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2020 Political Round Up


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

All five of Connecticut’s U.S. House of Representative seats are up for grabs in this year’s election. A field full of Republican hopefuls are intent on staging their own small upset against the five Democratic incumbents. While they might not agree on much, candidates from both parties claim this election could well shape the face of politics for years to come. The Republican primary will be Aug. 11. The general election will be Nov. 3.

With virtual conventions wrapped up, here’s a list of the heavyweight contenders, who have gotten nods from their respective parties.

First District: Central, includes Bristol, Torrington, and Hartford

Republican: Mary Fay

Mary Fay is currently West Hartford’s town councilor. A self-professed fiscal conservative, Fay intends on bringing that ideology with her to Washington if elected. She has a long history of campaign experience, winning two-terms as an elected member of the West Hartford Town Council where she served on the budget and finance committee. In her professional life, she was an executive director for the Connecticut Retirement Service Authority, and worked in finance for General Electric and ING. Fay will be running against incumbent John Larson – her former high school history teacher.

Democratic: John Larson

John Larson has served as the first District House Representative since 1999. Before that, he was a multi-term state senator. During his time in D.C., he has championed a number of causes: in 2007 he sponsored the Energy Independence and Security Act, which sought to increase the development and use of renewable energies. He also introduced the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 to Congress, which sought to provide loans and support to small businesses nationwide. Most recently, he was allegedly involved in a social experiment with food stamps, Medicaid, and social security issues to help shape policies in congress.

Second District: Eastern, includes New London, Enfield, Norwich

Republican: Tom Gilmer

An Ohio native, Gilmer moved to Connecticut in 2014 where he founded and operated a large a construction management company that has worked throughout the state. He also served as a trade market manager for energy giant BP. Gilmer believes the private sector thrives when the government is kept on the periphery. He favors the looser regulations in the private sector, and has struck a heavy economic note on campaign trail thus far.

Democrat: Joe Courtney

Courtney was a lawyer and Connecticut House of Representatives member before being elected to Congress in 2006. There, he serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Courtney was a vocal opponent to the Trump corporate tax cuts and Muslim travel ban. He is well known for his support of District 2’s large defense jobs industry.

Third District : Central, includes New Haven and Middleton

Republican: Margaret Streiker

Streiker hopes her background managing large real estate investments and operations will give her an edge in the uphill battle to replace District 3’s long serving incumbent, Rosa DeLauro. Her flagship company, Newcastle Reality, managed and invested millions in residential and commercial properties in New York City. However, it was not without controversy. Before closing in 2019, Newcastle Reality was accused of cost inflation on projects, receiving illegal kickbacks from construction contractors, and illegal buyouts of rent-stabilized apartments. Streiker herself was never singled out – but other employees, and the company as a whole, were.  She has made it a point to highlight that, though she is a republican, she would be willing to oppose the president and work across the aisle when necessary.

Democrat: Rosa DeLauro

DeLauro began serving as District 3’s representative in 1991. Since, has a history of championing progressive causes in D.C. DeLauro’s taken vocal and progressive stances on healthcare, gun control, and campaign finance reform. She is one of the original members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and currently sits on a subcommittee dedicated to the organization of federal funds for coronavirus relief efforts.

Fourth District : Southwestern, includes Stamford, Bridgeport, and Norwalk

Republican: Johnathan Riddles

Riddles is a New York native and self-professed “green” republican who has worked extensively in the financial services industry as a private wealth manager. He is currently vice president of The Private Bank, a division of Bank of America catering to clients with substantial assets. With little previous entanglements in party politics, he is hoping voters will see his appeal as a political outsider.

Democrat: Jim Himes

Himes has served as District 4’s representative since 2009 and currently sits on the Committee on Finical Services, and the House Intelligence Committee. He has been a consistent advocate of financial industry reform and a supporter of green energy initiatives. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare reformation will be one of his campaigns central initiatives.

Fifth District : Northwestern, includes Waterbury and Danbury

Republican: David X. Sullivan

Sullivan has been an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and his economic policies. He’s running on a platform centered on lowering taxes and the deregulating the private sector. Sullivan has voiced strong opposition to the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Medicare For All’ initiatives in Congress – efforts supported by District 5’s incumbent, Representative Jahana Hayes. Prior to being nominated, Sullivan worked as a prosecutor for the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General. 

