Just don’t mention race, ethnicity or white privilege and everything will be okay.

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Despite the angry remarks and heated denials, as the United States flirts with the potential of beginning a discussion about actually coming to grips with the rampant racism that undermines its egalitarian principles, the fact that the Hartford Democratic Town Committee handed its endorsement for mayor to a white, wealthy, privileged Greenwich native is, in fact, an appropriate issue to discuss.

For Democrats, who have traditionally supported the underlying value and necessity of affirmative action and recognized the critical importance of political self-determination, Luke Bronin’s rising candidacy could be called an example of neo-colonialism, in which the super elite and outsiders, claiming to “know best,” manipulate or corrupt the political process.

To others, Bronin’s arrival on the scene is being described as a way to save Hartford from itself.

As a suburban Democrat posted to Facebook yesterday,

“For when you consider Luke Bronin for Mayor‘s resume, its more like a top-notch major league pitching prospect choosing to start his career with a basement-dwelling single-A ball club that nobody goes to see play.”  He added, “Hartford is incredibly lucky that a man with Bronin’s ambition, strategic vision, and demonstrated ability to execute wants this job.”

However you see it, this political development pushes Hartford and Connecticut into the national debate about the role of race, ethnicity and white privilege in American politics.

The tone and tenor of the comments, Tweets and Facebook posts the followed the recent publication of the Wait, What? post Wealthy, White, privileged, male from Greenwich tells Hartford – Make me your leader also say a lot about how we grapple with the topic of race, ethnicity and power.

As we should all be keenly aware, racism, discrimination and the notion of white privilege goes well beyond the issue of shooting unarmed African American men in the back or dragging an African –American woman off to jail because she was not a “model person” when inappropriately stopped by a white police officer.

So “with all due respect” to the individuals who commented or Tweeted that I was a racist and a bigot for even discussing Luke Bronin’s rise to stardom, the facts themselves are pretty simple.

In a city in which half the residents are Latino, and more than 80 percent are “minority,” it is certainly newsworthy that Hartford’s Democratic elite have thrown their money, power, support and endorsement behind a White newcomer rather than go with the incumbent Latino mayor.

With Mayor Pedro Segarra calling the endorsement process corrupt and walking out of the Democratic Town Committee meeting last night, the final vote was 49 for Bronin with 23 members abstaining.

But more hidden from view, and far more consequential was the dance of the power-brokers who had successfully lined up considerable support for Bronin’s candidacy.

With significant guidance from William DiBella, the former State Senator and present Chairman of the influential Metropolitan District Commission, along with other key white political players at the state and local level, Bronin has been able to persuade many political and business leaders in Hartford to support him rather than support or seek out alternative African-American and Latino candidates.

In the world in which we live it would be unlikely, even unfathomable, that a young Latino or African-American would be able to move from Hartford to Greenwich and quickly line up the support to become the town’s first selectman.  For that matter, any person, no matter their color, would have a hard time moving from one town to another and then announcing that they are ready to be chosen as the community’s chief elected official in a matter of a few years.

However, the reality surrounding wealth and white privilege functions by its own set of rules – especially when it is inserted into the urban, minority politics of a major city.

Not only did the stars align early for Bronin’s quest to become Hartford’s mayor, but the evidence is clear that Governor Malloy, top Democratic state leaders and a number of the state’s corporate executives played a major role in giving life to Luke Bronin’s aspirations.

And leading the list of factors is harsh reality that money is “The Mother’s Milk” of politics.

According to his most recent campaign finance report, Luke Bronin raised a record-breaking $661,000 in the first six months of his campaign, leaving him with five or six times what Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has to defend his position.

Bronin’s donor list turns out to be a who’s who in Connecticut government and politics including Malloy’s former Chief of Staff, Tim Bannon, and a lengthy list of major lobbyists, those who do business with the state and those who have benefited from Malloy’s corporate welfare programs.

The money trail also speaks volumes about Luke Bronin’s candidacy, modern politics and the state of our democracy.

In the opening weeks of the campaign, Bronin raised just over $381,000 including nearly 100 $1,000 donors – the maximum allowable contribution – from people who reside outside of Connecticut.

While this mayoral election is about who should lead the City of Hartford, Connecticut, a leading source of Bronin’s major donors is New York, where he collected $50,000 in 50 individual $1,000 checks in just the first sixty or so days of his campaign.

Additional maximum contributions came from people in Washington D.C., Florida, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Hawaii, Nebraska, Delaware, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin, Vermont, North Carolina and Nebraska.

During those early weeks, Bronin held two campaign fundraisers in Washington D.C., as well as fundraising events in Los Angeles and New York City.

Bronin was also able to cash in with donors from his hometown of Greenwich, where at least 31 people gave him the maximum allowable contribution of $1,000 per person.

As the first fundraising period ended, Bronin had nearly 120 people in suburban Connecticut donate the maximum $1,000 contribution.

Next to Greenwich, the most fertile ground was West Hartford were his donor list includes some of the biggest and most consistent donors to the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Whether measured by the influence of Connecticut political and business elite or by the massive amount of money that is pouring into Luke Bronin’s campaign, what is happening to the people of Hartford is indicative of something much bigger than simply a primary challenge between the community’s various political factions.

Self-determination is traditionally defined as the right of the people of a particular place to choose their government and leaders and where they have the freedom to make their own choices.”

Luke Bronin may very well get elected and be a fine mayor, but to pretend that race, ethnicity and white privilege is not a factor in the Hartford’s mayoral campaign is to deny reality and to deny the truth is a grave injustice to the people of Hartford.

For more about recent political developments in Hartford check out the following links;

Hartford Courant – http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-democrats-nominating-convention-0728-20150727-story.html

CTNewsjunkie – http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/segarra_walks_out_as_bronin_secures_mayoral_endorsement/

Colin McEnroe – http://courantblogs.com/colin-mcenroe/city-of-hartford-jedi-masters-need-not-apply/

WNPR – http://wnpr.org/post/hartfords-pedro-segarra-wins-emotions-luke-bronin-wins-endorsement

NBC (CT) – http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics/Hartford-Mayoral-Candidate-Luke-Bronin-Wins-Democratic-Party-Endorsement-318727211.html

WFSB (CT) – http://www.wfsb.com/story/29643077/hartford-dems-endorse-luke-bronin

 

 

Democrat controlled legislature’s action on Malloy’s education veto nothing but a scam.

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A lesson on power politics and how many legislators will jettison their constituents in order to hang with the power elite.

Where did your elected representative stand on the veto issue?

A handful of Democrats and a bunch  of Republicans proved that they are willing and able to stand up for the students, parents, teachers and public schools in their district.  The others… nope!

At yesterday’s constitutionally mandated 2015 veto session of the Connecticut General Assembly, 50 of the 87 Democratic members of the Connecticut House of Representatives (57 percent) didn’t even bother to show up show up and vote.

With only 37 of the 87 Democrats in the chamber, the Democratic leaders were able to ensure that there were not enough votes to override Governor Dannel Malloy’s veto of the bill requiring Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education to have appropriate education experience.

As the CT Newsjunkie reported in the article entitled, General Assembly Opts Not to Override Malloy’s Vetoes,

The House needed 101 votes to override Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of a bill that outlined qualifications for a state Education Commissioner, but only 62 lawmakers voted in favor of an override Monday.

At least 21 representatives voted not to override the bill and a whopping 68 representatives did not attend Monday’s constitutional veto session. And even though House Speaker Brendan Sharkey allowed a vote on one of Malloy’s vetoes, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

Sharkey said there were members of the Democratic caucus who felt strongly about the Education Commissioner bill to turn out Monday and vote to override it. There were 18 Democratic lawmakers who voted in favor of overriding Malloy’s veto.

One of those was Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven. She said she thought the legislation, which specified that education commissioners must have at least five years’ experience as a teacher and three years as an administrator, was “good public policy.”

The bill originally passed the House 138-5 and got unanimous support in the Senate before being squelched by Malloy.

No Democratic legislator voted against the bill during the regular session, but apparently terrified to upset Governor Dannel Malloy or go against their own Democratic leaders, nearly 60% of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives failed to show up for the vote.

Of the 37 Democrats who did attend the veto session, 18 voted to override Governor Malloy’s veto, while an incredible 19 Democrats rolled over and changed their votes in a bizarre subservient gesture to Malloy.

Democrats switching sides to vote in favor of Malloy’s veto included the Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, Majority Leader of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Chairman of the Education Committee, Andrew Fleischmann, Chairman of the Human Services Committee Peter Tercyak, and Windham State Representative  Susan Johnson  The entire list included;

DEMOCRATS supporting Malloy’s veto
ALTOBELLO
ARCE
ARESIMOWICZ
FLEISCHMANN
GENGA
HENNESSY
JANOWSKI
JOHNSON
LOPES
MCGEE
SANTIAGO, E.
SANTIAGO, H.
SIMMONS
STAFSTROM
TERCYAK
SHARKEY (SPKR)
GENTILE (DEP)
GODFREY (DEP)
SAYERS (DEP)

 

Democrats who failed to even show up at the 2015 Veto Session included

DEMOCRATS FAILED TO SHOW UP
ADAMS X
ARCONTI X
BACKER, T. X
BAKER X
BARAM X
BECKER, B. X
BERGER X
BOUKUS X
BRYCKI X
BUTLER X
CANDELARIA, J. X
CONROY X
CUEVAS X
CURREY X
DARGAN X
DILLON X
ESPOSITO X
FOX X
FRITZ X
GONZALEZ X
GUERRERA X
HAMPTON X
HEWETT X
KINER X
LESSER X
LUXENBERG X
MCCARTHY VAHEY X
MCCRORY X
MEGNA X
MILLER, P. X
MUSHINSKY X
PERONE X
REED X
RILEY X
RITTER X
ROJAS X
ROSARIO X
ROSATI X
ROSE X
SCANLON X
SERRA X
STALLWORTH X
TONG X
URBAN X
VERRENGIA X
WALKER X
ZONI X
MILLER, P.B. (DEP) X
MORRIS (DEP) X
RYAN (DEP) X

 

Democrats who stood up to Malloy and the Democratic Leadership and voted to override Malloy’s veto;

 

DEMOCRATS VOTED TO OVERRIDE MALLOY
ABERCROMBIE Y
ALBIS Y
ALEXANDER Y
COOK Y
D’AGOSTINO Y
DEMICCO Y
HADDAD Y
JUTILA Y
LEMAR Y
MORIN Y
NICASTRO Y
PORTER Y
ROVERO Y
SANCHEZ Y
STEINBERG Y
VARGAS Y
WILLIS Y
ORANGE (DEP) Y

 

Perhaps most telling of all, the following Democratic legislators co-sponsored the legislation requiring Connecticut’s commissioner of education have educational experience and then failed to back the bill when that support was necessary.

Rep. David W. Kiner, 59th Dist.                    (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. David Arconti, 109th Dist.                    (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Juan R. Candelaria, 95th Dist.              (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Terry B. Adams, 146th Dist.                  (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, 145th Dist.         (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Kim Rose, 118th Dist.                           (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Louis P. Esposito, 116th Dist.               (Did not show up for the vote)

Sen. Eric D. Coleman, 2nd Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, 17th Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

Sen. Mae Flexer, 29th Dist.                           (Did not show up for the vote)

Sen. Marilyn Moore, 22nd Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

If you don’t know who your State Senator or State Representative is go to http://www.cga.ct.gov/  and scroll down

By Comparison, 45 of the 64 (70 percent) of the Republicans were present at the Veto Session and all but two voted to override the Governor’s veto.

In the end, of the 62 members of the House of Representatives who were willing to stand up to Malloy, 70 percent were Republicans.

As CT Newsjunkie reported, in what may have been the most absurd moment of the entire 2015 legislative session, West Hartford Democrat and Chairman of the Education Committee Andrew Fleishmann changed his position in order to vote with Malloy explaining,

“[T]here was interest from the governor’s office to address the issue of Education Commissioner qualifications in the future. He said there will be an ongoing dialogue and it’s likely the bill will come up again next year.

“The administration is always open to discussion,” Fleischmann said.

The Republican legislators were clear, not only on the substance of the issue, but on the even more important procedure in which the Democrats ducked their responsibility to their constituents and the people of Connecticut.

The Republican leader of the State Senate, Len Fasano stated,

“This is politics over policy. “The legislature has spoken. The governor has every right to veto it, but when the majority party follows the politics and not the policy that makes this building very scary to me.”

Proving the accuracy of Fasano’s statement, the State Senate met after the House of Representatives had adjourned and voted 18-12, along party lines, not to take up any of Malloy’s nine vetoes.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff went so far as to blame the entire situation on the Republicans saying that the veto session was “complete theater by the Republicans.”

