Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Uprising at CVH / NFL Player Protests

October 18, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the October 19 – 26 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: October 31. 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 Podcast

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Community Update

NFL Player Protests Impact Workers’ Rights & Criminal Justice Reform

The NFL players’ national anthem protests has morphed into a workplace bullying issue. Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones officially sided with Donald Trump. It’s good to see labor unions stepping up, and pointing out that the players have rights within their workplace.

Report: Kaepernick files grievance against NFL owners for collusion

theScore

Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement for collusion against NFL team owners, reports Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report.
Kaepernick has hired high-profile attorney Mark Geragos and is preparing to release a statement about his grievance soon, added Freeman.
The free-agent quarterback has remained unemployed since his release by the San Francisco 49ers in March and has garnered little interest from teams around the league.
This has caused some to suggest he’s being blackballed for his national anthem protests during the 2016 season.
Kaepernick appeared in 12 games for 49ers in 2016, throwing for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns to four interceptions.
His 90.7 passer rating ranked 17th in the league, ahead of 10 quarterbacks who were starters going into the 2017 season.

 

NFL Players Supported by Labor Union

Labor union files complaint against Jerry Jones over anthem threat
Tribune News Service
By Clarence E. Hill Jr. and Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A labor union that represents workers in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana has filed a charge alleging that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has violated the National Labor Relations Act with his threats to discipline players if they protest during the national anthem.
Local 100 of the United Labor Unions filed the complaint Tuesday with the Fort Worth, Texas, office of the National Labor Relations Board. It asks the NLRB to “investigate preemptively in order to prevent illegal firings of players.”
Wade Rathke, chief organizer of Local 100, accuses Jones of violating the act, which prohibits employers from intimidating or threatening workers for their “concerted activity.”
Rathke said the NFL has already established that there is no condition of work that requires players to stand during the anthem. He said players have the right to protest and act concertedly at their workplace – the playing field. Jones is violating the act by attempting to prevent them from doing so, he said.
“Jones through his efforts to bully his playing workforce is attempting to unilaterally establish a previously nonexistent condition of work,” Rathke said in a written statement announcing the charge.
Rathke said the point is the same, whether the discipline is the benching of a player for a game or firing him by an outright release.
“Either way it’s a threat and you can’t threaten someone’s job for concerted activity,” he said in an interview with the Star-Telegram. “The point is he is threatening anybody and everybody. We are trying to send Mr. Jones a message that there is a law here. The law here is that you have the ability to act with your co-worker. You can’t just roll over someone’s rights when they are a worker. You can’t bully workers on the job. President (Donald) Trump might not get that. Jones might be confused. But these are workers with rights with the National Labor Relations Board.”
The board in Fort Worth will assign a field agent to investigate the charge. The first step will be to contact the NFL players association and the team.
Messages left with the Cowboys and the NFL were not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, NFL owners are expected to discuss the league’s policy regarding the national anthem during meetings next week in New York.
The NFL game operations manual says players “should” stand for the national anthem. Changing the “should” to “must” is an option the owners and league could pursue during their meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, said NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart.
“I think there will be a discussion about the entire issue, including the policy … I’m not going to predict what might happen,” Lockhart said.
When told of the NFL’s plans of possibly of changing the language of the policy and making standing a requirement, Rathke said, “they haven’t done it yet and the threat is right now.”
Rathke also said the NFL Players Association might have an issue with the league changing policy in the middle of an agreement.
Lockhart declined to give a definitive answer when asked if owners could force players to stand for the national anthem. He also wouldn’t speculate whether the issue would have to be collectively bargained between the NFL and the players association.
“We’re going to do this together as an ownership group and a league with the players,” he said.
The NFL has not weighed in on Jones’ stance.
“It’s somewhat of a moot point because all of their players have stood,” Lockhart said.
This has been an issue for more than a year since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled to protest racial injustice and police brutality against people of color.
Cowboys defensive linemen David Irving and Damontre Moore raised their fists at the end of the national anthem in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
Jones made it clear after the game that he and the organization would not tolerate any players “disrespecting the flag” during the anthem. He became the first owner to declare consequences for players who kneel during the anthem.
Coach Jason Garrett said Irving and Moore would not face discipline for their actions because they happened after the anthem had been played.
“I think everyone at this point is frustrated by this situation,” Lockhart said. “The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand.”

****

UPDATE: Last week the NFL announced that they would not require players to stand, but would instead discuss an alternative platform players could use to make racial justice statements.

NFL endorses criminal-justice reform bill in the midst of anthem debate

By Karoun Demirjian and Beth Reinhard October 16

The National Football League, still in political crosshairs over whether players should take a knee during the national anthem, is throwing its weight behind another cause in Washington’s debate over racial inequality: criminal justice reform.
The NFL’s spokesman said on Monday that the league has decided to endorse a bipartisan bill to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders, eliminate “three-strike” provisions that require life sentences and give judges more latitude to reduce sentences for certain low-level crimes.

You can read the full story here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/nfl-endorses-criminal-justice-reform-bill-in-the-midst-of-national-anthem-debate/2017/10/16/8e3b43a8-b2a9-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.95ea89fe4529

 

Policy Watch

 CVH Under Siege

Watching Connecticut Valley Hospital and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services explain away patient abuse arrests, in addition to new charges of racism and workplace bullying by Black employees, is like your neighbor saying, “Yeah, there was a small glitch in the electrical wiring I just put in upstairs,” while firefighters try to put out the three-alarm blaze that has engulfed his house.

 

The arrests at CVH, coupled with a racism complaint by a group of Black employees, filed last week with the NAACP and Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, could bring about the end of mental health treatment as we know it in this state.  Republican Sen. Heather Somers and other GOP leaders said that privatization of CVH is “on the table”; this would actually exacerbate the conditions that led to the CVH patient abuse scandal.

Lower paid workers would mean an inferior level of care, and less employee protections would fuel the culture of workplace bullying, currently perpetuated by CVH management and DMHAS, that reportedly has infected the same 62 year-old CVH patient twice. This is what’s complicated about the GOP being in the lead on this issue, while Gov. Dan Malloy (who appointed DMHAS commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon) and the Democrats cower in silence. They will ask the questions that need to be asked, including about Malloy’s culpability, but their objective is to further their privatization agenda.

