Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Returns June 5

June 2, 2018

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, June 5. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. We will discuss police accountability with Kimberly Phillips. Kimberly’s son A.J. died during an encounter with San Jose police officers August 10, 2015. Kimberly will also talk about California police accountability legislation S.B. 1421, which would give the public access to the misconduct history of police officers. Our Policy Watch segment will feature analysis of the austerity budget that was passed by the Hartford, Connecticut City Council last week, and commentary on the two party political system, which is a trap for Black people. Our Real Talk segment will feature an excerpt of a 1971 speech by former Black Panther Party communications secretary Kathleen Cleaver. The speech at UCLA took place after a falling out between Kathleen’s husband Eldridge Cleaver and Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton, which led to the expulsion of the International Branch of the Black Panther Party that was led by Eldridge in Algeria. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. http://sometroradio.com/

Resources

Kimberly Phillips Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/kaphillips5

Kimberly Phillips presents evidence that contradicts the San Jose police narrative of her son’s death.

Bad cops shouldn’t get to operate in secret. Lawmakers, it’s time for transparency
By The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article211625659.html

SB-1421 Peace officers: release of records.

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1421

Political Roundup: Neoliberal CT Democrats, Puerto Rico, Police Accountability
by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 7 – 14 edition of the Hartford News.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/political-roundup-neoliberal-ct-democrats-puerto-rico-police-accountability

 

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Political Roundup: Neoliberal CT Democrats, Puerto Rico, Police Accountability

June 2, 2018

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 7 – 14 edition of the Hartford News.

Updated 6-4-18 at 10:26 PM

 

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: June 5. 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

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

 

We Stand with Debbie Duncan Cook

The petition demanding that Debbie Duncan Cook be reinstated to her job at Trinity College has surpassed 1,000 signatures. You can sign the change.org petition below. Debbie underwent cancer surgery last week and is home recovering.

https://www.change.org/p/president-joanne-berger-sweeney-bring-back-debbie-cook

 

Victory for Clay Arsenal Tenants

Congratulations to Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments tenants on their victory over slumlord Emmanel Ku. Last week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notified the tenants that they’re revoking their $1 million annual contract with Ku, and relocating the North End residents to “properties that are in decent, safe and sanitary condition.”

 

Hartford Democrats Pass Neoliberal City Budget

Last week  the Hartford City Council voted 8-1 to approve a $570 million austerity budget, that decreased spending by $43 million in 2018. The budget now goes to the state oversight panel for approval. Mayor Luke Bronin, Democrat councilmembers, Gov. Dan Malloy and Democratic Party leaders at the State Capitol remain silent, as  shootings plague the city.

Democrats are depriving Hartford of living wage jobs and resources. Poverty = violence. Hartford annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S.  The $43 million budget spending decrease includes city employees union concessions and city department cuts. The public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women.

 

Puerto Rico Death Toll Ignored by Corporate Media

Media Matters reports that cable news networks covered the Roseanne Barr racism scandal for over 10 hours during their morning shows May 29 and 30. The results of a Harvard University study on the Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico was covered for just over 30 minutes. Fox News covered the story for 48 seconds. The study found that as many as 8,000 people have been killed by the storm. The official total from the Puerto Rican government is 64.
sources: democracynow.org and CBS News

 

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

The Hartford Courant reported that last month Bloomfield Town Council members spent $2500 on meals, including a $49 hamburger, during budget deliberations. I’m picturing the conversation. Town Council member: “Yeah, we need to do something about this deficit, y’all. Time to trim the fat! Excuse me while I make this call… Hello, Burger Express? I’d like a Super Corruption Burger with everything on it.”

 

Russiagate and Liberal Hypocrisy

Thirty three House Democrats voted with the Republicans to roll back banking regulations May 22, but white liberals only get upset about a photo of Jill Stein sitting at a table with Vladimir Putin. Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes is one of the Democrats who voted with the Republicans.

 

Fight for 15 

“There are many companies that take the lead on this by walking the walk, like Costco. This representative just happens to not be one if them.” ~ Comment posted on Rep. Josh Elliott’s Facebook page.

I’ve got no love for the right-wing think tank Yankee Institute, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Elliott can and should pay his employees more, if he’s going to portray himself as a champion of the $15.00 minimum wage. Yankee Institute recently did a story on Elliott paying employees at his two health food stores $10.50 an hour.

Like Elliott,  the Moo Cluck Moo burger restaurant in Detroit has two locations. They started out in 2012 paying their workers $12.00 an hour, and raised the wages to $15.00 an hour in 2014.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/12/04/368442087/a-burger-joint-pays-15-an-hour-and-yes-its-making-money

The verbal gymnastics progressives have gone through apologizing for Elliott is a prime example of why 46 million people sat out the 2016 elections.

 

NFL Player Protests

The NFL outlawing national anthem protests is bs. That being said, the white liberals and Black Democrats who are railing against the NFL owners’ decision need to check themselves. Black Parkland students held a press conference in April, to speak on how they’ve been marginalized in the gun violence debate. They asked if gun control advocates were going to speak up for victims of police shootings and urban gun violence. Hartford high school students have voiced the same complaint. White liberals and Black Democrats are doing NOTHING on the city, state and federal level to push the Democrats to implement radical policies (body cameras don’t count) that will hold the police accountable. NOTHING.

 

It’s great that New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson will pay any fines, if Jets players kneel during the national anthem. However if Black Democrats and white liberals don’t move beyond lip service and push the Democrats to implement racial justice policies, NFL players will be kneeling for the next 50 years.

Last week Colin Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos told the Straight Aim podcast that at least one NFL owner testified under oath he changed his mind about signing Kaepernick, after President Trump publicly criticized player protests against systematic racism and police brutality. Geragos is representing Kaepernick in his collusion grievance against the NFL

 

Police Accountability

In Georgia, police officers who are accused of committing crimes are given an immunity hearing. The judge can throw out the case before it even goes to trial.  An immunity hearing is being held in the case of former DeKalb County officer Robert Olsen. Olsen is charged with murder for the 2015 fatal shooting of #AnthonyHill, a mentally ill military veteran. Olsen shot Hill as Hill ran towards him naked and unarmed, clearly experiencing a mental health crisis.

Milwaukee police chief Alfonso Morales apologized May 23 for the brutal assault of NBA player Sterling Brown by five Milwaukee police officers, over a PARKING VIOLATION. Morales said the officers were “disciplined”. Brown released a statement.

“My experience in January with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody. What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tased, and then unlawfully booked. This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.

Situations like mine and worse happen every day in the black community. Being a voice and a face for people who won’t be heard and don’t have the same platform as I have is a responsibility I take seriously. I am speaking for Dontre Hamilton of Milwaukee, Laquan McDonald of Chicago, Stephon Clark of Sacramento, Eric Garner of New York, and the list goes on. These people aren’t able to speak anymore because of unjust actions by those who are supposed to “serve and protect” the people.

