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Illicit Campaigning At Sycamore Senior Apartments Leads To Supervised Balloting

August 28th, 2017 · 33 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

UPDATE: Elections officials have authorized supervised balloting to take place Tuesday morning at Sycamore.

Sycamore Place Apartments, at 285 Maplewood Avenue, is a senior citizen residential complex on the West Side with Bassick High School as the voting precinct. Of the roughly 100 requests for absentee ballots in the 132nd City Council District as of Thursday, 40 have come from that complex, according to records in the Town Clerk’s Office. And all 40 requests came on the same day. How’d that happen? A political operative surreptitiously entered the building, knocked on doors, and prevailed upon the seniors to sign the absentee ballot applications. Sycamore policy prohibits door-to-door campaigning. A representative of the company that runs the complex is trying to rectify the violation of policy with a request to elections officials to order supervised balloting at Sycamore.

Party-endorsed City Council incumbent Evette Brantley and running partner Rolanda Smith are being challenged by young insurgents Marcus Brown and Kyle Langan in the September 12 Democratic primary. Banking absentee ballots is a rite of passage in city politics, but this brings new meaning to stuffing the ballot box.

According to records in the Town Clerk’s Office, Brantley signed out the absentee ballot applications associated with the Sycamore circulation.

Marcus Brown told OIB “no one from our camp knocked on any doors in 285 Maplewood. From what I understood, that was not allowed.”

State law provides local registrars authority to conduct supervised balloting when 20 absentee ballot applications come from a particular address. It helps to provide a check against campaign operatives trying to manipulate votes by absentee. It also provides an option for electors who filled out an absentee ballot application to vote at their desired designated precinct.

“Notwithstanding any provision of the General Statutes, if a Town Clerk receives twenty (20) or more absentee ballot applications from the same street address in a town, including, not limited to, an apartment building complex, absentee ballots voted by the electors submitting such applications may, at the discretion of the Registrar of Voters of such town, be voted under the supervision of such Registrars of Voters, or their designees in accordance with the same procedures set forth in this section for supervised Absentee Voting at institutions.”

Sheila Garlington, an official with Boston-based Beacon Communities that operates Sycamore, issued this statement to OIB:

“Beacon Communities has a policy regarding “no solicitation,” and therefore, we do not allow anyone to campaign door to door. Unfortunately, if this occurs in the evening, when staff is not present, this cannot be avoided. We allow supervised access to candidates from all parties, without prejudice, to our community room, to meet with our residents. We are aware of this unfortunate situation, and have contacted the registrar’s office in an attempt to rectify this situation. While it is too late to rescind the applications, we are requesting that they be supervised by someone from their office.”

To review how supervised balloting works see here

 

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33 Comments so far ↓

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Really? This was rather bold. Disappointing but not surprising.

  • Bob Walsh

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Evette Brantley Mrs Jones. I’ve got your Absentee Ballot application.
    But I didn’t ask for one.
    We’ll I’ve got an extra one. You always vote by AB so open this for and sign it.
    Maybe later.
    We’ll I huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your door down!!!

  • Bob Halstead

    When campaigning several elections in this building I experienced being shut out while my opponents, Evette Brantley, prominentam among them, seemed to have a connection with the management and managed substantial ABs
    When it came before the Council to renew a tax reduction, pushed by OPED and the Mayor, there was Brantley, front and center, taking credit for improvements made there
    Wishcamp Properties, based in Maine had just purchased Sycamore Apartments, Laurelwood Apartments and 2400 Oark Avenue. All three complexes received ungainly tax breaks and a Corporate entity who hires the property manager, who lets certain candidates for office in to solicit voters at election time, reaps tremendous financial rewards.
    Good for Marcus and Kyle four “outing” them on this one

    (I voted against the deal but 17 Council Members voted for it)

  • Lisa Parziale

    Bob H., while I don’t question your remarks, I want to make it clear that what happened in 285 Maplewood Ave. was the result of the recent Resident Coordinator. Beacon Management took immediately action against their employee and the unlawful entry by Evette Brantley by reacting immediately upon being informed. They were responsible for the exposure of their employee and denounced and took the appropriate steps necessary to bring about a fair outcome from their end. I have a feeling, just a feeling that Lennie’s exceptional investigating reporting will be updated this story soon. It took vigilance and fast action to catch it before Evette Brantley just “got away with it again.” I have consistently held on to the belief that there can only be one winner in a race, I don’t know who they will be, nor do any of us. But one thing I do, know was that the rules and standards set forth by Beacon Management were violated by Evette Brantley and the help she hired to go through that building and knock on the doors of at least 40 residents. I did what had to be done to expose her actions, and I have a feeling that if any of those 40 residents vote for her team, they will do it in a legal fashion set forth by the Town Clerk’s Office and the Registrar’s Office. Let’s see what the update may bring, and hopefully there will be follow-up. Unfortunately, the vigilance I was able to carry out in this case doesn’t stop with 285 Maplewood Ave. She will do what she attempted to do in this building with voters living in private residences. If winning an election means so much to her that she is willing to break the law, then I wish her luck. The candidates I’m working would rater take a loss than stoop to those measures.

  • Bob Halstead

    Lisa I am glad you stepped in and took action with this. I did not know that you did this intervention. I remember you and Danny Roach telling me that Evette pays people in there to do the door knocking and signatures.
    When the said Council approval was being sought and I was representing the district, the representative from Wishcamp was down and I was not buying the tax break he met with me personally and I spelled out for him what was going on and would not support what OPED and he were asking for. He guaranteed me it would never happen again. That may have been part of it too.
    The night I brought it up on the floor of the Council, (the night of the vote on the tax break) that there were politics involved I was very vocally admonished by the likes of Holloway, Paoletto (Rich), Finich and Marella
    I had gotten signatures in that building too but in was from associates I had from the community garden I established there ten years ago. We met in the common room. 80% of the residents had already been solicited and sold to the other side.

  • Bob Halstead

    To correct a typo above, the third building Wishcamp purchased was 2400 North Avenue, another hot bed of absentee balloting in the 132.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Bob, she couldn’t get away with it in 2400 North, nor could the resident coordinator that was clearly prejudice towards the Marcus, Kyle team, because they both knew I had long-time relationships in that building and they would have been caught before they had the chance to obtain applications. Sycamour was another story, since Brantley was part of the TC team in 2015, she just returned to the scene of the original crime and thought she would get away with it again.It’s one thing to be a crook, another to be a stupid crook.

  • Bob Halstead

    haha Lisa, thanks for making my morning better!

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Lisa and Bob,
    Kudos for your efforts to expose the political charlatanism.

    Is Evette Brantlyey affiliated with Tio Mario?

  • flubadub

    Can someone please explain to me what occurs in supervised balloting? Are the absentee ballot applications which were turned in returned, destroyed or held in a lock box?

  • Steven Auerbach

    Well I take it for granted that Lisa and Bob are not fans of Evette Brantley and her running mate Rolanda Smith. We of course not they are supporting Brown and Langdon. 2 rising stars. So we have 4 hard working individuals . Marcus Brown Harrington is a member of the Democratic Town Committee as am I . I know that people like to rip apart the town committee. Lisa , weren’t you also trying to get on the town committee with John Ricci and Gabrielle Parisi in this past election? Now you know I Love You! But for a person who condemns this town committee you have to admit you have been part of it for 40 years??????? We need to play nice , all of us and hope the best for Bridgeport. Afterall, after the primary , most of us will still be friends with the opposition. This is not a war. At least not in my world. Now I do not know what Ms. Brantley did or didn’t do. But she sure is popular in her district. Now we all know you and her used to be best friends and you and Bob Halstead both ran against her no? These silly games we play in politics. Then we kiss and make-up.:-) One hopes. I didn’t want to post as I am on hiatus , but I had to. Character assaults generally come back and bite us in the ass in the end.

    • flubadub

      This is one constituent with whom Brantley is not popular. She should have been required to pay Cecil Young’s court settlement out of her own pocket, as far as I am concerned.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Hope is not a tactic, nor is it an option. Come on, Steven.

      The people are tired of the corrupt politics in Bridgeport. Evette Brantley has assumed Lydia Martinez’s crown as Queen of the Absentee Ballots. The only ecfective way to prevent AB manipulation is to expose the creepy folks doing it. Lydia Martinez had several close shaves with elections enforcement officials. Evette Brantley has been exposed as a fraud that will stop at nothing to succeed in politics, justblike many other candidates for citywide office endorsed by Mario Testa and the DTC.

  • Bob Walsh

    So tell me Steve what do we do?
    Close our eyes and let the cheaters win just to keep pease?

    • Lisa Parziale

      Steve I would love to hear your response to Bubba. And just for reasons of clarification, my political relationship and personal friendship is with Bob Walsh. While I love and admire Bob Halstead, you have the wrong “Bob.” Now I realize you are a sincere advocate of who you perceive to be an “underdog.” But does that admirable quality include those that break the law?

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob Walsh and Lisa Parziale. I will go gently here and do not want to point fingers or make assumptions. Bridgeport is absolutely no different than any other city. Bob- I am not suggestin a blind eyeand G-d knows dead people have been voting in Bridgeport forever. When it comes to absentee ballots , lets be honest any candidate that had those named working for them would be ecstatic. I do not know the full story nor do I care. I do know that every campaign has their professionals that know how to work the system. I do not know that anyone had twisted any arms for voting. Lisa you did absentee ballots for Ganims campaign, weren’t there issues??? Me I understand the process.If I sign out the application , I follow up. I do not badger or harrass. Now I am in the Jewish home regularly, will someone assume I am working them for absentee ballots and telling them how to vote? You know that isn’t going to happen. So in Bridgeport right now it seems that all of the campaigns are accusing others of mishandling absentee ballots. There has got to be a better way.

      Bob Walsh- No! do not turn a blind eye. But, be careful who is accused . Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”

  • DougDavidoff

    A heads-up: Use and abuse of the absentee ballot system in Bridgeport is one of two policy areas to be addressed in a platform paper this week by Bridgeport Generation Now.

    GenNow was profiled on OIB recently. See the post at
    http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/new-generation-of-young-activists-promote-community-empowerment/

    This is the third of four weeks of policy papers GenNow will publish prior to the September primary election. (GenNow promotes improved Bridgeport governance; it does not endorse candidates.)

    This week’s topic is “democratic governance.” Absentee ballots and also the Democratic Town Committee will come undeor GenNow’s microscope in the paper to be released in mid-week.

    The first papers, two weeks ago, focused on good governance. Topics were the Bridgeport city budget, a financial task force, and downtown parking meters. Last week’s topic was justice and equity. Topics were racial equity in schools, WPCA foreclosures, sanctuary city, and police accountability.

    Those position papers as well as this week’s impending papers can be viewed at this web page:
    https://bptgennow.org/policy-and-issue-platform/

    The fourth and final set of pre-primary papers to be released on September 4 will focus on livability in Bridgeport. The topics will be public arts, food policy, and energy/environment.

    Again, the GenNow policy paper coming up in a few days will focus on the topic of this OIB post, namely absentee ballots.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Steve I did manage the organization of district absentee applications in Joey G’s campaign. If memory serves me, there were no issues with absentee applications or ballots. For the past three decades I have made it possible for the elderly, sick and handicapped to vote. That would happen when they requested an absentee application so that they would receive a ballot from the TC’s office on their own. In over three decades I have never been accused of abusing the process. Your friend Evette Brantley did, and she was caught. Now my friend, you can spin your comments anyway you prefer, but you can’t change facts. There’s a possibility that the on-site coordinator that turned her head while this happened could be unemployed. Now again my friend, isn’t that too bad. Your friend chose to take a shortcut, while public service advocates take whatever it takes to insure that those in need are accommodated, your friend was only concerned with racking up ab numbers to enhance her chance of winning. Now you’re starting to get on my last nerve Steve, this is my district and I will protect it like a mother bear. If you are so enamoured with a woman that is less than honest, you’re more than welcome to come into the 132nd district and show her how to do it right.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Lisa, first Momma bear, my relationship with Evette is about the same as it is with you. You have been part of the political machine for 40 years. You have seen it all and you are not naive at all. Bridgeport has sucked for the past 40 years. You have been close to every single candidate that has come under fire. You are supporting a candidate that is on the DTC that didn’t tell his district he was running and you have a very very long relationship on a personal level with the very woman you are attacking. Now, personally, I do not chat or text with Evette but I do with you, so please not attack because I am supporting the incumbent or the endorsed candidate. In 2 weeks it will be over. You know Lisa Ganim beat Finch by 400 ish votes. Imagine if you and Maria didn’t work absentee ballots maybe you wouldn’t be explaining to your constituents why you hate him so. Now ,I am certain Evette will deal with her issues and you will deal with yours, I will deal with mine and we will all enjoy the excitement of a Primary all over the city. Everything is peaceful here in the 134th and I am not involved in anything happening in your district in case you thought I was! You could never get on my last nerve. I live for this!

      • Lisa Parziale

        Steve you know my connection with you is genuine and sincere I’m grateful we reached that point. But, sometimes you speak or write when it would be best not. This is a political situation that involves operatives of the 132nd district, two of whom you say you like and call friends. Why not just let it work itself out? There are some strong opinions about what happened, there are people who know Evette better than you and me know her, there’re not surprised and are happy that this was caught. The people who are outraged do not consider Evette their friend. Some of them are my friends. You like the two of us so why not just stay neutral, stop fanning the flame.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    When the mayor, a convicted felon, uses a city vehicle and driver when conducting the business of his gubenatorial campaign…

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Unethical practices are endemic in Bridgeport. This contributes in some measure to the culture of lawlessness here. Votes are bought and paid for, absentee ballots are manipulated with a wink and a nod ( or a whistle and a grin), a convicted felon that was disbarred made all sorts of pie-in-the-sky promises… And was re-elected, with a half-hearted Jimmy Swaggert moment, to the office he was forced to resign.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Pretty good agenda Steve. But it takes proactive, aggressive leadership on the tax-base/jobs development side of things to assure that Connecticut’s revenue needs can be met — from the municipal to the state level… E.g., while Dan Malloy was doing God knows what during these past, long, seven years, the governor of Florida was actively seeking out and recruiting businesses to locate to his state. And at the local level, I recall from some time spent in prosperous, beautiful, Washington State, how the mayor of Everett — home to the mammoth Boeing manufacturing center — was doing double-duty drumming up business for his aerospace factories in Everett, with his efforts centered on Boeing… How many local polls do that in Connecticut… State delegation members could certainly make that part of their efforts on behalf of cities — especially if they want to move up the political food chain at some point…

    As far as “regionalism” goes — we already have that — you know, the parasitic relationship between the suburbs and cities, with the cities providing the infrastructure and services for the ‘burbs at a highly discounted rate… The kind of regionalism that is needed in Connecticut is the regionalism provided by county government in the rest of the US… (Only basket-cases Rhode Island and Connecticut don’t have county government…)

    So, really mostly the same-old, same-old in Hartford — except less money to play with…

  • Jeff Kohut

    Sorry; wrong segment, wrong Steve…

  • Steven Auerbach

    Problem Solved- Yaaaay!

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