The recent death of a patient at a group home in Bristol is a chilling example of why privatization is not the solution to the CVH crisis.     http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-hartford-death-in-bristol-group-home-ruled-homicide-1013-story.html CVH should serve as a template for radical reform. Dismantling the “culture of impunity” at CVH would result in a safer environment for patients, and staff. In my opinion, CVH management and DMHAS have signed CVH’s death warrant, if a Republican governor is elected next year. A source told me that another arrest is coming in the patient abuse case at CVH’s Whiting Forensic Division. Last Friday CVH announced that six more employees had been placed on administrative leave for not reporting the abuse, bringing the total to 37.  CVH patients, their families and loved ones, along with CVH workers, can thank the megalomaniacs in CVH management and DMHAS if CVH is privatized.

 

WFSB covered the action by Black CVH workers.

Claims of racism made against CT state department

Posted: Oct 11, 2017
By Courtney Zieller
By Kaitlyn Naples

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Employees of the Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services spoke out on Wednesday saying they have been treated unfairly.
They feel it’s because of the color of their skin.
Employees have filed more than 20 complaints with Connecticut’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, also known as the NAACP.
Channel 3 spoke with workers one-on-one on Wednesday, and one woman, who is Puerto Rican, said she was passed up for a job, even though she said she has her master’s degree. She said the person who was hired had a high school diploma and was white.
Travon Jackson has been working in mental health for 28 years, 11 years with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
He says he was fired.
“For someone like myself, I was never in trouble and have an outstanding work history I was nominated and was an employee of the year and my work speaks for myself,” Jackson said.
He claims minority employees at the department are treated unfairly.
“The diversity and the treatment up there and the racial tension up there is just over the top and it really needs to be looked into,” Jackson said.
The state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities met inside the legislative office building in Hartford on Wednesday.
The NAACP was there and said they’ve been looking into these claims.
They say they’ve fielded over 20 complaints from workers about unfair and racially biased treatment at several facilities around the state.
“Harsh treatment and punishment, retaliation, and harassment that affects employees of color around the state,” said Jason Teal, of the NAACP.
The NAACP is calling on commissioners to start investigating the claims.
Meanwhile, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said “The Department takes matters related to allegations of discrimination very seriously. DMHAS exercises due diligence in investigating allegations brought to our attention to ensure that all federal and state laws regarding discrimination are followed.”
What happens next is the human rights attorney will need to take a look at every individual complaint.
If she finds it credible, then commissioners will get those formal complaints.
Commissioners will then decide if they want to hear these worker’s complaints during a public hearing.
They’re supposed to meet in one month.
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 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/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

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Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio October 17

October 15, 2017

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, October 17. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Guest contributor Janet Frazao-Conaci, a social worker who is employed in Hartford, will join us for our Special Report: Uprising at Connecticut Valley Hospital. We’ll also have an update on Colin Kaepernick, and the NFL national anthem protests. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific.  http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

CVH Update / Budget Chaos / Gun Control / NFL Activism

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/cvh-update-budget-chaos-gun-control-nfl-activism/

NFL Owners Are ‘Woke’ To New Marketing Opportunities, Yet Colin Kaepernick Still Can’t Get A Job

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cartoonoftheday/2017/10/01/nfl-owners-are-woke-to-new-marketing-opportunities-yet-colin-kaepernick-still-cant-get-a-job/#4dc95e5b4ce9

 

Rosa Clemente reports on the ground from Puerto Rico. #PRontheMap

 

Hurricane Relief in Caribbean Islands, Florida and Houston

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/hurricane-relief-in-caribbean-islands-florida-and-houston/

CVH Update / Budget Chaos / Gun Control / NFL Activism

October 11, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the October 12 – 19 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: October 17. 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 Podcast

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

PROGRAM ALERT

Community Party Radio podcast. Topics include Chicago urban gun violence, the Las Vegas mass shooting, Puerto Rico grassroots hurricane relief efforts, and National Football League players organizing for racial justice.      https://www.spreaker.com/user/thebwegroup/community-party-radio-hosted-by-david-sa_59

 

Political Roundup

CVH Patient Abuse Scandal

Retired Connecticut Valley Hospital employee John Hollis has had productive conversations with Republican Sen. Heather Somers, co-chair of the Connecticut General Assembly public health committee, regarding the CT Valley Hospital patient abuse scandal. Somers has been discussing next steps with John, which we cannot talk about publicly yet.

Democratic Rep. Matthew Lesser contacted me last week about CVH. Lesser said he met with CVH Chief Operating Officer Helene Vartelas and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, and relayed our complaints about the culture of abuse and workplace bullying at CVH.
Lesser said a hearing is being planned and the public health committee is “considering a legislative response.” Lesser requested information, which we have sent to him. I made it clear that CVH and DMHAS are the violators, and must not be allowed to police themselves. OUTSIDE INTERVENTION IS ESSENTIAL. CVH is located in Middletown, Lesser’s district. Stay tuned. Here’s an update from Fox 61 on the patient abuse arrests.

Warrants detail repeated patient abuse at state funded psychiatric hospital

by Doug Stewart and Kaitlin Goslee

MIDDLETOWN – Arrest warrants for nine employees at Whiting Forensic Division of the Connecticut Valley Hospital allege a repeated pattern of abuse against a patient.
The warrants, previously under court order seal, were made public this week.

The patient at the center of the abuse is a 62 year old man who’s treatment orders called for a two-on-one staff to patient ration and 24-hour a day supervision.  There was video camera located in his room for patient monitoring.

Nine staff members were arrested in early September following a state police investigation into the matter.
Their newly release arrest warrants outline what police claim they witnessed on the video footage from the patient’s room. Several of the accused are allegedly seen on video kicking the patient repeatedly, in many cases while he laid in his bed.
Eight of the arrested workers are forensic specialist technicians. The ninth, Mark Cusson, worked as a forensic nurse.
Cusson’s accusations run the gamut of police claiming he poured liquid over the patient’s head, rubbed a used mop on the patients head, and beyond. Police detailed Cussons is seen on the footage approaching the patient’s bed, then “mounts the patient’s bed and straddles himself over the patent placing his groin in the patient’s face.  Cusson then makes a back and forth motion towards the patient’s face with his groin.”  The court record goes on to say there two other workers in the room at the time of this incident.

Cusson’s lawyer, Stephen Woolf, maintains client’s innocence. He told FOX61, “He believes that he’s innocent, we believe we have a lot of information that is not yet available to the public.” He went on to say Cusson has been “a very dedicated long time employee of Whiting Forensic.”  He added there is more to the case than just the video, which he claims is not visually clear.
Another of the accused, Lance Camby, 48, of New Britain, is reportedly seen on the footage putting a diaper on the patient’s head, while Willie Bethea, 45, of Middletown, is allegedly seen poking the patient. He later told police he believes he “patted” the patient on the cheek but claimed he believes the “patient enjoys a degree of playful physical contact.”
In the arrest warrant of Gregory Giantonio, 43, of Deep River, it’s stated that he’s seen kicking the patient and is seen in the patient’s room for some of Cusson’s alleged abuse. Giantonio told police he never abused or witnessed anyone abusing the patient.
The Whiting Forensic Division is a state funded maximum security psychiatric hospital located in Middletown.

