Despite previous promises to keep state funding to towns and cities flat, Mr. Malloy said Tuesday he plans to slash 2.4% in state aid. Since most municipalities have already passed their own budgets, mayors across the state said the measure will have a trickle-down effect on school districts and city workers.
“We need to count on a certain amount of state aid and we don’t care how this happened, the governor isn’t meeting what he promised us,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. “Absorbing these cuts could mean teacher, police and fire layoffs.”
Once again, Boughton is completely full of B.S…and here’s why.
The cuts in municipal aid to Danbury will only amount to around 388,000 dollars.
Danbury stands to take the biggest hit in the region, which a reduction in state aid of at least $388,000.
To the average Joe, 388,000 might seem like a lot of money but in terms of a municipality with a budget that’s in the hundreds of millions of dollars, this reduction in aid amounts to peanuts and Boughton knows it.
Within the city’s budget is a thing called the fund balance, which in layman’s terms is a rainy day fund. Here’s a more detailed explanation (note the portion in bold):
The City’s policy is to maintain a General Fund undesignated fund balance of between 5% and 10% of General Fund expenditures. While the City believes it is important to maintain reserves at reasonable levels, accumulating an excessive fund balance is not good public policy. If fund balance as a percentage of General Fund expenditures exceeds the target of 10%, a portion of that should be returned to the taxpayers in the form of a reduced mill rate. The City’s undesignated fund balance totaled a healthy amount of 10.2% of General Fund Expenditures or $21,250,848 for FY ended June 30, 2010. The budget for FY 2011-2012 incorporated a planned use of fund balance of $2.4 million, bringing the percentage of undesignated fund balance to 9.0%, well within the City’s target of 5% to 10%.
As you can see, the city has more than enough money in the fund balance to offset any cuts to municipal aid from the state and avoid laying off teachers, police, and firefighters. In other words Boughton is being dishonest with the public AGAIN…but what else is new.
This is a correction to an earlier blog post, which I thought would correct some allegedly mistaken information I’d put into a June 14 story about a federal program called “Secure Communities” that has stirred up lots of controversy among undocumented immigrants and civil rights activists.
Unfortunately, the original story was right and I have Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to thank for this screwy situation where I’m correcting an incorrect correction.
In that Secure Communities story, I mentioned a Danbury police sting operation that picked up 11 immigrants, saying “police arrested the 11 men and turned them over to federal immigration agents.” The case resulted in a 2007 civil rights lawsuit against the city and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on behalf of those immigrant workers.
Boughton, anti-illegal immigrant crusader and last year’s unsuccessful Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, emailed me saying I was mistaken, arguing that two different immigration courts had ruled the men “were not arrested by Danbury Police Department, they were arrested by [U.S.] Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The problem with his statement is that, according to sworn depositions by Danbury cops, ICE agents, booking records and news reports, Danbury police did in fact arrest those 11 guys and then turned them over to ICE, which also arrested them on federal charges.
Danbury cops testified in their depositions that the 11 men were taken into custody – by Danbury police – for alleged traffic violations.
But the 11 men were apparently never booked for any traffic violations. They were charged by Danbury police with illegal entry into the United States, and later turned over to ICE agents.
According to Wishnie, booking records show the men weren’t turned over to federal officials until two hours after they were booked by Danbury cops.
In his deposition, ICE Agent James Brown also contradicted Boughton’s insistent claims that the alleged non-sting operation was a federal operation that Danbury police simply helped out with.
“He (Boughton) said the city did not order the operation, that ICE was already on the way. That is not correct, not for this activity,” Brown said.
Danbury Police Lt. James Fisher testified under oath that the arrest of those immigrants was initiated by Danbury cops, and ICE agreed to help only after the third or fourth request from the city. He said the operation came about as a result of pressure from Boughton for police to take action against the immigrant workers.
Tonight Thursday at 9PM on Comcast channel 23, Danbury Whalers new head coach Phil Esposito is scheduled to be a guest on the Marty Heiser show and will answer questions regarding the future of the hockey franchise.
Fans of the Whalers can call and ask questions to the new head coach at 203.438.2003.
