Urban Legislators Silent on Racial Profiling, Malloy’s Attack on Public Sector

by David Samuels

This column appears in the April 27 – May 4 edition of the Hartford News.

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: May 2. 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/
Community Party Radio Podcasts

Trayvon Martin Act

 
This legislation addresses racial profiling, police brutality, and  police containment of communities of color
 
 
Safe Work Environment Act
The Safe Work Environment Act would eliminatlegal barriers that people currently face when they file a lawsuit against their employer.
 
 
Community Update

Face the Facts
 
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, a progressive Democrat, appeared last Sunday on WFSB’s Face the State to discuss his gubernatorial candidacy. Hosts Susan Raff and Dennis House resorted to fiction in an obvious attempt to discredit Drew, who supports single payer health care and taxing the rich. Raff claimed that “only Canada and maybe Taiwan” have universal health care. The truth is that the United States is the ONLY industrialized nation that doesn’t have single payer. The U.S, is ranked #38 in quality of health care by the World Health Organization. France, which uses single payer, is #1. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/heres-a-map-of-the-countries-that-provide-universal-health-care-americas-still-not-on-it/259153/
House claims that rich people are fleeing Connecticut due to higher taxes; multiple studies by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that is not true. http://www.cbpp.org/research/state-income-migration-claims-are-deeply-flawed
 
 
 
 
Policy Watch:  Democrats Provide No Protection for Communities of Color 
Two weeks ago in this space I talked about the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee killing the Community Party’s traffic stop receipt legislation, which would provide motorists with proof that they were stopped by a patrol officer, and the information they would need to file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, if they believed they had been racially profiled. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language-4/ Last Friday our colleague Zaida Berrios sent me this article from the Associated Press.
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Police in Connecticut’s capital city have failed to report thousands of traffic stops as required by a state law aimed to prevent racial profiling, data analysts said Friday.
Hartford police submitted records for about 2,000 traffic stops between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, but dispatch logs show there were about 6,500 stops during the same period, according to an audit by analysts at Central Connecticut State University.
Police brass said they are confident officers collected the required data and they’re looking into why data from several thousand paper forms filled out by officers weren’t submitted. They said there might have been a computer problem or a data-entry problem.
There also may be similar underreporting problems in Bridgeport and New London, but officials in those cities have not responded to requests to see their dispatch logs, said Ken Barone, an analyst with the university’s Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy. The institute compiles the statewide traffic stop data…
The Hartford audit was discussed Friday at a meeting of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board, which oversees the data collection…
Members said they were considering whether to warn Hartford and other cities that they could lose state funding for failing to submit accurate data. They also noted that the vast majority of the more than 100 police agencies in the state are complying with the reporting requirements.
I think at the very least we need to put these departments on notice,” said board member David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut. “This is really troublesome.”
Analysts also said there were a variety of errors on the Hartford forms they did receive.
Hartford is one of only a few departments in the state that has officers fill out paper forms after each traffic stop. Officers in nearly every other department enter information on their in-vehicle computers…
Police officials in Bridgeport and New London did not immediately return messages Friday.
The reports have said Connecticut police stop black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionately high rates.
The most recent data showed police statewide reported making about 586,000 traffic stops between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015.
About 14 percent of the stops involved black drivers, while black people of driving age comprise 9 percent of the state’s population. Nearly 13 percent of traffic stops involved Hispanic drivers, while Hispanics of driving age comprise 12 percent of Connecticut residents.

*****

In other words it’s business as usual in Connecticut as legislators in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport continue to show no will to hold the police accountable, despite the 2012 East Haven Police racial profiling scandal that made national headlines, and resulted in four EHPD officers going to prison.  https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-releases-investigative-findings-east-haven-connecticut-police-department  Our argument for seven years has been that community residents should not be frozen out of the traffic stop data collection process, which is the case under the current law. This issue is being controlled by white elites in politics and the nonprofit industrial complex such as McGuire. The ACLU has a history of hijacking local grassroots legislation so they can push their own agenda. Check out what the ACLU did to Black activists in Chicago. https://blackagendareport.com/non-profits_pacification_black_lives_matter ;