The facility is overseen by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Following the newly released arrest warrants, they stated, “The Department remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that justice is served for our client. The affidavits underscore the importance of the Department’s actions to immediately involve the Connecticut State Police in the investigation into alleged client abuse.”

You can read the arrest warrants here. http://fox61.com/2017/10/05/warrants-detail-repeated-abuse-of-patient-at-whiting-forensic-in-middletown/amp/

 

State Budget Crisis

Last week Connecticut Republicans declined to call for a vote on overriding Gov. Dan Malloy’s veto of their budget. House Majority Leader Matt Ritter proposed that the House vote to pass the revenue provisions that are identical in the Democratic and Republican budgets.

Neither the Democratic nor GOP leaders indicated that a state budget agreement was imminent, during separate press briefings following the special session. The state remains without a budget, and is currently being run under executive order by Malloy. The state budget crisis could best be summed up by the separate, chaotic press conferences by the two parties. Ritter handed out his one page bipartisan budget proposal. Senate Republican President Len Fasano’s reaction: “I don’t know what the heck that was!” A pox on both their houses.

 

 

Las Vegas Mass Shooting: Facts vs. Rhetoric

Last week Republican Congressman Steve Scalise railed against renewed calls for gun control, in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting. Yes, this is the same Steve Scalise who got shot up in Virginia, just a few months ago.  National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre and White House press secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders both responded to the gun control question by pivoting to their go-to coded racialized fear mongering, making the false equivalency between mass shootings and urban gun violence in Chicago.

Lapierre talked about Black Chicago gang members and called for mandatory sentencing for gun possession, during an appearance last Sunday on the CBS Face the Nation program. Incredibly, host John Dickerson didn’t ask Lapierre about gun control legislation that was passed in Australia in 1996, following a mass shooting that killed 35 people and wounded 23 others. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since the laws were enacted.

What’s needed in Chicago is an end to the neoliberal war against public education, a New Deal program consisting of  job skills training and the targeted creation of living wage jobs, in a city that annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. Economic opportunity is the best form of gun control in low income communities of color. Poverty = violence.

Whites don’t engage in drug or gang related shootings – they stick to wholesome spree killings. Facts from  politicalreaseach.org. “Recent studies reveal that most school shooters are White males, with 97 percent being male and 79 percent White. Over the last three decades, 90 percent of high school or elementary school shootings were the result of White, often upper-middle class, perpetrators. These shootings are a direct reflection of White male privilege and the consequences that occur when groups like the NRA control influential conservative leaders.”  http://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/06/19/mass-shooters-have-a-gender-and-a-race/#sthash.aNvg0nsX.dpbs

ter·ror·ism
[ˈterəˌrizəm]
NOUN
the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Terrorists

Timothy McVeigh:  Blew up a federal building in Oklahoma, in response to Branch Davidian standoff with federal agents.

Wade Michael Page:  White supremacist, committed mass shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

Dylann Roof:  White supremacist, committed mass shooting at historically Black church in South Carolina.

Mass Murderers

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold: Committed mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

James Holmes: Committed mass shooting at Colorado movie theater.

Adam Lanza: Committed mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

????

Stephen Paddock: Committed mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert.

Calling every white person who commits a mass shooting a terrorist without knowing the facts, is willfully disregarding the definition of terrorism, and hurts your credibility. Imitating the knee-jerk reactions of Donald Trump and his Islamophobic supporters is not a good look. There’s no need to manufacture facts about whites who commit acts of violence.

 

 

NFL Update

NFL, NFLPA Meet to Discuss Social Activism Among Players
The NFL and NFLPA held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss social activism by players. Sports Illustrated

“Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, Eric Winston, Robert Craft, John Mara, Art Rooney and other player leaders engaged in a productive conversation,” a statement from the NFL and NFLPA said. “We are all committed to an ongoing dialogue.”
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Kirk Cousins, Demario Davis and Mark Herzlich were some of the players who attended the meeting.
It was recently reported that Michael Bennett, Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin sent a memo to Roger Goodell asking for the league to become more involved in the players social activism efforts by providing public support and dedicating a month during the season to activism awareness.
During the last two weeks, player activism has become an even bigger focus around the league after Donald Trump criticized players for kneeling during the national anthem. After Trump’s comments, some team owners joined their teams on the field during the anthem to link arms as a sign of unity.

 

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 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/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

 

 

Las Vegas Mass Shooting / Puerto Rico / Democrats Protect CVH Abusers

October 4, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the October 5 – 12 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: October 17. 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 Podcast

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Community Update

Las Vegas Mass Shooting

 

58 people have been killed and 527 wounded following a mass shooting at a country music concert Sunday night in Las Vegas. 64 year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd from his hotel room window, and fatally shot himself as police broke into his room. Australia, a country with a gun culture similar to the United States, stopped mass shootings following a 1996 massacre where 35 people were killed, and 23 were injured.  Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman interviewed Rebecca Peters, an international arms control advocate who organized the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws, following the 1996 mass shooting. You can watch the interview here. https://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/13/australia_stopped_mass_shootings_after_1996

 

The White Nationalist President Disses Puerto Rico

President Donald Trump took a break from cursing out Black NFL players to lash out at San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been critical of the federal response to Hurricane Maria. Tweeting from his luxury golf course in New Jersey, Trump said that those lazy Puerto Ricans want white people to save them. Trump took five days to tweet about Puerto Rico, while he was complaining about uppity Black football players and their annoying demands for racial justice. Trump, who received five deferments from the Vietnam War draft, railed about national anthem protests being disrespectful to the military. Trump tweeted about the NFL 17 times, Puerto Rico 5 times. Here is a report on what’s really happening, courtesy of Telesur English. https://www.telesurtv.net/

‘We’re Not Going to Rely on US Govt’: Grassroots Groups Mobilize for Puerto Rico Amid US Govt Neglect

“This is Puerto Rico’s Katrina,” Letty Concepcion, who is flying to the island from Florida to distribute aid, told teleSUR. Civilian groups are helping recovery efforts in Puerto Rico as the country deals with its “greatest catastrophe in modern history” with little help from the U.S. government.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s destruction, a contingent from 365 Jeep Life — an auto enthusiasts’ club — from Orlando, Florida is set to deliver on Wednesday 200,000 pounds of food, water and other emergency supplies donations to the hurricane-struck island.
Concepcion explained they have nearly 10 trucks filled up with supplies for the island. The groups gathering the donations have since paired with an aviation company that will fly out all of the aid from Florida to Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

“The biggest problem is manpower,” Concepcion said, adding that while some aid has managed to reach Puerto Rico, there are few people to help distribute it.

