Suspending Democracy

 

This column appears in the April 7 – 14 edition of the Hartford News…

 

 

My condolences to Andy Hart on the loss of his mother. Rest in Peace….

 

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

 

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First and third Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time. Next show: April 19. Co-host: Mary Sanders. My Connecticut Valley Hospital co-worker John Hollis will discuss the neoliberal attack on public sector employees, and workplace bullying. Howaste will join us from California to talk about the plight of Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Missouri police reform activist Toni Taylor will tell us about an upcoming event that will honor the memory of her son Cary Ball Jr., who was killed by St. Louis police. http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

 

 

                                                 

 

 

Meagan Hockaday Act

 

Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/meaganmatters/timeline Garcia has not been charged.  The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act will include enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Public Health Committee co-chair Rep. Matt Ritter is collaborating with us on this bill. Stay tuned for updates and action alerts. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/ The official bill has been drafted: you can view it here. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/meagan-hockaday-act-bill-language/  Contact lawmakers and tell them to support our legislation.  https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/action-alert-support-the-meagan-hockaday-act/

Check out CP’s 2016 legislative package at our No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/community-party-2016-legislative-package/

 

 

 

Media Bias and Hartford Police Officer Jill Kidik

 

Earlier this week, Hartford Courant reporter and police apologist David Owens reported on HPD officer Jill Kidik being honored for saving the life of a one-year-old baby. However Owens has not reported on Kidik having the worst record of sustained civilian complaints, which include violation of civil rights and excessive force. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/2015-hartford-police-list-of-officers-with-sustained-complaints/

This type of biased reporting, and Kidik being coddled by the HPD, is appalling and underscores the need to repeal police bill of rights/union contract language that protects cops who engage in misconduct. There is nothing heroic about Kidik’s pattern of abuse. http://samuelwalker.net/2015/05/walker-report-baltimore-police-union-contract-impedes-accountability/ Props to the officers nationwide who are speaking out against racism, brutality and corruption. https://www.facebook.com/PeacefulStreets/photos/a.349724435087459.82412.346419072084662/969893656403864/?type=3&theater

 

 

 

 

Policy Watch: Uprising Against Neoliberalism in Chicago and Connecticut

 

 

 

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be resolved, without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.” ~ Martin Luther King

 

 

 

“These recommended takeovers are very short sighted and make no sense! Here in Hartford the recommendation for some committee with State oversight of the City budget for example … If the City needs help managing our $$ why would we want the State to step in when apparently they cannot manage theirs?” ~ Real talk from Mary Sanders about the neoliberal attack on public schools in Chicago and Hartford.

 

 

 

Hartford Courant columnist and WNPR host Colin McEnroe used his weekly appearance on the Where We Live program to launch into a baseless, ‘Get off my lawn’ rant against me and my fellow state employees: he spun a narrative of us being on an island of entitlement, demanding “more fringe benefits” as we protest against Gov. Dan Malloy’s draconian human services cuts and union busting campaign. McEnroe doesn’t present facts to counter the argument by SEBAC, Connecticut Voices for Children and Democracy, Unity and Equality Connecticut that the budget can be balanced by revising the state’s regressive tax code, and eliminating corporate tax loopholes that cost Connecticut $6 billion in revenue.

 

 

 

McEnroe doesn’t even acknowledge that egalitarian budget options exist. Instead all of his outrage is aimed at the public sector, the largest employer of Black people and women, while corporations in this state stash $180 billion in offshore accounts. http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20160304/NEWS01/160309951 This doesn’t bother McEnroe at all: he never brings it up. If you’re going to be mad, McEnroe, be mad at everybody. The fact that this elitist will not talk about the working class and the poor in Connecticut paying more in taxes than the rich, while corporations are receiving welfare and stacking cash on the low, is damning evidence that McEnroe is an agent of the Democrats and the ruling class.  http://wnpr.org/post/wheelhouse-drowning-deficits#stream/0  The Panama Papers have exposed tax evasion on a global scale, although Western perpetrators are being protected. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/04/corporate-media-gatekeepers-protect-western-1-from-panama-leak/

Events in Chicago and at City Hall in Hartford show that McEnroe’s position is delusional, neoliberal propaganda.

 

 

 

Last Friday public school teachers in Chicago staged a one day strike to protest lack of funding for their schools; nursing services and supplies were among the areas of concern for the teachers. Like Flint, Detroit and Hartford, Chicago is a city with a large Black population that is the target of a neoliberal attack, with fiscal crisis being used as the pretext. Last week Courant reporter Vanessa de la Torre provided the details on the possibility of school closures and layoffs in the city.

 

 

“The city’s budget crisis is forcing Hartford school officials to talk openly about an issue that is usually a political land mine: The possibility of closing and consolidating schools. Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez said she has formed an advisory committee that plans to meet next week to start drafting a facilities master plan that will take a critical look at the number of schools.

 

And in recent conversations with community advocates that would have seemed unthinkable a few months ago, Hartford leaders have floated the idea of abandoning Weaver High School’s $100 million renovation project that is already underway in the city’s northwest corner.

