Hartford Courant reporting – Harold Sparrow withdraws candidacy for Hartford School Board

In a breaking story entitled, Amid Controversy, Sparrow Withdraws Candidacy For Hartford School Board, the Hartford Courant is reporting that Harold Sparrow has asked Mayor Bronin to withdraw his nomination for the Hartford School Board.  The Courant reports,

Mayor Luke Bronin’s embattled nominee for the city school board, YMCA official Harold Sparrow, has withdrawn his candidacy on the eve of Monday’s confirmation hearing, stating that controversy over his past employment had become a distraction that would take awhile to overcome


Sparrow, 60, president and CEO of the region’s YMCA, was nominated Thursday to fill a vacant seat on the board, with the mayor anticipating the city council’s approval at a special meeting Monday evening.

But then came revelations Friday that Sparrow had once led a black clergymen’s group during a time when the organization was openly against gay marriage.

In 2004, the same year that Massachusetts became the first state in the nation where same-sex couples could marry, the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston put out a public statement calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Sparrow was the group’s CEO and executive director from 2002 to 2007.

Former state legislator and blogger Jonathan Pelto noted the alliance’s stance in an online post late Friday afternoon. Within hours, Sparrow had distanced himself from the 2004 statement, telling The Courant that it did not reflect his personal views, that he was “unequivocally” in support of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, and that he has pushed for inclusiveness at the YMCA of Greater Hartford since becoming its leader in 2015.

Bronin told The Courant Friday night that he was unaware of the alliance’s anti-gay marriage position when he nominated Sparrow, and was “deeply troubled when I learned of it.” But he had planned to move ahead with Monday’s vote after speaking with Sparrow and being assured that he was committed to a “welcoming and supportive environment” in the city schools for all students, including those who are gay, lesbian, transgender or questioning.

The full Hartford Courant story can be read at: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-harold-sparrow-hartford-school-board-0130-20170129-story.html

Sign of the Times; Reader hopes for my death following posts on Courtney, Himes and anti-Syrian Immigrant vote

Certainly it must have been written in jest….

Maybe it was not meant so much as a threat, but simply a reminder that the tenor of public discourse continues to spiral downward as our society, increasingly torn and tattered by the political and economic environment, unraveling around us.

Following the United States House of Representatives’ passage of legislation designed to delay and derail the ability of Syrian immigrants to come to the United States, I posted two commentary pieces at Wait, What?.

The first took Connecticut Democratic Congressmen Joe Courtney and Jim Himes to task for being among the 47 Democrats to join the House Republicans voting in favor of the bill, Congressman Courtney and Himes – You have brought shame on our nation and our state, I can no longer support you (Wait, What? Friday, 11/20/15), while the second sought to provide readers with the facts about how the U.S. refugee system really works PLEASE take a moment to review the facts about the U.S. Syrian refugee issue (Wait, What? Saturday, 11/21/15).

CT Newsjunkie, a website dedicated to providing people with Connecticut news and a wide range of commentary was kind enough to include a link to the first blog in their “Friday Night Fix!” email highlighting the week’s news and providing suggested reading material for the weekend.

For their part, the Hartford Courant’s CapitolWatch Tweeted a link to the blog with,

“You have brought shame on our nation:”@jonathanpelto disappointed in Rep. Courtney’s vote on Syrian refugee bill.”

A Hartford Courant editor turned to his own Twitter Account to add,

“Trouble on the fringe: @jonathanpelto throws @RepJoeCourtney under the bus.”

A significant number of readers responded to the two Wait, What? Blog posts, some added their opinions by commenting on the What, What? Blog while others communicated by email.

The range of opinions was extensive.  People have strong feelings about issues like immigration.  This blog has thoughtful readers across the political spectrum and while some of the comments and emails were harsh, none could  be defined as abusive or threatening.

And then Sunday night came a comment from a reader who apparently resides in Fairfield County and wrote, among other things;

I have actively campaigned against Jim Himes, and I have proudly voted against him in the last two elections. I now congratulate Jim Himes for his sensible vote, and I gladly invite all you stupid libtards to consume my feces.


Hey Jon, I’m talking to you — polish my nutsack. Hope you meet the same fate as Chris Stevens!

The reference to the “same fate as Chris Stevens!” appears to be to the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was murdered, along with others, in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 at the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham has claimed that the body of Ambassador Stevens was “dragged through the street,” while other conservative commentators have said he was also sexually assaulted, before being murdered.  Both claims were determined to be untrue by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, an Accountability Review Board that investigated the Benghazi attack, and by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Of course, let’s face it, there is no doubt that a blog comment like that is meant as a joke, perhaps nothing more than a very colorful way to articulate opposition to my commentary pieces.