The hurricane has left much of the island nearly uninhabitable, the organizer explained, with many currently stranded without food, water and electricity.

“We decided we’re not going to rely on the government,” pressed Concepcion.
“Civilians have done more … we’ve basically been on our own,” she added.
As the contingent prepares to leave Wednesday, Concepcion has also set up a Go Fund Me page in order to fundraise for the island’s disaster victims.
While Puerto Rico struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island last week, U.S. President Donald Trump has instead reminded the island of its “massive debt,” adding that the U.S. territory owes “Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”

Visit Colorlines.com for info on supporting these relief efforts.

http://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-help-residents-puerto-rico-and-us-virgin-islands-recover-after-hurricane-maria

State Budget Crisis

Next week I’ll analyze the chaotic October 3 special session on the state budget.

 

Suspending Democracy in Hartford

Last week WFSB Face the State host Dennis House touted the benefits of Hartford filing for bankruptcy.  If you live in this city and haven’t been paying attention to this issue, you damn well better start. During the segment, the idea was floated of suspending the powers of the mayor and city council, and installing Mayor Luke Bronin as the emergency manager. Bronin would have total power over all fiscal policy decisions. Bankruptcy is a racist, neoliberal agenda targeting predominantly Black cities.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/from-hartford-to-kansas-neoliberalism-disaster/

 

 

Colin Kaepernick

I think those of us who support Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem protests, should stop explaining why the protests aren’t disrespectful. Yes, the kneeling stance was the idea of Nate Boyer, a former NFL player and military veteran, and we know that the Star Spangled Banner celebrates slavery. I told a white co-worker who was complaining about the protests about #VeteransforKaepernick. She had no idea that veterans support Kaepernick. We ended up having a good conversation.

 

However we all know damn well that the truth doesn’t matter to white bigots. Really, they should be the ones on their knees every damn day, begging Black, Latinx and Indigenous people for forgiveness for their acts of genocide, land stealing, slavery and discriminatory public policies. So, I DON’T CARE whether or not they like the protests. They’re not supposed to like it. I’m glad they don’t like it.

 

Kaepernick is donating one million dollars to grassroots racial justice groups. Kaepernick’s website provides details on the mission of every organization that receives money from him. Kaepernick has his own organization, Know Your Rights Camp, that teaches youth how to interact with police. Four NFL players, Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith, Philadelphia Eagles, Anquan Boldin, Buffalo Bills (retired) and Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks, submitted a racial justice policy paper to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and asked for the league’s support. Let’s talk about that, and the undoing racism work we need to do.

 

Policy Watch

CVH Patient Abuse Scandal:  Malloy & Democrats Obstruct Justice

Last week Josh Kovner of the Courant reported on new allegations of patient abuse at Connecticut Valley Hospital, involving the same abused patient.

*****

New charges of abuse have again rocked the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital. Three more Whiting employees — in addition to the 31 suspended and nine arrested in the spring and summer for patient abuse — have been transferred from their jobs and are under internal investigation for an alleged assault of the same patient in a Whiting bathroom within the last 30 days, a source inside the maximum-security psychiatric hospital said. This comes months after surveillance video tape captured extended abuse of that 62-year-old patient, and led to the suspensions beginning in March and the arrests earlier this month. Officials with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services did not comment directly on the new allegations.

The department oversees Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown, which includes Whiting. The patient’s co-conservator told The Courant on Thursday that she’d recently received a call from the Whiting administration that had unnerved her.
Karen Kangas said she was told that a Whiting nurse had received a call on her cellphone advising her that the patient might be the victim of further abuse and to check the bathrooms.
Kangas said Whiting officials confirmed to her on Thursday that the workers had been shifted from their jobs and were going through ‘due process’ as the officials assessed the allegations.
“My first thought was, ‘This can’t possibly be happening now, after all this,’’’ said Kangas, a mental health advocate and a former official with DMHAS.
“It’s shocking, and it makes me question whether they are taking this seriously. I have to wonder if [the patient] is safe,” Kangas said.
It could not be determined if mental health officials have notified state police investigators about the most recent allegations. Detectives have charged nine of the suspended Whiting workers with cruelty to persons, a felony.
No charges have been filed against the three additional workers.

*****

Gov. Dan Malloy appointed DMHAS commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon so he’s going to protect her, as will the Democrats in the General Assembly. They are not going to do what is necessary to hold DMHAS and CVH accountable. Republican Sen. Heather Somers, co-chair of the legislature’s public health committee, is calling for a public hearing. You don’t hear Malloy and the Democrats doing that.

 

I recently reached out to a Democrat legislator, and made it clear that outside intervention was essential in addressing the rampant culture of abuse and workplace bullying being perpetuated by CVH and DMHAS, as they should not be allowed to police themselves under any circumstances. I sent him data on CVH’s racist disciplinary and hiring practices, and wage disparities. I also sent him a Hartford News interview I did a few years ago with a Latinx state employee, who said bullying by DMHAS led her to contemplate committing suicide. A couple weeks later I received a response. This legislator spoke to Delphin-Rittmon, and he wanted me to join a DMHAS “CVH task force.”

 

When I shared this lawmaker’s response with my co-workers, they were understandably furious. This individual and I had a heated email exchange; a few hours later I received a text from John Hollis, a retired CVH employee and former union steward, informing me about the Courant report on the new CVH patient abuse allegations.

 

The latest report of abuse underscores my point to this legislator, which is that this so-called task force is DMHAS’ pathetic attempt at damage control. Of course, he already knew that. Malloy, the Democrats, DMHAS and CVH are trying to make this scandal go away, so they can all return to business as usual. The culture of abuse and workplace bullying targeting CVH employees led to patient abuse. The violators cannot be trusted to resolve the problem they created. SOMEONE must step in, and hold CVH / DMHAS accountable.

 

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X said that the greatest enemy of racial justice is the white liberal. This liberal legislator tried to lecture me about “coalition building”, which is paternalistic liberal code meaning “Just do what I say, and don’t challenge me.” What has this white liberal / left “coalition” accomplished? Let’s check the scoreboard. Trump is the President. The Republicans control Congress. The Supreme Court has a conservative majority. 34 governors are Republican, and the GOP controls 32 state legislatures. If the Republicans gain control of ONE MORE state, they will be able to amend the U.S. Constitution.