So much for the laughable claim that temperature at the police station never raises above 73 degrees.
Since the opening of the new building, there have been a laundry list of issues with the new building…and the most talked about complaint among rank and file members of the department centers on the high temperature conditions at the station.
During this month’s City Council meeting, Democrats Tom Saadi, Paul Rotello, and Fred Visconti addressed the police station temperature problem with Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola in which he repeatedly claimed that the temperature in the building has never risen above 73 degrees.
Iadarola (at 1:49 of the video): “I see a couple of emails flying around of some temp readings, let me just tell you…I have a sensor in every room and by computer I can determine what the temp is. There is no temp in any part of that building that was over 73 degrees.”
To say that Iadarola’s comment angered members of the police force who are forced to endure the high temperatures in the building would be an understatement. To prove that the Public Works Director wasn’t being honest with the public, here’s an image of the temperature reading in one room at the station shot days before the city council meeting…and it clearly shows that the temp is at 80 degrees!
Oh yeah…the image was shot in the evening.
Trust me, this is just the tip of the icebreg…MUCH MUCH more to come.
I’m pumped and ready to get to work. This is a big deal.” -Mayor Mark Boughton on his 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness: The News-Times May 2 2006.
Long before he used the issue of immigration for political purposes, Mark Boughton made the fight to end homelessness in Danbury the centerpiece of mayoral agenda. In 2005 Boughton established a task force in which he appointed Probate Judge Dianne Yamin as chair and a host of public officials, business leaders, religious leaders, and Danbury residents to address the issue of homelessness in the city.
In mid-2006, the mayor held a well-publicized press conference where unveiled the task force’s detailed and comprehensive plan to end homelessness within ten years.
In the lobby of City Hall on Monday afternoon, Mayor Mark Boughton unveiled the final plan of the Mayor’s Task Force to End homelessness.
Boughton said the city will direct resources to implement the plan, including staff resources and some 50,000 toward a 110,000 total between the city, the Association of Religious Communities and the Housing Authority.
The agencies will be responsible for setting up a centralized system where the homeless or people at risk can be identified and assessed for housing services.
The task force’s four main objectives are:
* Increase the supply of affordable, permanent housing units to meet the projected need of homeless people.
* Reduce the number of people being discharged into homelessness from state and local institutions and agencies, and preventing evictions.
* Ensure adequate, appropriate and sufficient services to assist the homeless or those at risk to get and retain housing.
* Monitor implementation of the plan
For those who are new to the area or don’t recall the events of 2006, Boughton went above overboard in promoting his plan with a PR campaign complete with a detailed 38 page report on his vision for the city.
Make no mistake about it, the Task Force Plan was very detailed and outlined goals that were to be accomplished for each of the ten years. Unfortunately, Boughton’s much hyped plan to end homelessness got lost in the background as the issue of immigration became the hot topic of the moment.
Now that it’s 2011, Boughton remains optimistic about the next five to 10 years.
“I feel pretty good about where we are,” Boughton said. “Will we end homelessness in 10 years? Probably not.”
“It’s a regional problem. Danbury shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden for the whole region,” Boughton said.
The purpose of using the term “ending homelessness” was to change the mindset of the homeless and the community, Boughton said.
The mayor also elaborated changes the city has made to track homeless individuals…
Since the plan has been implemented, there is now a single “point of entry” for people without shelter, Boughton said.
This point of entry enables local agencies that help homeless people to track individuals, keep data on them and refer them to the most appropriate resources, Boughton said.
Upon reading the March 8 News-Times article, I wanted to learn more about the issue of homelessness and whether or not Boughton’s plan did any good. Based on what I’ve learned over the lat few months, when it comes to homelessness, things are worse off now than they were in 2005.
Case in point, do you know that there is a rather large tent city in Danbury right in the middle of a residential neighborhood?
Hidden under a bridge on Casper Street yards away from the Mankind Corporation and yards away from residential homes is the highly disturbing homeless complex that words can not describe. Ironically, on the same day of this year’s Clean City Danbury. an outraged resident went down Casper Street to videotape and document the city’s dirty secret.