The common denominator in all of these situations has been racism towards the minority community, the abuse of power, and the lack of accountability for officers involved. The lack of repercussions for the police officers involved in so many of these cases is offensive. This is a slap in the face to the victims’ families and communities.
Black men shouldn’t have to have their guard up and instantly be on the defensive when seeing a police officer, but it’s our reality and a real problem. There must be mutual respect and both sides have to figure out how to accomplish this.

There are no easy solutions to this problem, but there are strides that can be made to create change. I will do my part in helping to prevent similar incidents from happening to the minority community in the future.

This is bigger than me. My family, friends, legal team, Priority Sports, Milwaukee Bucks, the black community and the communities of all who stand against injustice plan to continue the fight. Peaceful support to ensure no further damage to our community is the only way to respond. I know many of you will share my anger and frustration, but for our community to progress and grow, we need to build on what we already have and not destroy it. I will take legal action against the Milwaukee Police Department to continue forcing change in our community.”

 

Terrorist Dies in U.S. a Free Man

Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who personified U.S. hypocrisy on the so-called War on Terror and immigration, died May 23 in Florida at 90. Posada Carriles was a CIA asset who opposed the Fidel Castro regime. Posada Carriles blew up Cubana Flight 455 in 1976, killing 73 people. Posada Carriles was jailed after entering the U.S. illegally in 2005, but was not extradited to Cuba or Venezuela. There were Venezuelan citizens on Flight 455. Posada Carriles was released in 2007 and lived in Florida until his death.

 

North Korea

White liberals understand this: you’re dead wrong in rooting for U.S. talks with North Korea to fail. Peace on the Korean Peninsula would be a good thing.  It doesn’t matter who the president is. South Korea deserves the credit if there are any positive results; anybody who is actually following this issue knows that. Everything isn’t about your #BlueWave bs obsession with regaining power in the 2018 midterms.

 

Resources

Data on Poverty in Connecticut

https://trendct.org/2015/05/27/connecticut-has-more-concentrated-poverty-and-wealth-than-most-metros/
Follow CP on Twitter @communityparty1 for state, national and world news headlines.

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://sometroradio.com/

Check out our No Sellout blog:
https://hendu39.wordpress.com/

Contact us:
samuelssloflo@aol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Returns May 29

May 27, 2018

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, May 29. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. We will discuss Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, an institution that has declared war on their workers. Debbie Duncan Cook and Johnny Eric Williams, a member of The American Association of University Professors chapter at Trinity, will be our guests. Debbie worked at Trinity for 32 years. She was callously laid off from her position at the Mather Hall Welcome Desk May 15, along with a group of employees. Guest contributor Toni Taylor will talk about the latest developments in the case of her son, Cary Ball Jr. Cary was shot 25 times by St. Louis police April 24, 2013. We’ll also discuss the police killings of Stephon Clark and Alton Sterling, in addition to incidents at Starbucks and The Waffle House restaurant chain. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific.   http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

Bring Back Debbie Cook! Sign and share the petition!

https://www.change.org/p/president-joanne-berger-sweeney-bring-back-debbie-cook

We Stand with Debbie Duncan Cook / Guest Column on 2018 Poor People’s Campaign
by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 31 – June 7 edition of the Hartford News.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/we-stand-with-debbie-duncan-cook-guest-

Toni Taylor Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/toni.taylor.3701

Justice for Cary Ball Jr. Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForCaryBallJr/

Cary on the Ball Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/CaryBallJr/

 

We Stand with Debbie Duncan Cook / Guest Column on 2018 Poor People’s Campaign

May 25, 2018

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 31 – June 7 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 29. 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

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

 

Bring Back Debbie Cook!

Alain Lopez started this petition to President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

On May 15, 2018, a Trinity College Human Resources rep walked up to Debbie Cook in Mather Hall and informed her that she was being let go, immediately. I can only imagine how Debbie felt as she was escorted to her office to get her things and then walked out of the very institution to which she gave more than 30 years.

For more than 30 years, Debbie has given everything she’s had. In an environment where a sense of community is sometimes challenging to find, Debbie has been there for many of us. Whether she smiled and said, “Hello sugar,” made a simple quip to cheer you up, or asked about your day, Debbie surely warmed our spirits. Undoubtedly, when we think about the events and people that make us proud to be part of trincoll, Debbie is one of the first people that comes to mind for many.

These past few years, Debbie has been battling cancer. Even through this personal battle, she has been there for Trinity. The pain of her many ailments has never been enough to put her in a bad mood. Rather, more than anything, she worries about the possibility of not being at work the next day. The Trinity family and her husband have been and remain her priorities.

In an age where a person’s humanity is disposable in the name of the bottom line and treating those around us with basic decency is an option, we ask Trinity to stick by its core values. We, the undersigned, request that President Berger-Sweeney and the Board of Trustees reinstate Debbie and continue her health insurance benefits. At a time when she needs the most support, Trinity should be there for her, at least, as much as she has been there for her community.

Sign and share the petition!

https://www.change.org/p/president-joanne-berger-sweeney-bring-back-debbie-cook

Debbie Duncan Cook and a member of the Trinity AAUP will be guests on Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Tuesday, May 29 at 8:00 PM. http://sometroradio.com/

 

Policy Watch: Poor People’s Campaign

This week we’ll share a column by Black Agenda Report commentator Bruce Dixon on the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign.

Barber Sermon on Militarism Reveals Philosophical & Political Limitations of the Poor Peoples Campaign

Bruce A. Dixon, BAR managing editor 11 May 2018

“Rev. Barber speaks for the politically leftish wing of the Institutional Church in the US, which has pretty much anointed him the mantle of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s final year, minus the burden King carried as one of the nation’s most hated, derided and despised public figures.”

The 70 minute lecture on militarism by the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor Peoples Campaign earlier this month is no small thing both for who was talking, and for what was said.

 

The organizational forces mustered behind Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Poor Peoples Campaign are nothing less than a broad swath of mainline and other US Protestant churches, backed by the generous gifts of a galaxy of foundations and individual wealthy contributors, supplemented by the bottom-up energy pulled from many thousands of church communities, their activists, and the innumerable good works they carry on. Rev. Barber speaks for the politically leftish wing of the Institutional Church in the US, which has pretty much anointed him the mantle of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s final year with a way bigger budget, and minus the burden King carried as one of the nation’s most hated, derided and despised public figures.

In a little over an hour, Rev. Barber’s sermon stakes out a number of anti-imperialist and anti-militarist positions on US and world history, and on current US imperial policy more explicit and more advanced than any the Church has issued in the past. He notes the foundational American crimes of Native American and African genocide, land theft and slavery, white supremacy and settler colonialism. Barber condemned Vietnam and scores of US interventions all over the planet since WW2 as illegal and immoral, and denounces environmental devastation as immoral too. He names the US empire’s military budget as the principal obstacle to human progress inside the US. These and other evolving positions reflect the fact that the Church is a field of contention too, in which a number of institutional and activist forces are vying for influence. Barber’s position makes him a kind of Church politician, and activists inside and outside the Church are pushing Barber and the PPC to the left.
But the limitations of the PPC are both philosophical and political.

