Posted on Monday, December 10 2007 by Heather Brandon
An article in today’s Springfield Republican describes an upcoming City Council vote tonight for a 55-and-up condominium project in the Outer Belt neighborhood. The city’s planning experts have all given this project a green light, but residents have protested based on some environmental and traffic concerns.
Those invested or otherwise interested may like to read the Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development‘s two analyses on the project: one on the zone change request (PDF), and one on the special permit request (PDF), both of which were recommended for approval. The latter includes extensive documentation from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regarding wetlands, as well as site plans from Bukowski Construction, LLC.
In Hartford, there is the unfortunate news that the city has been found in contempt of court over a matter that reaches back decades to complaints about how the police department has handled citizens’ concerns. Such challenges are alive today in a variety of respects.
Tonight there will be a planned protest of the recent Immigrant and Customs Enforcement raids in the city’s Parkville neighborhood. Jerimarie Liesegang at Undercurrents reports that people will gather starting at 4:30 pm at South Green Park, at Park and Main Streets, and from there, march to the ICE headquarters at 450 Main Street for a 5:00 pm rally.
The matter of a comprehensive city policy in Hartford regarding immigrant status is still pending, but in New Haven, there is a degree of certain controversy over the city’s new municipal ID initiative. In New York City, Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau recently announced the creation of an immigrant affairs initiative that will “encourage immigrants who are crime victims or are aware of illegal activity to come forward without fear of arrest.”
Incidentally, outgoing Springfield Police Commissioner Edward Flynn was questioned in some detail on this issue during a recent interview in Milwaukee, where a current police department policy prevents officers, in some cases, from “informing federal immigration officials of the whereabouts or behavior of any suspected illegal immigrants.” Flynn said:
I will draw a distinction about what we call repeat criminal aliens. There are people out there who are bad guys. If I’ve got you under arrest and you’re a bad guy and you’ve committed a serious crime. I’m happy to know if you’re an immigrant or not because I’m not so sure I want you around here. If I can make prison space….by sending you back to, I don’t know, fill-in-the-blank country, I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing.
So you know, If you’re going to be a crook, and you’re going to be a violent criminal, I wanna know your status, and I’m going to tell ICE, and I’m going to hope to kick you out. But if you’re just some poor guy going about your business and you get mugged or someone breaks into your house or your spouse abuses you or what not, I want you to know you can call us up ’cause we’re going to protect people.
The issue apparently hasn’t arisen in Springfield yet among traditional media outlets, but it probably will before long. Some people on the Springfield MassLive.com forum did seem to believe that reported vice squad jackets seen during a narcotics raid actually were ICE jackets, but it was hard to see the jackets’ lettering in full from the 22News exclusive early-morning footage of arrests.
In other news, Hartford is now said to be partnering with Spokane, Washington and Madison, Wisconsin to try to drum up convention business, and Springfield’s Bright Nights display made the online pages of People magazine.