 

Last week Malloy had to veto a Republican budget, that was passed by what is still technically a Democratic Party controlled Connecticut General Assembly. The GOP will likely seize control of the Governor’s Mansion and the legislature, after the 2018 elections. I don’t want any part of a “coalition” that yields these types of results. The Democrats have imploded on the state and national level, because they serve rich people and corporate donors instead of the people.  I’ll stick to my principles, and the crew that I roll with. At least I’m able to sleep well at night.

 

I have not revealed the name of the legislator who attempted to get me to join the DMHAS “CVH task force” (yet), because my objective is to keep the focus on Malloy and the Democrats. I don’t want to give validity to this individual’s claim that I’m engaging in a personal attack against him. I have challenged this lawmaker to join Sen. Somers in calling for a public hearing on CVH, and bring about outside intervention to hold CVH and DMHAS leadership accountable for perpetuating a culture of abuse and workplace bullying, that reportedly has now infected the same patient TWICE. Stay tuned.

 

Resources

NFL players submit racial justice policy paper to commissioner Roger Goodell:

https://sports.yahoo.com/memo-4-players-sent-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-030818178.html

Colin Kaepernick website. Includes updates on his community organizing efforts:

http://kaepernick7.com/

 

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 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/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

 

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio October 3

October 1, 2017

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, October 3. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective.  We’ll provide an update on the Las Vegas mass shooting and examine how Australia, a country with a gun culture similar to the United States, stopped mass shootings following a 1996 massacre where 35 people were killed, and 23 were injured. We will discuss urban gun violence with Camiella D. Williams, Outreach Coordinator at the Streets of Chicago. We will also have information on grassroots hurricane disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the rest of the Caribbean islands.

We’ll provide an update on stunning new allegations of patient abuse at Connecticut Valley Hospital, involving the same patient currently at the center of abuse charges that resulted in the arrests of nine CVH staff members last month. We’ll also have an update on the Hartford bankruptcy issue, Colin Kaepernick, and NFL national anthem protests.  8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. http://sometroradio.com/

 

 

 

Resources

A Young Chicago Woman Has Lost 23 Loved Ones to Gun Violence. She Wants You To See Their Faces.

https://www.thetrace.org/2016/03/chicago-woman-loses-23-loved-ones-gun-violence/

 

Black Chicago Politicians are “in the Mayor’s Pocket”

https://www.blackagendareport.com/black-chicago-politicians-are-mayors-pocket

 

Hurricane Relief in Caribbean Islands, Florida and Houston

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/hurricane-relief-in-caribbean-islands-florida-and-houston/

 

From Hartford to Kansas, Neoliberalism = Disaster

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/from-hartford-to-kansas-neoliberalism-disaster/

 

Colin Kaepernick website:

http://kaepernick7.com/

 

Four NFL players send racial justice policy paper to commissioner Roger Goodell.

https://sports.yahoo.com/memo-4-players-sent-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-030818178.html

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Maria / Budget Quagmire / CVH Update / Colin Kaepernick

September 27, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the September 28 – October 5 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: October 3. 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 Podcast

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Community Update

Hurricane Maria

 

How to Help Residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Recover After Hurricane Maria

These organizations are helping with immediate needs—like food—and long-term efforts, including rebuilding.

Ayana Byrd  Sep 21, 2017

Maria is the 13th named hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season and it brought devastation to a number of islands that were still trying to recover from Hurricane Irma. Two American territories, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, were in Maria’s direct path.
The storm hit Puerto Rico yesterday (September 20) and the entire island is currently without power. According to The New York Times, “Forecasters say Puerto Rico will see about two feet of rain by Friday, with as much as 35 inches in places.” And as Colorlines previously reported, the island’s financial crisis—it declared a form of bankruptcy in May—has negativly impacted recovery efforts.
St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John—the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands—are experiencing massive structural damage and a widespread loss of electricity as a result of the current hurricane season. Maria hit St. Croix on Tuesday (September 19) night and Hurricane Irma struck St. Thomas and St. John on September 6. A curfew remains in effect on all three islands. As Colorlines reported, the Virgin Islands’ combined population of 100,000 permanent residents (76 percent of whom are Black) believe the federal government’s response has not been satisfactory, with one man saying the islanders were “the bastard step-children of America.”
To help as these areas rebuild, consider donating to these groups, many of which have ties to local grassroots organizations.

Organizations Focused on Puerto Rico

Low-income communities of color “are often forgotten by reconstruction efforts, and underserved by insurance companies,” reads the website for The Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund. And for that reason, the organization is pledging 100 percent of all money raised to be used for immediate relief, recovery and rebuilding for the areas hit hardest by the storm. The fund works with the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and is governed by a mix of grassroots organizations and Puerto-Rico based feminist organization Taller Salud.

The Maria: Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery Fund is managed by the nonprofit ConPRmetidos, a millennial-led organization that builds partnerships between private and public organizations to strengthen Puerto Rico’s economic development. The group is working to raise $150,000 to be used for food, shelter and water, with remaining funds to be applied to long-term recovery efforts.

Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico has worked since 1985 for improved education, housing and economic development in communities across the island. In the aftermath of the storms, the org is now also focused on recovery efforts.

Unidos Por Puerto Rico was created by the island’s First Lady as a response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Donations can be sent online and on October 1, there will be a telethon and concert to raise funds for those impacted by the storm.

Wings of Rescue flies in after hurricanes and, as the group wrote on Facebook, “As soon as Puerto Rico airports are open we are prepared to send supplies for both people and pets in, and start flying dogs and cats out immediately, but we really need your support to save lives.”

Organizations Focused on The U.S. Virgin Islands

Since 1990, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has brought scholarship and other community-building opportunities to the U.S. Virgin Islands. This week, it became an official hurricane relief charity, donating 100 percent of each gift to assist residents impacted by the storm. In addition, per the website, “In light of the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma on the USVI, current fundraising/programming efforts are focused on immediate relief and long-term multi-generation family and community revitalization initiatives.”

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is a regional, inter-governmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean. Members include the Virgin Islands, Barbuda and Dominica—all territories devastated by the recent storms. Donations to the  CDEMA Hurricane Relief Fund will be used to purchase relief supplies and support early recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Former San Antonio Spurs basketball star Tim Duncan, who grew up on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, created the 21 U.S. Virgin Island Relief Fund when Irma hit the island. Now, in the aftermath of Maria, the fundraising goal has been increased to $5 million. Duncan matched the first $1 million in donations.