Philosophically the PPC’s historical and current analysis blames everything on immoral persons and immoral policies, on a lack of moral depth and moral commitment , distorted moral narratives and moral analyses, to which Barber puts forth the remedies of “moral revival,” of a “massive moral reset” to be accomplished by “moral defense”, moral resistance,” by nonviolent direct action and in the line where he and his audience were most enthusiastic and at ease by rising up and “…voting like never before.” The problem here is that labeling your political opponents, their leaders, their misguided values and their persons as “immoral” is never a persuasive political tactic. It might make those already on your side feel nice and comfy to know they’re all moral and the other guys are not, but it’s functionally indistinguishable from Hillary appearing to call 60 million Trump voters a “basket of deplorables.” That kind of thing wasn’t respectful or persuasive coming from Hillary and it’s not any better coming from Barber and the PPC.

The PPC’s philosophical limitation becomes a political limitation because it excuses them, and leftists who follow their lead from helping craft political messages and strategies that might break the hold of Trump and the right upon tens of millions of Americans by somehow appealing to their class interest. The “immorality is the root of empire, war, economic injustice, environmental devastation and poverty” construct is at the very core of their political analysis, and it’s the nexus around which all their remedies revolve. Without a transcript I’d guess Barber’s 70 minute oration on militarism used the word “moral” a couple hundred times to explain the past and present. The words he never uses are capitalism, socialism, class or working class, not even once. How we can explain, let alone solve economic injustice, environmental destruction, white supremacy and the rest without these concepts is a mystery that makes Barber’s and the PPC’s actual politics of change more than a little cloudy.

The lack of any political endgame for the Poor Peoples Campaign beyond the call to “vote like never before” is telling. There’s an existing, a hegemonic structure of thought and belief, of received societal “wisdom” and common sense that takes over when you stop being politically specific about political outcomes, a force that bends them back into familiar channels with familiar results. This kind of political cloudiness is characteristic of a particular school of social change through “nonviolent direct action” associated with Gene Sharpe , a curious apostle of nonviolence whose entire career, publications and training apparatus was bankrolled by the US national security state.

Policy-wise there are places where Barber, the PPC and the Institutional Church are unwilling to tread. Barber and company seem barely able to recognize domestic or international crimes when these are perpetrated by Democrats. It was Obama not Bush or Trump that started giving training, material support, ammo and logistics to every single army on the African continent except Libya, Somalia and Zimbabwe. Barber’s call for “a just two state solution” is utterly oblivious of the impossibility of anybody peacefully co-existing with or creating such a thing out of the nuclear armed apartheid ethnocracy that is today’s Israel. Barber’s sermon condemns drone warfare’s murder of innocents without noting that Barack Obama originated the policy. Rev. Barber denounces the hateful and immoral border wall, without noting that 70% of it was built under Obama, who voted for it as a US senator, leaving less than 30% to be completed by Trump. All these are places where rank and file activists inside and outside the precincts of the Church-led movement must continue to press Barber, the PPC and the Institutional Church.

The PPC has other built in political limitations as well. While legally and nominally a non-partisan endeavor, its operatives, its organizational history and political ties are firmly to the Democratic Party. Rev. Barber comes out of a tradition of political preachers, through the NAACP, which is firmly tied by blood, business, social, funding and legal networks to the Democratic Party. Rev. Barber was a featured speaker at the 2016 Democratic convention. For all of Barber’s career, and in his previous outfit, Moral Monday Barber was known for deploying his guns of moral outrage exclusively against Republicans. That’s a big problem when austerity, empire and militarism are bipartisan projects of both ruling class parties. And of course Rev. Barber doesn’t touch his party’s craven obsession to blame Russian meddling, Russian influence and Russian perfidy of all kinds for the Democrats’ loss in 2016, and maybe for their next losses too.

Finally, despite pretentions to nonpartisanship, Rev. Barber and friends historically tend not to play well with leftists outside the Democratic Party. While Barber and the forces allied with him are invariably grateful when leftists pad their crowds at events, forces left of the Democratic Party are never, never, never allowed mic time at any events. It’s the rule, and it’s the way Democrats play it. If the good reverend and his friends ever find a way to publicly and collegially acknowledge the presence of leftists outside the Democratic Party we could easily find ourselves marching a long way against war and imperialism alongside the church folks. We won’t be the block to this happening.

We can and ought to march alongside them. What we cannot do, as socialists, is consent to be led by their cramped vision, a vision which refuses to name capitalism as the problem, let alone consider building a 21st century socialism as the solution.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Follow CP on Twitter @communityparty1 for state, national and world news headlines.

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://sometroradio.com/

Check out our No Sellout blog:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/

Contact us:

samuelssloflo@aol.com

 

Trinity College Declares War on Workers / CT Democrats Punish Winfield

May 19, 2018

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 24 – 31 edition of the Hartford News.

Updated May 22  8:34 PM

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 29. 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

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

CT Democrats Don’t Like Uppity Blacks

“A two-term State Rep playing referee for a long term State Rep whose district includes a section of the North End speaks volumes.

This is none of McGee’s business. Fonfara made the remark and it’s for him to man up and face his constituents, regardless of the response he would receive.

McGee cancels the event because people in the North End won’t play nice? Seriously? If he made a sexist comment, you know he’d be at every women’s group event begging for forgiveness but with African-Americans… Screw them because they vote Democrat regardless and CT Dems don’t give them a seat at the table anyway.” ~ Blogger Al Robinson on Rep. Brandon McGee’s explanation for cancelling a community conversation with Sen. John Fonfara, who made racist comments to Black lobbyist Arvia Walker last month.

Sen. Gary Winfield, the only legislator who denounced Fonfara’s remarks, and also called out the Connecticut Democrats for their hypocritical silence, was snubbed by the party last week for the lieutenant governor position on the Ned Lamont gubernatorial ticket. Right before Winfield was scheduled to announce his L.G. candidacy, Lamont announced that his top rival Susan Bysiewicz  was dropping her run for governor to become Lamont’s running mate. The formation of Team Mayonnaise was at least partly an act of retaliation against Winfield.  A debate about ‘diversity’ in the party dominated conversations throughout the week. While Lamont’s pro-labor message is promising, the optics of his alliance with Bysiewicz are horrible. Walker raised the most important issue, which is the systematically racist policies of the Democrats.

