Amistad – The quintessential example of failed leadership

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Here in Connecticut, the governor is – first and foremost – the state’ chief executive.  He or she is responsible for the operations and performance of the executive branch of state government.  In order to perform that duty they must recruit and supervise a team of commissioners and senior managers.

The operative term is not just to recruit, but to actually supervise, manage and direct a team dedicated to ensuring that state government performs its duties in an efficient and effective manner.

Being governor is not about campaigning 24/7, 365 days a year for four years.

Being governor is not about issuing press releases, cutting ribbons or gallivanting around the country raising money or engaging in political activities.

Being governor is about getting the job done – and done right.

And here is yet another example of what happens when governors decide that playing politics comes before managing the affairs of state.

As the Hartford Courant reports in an article entitled, Audits: As Amistad Finances Collapsed, State Money Kept Flowing

When the cash began running out at the nonprofit Amistad America Inc., officials defaulted on bank loans, skimped on bills, borrowed from employees and used state grant money as a temporary loan against other grants, a series of audits released Friday shows.

They also laid off employees with financial expertise, stopped preparing federal tax returns and got permission from the state, year after year, to delay filing financial audits that would have shown the depth of Amistad America’s troubles.

And while the charity’s finances were collapsing, state grant money kept flowing — more than $1 million from 2009 to 2011, even as the organization’s assets fell below zero, the audits show.

[…]

A year ago, state officials hired the New York accounting firm of CohnReznick to sift through Amistad America’s financial records and prepare the first audits since a March 2008 accounting. CohnReznick’s $78,000 fee was taken out of the state’s annual grant to Amistad America.

In four long-awaited audits released Friday, covering the fiscal years 2009 through 2012, CohnReznick found “material weaknesses” in Amistad America’s internal financial controls and found that the group did not comply with certain reporting requirements related to its state grants…The audits also did not address the day-to-day operation of the nonprofit group, or assign culpability for its financial problems.

The story paints an ugly picture of failed leadership and management.

And perhaps, most interesting of all, the long-awaited audits did not “assign culpability” for the massive waste of public funds.

Connecticut deserves better.

You can read the complete Hartford Courant story at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-amistad-audits-0809-20140808,0,3797591.story

 

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Malloy Tells Voters To Judge Him On His Record – Welcomes Debates

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Well, we can now all agree on something!

This year’s gubernatorial campaign is about judging Dannel “Dan” Malloy on his record and choosing a leadership team that will help set the course for the next four years.

To successfully perform that duty, the voters of Connecticut need the truth about Malloy’s record and a series of debates so that they can hear from Malloy and the other candidates seeking to become Connecticut’s governor.

According to a recent story in CT Newsjunkie entitled, Malloy Welcomes Debate, Asks Voters To Judge Him On His Record, Malloy said,

“Listen, you’ve got to look at what elections are,” Malloy said Tuesday. “I have a record. It’s a record I’m proud of, having faced five natural disaster declarations and Sandy Hook. I think people need, or I would ask that they put it all in context.”

While it makes me a little uneasy to think he is bringing the Sandy Hook massacre into his campaign rhetoric, I agree he faced five natural disaster declarations and Sandy hook and that voters should vote based on his entire record.

As the CT Newsjunkie story explained, Malloy also said

“I look forward to having a thorough discussion of the issues in a debate format. Final number to be decided, but certainly I’m going to be accepting a lot of invitations”

As far as our democracy and our state concerned, I certainly hope Governor Malloy means what he says.

Debates will allow us to discuss Malloy’s record and the alternatives to another four years of Malloy’s approach to governance.

Among the many issues to discuss, I especially look forward the following:

  • Actually putting an end to the use of budget gimmicks and coming to grips with the need to adopt fair, honest and balanced state budgets if we are to confront the fiscal crisis that is undermining Connecticut.  Malloy “inherited” a budget deficit of $3.7 billion.  The projected state budget deficit for next year is $1.4 billion and the projected budget deficits for the next 3 years exceed $5 billion.
  • Dramatically revising Connecticut’s tax structure to ensure that the wealthy are paying their fair and the state stops disproportionately dumping the tax burden on the middle class.
  • Putting an end to giving hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to successful corporations currently being supported by Malloy’s “fast five” corporate welfare program. State government should be in the business of supporting Connecticut’s small businesses, not giving away taxpayer funds to pick winners and losers in the free enterprise marketplace.
  • Taking back control of our public education system and repealing Malloy’s corporate education reform industry policies including the Common Core, the unfair, expensive and inappropriate Common Core testing scheme, the unfair allocation of scarce public funds and the massive effort to divert taxpayer money from public schools to charter schools.  Let us not forget that Dannel Malloy is the ONLY Democratic Governor in the nation to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in so-called “turnaround schools.”
  • Reversing Malloy’s record-breaking cuts to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.  Shifting the costs on the backs of students and their parents is further undermining Connecticut’s middle class and, along with his inappropriate policies on remedial courses, is creating permanent barriers to a college education for thousands of students.
  • Returning honesty and transparency to government by strengthening Connecticut watch-dog agencies like the Ethics Commission, the Freedom of Information Commission, the State Elections Enforcement Commission and expanding the efforts to locate and eliminate fraud and waste in government.
  • Perhaps most importantly of all, reorienting our government so that it treats all of its citizens fairly and equitably.  Whether it is the Malloy administration’s failure to listen and respect the disability community or the unfair implementation of laws, rules and regulations, the people of Connecticut deserve a government that is dedicated to them – and not to the select few who have the access to get what they want.

So bring on the debates, let’s judge Malloy on his record and let’s choose new leadership for Connecticut.

You can read the complete CT Newsjunkie article at:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/malloy_welcomes_debate_asks_voters_to_judge_him_on_his_record/

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Are Malloy operatives saying democracy is great, unless they’re challenged?

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Democrats claim to love democracy.  The Democratic Party has traditionally fought to make it easier to register and vote and promoted strategies to improve voter turnout such as early voting.  Democrats have also decried efforts to suppress turnout or making it harder for people to cast their vote on Election Day.

But as Democrats (and Republicans) brag about the superiority of our system of governance and seek to spread democracy around the world, one thing is becoming clear…Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his political operatives are all for democratic values until they are the ones being challenged.

In a recent Hartford Courant article, “Rosa DeLauro Says Jon Pelto Should Get Out of Race For Governor.  DeLauro, who’ve I’ve known and supported for 34 years added,

“He should not be running for governor…Jonathan Pelto is a very smart young man. We’ve worked together over many years. But this is not his moment.”

Not his moment?

Rather than welcome a full and open debate about his record as governor, here are two more stories revealing that Malloy and his inner-circle would rather resort to insults or bizarre claims that allowing people to vote for the Pelto/Murphy ticket would “spoil” this year’s election for governor.

It is – at its core – a very odd philosophy.

Apparently their belief is that democracy is fine as long as voters don’t have too many choices.

If they spent their time and energy explaining why Connecticut voters should overlook Malloy’s legacy of failure on the state budget, fair taxation, education, corporate welfare and other issues rather than whining about being challenged, they might be able to pick up votes the old fashioned way – by earning them.

Pelto sees Bridgeport as battleground

BRIDGEPORT — A city teacher for 24 years, Kathy Silver is one of the public school educators who helped Jonathan Pelto collect the thousands of signatures needed to get his name onto November’s gubernatorial ballot.

“It’s almost as if it’s a sleeping giant that’s waking up,” Silver said of the Pelto movement, much of it born out of frustration with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reforms and a perceived favoritism of anti-union privatization.

“I think people are realizing that their vote has some power and they’re beginning to push back,” Silver said.

Pelto, a left-leaning Democrat and ex-legislator from Storrs, and a second petitioning candidate, tea party Republican Joe Visconti, had until 4 p.m. Wednesday to submit 7,500 valid signatures to town clerks.

Pelto, who was in Bridgeport Wednesday, his seventh stop here in as many weeks, was optimistic he had enough signatures, though it will take time for local elections officials to verify them and forward them to the state.

And if Pelto is a candidate, true-blue Bridgeport may play an even more crucial role in the gubernatorial contest than when the city won Malloy a 7,000-vote victory in 2010 over Republican Tom Foley

“Bridgeport would likely be the single most important battleground,” said Pelto.

Why? Park City voters angry with Malloy’s education agenda have recently flexed muscle at the polls. And Malloy so far appears to again need all the support he can muster in Bridgeport this November.

[…]

“We’ve seen what I would call three major proxy wars (in Bridgeport),” Pelto said, that show the city’s traditional Democratic apparatus might have trouble drumming up enthusiasm for Malloy.

Through it all, Pelto used his blog, Wait What? to criticize the governor’s efforts.

“Jonathan Pelto is a folk hero in educational circles because he is articulating the real needs of urban educators,” said Bryan Ripley Crandall, who, as head of the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University, works with Bridgeport teachers.

And some of those city activists who showed Vallas the door have aided Pelto in his gubernatorial petition drive.

“Listen, Bridgeport delivered for Malloy,” said retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, a Democrat who challenged Vallas’ qualifications in a case ultimately decided in Vallas’ favor by the State Supreme Court. “The first thing Malloy did was come in here and disband an elected Board of Education … So Bridgeport should respond, if anything, to say, `You’ve got to respect us.’ ”

[…]

Pelto said that if he costs Malloy the election, his candidacy would still serve a purpose, and Democrats would still run the Legislature.

“If Malloy loses it will be a very strong signal for the Democratic Party in Connecticut and elsewhere — you can’t walk away from these constituencies and keep on assuming they’ll vote for you,” Pelto said. “If that’s the outcome … then I think I’ve made a pretty positive impact.”

For the full article go to: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Pelto-sees-Bridgeport-as-battleground-5672984.php

 

Nader Signed Pelto’s Petition To Get On Ballot

Speaking to two reporters, Malloy at first tried to focus on his own candidacy after being asked about Pelto.

“We’re going to talk about issues,” Malloy said. “We’re going to debate issues, as I have said, very actively. What we believe is that there will be a very clear voice to the voters of Connecticut about which direction they want to go, and ultimately I believe they’ll choose me to be the leader for the next four years, but that’s what elections are about.”

Asked again about Pelto, Malloy appeared to throw a veiled jab at the veteran Democratic operative.

“Again, I think what I’ll do is reserve the debate for the candidates who are in the race and have a chance of demonstrating real support,” he said.

Malloy added that he has observed changing motivations among some gubernatorial candidates.

“I think it was pointed out [in a recent article] … that there has been a sliding scale of desire and representations, beginning with somebody will only be a candidate if they have a chance to win and now they want to be candidate for any purpose,” he said.

Malloy never mentioned Pelto’s name, which Pelto said has been done on purpose for months.

“It is their strategy,” Pelto said.  “It’s childish. It’s juvenile. They’re playing politics, and they think it’s their way to ensure that I don’t get name recognition.”

Read the full article at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-pelto-visconti-signatures-0807-20140806,0,1157684.story

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“We need a school that’s going to promote God’s principles”  

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The observation comes from a member of the Varick Memorial A.M.E Church community as she explains why the State Board of Education should approve a “revised” charter for the Booker T. Washington Elementary School in New Haven.

The Board of Directors of the new Booker T. Washington School is led by Varick Memorial A.M.E. Church’s pastor, his assistant and his wife.  According to the proposal, his wife will serve on the board until she gets a job once the school is open.

The CT Newsjunkie story explains,

“The state Board of Education expressed skepticism Monday that a new charter school would be able to get up and running before the start of the school year, but nevertheless they unanimously approved the revised plan.”

Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education originally approved the Booker T. Washington Charter School based on the fact that it would be run by Jumoke/FUSE, but after the collapse of that company, the proponents of the Booker T. Washington School were allowed to find a new “management” operation.

The CT Newsjunkie story goes on to explain;

The school’s founder, Pastor Eldren Morrison, said they currently have eight board members, but intend to add an additional four members. At least one of the members will be a parent of a child attending the school, which will eventually serve pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade.

Theresa Hopkins-Staten, vice chairwoman of the board, cautioned the Booker T. Washington Academy and urged school officials to include a nepotism clause in its bylaws.

“You indicate that staff members, employees or relatives of staff members, as long as they’re qualified, can work there,” Hopkins-Staten pointed out. “I caution you against that. This board has seen situations where that has not worked out well.”

She said that while there might not be an actual conflict of interest, “perception becomes reality and you don’t want those types of issues early on as you get this school off the ground.”

Taylor told the board that they have not hired any relatives of board members.

[…]

Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now CEO Jennifer Alexander said she supports the revised proposal.

“New Haven’s kids should not be denied the opportunity to attend this school because FUSE apparently proved to be a less-than-honest partner,” Alexander said. “The hundreds of children and parents who have already applied to attend Booker T. Washington Academy (BTWA) should not be negatively impacted by the egregious and possibly illegal activities at FUSE.”