McGuire’s predecessor, Sandra Staub, actively opposed our legislation in favor of the ACLU’s toothless racial profiling bill, which focuses on data collection that is totally controlled by institutions (state government, police). Like Staub, McGuire is a privileged white person; years of data show that people of color are disproportionately stopped, searched and subjected to violence by police.The so-called Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project (CRP3) also opposes our amendment; Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs, a CRP3 member, has testified against our bill at public hearings. CRP3 is made up of political puppets and cops, who kill our legislation because they don’t want grassroots activists they can’t control having input on this issue. The results of this audit are infuriating, but predictable. We also have received complaints from community residents, that officers aren’t giving them the info cards with instructions on how to file a racial profiling complaint. Our other police reform legislation, which is based on a successful public health model that is being used in Britain and Canada, also has gotten no support from urban lawmakers.

Gov. Dan Malloy says he will issue over 1000 layoff notices next month if state employee unions, who have agreed to wage / benefits concessions twice since 2009, don’t do so again. The public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women. State employees who are upset about the threat of layoffs need to stop complaining solely about Malloy, and hold their legislators accountable. Four months into the legislative session, urban legislators had not presented an alternative budget plan, such as increasing taxes on the rich, that would provide much needed revenue. Last Thursday, proposals to increase taxes on high income earners were submitted to the legislature’s tax-writing committee. This should have been a priority for urban legislators from opening day! http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-taxes-budget-proposals-20170420-story.html
 
 
The Community Party supports Connecticut Voices for Children recommendations on the sales tax. http://www.ctvoices.org/blog/20170404/voices-capitol-xiii-spending-cap-and-modernizing-sales-tax#Modernize
                                                                
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Spotlight: Broadening the Sales Tax

Failure to keep our laws up-to-date with the 21st century economy has weakened the 
sales tax as a stable source of revenue. Broadening the sales tax base to include services (in addition to goods) would strengthen the state’s revenue system so that we can continue to invest in education, healthcare, transportation, and other critical services.
Over the past 40 years, the share of household spending on services has increased from one third to close to half of household budgets. Yet, services – such as interior design, tennis lessons, haircuts, car washes, pet grooming, bowling alleys, and taxi and limousine rides – remain largely untaxed. As a result, taxable sales as a share of total household income in Connecticut have declined from 32.6% in 2002 to 26.4% in 2015.
Broadening the sales tax base to include services, while at the same time lowering the tax rate from 6.35% to 5.5%, could generate $730 million in new revenue annually. Legislators are considering broadening the sales tax as one of the possible options to raise new revenue.
                                                                                                                                *****
Last week I heard an Interesting discussion on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour about the Democrats, which applies to Malloy, urban legislators and state employees. Nader talked about how the labor unions support the Democrats without making any demands, telling their members the Republicans are worse and that voting for third party candidates is a waste.
Nader added that the Democrats abuse labor, Black and Latinx voters, because their attitude is that these voters have nowhere to go. Nader said voters who the Democrats have taken for granted for decades need to develop “political self-respect”, and challenge the Democrats on a grassroots level. Malloy said, “I don’t think I even need to assure you I will act.” Malloy doesn’t have the same attitude when it comes to poverty, Black unemployment, racial wage / wealth disparity, the state’s regressive tax system and corporate welfare: Connecticut companies stash $40 billion dollars in offshore accounts, while corporate tax breaks fuel a $7 billion yearly loss of state revenue. Malloy refuses to support legislation that would close the carried interest tax loophole for billionaire hedge fund managers.
My fellow state workers, next year our unions will issue rubber stamp election endorsements to the Democrats, who are laying us off and cutting our wages and benefits. I don’t know about you, but I refuse to vote for any of that. It’s time for us to organize on our own, and identify candidates who will truly support the working class, both public and private sector. Malloy and the corporate Democrats are abusing us because they feel like they can. This cannot continue. Decades of hard fought gains in wages and benefits are.being rolled back by a party that claims to be a friend of labor. It’s time for us to act and push back against the neoliberal agenda that threatens all of us. The common denominator in this country’s problems are the Democrats and Republicans, two wings of the same corporate controlled war party.
Resources
 
Ralph Nader Radio Hour: What’s Wrong with the Democratic Party

https://ralphnaderradiohour.com/whats-wrong-with-the-democratic-party/

 
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, third and fifth 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 samuelssloflo@aol.com.   
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