McGee’s involvement is classic Democratic machine politics: use Blacks to put out the Fonfara fire. A 2016 Courant editorial board interview revealed that McGee supported Hartford filing for bankruptcy, a neoliberal strategy used to attack municipal workers’ wages and benefits in predominantly Black cities like Detroit and Chicago. The public sector is the largest employer of Black people, and women.

The CT Democrats’ leadership: Gov. Dan Malloy, Senate President Martin Looney, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter are coddling a racist, because he’s THEIR racist. Winfield pointed out that when President Donald Trump or another Republican makes a bigoted remark, the CT Democrats are filled with righteous indignation. However it’s a different story when it’s one of their own.

We Stand with Debbie Duncan Cook & Trinity College Employees

 

My friend Debbie Duncan Cook worked at Trinity College for 32 years.  She was callously laid off from her position at the Mather Hall Welcome Desk last week, along with a group of employees. I emailed questions to Trinity spokeswoman Kathryn Andrews.

1) Debbie worked for Trinity for 32 years and is considered by many to be the face of Trinity; I understand that your HR Department has been inundated with letters protesting her termination, which came without any prior notice. Trinity students, staff and alumni are organizing on her behalf. Debbie will undergo cancer surgery next week. How does Trinity feel about the optics of this termination?

2) Did Debbie’s health issues and the costs related to her health benefits factor into Trinity’s decision to terminate her?

3) Debbie’s supporters told me that she is the latest casualty in the war on workers in this country. What is Trinity’s response?

Mr. Samuels,

Getting back to you on your inquiry below…

As a matter of policy, we do not discuss individual personnel matters, which are confidential.

What I can share: This week the college informed 12 staff members that their jobs were being eliminated as a result of challenging work over the last few months to balance the college’s operating budget and align its resources with its identified strategic priorities.

For additional/broader context, if you haven’t already seen it, I would point you to this recent Hartford Courant story: Trinity College Cuts Jobs, Budget And Strengthens Fundraising To Ensure ‘Sustainable Future’.

-Kathy

Andrews did not respond when I asked her to answer my question about the war on workers in a general sense.

 

The American Association of University Professors chapter at Trinity College wrote a letter to Trinity administration.

To: Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President
Tim Cresswell, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty
Dan Hitchell, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

On May 15, 2018, news began to emerge that Trinity College employees, many with multiple decades of service to this institution, were laid off—apparently without notice, in most instances effective immediately and, in some cases, without returning to their collect their personal effects. This information became public, in trickles, without a clear statement from the administration. When clarification did arrive, a full day later, the rationale was simply “the challenging work of aligning our resources with our priorities” and it was suggested that clarification about what these priorities are would be “forthcoming.” While this might be how cutthroat corporations operate, we expect more from a humane institution of higher learning.
The layoffs of May 15 raise a number of concerns. First, the administration’s handling of the layoffs appears unnecessarily cruel and designed to intimidate other employees on campus. It has been devastating to morale. Moreover, it appears to have been executed without regard for the fact that those laid off were important members of Trinity College. While news that layoffs were coming was made public last month, the assumption among the faculty—apparently naively and against our better judgment—was that such layoffs would be done in a tactful, thoughtful, and fair manner. Such guarantees were given to faculty sitting on the President’s Planning and Budget Committee (PBC). We thought, erroneously, that these positions might have been eliminated over time and through attrition; and that perhaps current employees, rather than being summarily laid off, could have been given the opportunity to transition to the new positions that the College intends to create. No explanation was given regarding why these particular cuts were deemed necessary. Nor has there been a public discussion about sacrifice being shared by the presidential cabinet or the faculty. We are also fully aware that these cuts are having a severe effect on the morale of our colleagues across campus. We fail to understand why these hard-working and loyal members of our community should be the ones to pay for the College’s financial woes: problems that these employees certainly did not create or sustain.
This round of layoffs, however, is not an isolated instance. They are the latest installment in a disturbing trend that has seen valued colleagues leaving, or being forced out of, this institution—taking their skills and institutional memory with them. There are rumors of non-disclosure agreements that prevent us from learning about why our friends and colleagues were let go.
If these terminations happened in isolation there would be substantial reason for concern. However, they also appear as further evidence of a chronic lack of budgetary planning at the administrative level. The deficit problems were not unexpected, yet this round of layoffs appears to have been done abruptly, with paltry severance, in secret, and without publicly acknowledging the contributions of those being let go. Despite years of knowledge about needed budgetary reforms, this round of layoffs comes across as rushed, unexplained, and possibly avoidable. This is just the latest in a growing list of costly budgetary decisions that appear to sap the resources of this institution, fundamentally altering its mission and curriculum, and implemented without the approval of the faculty.

Now, some will undoubtedly claim that finances are complex issues, and that faculty lacks the tools to understand the full stakes. But, first, these issues are not merely financial but fundamental questions concerning our priorities, values, and our ability to teach the classes our students deserve. Secondly, our ability to fully participate in these important conversations is curtailed by an administration that routinely hides, obfuscates, and conceals information necessary for faculty to engage in the governance of our institution. The two “Budget Forums” (April 13 and April 19) were exceptionally light on information. There is a growing feeling that faculty committees are shut out of the decision-making processes, and important budgetary (and therefore curricular) issues routinely appear made without faculty consultation. The result has been that fewer and fewer of us feel inclined to participate in a process that does not seem to take seriously our input, our expertise, our priorities, or our decades of experience.
Finally, the administration’s mistreatment of those who lost their jobs sends a clear message that the core employees that constitute this institution—no matter how senior, and no matter how respected by students, faculty, and staff—will continue to bear the brunt of decisions made, largely in secret, by this administration. We understand that budgetary decision-making is hard. However, institutions are measured by how they make hard decisions. This hard decision was handled in a way that severely shakes the confidence we have in this current administration.
We sincerely hope that the President, her cabinet, as well as the Board of Trustees not only reinstate those who lost their jobs, but also issue an apology for the manner in which these layoffs took place. Doing so will go a long way to regain our trust, demonstrating that the budgetary struggles facing this institution do not continue to fall upon the shoulders of those who have already given so much while receiving so little in return. We demand robust shared governance, which includes ensuring that those making the highest salaries also share in the sacrifice. This begins with actual conversations about the budget, our priorities, and how we—as a community—can ultimately meet these challenges, together.

Trinity AAUP Demands

1. Reinstatement of fired employees, accompanied by an apology;
a. If these employees are not reinstatement, provide them with a year’s severance and health insurance for those close to retirement until they reach their retirement age

2. Administration (President, VPs, Deans, etc.) pay cuts – to cover the cost of reinstatement or severance and health insurance

3. Suspend all administrative hiring. If there is any retrenchment of positions, it must start with administrative (so called cabinet) positions

If these steps are not taken, we will increasingly have no confidence in this administration’s ability to run the college.

Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.