As part of its revised proposal, BTWA will lease space for $100,000 from Achievement First, a public charter school organization. Taylor said Mayo, who recently stepped forward to mentor Taylor , was instrumental in lowering the asking price for the sublease.

He said they are paying less on the lease than what Achievement First is paying the landlord for the space.

“It’s a fraction of what they’re paying,” Taylor said.

As Wait, What? readers know, Achievement First Inc. was co-founded by Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, and the office responsible for reviewing charter school operations is run by Morgan Barth, a former Achievement First, Inc. employee who taught and served as an administrator illegally during 6 of his years at Achievement First, Inc.

The State Board of Education did not address or produce any documentation about the potential conflict of interest now that Booker T Washington is now renting and renovating property owned by Achievement First, Inc.

You can read the full CT Newsjunkie article at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/board_of_education_approves_new_charter_school/?utm_source=CTNewsJunkie.com&utm_campaign=b40dcb2093-MCP_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a493d2308d-b40dcb2093-92878945

 

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All is well in the Land of Oz

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The scene in which Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy says, “CT budget and economy both poised to take off” In the last of a series of articles written by the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf on how the candidates for governor would deal with Connecticut’s $1.4 billion projected state budget for the year following the November election, Governor Malloy has said,

“We really don’t have a deficit…I know that’s hard to believe.”

Malloy tells the CT Mirror;

  • Connecticut doesn’t have a deficit
  • There will be no cuts to key services
  • There is no need to discuss concessions with state employees
  • He will not propose or accept any tax increase during his four years as governor – even to shift the tax burden by making the wealthy pay their fair share so Connecticut can reduce the disproportionate pressure on the middle class.

And how is Malloy going to achieve this incredible feat of having more services, no additional taxes and no deficits? As the CT Mirror explains,

“The governor said he’s confident that both the nation’s and Connecticut’s economy are on the cusp of a major surge.”

But wait, there is more! Not only do we get all that, but after talking with Malloy, the CT Mirror adds that Malloy says we’ll get even more if we just re-elect him.

“Swelling tax receipts not only will close whatever part of the deficit he can’t close with efficiencies, he says, but will also create opportunities for future tax cuts.”

In response to Malloy’s beyond belief explanation of the crisis facing Connecticut and its state government, the CT Mirror quotes me saying,

“What a sad commentary,” said petitioning candidate Jonathan Pelto, a Mansfield Democrat and former state representative. “He’s not functioning in the same economic world that the rest of us live in.”

The truth is that Connecticut faces a $5 billion revenue shortage over the next five years and Malloy’s reliance on inappropriate borrowing has further undermined the fiscal health of our state. While Malloy claims the problems will all disappear, the CT Mirror correctly notes that,

Pelto is at the other end of the spectrum, insisting that a major tax hike on the wealthy is needed to safeguard public services, public employees’ pensions, and municipal aid.

If you are going to read one article about Governor Malloy’s approach to the problems facing the state, this is the one to read. You can find the whole article at: http://ctmirror.org/malloy-ct-budget-and-economy-both-poised-to-take-off/

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Malloy’s Master of Destruction gets gig in Waterbury

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“The students, parents, teachers and public school supporters in Waterbury should be worried – very worried.

The Waterbury Republican newspaper is reporting that “State and local school leaders have agreed to bring in former Hartford School Superintendent Steven Adamowski to help recover a stumbling effort to turn around Crosby High School.”

Adamowski’s record and legacy of damage and destruction in Hartford, Windham and New London are legendary.

Proponents of early childhood education initiatives have been shocked by Adamowski’s effort to undermine these critical programs.

The Latino community and parents of students who require English Language support have been horrified by Adamowski’s blatant disregard for English Language Learners, Bilingual programs and Dual Language programs.

And special education advocates in those same communities will outline how his policies have failed students with special needs.

The notion that “local and state” leaders would take this step is a sad reminder of how little some people care about promoting a fair, appropriate and comprehensive education for all Connecticut public school students.

State and local taxpayers also have a right to know how Adamowski is being paid.  As Special Master for Windham and New London he was paid in excess of $225,000 a year in taxpayer funds, plus benefits and personal staff.  When that funding was coming to an end, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, gave Adamowski a lucrative state job without going through any advertising or interview process for the position.

