Policy Watch/ Innovative Manchester Snow Removal Ordinance/Know Your Rights

Policy Watch: Gov. Malloy’s Budget Address

This column appears in the February 19 – 26 edition of the Hartford News… The next Community Party column will include a Policy Watch analysis of Gov. Dan Malloy’s budget address, which Malloy delivered to the General Assembly on Wednesday. Malloy threw stones from a big glass house during his WFSB Face the State interview last Sunday, as he bashed Texas for their high poverty rate. A U.S. Census report found that poverty continues to rise right here. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/poverty-income-and-health-insurance-connecticut-cities-and-towns-summary-2011-2013-data Malloy has not mentioned the word poverty once during his annual State of the State address since he has been in office.

Connecticut Business and Industry Association CEO and President Joe Brennan talked about Malloy’s budget plan last Sunday on Fox CT’s The Real Story. Predictably, Brennan lobbied for tax cuts for businesses and privatization of state services (I’m a state employee). As we discussed last week, Connecticut Voices for Children has drafted policy plans aimed at closing the massive corporate tax loopholes that deprive Connecticut of hundreds of millions of dollars in much needed revenue. Malloy has blamed the state’s budget woes on a lack of incoming cash. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/police-body-camera-factspolicy-watchsafe-work-environment-act-report/

Brennan talked out of both sides of his mouth, denouncing budget cuts to state services while talking about the need for state agencies to “do more with less”. That’s coded corporatist language for these agencies outsourcing services to private entities, who will pay workers less money while providing inferior quality. Brennan said that economic policy should benefit both businesses and labor. In that case the CBIA should support a publicly owned bank. Rep. Susan Johnson has introduced a public bank study bill. A public hearing on Rep. Johnson’s proposed legislation was scheduled for Thursday. A publicly owned bank would help small businesses by facilitating principled lending, which boosts local economies.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/how-state-banks-bring-the-money-home Follow CP’s A Public Bank for Connecticut

Facebook page for updates on Rep. Johnson’s bill. https://www.facebook.com/PublicBankCT

Snow Removal

My colleague Mary Sanders recently posted a Facebook photo of her car buried in snow in the parking lot of her Hartford apartment building, days after one of the recent winter storms that have battered the city. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152938200298889&set=p.10152938200298889&type=1&theater The lack of enforcement of the housing laws in this state results in an additional set of problems for tenants in the winter months, who find their mobility impacted by landlords who do not fulfill their snow removal obligations. The Town of Manchester responded to this housing and public safety issue by passing an innovative ordinance. If landlords do not clear snow on their property in a timely fashion, tenants can call the town office and request snow removal services. The town then charges the delinquent landlord by placing a snow removal lien on the property. (see below)

NOTICE OF MUNICIPAL LIEN
Property Address:
Owner of Record/Volume and Page:
Amount of Lien:
Date of Services:
Notice is hereby given by the Town of Manchester that pursuant to the Town of
Manchester Code of Ordinances, Chapter 279, Article III, Section 297-21, a lien is placed on the
above-referenced property in the name of the owner of record to reimburse the Town of
Manchester for expenses incurred for the removal of snow and ice from the public sidewalk
abutting the property as a result of the property owner’s failure to comply with Section 279-19 of
the ordinance.
Dated this _____ day of February, 2015 at Manchester, Connecticut.
_________________________________ Scott Shanley General Manager

Last Friday I spoke with Manchester Town Clerk Joe Camposeo, who told me that he had received an astounding 35 snow removal requests from tenants the previous day. This ordinance is an effective strategy for providing tenants with an essential service, while at the same time holding landlords accountable. The Hartford City Council should follow Manchester’s lead and pass this amendment.

Know Your Rights with Police

The Flex Your Rights website (http://www.flexyourrights.org/) provides information on how to handle encounters with the police. This week we’ll share the Flex Your Rights tutorial on the legal definition of probable cause. Stay tuned for updates on the city council’s police body cameras proposal and CP’s Trayvon Martin Act. Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, HB 5437 An Act Concerning The Requirements Of The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act (http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5437),
includes CP’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

***

What is Probable Cause?

Probable cause is the legal standard by which a police officer has the right to make an arrest, conduct a personal or property search, or obtain a warrant for arrest. While many factors contribute to a police officer’s level of authority in a given situation, probable cause requires facts or evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a suspect has committed a crime.

Common examples of probable cause include the sight or smell of contraband in plain view or plain smell, or an admission of guilt for a specific crime. The presentation of any of these facts would allow an officer to perform a search and make an arrest.

Be aware that minor traffic violations (e.g. speeding, broken tail-light, or expired registration) are notconsidered probable cause.

What probable cause means to you

While there are certain situations where police need a warrant to search you or your property — during a traffic stop, police only need probable cause to legally search your vehicle.The major exception to the probable cause requirement for vehicle searches is consent. Most vehicle searches don’t occur because police have probable cause. They occur because people get tricked or intimidated into consenting to search requests.

Consenting to a search request automatically makes the search legal in the eyes of the law. And the 4th Amendment doesn’t require officers to tell you about your right to refuse. So if you’re pulled over, don’t try to figure out whether or not the officer has probable cause to legally search you. You always have the right to refuse search requests by stating, “Officer, I don’t consent to any searches.” Repeat, if necessary.

If you refuse consent but the officer searches you anyway and finds illegal items, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress — or throw out — the evidence in court. If the judge agrees that the officer’s search violated the 4th Amendment’s probable cause requirements, she’ll grant the motion. Unless the prosecution has other evidence, your charges would be dismissed.

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

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

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