Duff added that the Republicans, “have been on a ‘bad news tour’ for the past month and have taken ‘rooting for failure to a new level.’”

Quite a commentary when a Democratic leader of the Connecticut State Senate claims that a demand that the Legislative Branch fulfill its constitutional duty is nothing but “theater by the Republicans.”

If Connecticut’s 2015 veto session proved anything, it is that in Hartford, as in Washington, far too many politicians have lost their way….forgetting that they serve the people of their district and not those who already have way too much power.

They would all do well to remember the lines of Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changin'”

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

You can read the full story in the CTNewsjunkie at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/general_assembly_doesnt_override_malloy/

More coverage can also be found in the CT Mirror at: http://ctmirror.org/2015/07/20/malloy-vetoes-stand-but-house-gop-forces-an-override-debate/

CT Republicans step up for students, parents and teachers as Democrats run away and hide

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Watching the way Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has sought to undermine public education while denigrating, insulting and bullying public school teachers, one is left with the inevitable conclusion that Connecticut’s chief elected official is driven by some personal problem he has with educators.

But seeing the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly roll-over in support of Malloy’s corporate education reform initiatives and flee from the Democratic Party’s historic role as advocates for teachers, the teaching profession and public education suggests that the legislators elected under the Democratic Party Banner simply don’t feel a sense of appreciation, duty or obligation to support teachers or the students, parents and public schools of their districts.

The Decision to forgo even holding a vote on Governor Malloy’s veto of a bill to require Connecticut’s commissioner of education to have appropriate educational experience has become a prime example of the Democratic Party’s apparent unwillingness to actually stand up and be counted on behalf of public education.

Of the 108 Democrat legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly, not one voted against the bill requiring the commissioner of education to have appropriate educational experience, but these same Democrats have now refused to even hold a vote on whether to sustain or override Malloy’s veto.

Political insiders dismiss the issue as nothing more than the realities associated with power politics.  While such politics is hardly new to Connecticut or the country, the underlying problem cannot be explained away so easily.

See: Malloy, Executive Power and the Politics of Appeasement (Wait, What? 7/18/15)

The harsh reality is that Governor Malloy, along with a variety of other Democratic leaders including Governor Cuomo of New York, Mayor Emanuel of Chicago and President Obama, have been engaged in an unprecedented assault on public education.

The utter failure of Democratic legislators, at the federal and state level, to stand up to that assault reflects a problem that has become so serious that proponents of public education are being forced to come to grips with the fact that the Democratic Party appears to be simply walking away from what may very well be the single most important issue in a democratic, egalitarian society.

While many Republicans across the country have acted no better, the Republican Party in Connecticut has taken an increasingly strong stand on behalf of public education.

While some would say their gesture is primarily political, the uncomfortable truth is that it is the Democrats who have repeatedly shown voters that politics trumps policy when it comes to these critically important education issues.

While Connecticut’s Democratic legislators have refused to even vote on whether to override Malloy’s veto, the response from Republican leaders have been clear, concise and absolutely on the side of students, parents, teachers and the value of public education to our future.

Democratic legislators may be gripped by fear when it comes potentially “embarrassing” Governor Malloy by overriding his veto, but people in the real world would rather see Connecticut’s Legislature Branch overcome their self-induced level of terror and actually perform their Constitutional responsibility.

As the Bristol Press put it in editorial this weekend entitled, OUR VIEW: Legislators must remember who it is they represent;

On Monday, the General Assembly will come together in special session, one that is technically is required, to decide whether members want to override any of the governor’s vetoes from the 2015 regular session.

But members won’t have the opportunity to restore any of the bills Gov. Dannel P. Malloy rejected, thanks to a decision by the Democratic leadership in the Legislature.

“The general consensus among our members, and in light of some of the governor’s concerns, is that these issues would be best re-looked at during the next regular session. Therefore we will not be scheduling any override votes,” House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, wrote Friday.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, were not happy to hear the news.

“Failing to challenge the governor on his vetoes is putting politics before policy,” they said in a statement. “The legislature has overridden past governors, including Rell and Weicker. But Democrat lawmakers have never overridden a single Malloy veto ever. Simply accepting the governor’s vetoes is failing to represent and protect our constituents. We have a constitutional duty to the public to reassess these bills.”

They continued, “this is not a decision for only the majority leaders to make. Under our constitution it is up to the legislative body’s majority vote to consider an override of a governor’s veto. As such, there should be an opportunity for the assembly as a whole to voice its opinion. To gavel in and out without any reconsideration and without hearing input from all lawmakers violates our constitutional duty and therefore our obligations as elected representatives.”

We agree. Whatever their party, our elected representatives in the House and Senate are supposed to be the people’s voice at the Capitol. We understand that the leadership doesn’t want to put the rank and file in a position where they must choose between voting against the head of their party or against their constituents — if that’s what their conscience and the voters request — but  failing to do so leaves the people of Connecticut without representation. It also increases the arbitrary power of the governor’s office, suggesting that, even if a majority of the members of the Legislature disagree with him — and we have no reason to believe that they do — he shouldn’t or can’t be challenged.

Our view: Let the democratic process — small D — unfold!

Yes, the message to Democrats in Hartford is “let the democratic process – small D – unfold!”

But for those who belong to the Democratic Party or who tend to vote for the Democratic candidates, a parallel question is whether the Democrats’ continuing failure to stand up for public education invalidates their right to serve as the majority party in Connecticut.

AFT, NEA and the Corporate Education Reform oriented DGA

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Perhaps we should simply call it a symptom of the corporatization of the modern American labor movement.

Or perhaps we call it a product of the centrifuge that is sucking mainstream American politics into the control of the corporate elite.

But whatever we call it, the premature decision by the American Federation of Teachers to endorse Hillary Clinton for President is yet another example of how the unions representing teachers have been gravitating toward backing those who are perceived to be more acceptable to corporate interests, display a track record of supporting policies that are less than supportive of teachers and the nation’s public schools and/or are defined as the “only” choice because the Republican alternative would be “even worse.”

Truth be told, the issue isn’t even really about Hillary Clinton.  As the presidential nominating process moves forward Hillary Clinton may very well be the “best” choice for the Democrats and the electorate, but the AFT leadership’s decision to endorse her now is an stark indicator of just how far the teacher unions have gone to become part of the get-a-long, go-along status quo.