‘It’s a fair question as to whether or not the city is going to be able to undertake new school construction projects,’ school board Chairman Richard Wareing said Wednesday. With the city low in reserves and facing more than a $30 million deficit next year, it’s possible that the city is ‘not going to be borrowing money to build schools anytime soon.’

On top of the city’s fiscal crisis, the school system faces a deficit of about $20 million and the possibility of cutting more than 200 positions in the next budget, Wareing said. Last year, nearly 80 positions in the district were eliminated.”

 

 

 

So the city no longer has the desire to spend money on renovating schools, but has no problem throwing taxpayer dough at a baseball stadium. Mayor Luke Bronin introduced legislation that would allow him and his cronies to have veto power over union contracts, a blatant attempt to eliminate collective bargaining. Monday community residents and activists packed City Hall and shut down Bronin’s legislation, as the city council voted 8-1 against supporting the measure. Meanwhile 1200 state employees and activists swarmed the State Capitol to speak out against Malloy’s neoliberal attack. Next week Malloy will send layoff notices to an estimated 1900 workers, who refused Malloy’s demand that they agree to concessions for the third time since 2009, while he refuses to ask for anything from the rich and corporations. Malloy and lawmakers are using declining revenues as the justification for their attack, while at the same time a bill has been introduced by the Finance Revenue and Bonding committee that would repeal the estate and gift tax. This tax cut for the rich would cost the state $115.2 million in revenue (about half of the $226 million budget deficit) according to Derek Thomas, Fiscal Policy Fellow for Connecticut Voices for Children. Thomas testified against this unconscionable bill at a recent public hearing. Why isn’t McEnroe upset about this legislation?  It’s not hard to spot the racist and sexist component of the Wall Street supported neoliberal agenda, which is about union busting and profits.

 

 

 

Common Dreams reporter Andrea Germanos reported on the uproar over neoliberalism in Chicago. “Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been accused of ‘doubling down and holding Illinois citizens hostage with his austerity agenda’ following his backing of a Republican plan for a state takeover of the Chicago Public Schools. With the move, unveiled on Wednesday, Rauner ‘launched a years-in-the-making all-out assault on the Chicago Teachers Union,’ the Chicago Tribune reports, while Politico describes the school system as ‘the latest laboratory for an ambitious Midwestern governor trying push his anti-union agenda.’

 

 

 

 

As WTTW reports, the proposal would allow for CPS, which faces a $500 million cash shortage, to declare bankruptcy. It would also allow, the Tribune adds, ‘the governor’s hand-picked State Board of Education chief to replace the mayor’s appointed school board until the district’s finances were deemed fixed. The state panel would have the power to negotiate a new teachers’ contract if none is reached in current talks, or oversee a union contract that could be broken if the district filed for bankruptcy.’

 

 

 

WBEZ adds:

 

Emanuel’s current schools chief, Forrest Claypool, said the Republican proposals are missing the real problem facing the school district. Claypool argued that the state government has never adequately funded Chicago’s schools. In large part, the underfunding he’s talking about is driven by the state not paying into the Chicago teachers’ pension fund.

 

 

 

 

Among the proposal’s critics—who also include embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the CTU—is House Speaker Michael Madigan, who pointed to failures in another city which stripped local control away with the appointment of an emergency manager. ‘The disaster in Flint, Michigan, is a very timely example of how reckless decisions just to save a buck can have devastating consequences on children and families.’

‘Republicans’ ultimate plans include allowing cities throughout the state to file for bankruptcy protection, which they admitted today would permit cities and school districts to end their contracts with teachers and workers—stripping thousands of their hard-earned retirement security and the middle-class living they have worked years to achieve,’ Madigan’s statement added.

Ben Joravsky argues at the Chicago Reader that the plan is ‘a blatant attempt to use bankruptcy laws as a pretext to reward friends and punish enemies.’ That’s because ‘the governor, having declared CPS bankrupt, would get to preserve the contracts that enrich his pals—like the borrowing deals that pay outrageously high interest to bankers, while ripping up the contracts that benefit his enemies, like Chicago’s teachers,’ Joravsky writes.”

 

 

 

My beef with McEnroe is that he promotes an economic agenda that is morally indefensible. McEnroe resorted to a personal attack against me because he doesn’t want to engage in a fact based conversation about the effects of neoliberalism: lead poisoned water in Flint, the city of Detroit cutting off the water supply of poor residents who couldn’t pay their bills, and the closure of the Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT. Mary was the executive director of SSC, a nonprofit that served poor residents in New Britain for 50 years, until budget cuts by Malloy and Republican Mayor Erin Stewart resulted in SSC closing down last year. McEnroe knows that an analysis of neoliberalism is a dead end for him, so he hides behind juvenile insults, lame jokes, rhetoric and outright lies, such as his remark about state employees wanting “fringe benefits”. Health care and pensions aren’t fringe benefits. McEnroe is a relic who thinks that because he has a bigger megaphone, he can simply drown out all dissent. Like our brothers and sisters in Chicago, Flint, Detroit and Hartford, we will push back against the neoliberal agenda, which is a threat to democracy.

 

 

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first and third Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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