Sign the petition!  Debbie Duncan Cook and a member of the Trinity AAUP will be guests on Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Tuesday, May 29 at 8:00 PM.   http://sometroradio.com/

https://www.change.org/p/president-joanne-berger-sweeney-bring-back-debbie-cook

 

Resources

‘CEOs don’t want this released’: US study lays bare extreme pay-ratio problem

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/16/ceo-worker-pay-ratio-america-first-study

The Siege of Detroit: A War of Black Urban Removal

https://blackagendareport.com/content/siege-detroit-war-black-urban-removal

 

Follow CP on Twitter @communityparty1 for state, national and world news headlines.

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://sometroradio.com/

Check out our No Sellout blog:
https://hendu39.wordpress.com/

Contact us:
samuelssloflo@aol.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Returns May 15

May 12, 2018

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, May 15. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Voting reform advocate Gwen Samuel will  discuss her work in Connecticut. Guest contributor Janet Frazao-Conaci will join us for a Policy Watch analysis of the Connecticut General Assembly 2018 legislative session. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific.  http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

Independent voters fight for right to right to crash two-party primary system

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/2/independent-voters-push-open-primaries/

‘Momentum for Better Elections’ as Maine Supreme Court Approves Ranked-Choice Voting for 2018 Elections

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/18/momentum-better-elections-maine-supreme-court-approves-ranked-choice-voting-2018

Gwen Samuel Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/gwen.samuel

Fonfara, Ritter & CT Democrats Abuse Communities of Color
by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 17 – 24 edition of the Hartford News.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/fonfara-ritter-ct-democrats-abuse-communities-of-color/

 

Fonfara, Ritter & CT Democrats Abuse Communities of Color

May 11, 2018

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 17 -24 edition of the Hartford News.

Updated 5-12-18

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 15. 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

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

The victim of the fatal shooting Friday on Huntington Street in Hartford has been identified as 17-year-old Tyron George. Empty slogans like ‘stop the violence’ and ‘put down the guns’ are useless. Demonizing young Black males and telling them to pull their pants up is pointless. We will not pray or march our way out of this problem. Poverty = violence. The Democrats and Republicans deprive communities of color of living wage jobs, education, affordable housing, health care and resources, then use the subsequent violence to justify police repression of these communities. We need to control the politics and politicians in our communities, instead of politics and politicians controlling us. We need voting reform. We need to elect grassroots candidates who will represent the interests of the people.

 

Patient Safety / Workers’ Rights

The Connecticut Valley Hospital / Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services employees coalition would like to thank Sen. Heather Somers, Rep. Robyn Porter and Sen. Ed Gomes for acting on our worker protection recommendations for S.B. 404 An Act Concerning Mandated Reporters. We look forward to developing a partnership with the Public Heath & Labor and Public Employees committees, as we continue to organize for patient safety and workers’ rights. Coming soon: CVH / DMHAS employees coalition Facebook page and candidate forum.

 

Policy Watch: 2018 Legislative Session

“Every day that I walk into the Capitol, I am reminded of the long history of systemic racism within our country and how it plays out in the halls of our statehouse. Institutional racism is embedded in the policies and discriminatory practices that routinely produce unjust outcomes for people of color… ” ~ Black lobbyist Arvia Walker, responding to racist comments last month from Democratic Sen. John Fonfara.

“Dear Senator,

It is disheartening to read that you are no longer supporting the bill that you introduced to protect the children in your district.
After your statement about black women needing to take a walk in your shoes, I think you owe this to your constituents.”
Please don’t throw them and my future children under the bus.”  ~ Batchelder School parent’s email to Fonfara, who dropped support of a bill he introduced to keep the Hartford school open. The Hartford Board of Education violated their own policies, as they voted to close the school earlier this year.

Another Connecticut General Assembly legislative session ended May 9 with poverty, racial economic disparity and their side effects (e.g. urban gun violence), police accountability and other urban policy issues being ignored by Gov. Dan Malloy and the CT Democrats. Now the party can concentrate on what they really care about: fundraising and elections. Those interested in racial justice should interject their views into the campaign discourse and organize for voting reforms, including Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting. The Community Party is having conversations with voting reform advocates about bringing RCV to Connecticut. You can learn about RCV here. https://www.rankedchoicevoting.org/

During the legislative session two Democratic lawmakers abandoned important racial justice bills, betraying their Hartford constituents.  Fonfara dropped the Batchelder bill. House Majority Leader Matt Ritter sponsored the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment, a racial profiling bill that would require patrol officers to give a record of a traffic stop to every motorist they pull over. After the bill died in the Judiciary Committee, Ritter told me in an email that he would talk to the committee co-chairs about attaching our bill to an active bill as an amendment. Ritter did not respond to an email I sent to him recently, inquiring about the status of the bill. I checked the Connecticut General Assembly website and saw that no action was taken on our legislation.

My colleague Rick Torres, who joined me in a phone conference with Ritter in January,  reported on a recent conversation he had with the lawmaker. “Last month I ran into Ritter at First & Last Bakery as he was chatting with Eugenio Caro, who introduced us. I mentioned our phone conference and asked for the status of the bill. He said then that he was looking to attach it to another bill…NOT.”

My email to Ritter also included a question about Fonfara. Ritter, who to this day has been silent on Fonfara’s remarks, told me in an email last month that a community event including Fonfara had been scheduled to discuss his comments to Walker. I was told by a source at the Capitol there was an unconfirmed report that the event never took place. Ritter did not respond to my question about whether or not the event happened.

During our January conversation Ritter, unhappy with my public criticism of his policy positions, told Rick and I that he would not publicly promote the Trayvon Martin Act in any way; he wouldn’t mention it in his mailers, wouldn’t bring it up in media interviews, nothing. Well, if you’re going to take that position and the bill doesn’t pass, you better be prepared for the repercussions. Ritter said we should have settled for the bill to be implemented as a pilot program, despite the 2012 East Haven Police Department racial profiling scandal that made national headlines and data that shows Black and Latinx motorists in CT are still being stopped at a disproportionate rate. Traffic stops are a primary point of contact between the police and people of color, who are fatally shot by cops in the U.S. at a disproportionate rate.  State sponsored violence against Black, Latinx and Indigenous people is a national emergency; stall tactics like pilot programs are an insult and unacceptable.

Ritter, like most politicians, doesn’t understand that he works for his constituents, not the other way around. Ritter is not doing us a favor by introducing a bill we bring to him, that will benefit the people in his district. That’s his job. The ongoing gun violence in Hartford is another reason to hold Fonfara and Ritter accountable. As usual, neither offered any policy solutions during the legislative session to address the poverty and racial economic disparity that fuel the deadly shootings in the city they represent.

The CT Democrats deprive Hartford of jobs and resources. The result is Black and Latinx men and youths being chalked out in the streets.  A prime example is their initial decision to cut Medicaid in their state budget proposal, until community outrage forced them to restore the funding. You Black CT Democrats who yap about the bigotry of Donald Trump, while saying nothing about your own party coddling a despicable racist like Fonfara, are sellouts. You’re traitors to your race. White liberals are also hypocrites as usual, for remaining silent. Black Democrats in Hartford make Kanye West look like Kwame Ture.

