Last night, the City Council voted on the SNAPP-2020 Bond. During the discussion period, I and four other Democratic Councilmen advocated for a comment period that was BEFORE the vote rather than after the vote as the motion called for. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way things are being done and your ability to vote on the bond package was one such casualty of it.
In the end, I voted yes for the infrastructure and schools bond package. I believe this bond package would pass if it would have been put before the voters. You will still have an opportunity to voice your concern to tell us if the vote of the council was your wish or not. Please don’t allow the fact that the majority of the council did not feel your comments before the vote was necessary stop you from sending comments. They’re banking that you will decide not to speak up because the vote is done. Just as I’m accountable for the vote I cast, so are we all. Your duty as a constituent is to let us know, good or bad, that’s why we live in a representative democracy. I will post on this page the information once it is available.
Dear Mayor Mark Boughton and Members of the City Council,
I would like to speak to item 15 of this month’s City Council agenda regarding the Council vote to pass the bond referendum. The bond referendum was originally scheduled to go to a public vote on April 28th then re-scheduled to June 2.
While I agree in principle that given these extraordinary times there should be no public assembly that would put people at risk of exposure and possible infection of the COVID19 virus, I am not in favor the City Council voting on this tonight. Although it makes sense for the city council to vote on the bond (it is the right thing to do under the circumstances) is it fair to voters/citizens to make this decision tonight?
As Council members you likely know how you are going to vote, but do you know how your constituents feel? The public was going to weigh in on June 2nd to let you now what they think and no they can not. Instead, they have less than 35 hours to respond to this change. Clearly, this is not a scenario where the public has enough time to weigh in.
Mr. Mayor, you are citing the Governor’s Executive order as the reason to move forward in this way. The intention of the Governor’s Executive Order is to facilitate budget approvals in the 160 plus municipalities that take that process to referendum. To allow for public input during the pandemic, the public has 30 days to weigh in. If the city is using this Executive Order as a basis for the bond, then let’s maintain integrity in the process by allowing public input before a vote. A vote on June 2 was the public’s way of weighing in on the matter and that has changed. To allow a time period time to listen to your constituents BEFORE you vote is the right thing to do – even when you predict the outcome will be the same.
A massive spending plan, the largest general bond in the history of Danbury, is happening on your watch and it’s important to get it right. Yes, these are unprecedented times but I caution against setting any precedent that undermines your duty and your obligation to represent what residents of Danbury want.
We know that people want transparency in local government. Transparency was a big campaign issue in 2019. As members of the City Council, please do not acquiesce to a lack of transparency in government. To vote on the bond on tonight is supporting a lack of transparency in the Mayor’s office. The Mayor is ‘Live at 5’ throughout the week and he did not make his intention to put the bond to a city council vote known and ignored questions that were posted. This is not about being political; it’s about honest civic engagement and local governance – the reason why I am taking the time to submit a comment for tonight’s meeting.
Especially during times of duress, and more so because you are elected to serve as our representatives, you need to look outside yourselves and not default to what is easiest but aspire to what is best in the public’s interest.
Please defer your vote on the bond until the next City Council meeting on June 2nd which was the scheduled referendum date. In the meantime, you can publicly and broadly reach out to your constituents and invite them to comment. In doing so, your actions will reflect the spirit of the Governor’s Executive Order that you are using to cancel the referendum. Otherwise it feels like an opportunistic play in the worst of times to move the largest general bond in Danbury’s history forward with as little oversight and public input as possible.
Here is a link for public comments and how to get into the council meeting virtual session.
Governor Lamont Provides Update on Connecticut’s Coronavirus Response Efforts
Posted on March 21, 2020
Since yesterday, an additional 29 Connecticut residents have tested positive, bringing the statewide total to 223. More than 3,100 tests have been conducted in the state to date. Approximately 43 people are hospitalized and there have been 5 deaths.
Governor Lamont today signed his tenth executive order pursuant to his emergency declaration, taking further actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Connecticut. This order provides broad relief for municipalities regarding procedures, notice requirements, and deadlines for various proceedings and decisions. In addition, it enacts several necessary changes related to Medicare Part D and HUSKY B costs, student privacy, visitation in Department of Children and Families facilities, pharmacy regulations, and corporate meetings.
The state has received responses from more than 100 entities since launching its request for Personal Protective Equipment yesterday.
The Department of Economic and Community Development is preparing guidance to Connecticut businesses for implementation of the governor’s executive order issued yesterday directing the statewide closure of all non-essential, in-person business functions. It plans to release the guidance prior to the order going into effect.
(HARTFORD, CT) – As the State of Connecticut continues taking actions in response to the global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Governor Ned Lamont provided the following updates as of 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020:
Data updates on testing in Connecticut
Since yesterday’s update, an additional 29 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 223. To date, more than 3,100 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories.
A county-by-county breakdown includes:
Laboratory Confirmed Cases
New Haven County
New London County
Since yesterday’s update, a fifth Connecticut resident has died from complications due to COVID-19. The person is a man in his 80s who was a resident of a nursing home in Stafford Springs. He had been receiving treatment at Johnson Memorial Hospital.
For more data on testing performed in Connecticut, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in every municipality in the state, visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Governor Lamont signs tenth executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19
On Friday afternoon, Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the tenth since he enacted the civic preparedness and public health emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7I enacts the following provisions:
Modifications to DSS benefits
Suspension of requirements that public assistance eligibility reinvestigations be conducted at least every 12 or 24 months
Suspension of copayments for full benefit dually eligible Medicare Part D beneficiaries
Suspension of copayments for HUSKY B clients
Suspension of limitations on refills of non-maintenance medications for HUSKY beneficiaries
Flexibility related to the Student Data Privacy Act
Modifications related to the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Limits on visitation with children placed in the care and custody of DCF
Limits on visitors to facilities that treat children or youth with psychiatric disabilities
Waiver of in-person service, screening, and hearing requirements for facilities that have limited visitor access
Modifications to Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) regulations regarding pharmacies
Provides pharmacists the ability to refill non-controlled substance prescriptions for up to 30 days in the event they are unable to contact the prescribing practitioner
Provides the commissioner of DCP with the authority to waive pharmacy operation regulations
Suspension of requirements for corporations to hold shareholder meetings in-person
Procedural relief for municipalities
Extends additional budget adoption deadlines
Suspends the in-person budget adoption requirement for municipalities
Suspends the in-person budget adoption requirement for boards of education
Extends municipal deadlines and waiver of penalties related to municipal planning, assessment, and taxation
Suspends the in-person filing requirements related to municipal planning, assessment, and taxation
Suspends deadlines and makes modification to public hearing and appeals requirements for assessment and taxation
Extends new reporting requirements on properties
Suspends, modifies, and clarifies certain municipal procedural requirements and time limitations regarding notice, commencement, and holding of public hearings, decisions, and appeals, including land use and other municipal boards.
The governor is grateful for the assistance of the Connecticut Bar Association Land Use Section, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the Council of Small Towns, and the many local officials and attorneys who worked hard to put together the broad package of municipal procedural relief included in today’s order.
**Download: Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7l
State receives more than 100 responses since launching request for Personal Protective Equipment yesterday
Since Governor Lamont made the announcement yesterday asking members of the public, businesses, and philanthropic organizations to consider donating items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use in Connecticut’s hospitals and long-term care facilities, more than 100 entities have filled out the donation form expressing interest in giving.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is partnering with United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut to collect responses from those willing to make donations. Anyone who has these vital materials and would like to donate them to Connecticut’s medical community should fill out the online form located at http://www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19.
Requests received are being reviewed by staff at DPH and United Way to ensure that the donations meet the needs of Connecticut’s medical community.
Items being requested by the state at this time include:
Face Masks/Surgical Masks
Gloves (nitrile, or non-latex)
Thermometer Covers (if applicable to type of thermometer)
Other Medical Items
Department of Economic and Community Development preparing guidance on implementation of Governor Lamont’s executive order on non-essential business functions
The Department of Economic and Community Development is in the process of preparing guidance for businesses on how to implement the executive order Governor Lamont issued yesterday directing all non-essential business functions in Connecticut to suspend in-person operations beginning Monday, March 23, at 8:00 p.m. The agency’s guidance is anticipated to be released prior to the order going into effect and will be published on the state’s coronavirus website.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, all residents in the state are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The information line is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access for those with a hearing impairment. The hotline only intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider to seek treatment.
This was posted on Facebook by James Codella.
Council Democrats to Administration: Bond Package Lacks Transparency
City Council Democrats question the Mayor’s $62 million bond proposal, due to lack of detail and transparency
DANBURY, C.T. – At last night’s Committee-of-the-whole meeting following a public hearing, City Council Democrats voted against sending the Administration’s $62 million bond proposal as written to the City Council in February. Citing lack of detail and transparency, Council Democrats were unanimous in their view that the bond package should not be put to voters before more details are disclosed to the public.
The bond proposal which can be viewed here, itemizes only in broad strokes a breakout of seven city projects to fix Danbury’s roads, infrastructure, downtown, and schools — all of which are issues the Democrats raised during the 2019 election cycle.
“This is the first time that not a single constituent has come up to me and said ‘you have to pass this bond,’” said Council Minority Leader Paul Rotello. “This is the largest bond that everybody in Danbury has to pay for, and we’ve had just 25 days to look at it.” Rotello added, saying it was critical “to separate the urgent from the wish list. There are urgent items, such as addressing the needs of our children in the school system, but there are other non-urgent items in here that we need to take a hard look at,” concluded Rotello.
“What we’re talking about here, is making sure we have the ability on the City Council to represent the people of Danbury well. How can we do that if we don’t know what the city’s priorities are when it comes to paving roads?” said Councilman At-Large Roberto Alves. “The fact of the matter is that the Administration can’t ask the people of Danbury to approve millions in bonds to pave and fix our roads without at least outlining the priorities in the bond itself.”
“Danbury voters came out in record numbers this past November, and last night, their voices were heard,” said Danbury Democratic Chairwoman Andrea Gartner. “Tremendous funds are being allocated to the renovation of Osborne Street, but very few details have been provided to the Board of Education. We have a newly-elected members; but how can they fulfill their duties without knowing the scope of this major project? It’s less than responsible to move this bond forward in its current form. The Administration not only owes the Board of Education a more transparent method of governance, but also, the people of Danbury.”
The City Council voted on the recommendation after more than three (3) hours of discussion with the final result a 10-10 tie, denying the motion. The City Council is scheduled to take up the matter at its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 4th at 7:30 pm which is open to the public. A final decision must be made by late March of this year.
It has been a very exciting year for Danbury Democrats!
The galvanizing energy for people to get involved locally surged post 2016 elections and that energy is still thriving. With modern politics still resting on a foundation that shifts daily and a political landscape that continues to venture into uncharted territory, now is the time to be engaged in the Danbury Democratic party. Whether you’re an activist or armchair Democrat, thank you for your support during the 2016 election.
The key is Danbury Democrats are showing up! And we are showing up in big ways. We show up online, in our neighborhoods, and at community events. We’re speaking at public hearings, standing beside union strikers, and legislating at the State capitol.
With the excitement surrounding the municipal elections, we are on our way to achieving great things in our city. From the top of the ticket to the bottom, let’s support our candidates and our party so that we can continue to expand our leadership. By working together, we’ll have a voice in setting community priorities and how our taxes are spent.
Hat’s off to striking United Food and Commercial Workers Local 371 who trying to maintain what they have when it comes to healthcare, pensions, and time and a half on Sundays! They have been working since February without a contract and the decision to strike came after months of negotiating failed.
Help support their cause:
(1) SHARE INFORMATION about the strike. The decision to strike is not easy, and when workers make that decision, it is because there are some real issues.
(2) HONK – When you drive by Stop & Shop, tap on your horn, give thumbs up. A friendly beep shows support and encourages workers. Honks and other words of encouragement lift the spirits.
(3) WALK WITH WORKERS – Join workers on the picket line.
(4) SIGN their PETITION and PLEDGE your support.
(5) DO NOT CROSS THE PICKET LINES. Even if you’re not supportive, find an alternative grocery store. The strikers are friends, neighbors & family who are fighting for basic benefits on behalf of all of us.
As members of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee, we pledge to promote equality under the law and respect for all persons regardless of gender identity, race, disability, ethnic or national origin, or sexual orientation. We strive to uphold individual dignity and to recognize the value of diversity while working to preserve and promote the sense of community that unites us all in our day-to-day struggles and successes. We work to heal divisions in our community and believe that government works best when all the people of Danbury are brought together.
On July 30th, Danbury Democratic Town Committee member Martha Rhodes posted a comment on her personal page about 5th Congressional District primary candidate Jahana Hayes . Her comments were offensive. Her statement does not reflect the attitudes or ideals of the Democratic Town Committee. In no way does the Democratic Town Committee support or defend her statement.
We must strive to be the party of inclusion and seek the participation by and service to all people in our communities. Elected officials have a responsibility to reflect these principals in all we do, especially given the political and racial climate we face.
However, Ms. Rhodes’ inappropriate and gross misjudgment does provide us with the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons – and move forward. To that end, Democrat party leadership is to committed bringing the people of Danbury together to address the topic of race and racism in our community.
Each of us has a unique story behind why we choose to be a Democrat and what motivates us to participate in safe-guarding the American freedoms that we hold dear. With modern politics resting on a foundation that seemingly shifts daily and our political landscape venturing into uncharted territory, now, more than ever, it is time to be actively engaged in the business of being a Democrat. Thank you for finding your way to our website!
It is so important to show up!
How are we to achieve great things in our community and beyond unless we show up?
And how do we show up?
First and foremost, we vote! But we also plan fundraisers, stuff envelopes, sign petitions, make phone calls, canvass neighborhoods, knock doors, register voters, drive voters, feed volunteers, cut walking turfs, maintain headquarters, lead meetings, attend public hearings, write op-eds, share on social media, serve on boards, committees & commissions, attend conventions, organize vigils & rallies, make donations, give in-kind, push for legislation, run for office, and get elected. Yes, we do all that!
Let’s always keep in mind what each of us does individually so as a whole we continue to get stronger. The stronger we get as a Party, the more we can accomplish together.
It is honor it is to serve as the Chair of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee. I hope to enlist your help in building a strong Blue Wave in Danbury and beyond!
With Kindest Regards,
Andrea Gartner, Chairman
Danbury Democratic Town Committee