The Malloy administration and Steven Adamowski have also tried to persuade legislators to change Connecticut’s state pension laws to allow Adamowski to add years to his pension despite the fact that he did not meet the legal requirements.  Thankfully the legislature rejected the back-door deal.

Finally, in addition to the six-figure income Adamowski is receiving from Malloy’s State Department of Education, he is also getting paid by UConn.

The local and state officials who are bringing Adamowski to Waterbury have an obligation to explain who is paying his bill and why they would bring in someone who has consistently disregarded local officials, parents, local taxpayers and the teachers in the school system he has “taken over.”

Want to know more about Special Master Adamowski – just search for his name on this blog.

 

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Self-proclaimed as “America’s Most Trusted Educator,” Steve Perry says he is opening a charter school in NYC?

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According to his PR operation, “Dr. Steve Perry, and the founders of what US News & World Reports has called one of America’s top high schools, are coming to Harlem.”

Despite the fact that Perry and his “team” are full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education, Steve Perry’s media statement explains that, “The Capital Prep Harlem team seeks to work with those children currently languishing on waiting lists or in schools not meeting their needs.” Perry’s statement adds, “Capital Prep Harlem’s board brings together leaders from industry, education and media to offer a robust set of resources to serve some of Harlem’s neediest children.”

According to Perry’s charter school application, the Capital Prep Harlem Board includes ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith.

As the New York Daily News reported earlier this week,

Frankly speaking, Stephen A. Smith wants in on the charter-school gold rush.

The outspoken ESPN talking head and former Daily News sportswriter is listed as a member of the board of trustees of the proposed Capital Prep Harlem Charter School, according to documents recently posted online.

“Mr. Smith’s key contributions include his expertise in communications and media,” the school’s application to the state reads.

While Perry’s PR operation makes it seem as if the Capital Prep Harlem Charter School is a “done deal,” the fact is the application is one of fourteen that made it through an initial cut and will require approval by the New York Board of Regents, which is scheduled to vote on the applications in November.

According to the education news site Chalk Beat,

 “Thirty-four schools across the state submitted letters of intent, and 17 were chosen to continue to this next round of the application process…In their letters of intent, schools outlined their missions, enrollment plans, and initial board members.

By way of introduction, Perry’s letter of intent states,

Dr. Stephen D. Perry (3 years) is the founder and principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, CT (Capital Prep”). Under Dr. Perry’s leadership, Capital Prep has become a model of public education’s potential to provide educational opportunities to historically underserved populations. In addition to being principal of Capital Prep, Dr. Perry is an Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, a best-selling author, and host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE “Save My Son.” Dr. Perry earned a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from University of Hartford, an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work and a B.A. from University of Rhode Island. Dr. Perry will serve as a member of the Founding Board of Trustees. Dr. Perry’s key contributions include his extensive expertise in education.

Although observers might question the honesty of some of the statements contained in Perry’s charter school application, the new Capital Prep New York City charter school plan reads,

 CP Harlem’s program and curriculum designs are based on the internationally recognized, research-based model developed by the founders of Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. (CPS) and implemented over the past ten years at Capital Prep in Hartford, CT. CPS will serve as the management services provider for CP Harlem, which will be part of the emerging boutique of CPS schools, to include CP Harlem and Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport CT, approved to open in July 2015.

And when it comes to “follow the money,” the Capital Prep New York city application adds,

CPS will provide management services to CP Harlem in the following areas: start-up, operations, talent development, oversight, fundraising, marketing and advocacy, human resources, facility, finance, procurement, and board relations. In addition, CPS will provide a small contingency of ancillary services including accounting, performance management, and program evaluation.

According to the documents, the New York charter school application was submitted by “Dr. Stephen D. Perry, Head of Schools, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.”

As long-time Wait, What? readers know Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. is a private company formed by Stephen Perry.  Official documents filed with the Connecticut Secretary of the State list the company as being located at Mr. Perry’s home, while the IRS documents record that the company is actually registered at Capital Preparatory Magnet School, a public school within the Hartford Connecticut School System.

Since the address on Perry’s New York City application is blacked out, it is not clear whether he is applying for the new school from his home address or from his job as a full-time employee of the Hartford Board of Education.

Perry’s application is also unclear as to who will actually be providing the management services outlined in his proposal.

Earlier this year, at the direction of Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, the Connecticut State Board of Education approved a new charter school for Steve Perry in Bridgeport…despite the fact that there is no funding for the school in the state budget.

According to Perry’s Bridgeport application, the management team and lead teachers that will be running the new Capital Prep Bridgeport Harbor School are full-time administrators, teachers and staff of the Hartford Board of Education.  While the plan failed to explain how full-time public employees could also be working for a private charter school company, the Malloy administration approved Perry’s new school.

Interestingly, Perry’s New York City charter school application is completely silent as to whether the management services that are to be provided by Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. will also be conducted by those same full-time public employees.

You can find Perry’s Letter of Intent at:  http://www.p12.nysed.gov/psc/documents/2014Rd2capprepR.pdf

Working Families Party put politics before policy by endorsing Malloy – Uses endorsement to mislead voters

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Here is the statement I released in response to the news that the Working Family Party has endorsed “four more years” of Governor Dannel Malloy.  You can read the WFP statement below;

Pelto: “Working Families Party put politics before policy by endorsing Malloy - Uses endorsement to mislead voters”

While it is unfortunate, the Working Families Party’s endorsement of Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is not surprising.  Rather than hold Malloy responsible for his anti-working family policies, the group has thrown their support behind an incumbent who has squandered the opportunity to stand up and do the right thing for the real working families of Connecticut.

Worse, the WFP leadership is using their endorsement to mislead the people of the state.

In their endorsement, the Working Party falsely states;

  • We were one of the few states to balance the budget by asking the super-rich to pay their fair share instead of cutting essential services.
  • And while some states eliminated workers’ rights to collectively bargain, we expanded that right to more workers

But the truth is Governor Malloy IS THE ONLY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IN THE NATION to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in so-called “turnaround schools.”

Not only did Dan Malloy fail to support the fundamental rights of unionized workers but he has consistently worked to undermine the teaching profession and the rights and work of state and municipal employees. Malloy’s corporate education reform industry proposals were in opposition to everything the WFP is supposed to stand for.

And the WFP’s claim that Dannel Malloy asked the “super-rich” to pay their fair share would be funny if it wasn’t such a serious example of how Malloy has failed during his time in office.  When Connecticut’s families were asked to pay higher income tax rates, Malloy actually FAILED to increase the rate on those making more than $1 million because, as he told a  joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly, he didn’t want to “punish success.”  Malloy’s failure to promote a fair and equitable tax structure is legendary and revealing.  Coddling the rich and burdening the middle class working families with a disproportionate tax burden, such as the state’s largest gas tax increase in history, are just two examples of Malloy’s failure when it comes to his tax policies.

The Working Families Party endorsement is disappointing but not surprising.  They have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they put politics before policy and that is a sad commentary indeed.

 

Statement from Working Families Party – July 29, 2014

Governor Dan Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman have just earned the endorsement of the Connecticut Working Families Party!

Over the past four years, Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Wyman have been critical to important victories for working and middle class families and the unemployed. They championed Connecticut’s historic paid sick days program. Now they’re facing a tough re-election — and they’ll need your help to win.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Wyman, Connecticut is a national leader when it comes to economic justice:

  • We became the first state to guarantee paid sick time off to hundreds of thousands of service industry workers.
  • We were the first state to raise our minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
  • We were one of the few states to balance the budget by asking the super-rich to pay their fair share instead of cutting essential services.
  • And while some states eliminated workers’ rights to collectively bargain, we expanded that right to more workers.

Over the past few months, we’ve been carefully considering who to endorse: scrutinizing candidate’s records, asking you, our members and activists, and hearing directly from the candidates at our Forum. When we asked you what we should do it was crystal clear: you wanted us to endorsed Governor Malloy and work to reelect him.

A vote on the Working Families Party line counts for the best candidate, and also sends a message that you want the Governor to focus on building an economy that works for everyone, not just the super wealthy.

Thanks for all you do,

Lindsay Farrell
Executive Director
Connecticut Working Families Party

 

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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

Today’s “MUST READ” Columns on the Malloy/Pryor Charter School scandals

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Another Week, Another Scandal (By Sarah Darer Littman)

Another week, and another education scandal here in the Nutmeg State. The FBI served subpoenas on charter school operator FUSE last Friday morning, and shortly after their visit Hartford Courant reporters found the receptionist shredding documents. “Asked what was being shredded, she said the documents were associated with the state-subsidized Jumoke charter schools.” Obstruction of justice, anyone?

Meanwhile, after the notoriously opaque state Department of Education declined to issue reporters a copy of their own FBI-issued subpoena, the Courant received this statement Monday from Department of Education spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly: “We have been assured that the department is not a subject of this investigation.” Okay then. That’s clear.

Yet by Tuesday, it was another story. Apparently, the subpoena seeks, among other things, “All emails of Commissioner Stefan Pryor” since January 2012.

Read the complete piece at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_another_week_another_scandal/

 

A charlatan in charge of children (By Wendy Lecker)

It is becoming painfully clear that in Connecticut, the refrain that education reform is “all about the children,” is a sad joke. To Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and his allies, children are merely collateral damage.

Recently, there was the scandal involving Hartford’s Milner school, in which the children were used as pawns in a scheme to expand the charter empire of now-disgraced Jumoke/FUSE CEO Michael Sharpe. Pryor never bothered to discover that Sharpe is a former felon and falsified his academic credentials. Instead, while Milner was floundering under Sharpe, Pryor, a longtime Sharpe supporter, handed him two additional schools. The fate of public school children was clearly the last thing on Pryor’s mind. Currently, the FBI is investigating Pryor’s, Sharpe’s and Jumoke/FUSE’s connections.

And now — New London. In 2012, Pryor decided to take over New London’s school district. His pretext was that the school board was dysfunctional and “rife with personal agendas.” Pryor never provided any causal relationship between the board’s behavior and student performance.

On the contrary, Pryor acknowledged that “many of the problems of New London and the New London School District are the direct result of economic decline and poverty.”

Instead of providing New London with adequate resources, the Malloy administration, through Pryor, appointed Steven Adamowski as New London’s powerful special master.

Adamowski was simultaneously the special master of another impoverished district, Windham. Adamowski’s reign in Windham was characterized by pushing unproven reforms while gutting services that actually helped children. He cut funding for Windham’s successful pre-K program and reduced the capacity of Windham’s bilingual program-even though over a quarter of the students are English Language Learners. He pushed the use of Teach for America, replacing experienced local teachers with temporary recent college graduates; and promoted “choice” for a select number of parents who could afford transportation to an out-of-district school.

 Read the full article at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-A-charlatan-in-charge-of-children-5647661.php

 

Search Firm Faulted For Overlooking ‘Ph.D.’ Claims In Carter’s Past; Says It Will Make Good (By Jon Lender)

You’re in front of a Google search screen. You type in “Terrence Carter” — in quotation marks — and then add Chicago, his hometown. Hit “Enter.”

On the first page of results there’s a link for some speakers’ biographies for a 2011 education conference. One of the “Presenter Biographies” is about “Terrence Carter, Ph.D.” and it says he holds doctorate from Stanford University — which he doesn’t.

That’s the process that The Courant went through two weeks ago, finding a public document listing Carter as the holder of a doctorate — several years before his scheduled receipt next month of a Ph.D. from an accredited institute, Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

Expanding the search terms slightly — to combinations such as “Terrence Carter, Ph.D.” and Dr. Terrence P. Carter” — yielded a dozen such references.

A member of the search team Nebraska-based McPherson & Jacobson — a Nebraska-based human resources consultant — said she didn’t come up with any Ph.D. or Dr. listing. Carter was never asked about those references during the application process that led to his selection last month by New London’s Board of Education for the job of school superintendent effective Aug. 1.

As a result, the questions that could have been asked in the relatively relaxed setting of a job interview now will be asked in an overheated pressure-cooker situation. The school board Thursday night postponed a vote to approve a contract with the superintendent’s job and ordered its law firm to investigate Carter’s background. The probe is expected to take a month.

The action came after a series of Courant stories starting July 18 raised questions about Carter’s use of the titles Ph.D. and Dr. dating back at least to 2008.

Some officials and citizens in New London said they are wondering why the search consultant that pledged in March to perform “extensive background checks” on the candidates didn’t turn any of this stuff up.

“Why did it take someone from the Hartford Courant to vet the whole situation?” New London resident Eric Parnes asked the school board at its meeting Thursday night.

Read the complete article at: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-lender-carter-resume-0727-20140726,0,1585462.column

 

And one more – file this one under – What the heck was “Dr.” Terrence Carter and the corporate education reform industry geniuses thinking?

PDF: Comparison Of Terrence P. Carter’s 2011 And 2014 Biographies

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

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