Democrat: Jahana Hayes

Waterbury resident Jahana Hayes is the first African American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. Before politics, the one-term incumbent was a career teacher. The first term representative won the 2018 election with nearly 56 percent of the vote and has since focused heavily on education and healthcare reform. In her first term, her key vote was to impeach President Donald Trump. During the coronavirus pandemic, Hayes has been vocal in highlighting disparities and difficulties in distance learning regiments, and has been critical of the safety of economic re-openings. But Hayes is unaware of a pending lawsuit against her for political obstruction by her former campaign staffers, who helped sabotage a stronger candidate than Hayes to run for congress against former House Representative Elizabeth Esty. Hayes waited out Esty’s scandal and jumped in the race after she resigned amid a scandal about sexual harassment in her office. Some say Hayes had news of Esty’s impending resignation and her cronies worked for three years to stage adverse experiences for the other black woman, who was deemed the most eligible to be the first African-American congresswoman from Connecticut. The plan to put Hayes in congress began when she enrolled in graduate school while the other black woman was a professor at a top 20 university.

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Hartford Launches Emergency Funding


HARTFORD — Hartford on Tuesday joined community-based organizations to launch a $1 million grant program to help about 100 small businesses with cash.

Hartford, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HEDCO, Inc., and Capital for Change launched a $1 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program that will provide a grant of up to $10,000 to make lease or mortgage payments, pay salaries, make vendor payments, pay taxes, or pay for other eligible expenses.

Officials said the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program is aimed at small businesses that may have difficulty obtaining funding from other federal or state initiatives, with a particular focus on providing assistance to small businesses owned by women and people of color, located in low-income neighborhoods in Hartford.  

Many small businesses hire locally, hence the need to support them, city officials said.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and we are proud to join with these partners to get them critical support during this unprecedented time,” said City Council President Maly D. Rosado.

The program will be administered by Capital for Change and applications will be accepted online beginning on May 4, 2020.  A link to the application will be available at Coronavirus.Hartford.gov.  

Grant awards are expected to be made on or before May 22, 2020.  Program dates are subject to change.

Beginning on April 27, 2020, interested businesses can access technical assistance to ensure they are prepared to submit an application.

Organizations providing technical assistance include the Blue Hills Civic Association, the Upper Albany Merchants Association, the Spanish American Merchants Association, HEDCO Inc., the Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Hartford, the Minority Construction Council, and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

In order to be eligible for the grant, businesses must: (a) be located within the City of Hartford, (b) be able to provide at least one federal tax return, (c) have positive revenues not exceeding $500,000 for the submitted tax years, (d) have an EIN and/or DUNS number, if applicable.  Other eligibility requirements will be available in the grant application.  

In an effort to make grants available to as many business owners as possible, principal owners of multiple businesses will only be eligible for one grant.


“This pandemic has devastated small businesses, and we want to do everything we can to help our small businesses here in Hartford survive, reopen, re-hire, and start growing again,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.  “All too often, small businesses in communities like Hartford don’t have the banking relationships, the connections, or the ability to access federal grants or loans, and this partnership is aimed at helping those small businesses that are most likely to be left out.”


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Opening the Economy: Data-Driven and Public Health Approaches


By Jagdish Khubchandani

Policymakers around the world are in a triangular tug of war between fighting COVID-19, economic rehabilitation, and ensuring societal normalcy, well-being, and health. There are no easy answers or cookbook recipes and each question among the how, why, and when to open the economy is more daunting to answer than the other one. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that we cannot make decisions based on social, cultural, religious, or economic preferences alone. Also, decision making cannot be an absolute top-down approach, but a regionally driven strategy with citizen engagement. A few suggestions for our leaders and the public:

*        Analyzing regional data on COVID-19 such as number of cases and deaths, racial/ethnic distribution of the disease, age and gender groups most affected, and social and medical history of those who are affected will help define the unique nature and extent of disease spread among communities and to strategize for customized prevention priorities. We need more testing based on population density so that the maximum number of infected people can be quarantined to break the chain of spread (the 3 T model= trace, test, treat).

*        The key data points to consider in making a decision on opening the economy should be: number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries mapped by the smallest geographic unit; the total population of the region with sociodemographic distribution; the number of primary care and emergency services; the number of hospitals and healthcare facilities, COVID-19 testing capacity, and healthcare-related assets available (i.e. materials, devices, and human resources).  Throughout the process, ensure protection of frontline healthcare workers.

Photo Credit: Yahoo Finance

*        The rates of increase or decrease in COVID-19 cases play a major role in estimating regional transmission patterns. If a geographic region does not witness a case for more than a week, that’s positive news. Once the 2-week mark is crossed without a positive case, plans to allow many essential human activities should be formulated and implemented. Additionally, regions should be classified as high risk, moderate risk, and low risk. Those regions that should qualify as high risk should exhibit high numbers and rates of cases or deaths that remain the same or increase over time (call them “hotspots”).

*        We should categorize and redefine services as: highly essential, needed, and wanted. Based on relative importance, we should use a staggered time-phased opening approach. These classifications should keep in view, for each service, the amount of human to human contact, needs and capacities, the potential for large gatherings, demand versus supply of the service, the cost versus benefit of these services, and preparedness at service facilities as it relates to practicing aggressive hygiene and sanitation measures and social distancing for the clientele served. There should be ways to enforce the use of temperature screening devices, masks, sanitizers, and social distancing for all clients.

Photo Credit: New York Post, Dow Jones

*        Increasing the base of health prepared and health trained people in the communities would be another asset. Rapid and swift measures to educate and train lay health workers, non-physician professionals, and accelerating volunteer health services could be a priority. Academic-community partnerships and the use of professional organizations to provide data and scientific services should be done as soon as possible. All of this can be done remotely by data transfer and coordination between regional healthcare facilities, health departments, and state or federal agencies. Existing data are assets that must be utilized.

*        The last strategy is to remain prepared for shutting services again based on real-time regional evidence on COVID-19. We must also estimate, how long after we open the economy will business and industries flourish and how much time it will take to bring normalcy to life (that would create another lag in reaching our full potential). Despite phased openings, we will still see fewer workers, fewer service demands, and lesser clientele.

It is time to utilize these strategies and aggressively prepare for the next phase- opening the economy and looking into the future. We have saved millions of lives by avoiding the disease and cannot lose our gains. However, we also have to be mindful not to lose lives due to other diseases, poverty, and psychological upheaval. Based on regional data and the unique nature of COVID-19 in a community, decisions should be left to counties and local governments on opening the economy. Such decisions should also engage regional healthcare providers, scientists, business owners, and representatives of the general public. We need to reappraise the values of our democracy- of the people, for the people, and by the people. Finally, it is high time, we think global and act local.

Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, PhD is a Professor of Health Science at Ball State University and has a doctorate in both Medicine and Public health.

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The Hartford Guardian Celebrates 17 Years


Donate Today. Go to www.thehartfordguardian.com/donate

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MDC to Hold Meeting Tonight On Rate Increase


GREATER HARTFORD — The Metropolitan District Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to proposed a water rate increase of almost 15 percent for metropolitan area.

The MDC meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday at the District Headquaters board room at 555 Main Street in Hartford.

The regional water and sewer authority’s proposed budget for 2020 includes raising the water rate from $3.50 per hundred cubic feet to $4.0, at 14.57 percent increase, MDC officials said.

Sewer rates will also increase by $1 per month, increasing from $6 to $7.

Some officials believe the rate will be a burden to most residents in the area and there is a need for greater oversight to ensure residents are not fleeced.

The suggested oversight committee would be through the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), a state agency.

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Former Gov. Dannel Malloy to Join Historians and Others to Discuss Education in Connecticut


By Josh Leventhal, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will join historians, legal professionals, journalists, parents and others to discuss the issue of education reform at Yale University Law School on April 22, 2020.

The event, co-sponsored by Yale’s Black Law Student Association, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will include discussions about the academic achievement gap, the role of governors in the state’s education debate, the challenges of school segregation and its impact on the academic achievement gap. Malloy confirmed his acceptance again on Wednesday, saying he agreed because it was a good debate to have in the state.

File Photo: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy/ AP

Many other experts and professionals have been invited to speak on the subject of school segregation and the overall impact that it has on the achievement gap. Other topics will include why the gap still exists, and what can be done to close it.

“The discussion will certainly be an educational, informative, and entertaining debate,” said Ann-Marie Adams, editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian.

In essence, the discussion will center on Adams theory about school segregation and the supplementary achievement gap that occurs in the state of Connecticut.

Dr. Adams is a leading expert in race and education in American. She is also a U.S. History Professor, an award wining journalist, and the founder of The Hartford Guardian. During the discussion, Dr. Adams will explain her theory in detail. She will also share the research that went into her book about the African American struggle for full citizenship including a quality education in CT, which in essence is the book’s innermost theme. It is also the very first published work that chronicles the full arc of the African American experience in Connecticut from the colonial period to the twentieth century.

Dr. Adams graduated with distinction from Howard University after completing her dissertation about the African American experience and their fight for a quality education in Connecticut.

In addition, Dr. Adams has been covering the topic of education for more than 20 years at many prominent publications such as The Hartford Courant, the Norwich Bulletin, the Times-Herald Record and The Washington Post

There will be a short question and answer session after the debate, so participants are asked to bring questions. Please email editor@thehartfordguardian.com for sponsorship details.

The Hartford Guardian is published by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2004. Early bird tickets are $35 each. After Feb. 15, 2020, tickets will be $40. Please note that the cost of tickets and other donations are tax deductible.

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Hartford Offers Fee Waiver for Delinquent Taxes


HARTFORD — There’s a fee waiver for Hartford residents who owe taxes.

Beginning Dec. 15, 2019, all the collection fees will be waived. But all the owed taxes on personal property or motor vehicle must be paid to get this special waiver.

It’s a catch 22 situation, however. 

Hartford City Hall

You will have to pay the outstanding taxes and interest in full to get those fees waived.

The program will end Jan. 31, 2020. If residents fail to take advantage of this waiver, the city tax collector will impose a 15 percent collection fee on all bills.

“This Fee Relief Program will make it easier for residents to pay back taxes they owe,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.  “Last year we ran a Fee Relief Program for personal property taxes only, and this year we are expanding it to motor vehicle taxes as well.  We hope as many people take advantage as possible, so they can stay current with their taxes and the city receives the revenue we need to serve all of our residents.”

Residents can make payment online at www.hartford.gov<http://www.hartford.gov  by clicking on the “$” symbol or in the Tax Office at City Hall, 550 Main St., Room 106, Hartford, CT 06103.  

Residents can call (860) 757-9630 if they have questions.

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State Charges Hartford Woman With Fraud


HARTFORD — A Hartford social worker was arrested today and charged with cheating Medicaid out of thousands of dollars by using other social workers’ names to bill for services the government health care program would not pay her to provide.

Kathleen Service, 63, of Farmington Avenue, Hartford, was arrested by Inspectors from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and charged with one count each of firs degree larceny for defrauding a public community, health insurance fraud and first degree identity theft, and two counts of third-degree identity theft.

According to the arrest warrant, Service is a master’s level social worker and principal of Unlimited Family Services, LLC, an independent counseling practice in Hartford.  In December 2017, the Department of Social Services, which administers the state’s medicaid program, notified all master’s level social workers, including Service, that they were no longer eligible to bill the medicaid program for counseling.

In July 2018, Department of Social Services notified the fraud unit that Service apparently had skirted the 2017 termination notice by continuing to bill the medicaid program using the credentials of other eligible enrolled providers who were unaware of such billing, the warrant states.

Subsequent investigation by the medicaid fraud unit Inspectors revealed that Service used the credentials of three other providers to collect more than $151,960 for some 1,722 claims for counseling she could not bill medicaid for in her own name. Medicaid is a federal and state taxpayer-funded program that provides health care to low and no-income individuals.

Service was released on a $100,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Oct. 17, 2019.  

Service is facing up to 20 years in prison.


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New Movie Going Experience in West Hartford with Cinépolis


WEST HARTFORD — Greater Hartford residents have another option for how to enjoy the movies.

Cinépolis USA, a leading world-class cinema exhibitor
known for its enhanced movie-going concepts, announced this week the grand opening date of August 16 for Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas West Hartford.

This announcement comes after a complete transformation of its previous theater that closed for renovations in March. 

Guests will enjoy a free small-sized popcorn for ticket holders during
opening weekend. Additionally, the first 100 ticketed guests on Friday
will receive a complimentary ticket to return, while supplies last. The
revitalized six-screen, 21,462-square-foot Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas West
Hartford marks the exhibitor’s first dine-in theater in the Northeast.
It highlights the brand’s signature guest experiences and specialty
film-viewing programs, while serving as the cinema anchor of Blue Back
Square shopping, living, dining, and entertainment district.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the guest experience, and
this upgraded Luxury Cinema with enhanced dining and programming
exemplifies our commitment to offering an elevated and affordable
approach to entertainment,” said Luis Olloqui, CEO of Cinépolis USA. 

Following its multi-million dollar completion, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas
West Hartford offers guests a movie-going experience with 359
fully-reclining leather seats in six auditoriums, each complete with
cutting-edge sound and high-definition projection technology. An upscale
lounge-style lobby space anchors the entry space complete with gourmet
concessions stand and seating options for guests to relax before or
after a movie.

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas West Hartford offers a full menu and in-theater
waiter service for guests to order dine-in food direct to their seat at
the push of a button. Delivered by stealthy, ninja-like servers to
ensure for minimal movie disruption, the menu features fresh
ingredients, gluten-friendly and vegan friendly options and dishes
created with a chef inspired approach — from hummus plates, edamame and quesadillas to truffle flatbreads, salads and burgers — that are
satisfying but also easy to eat inside a dim auditorium. Pending
approval of a liquor license, Cinepolis will offer a full bar menu that
includes craft beer, specialty cocktails and hand-selected wine program.

On Tuesdays, the theater will participate in the brand’s signature
Cinépolis Handpicked weekly movie-viewing program and offer discounted
$7 tickets to all participants. Cinépolis Handpicked is a carefully
curated alternative programming series that features a wide variety of
digitally remastered specialty content, including favorite cult classic
films, nostalgic oldies, special concert events, documentaries, seasonal
favorites, and more. 

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas West Hartford, located at 42 South Main Street,
West Hartford, will screen movies seven days a week with ticket prices
ranging from $7-12 for adults and $7-9 for children, with special $7
tickets on Tuesdays. Taxes and special format charges may apply. Guests
will be able to reserve seating via www.cinepolisusa.com [1] or the
Cinépolis USA APP upon the theater’s opening. For employment inquiries,
contact jobs@cinepolis.com

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Hartford Holds Public Hearing on Neighborhod Assistance Act


By Kindred Gaynor, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Katie Glass, the executive director of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, wants to create a safe environment for artists in an old building that was donated. So she plans to fix it up.

That’s why she applied for $143, 002 from the Connecticut Neighborhood Assistance Act. The organization hopes to do roofing and lighting updates.

“It is a 40-year-old building that requires renovations,” Glass said. “Our roof being fixed is critical because it means that people can keep coming to a safe environment.”

The organization, which enriches lives through hand weaving, is also asking for a new HVAC system because the one that is in place now is original to the building.

Glass was one of the 67 agencies that apply for the program. Only five of them showed up to the public hearing Monday night at city hall.

The NAA Tax Credit Program is designed to provide funding for municipal and tax exempt organizations by providing a corporation business tax credit for businesses that make cash contributions to these entities.

The Hartford City Council must take action on 67 eligible 2019 Neighborhood Assistance Act proposals no later then June 10.

The organizations will benefit from the Neighborhood Assistance Act because unlike loans, grants don’t have to be repaid. These grants are designed to help these organizations grow. The types of community programs that qualify for the NAA tax credit program include energy conservation, employment and training, child care services, neighborhood assistance, substance abuse, open space acquisition, crime prevention programs, and affordable housing development.

This year the caps on individuals are the same. There is a $150,000 cap for non-profit organizations for the amount that they can raise from donors that is covered by tax credit. There is also an $150,000 cap for each dollar on the amount they can donate in any one tax year.

 In previous years, the total amount of credits that were permitted state wide was $10 million dollars. Two years ago they cut that maximum in half to $5 million dollars state wide.

Joan Gurksi, director of grants, explained the process of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. “What the Connecticut DRS does after they receive all of the applications is they not only determine whether or not they agree with the programs but they also assign a limit of the amount that can be raised with tax credit.

There is a formula that is applied in order for DRS to generate the amount that each organization/agency is supposed to receive. There is some discretion during this process.”

Connecticut DRS lets the public know how much tax credit is allotted to each donor from each non-profit. The lists that Central Grants gets from Connecticut DRS will be posted on the Central Grant web page.

Adria Giordano, director of development for Chrysalis Center, explained why her company is requesting a $150,000 grant from the state. “We provide homes for homeless individuals, people who are on the brink of homelessness and those who suffer from mental health issues,” said Giordano.

The Chrysalis Center has a total of five sites in the state of Connecticut, one of those sites being for veterans. The organization recently received a grant to purchase the home for 21 homeless veterans. Giorando said, “The home that was purchased is a turn of a century building that would benefit immensely from renovations. It needs a lot of work to be energy efficient.” The organization wants to get the renovations done as soon as possible to improve the overall safety of the building.

Jennifer DeJong represented the Village for Families and Children. The organization is requesting a $150,000 grant for numerous upgrades to their facility. It has been brought to their attention that they are experiencing high levels of carbon monoxide.

They have been advised to replace the boilers that they currently have with high energy efficient stainless steel boilers. This organization works in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families and needs to refurbish their facility without any further delay.

Council President, Glendowlyn Thames, concluded the public hearing by telling each of the representatives that she doesn’t see any issues with their grant requests and they should expect to know if their grants were approved by Labor Day.

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