Besides, this is the United States of America where the Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of our form of government, which, in turn, is the greatest experiment in an open, egalitarian, large-scale democracy in human history.

In the United States, we don’t kill people because of what they say or write.

Well there was Alan Berg, the Denver talk show host who was gunned down in his driveway, but that was thirty-one years ago and besides that was different, he was assassinated by a White, neo-Nazi, right-wing extremist group because he was liberal, Jewish and known for his outspoken and acerbic commentary.  (Ah… Well… Let’s just say it was a long time ago and leave it at that.)

As noted, people just don’t kill bloggers and commentators because they don’t like what they say and write.

True, four bloggers and a publisher have been killed in Bangladesh this year, but that’s different.

Bangladeshi-born US writer Avijit Roy, founder of secular Bangla blog site Muktomona, was hacked to death on February 26, 2015 as he was leaving a university book fair.

Oyeshekur Rahman Babu, a writer and blogger, was chopped to death in central Dhaka on March 30, 2015.

Science writer and blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed in a similar attack in north-eastern city of Sylhet on May 12, 2015

On August 7, 2015 attackers entered the apartment of blogger Niladri Chattapadhay and chopped him to death.

And Faysal Arfin Deepon, whose company had published Avijit Roy’s work was stabbed him to death in his office on October 31, 2015

But those killings didn’t occur in the United States, all four were murdered in Bangladesh by Islamist militants with links to al-Qaeda.

And while there have been similar attacks in other parts of the world, they all took place somewhere “over there.”

According to Reporters without Boarders, not counting the hundreds of journalists who have been killed as a result of their reporting over the past couple of years, at least 215 bloggers have been murdered and more than 250 more have been imprisoned for the their crime of commenting on the news and the world around them.

Syria, whose refugees have become the focal point of the anti-immigrant rhetoric has seen the largest number of bloggers murdered over the past two years, a total of at least 72 individuals.

However, assassinations of bloggers have also occurred in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Mexican activist and video blogger José Luis Rodríguez Muñiz  posted a commentary critical of his the region’s Governor, Mayor and politicians calling them “bola de ratas” (or “Ball Rats” in English.) Hours later he was shot to death by unidentified gunmen.

But this is the United States,

We’re different…  In our country, people are allowed to speak their minds.

I mean, I’m sure the comment posted to Wait, What? was meant as a joke and how dangerous can a joke be?

Heck, even Donald Trump was probably joking when suggesting My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester

After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.

The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.

Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”

Yeah, it’s probably all a big joke.

Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee – In plain English it’s called obstructing Justice

Connecticut’s MUST READ news article of the weekend, in case you missed it, was Jon Lender’s “Delay In Enforcing Subpoena Of Democratic Party Records Raises Questions.”

As Wait, What? readers will recall, in the fall of 2013, it became increasingly apparent that Governor Dannel Malloy and his political operatives were intent on undermining Connecticut’s campaign finance law.  The issues began to surface in an October 31, 2013 post entitled, Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform.”

That article was followed by many more…. (See partial list below)

The inappropriate tactics engaged by Malloy and Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee generated multiple campaign finance complaints and a major investigation by the State Election Enforcement Commission.

In a virtually unprecedented step the Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission issued a subpoena for records and documents related to Malloy’s campaign.

As Jon Lender explained,

The SEEC’s May 29 (2015) subpoena sought records that might shed light on the GOP’s claim that Democrats illegally circumvented the state’s ban on contractor contributions last year by collecting state contractors’ money in a “federal account” and using it to pay for mass mailings on behalf of Malloy.

But instead of complying with the subpoena, the lawyer representing Malloy’s political operation refused to hand over the required documents and they have done everything they can to delay, derail and prevent a fair, open and thorough investigation.

The Governor who will become the head of the Democratic Governors Association in January 2015 is engaged in a blatant effort to obstruct justice.

Jon Lender writes,

“The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted June 25 to go to court to enforce a subpoena that the state Democratic Party has defied rather than hand over the party’s records of communications between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and top aides about allegedly illegal spending in his 2014 re-election campaign.

The SEEC’s extraordinary action generated a flurry of news reports. But now, more than a month later, all the noise has died down and no such action has been filed in state Superior Court.

What’s going on?

Government Watch addressed that question a few days ago to the office of state Attorney General George Jepsen, which has the responsibility of filing any court action in behalf of the SEEC. A Jepsen spokeswoman responded with a written statement saying that although the attorney general’s office is aware of the SEEC’s June 25 vote, it hasn’t yet received a written “referral” that formally requests the court action.”

This would be a good time to say…. What the ­­­­­______?

When Lender contacted Jepson’s office he got this,

“In response to your inquiry, our office has not yet received a formal referral from the SEEC. We have been in communication with SEEC — though those communications are subject to attorney-client privilege and we are, therefore, unable to provide details of those communications — and we have designated significant staff resources in anticipation of the referral,” said the statement. “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

It would be inappropriate to comment?

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is investigating whether the Democratic State Central Committee broke the law by using money from its “Federal Account” to benefit Dannel Malloy.

Malloy’s lawyer claims that even though the direct mail pieces were all about Malloy they were actually intended to benefit the entire Democratic Ticket – a Democratic Ticket that included Attorney General George Jepson.

However you look at it – the money was either spent to support Jepsen’s colleague – Dannel Malloy – or it was spent to benefit Jepsen … or both!

And Jepsen’s Office is hardly in a position to “lead” the investigation.

One person who is speaking out is Connecticut’s Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano.

It was the Republican Party’s original complaint that led to the investigation into the Malloy campaign’s inappropriate use of the Democratic State Central Committee’s Federal Account.

Lender adds,

“Romano said he’s not only been wondering what delayed the court action concerning his party’s pending complaint, but he also questions whether the SEEC should be represented by the office of Jepsen — a former state Democratic party chairman who successfully ran for re-election on the same statewide ticket as Malloy.

By statute, the attorney general represents administrative agencies such as the SEEC in court, unless some actual or perceived conflict of interest results in the hiring of an outside, independent law firm. The SEEC has not asked to be represented by legal counsel outside of Jepson’s office — and such a request would be controversial and probably would be viewed as impolitic.

Romano had no qualms about that, though. “The SEEC is doing the best job they can,” he said, but “the people in charge of this” — the handling of the court case, that is — are all allied and were elected along with members of the same party.”

That party, he said, lately has been “doing everything, at all costs, not to have the public look at their records.”

What is clear is that Democratic State Central Committee and their lawyer, David Golub, are working non-stop to derail the investigation.

As background, Lender notes,

“The Republicans’ complaint was filed after the Democrats sent out mass campaign mailings last October that were dominated by photos and assertions aimed at re-electing Malloy. The mailings also contained some small print telling voters when polls would be open on Election Day and providing a phone number to call to get a ride to the polls.

Democrats said that the inclusion of the small print turned the pro-Malloy mailings into “get-out-the-vote” materials — and that because those get-out-the-vote efforts also would help Democratic candidates for Congress who were on the ballot, the mailings had to be paid for using the party’s “federal account.”

Republicans called that a dodge, saying that state contractors were permitted to contribute heavily to the state party’s “federal account” — and that this was a means for Democrats to pump contractors’ money into campaigns for state offices and skirt the clean-election laws that they once championed. Good-government groups such as Common Cause have agreed.

A month before last November’s election, state Democrats requested a legal opinion from the Federal Election Commission on the legality of their plan to use money from their “federal account” to pay for the Malloy mailings. But within a week or so, they went ahead with the mailings and withdrew their request for the FEC’s opinion.

In June, The Courant disclosed that a draft of the legal opinion had been written at the FEC but had not been approved by the time the Democrats withdrew their request. If issued, it would not have been good news for the Democrats; one of its findings was that the mailings appeared to be part of an attempt to “avoid” and “bypass” Connecticut’s clean election laws.

“It would be absurd,” the draft opinion said, “to allow the [Democratic State Central Committee] to circumvent the anticorruption measures of state law by using a federal law that is intended to prevent circumvention of anticorruption measures.”

You can find Jon Lender’s full story at:  http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-lender-democrats-subpoena-delayed-0802-20150801-column.html#page=1

For more about the issue check out the following Wait, What? posts;

Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform (10/31/2013)

Did you see the “For Sale” sign that the Malloy Administration put up? (12/4/2013)

Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party (12/5/2013)

Malloy pulls in $36,000 plus from Connecticut nursing home industry (12/6/2013)

Democratic response to Malloy’s fundraising strategy is absurd and insulting… (12/8/2013)

Lobbyists ponied up more than $95,000 for Malloy campaign operation (1/6/2014)

State Contractors can’t make political donations – oh – except to benefit Malloy (1/15/2014)

Connecticut Democratic Party Leaders: It is okay to lie, as long as it’s to raise money… (1/18/14)

Malloy’s double dipping campaign finance gravy train (4/11/2014)

Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists. (4/19/2014)

Malloy is a fraud on campaign finance reform issues  (5/1/2014)

Three cheers for campaign finance corruption in Connecticut! (9/15/2014)

CT Democratic Chair – The pot that called the kettle black 9/17/2014)

The Democrat’s sanctimonious claims about campaign money (10/7/2014)

Malloy and Democrats are violating Connecticut law with use of Federal PAC funds (10/13/2014)

Breaking News: 3rd Malloy mailing paid for with dirty money arrives in mail boxes (10/19/2014)

As New ‘Smarter Balanced’ Test Delivered, Some Students Say No – Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant reporter Kathleen Megan has a comprehensive story in today’s Hartford Courant about the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC Test and the related SBAC opt-out movement.

The story highlights parents who have opted their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC Test and includes links to where parents can get more information about opting their children out of the destructive tests.  It also provides some of the information about how the test is designed or rigged to fail the vast majority of students.

For the full story go to: http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-testing-opt-out-0310-20150317-story.html#page=1

As New ‘Smarter Balanced’ Test Delivered, Some Students Say No

The Courant article begins;

When East Hampton Middle School students take the Smarter Balanced test this month, Julien Minnick won’t be among them.


His father, Scott Minnick, who is a member of the East Hampton school board and a teacher in Glastonbury, said he feels the tests are unfair because they are not developmentally appropriate and he feels the tests and the preparation for them take up too much class time.


“Both state and federal laws require the administration of annual assessments in our public schools in certain grades and subjects,” Interim Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell wrote to school superintendents earlier this month. “These laws do not provide a provision for parents to ‘opt-out’ their children from taking state tests.”

But as some parents and education lawyers are quick to point out, nor does state law prohibit opting out.

Minnick, who is also running to be vice president of the state’s largest teachers union, the Connecticut Education Association, said he thinks that many parents might prefer not to have their children take the test, but “a lot of them are victims of this intimidation they are getting from the Capitol. It takes some fortitude, and not everyone has that. I don’t blame them. It’s intimidating.”

The legal situation puts school superintendents into a murky and difficult legal zone, where they must tell parents there is no provision to opt out, but if the parent insists, there is little the district can do.

There is no punishment for students who don’t take the test, and the law says that a satisfactory test score cannot be the “sole criterion” for promotion or graduation.

“While there is language in both state and federal law that ‘mandates’ that students take standardized examinations, at the end of the day there is little a school district can do to actually compel a child to sit for a standardized test,” Zach Schurin and Michael P. McKeon, lawyers with Pullman & Comley wrote in their school law blog.

Schurin and McKeon concluded: “It would appear, then, that school districts ultimately have little leverage when confronted with students who have decided to opt out of Common Core standardized assessments.”

As to opting out, the Courant story explains,

How Do You Opt Out?

There is no prescribed way to opt out because there is no opt-out option. Typically parents call or write a letter and may go back and forth with administrators a few times before a resolution is reached.

In December 2013, that was the sort of protocol described in a state Department of Education memorandum.

That memo suggested responses to parents that held the line firmly at first — informing the parent that there is no opt-out language in the law and suggesting a letter be sent to the parents with all the pertinent laws and regulation.

But if a parent persists, the memo said, “the district generally does not test the student and the student is counted as ‘absent’ [for purposes of testing], which negatively impacts the participation rate for the district.”

But that memo has since been rescinded, and the letter this year from Wentzell simply states the lack of an opt-out provision and cites federal and state laws on the subject.

When Minnick sought to have Julien excluded from testing, he wrote a letter to administrators that pointedly noted that this was not a “request” to opt out his son. “We will be informing Julien that he is not to take online tests and that if he is given one, he is not to work on it,” Minnick wrote. “We ask that the school provide him with a productive alternative activity during the test administrative and preparation sessions.”

Christine Murphy of Bristol also opted out her son, Justin, a high school junior at Bristol Central High School with a letter that demanded that he not take the test, nor any pre-test or activity associated with it.

“I will be informing Justin that he is not to take online tests … and that if he is given one he is not to work on it,” Murphy wrote,

Justin, who suffers from anxiety and attention deficit disorder, said he’s relieved that he doesn’t have to take the test. “I think it’s unfair and it’s fairly long,” he said.

Murphy said she saw no reason for Justin to take the test: “His teachers are well aware of his strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “It’s not needed to pass to twelfth grade. It’s not needed to graduate, so what are we doing this for?”

The Hartford Courant story also addresses the controversial fact that the Common Core Test is designed to fail the vast majority of students.

And the article concludes as follows,

Tom Scarice, superintendent of Madison, a high-achieving district, said he’s sure that many district leaders are asking: “How do I prepare my community to understand that the schools are not failing because their students’ scores came in lower than we expect in this town?”

Scarice said that he thinks extremely low scores will pose a credibility issue for the test. “I have kids who perform at the highest levels on the SAT and then a month later they are going to take this test and 40 to 60 percent are going to be [rated] ‘not college or career ready?’ … It makes the test lose credibility.”

Beyond the anxiety associated with taking the difficult test, Scarice said he thinks that some parents want to opt their children out of the test because they are just frustrated with how test-centered schools are becoming.

“I think parents have just woken up and said, ‘Enough already.’ Our kids are just going through too many tests,” Scarice said.

You can find the entire story at: http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-testing-opt-out-0310-20150317-story.html#page=1

Courant weighs in –”State Must Curtail Deceptive Borrowing”

A Wait, What? post last Monday entitled, “The State Budget Gimmick to End all Budget Gimmicks,” followed up on Keith Phaneuf’ CT Mirror story “Is Malloy poised to put much of the budget deficit on CT’s credit card?

The articles outlined Governor Malloy’s inappropriate use of “bond premiums” to use the state’s credit card to cover the State’s operating expenses and hid budget deficits.

In his piece, Phaneuf’s explained,

 “Malloy relied heavily on bond premiums during his first three years in office, using more than $160 million to close budget deficits or to bolster the emergency reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.  Phaneuf added, “According to records from the treasurer’s office, the state had taken $41 million in bond premiums through the first four months of the fiscal year. The treasurer’s office said the state took another $37.7 million premium this week on $300 million in new bonds. That means more than $78 million has been added to the budget’s debt service line item since the fiscal year began.”

The purpose of the Wait, What? article was to try and put the deceitful fiscal move into plan language.

Now the Hartford Courant has joined the effort to shed light on Malloy’s actions in an editorial entitled, “State Must Curtail Deceptive Borrowing.”  The Courant wisely observers,

Here’s a worthwhile idea that may hinder if not stop the inappropriate use of bond premiums — a form of borrowing — to cover operating expenses in the state budget.

Republican state lawmakers Vincent Candelora and Len Fasano intend to introduce legislation that would require the treasurer to report monthly to the General Assembly on all bond premiums taken and on the interest rates involved.

Regular reporting ought to shine some much-needed sunlight on a practice that can add another layer of deception and expense to state borrowing.

It works this way: The state sometimes when issuing bonds pays a higher interest rate than originally planned in return for a premium. That’s extra money the state might use to cover the cost of issuance (a legitimate use) or to retire high-interest debt or, usually in bad times, to support the state’s operating budget — running the agencies day to day on borrowed money.

Of course, debt service must be paid on the premium, which makes the borrowing expensive.


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is no stranger to bond premiums. He used more than $160 million to close budget deficits and bolster the rainy day fund during his first three years in office.

Although Mr. Malloy recently found $48 million in spending cuts to partially bridge the $100 million projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year, Republican legislators speculate that he’ll resort to bond premiums to cover the rest.

The Malloy administration hasn’t ruled out the use of premium money.

Mr. Malloy, who has become a prodigious borrower, should resist the temptation. Find more budget reductions. It’s time for discipline.”

When Dan Malloy was running for governor in 2010, he said, “Increasing debt makes responsible budgeting less possible… And, it is simply irresponsible to leave more and more debt for future generations.”

However, despite his campaign pledge, since becoming Governor, Dannel Malloy has been engaged in a excessive borrowing spree that has irresponsibly put more and more debt on the taxpayer’s of the state and our children.

The editorial from the Hartford Courant is spot on and extremely timely.

An appreciated editorial from the Hartford Courant

While it doesn’t remove the sting of failing to get the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the 2014 gubernatorial ballot, the Hartford Courant has written an editorial that is appreciated and helps illuminate some of the challenges petitioning candidates face.

While the bottom line is that a candidate should never try to be their own campaign manager and the failure to collect a sufficient number of names is mine, and mine alone, the Courant successfully highlights why our democracy would be improved by modernizing the petitioning process.

The single most important thing I heard while spending the last few months campaigning is that Connecticut voters want a broader array of candidates to choose from.

In their editorial entitled, “Pelto Falls Short In Clunky Ballot Petition Process,” the courant writes,

Jonathan Pelto was really looking forward to the gubernatorial debates, to his chance to engage Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and GOP challenger Tom Foley on education and other issues. But to paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, a funny thing happened on the way to the Capitol.

Mr. Pelto, a blogger and former state legislator, failed to get the requisite 7,500 verified signatures of registered voters to qualify as a petitioning candidate for the 2014 governor’s race. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill notified Mr. Pelto Friday afternoon that he had submitted only 4,318 qualified signatures, so his proposed nomination was “disapproved.”

Meanwhile, the other petitioning candidate, former West Hartford councilman Joseph Visconti, did get enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Mr. Pelto concedes that there is no one to blame but the person he sees in the mirror: “We dropped the ball on good campaign structure.” In retrospect, he said he would have run a more centralized campaign operation with more control over the signature-gathering operation — as Mr. Visconti did — and perhaps have started sooner. He was also critical of the process, at one point calling it rigged against petitioning candidates and also cumbersome and inefficient.

Process Is Hard, But Not Impossible

Mr. Visconti’s success suggests the process is navigable, but it is cumbersome. A petitioning candidate has to have separate petitions for each of Connecticut’s 169 towns, and the petitions must be turned in to each town — or sent to the secretary of the state’s office for forwarding to each town — for counting and confirmation.

Mr. Pelto said some town clerks or registrars improperly rejected signatures because the signers failed to include their dates of birth. Though the petition form has a space for birth dates, signers aren’t required to fill it out. He identified some other situations — people using maiden names, people with mailboxes in one town who vote in another, or town clerks failing to check inactive voter lists — where valid signatures may have been rejected.

Mr. Pelto concedes that if all the errors were corrected, he still would not have had enough signatures to qualify. But he maintains that if the threshold is 7,500 names — a number that is reasonable — then a candidate shouldn’t have to send in an extra thousand or two to be sure of qualifying. (Mr. Visconti reportedly submitted more than 10,000 names.) He wondered why the statewide electronic voter database couldn’t be used for a faster and more accurate process.


As for Mr. Pelto, though some have called him a spoiler or worse, he had every right to run. Third-party candidates rarely win unless they are statewide political figures on the outs with a major party. But they sometimes raise concerns that influence the campaign. Mr. Pelto may have done that with education, his signature issue…

Like any campaign, we had our ups and downs, but among the high points was the fact that while the incumbency parties and political establishment consistently sought to belittle our 3rd party aspirations, Connecticut’s reporters and media outlets worked to level the playing field and provide the 3rd party candidates with appropriate media coverage.

The Hartford Courant’s editorial is appreciated, not only for the fact that that it respected my right to run for office, but that it correctly highlighted some of the problems that limit our democratic system.  While politicians like to claim that they are pro-democracy, we must do a better job ensuring that we really are the democracy that our citizens need and deserve.

You can read the full Hartford Courant editorial at: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-pelto-comes-up-short-20140829,0,7429710.story


Malloy Administration looks to stick it to public education yet again…

Proving that there is apparently no bounds to the arrogance and sense of entitlement displayed by Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his administration, the Day newspaper of New London is reporting that,

“The [New London] Board of Education will go forward with its scheduled vote tonight on the contract for newly hired Superintendent Terrence P. Carter despite questions about whether he misrepresented his academic record…”

This news comes despite a scathing investigative story written by Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant on Friday.  In the article entitled, “Incoming School Chief Called Himself Ph.D. For Years Without An Accredited Doctorate,” Lender wrote,

“…a Courant review of records available in the public domain shows that Carter has called himself “doctor,” or identified himself as a Ph.D., for more than five years prior to his very recent completion of requirements for a doctorate.

The titles show up next to his name more than a dozen times, including a 2008 listing of “Terrence Carter, Ph.D.” on an attendance list for a symposium. He’s called “Dr. Terrence Carter” on IRS documents filed from 2010-2012. He used “Ph.D.” when he reviewed a 2012 book on “Common Core” educational standards.

Those documents don’t indicate where that doctorate came from. Carter said they’re not references to his anticipated doctorate from Lesley University in Massachusetts. Instead, he says he obtained a doctorate in 1996 from an unaccredited school, Lexington University.”

Although faced with undeniable proof that “Dr.” Terrence Carter repeatedly claimed to have a Ph.D. over the past eight years, when he had no such accredited degree, Governor Malloy’s mouthpiece, Special Master Steven Adamowski, is pushing the New London Board of Education for a quick vote to approve “Dr.” Terrence Carter as New London’s next public school superintendent.

Adamowski told the Day,

“It is unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process. With that said, the subject matter has been raised at this point and we are confident that the Board will consider all factors when making their further decisions.”

Unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process?

As the Hartford Courant reported “Dr.” Terrence Carter has claimed to have a Ph.D. on multiple occasions.

At one point it was reported that his doctorate came from Stanford University.  In another, Carter received his doctorate from a joint program at Stanford University and Oxford University in England.

And yet, at other times, Carter produced a résumé claiming he had or was going to get a Doctorate from Lesley University School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  One version of his resume claimed that the degree was expected in 2013.

Now, as his defense, “Dr.” Terrence Carter is claiming that it is all a big misunderstanding and that he never personally claimed to have a doctorate – it was only others who mistakenly called him “Dr.”

However, new evidence from the State of Illinois indicates that “Dr.” Terrence Carter has personally taken steps to claim that he had acquired a Ph.D. and may have personally benefited, at taxpayer expense, from that faulty claim.

The Family Taxpayer Foundation of Illinois, a nonprofit watchdog group, maintains a Teacher and Administrator Salary Database using information acquired from the Illinois State Board of Education (see http://familytaxpayers.org/ftf/ftf_salaries.php).  The Illinois State Board of Education is responsible for maintaining the certification status for teachers and administrators in that state.

According to the database, Terrence Carter listed his educational status as having a master’s degree in 2006 – 2008, but then changed his status claiming that he had acquired a doctorate.  The database indicates the Terrence Carter said he had a doctorate in 2009 and 2010.

The Illinois Report includes the following;

Name: Carter Terrence P
Salary: $112,164
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 2.0
Degree: Master’s
District Name: CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299

Name: Carter Terrence P
Salary: $118,856
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 4
Degree: Master’s
District Name: CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299

Name: Carter, Terrence P
Salary: $133,203
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 5
Degree: Master’s
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

Name: Carter, Terrence
Salary: $132,834
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 6
Degree: Doctorate
School Name: Barton Elem School
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

Name: Carter, Terrence
Salary: $142,128
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 7
Degree: Doctorate
School Name: Barton Elem School
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

Despite the pressure from the Malloy administration, the members of the New London Board of Education need to stand up and do what is right for the students, teachers and taxpayers of New London.

Anything short of rejecting the contract with “Dr.” Terrence Carter and finding a new superintendent with integrity would be to acknowledge that the New London Board believes politics is more important than policy.

For more on the New London Board of Education read the following Wait, What? blogs;

Meet the latest Corporate Education Reform Industry Charlatan “Dr.” Terrence Carter

“Dr.” Terrence Carter – Lexington University:  Order Now, Graduate Today

And the Hartford Courant article at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-carter-resume-0716-20140718,0,7548087.story

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

Why won’t UConn simply tell the truth?

According to today’s Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut has returned the public stage, again, to claim that no taxpayer or student funds were used to pay for Hillary Clinton’s $251,000 speaking fee, for Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s trip to Switzerland and China or for the 7,000 square foot house that the UConn Foundation bought in West Hartford for UConn’s President to use when she didn’t want to drive all the way back to Storrs.

Instead of simply telling the truth and admitting the UConn’s leadership decided, for whatever reason, to help subsidize those expenses, UConn has chosen to lie – again – about how UConn uses the UConn Foundation to funnel public funds to selected activities.

In a Hartford Courant article entitled, UConn Insists: No Taxpayer, Tuition Dollars Funded Hillary – Independent Candidate Pelto Maintains: It’s Not True, the Courant explains;

The University of Connecticut reasserted its position Tuesday that neither taxpayer dollars nor student tuition money were used to pay Hillary Clinton’s $251,250 speaker’s fee.

Nor, the university insists, was taxpayer or tuition money used to pay for a $660,000 12-room house in Hartford’s West End or for the governor’s economic development trips to Davos, Switzerland and China two years ago.

“I think it’s helpful for everyone to have the full information,” Stephanie Reitz, UConn spokeswoman said Tuesday.

But as the Courant also reported,

Pelto maintained Tuesday that it’s “just untrue” that there aren’t taxpayer and tuition dollars involved in paying for an event such as Clinton’s speech. “That money is part of the inherent subsidy of a project like that,” Pelto said.

He said the same is true for “unrestricted” foundation funds spent on other events, such as Malloy’s travel. “The state and the students are paying the foundation to raise money for the university,” Pelto said.

Such events are “to one degree or another subsidized by the public and by these students,” Pelto said, adding that instead of covering Malloy’s travels, the funds could have gone toward a program for students.

You can read UConn’s almost painful effort to spin the story by reading the full Hartford Courant article at:  http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-uconn-foundation-money-0709-20140708,0,2285597.story

The truth is that UConn has transferred about $86 million in taxpayer and student funds to the UConn Foundation over the past ten years.  Those dollars were used to pay the UConn Foundation’s overhead including staff, benefits and related development costs.

UConn uses this funding technique to make the UConn Foundation look more successful than it actually is.  For example, according to their most recent financial statement, the UConn Foundation spent about $11 million to raise $40 million.

By transferring about $9 million from UConn’s Operating Fund to the UConn Foundation to pay for most of their development costs, the Foundation does not have to tap into the $40 million it raised to pay for its own expenses.

The downside of this tactic is that by paying for the UConn Foundation’s operating costs with public funds,  UConn loses the right to claim that the Foundation’s activities are totally private or that those activities are “only paid for with private resources.”

It is not a hard concept to grasp and certainly something UConn should not be lying about.

The truth is that for good or for bad, the public and students are subsidizing the UConn Foundation – this year – to the tune of about $9 million dollars and that $9 million dollars could have been used to expand programs at the University of Connecticut or used to reduce UConn’s decision to raise tuition by 6.5%.

The reality is that the public subsidy of the UConn Foundation means that the public and students ARE helping to cover the costs associated with the UConn Foundation’s $251,000 payment to Hilary Clinton, Malloy’s trips to Switzerland and China, the President’s new house in West Hartford and all the other things that the Foundation spends money on.

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

Hartford Courant – Is Pelto A Spoiler In Race For Governor?

From the Hartford Courant comes their latest – a clear-cut, concise and to-the-point editorial;

Is Pelto A Spoiler In Race For Governor?

Former state representative and political consultant Jonathan Pelto has been a burr under the saddle of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ever since the first Democratic governor in 20 years took office in 2011.

The governor’s loudest, most relentless critic on the left could cause Mr. Malloy even more misery if Mr. Pelto’s petition drive to get on the ballot as a third-party candidate for governor succeeds. Mr. Pelto claimed last week that he and Education and Democracy Party running mate Ebony Murphy have already collected the required 7,500 signatures they need by Aug. 6 and “will be on the ballot.”

If that happens, many Democrats fear Mr. Pelto will be a potential “spoiler,” that he could throw the gubernatorial election to the Republicans in a close race by siphoning off votes from disenchanted schoolteachers and state workers that otherwise might grudgingly go to Mr. Malloy.

But isn’t that scenario really about giving voters more choices? You don’t have to approve of Mr. Pelto’s independent sally or agree with his positions to admit he’s using the rules as they exist. The barriers to mounting a third-party or independent candidacy shouldn’t be raised too high.

Such candidacies can give a cathartic option to voters dissatisfied with nominees produced by the two major parties — as Ross Perot’s surprising presidential candidacy did in 1992, or the choice that Rep. John B. Anderson of Illinois gave some 5 million 1980 voters unhappy with the fecklessness of Democratic President Jimmy Carter or the polarizing campaign of conservative Republican Ronald Reagan.

Instead of demeaning so-called spoilers, supporters of the major party nominees should help their own favorites make the most persuasive case.

And here is what Diane Ravitch, the nation’s leading voice for public education said about the Hartford Courant editorial

It is funny to see the big-money corporate types behind Governor Dan Malloy criticizing Jonathan Pelto as a “spoiler.” These are the same people who love school choice. The just don’t like voter choice.

The Hartford Courant says quite rightly that Pelto is playing by the rules.

This is democracy, Governor Malloy and friends.

Jon Pelto is standing up for teachers and parents and everyone else who is not in the 1%.

Good for him!

You can find the complete editorial at:  http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-pelto-is-no-spoiler-20140707,0,1798206.story

And Diane Ravitch’s blog post can be found here: http://dianeravitch.net/2014/07/07/hartford-courant-pelto-is-no-spoiler/

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