Voters need real choices. The Democrats and their white liberal followers incessantly howl about the myth of Russia influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. If these frauds truly wanted to eliminate the so-called spoiler factor, they would implement Ranked Choice Voting. 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has introduced RCV legislation in Massachusetts that was obstructed by the Democrats and Republicans, who want to maintain their duopoly. Dr. Stein challenged the Democrats to implement RCV before the 2016 elections. When Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, white liberals blamed Dr. Stein. This is bs, of course. The Democrats want to hold voters on the left hostage, using the specter of GOP victory.

Last week the Connecticut Mirror ran a story about the Democrats’ effort to raise the state minimum wage (currently $10.10) to $15.00 being obstructed by conservative Democrat Joan Hartley. Yes, Hartley wields tremendous power because the Senate is tied at 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans. The truth is that the Democrats could have raised the minimum wage to $15.00 while they held a large majority in the House and the Senate.  Malloy refused to support a raise in the past. One year the Senate Democrats refused to vote on a raise. Now in an election year, the Democrats finally decided to go for it and failed. Politics as usual.

The CT Democrats continue to serve their true constituents, the rich and corporations, as their once dominant control of the General Assembly has evaporated into a tie in the Senate and razor thin majority in the House. The Democrats would rather lose than go left. This party must be held accountable for their ongoing abuse of communities of color, through grassroots political action.

Follow CP on Twitter @communityparty1 for state, national and world news headlines.

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://sometroradio.com/

Check out our No Sellout blog:
https://hendu39.wordpress.com/
Contact us:
samuelssloflo@aol.

 

 

Victory for CVH Patients & Workers / Chicago Gun Violence Requires Holistic Policy Plan

May 5, 2018

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 10 – 17 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 15. 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

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

 

Political Roundup

Next week’s column will include a Policy Watch report on the 2018 Connecticut General Assembly legislative session.

(UPDATED Wednesday, May 9)

CONNECTICUT VALLEY HOSPITAL UPDATE: Tuesday night the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill that will establish a CVH task force. The bill includes amendments proposed by a coalition of Black CVH and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services employees. These amendments include the task force discussing independent oversight of CVH, in the form of an Office of Inspector General. CVH employees would have a direct line of communication to the IG office. The task force will also have the power to conduct a CVH workplace bullying survey, which will include questions regarding CVH management’s practice of retaliation against employees, and worker morale.

S.B. 404 An Act Concerning Mandated Reporters empowers the CVH task force to “examine complaints and any other reports of discriminatory practices.” Republican Sen. Heather Somers, who sponsored the bill, told me that the task force can hold additional hearings, based on workers’ rights issues that we bring up.  One of the amendments we submitted was for CVH to provide termination, suspension, hiring, promotion and wage information  from 2003 – present to the task force, provide the data to the task force on a monthly basis going forward,  and make the data available on the State of Connecticut website for public review. We also requested that the task force hold a public hearing on the CVH campus to discuss patient safety, racism and workplace bullying.

Somers told me we can use task force hearings to request the data we want from CVH. If CVH refuses to turn over the data to the task force, the Labor or Public Health Committee can send a subpoena ordering them to give up the data under penalty of law. You can read the S.B. 404 bill language here.

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2018&bill_num=404

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily, then to Gov. Dan Malloy’s desk to be signed into law. The House and Senate will be in session for the next five days, leading up to the end of the 2018 legislative session on Wednesday.  You can watch Somers’ update on the task force bill and the CT Network video of the May 4 Senate session below. The CVH bill is discussed at the beginning of the CT-N video.

Update from Sen. Heather Somers:

 

Connecticut Network video of May 4 Senate session:

http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=15265

Shout out to retired CVH employee John Hollis and Kathy Flaherty, Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, for their work with the CVH/DMHAS employees coalition. John has worked with me on the workplace bullying issue at CVH for 8 years.

 

Gun Control

The Community Party’s Gun Buyer Reference Check Act (H.B. 5540) is on the House calendar, awaiting a vote. Our bill would require interviews with the immediate family members of gun buyers.

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB05540&which_year=2018

 

The Fox and the Wolf

Malcolm X said that the white liberal is the fox, and the white conservative is the wolf. Both have the same agenda: political control of the U.S. empire. A liberal can’t tell me shit about how racist Donald Trump is. Connecticut Public Radio host Colin McEnroe and Democratic Party operative Bill Curry were both deliberately obtuse and cowardly, when I confronted them on social media about the Democrats’ systematically racist policies and their own personal hypocrisy. Trump at least is open about his white nationalism.

 

Batchelder Closing

Parents of students at Batchelder School in Hartford asked the State Board of Education April 2 to move forward with their complaint, that the city board of education’s decision to close Batchelder violates the board’s own policies.

 

Victory for Clay Arsenal Tenants

The Courant reports that residents of the Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments in Hartford have scored a major victory in their fight against slumlord Emmanuel Ku. Mayor Luke Bronin has notified Ku that the city will start fining Ku up to $10,000 a day, for violations that include roach and mice infestations.

 

Police Accountability

Gov. Dan Malloy announced May 3 that Connecticut will be the first state to participate in a national policing database. The problem is, the state has been compiling data through its own electronic system for the past few years. Malloy and the Democrats continue to obstruct police accountability legislation, despite their own data reports that show people of color are subjected to traffic stops at a disproportionate rate. The 2012 East Haven Police Department racial profiling scandal is more than enough proof that biased policing is happening in CT.

 

Voting Reform in Connecticut

If we want racial justice in Hartford, that will require radical voting reform (Open Primaries/Ranked Choice Voting). The Connecticut Democrats and Republicans only care about votes and money. The Community Party is discussing a collaboration with voting reform advocate Gwen Samuel, who has been pushing for Open Primaries in Connecticut. Check out our Resources section for information on Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting.

 

Kanye West

Black folks are going crazy over Kanye West’s slavery comments but they blindly support the Democrats, the party that shits on us every day. West isn’t an elected official. He makes records, not policy. Right here in Connecticut, the Democrats deprive Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport of jobs and resources, which fuels gun violence in the streets. They obstruct police accountability legislation and other racial justice bills. The Democrats and Republicans prop up white supremacy.

Kanye has never signed a bill in his life. It’s time to get mad at Gov. Dan Malloy and the Connecticut Democrats for coddling a racist. Sen. John Fonfara still has his seat in the General Assembly, after making racist comments to Black lobbyist Arvia Walker. Fonfara represents Hartford, a predominantly Black/Brown city. The CT Democrats’ policies reflect Fonfara’s racism. The party must be challenged with grassroots political action.