The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix supports people impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault. It is collecting donations for those impacted by the hurricanes here. The group is also accepting care packages of toiletries (tampons, sanitary napkins, diapers and insect spray are especially needed) at the following address: Women’s Coalition of St. Croix, P.O. Box 222734, Christiansted, USVI 00822-2734

Organizations Benefitting Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands

Islamic Relief USA, a nonprofit that opened in 1993 in California to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and diseases worldwide, was on the ground in Texas and Florida for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and is now working with local emergency teams and community groups. The org is collecting donations for long-term recovery for households and individuals affected by hurricane disasters.

Tom Joyner’s Black America Web Relief Fund was created after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now focuses on individuals and families who need assistance as a result of publicly declared disasters. Donations can be made here—and those who are displaced or who are hosting people because of the storm can request financial assistance.

Visit Colorlines.com for the links to make a donation.  https://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-help-residents-puerto-rico-and-us-virgin-islands-recover-after-hurricane-maria

 

Political Roundup

Urban Gun Violence

Did anyone notice that Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley attributed the two drug related shootings in d last week to a lack of jobs and resources? Poverty = violence!

Budget Gridlock at the State Capitol

My prediction: the Connecticut Republicans will seize control of the Governor’s Mansion, and the General Assembly from the Democrats in 2018. GOP fiscal policies, which have caused even more damage than the neoliberal Dems in states like Kansas, will make the current bipartisan budget gridlock between these two corporate controlled parties seem like the good old days. Connecticut Voices for Children has published a policy brief on the Democrat and Republican budget plans.

September 2017

State Budget Proposals: Failing to Meet the Challenges Ahead
Ray Noonan, Ellen Shemitz J.D., Lauren Ruth Ph.D., Karen Siegel, Nicole Updegrove.

Connecticut’s budget is the clearest statement of its policy priorities. As such, it should prioritize revenue and expense options that improve equity, advance long-term inclusive economic prosperity, and ensure support for our most vulnerable residents. To solve the short-term budget crisis and lay a strong foundation for Connecticut’s children and families, the legislature and the Governor must use all tools available, seeking both new revenue and expense-side savings.

This Budget Brief offers a summary analysis of the two proposals based on currently available information. It finds that neither offers a truly balanced approach: one that includes both shared sacrifice and shared opportunity, addresses the structural causes of our persistent deficits, and makes strategic investments in children as part of equitable growth strategy.

Read the Connecticut Voices for Children budget analysis at their website. http://www.ctvoices.org/BudgetVote2017

 

CVH Culture of Abuse

Connecticut Valley Hospital Workplace Bullying Survey Results

CVH tried to suppress these results. The Community Party obtained the survey through a Freedom of Information Act request. This data is proof of a toxic culture that lead to  the patient abuse at Whiting Forensic Division.

I have encountered bullying situations at work.” 70.6% of CVH workers “strongly agree”. 20.7 % “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH manager / supervisor.” 59.9% “strongly agree”. 16.5% “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH manager / supervisor in my unit / program.” 54.0 % “strongly agree”. 16.2 % “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH co-worker.” 39.6% “strongly agree”. 20.2 % “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH co-worker in my unit / program.” 37.5 % “strongly agree”. 20.8 % “agree”.
“I feel that bullying is an accepted part of the culture at CVH.” 54.1 % “strongly agree.” 25.7% “agree”.
“I reported bullying and there was a positive resolution of my concerns.” 61.6% “strongly disagree”. 24.5% “disagree”.
“I fear retaliation for reporting bullying or other hostile behavior.” 66.6% “strongly agree”. 17.1 % “agree”.

 

Police Misconduct in Hartford

Update from Rachel Baird, co-host with Ed Peruta of the American News Network Summary Judgement program, on Hartford Police officer Stephen Barone. Barone was present on Flatbush Ave. in West Hartford, during the 2016 arrest of Emilio Diaz that resulted in retired HPD Sgt. Sean Spell being charged with assaulting Diaz. Other officers were caught on video stomping Diaz, but were not charged. Peruta is suing the HPD; details in the podcast of the September 21 edition of Community Party Radio. See the Resources section at the end of this column.

“We learned that Officer Barone,  who turned off his dash camera at the Flatbush Avenue incident, attributed that to muscle memory and coached an officer to lie at the scene about hitting the suspect’s vehicle, was promoted to sergeant in a closed door, not for the public ceremony by Chief  James Rovella. The federal court ruled on Aug 30th that I can call Barone back to continue his deposition and ask him about Flatbush Avenue. That deposition is scheduled for this week.”

 

Colin Kaepernick, Donald Trump & Liberal Hypocrisy

I don’t like what Donald Trump said about how Colin Kaepernick, and other National Football League players who protest the national anthem should be fired. I also don’t like the fact that 89% of Senate Democrats voted with the Republicans to pass a $700 million defense bill, or  Democrat Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin continuing to push his racist bankruptcy plan, which targets predominantly Black cities nationwide (Detroit, Chicago). I don’t like racism, whether it comes from Trump or the Democrats.  White liberals are manipulating the race issue, railing against Trump’s bigotry and racist policies while saying nothing about systemic racism in the Democratic Party.

Kaepernick’s  anthem protest has inspired a grassroots criminal justice / economic policy initiative. Four NFL players: Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith, Philadelphia Eagles, Anquan Boldin (retired) , Buffalo Bills, and Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks, have submitted a detailed racial justice policy paper to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, asking for the league’s support. So, Kaepernick being blackballed by the NFL has only poured gasoline on the fire. https://sports.yahoo.com/memo-nfl-players-ask-roger-goodell-support-racial-equality-campaign-031110505.html

It’s amusing to watch the guy who got busted for housing discrimination by the Department of Justice (twice), whine about Black athletes protesting against racism, while other white bigots cling to the ‘kneeling for the national anthem disrespects the military’ argument, acting as if #VeteransForKaepernick doesn’t exist.  Thanks to the veterans who debunk this false narrative.

Democratic Party legislators on the city, state and federal level have done NOTHING in terms of policy, to address the issues Kaepernick has raised with his anthem protest: police brutality, criminal justice reform and racial economic disparity. Let’s see if urban legislators in Connecticut support the proposals in the policy paper by Jenkins,  Smith, Boldin and Bennett.

 

Resources

Get Global Network podcast.  “Culture of Impunity”: The Connecticut Valley Hospital Patient Abuse Scandal.

American News Network Summary Judgement co-hosts Rachel Baird and Ed Peruta talk about the Hartford Civilian Police Review Board, and Peruta’s lawsuit against the Hartford Police. Peruta is a former Wethersfield police officer.

