current bill language.

Corporatism on parade… Mayor Pedro Segarra cut funding for Marshall House and obliterated a proposed North Hartford supermarket, which would have anchored a desperately needed health and nutrition complex, while rabidly pursuing a baseball stadium. Last week Segarra bowed to public pressure and restored funding to Marshall House, one of just two shelters in the city that houses women and children (South Park Inn is the other). In July 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 included 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.”

The demise of the revolutionary Downtown North plan supported by Page and Fowler has been eclipsed during the debate over the proposed stadium. Coupled with the attempt by Segarra to euthanize Marshall House, it’s clear that health and human services is a nuisance to the Segarra administration, whose priorities are so far out of whack it isn’t even funny. Tuesday the Courant reported that the city selected DoNo Hartford LLC, a Centerplan Development LLC group, as the Downtown North stadium complex developer. Segarra has called a special city council meeting for Thursday at 6:00 pm to consider the stadium plan.

Last Friday Secretary of State Denise Merrill announced that independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto failed to obtain the 7500 signatures necessary to appear on the ballot in November. Pelto turned in about 4,000 signatures. The announcement marked the end of an ill-fated campaign. Pelto totally ignored communities of color, as he excluded an urban agenda from his platform. Pelto infuriated liberals and progressives when he gave a petition to former Republican state chairman Chris Healy, then made the preposterous claim that he did not expect Healy to circulate the petition among his fellow GOP members. Healy said that he told Pelto he would circulate the petition; Healy’s publicly stated goal was to use Pelto to help challenger Tom Foley by bleeding votes from incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy. When Pelto colluded with Healy, he officially crossed the line from third party candidate to being an agent of the Republicans. Last Sunday during the Fox CT Capitol Report program, Healy said that Malloy is “lucky” Pelto didn’t get on the ballot. Pelto’s confession that his organization had only obtained 4,000 signatures explains his alliance with the GOP, which was a sleazy attempt to gain ballot access. That stunt made it obvious that Pelto’s objective all along had been to settle his personal grudge with Malloy, who rejected Pelto’s application for employment with his administration. Congratulations, Pelto. You blew a once in a lifetime opportunity to force a seismic shift in Connecticut politics toward social justice. Malloy vs. Foley II now includes Tea Party member Joe Visconti (certified for the ballot the previous week), repeating the scenario in 2010 when conservative Tom Marsh made the ballot as an independent candidate. Marsh received 18,000 votes, which Foley blamed for his narrow loss to Malloy. Visconti made it clear that he would aggressively challenge Foley on his evasive stance regarding the gun violence bill, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2013 as a response to the mass shooting in Newtown. The divisive gun issue now looms as the possible deciding factor in the race for governor.

ICYMI Here’s a recap of the August 27 Malloy / Foley debate. Malloy: “You’re lying about Bibb Company.” Foley: “You’re lying about crime stats!” Very inspiring…

Watch this video before you believe Segarra communications director Maribel La Luz’s tweet during the debate about crime being down in Hartford. The classic HBO television series The Wire addressed the institutional practice known as “juking the stats”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ogxZxu6cjM Incumbents running for re-election will always tell you that things are getting better. Don’t believe the hype.

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Resources

The Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

Video of Hartford Police Det. Shawn Ware’s taser assault on Luis Anglero, Jr.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report on the extrajudicial killing of Black people:

http://www.operationghettostorm.org/

David Samuels
Founder
Community Party