 

Stephon Clark

My response to Sacramento County Coroner Dr. Gregory Reiber’s autopsy results on Stephon Clark is so what? Reiber’s results contradict those of the private autopsy paid for by the family, which indicate that Stephon was mostly shot in the back. Toronto Police officer Ken Lam was face to face with van attack suspect Alek Minassian. Like Stephon, Minassian was holding a cellphone. Unlike Stephon, Minassian repeatedly made motions acting like the phone was a gun, but Lam did not fire his weapon. Learning to distinguish a gun from other objects is an integral part of the training for Canadian police.

 

Puerto Rico

“We are demanding the repeal of the (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act). We demand eliminating the fiscal control board. We demand the creation of a democratic and participatory process to audit the debt.” – Puerto Rican protester Jocelyn Velazquez, speaking at the International Workers’ Day strike May 1 on the island.

source: democracynow.org

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/5/2/may_day_in_puerto_rico_police

 

Chicago

“A young mother. A 4-year-old girl. A 15-year-old boy riding the bus home from school.
They are among the nearly 40 people shot in Chicago over just three days this week, days when the temperature reached into the 80s and drew more people into the streets. In fact, this level of violence on weekdays is usually not seen until the middle of summer, according to data kept by the Tribune.” ~ May 3 Chicago Tribune article

“In Chicago, about 274,000 people this year—or 10 percent of the city’s population—live in deep poverty. Their income is less than half of the federal poverty line, according to recently released statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2015 terms, that is $5,885 a year for an individual or less than $12,125 for a family of four.
Deep poverty is both widespread across the city and concentrated in predominately African-American neighborhoods. Seven Chicago communities, all of them predominately black, have the highest percentage of residents living in deep poverty, according to an analysis of Census data by the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance, an anti-poverty organization in Chicago.
Of Chicago’s 800 census tracts, 40 percent have deep poverty rates above the city average. Nearly two-thirds of tracts with above average rates have predominately black populations, including tract 3504, which includes the Dearborn Homes public housing project in Bronzeville. The tract has the highest deep poverty rate in the city, about 50 percent of its residents.” ~ 2015 Chicago Reporter article

http://www.chicagoreporter.com/black-chicagoans-most-likely-to-live-in-deep-poverty/

The Shadow Proof website reported on 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s visit to Chicago. Dr. Stein was accompanied by her running mate, human rights activist Ajamu Baraka. Their analysis of Chicago applies to Hartford, and all other predominantly Black and Brown cities engulfed by gun violence. Neither the Democrats nor Republicans are talking about the holistic policy plan that the Stein/Baraka ticket promoted, during their campaign.

“Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein wrapped up a day of campaigning in Chicago on September 8 with a rally that brought several hundred supporters to their feet multiple times. Earlier in the day, she was in the South Austin neighborhood to talk to residents.

Community activists and a few residents joined Stein for a ‘reality walk’ through the neighborhood. The community has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the city, but it also suffers from residential segregation, loss of industrial jobs, disinvestment, and exceptionally high unemployment.

Stein shared after her walk that South Austin residents had told her ‘they need jobs. They need an answer to the violence and the guns that they believe are being supplied to the community, that these guns are being made available through illegal means and that should be a highest priority for investigating.’

Residents in communities like South Austin also ‘need good schools. They need after school programs. They need youth programs. They need job training. They need housing and an end to the foreclosures. They need to reuse the housing that is just lying waste, empty now, to rehab that housing and create jobs.’

‘We are a divided nation,’ Stein answered. ‘We are a nation that’s locked into fear, and we’re an armed nation because we’re afraid of each other.’
‘There is a living legacy of the institution of slavery because it kind of went from slavery to lynchings to Jim Crow to the red lining of communities to mass incarceration to the war on drugs, which is a war on black and brown communities, and then to police violence. We have this history of really entrenched racism and the flip side of that being white privilege and white supremacy.’

‘If communities are struggling with poverty and closed schools and boarded up housing and violence in the streets, that injustice spills over into our economy, into our society, into our future, [and] into the violence that afflicts us all.’

During the rally, (vice presidential nominee Ajamu) Baraka had assertive words for those who ignore the poverty and only rail against the violence in communities, like west and south neighborhoods of Chicago. ‘People talk about [how] we need to deal with the issue of violence in the city. We understand that. But I say if you’re not talking about how we deal with these social and economic grinding conditions, I don’t want to talk about the violence,’ Baraka said.”

 

Resources

Open Primaries

https://www.openprimaries.org/

Ranked Choice Voting

https://www.rankedchoicevoting.org/

 

Follow CP on Twitter @communityparty1 for state, national and world news headlines.

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://sometroradio.com/

Check out our No Sellout blog:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/

Contact us:

samuelssloflo@aol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Party Radio International Workers’ Day Special May 1

April 28, 2018

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, May 1.  Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. We will celebrate International Workers’ Day with a special report: Health Care is a Human Right. Teodoro Anderson Diaz, Behavioral Health Director at First Choice Health Centers in East Hartford, will be our guest. We’ll also take a look at the Black Panther Party’s revolutionary free health care program. We’ll analyze how the April 23 van attack in Toronto exposed police in the United States as an international outlier, regarding the use of deadly force. As many Black people mourn Bill Cosbv’s April 26 conviction on rape charges, we’ll share an excerpt of Cosby’s 2004 Pound Cake speech, where he ridiculed poor Blacks in addition to defending police killings of Black males and Black mass incarceration. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

Bail Out Black Mamas This Mother’s Day

https://www.facebook.com/events/221070941993929/

What is Single Payer?

Physicians for a National Health Program

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/what-is-single-payer

Why You Haven’t Heard of Toronto Police Officer Ken Lam
by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 3 – 10 edition of the Hartford News.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/why-you-havent-heard-of-toronto-police-officer-ken-lam/

 

Connecticut Voices for Children report: Impact of the Proposed Appropriations Committee and Republican FY 2019 Budget Adjustments on Children and Families

http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/impact-proposed-appropriations-committee-and-republican-fy-2019-budget-adjustments-chil

 

 

Why You Haven’t Heard of Toronto Police Officer Ken Lam

April 28, 2018

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 3 – 10 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 1. 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

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

 

Toronto Van Attack: Mainstream Media Ignores a Model of Humane Policing

 

“Fact: Police in Canada average 25 fatal shooting a year. In California, a state just 10% more populous than Canada, police in 2015 have fatally shot nearly three times as many people in just five months.”

“Fact: In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the US fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years.”

“Fact: There has been just one fatal shooting by Icelandic police in the country’s 71-year history. The city of Stockton, California – with 25,000 fewer residents than all of Iceland combined – had three fatal encounters in the first five months of 2015.”

“Fact: Police in the US have shot and killed more people – in every week this year – than are reportedly shot and killed by German police in an entire year.”