 

From Hartford to Kansas, Neoliberalism = Disaster:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/from-hartford-to-kansas-neoliberalism-disaster/

 

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 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/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

Hurricane Relief in Caribbean Islands, Florida and Houston

September 24, 2017

How to Help Residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Recover After Hurricane Maria
These organizations are helping with immediate needs—like food—and long-term efforts, including rebuilding.

Ayana Byrd  Sep 21, 2017

http://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-help-residents-puerto-rico-and-us-virgin-islands-recover-after-hurricane-maria

8 Ways to Help People of Color Recover From Hurricane Irma
A list of organizations working to rebuild communities in the path of one of the most powerful hurricanes in history.

Ayana Byrd  Sep 11, 2017

https://www.colorlines.com/articles/8-ways-help-people-color-recover-hurricane-irma

 

 

 

Connecticut Valley Hospital Workplace Bullying Survey Results

September 23, 2017

CVH tried to suppress these results. The Community Party obtained the survey through a Freedom of Information Act request. This data is proof of a toxic culture that lead to  the patient abuse at Whiting Forensic Division.

“I have encountered bullying situations at work.” 70.6% of CVH workers “strongly agree”. 20.7 % “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH manager / supervisor.” 59.9% “strongly agree”. 16.5% “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH manager / supervisor in my unit / program.” 54.0 % “strongly agree”. 16.2 % “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH co-worker.” 39.6% “strongly agree”. 20.2 % “agree”.
“I have felt bullied when interacting with a CVH co-worker in my unit / program.” 37.5 % “strongly agree”. 20.8 % “agree”.
“I feel that bullying is an accepted part of the culture at CVH.” 54.1 % “strongly agree.” 25.7% “agree”.
“I reported bullying and there was a positive resolution of my concerns.” 61.6% “strongly disagree”. 24.5% “disagree”.
“I fear retaliation for reporting bullying or other hostile behavior.” 66.6% “strongly agree”. 17.1 % “agree”.

“Culture of Impunity”: Community Reacts to CVH Patient Abuse Scandal

September 20, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the September 21 – 28 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: October 3. 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 Podcast

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Community Update

State Budget Crisis

Connecticut liberals, ICYMI while you were engaged in your fixation on President Donald Trump, last week the CT Republicans passed a budget at the State Capitol. Conservative Democrats in the Senate and the House defected, to get the budget passed. Gov. Dan Malloy intends to veto the bill, but this is a glimpse of the future.
The GOP has 32 governors, and control 33 state legislatures. The Republicans are ONE STATE away from having the power to amend the U.S. Constitution. The Democrats’ neoliberal, racist policies placed them in this predicament, but of course halo wearing white liberals will never cop to that. Trump will be the least of your problems in 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-republican-constitution-amendment-20161205-story.html

I watch the Capitol Report program on WTNH, a slickly produced Sunday morning food fight between Democratic and Republican surrogates. My feeling is, a pox on both your houses. Kansas is the cautionary tale for anyone who thinks a switch to GOP rule is the answer for Connecticut.

Nick Johnson of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported on the catastrophic economic policies of Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. “In 2012, Kansas slashed income tax rates, eliminated income taxes entirely for many businesses, and planned to further cut income tax rate cuts over the next several years, with the goal of eventually eliminating the income tax entirely. Governor Brownback promised the tax cuts would be a ‘shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,’ but reality has been far different. Rather than spur a boom, the Brownback plan merely gave a tax-cut windfall to the rich and raised taxes on many lower-income people while sending the state’s finances into a tailspin.
Kansas’ finances are now in crisis. State reserves are drained, and Kansas faces a $900 million budget shortfall. Two bond rating agencies have downgraded Kansas due to its fiscal problems, and the state’s education system and other crucial services have suffered as the state struggled to afford to invest in people and communities.
Kansas’ five-year experiment shows us what happens when we try to tax-cut our way to prosperity…”  https://www.cbpp.org/press/statements/nick-johnson-kansas-wise-to-undo-failed-tax-cut-experiment

Democrat Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton turned a $6 budget deficit, which he inherited from his tax cutting Republican predecessor Tim Pawlenty, into a $1 billion surplus by taxing the rich and raising the minimum wage.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-gibson/mark-dayton-minnesota-economy_b_6737786.html

 

Group of Black St. Louis Police Officers Say Jason Stockley Guilty of Murder

“(Jason) Stockley killed (Anthony) Smith, about 45 seconds after making the, ‘We’re going to kill this m———–!’ statement. His words, then actions appear calculated, and premeditated… In conclusion, the board of the Ethical Society of Police believes the actions of Jason Stockley were that of murder, and warrant a conviction.” ~ The Ethical Society of Police, a group of Black St. Louis police officers.

Last week a Missouri judge found former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder, in the 2011 fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. Protests erupted in the city following the verdict. Ricardo Torres, a retired State of Connecticut Agency Police Officer who was fired by Mayor Luke Bronin from his position as a Hartford Civilian Police Review Board member, for asking inconvenient questions about the brutality investigation involving retired Hartford Police detective Sean Spell, pointed out that Stockley stating his intention to kill Smith would have been used by police and a prosecutor against a citizen, to prove premeditation. Torres is a certified use of force expert. U.S. police kill people at a rate of 70 times more than police in all other ‘first world’ nations. The E.S.O.P. analysis of the evidence in the case is available here. https://www.scribd.com/document/358700395/Why-Former-SLMPD-Officer-Jason-Stockley-Should-Be-Found-Guilty

 

Corporate Welfare

The Community Party has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Economic and Community Development, for data on the number of jobs created in 2016 by companies that received corporate tax subsidies from the State of Connecticut. DECD did not respond to a previous email, seeking this data.

 

Policy Watch

Culture of Workplace Bullying Caused CVH Patient Abuse & Cover-Up

 

Excellent job last week by WNPR Where We Live host Lucy Nalpathanchil, who grilled DMHAS commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon about the Connecticut Valley Hospital patient abuse scandal. Nalpathanchil hit the nail on the head when she described the “culture of impunity” that exists at CVH, which made workers feel like they could abuse a patient in front of video cameras, and get away with it.
This culture filters down from CVH management, who routinely abuse workers and protect chosen employees, who engage in bullying of other staff members. People are calling for Delphin-Rittmon to be fired, but that would only be a cosmetic change. The culture of abuse and workplace bullying that’s perpetuated by CVH / DMHAS / DAS must be dismantled, root and branch.

 

This scandal is not an isolated incident, as Where We Live callers and show guest India Mills, conservator for Kim Woolfolk, pointed out. Josh Kovner of the Courant reported on Kim’s story.