Rather than requiring that any candidate seeking political support from teachers have a solid progressive record on public education and articulate clear-cut policies and positions that are diametrically opposed to the corporate education reform industry, there is a growing acceptance of candidates who have thrown their support behind the charter school industry and the broader education reform agenda.

Above all else, one thing is certain and that is that the American Federation of Teachers, and for that matter, the National Education Association, has consistently backed Democratic candidates whose records and positions are closely aligned with the so-called “education reformers.”

No where is that clearer than with the massive financial support that the AFT and NEA have given to the Democratic Governors Association, despite the DGA’s outspoken and on-going support for President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s education reform agenda, the Common Core, the associated Common Core testing scheme and the inappropriate requirement that standardized test scores be used as part of the teacher evaluation process.

Over the past five election cycles, the American Federation of Teachers has handed the Democratic Governors Association more than $5.5 million in money that was earned by America’s teachers and given to their union with the intention that the funds would be used to support candidates and promote policies that support teachers and enhance public schools.  The National Education Association has donated $4.8 million more.

But despite teacher unions giving more than $10 million dollars to the DGA over the past decade, the organization whose role it is to elect Democratic governors has remained committed to an education reform agenda that is actively and intentionally undermining teachers, the teaching profession and the nation’s public education system.

Just last summer, as opposition to the Common Core and its associated unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core testing scheme grew, along with the resulting opt-out movement, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who was Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association at the time, dismissed the legitimate concerns that were being raised as nothing more than the work of right-wing nuts.

As reported in an AP story in June 2014, Democrat Shumlin dismissed the opponents of the Common Core as “crazy” conservatives adding, “The fact that the tea party sees that as a conspiracy is a symptom of their larger problems.”

But of course, opposition to the corporate education reform agenda is not a “right-wing issue,” nor is the push back against the heavy-handed and faulty implementation of the Common Core and the Common Core testing scam.

In fact, it is real world it is a broad spectrum of liberal, moderate and conservative parents, teachers and public school advocates who are leading the effort, all across the United States, to turn back the corporate funded public school privatization and education reform effort.

Although the NEA and AFT were two of the DGA’s four largest donors during recent 2014 election cycle, one would think the DGA went out of its way to remind teachers that while their money was useful, their opinions were not.

Not only did the DGA spend more than $3.8 million to promote the re-election of corporate education reform aficionado Democrat Dannel Malloy to serve a second term as  Connecticut’s governor, but the members of the DGA went on to elect Malloy to serve as the next Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

Malloy, who in 2012 became the first sitting Democratic Governor in the nation to propose doing away with tenure for all public school teachers and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in the poorest schools districts is such an eager charter school advocate that he threatened Connecticut’s Democratic controlled General Assembly that at the same time he was proposing to cut funding for public schools, he would not sign any budget bill that did not expand the number of charter schools in the Constitution State.

And the Democrats in the legislature acquiesced to Malloy’s threats.

Malloy also vetoed a bill, passed with bi-partisan support, to require that anyone who serves as Connecticut’s commissioner of education must have appropriate classroom teaching experience.  Malloy whined that requiring the state’s education commissioner to have education experience would cramp his appointment decisions.

Although Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy rivals New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo when it comes to anti-teacher rhetoric and policies, the harsh reality is that Malloy is nothing more than a continuation of the DGA’s effort to support Democratic governors who are wedded to the corporate education reform agenda.

Teachers, students, parents and public school advocates deserve better from the Democrats and from the unions representing teachers, the very same unions that are pouring millions of dollars into the Democratic Party.

Bridgeport’s Kenneth Moales Jr. – The man who refuses to take responsibility for his actions

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The Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. wants to represent Bridgeport in the Connecticut State Senate.  As a key ally of Governor Dannel Malloy and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Moales is counting on the Democratic machine to help him get elected in the February 24, 2015 Special Election.

And Malloy, who remains committed to pushing his corporate education reform industry agenda, could certainly use another pro-charter school supporter in the State Senate.

But Kenneth Moales Jr. actions continue to speak louder than his words.

As Moales as shown over and over again, he is a man who simply refuses to take responsibility for his actions.

Not long ago, Kenneth Moales was arrested for failure to appear in court on a charge that he was driving an unregistered automobile owned by Moales’ church. (See: Kenneth H. Moales… You are wanted by the Connecticut State Police (Literally) 10/21/13, Bridgeport’s Kenneth H. Moales Jr. served with arrest warrant 10/22/13,  Kenneth Moales Jr. arrested… 10/23/13)

And now comes yet another stunning example of Moales’ inability or unwillingness to follow the law or act responsibly

In September 2012, Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. was driving one of the Mercedes Benz owned by his church along Dixwell Avenue in New Haven.  When attempting to make an illegal U-turn without signaling or giving the right of way to traffic, Moales caused a car accident.

The victim of the accident eventually filed a lawsuit (Case #NNH-CV14-6050018-S) against Moales and his church for the damage and harm that resulted from Moales’ action.

The accident report produced by the New Have police department placed the blame squarely on Moales noting;

“Upon investigation I found operator #1 [Kenneth Moales Jr.] at fault for the accident.  He was given a verbal warning for 14-243(e), Failure of driver making a left turn to grant rights to way to oncoming traffic, 14-12a Operating an unregistered motor vehicle.” (Police Case # 12-47695)

But rather than face up to his responsibility for causing the accident, the Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. tried lamely to have the lawsuit dismissed by claiming that he was not properly served with the writ, summons and complaint because it was sent to his mother’s house and not his.

In his sworn affidavit signed on November 11, 2014, Kenneth Moales Jr. claimed that he was “not personally served with a write, summons or complaint.”   With that claim in hand, his lawyer moved to have the case dismissed on November 21, 2014.

But the unsettling fact is that neither Moales or his attorney revealed to the Connecticut Court that the certified letters containing the information were, in fact, accepted on August 19, 2014 by someone who printed and signed the name Kenneth Moales Jr. or that the secretary of the Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. received and signed a companion certified letter on the very same day.

Instead of stepping up and facing the charges against him, Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr actually filed a sworn statement claiming, “that that Court lacks personal jurisdiction over him as service of process was insufficient in that he was not personally served with the write, summons and complaint…”

When copies of the signed certified return forms were filed with the Court by the State Marshal, the lawsuit was allowed to go forward.

However just this week the accident victim was forced to seek an extension of time to respond to all of the interrogatories and request for production that Moales and his lawyer dumped on the accident victim once the case was allowed to proceed.

The Democratic Machine has already intervened to prevent former State Senator Ed Gomes from getting the Democratic nomination in Bridgeport’s Special Election.  The question now is how far Malloy, Finch and others will go to help put the Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. in the Connecticut State Senate.

Any support that Malloy, Finch or others, including Connecticut’s charter school and corporate education reform advocates provide to Moales will be quite a commentary.

Greenwich Yalie prepares to Save Hartford?

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Although Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has been one of Governor Dannel Malloy’s biggest supporters and communities of color make up 85% of the population of Connecticut’s Capital City, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Greenwich raised, Yale and Oxford educated General Counsel, Luke Bronin, recently resigned his position as Malloy’s top lawyer to announce that he was “strongly considering” a run against Segarra in this year’s Hartford mayoral election.

What makes Bronin’s move so bizarre is that, as CTLatinoNews recently observed, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Governor Dannel Malloy are considered to be “longtime allies.”

Mayor Segarra has been particularly supportive of Malloy’s corporate education reform industry initiative and the Latino Mayor of Hartford has been at Malloy’s side throughout the Governor’s first term, including during Malloy’s competitive re-election campaign this past fall.

While Malloy calls Luke Bronin, “one of my closest advisers,” Bronin only arrived in Hartford in 2013 when he was appointed by Malloy to serve as General Counsel in the Governor’s Office.  It was at that time that Bronin, his wife and children moved from Washington D.C. to Hartford.

To say the Latino community is surprised and concerned by Bronin’s move would be an understatement.  Writing for CTLatinoNews, Bill Sarno recently reported,

For Latino leaders around the state, the announcement that the governor’s former top legal aide Luke Bronin is challenging incumbent Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra for the Democratic nomination is raising red flags as to where the governor’s loyalty lies.  Not because of Bronin they say, but because of Governor  Malloy’s current stance of not getting involved in this race, which is being viewed as a quiet nod to his friend and as a betrayal to the state’s Latinos.”

The CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus is challenging the governor’s silence on the matter and it seems the gloves are off.  Its chair, Joseph Rodriguez, said, “We just had a tough statewide election and were successful because we rallied behind the governor, as did the mayor.  It will be unfortunate and a slap in the face to Mayor Segarra, if the Governor chooses not to partake in this primary.”

According to the CTLatinoNews article,

“[A]attempts to clarify Malloy’s position were referred by the governor’s staff to state party leaders who said that it is too early to comment on a possible primary that it is nine months away.  ‘At this time, the governor is focused on governing Connecticut. And when the time comes, the State Party will support the Democratic candidate for mayor,’ said Michael Mandell, executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party.”

When Bronin announced that he was leaving his post as Malloy’s top attorney he told the Hartford Courant, “Many fellow Hartford residents have reached out and encouraged me to run for mayor and I’m strongly considering it.”

In addition to graduating with a philosophy degree from Yale University and a Law Degree from Yale Law School, Bronin, who is 35, is a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford University in England.  Bronin is also “an accomplished singer and songwriter” and was the lead singer for a country band called Old No. 7.

Before joining the Malloy administration, Bronin worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013, finishing up as an assistant secretary of the treasury where his duties included managing policies related to terrorist financing.

According to his on-line LinkedIn biography, for nine months of the time he worked for the Treasury Department (from late 2010 through early 2011), Bronin was located at “ISAF HQ” in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The oblique reference to ISAF is apparently related to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a “NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan,” whose mission was reportedly to train members of the Afghan National Security Force, assist with the rebuilding of the Afghan government and engage various insurgent groups.

Before his time in the Middle East, Bronin spent seven months as an International Affairs Fellow in India for the Council on Foreign Relations and previous to that, after graduating from Yale Law School, Bronin worked as the Chief of Staff to the President & COO of the Hartford Insurance Company.

While Bronin contemplates a run for Mayor of Hartford, he has landed a job at the law firm of Hinckley Allen, a firm originally out of Providence, Rhode Island but with offices in New York City, Albany, Boston and in other New England cities.  Less than two years ago, the law firm of Levy &  Droney merged into Hinkley Allen.

As for the issue of running for Mayor while holding down his new job, Bronin told the Courant that, “The firm … has made clear that they support my commitment to public service and the Hartford community.”

Bronin, and his wife, Sara Bronin, who is also a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of the Yale Law School, moved to Hartford in 2013 and renovated a brownstone behind the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.

Sara Bronin, an architect and lawyer, teaches at the University of Connecticut law school and is the managing principal of Voladizo LLC, a Connecticut consulting firm she founded in 2012.   Her biography explains that, “Sara Bronin is one of the country’s leading experts in the areas of sustainable design, renewable energy, urban development, and historic preservation.

Sara Bronin was appointed to the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission in 2013 by Mayor Segarra and became the Commission’s Chair in August 2014, where she is playing a leadership role in the development of the controversial Hartford stadium project.

Meanwhile, back in Connecticut politics, the CTLatinoNews article reported that Democratic Latino leaders are angry that Malloy’s political operatives are claiming that Malloy “can’t support a candidate at this time.”

The CTLatinoNews article adds,

“The notion that the governor can’t support a  candidate at this time is ‘simply untrue’ [CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus Chair] Rodriguez said.   Adding, ‘He gets involved when it benefits him.   Recently, he supported William Tong, his good friend who had not been endorsed for the nomination, but was a Democratic candidate in the primary.’   Malloy also supported then, Senator Harp before the primary.   While she was the party’s nominee, there were three other democrats vying for that seat.  This tells me the governor picks and chooses the municipal Democratic elections he wants to become involved in.’”

Hartford State Representative Minnie Gonzalez has also weighed in on the issue, telling CTLatinoNews, “Segarra was out there for him (Malloy) but it seems the governor is not supporting our mayor…It was Latinos that got him elected four years ago and again last year.”

The politics behind the politics of the situation in Hartford will undoubtedly become clearer in the months ahead as Luke Bronin moves forward with his possible run for mayor in Hartford.

You can read the complete CTLatinoNews article at: http://ctlatinonews.com/2015/01/18/latino-democratic-leaders-challenge-malloy-on-his-silence-in-supporting-segarra/

Three cheers for campaign finance corruption in Connecticut!

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Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy has deposited his check for $6.2 million from the State’s Public Finance System.