As you can see, since access to the shantytown is rather simple, so you can imagine children in the area snooping around under this bridge on the well-known street…and from what I’m told, this isn’t the only shantytown in the city.
Didn’t the mayor state that the city made great strides to track the homeless population? I guess that didn’t include tracking the homeless people living off the Still River right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
In short, if Boughton was really serious about the issue of homelessness as he claimed in 2006, how on Earth can we have large tent cities like the one on Casper Street five years after the unveiling of his so-called plan?
I think it’s fair to say that I don’t think people who live along Casper Street and other areas of the city where tent cities are popping up aren’t buying Boughton’s homelessness message.
Some 30 children between the ages of 8 and 16 competed in the official Soap Box Derby, including a group of special needs children who rode in two-seat derby cars with one of the older, former champion riders assisting them. At the end of the afternoon, five competers were crowned winners and they will go on to the national championships in Akron, Ohio.
UPDATE 2: The person who shot the video footage of Casper Street had this to say…
This is the day after Danbury Connecticut Clean up day on May, 8, 2011. This Shantytown has been here for years and has been polluting the Still River. The Still River Clean up day is coming up this week. Maybe they can clean up river for once. Maybe you don’t understand that garbage actually flows downstream so why are you always cleaning the same area down stream? I have seen a police officer go down there a few months ago so the City does know. Casper Street is the road where they have the annual Soap Box Derby. Casper Street also has Homes and businesses’ with one business being The Mann Kind Corporation. Kind of ironic that a company named Mannkind has a homeless man living right outside the building..not so kind to man after all…
Obviously who ever is living in skid row under the Casper Street Bridge next to the Still River needs help. Looks like Danbury could use a tent city. How about Lee Farm?
Sadly we all see homeless people from time to time, and not just on TV. But until you see it up close you realize you have to do something. We have the resources. So it’s definitely a misuse and abuse of resources that is causing this problem to happen. How do you educate the public about how everyone is responsible for making sure that our resources are being used properly?
This is not just about being homeless. People need consoling, drug addiction help, education and job skills. They also need friends and some kind of support group that listens to them and understands their needs and struggles. So you need to properly train enough people to give this kind of help.
In a story this week about the federal Secure Communities or S-Comm program, I referred to a 2007 case involving the arrest of undocumented immigrants in Danbury. The city of Danbury earlier this year paid $400,000 to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of those immigrants.
But I mistakenly attributed the arrest to the Danbury police. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton informed me via email about the error, saying that two different immigration courts “have ruled that the ‘Danbury 11’ were not arrested by Danbury Police Department, they were arrested by [U.S.] Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The involvement of the Danbury police was to have one of their officers pose as a contractor looking for day workers. He drove to a location where immigrants often wait hoping for work, picked up 11 people and, instead of taking them to a job site, delivered them to ICE agents and it was the feds who made the arrest.
For a paper like the Fairfield Weekly to allow Boughton to get away with this statement is remarkable because the mayor was signing a different tune about Danbury’s role in the immigration raid at Kennedy Park to The Weekly (as well as the Hartford Courant, WTNH, and WVIT) between 2006-2011.
Mark Spencer, Hartford Courant, 12.14.06:
A group of students at Yale Law School is expected to file suit today in federal court in a bid to find out how Homeland Security put together its sting on Sept. 19. The students want to know what role Danbury played in the operation and if the policies guiding the department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm may be unconstitutional. Their inquiry began with a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act. “We asked nicely,” said Simon Moshenberg, a second-year student from Washington, D.C. “They didn’t answer. We sued.”
In an interview Wednesday, Boughton insisted that immigration police acted alone. They notified Danbury police this summer that they’d be making some arrests this fall but offered no other details, he said.
WTNH, Dec. 2006:
Boughton said the city played no part in the September 19th action…
WVIT, Dec. 2006:
He [Boughton] said the city was not involved in the planing of the raid…
A year ago, eleven Ecuadorian day laborers were sneakily apprehended in Danbury’s Kennedy Park by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with help from some men pretending to be contractors. They had some hard hats, a van and, according to recently uncovered information, a few Danbury police badges.
Why were the local cops assisting in a federal sting? Well, according to remarks from Danbury mayor Mark Boughton last December, they weren’t. He repeatedly said the city played no role in the ICE raid.
Simon Moshenberg, a Yale Law Student representing the “Danbury 11″ in a federal court case that began Monday, received the booking report for the arrests after placing a FOIA request. Under “arresting officer,” was the name “Lolli,” which turns out to be the name of a Danbury police officer. The Danbury News-Times quotes Chief Al Baker explaining that the arrests were initially made because of complaints about the day laborers’ effects on traffic and that Danbury police did drive the van. The department chose not to further comment on their involvement when approached by the Weekly.
Boughton elaborated in an e-mail that “the city provided logistical support to ICE,” which is “common” and “does not mean that the Danbury PD planned, organized or carried out the raid.” He stands by his comments from December.
Keep in mind that Boughton stated to the Fairfield Weekly that he “stands by his comments from December ” when you read the transcript of what he said UNDER OATH during his VIDEOTAPED deposition…
Line 8-12, page 248:
Q. Do you agree that the immigration police acted alone?
A. No. I’ve always said that the Danbury Police Department provided logistical support to the federal law enforcement agency.
Line 20 to line 25 page 249:
Q. As we sit here today, do you agree with the statement that there was no specific planning with the City prior to September 19, 2006?
A Again, I haven’t seen any information either way to wither debunk or to affirm that statement.
Here’s my favorite…line 10 page 252:
Q. These arrests generated quite a bit of controversy, correct?
Q. And that controversy included disagreements in the press with statements that you were making; is that correct?
(City Attorney) MR. CASAGRANDE: Wait a minute.
Read that back.
(Whereupon, the question was read back)
MR. CASAGRANDE: Object to the form.
A. Disagreements with who?
Q. The press was reporting a different story as to what happened that you were being reported as having said about what happened; is that correct?
A. I don’t know what you are talking — you have to restate that.
Q. Did the press report a different story as to what happened on September 19 than what you said happened on September 19?
A. There were, I’m going to guess, dozens upon dozens of press accounts of what happened. None of them have been right. Many of them never talked to me. There are press accounts that were written today that are completely inaccurate as to what — from what limited information I know, which I shared with you already happened.
So if you’re going to rely to be the press as the arbiter of the exact sequence of events that day, you’re going to chase your tail all day with that. They’re never accurate. They’re never right, and particularly now, because papers have been decimated with reporting, they don’t do a lot of reporting. So to answer your question, there certainly have been inconsistencies right up until three months ago in terms of the accounts of what happened that day.
A. And were there specifically controversy about whether what you said happened was different from what actually happened?
MR. CASAGRANDE: Objection.
A. I don’t recall any controversy.
So after he stated to the Weekly in 2007 that he “stands by his comments from December ” where he “insisted that immigration police acted alone”, “the city played no part in the September 19th action”, and “the city was not involved in the planing of the raid”, when placed under oath years later, Boughton makes the laughable claim that the media was inaccurate in their reporting OF HIS OWN WORDS…then this week, he gives the Fairfield Weekly a totally different account of Danbury’s role in the Kennedy Park raid.
You can’t make this stuff up folks! When will the media get serious and stop giving Boughton a free pass on the numerous misleading statements he made regarding the Danbury 11 case?
According to sources, members of the police department are in dismay over the claim made by Iadarola in which he stated that the temperature at the police station has never risen over 73 degrees. Sources tell me that photographs, which I’m in the process of obtaining and publishing, that were circulated among police officers, and city hall officials, allegedly show a very different picture.
In a video clip that has gained popularity and a sharp rise in viewership on YouTube since it’s initial posting six days ago, after Iadarola made the questionable temperature claim to the members of the council during their meeting this month, the director seem to backtrack on his temperature claim when confronted by Councilman Paul Rotello.
Sources also claim that the real problem that’s being overlooked by the public stems with problems people at the dispatch department are experiencing, as well as a host of serious problems with the new police station, which are well known among the many rank and file members of the police department who use the building every day.
It appears that Iadarola’s comment has probably opened Pandora’s box when it comes to the serious concerns over the LONG list of problems with the new police station that have been in existence since the opening of the new building.
The latest poll from Quinnipiac provide a mixed bag of goodies for supporters and critics of Gov. Malloy.
Basically, Gov. Malloy’s poll numbers aren’t good because of his handling of the budget.
Connecticut voters give Gov. Dannel Malloy a negative 38 – 44 percent approval rating, apparently driven by 43 percent who are “dissatisfied” with the new state budget and another 16 percent who are “angry” with the budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Only 36 percent described themselves as “enthusiastic” or “satisfied” with the budget.
Today’s results compare with a negative 35 – 40 percent approval rating for Gov. Malloy in a March 9 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll.
Before critics of the governor break out the champagne…lets take a look at the details.
Only 17 percent of voters say the new state budget spreads tax increases fairly across income groups while 67 percent say taxes should be higher on those with higher incomes.
The poll reinforce the feeling among progressives in the state that feel that many of the tax increases are too regressive and gives the rich a pass at the expense of the working families.
“His low approval rating is a reflection of how voters feel about his budget. Many voters are dissatisfied and some even say they are angry. They think the budget relies too much on tax increases and not enough on spending cuts. They also think the middle class is paying more than its fair share while those with higher incomes aren’t paying their fair share.”
State employees should take notice…
Connecticut state employees are making less than their fair share of sacrifices under the new budget, 36 percent of voters say, while 21 percent say workers are doing more than their fair share and 35 percent say they are doing about their fair share.
Public employee wages and benefits are too high, 46 percent of voters say, with 8 percent saying too low and 39 percent saying wages and benefits are about right.
Good news for supporters of paid sick leave…and bad news for Republicans who made the opposition to the legislation their number one priority during the session.
Connecticut voters support 72 – 25 percent a new law that requires large companies to offer five days of paid sick leave per year to employees. Support is 84 – 14 percent among Democrats, 50 – 44 percent among Republicans and 72 – 26 percent among independent voters. Men support the measure 63 – 34 percent while women back it 79 – 17 percent.
In other words, the Republicans at the General Assembly are out of touch with their own base and the general public.
Voters also support 66 – 31 percent a law to de-criminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Support is 77 – 21 percent among Democrats, 49 – 45 percent among Republicans and 66 – 31 percent among independent voters. Support is slightly stronger among men, 69 – 28 percent, than among women, 64 – 33 percent.
In short, we’ll hear critics of the Gov. Malloy point to this poll as an indication that the governor’s budget is unpopular with the people WHILE ignoring the fact that the poll indicates that people are dissatisfied with the budget because it doesn’t tax the rich enough and that the public strongly support paid sick leave as well as the decriminalization of marijuana.
UPDATE CT Working Families Executive Director Jon green released the following statement regarding the Q-poll results on paid sick days.
Business lobbyists might hate to admit it, but for the public there’s nothing terribly controversial about the paid sick days law. Connecticut voters across the political spectrum support this issue because it’s the right thing to do for working families.
UPDATE 2: Hearst Newspaper’s Ben Doody has a good write-up on the latest Q-poll that echoes a lot of the points raised in this post.
A Quinnipiac poll released this morning has plenty of bad news for Gov. Malloy, who gets negative remarks both on his overall job performance (38 percent approve while 44 percent disapprove) and his handling of the state budget (36 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove).
But two major bills championed by Malloy are extremely popular — and when it comes to the paid stick leave bill, perhaps a lot more popular than state legislators realized while the bill was being debated.
The sick leave bill, mandating major companies provide employees with at least five paid sick days, barely passed the state Senate by an 18-17 vote (Sen. John Kissell of Enfield was the only Republican to support it), and didn’t have a whole lot of margin for error in the House, either.
The Quinnipiac poll, though, shows that 72 percent of all voters polled support the measure.
The measure gets support from voters across party lines — 84 percent of Democrats support it, along with 72 percent of independents and even 50 percent of Republicans.
The bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana is also extremely popular: 66 percent approve, including 77 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents and 49 percent of Republicans.