“Fact: Police in the US fatally shot more people in one month this year than police in Australia officially reported during a span of 19 years.”

source: The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/09/the-counted-police-killings-us-vs-other-countries

“Toronto Police officers de-escalate hundreds of potentially dangerous situations everyday, the world just witnessed a prime example.” ~ Toronto Police Service Inspector Chris Boddy

The biggest lies by the mainstream media are through omission. April 23 Toronto Constable Ken Lam confronted Alek Minassian, who has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder following a van attack on Yonge Street, a busy area in the city.  Minassian tried to get Lam to shoot him, by pulling out a cellphone as if it was a gun. Lam would not fire. He instead de-escalated the situation. Seeing that Minassian was not holding a gun, Lam approached Minassian, holstered his gun and took out his expandable baton. Minassian then complied with Lam’s command that he get down on the ground. Lam then took Minassian into custody.

Quebec City activist Nora Loreto commented on the reaction to the video of Lam arresting Minassian without using any violence. “I’m surprised at how many journos are surprised that Toronto police didn’t shoot the van murder suspect. You know that police are specifically not supposed to act as judge, jury and executioner, right? We need to normalize non-violent police intervention.”

The United States mainstream media did not cover this aspect of the Toronto van attack story, because it would require a larger conversation about police in this country being an international outlier when it comes to the use of deadly force. This week we’ll share a piece by Montreal Gazette columnist Tristin Hopper,  on the stark contrast between policing in Canada and the U.S.

Why Canadian police are so good at not shooting people

Nobody would have faulted the Toronto Police for fatally shooting the suspect in Monday’s van attack, but they took him alive anyway

by Tristin Hopper

There has been worldwide amazement that Toronto Police did not shoot the suspect in Monday’s vehicular attack.

He had left a street strewn with bodies and was wielding an object that he claimed was a firearm. Nevertheless, Const. Ken Lam not only arrested him without using lethal force, but did it without waiting for backup.

Seven months ago, when a 30-year-old man perpetrated a similar vehicular attack in downtown Edmonton — which injured four, in addition to the stabbing of a police officer — he too was apprehended without a single shot being fired.

Both events speak to a pattern: Canadian police are very good at not shooting people.
“Policing in Canada is not policing in America … the police in Canada use force with incredible infrequency,” said Joel Johnston, a veteran Vancouver Police officer and former use-of-force coordinator for the province of British Columbia.

A recent CBC analysis found that between 2000 and 2017, 461 people were killed as a result of interactions with police in Canada. Of those deaths, 70 per cent were caused by gunshots — or about 19 police shooting deaths per year.

In the United States by contrast, an average of 982 people per year have been shot and killed by police since 2015, according to The Washington Post. Even given the larger population, that’s a per capita rate of police shootings seven times higher than in Canada.

Canada’s far lower rate of gun crime certainly plays a role, but Johnston credits police training programs that prioritize de-escalation over confrontation. “(Canadian police) are trained to try and calm folks down,” he said.

This was notably on display in Monday’s arrest when, soon after arriving on scene, Const. Lam turned off the siren on his police cruiser so that the suspect could better hear his commands. “If you can’t physically communicate with someone, the process doesn’t move forward,” said Johnston.

Christian Leuprecht, a crime policy researcher at both Queen’s University and the Royal Military College, said that from available video of Monday’s arrest it is immediately clear that the officer did not believe he was facing someone holding a real firearm.

“I get the sense that (the officer) assessed the risk to be low,” he said, adding that the officer appeared to be very experienced with such standoffs. “This is not his first time at the rodeo.”

In a normal encounter with an armed suspect, a police officer is trained to crouch behind the engine block of his or her cruiser, thus ensuring that any bullets will be absorbed by the thickest part of the vehicle. Instead, video footage shows that the responding officer took an exposed position in front of the suspect.

Johnston noted that it’s difficult to use grainy video to gauge what Const. Lam would have been able to see — a rule he says should apply equally in controversial videos involving alleged instances of excessive force.

“When people look at video, they don’t know what they don’t know,” he said.
Toronto Police have provided few details as to what guided the officer’s actions on Monday, with Chief Mark Saunders telling a press conference it was due to “the high-calibre training that takes place.”

Police are indeed trained to quickly distinguish between guns and other objects. In fact, the Toronto Police museum, housed on the first floor of Toronto Police Service headquarters, includes an interactive exhibit on the mechanics of split-second gun identification.

Leuprecht noted that Const. Lam took his time to walk back and forth across the scene before deciding to make an arrest. “He spends a good minute assessing the situation,” he said. At one point, he even backs away from the suspect to give himself more space.
This isn’t to say the constable wasn’t entering a potentially deadly situation. The suspect could have been wearing an explosive vest or there could have been explosives in the van. It’s also within the realm of possibility that the suspect could have been holding an unconventional or makeshift firearm.

At similar vehicular ramming attacks in Europe and Israel, perpetrators have often jumped from the car to continue the attack using guns or bladed weapons.
“If you’re responding to a guy who just mowed down 10 people, you could die on that call,” said Leuprecht.

Given the circumstances, it would have been considered well within procedure if the responding officer had simply contained the suspect from a distance and waited for Toronto’s SWAT-like Emergency Task Force to conduct the arrest.

Close inspection of the video, though, shows Const. Lam gradually becoming more confident in front of the suspect, until he ultimately sees an opening to perform the arrest himself. With unaware pedestrians only steps away from the scene, it was obviously preferable to get the suspect in handcuffs as quickly as possible.

Several aspects of the attacker’s behaviour might have outed him as being someone who could be approached without the use of lethal force, according to experts contacted by the National Post.

Notably, unlike most terrorist suspects, he repeatedly performed furtive movements in an apparent attempt to draw a lethal response from the officer. “Shoot me in the head,” he said at one point.

“I look at that situation and I do not believe that this individual’s motive was terror-oriented,” said Nir Maman, managing director with the Canadian Tactical Officers’ Association. “His actions are very, very indicative of a phenomenon called ‘suicide by cop.’ ”

In a video shot from above, documenting the final moments before Const. Lam takes hold of the suspect, it even appears as if the officer holsters his firearm and deploys an expandable baton instead.

“At that point, I would say that becomes a moment when the officer is explicitly able to identify that the object was not in fact a firearm,” said Maman.
As per standard training, Canadian police are instructed to carefully pair their “use of force” with the situation they’re facing. This would explain why the officer immediately swapped a gun for a baton upon confirming he was facing a less threatening situation. “That is all training-based,” said Maman.

Although Monday’s arrest has been hailed as an example of humane policing, there are also strategic reasons to capture an attacker alive.Leuprecht noted that within hours of the attack, public safety minister Ralph Goodale was able to confirm it was not part of a coordinated terrorist plot. This obviously would have been much harder to verify if police had only a bullet-riddled body next to a Ryder van.

 

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