As a result of Connecticut’s landmark 2005 campaign finance reform bill, in return for raising $250,000 in contributions of under $100, Malloy (and the Republican nominee for governor) have each received $6.2 million in public funds to pay for their gubernatorial campaigns.

The original concept, which passed following the conviction of Governor John Rowland in 2005, was that in return for a multi-million dollar campaign donation from the public, candidates would agree to forgo private funds raised from state contractors, lobbyists, political action committees, the wealthy and other special interest.

But that was before Malloy and the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly torpedoed the most important elements of the law.

Now, in addition to the $6.2 million in public funds, Malloy and his political operatives have collected at least $3.5 million for his campaign into the Democratic State Central Committees “federal” account, much of it from state contractors, lobbyists, political action committees and the wealthy.   The political maneuver was made possible thanks to a proposal Malloy and the Democrats pushed through in 2013.

In addition, a “separate” political action committee called Connecticut Forward, has already raised $2.5 million to run ads in support of Malloy and against his opponent, Tom Foley.  To date, about $1.3 million of Connecticut Forward’s money has come from the Democratic Governors Association, $900,000 from the AFSCME union and $250,000 from the American Federation of Teachers.  In the coming weeks, the Connecticut Forward PAC is expected to raise another $3-$5 million or more in their effort to promote Malloy’s campaign.

So how on earth did we go from having one of the “best” campaign finance reform laws in the nation to a campaign in which Malloy gets $6.2 million in public funds, while accessing another $10 million or more in campaign donations including money from state contractors and others who personally benefit from the governor’s policies.

While a portion of the blame rests with the unprecedented Citizens United decision by the United States Supreme Court, in which companies were determined to be people for the purposes of campaign finance laws, Connecticut’s present campaign laws, along with their appearance of corruption, rests on the shoulders of Governor Malloy and the Democrats in the Legislature.

A June 1, 2011 Wait, What? post entitled, “Oh…Remember When Democratic Leaders were for Campaign Finance Reform,” observed, “Democrats Complete the Task of Undermining the State’s Public Finance Law.”  And yet the worst was still to come.

As background, back on January 27th, 2010, when then-candidate Dan Malloy spoke out after a Zogby public opinion survey found that 79 percent of Connecticut voters supported public financing and the Citizens’ Elections Program, Malloy said;

“In my view, this poll should serve as proof of just how strongly Connecticut voters feel about campaign finance reform, and as a warning for those candidates who think they can brush aside the Citizens’ Election Program…”

At the time, Malloy was echoing the sentiment of Democratic Party leaders.

Following the passage of Connecticut’s historic campaign finance law, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan wrote;

“Almost 230 years ago, the founding fathers took a huge risk when they signed the Declaration of Independence and set the wheels in motion for the world’s greatest democracy. Today, this historic campaign finance reform legislation reaffirms that this is a government for the people, not special interests. This campaign finance reform bill is our declaration of independence. We can look our constituents in the eye and say we created the strongest campaign laws in the United States.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams’ rhetoric was equally impressive, with an official biography that read,

“Since his election as Senate President, Senator Williams has been a leading advocate for cleaning up government. He authored legislation to reform the State Ethics Commission and supported sweeping changes to the campaign finance system and the state contracting process. With the creation of a publicly funded campaign finance system in 2005, Connecticut now has the strongest reform laws in the nation.”

But when candidate Dan Malloy became Governor Dannel Malloy, the official view and strategy when it came to campaign finance reform changed dramatically.

In Malloy’s first budget, the new governor took aim at the State Elections Enforcement Commission by reducing its funding, its autonomy and its authority.

At the time, State Senator Gayle Slossberg, the only Democrat to vote against Malloy’s plan, was quoted as saying, “I just think that the proposal in front of us undermines the independence and the integrity of the [State Election Enforcement Commission and the other] watchdog agencies,”

But Malloy’s effort to undermine Connecticut’s campaign finance law had just begun.

As the 2013 session of the Connecticut General Assembly came to a close, Malloy and the Democrats passed legislation that allowed candidates to keep the public campaign finance funds while opening the flood gates to tainted campaign contributions.

The bill doubled the amount of money private donors could give to political parties, removed the cap on how much political parties could spend to support candidates participating in the public finance system and created a massive loophole by allowing candidates, in this case Malloy, to better coordinate their activities with political parties and other political action committees.

The anti-campaign finance reform bill did not get a single Republican vote in the State Senate or House of Representatives.  On June 19, 2013 Malloy signed the legislation into law, which in turn, prompted former Governor Jodi Rell to observe;

“After a dark period in our state’s history, Connecticut became a role model for the nation with … our campaign finance reform. How sad that the Democrat governor, Democrat legislators and the Democrat Party are so greedy for campaign cash that they would willingly destroy what we so proudly enacted just a few short years ago.”

At the time, few fully appreciated how the legislation would change the political landscape, but you can read more about the Democrats successful effort to destroy Connecticut’s campaign finance law in the June 2013 CTNewsJunkie article entitled, “Malloy Signs Bill Changing Campaign Finance Reforms of 2005.”

Now, with just weeks to go in the 2014 gubernatorial election, laws have been changed to the point that instead of having $6.2 million, the Malloy campaign effort will probably spend in excess of $16 million to try and get a second term in office.

Of course, thanks in no small part to the same changes in the law, Tom Foley and the Republicans will be spending an equally obscene amount of money.

Finally, as Wait, What? readers know, the entire system is also rigged against third-party candidates.  Meaning in this campaign finance war of mutually assured campaign destruction, they only candidate not double and triple dipping, while still using taxpayer funds is third party candidate Joe Visconti.

So let’s hear it!  Three cheers for campaign finance corruption in Connecticut!

I didn’t leave my political party, my party left me

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I’m often asked why, considering I’m a life-long Democrat, I am “leaving” the Democratic Party and running as an independent for Governor.  I start by explaining that as hard as it is to run as an independent, I thought the institutional barriers to winning a Democratic Primary were even greater.

But then I add that, to be blunt,  I don’t believe I am “leaving” the Democratic Party, I believe the Democratic Party has left me and tens of thousands of other people who understand that many Democratic leaders have turned their backs on Democratic ideals, principles and constituencies in order to kowtow to the corporate elite.