 

“Kim Woolfolk would have faced a challenging adulthood no matter the circumstances. Born to unstable parents, she was an assault victim and she experienced repeated physical and emotional trauma as a girl growing up in New Haven in the 1980s — when post-traumatic stress syndrome was regarded as something that only happened to soldiers.Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, she was committed to Riverview children’s psychiatric hospital in the early 1980s.

 

“When she was old enough, she was transferred to Connecticut Valley Hospital, where she has been for most of the past 32 years. But her adult years have been nearly unbearable for Woolfolk, 46. They have been grinding, abusive, and often emotionally torturous, according to a lawsuit that is now reverberating through the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, known as DMHAS.  The reason for her suffering, the lawsuit charges, is her confinement for at least half of those 32 years at the Whiting maximum security division as the only woman on an all-male ward.

 

“Not only was she the lone female, the lawsuit states, she was often the only non-criminal offender in a Whiting ward dominated by men who had been acquitted, by reason of insanity, of murder, sexual assault, arson, aggravated assault, and other serious crimes.
Woolfolk was civilly committed through probate court in Middletown. She has an extensive history of assaultive behavior inside the hospital, her lawyer acknowledges, but she never has been convicted of a criminal offense. After a period of living in the community, she is now in a co-ed unit at Whiting.”

 

Republican Sen. Heather Somers, co-chair of the Connecticut General Assembly Public Health Committee, called out Gov. Dan Malloy, who made one generic, bs statement about the CVH scandal. As I predicted a week ago in this space, Malloy is protecting Delphin-Rittmon, his appointee. Outside intervention is crucial. CVH / DMHAS cannot be allowed to police themselves. Here’s reaction from listeners who posted comments on the Where We Live Facebook page.

 

Kim Oravetz: This interview was deeply disappointing. The commissioner provided little insight into what the culture of this place is like and how it could lead to these events. Thank you for pointing out that she didn’t even sound upset. So blasé and repeating the same lines over and over. Thank you for holding them accountable by covering this story.

Bob Townsend: DMHAS seems as useless as the Department of Public Health. I complained repeatedly about the care/abuse my mother suffered at a nursing home the state did nothing but defend the facility and make excuses for them. She fell four times in three months. The state did nothing. She died as a result of the last fall.

Examples?

She didn’t fall, she was just sitting on the floor (an 80 year old woman!).

Nurse took her walker away from her? That’s ok because although there was a doctors order for a walker the order wasn’t specific as to placement. She has to walk to her walker! Because the staff ignored the call button. She died!

I could go on… and on. They didn’t care and they still don’t.

Sarah Smith: I couldn’t stand the commissioner’s cautious, politically correct rhetoric. Patient abuse is way under exposed. This is the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who has a loved one who has spent any time in a state psychiatric facility knows that people who are forcibly treated in these places typically come out in much worse shape than when they entered, just like putting juveniles into an adult prison ruins them for life. People go to these places to learn how to act like a lunatic because the culture is not a recovery culture. It is a doom and gloom place based on the failed medical model of mental illness. It is terrifying to have your first break and be committed to one of these hell holes. Violence is endemic, starting with restraints and the practice of holding patients down and forcibly injecting them with giant doses of Haldol and Thorazine. All you hear about in the media is patient on staff violence, not staff on patient violence. Many of the patients are labeled ‘treatment resistant’ and they initially got into these places because of adverse drug reactions. Akathesia is not understood. Akathesia is the origin of much of the violence and aggression exhibited by patients. What is the response by professionals? Up the dosage of the offending drug. Drug people until they are nearly catatonic and inches away from death. Drugging and sedation is always for the benefit of the caregiver, not the patient. We are looking at the tip of the iceberg of psychiatric abuse and this commissioner is not going to do anything about the root of the problem. She sounds like she is running for office. Typical.

Yvette Sangster: Thank you for taking on this topic. It’s time to thank people like that one who reported the abuse and remove the abusers. Only a loud out cry from the public will bring about change.

Jeff Clark:  Crazy… poor supervision, no supervision…and all those who saw but didn’t say a word?! Sadly they should all be accountable to some degree.

Forty eight people reportedly knew about the patient abuse at Connecticut Valley Hospital and said nothing. The culture of workplace bullying at CVH certainly caused the silence of some employees. A CVH staff member who works at Whiting told me about how he faced swift retaliation from bosses and co-workers, when he blew the whistle about something wrong he saw happening. This worker began to receive criticism about his job performance, a common retaliatory tactic by CVH management. He was accused of breaking work rules, another strategy that’s regularly used to discredit employees who speak up. Workplace bullying led to the abuse of the Whiting patient, and was a major reason why the abuse went unreported. CVH and DMHAS management manipulate work rules, to target employees they don’t like. The current system provides bullied employees with no recourse. The silence from Malloy and the Democrats is deafening; an indication of the incestuous relationship between elected officials, CVH, DMHAS and the Department of Administrative Services, who oversee CVH and DMHAS.

Resources

What Happened At Whiting? Abuse At Connecticut’s Psychiatric Hospital:

http://wnpr.org/post/what-happened-whiting-abuse-connecticuts-psychiatric-hospital

CT Voices for Children Budget Analysis:

http://www.ctvoices.org/BudgetVote2017

 

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 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/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio September 19

September 15, 2017

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, September 19. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Guest contributor John Hollis joins us for our special report – “Culture of Impunity”: The Connecticut Valley Hospital Patient Abuse Scandal. John is a retired CVH employee and former union steward. American News Network Summary Judgement co-hosts Rachel Baird and Ed Peruta will talk about the Hartford Civilian Police Review Board, and Peruta’s lawsuit against the Hartford Police. Peruta is a former Wethersfield police officer. We will also have information on grassroots hurricane disaster relief efforts in Houston, Florida and the Caribbean islands. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific.   http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey & Hurricane Maria Disaster Relief for Communities of Color:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/hurricane-irma-hurricane-harvey-disaster-relief-for-communities-of-color/

 

What Happened At Whiting? Abuse At Connecticut’s Psychiatric Hospital:

http://wnpr.org/post/what-happened-whiting-abuse-connecticuts-psychiatric-hospital

 

Why Former SLMPD Officer Jason Stockley Should Be Found Guilty:

https://www.scribd.com/document/358700395/Why-Former-SLMPD-Officer-Jason-Stockley-Should-Be-Found-Guilty

 

Hartford Civilian Police Review Board in part 2016.10.18:

 

Hartford Police Officer Stephen Barone UNAWARE of Internal Affairs Complaint: