Get ready for the library showdown. This one’s gonna be a page turner.
The official complaint is Liberate Libraries Committee vs Alma Maya, Town Clerk of the City of Bridgeport. Liberate Libraries Committee is a political action committee formed to push the passage of a library budget referendum. Library Board President Jim O’Donnell, an attorney, serves as chairman of the Liberate Libraries Committee. George Comer and Susan Errichetti serve as treasurers.
Sylvester Salcedo, an attorney and Library Board member, filed a complaint Friday in Superior Court on behalf of the political action committee, seeking an order to place a referendum question on the ballot in November, per state statute, in which voters would decide a library expenditure. City officials oppose the referendum. A court hearing has been set for the morning of August 24.
From the complaint:
The Plaintiffs, along with others, caused petitions to be circulated pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 11-36 and on August 3, 2009 presented such petitions signed by more than fifty electors asking that such annual tax be levied for the establishment and maintenance of a free public library and reading room in Bridgeport and to give notice that at the next regular municipal election to be held November 3, 2009 that the following question be placed on the voting ballot label for determination by the electors: “Shall a one (1) mill tax be levied to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room?”
The Defendant Town Clerk, acting through her Assistant Town Clerks, refused to accept such petitions or to log such petitions, purportedly on the grounds that no opinion had been received from the City Attorney to authorize such acceptance.
On August 5, 2009 a further attempt to present the petitions pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 11-36 was made with the assistance of a State Judicial Marshal …
Following a telephone conference with the City Attorney, the Assistant Town Clerk acting on behalf of the Defendant took the presented petitions, but indicated that no action would be taken to give notice that at the regular municipal election to be held November 3, 2009 the question of an annual tax for the maintenance of a library is to be voted upon in the manner prescribed in Connecticut General Statutes Section 9-369 or that such question would be placed on the voting ballot for such election, unless the City Attorney instructed the Town Clerk to do so.
The City Attorney has not indicated that he intends to direct the Town Clerk to comply with Connecticut General Statutes Section 11-36.
The deadline for Town Clerks to notify the Secretary of States of questions to be placed on the voting ballot for municipal elections is September 3, 2009.
The duties imposed upon the Defendant Town Clerk, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 11-36, to give notice and place the question on the voting ballot label for determination at such election, are mandatory and do not involve the exercise of any discretion.
The plaintiffs will suffer harm if the Town Clerk does not perform such duties imposed by law in a timely manner and thereby be allowed to frustrate the orderly democratic process to permit the citizens of Bridgeport to voice their opinion as to the allocation of their tax dollars to provide financial support for the public library.
The key players, as alleged in the complaint, are City Attorney Mark Anastasi and Town Clerk Alma Maya. Anastasi has worked in the City Attorney’s Office for more than 25 years. He was appointed City Attorney, chief of all city lawyers, by Joe Ganim. He’s held that position without a break in service through John Fabrizi and Bill Finch. Anastasi makes no apology for whom he works … the mayor. He’s a political animal loyal to the chief executive and will make legal arguments to that cause. Sometimes this places Mark in the line of fire as was the case in his zeal to protect Ganim’s taxpayer-paid cellphone records and bringing dubious court action against others that cost millions in outside legal fees with no benefit to the taxpayer, as was the case under Fabrizi.
It’s a simple as this. If Finch tells Mark to give Maya clearance to accept the petitions and schedule the referendum it will be done. If Finch says fight it, Mark will craft a legal argument and there will be a court fight. Maya, as city clerk, is elected in her own right to a four-year term. She does not work for Finch and does not need Finch’s blessing. But so far something or someone is advising her to duck this referendum effort.
Maya was elected town clerk on the Finch ticket in 2007 following the retirement of long-time Town Clerk Hector Diaz. She was a disciple of the late Cesar Batalla, the titular head of the Latin community and the leading social irritant in the city. Batalla was an establishment fighter even as community relations director of the Southern Connecticut Gas Company.
Batalla would have been shoulder to shoulder with the library board trying to protect voter interests.
It appears the city will try to knock out this effort legally, and if that fails will try to line up political support to defeat the question in November. City bean counters don’t like the idea of facing a potential $6 million appropriation for library services, especially with some tough budgets coming up as pay increases for uniformed services kick in.
How are they going to pay for that? Bean counters don’t know.
“Continuing Our Community Conversations”
Your 134th District Councilwomen
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
doors open 6:30pm
meeting starts 7:00pm
Wheeler Rooms A and B
45 Lyon Terrace
Bridgeport, CT. 06604
Topics to be discussed:
*Zoning Issues/Quality of Life Issues
*Voting Registration Procedures ~ New Voters Registration
*Updated Information for ALL.
If you have ANY questions, concerns,or/and are new to the 134th District in Bridgeport, this meeting is for you.
Councilwoman, 134th District
cellular phone ~ 1-203-275-6412
Councilwoman, 134th District
We just wanted to share with you some exciting news about the 2009 Pleasure Beach Boat Lift and Clean Up that took place this weekend. We got a ton of trash off the Beach and had more than 40 volunteers help out that were ferried over by boat. If you were there- Thank you for all your help! If you didn’t make it- go to www.ctcommunityboating.org to see photos and get a full account of the days events. Next time we head out, you’ll have to come with us! There’s always a spot in the boat for a friend of CCB. Thanks!
CCB Board and Staff
Connecticut Community Boating, Inc.
News release from Governor Rell
Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that H1N1 (swine) flu vaccinations will be made free to the public and said the state is recruiting doctors and other health care providers to administer the vaccine as soon as the federal government makes it available. Connecticut could initially receive up to 1.8 million doses.
“We are making extensive preparations in advance of flu season to safeguard our citizens,” Governor Rell said. “This year, getting a vaccine is more critical than ever since the swine flu virus has spread around the globe. Swine flu vaccines will be available at no cost and are particularly critical for individuals who are most vulnerable. They will be given priority when the first shipments of vaccine arrive.”
The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) anticipates that an H1N1 vaccine will be licensed and ready for distribution by mid-fall of 2009. The Governor said federal funds will be available to reimburse doctors and other providers who administer the vaccine. The vaccine is administered in two doses at least four weeks apart.
State health officials say the most at-risk groups are:
· pregnant women
· children ages 6 months to 4 years old
· children ages 5-18 with chronic medical conditions
· individuals who care for children
· health care professionals with direct patient contact
The Governor said doctors and health care providers interested in administering the vaccine will soon be able to register with the federal government so they can order the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. State health officials say the registration is necessary to compile shipping and contact information to allow the state to have vaccine sent directly to each doctor’s office. There is no cost to sign up and registered providers are not committed to provide the vaccine. Federal registration forms will be available soon and can be accessed through DPH at www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch/providers.
The vaccine is expected to be available in a combination of settings including public health-organized vaccination clinics, private doctors’ offices, Visiting Nurse Associations and retail clinics. State health officials say a vaccine for seasonal influenza will also be available this fall.
April 2009, the first cases of the H1N1 virus, also referred to as the “swine flu,” were identified in the U.S. In June 2009, the World Health Organization upgraded the worldwide alert to a pandemic. In response, the CDC began the process of contracting for the production of a novel H1N1 influenza vaccine.
Connecticut has had more than 1,900 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus and nine deaths, all of whom were people with underlying medical conditions.
Governor Rell last month addressed a statewide conference of school administrators and health professionals to discuss preparations being made at the state and local levels to safeguard students, faculty and staff as the school year opens. The Governor also recently participated in a conference call with U.S. Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other governors to discuss federal and state response.