Former Democratic State Senator, State Comptroller, and Democratic candidate for governor, Bill Curry has an extraordinarily powerful piece on Salon.com today about this very issue.  While I’ve had my differences with Bill Curry through the years (probably more often my fault), he is one of the smartest, most astute, political observers on the scene today. In his latest piece for this national audience, Bill Curry writes;

 My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats

In 2006 the Atlantic magazine asked a panel of “eminent historians” to name the 100 most influential people in American history.  Included alongside George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain and Elvis Presley was Ralph Nader, one of only three living Americans to make the list. It was airy company for Nader, but if you think about it, an easy call. Though a private citizen, Nader shepherded more bills through Congress than all but a handful of American presidents.

If that sounds like an outsize claim, try refuting it. His signature wins included landmark laws on auto, food, consumer product and workplace safety; clean air and water; freedom of information, and consumer, citizen, worker and shareholder rights.

In a century only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson passed more major legislation. Nader’s also the only American ever to start a major social or political movement all by himself. The labor, civil rights and women’s movements all had multiple mothers and fathers, as did each generation’s peace and antiwar movements.

Not so the consumer movement, which started out as just one guy banging away at a typewriter. Soon he was a national icon, seen leaning into Senate microphones on TV or staring down the establishment from the covers of news magazines. What lifted Nader to such heights was the 1965 publication of “Unsafe at Any Speed,” an exposé of the auto industry’s sociopathic indifference to the health and safety of its customers. In little more than a year Congress put seat belts in every new car and created the forerunners of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington’s rapid response affirmed Nader’s belief that people provided with critical facts will demand change and that sooner than one might expect politicians, however listless or corrupt, will give it to them.

This faith in the power of ideas and of public opinion — in the educability of people and thus in the viability of democracy — distinguishes Nader from much of what remains of the American left.

[…]

Throughout the 1980s Nader watched as erstwhile Democratic allies vanished or fell into the welcoming arms of big business.  By the mid-’90s the whole country was in a swoon over the new baby-faced titans of technology and global capital. If leading Democrats thought technology threatened anyone’s privacy or employment or that globalization threatened anyone’s wages, they kept it to themselves.  In his contempt for oligarchs of any vintage and rejection of the economic and political democratization myths of the new technology Nader seemed an anachronism. His critics would later say Nader was desperate for attention.

For certain he was desperate to reengage the nation in a debate over the concentration of wealth and power; desperate enough by 1992 to run for president. His first race was a sort of novelty campaign — he ran in New Hampshire’s Democratic and Republican primaries “as a stand in for none of the above.” But the experience proved habit-forming and he got mottre serious as he went along. In 1996 and 2000 he ran as the nominee of the Green Party and in 2004 and 2008 as an independent.

The campaigns defined him for a new generation, but he never stopped writing. His latest book, “Unstoppable,” argues for the existence and utility of an “emerging left-right alliance to dismantle the corporate state.” The book is vintage Nader and ranks with his best. The questions it poses should greatly interest progressives.

The question is, will any read it. It’s a question because on top of all the hurdles facing even celebrity authors today, Nader is estranged from much of his natural readership. It goes back, of course, to his third race for president, the one that gave us George W. Bush, John Roberts, Sam Alito, the Iraq War and a colossal debt. Democrats blame Nader for all of it. Some say he not only cost Al Gore the 2000 election but did it on purpose. Nader denies both charges. Both are more debatable than either he or his critics allow. In 1996 I served as counselor to President Clinton and met often with Nader to discuss that campaign. Early on he told me he wouldn’t be a spoiler. Judging by his message and schedule and the deployment of his meager resources, he was true to his word. In 2000 his allocation of resources was little changed: He spent 20 days in deep blue California, two in Florida; hardly a spoiler’s itinerary. But he was in Florida at the end and his equation throughout of Gore with Bush — “Tweedledum and Tweedledee” — outraged Democrats.

The Democrats’ dismissal of Nader in 2000 was of a piece with our personality-driven politics: a curmudgeon on steroids; older now and grumpier; driven by ego and personal grievance. But Nader always hit hard; you don’t get to be the world’s most famous shopper by making allowances or pulling punches. The difference was that in 2000 Democrats as well as Republicans bore the brunt of his attacks. What had changed? It says a lot about the Democratic Party then and now that nobody bothered to ask the question, the answer to which is, a whole lot.

Bill Curry’s complete piece can be found at:  Bill Curry article.

I urge all of you to take the time to read it. Had we done a better job of listening to Ralph Nader and Bill Curry we very well might not be in the mess we are today.

There is no need to agree or disagree with Nader and Curry on every issue to recognize that they speak the truth about the fact that we did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left. Us.

The question is how best to re-build a political movement that will ensure our beliefs and principles are heard and acted upon. That is one of the very reasons I am running for Governor this year.

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Pelto To Run For Governor

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Press Release:  6/12/2014

Pelto To Run For Governor – Will Convert from Exploratory Committee to Candidate Committee for Governor

Former state legislator Jonathan Pelto is announcing that he will be a candidate for Governor this year and that he and his Lt. Governor candidate, Ebony Murphy, will be converting their exploratory committee into a candidate committee for the office of Governor and Lt. Governor of the State of Connecticut.

“Since creating an exploratory committee for Governor a few weeks ago, I have been overwhelmed and incredibly humbled by the positive response I have received,” said Pelto, who represented the Town of Mansfield in the Connecticut General Assembly for five terms from 1984 to 1993.

“With the help of volunteers across Connecticut, we are creating a grassroots campaign that can have a profound impact on the 2014 election.” Pelto added

Pelto says his campaign has over 100 volunteers out collecting petition signatures and that they have already collected approximately 2,200 signatures in the past few days.  Pelto projected that the number of people collecting signatures will reach nearly 200 people by the end of the week and he is confident that the campaign will reach the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

“I said I would only run for governor if I could be a credible candidate,” Pelto said. “Having spent the last several weeks talking with voters across the political spectrum and with people willing to volunteer to help with our campaign, I am confident that we can utilize this opportunity to focus the electorate’s attention on a number of important issues such as a fair and equitable state tax system, adequate funding and support for our teachers, students, parents and public schools, and an economic development strategy that is focused on supporting small businesses and creating real jobs rather than on giving out millions of dollars in Corporate welfare.”

Pelto added, “As a third-party candidate for Governor, I recognize that the campaign system is rigged to make getting elected as difficult as possible, but I see a clear path forward and I am indeed running to win.”

Some key issues the Pelto campaign plans to highlight include:

  • Middle Income Tax Reform: Connecticut’s middle class are already overburdened with taxes and in order to close the projected $1.3 billion budget deficit and maintain vital services, the income tax must be made more progressive by increasing the income tax rate on those making more than $1 million.
  • Ending Corporate Welfare:  Connecticut must close corporate tax loopholes and end Governor Malloy’s “First Five” corporate welfare program that has given hundreds of millions of public funds to successful companies, essentially picking winners and losers in the private, free enterprise system.
  • Supporting Connecticut’s Public Schools: Gov. Malloy’s 2012 education reform legislation proposed eliminating teacher tenure and unilaterally repealing collective bargaining for teachers in “turnaround” schools.  Malloy’s decision to hand Connecticut’s public education system over to Charter School advocate, now Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, has ushered in an unprecedented attack on teachers, local school districts and the professionalism of the State Department of Education.    Rather than attacking them, it is time that the state provides Connecticut’s public school students, families, teachers and administrators with the resources and training support that they need to ensure that all our children have an opportunity to receive a high quality education.  This effort would include reaching a settlement on the CCEJF V. Rell School funding lawsuit    rather than try to get it dismissed as the Malloy administration has done as this provides the      best vehicle for adopting a fair school funding formula that provides public schools with the   resources they need while reducing the burden on the local property tax. 
  • Rejection of Common Core and Common Core standardized testing scheme: Rather than placing further burdens on school systems, teachers and students brought on by the significant financial and time demands created by the implementation of the Common Core Standards and its Common Core standardized testing scheme, it is a time to devote greater time and energy to actual school work and instruction rather than teaching to the test.
  • Restoring Support for Connecticut’s Public Colleges and Universities: Despite claims to the contrary, the Malloy Administration has pushed through the deepest budget cuts in state history at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities. At UConn, for example, prior to Malloy taking office, the Connecticut state budget accounted for 33% of the total cost required to operate the University of Connecticut.  Three years into his term and after his record budget cuts at UConn, Connecticut State University and at the State’s Community Colleges, the state now only provides 27.9% of the amount necessary to keep UConn operating. As a direct result of Malloy’s budget cuts, the burden on students and their families have INCREASED by 17.3%. It is time for the state to restore its commitment to Connecticut students and families by supporting our public colleges and universities to make a high quality college education more affordable and accessible for everyone. 
  • Renewed Emphasis on Government Transparency: State government under the Malloy Administration has become increasingly secretive resulting in the loss of public accountability and an increase in the use of no-bid contracts.  It is time to return Connecticut’ oversight commissions including the State Ethics Commission, the State Freedom of Information Commission and the State Elections Enforcement Commission to their independent status and provide them with the resources they need.

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

The Hartford Courant has a breaking story on this issue at:  http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/pelto-exploratory-phase-ends-hell-definitely-run-for-governor-on-3rd-party-line-will-form-candidate-committee/

 

A Pro-Public Education Party for Connecticut?

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The Connecticut Mirror leads with a story today about Governor Malloy’s PR campaign to “appease” Connecticut’s teachers in the hopes of getting active and retired teachers to support his 2014 gubernatorial re-election aspirations.

The article, which is entitled “Malloy works to appease teachers in 2014,” reviews some of the turbulent history between Malloy and Connecticut’s teachers, public employees, their unions and those who support public education and public employees.

The article contains Malloy’s famous quote on teacher tenure in which he said, “In today’s system, basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

The CT Mirror piece also mentions Malloy’s anti-teacher, anti-public education reform initiatives although it doesn’t contain Malloy’s equally famous comment that he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.

Nor does the article report on Malloy’s inappropriate and fiscally irresponsible attack on Connecticut’s retired teacher health insurance fund.

In response to the various criticisms, Malloy responds, “I’ve been a supporter of labor all my life. I never hid the fact my mother was a union president, and I believe America has the middle class it has in large part because of the battles that labor fought on behalf of all working men and women, whether they were in labor or not.”

Malloy’s latest maneuver raises, yet again, the question of whether Connecticut’s children, parents, teachers and public education advocates need and deserve a pro-public education political party.  (The same could certainly be said about state employees and those who support their work).

In New York, a pro-public education party is actually taking shape.

Mark Naison, a fellow pro-education blogger who is also a Professor of African-American Studies and History at Fordham University and Director of Fordham’s Urban Studies Program, has agreed to challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo as the gubernatorial candidate for the newly formed “Restore Recess Party.”

Mark Naison’s decision to run as a third party candidate should not be easily dismissed.

Teachers, along with public school parents and other public education advocates, could easily be the deciding factor in a number of gubernatorial races such as the ones in Illinois or here in Connecticut.

In New York, the new pro-public education “Restore Recess Party” was created to;

“Let Governor Andrew Cuomo know there is a price for showing contempt for the parents, teachers and students of New York State and placing Data over the needs of Students.”

The Restore Recess Party Agenda includes the following elements:

1. Restore Recess.

2. Cut the state testing budget in half and use the money to lower class size and fund arts programs, sports programs and school counselors.

3. No Data Sharing. No information about children can be shared with anyone outside of the school district without parental permission.

4. Create a new Education Policy Committee to replace the Education Reform Commission, and require it to have a majority of currently active teachers and parents.

5. End the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations.

6. Cancel all State Education Contracts with for profit companies.

7. Stop all School Closings – Help Schools in Trouble, Don’t Close Them.

8. End state support for the Common Core Standards- Leave that decision up to each individual school district.

9. Multiply the number of portfolio schools which require no tests at all. Let teachers and parents form them within the public school system, not as charters.

10. Bring back vocational and technical education into every school district if parents and teachers support it.

11. Withdraw from Race to the Top and take no Federal Funds that require more testing, more school closings, or adoption of Common Core Standards.

12. Make sure all schools, especially those in high poverty areas, have strong after school programs.

13. Make Community History welcome in the schools.

14. Encourage the creation of school farms and gardens.

15. Exempt special needs students from all state tests and require that they get instruction appropriate to their developmental level and aptitudes.

New York Governor Cuomo, like Malloy, has been a huge disappointment to those who had hoped and expected to have a Democratic governor who shared the Democratic Party’s historic commitment to education, public services and to the people who devote their lives to teaching our children and providing important public services.

While it is still early in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign process, the question of whether Connecticut needs a pro-public education party is becoming increasingly apparent.

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