O’Brien Leads Canvassing For Democratic Slate Saturday; GOTV + BBQ
Mayor Tim O’Brien will lead volunteers today(Saturday, October 6th) on neighborhood canvassing and phoning on behalf of Democratic candidates in the city as the campaign for President, US. Senate, Congress and state legislative offices enters its final month.
Mayor O’Brien In The Field For Obama, Murphy and Esty
The canvas will begin at noon at Democratic headquarters, 19 Bassett Street and will be followed by a barbeque at headquarters at 3 p.m.
Voter outreach in city neighborhoods is underway from now through Election Day, November 6th. To volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The 19 Basset St. Headquarters is open for voter contact and campaigning Monday through Friday from 5 to 9 pm, Sundays, 4 to 7 pm and Saturdays, 10 to 1, 1 to 4 and 4 to 7 pm
October 11th Town Committee Meeting: Mobilizing For E-Day, Key Dates
The Democratic Town Committee will meet on Thursday, October 11th at 7 p.m. at New Britain City Hall, 27 West Main Street, Room 504 to discuss mobilizing for Election Day. All Democrats are welcome to attend.
Key dates leading up to Election Day:
- Friday, October 5th: Printed Absentee Ballots are now available.
- Saturday, October 20th: Registrar will hold voter registration session at City Hall 10 am to 2 pm
- Tuesday, October 23rd: Mail-in voter registration deadline
- Thursday, October 25th LWV Legislator Candidate Debate at Trinity on Main
- Monday, November 5th: Day before the Election Walk-In registration for new voters 9 am to 5 pm at the Registrar of Voters 5th floor, 27 West Main Street.
From the Chair:
Landlord Fee Addresses Budget Gap; Similar Ordinances Are On The Books In Many Other Communities
On October 4th, New Britain’s Common Council adopted new fee ordinances on landlords owning non-owner occupied, multi-unit apartments — policies designed to raise an alternative source of revenue as well as to strengthen anti-blight enforcement in multi-unit housing.
The $150 per unit flat fee represents a compromise over an earlier proposal that the Council’s Planning and Development committee left on the table. It will raise an estimated $1 million on rental properties.A second ordinance known as a “hot-spot fee” would charge landlords $500 when emergency and public safety personnel are called to an apartment house five or more times in a year. It is expected to generate another $1 million.
The combined measures can avert some service cuts in the current fiscal year as Mayor O’Brien and the Council seek to fill a $4 million hole growing out of the structural deficits identified in the last fiscal year when O’Brien took office. It is part of a strategy to avoid regressive taxation in tough fiscal times: raising the property tax always falls disproportionately on homeowners and those least able to afford it.
The Common Council’s actions occurred amid a raucous and at times churlish crowd of opponents prominently led by the statewide landlord lobbying group which opposes the fees and previously opposed tougher anti-blight measures that the O’Brien Administration has adopted.
According to press reports, Bob De Cosmo, president of the Waterbury-based Connecticut Property Owners, said his group will file a class-action lawsuit against the city. In an effort to bully and intimidate city councillors DeCosmo was quoted as saying “we will be looking into suing each individual council member that voted for this illegal tax.”
The hollow threat of a legal fight over the modest New Britain flat fee flies in the face of policies and fees that are found in many other communities throughout the country and that have been on the books for a good long time. In Connecticut, for example, Stamford has an annual fee structure on multi-family units tied to housing code enforcement: a $60 fee and $30 per additional unit for three to nine apartments; $75 and $40 per additional unit for 10 to 39 apartments, and; $200 fee and $60 per unit for 40 or more apartments.
Sounds doubtful absentee landlords will dump their New Britain properties to go buy dwellings downstate. Nor will they pull up stakes and go to places like Gainesville, FL, North Chicago IL, Burlington, NJ, Cedar Rapids IA, Salt Lake City UT, Minneapolis, MN (and many more). They’ll find landlord fees and licenses and charges for rental units in all of them.
One other thing municipalities here in Connecticut and elsewhere have as a sensible part of housing policy is a Certificate of Occupancy ordinance. That was lost to New Britain in the 1980s when Tom Bozek was the Council majority leader. It would be a feather in the cap of Mayor O’Brien and the Council to restore the CO ordinance, not just for fees but to fairly handle the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.
The Mayor and Common Council didn’t deserve the insults and uncivil push back at the Council meeting from some of the attendees, particularly absentee landlords who need to learn a lesson in shared sacrifice that will not deny them a return on their investments. They need to be responsible members of this community whether they live here or not.
A 2008 study found that 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 44 percent of Social Security beneficiaries, 53 percent of people with student loans, and 60 percent of homeowners with taxpayer-subsidized mortgages answered “no” when asked whether they were using a government social program. But whatever their confusion, at least they’re not running for president. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is. And on the campaign trail he’s disparaging Americans who turn to government to get what he calls “free stuff.”
– Jim Hightower from www.nationofchange.org
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Labor donated for New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050 John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara