Thursday, July 26, 2007
“There are a lot of unanswered questions raised by this very troubling arrest, and the Town of Provincetown is unwilling even to look into them,” said Don Gorton, the group’s Chairperson. “Accordingly, we have launched our own inquiry into serious concerns relating to police practice and procedures that this episode has brought to light,” Gorton continued.
Among the causes for concern are questions about poor training and inadequate screening and supervision of college-age “seasonal officers” employed for the summer, and the heavy-handed police response to complaints about non-criminal noise violations. Other questions relate to police sensitivity to cultural diversity—the party broken up was attended by gay men, while the arresting officers, Bova and Barone, are reportedly heterosexual; the detention of individuals in “protective custody”—Mr. Scott’s partner was placed in a jail cell without medical care for the night though accused of no crime; Provincetown’s ability to respond optimally to sexual orientation-based hate crimes; and Provincetown’s administrative remedies for instances of police misconduct.
Given the Acting Chief’s refusal to turn over information about the arrest to the press voluntarily, the Anti-Violence Project is seeking all relevant documents within the scope of the Massachusetts Public Records Law. If agency heads fail to provide requested public documents, the law allows for an appeal to be taken to the Secretary of State’s Office. The orders of that office are judicially enforceable. The Anti-Violence Project has established a Legal Defense Fund to assist Mr. Scott in fighting the charges.
Botsford, a highly regarded 18-year veteran of the Superior Court, most recently received notice for her meticulous and scholarly work in the school finance case, Hancock v. Driscoll. She is being nominated to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Martha B. Sosman in March.
“Judge Botsford’s brilliance as a jurist on the Superior Court and as a prosecutor and a litigator of civil matters, combined with her deep empathy for people, make her an ideal choice to serve on the SJC,” said Governor Patrick. “The SJC is the oldest appellate court in continuous existence in the Western Hemisphere, with a long tradition of excellence. Judge Botsford ably upholds that tradition.”
A Jamaica Plain resident and graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Judge Botsford’s legal career spans 30 years of public and private service. Following a clerkship for SJC Justice Francis J. Quirico, Judge Botsford worked one year at the former Boston law firm, Hill & Barlow. She left to serve as an Assistant Attorney General for four years and returned to private practice when she formed the law firm of Rosenfeld, Botsford & Krokidas. Later, Judge Botsford worked as a prosecutor in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office for six years before Governor Dukakis appointed her to the bench in 1989.
She chaired the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct for three years and was a member of the SJC Committee to Study the Code of Judicial Conduct. She serves as chair of the Superior Court’s committee on mentoring and training new judges.
Margot Botsford and her husband Stephen Rosenfeld have four children. Judge Botsford is a Trustee of Northeastern University.
Governor Patrick praised the Judicial Nominating Commission, chaired by Lisa C. Goodheart, for its deliberate, thorough and thoughtful consideration of a field of highly qualified candidates. He also thanked the Joint Bar Committee for its participation in the process and endorsement of his nominee.
The Governor has submitted the nomination today to the Governor’s Council and asked for their prompt and favorable consideration.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
BOSTON – Wednesday, July 25, 2007 – Two days after visiting with victims of the Uxbridge Bernat Mill fire, Governor Deval Patrick today filed legislation to provide tax relief to the dozens of citizens and business owners impacted by last Saturday’s fire.
The eight-alarm fire destroyed the historic mill, which housed 65 businesses including an antique shop, photo studio, art gallery, children's museum, café, and an industrial machine shop among others.
“It is critical that we provide immediate assistance to rebuild these small businesses and ensure that employees can return to work as soon as possible,” Governor Patrick said. “Uxbridge has lost an important beacon in its community. We must work with residents and town officials there to ensure they have the resources to begin the process of rebuilding and making their community whole once again.”
Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray will spearhead the administration’s continued effort to ensure that those impacted by the fire will have the coordinated resources of the state at their disposal as they try to recover from the devastating fire.
“In the aftermath of this devastating fire, it is imperative that we work together at all levels of government to assist those who have been impacted,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “After the news coverage fades, and the cameras leave the scene, the needs of the affected individuals and the community will linger. We in government have a responsibility to ensure that our involvement continues and that we coordinate our efforts consistently in the weeks and months ahead. This legislation is an important and critical step in that process."
The proposal filed by the governor would allow the town of Uxbridge to provide real and personal property tax relief to the citizens and businesses whose property was destroyed by the fire. As a result of the fire, at least 35 businesses have been displaced and hundreds of employees have been affected.
This legislation provides tax relief to affected Uxbridge taxpayers by setting the value of the real and personal property for tax purposes as the value immediately after the fire. For the businesses that lost all otherwise taxable property, the bill effectively exempts them from fiscal year 2008 taxes. Property owners who already made their first quarter payment will get a refund, and only the land will be taxed at the Uxbridge Mill.
The legislation also amends an outside section in the fiscal year 2008 budget, authorizing the expenditure of so-called “Katrina funds” to provide funds for cities and towns, like Uxbridge, that are faced with a sudden disaster that requires a swift governmental response to help to protect the public health or safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
“I applaud Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray for introducing measures to help the hundreds of workers and business owners affected by last weekend’s mill fire. These people need help to begin the process of rebuilding their lives – and they need it now. The Governor’s legislation will ensure that process can begin in the quickest, most effective way possible,” said Senator Kerry.
“I am pleased to join with Governor Patrick in supporting this vital legislation to aid Uxbridge and businesses that were devastated by the Bernat Mill Fire last weekend," said Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge. "This action is critical to begin the rebuilding process."
“This is all about doing what is right after a major tragedy,” said Rep. Jennifer Callahan. “What is right at this time is responding as quickly as possible to help people who have lost so much in the flames be able to reemerge and rebuild their businesses and their lives. This legislation is absolutely essential to helping businesses and employees emerge from the ashes and rise above a major crisis.”
"The purpose of government is to help people who need help,” said Rep. Paul Kujawski. “This immediate action is a tribute to Governor Patrick's administration, along with the House and Senate's commitment to provide essential resources for a group of wonderful but very devastated individuals. We as leaders must provide help at this crucial time."
The proposed legislation is another part of a quick and coordinated response by the state that has allowed some 300 to 400 owners and employees to receive the services they need to begin the recovery—and in some instances, rebuilding—process. State officials have been on the ground since Saturday assisting those who need a variety of services.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Disaster Recovery staff took the lead on coordinating the state response to the immediate danger posed by the fire. MEMA also worked to establish the Disaster Information Center in Uxbridge, where representatives from the Executive Offices of Public Safety, Labor and Workforce Development, Health and Human Services and Housing and Economic Development were on hand to assist residents with a variety of services including unemployment assistance and employment counseling, mental health services, access to food stamps, and assistance with filing insurance claims.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Acting Provincetown Police Chief Warren Tobias said that based on his reading of the “numerous and detailed” police reports of the incident, “I would have to say that I do not believe the police overreacted.” Tobias declined to make the police reports available to Bay Windows, citing the ongoing legal proceedings related to Scott’s arrest
I didn't know it was within the power of a Police Chief to withhold public documents from the public, but even if it is within his authority, what does this action tell us about his intended level of cooperation in finding the truth? The article continues:
Tobias, who stressed that he could not discuss the arrest in detail as it is still an open legal matter, said he believes the officers acted appropriately. He pointed out that there were “numerous complaints about the party from residents of the neighborhood.”
He also stated that police “responded in a tempered manner” by using gradual sanctions against the party hosts during their first two visits to address the complaints. Tobias notes that officers handled similar noise complaints about a party earlier in the summer “in the exact same manner. We have not done anything to change or alter our response.” Tobias expressed his belief that Scott’s actions when police arrived for the third time “escalated the situation,” which resulted in his being arrested.
It seems to me that Tobias is all too eager to say he defends his men's actions, and reserves the "I can't talk right now" card for the questions he doesn't like.
Here is something I think I would like to hear Acting Chief Tobias say:
"The police officers involved in this incident have been suspended until an independent investigation is concluded."
For more reading:
UPDATE: The Edge Boston is reporting that all three calls for noise complaints for the party that Barry Scott was DJing for came from 22 Franklin Street, over half a mile away from the party. This is the first clear evidence that this party was targeted, for one reason or another.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Provincetown Police Allegedly Brutalize Gay Celebrity DJ
Email Sent to Know Thy Neighbor Reveals Firsthand Account of Horrific Assault Last Night By Barrys_nose_2 Provincetown Police Against openly Gay Lost 45's DJ Barry Scott
Last night while DJ'ing a private birthday party in Provincetown, Barry Scott was allegedly thrown head first into a propane tank by Provincetown police which left him bloodied and with a possible broken nose. According to Scott, who is best known for his syndicated "Lost 45's" radio program, while he was DJ'ing a backyard party in Provincetown, police officers came to stop the music. Upon the officers' "first conversation" with Scott he told them that he would stop the music immediately. Scott then announced to the 50 people at the birthday party that the police wanted the party to end.
Scott then says in the email, "the police then rushed to arrest me saying that I was starting a riot." Even though Scott claims to have told the police "4-5 times" that he was not resisting arrest they did not seem to care. The police officers then allegedly "smashed (Scott) into the wall of the house head first and the propane tank" possibly breaking his nose. Scott then writes, "Blood was coming from the top of my nose where there was a large laceration and blood gushing from inside my nose as well."
The horrific event was witnessed by approximately 50 party goers many of whom took video and audio on their phones of the incident and many also signed a form for Scott with their names and telephone numbers in order to serve as witnesses.
Barry Scott's recount of the 4 1/2 hours that he and his friend Bryan spent in jail last night was equally frightening. Scott writes that his friend Bryan who was suffering from a previous injury of two torn vertebrae was left lying on the floor of the jail cell for over 4 hours and even with the constant alerting by Scott of his friend's condition and need to be able to take his medication, the police allegedly ignored him. Bryan was not allowed to use the mensroom and was forced to soil his pants to which, by Scott's account, some of the police "even smirked (at Bryan) during the incident." Bryan was never charged or told why he was brought to the jail with Scott.
Know Thy Neighbor placed a telephone call into Provincetown Acting Chief Tobias today and was told to call back first thing tomorrow for an official statement. We were told that it is Sunday and "no one is around." Well, by Barry Scott's report, some police seemed to be around last night.
Barry Scott must appear in the Orleans Court on Monday. He is charged with Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.
Join me in contacting this police department and asking them what the Hell is going on in Provincetown:
Maybe the police there need to be reminded of their town's mandate:
Be it hereby resolved by the Provincetown Board of Selectmen that
1. Hate Crimes of any type will not be tolerated in the Town of Provincetown. It is the policy that the Provincetown Police Department shall investigate and seek prosecution of hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law, which shall include the use whenever possible of state civil rights statutes: Sections 37 and 39 of Chapter 265, Section 127A of Chapter 266 and Sections 92A and 98 of Chapter 272. The Town of Provincetown encourages the Office of the District Attorney, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, federal law enforcement agencies, and the Courts to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.
2. As used in this Resolution, a hate crime is any criminal act that manifests bigotry, bias, animus or prejudice against the victim on account of this victim's race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation or age.
Adopted June 8, 1992; Renewed June 9, 1997 and July 22, 2002.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
"Los Angeles, CA -- The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Logo, a division of Viacom Inc.'s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks, today made additional announcements about the presidential candidate forum on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues to take place in Los Angeles on August 9. After enthusiastic community response, former Senator Mike Gravel has been invited to participate. Confirmed candidates now include, in alphabetical order, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), former Senator John Edwards (D-NC), Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). The format of the program will also be extended to 90 minutes to ensure in-depth conversations with each candidate. Discussions are continuing with a variety of journalists and a moderator for the forum will be announced in the near future.
The story they have told people is that he had not raised enough money to be part of the debate, even though he has already attended debates for CNN, PBS, NBC and at the NAACP where the size of his coffers did not seem to matter. Can someone not have enough money to inject the exact opinions your organization is supposed to be trying to support?!
Grace Ross ran a campaign for governor of Massachusetts on a shoe string budget, and yet was given the dignity of participating in all the major debates. She gave the LGBT community the valuable exposure we so desperately need in order for people to see us as humans....equals. Her campaign was not in vane, it provided us with an historic act of courage, and gave us the opportunity for people to stop and think about what is right.
People can say what they want about Mike Gravel's chances, but for a group who supposedly holds identical views on the issue of LGBT rights, it flies in the face of logic why they would not see his candidacy as an opportunity to help spread their own message. The exposure alone is worth millions of dollars, and I hope that the people of the LGBT community and their supporters call HRC out on this serious lack of logic. Our community is already a minority, if we allow ourselves to be further fractured by the very groups we are entrusting, we may well see our rights start to slide backwards. Don't give your money to anyone without letting your opinions be heard, and if you don't voice your opinions, you're a damn fool.
Friday, July 13, 2007
By Richard Nangle TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER— A district court judge has refused to dismiss a civil rights charge against the former Catholic Citizenship executive director, who allegedly pushed a gay marriage supporter to the ground during an anti-gay marriage rally in December.
Larry Cirignano, 50, of Arlington, Va., is also charged with assault and battery in connection with the Dec. 16 incident outside City Hall.
“To paraphrase Chief Justice Roberts in a recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, when our courts are called upon to determine to what extent, if any, speech may be infringed upon, we must give the benefit of the doubt to speech not censorship; the First Amendment demands just that,” Judge David Ricciardone wrote in a decision dated July 6.
At issue, with regard to the civil rights complaint, is whether Mr. Cirignano targeted the victim, Sarah Loy, 27, of Worcester, because she was holding a pro-gay marriage sign.
Judge Ricciardone wrote, “the state may not require organizers of a rally to include opposing groups as marchers in its parade, but it just as certainly can not prohibit the opposing groups from holding signs along the intended route. In holding her sign at the rally here, the complainant was simply expressing a view contrary to that being generally supported.”
In doing so, the judge wrote, Ms. Loy was “clearly and unassailably protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and by the Massachusetts Bill of Rights.”
The demonstration was timed to coincide with the state Legislature’s debate over whether the issue of same-sex marriage should go before the voters.
Ms. Loy was one of several people who held counter-demonstration signs during the afternoon rally when Mr. Cirignano, 50, who was living in Canton at the time, allegedly emerged from behind the lectern, grabbed her by both shoulders and said, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then allegedly pushed her to the ground.
Three witnesses told police they saw Mr. Cirignano push Ms. Loy “with force.”
Catholic Citizenship announced in January that Mr. Cirignano had resigned from the group to become the head of a new organization that would fight efforts to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. He has been ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from Ms. Loy and to have no direct or indirect contact with her.
Contact Richard Nangle by e-mail at email@example.com.
UPDATED: Bay Windows reports "Cirignano will be back in court August 20, and Tim Connolly, spokesperson for Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr., said there will be a trial date set at that hearing."
Thursday, July 12, 2007
BOSTON – Thursday, July 12, 2007 – Governor Deval Patrick today signed into law a $26.8 billion FY 2008 state budget that increases state aid for local communities, lays the foundation for the next phase of education reform, restores public health programs and makes state government more efficient and effective.
Before signing the budget, the Governor thanked his partners in the Legislature for their collaborative and cooperative efforts and for helping to hold state spending to the smallest rate of growth in three years.
"I am proud to sign this budget into law," Governor Patrick said. "This is a working budget, built through collaboration between the Legislature and our administration, and based on shared priorities and a shared commitment to building a better Massachusetts."
Using his line-item veto authority, the Governor reduced spending by $41.4 million to decrease levels of funding that exceed the needs of agencies or programs or that duplicate initiatives. The vetoes also address earmarks that are inconsistent with the mission of the program under which they were funded, limiting the ability of government to exercise effective oversight and guarantee the efficient delivery of services.
"I remain committed to reducing the use of earmarks, as I believe public funds are put to their best use when distributed through a competitive and transparent grant process or as part of a comprehensive strategy to achieve an agency's policy mission," Governor Patrick said. "I look forward to working with the Legislature to find the right balance between providing appropriate flexibility to state agencies and respecting the Legislature's important role in helping establish our priorities."
The budget funds a number of the Patrick-Murray administration's priorities, including a $6.8 million increase in Kindergarten Expansion Grants and doubled funding for Extended Learning Time Grants.
Other priorities funded in the budget include:
o A 5.8 percent total increase in Local Aid
o $4 million to fund new police officers – augmenting another $4 million for new police officers enacted in May
o over $1.8 billion to maintain the administration's commitment to the Commonwealth's historic health reform law
o a $12 million increase for the Universal Immunization Program, including funding to provide coverage for two new vaccines to prevent young people from contracting serious illness
o $4 million for grants to help cities and towns streamline their permitting processes
o establishment of a State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund, to help make Massachusetts a pioneer in paying down its liability for public retiree health care costs
The budget also includes an innovative approach to distributing any end-of-year fiscal year 2007 surplus – dividing funds between the newly established Bay State Competitiveness Trust Fund and the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund. Funding deposited in the Bay State Competitiveness Trust Fund will help advance the administration's recent initiative to make Massachusetts a global leader in life sciences.
Included in the Governor's vetoes is:
o $712,241 in anticipated federal grant funding for the Abstinence Education Grant Program. Federal restrictions on these funds prevent their use as part of a program of comprehensive sexuality education. With this decision, Massachusetts will become one of a growing number of states to opt out of this federal grant program.
o $2.86 million for 29 earmarked projects under the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) account. These projects are not sufficiently related to the scope of MOTT and the authorization of the Tourism Fund.
o $10,473,000 for 58 earmarked projects under the Workforce Training Fund. Governor Patrick is deeply committed to workforce training and development. However, he is vetoing these earmarks because they push the Fund further into a deficit and circumvent criteria developed with the business community. Even with this veto, the budget will include $21 million for competitive grants for workforce training and education through the Fund.
o $10 million from a $19.4 million increase in the trial court appropriation, still leaving the trial court with a funding increase for fiscal year 2008. Notably, the trial court will revert approximately $4.3 million in fiscal year 2007.
The budget will be available online soon at http://www.mass.gov/bb/gaa
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
By DAVID CRARY
The Associated Press
NEW YORK | The American Psychological Association is embarking on the first review of its 10-year-old policy on counseling gays and lesbians.
Gay-rights activists hope that the step will end with a denunciation of any attempt by therapists to change sexual orientation. Such efforts — often called reparative therapy or conversion therapy — are considered futile and harmful by many gay-rights activists.
Conservative groups defend the right to offer such treatment, and say that people with their viewpoint have been excluded from the review panel.
A six-member task force set up by the association has its first meeting beginning next Tuesday.
Scores of conservative religious leaders and counselors, representing such groups as the Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family, have written a joint letter to the association, expressing concern that the task force’s proposals would not properly accommodate gays and lesbians whose religious beliefs condemn gay sex.
“We believe that psychologists should assist clients to develop lives that they value, even if that means they decline to identify as homosexual,” said the letter, which requested a meeting between APA leaders and some of the signatories.
APA spokeswoman Rhea Farberman said that a decision on when and how to reply to the letter had not yet been made.
The current policy, adopted in 1997, opposes any counseling that treats homosexuality as a mental illness, but does not explicitly denounce reparative therapy.
Conservatives contend that the review’s outcome is preordained because the task force is dominated by gay-rights supporters.
Joseph Nicolosi, a leading proponent of reparative therapy, predicted that the task force would propose a ban of the practice — and he vowed to resist such a move. Nicolosi, who was rejected as a task force nominee, is president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
Clinton Anderson, director of the APA’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns Office, insisted that the panel would base its findings on scientific research, not ideology.
One of the task force members, New York City psychiatrist Jack Drescher, said that conservatives don’t acknowledge the harm that might be caused when a gay patient — even voluntarily — undergoes therapy to suppress or change sexual orientation.
Jody Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said that reparative therapy had been particularly harmful for young gays whose parents insisted on trying to change their sexual orientation.
Monday, July 02, 2007
“I am thrilled that Charlotte is joining our team,” said Governor Patrick. “She brings a wealth of experience from both the city and state levels and a life-long commitment to our agenda.”
“It is a tremendous honor for me to be able to work closely with the Governor and his senior team to advance the goals of the Patrick Administration,” said Golar Richie. “While I will miss my work in city government and with my colleagues at DND, I am looking forward to this new opportunity for public service.”
“Charlotte is a great addition to Governor Patrick’s senior staff,” said Chief of Staff Doug Rubin. “She will ensure that we are working effectively with all areas of government – local, state, and federal – as well as responding promptly and appropriately to constituents and communities across Massachusetts.”
In her new role, Golar Richie will oversee the executive office’s interactions with the federal government and congressional delegation, state legislative relations, as well as dealings with cities and towns and local officials. In addition, she will supervise the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services and the Office of Public Liaison.
“Congratulations to Governor Deval Patrick on selecting Charlotte Golar Richie as his Senior adviser on Federal, State and Local Community Affairs,” Mayor Menino said. “Charlotte and I have worked together for many years and she has been a trusted leader on many of the housing and urban development initiatives Boston has been successful in completing. We will miss her, but know she will be a great addition to the Patrick Administration in helping the Governor accomplish his goals and vision for the future of the Commonwealth.”
As DND Director, Golar Richie managed a 200-person department with $100 million budget, including the city’s federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provide funding for housing, economic development and human service programs. Through her efforts, the city has started nearly 18,000 units of housing, including 5,000 units for affordable to low- and moderate-income residents.
She also had oversight over the DND’s Office of Business Development which has served 1,300 businesses and entrepreneurs. The Office created and/or retained 650 jobs in Boston through various agency-supported initiatives including Boston Main Streets and the Blue Hill Initiative.
Golar Richie is a graduate of Rutgers University (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.S. in Journalism); she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Suffolk University.
George "The Usurper" Bush had three people arrested because they wanted to exercise their right to protest on a public road in front of his home in Maine, where he was entertaining Russian President Vladimir Putin. When does enough become enough, and when do we take our country back from the criminal masterminds that have hijacked it? Their grasp is slipping anyway, it may be time for them to orchestrate another "attack" on our nation. If they keep our attention diverted, we may just allow them to walk away from the Hell on Earth they have created for us to clean up.
America, we can do a LOT, better than this, and it is about time we start acting in the same spirit that built this nation, or we are going to lose it. There's not one nation out there that wouldn't benefit from our demise, and during this administration there are few toes we haven't stepped on. Let's throw this bum out of office, and into the jail cell he deserves.