Trespassing Charges Nolled Against New Haven Homeless Activist Mark Colville

by Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, April 14, 2023

Most people would be happy to walk out of court with the charges against them nolled, a precursor to dismissal. But Mark Colville, an activist for unhoused people who was charged with trespassing last month when the city cleared and then dismantled the “Tent City” encampment along the  West River next to the Ella T. Grasso Boulevard soccer field, seemed Thursday as if he felt deprived.

He did, after all, say at the time of his March 16 arrest that his goal was essentially to put the city on trial for the way it treats people without permanent homes in New Haven. And ultimately, that’s what he did — although perhaps not in the way he initially planned.

That’s because Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney David J. Strollo, after meeting with Colville and his backup attorney, Patricia Kane, in Strollo’s Superior Court office, told Senior Judge Frank A. Iannotti that while Colville “has every right to challenge” the city’s policies and the charges against him,”the state does not feel it’s the best use of its resources to pursue this case.”…

Colville got to have his say before leaving the courtroom. He told the judge and the prosecutor, “I object to the dismissal of these charges, first of all, because I feel it’s an evasion” of the need to address the city’s behavior.

Colville, who has a home in the Hill section where he allows unhoused people to sleep in tents in his backyard, said his arrest — which came after he pitched a tent at the former encampment the day before the city came to clear it — was not an act of protest but “an act of defense.”

“The laws with which they carried out that action” were “completely disconnected from human rights,” said Colville, who had five former Tent City residents living in the backyard of his Amistad Catholic Worker Home in the Hill in the days immediately after the city moved in. “The city of New Haven continues to carry out a policy of the criminalization of homelessness.”

[Read the article in its entirety at]

Join the Conversation with New Haven’s Big Read!

New Haven Free Public Library

The NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. This year’s selection is Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, by Rebekah Taussig. Visit the Arts and Ideas NEA Big Read website for more events and information.

Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body is a memoir-in-essays from disability advocate, Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most. Through poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and voices to understand humanity’s diversity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.

Rebekah Taussig writes personal essays about disability and runs an Instagram account, @sitting_pretty, where she regularly crafts “mini-memoirs” that explore what it means to live in her (disabled, female) body.

Free copies of the book are available at any NHFP library while supplies last. Copies are also available for checkout. New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St.

Local Bus Riders Express Frustration with Return of Bus Fares

by Megan Vaz and Yash Roy, Yale Daily News, April 6, 2023

Connecticut buses bore a new message for riders this weekend: “Fares restart April 1.” After almost one year of free public buses across the state due to a surge in oil prices and record-high costs of living, travelers across the state had to resume paying fares for buses on Saturday. Connecticut legislation to extend free public bus fares stalled as New Haven State Rep. Roland Lemar, who co-chairs the state legislature’s transportation committee, argued the state did not have enough funding to pay for the program.

Proponents of extending the state’s free public bus system have argued that the program helped alleviate cost-of-living worries as Connecticut residents have faced inflation of six to eight percent, an average rent increase of roughly 20 percent and stagnating wages. Moreover, local bus riders have expressed frustration over the state’s decision to deprioritize accessibility while managing one of its largest budget reserves in state history.

“Statistically, this also translates to disproportionately punishing poor people, women, young people, seniors, and Black and brown people,” said local bus rider Stasia Brew-Kaczynski. “We need authority figures to stop thinking with car-brains and start looking for every opportunity to reward and incentivize people moving without private cars and trucks.”

Now that the fare-free program has expired, most travelers must pay $6.40 for an All-day 2 Zones pass, with prices increasing for each additional zone. Riders may also purchase 31-day passes, which range from $108.80 to $204 based on the traveling zone range…

According to the nonprofit Datahaven’s 2023 Community Wellbeing Index for the greater New Haven area, about 34 percent of local adults making under $30,000 per year experience “transportation insecurity” without reliable access to a vehicle. Black and Latino households are far more likely to lack access to a personal vehicle, especially in those without any employed adults.

Some bus riders told the News that they are experiencing homelessness and heavily relied on the fare-free program for access to food, job opportunities and medical appointments.

King Latif Manns, an unhoused person who rode the bus regularly before fares were announced, told the News that he thinks fares will hurt those of lower socioeconomic classes most. Latif Manns has stopped riding the bus since the change.

“I feel they should think about how many people they were helping and how many people suffer at the fact that the buses started faring people,” Latif Manns said. “It’s tax money, but also, we, the people, are the taxpayers.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at]

A poet, musician and writer, Ed Sanders edits the Woodstock Journal. His books include “The Family,” “Sharon Tate: a Life,” and the novel “Tales of Beatnik Glory.”

Kali Akuno to Receive Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, PEP Administrator

On Saturday, May 13, Kali Akuno, co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, will be given the Gandhi Peace Award. The Gandhi Peace Award has been given out since 1960 by the Connecticut-based organization Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP). This peace, environmental and social justice organization was founded in 1952 in New Haven. Cooperation Jackson was created in Jackson, Mississippi in 2013 to foster a solidarity economy in Jackson anchored by a network of cooperatives and worker-owned, democratically self-managed enterprises.

The Gandhi Peace Award ceremony will take place in the Q House, the Dixwell Community House, 197 Dixwell Avenue in New Haven at 2 p.m. The Q House, founded in 1924, is now in a new state-of-the-art building that opened last year. The ceremony is free. There will be a musical performance by Michael Mills and bountiful refreshments. Parking for the Q House is in back of the building off of Foote Street.

Laura Schleifer, Program and Development Officer of Promoting Enduring Peace, said, “Kali Akuno and his fellow members of Cooperation Jackson are creating a model for how we might be able to transform our communities on the local level and then linking them together to create a new system that both provides for human and ecological needs, and also recognizes the interdependence between the two.”

We also admire Akuno’s writings, how he developed ideas on worker self-management and strategy on how to move the cooperative movement forward. He wrote “Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi in 2017,” and this month released a book he co-edited with economist Richard Wolff, “Jackson Rising Redux.” We also admire his bold ideas on the climate crisis and his call for ecosocialism.

For more information visit, email [email protected], or call 203-444-3578.


Tax Day Lesson Takes On Austerity

by Laura Glesby, New Haven Independent, April 18, 2023

Connecticut is the wealthiest state in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Wilbur Cross junior Dave John Cruz-Bustamante told a crowd of educators gathered across the street from their school. “But you wouldn’t know that from looking at our desks.”

On Tax Day Tuesday afternoon, Cruz-Bustamante joined 50 educators and allies at a rally to call on the state to tax the rich — and pour more funding into public education. The rally featured unions representing New Haven teachers (New Haven Federation of Teachers, or NHFT), paraprofessional educators (AFSCME Local 3429), and community and state college professors (AFT Local 1942 and SEIU Local 1973) — all of whom called for the state to address aging facilities, low wages, and rising tuition across public education institutions in the state.

Ahead of the deadline to file taxes, ​“I scraped together my pennies to pay what I owed,” said Eric Maroney, a Gateway Community College English professor and union leader, as attendees began to gather. ​“I don’t mind paying my share, but I’d like it go to toward helping people in my community.”…
NHFT President Leslie Blatteau and 4C’s faculty union President Seth Freeman offered a Tax Day ​“lesson” to rally supporters.

They started with two vocabulary words: ​“austerity,” or severe restraint in government spending, and ​“equity,” or fair and just opportunities. After Blatteau and Freeman defined the terms, the speakers who followed illustrated their own experiences of what austerity looks like.

For Cruz-Bustamante, an elected student representative on the Board of Education, ​“austerity” means leaky roofs and broken bathroom locks in the Wilbur Cross building.

For Wilbur Cross teacher and counselor Mia Comulada, it means overcrowded classrooms and growing teacher burnout.

For paras [paraprofessional educators] union President Hyclis Williams, austerity means ​“low-wage exploitation” of her colleagues, many of whom live below the federal poverty line….

At Wilbur Cross, Comulada said, an influx of immigrants from Central America and the Middle East has led to more English language learners and more students recovering from stress and trauma.

Meanwhile, at Southern, Bonjo described, more than half of students are people of color, many are parents, and a large number are the first in their families to attend college. And at Gateway, ​“many of our students work two, three jobs,” said Maroney….

In a state as wealthy as Connecticut, Cruz-Bustamante said, ​“We deserve schools that look like palaces.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at]

Medical Assisted Suicide Defeated Once Again in Connecticut

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

SB 1076, making it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for terminally ill patients, was halted in the Judiciary Committee on April 19. The Committee decided not to call for a vote because there was not nearly enough support to pass the legislation. A number of Democrats on the Committee clearly did not share the enthusiasm of some of their colleagues for this dangerous bill, which would threaten the lives of the most vulnerable in our discriminatory, profit-driven medical system.

During the subsequent discussion, it was clear that opposition to this legislation does not merely come from those with a religious perspective, thanks to Rep. Steven Strafstrom (D., Bridgeport), as well as signs held by members of Progressives Against Medical Assisted. In concluding remarks, Stafstrom acknowledged the pain and grief of some of the individual advocates of the bill, but added: “I also want to acknowledge that this is not an issue where there is only passion on one side. I think there is passion and also rightfully concern on the other side of this, which we heard a little bit on this committee today, and certainly we’ve heard in our discussions in the Democratic caucus on this bill over the last few years as well. And no, it’s not all about religion. I’m tired of hearing that…Frankly it’s insulting.”

Stafstrom said that he had been “struggling” with the bill but had begun increasingly to question it in part because of recent legislative and judicial efforts in states such as Oregon and Vermont, where Medical Assisted Suicide is legal, to weaken or remove even the currently existing restrictions. One of the arguments Second Thoughts Connecticut and Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide have repeatedly made against this legislation is that it is the strategy of Compassion and Choices to first get the laws enacted and then to expand their scope either through the legislature or through the courts.

Many thanks to those who have written, spoken, and worked against this bill for the last five months.

Highlights from CT Green Energy News, April 21, 2023

Newsletter about clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action, focusing on Connecticut. To subscribe, send an email to [email protected]. To learn more about People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE), visit

Pass SB 1145 to achieve Connecticut’s climate goals
CT Mirror. ​ ​”​SB 1145, An Act Concerning the Establishment of Sector Specific Subtargets For Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions, would provide the necessary tools for our state to achieve the climate goals we have already set. Legislators must make its passage—this session— a priority…we are falling short of our goals…SB 1145 would help address this shortfall by making significant improvements to the Global Warming Solutions Act and helping set a clear path for how we are going to decarbonize​…​our state agencies, particularly the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), must have at least a minimum of authority to act… our neighbors have already undertaken similar measures. Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all recently updated their climate laws to adopt more stringent targets, establish greater accountability, and provide mechanisms for enforcing their laws.”

Electric school buses serve as mini power plants during the summer
WBUR. “Beverly Public Schools is one of the first in the country to use its electric buses for more than transportation. The project uses bidirectional chargers that can both charge the bus battery and also allow the battery to send energy back to the grid…The concept is simple, but the execution is complicated. That’s where Highland Electric Fleets comes in; the company has made a business out of buying and then leasing electric buses to schools. It orchestrates everything from constructing the chargers on site to managing charging and discharging of the batteries. The company also maintains the buses and trains the drivers. Highland Electric Fleets sells this service to schools for about the cost of a regular school bus.”

DEEP Says Transportation Still The Main Culprit of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
CT News Junkie. “With the exception of a short period during the COVID-19 pandemic, cars and trucks still remain the top producers of greenhouse gas emissions…The report found that even though improvements in fuel economy have reduced emissions per mile traveled, those reductions have been offset by an increase in the overall number of miles driven…DEEP said that reductions in the transportation sector are a critical component of any strategy the state employs toward meeting the 2030 and 2050 reduction goals…The second biggest culprit of greenhouse gas is residential heating and cooling, which has replaced the electric sector as the second-largest emitter in the state; and electric-sector emissions continue to decrease. While Connecticut has met its initial goal for 2020 emissions set by Connecticut statutes, further sharp reductions are needed to meet the medium- and longer-term goals, the agency said.”  ​

Community-Unity Page – Our Readers’ Voices

The PAR Newsletter has always seen as its mission the bringing together of activists by sharing reports of the events and ongoing work of groups to build a progressive community.

We recognize that within activist circles and the broader population, many complex issues can sometimes divide us and require ongoing dialogue.

In this spirit we would like to present a new feature in the PAR newsletter that will act as a place to express differing views on controversial issues.

We would like this to be a page where groups and individuals focus specifically on their own positions on these issues, points of possible unity with others, and not as a place to criticize other groups or individuals with whom they disagree.

How are YOU analyzing various current events? Articles should be between 200 and 350 words and sent to [email protected]. Discussions of such issues may help people find common ground and programmatic unity to further the causes dear to our hearts or at least clarify differences.

We hope our readers will take up this offer and present their analyses in our newsletter. The PAR Planning Committee looks forward to providing a forum for all to sort out controversial issues and build a stronger progressive community.

News from the Mitchell Branch Library

by Marian Huggins, Branch Manager

Here are some of the May activities for the Mitchell Branch Library, 37 Harrison Street, in Westville. We’re a branch of the New Haven Free Public Library, where our values include advancing literacy and promoting connection and collaboration.

Seed Library Opening Monday, May 1st, noon to 8 p.m.
The Seed Library opens for the 2023 season and welcomes both new and experienced growers.  Patrons are free to both take and to donate seeds while also discovering books and other information about gardening.

Piano Lessons at Mitchell Library Thursday Afternoons, 3:30 to 6 p.m. May 18 through June 22
Free half-hour lessons between the hours of 3:30 to 6 p.m. for people ages 12 and up. Sign up for a half-hour lesson at the circulation desk.

May Joint Library Book Chat: The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m. on Zoom
Join patrons of the New Haven Free Public Library and the Prospect Public Library to discuss this great novel in a group of friendly readers. The meeting will occur virtually on Zoom and can be joined at this link:

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give us a call at 203-946-8117.
Thank you.

More Mitchell Library events in PAR calendar page.

This Saturday, April 29, 7-9:30 p.m. at the Labor Center: Film Screening of The Wobblies

Come to the New Haven Labor Center Saturday, April 29, 7 p.m. for The Wobblies. a 1979 documentary film about the Industrial Workers of the World. There will also be a slide show and presentation by Steve Thornton on the history of the Wobblies in Connecticut. Hosted by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association.

Recommended donation: $10. The building is wheelchair accessible. This event is in celebration of May Day 2023.

[email protected]. New Haven Labor Center, 267 Chapel St., Enter on 228 Saltonstall Ave.

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY2024

The new War Resisters League’s famous “pie chart” flyer, Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes, analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2024 Budget (FY 2024 is 1 October 2023 – 30 September 2024.  This FY2024 issue was published in March 2023.

Each year War Resisters League analyzes federal funds outlays as presented in detailed tables in “Analytical Perspectives” of the Budget of the United States Government. Our analysis is based on federal funds, which do not include trust funds – such as Social Security – that are raised separately from income taxes for specific purposes. What federal income taxes you pay (or don’t pay) by April 18, 2023, goes to the federal funds portion of the budget.


The massive militaries of the United States and NATO did not prevent Russia from attacking Ukraine. In fact, United States and NATO presence surrounding Russia fueled Putin’s aggression. Tensions rise with China and North Korea as the United States adds more bases in Asia, including four in the Philippines. In Okinawa, Japan, there is strong local opposition to the 31 U.S. military installations. About two-thirds of current conflicts involve one or more sides armed by the United States.

Diplomacy Not Militarism

Major U.S. wars, from Korea to Vietnam to the so-called “War on Terror,” all failed in their goals of peace and stability. The need is urgent to change priorities. A Pew Research poll in 2019 found that people around the world viewed the climate crisis as biggest threat — a crisis that cannot be solved by the military. In fact, the U.S. military is the world’s biggest polluter.

We must stop the next war before it starts. Demand drastic cuts to the military budget and a shift in U.S. foreign policy from militarism to diplomacy


Leaflet with this flyer year-round and on Tax Day, April 18, 2023, and throughout the Global Days of Action on Military Spending, April 13 – May 9, 2023; also see

Vist for more charts and information.

New email service, newsfeed, rss service ….

Hello PAR subscriber,

This post, and hopefully, the corresponding email that we hope you receive, is evidence that the new FollowIt service is working. Hopefully, everything switches over seamlessly, and you will once again receive your updates shortly after they are posted on

Additional features are available, e.g. on you can now define filters and more delivery channels, e.g. to receive PAR news via Telegram, news page etc. (many others to follow soon, we’re assured).

Please forward this email to anyone you think may also be interested in receiving PAR New Haven updates via email and urge them to sign up for the best progressive news and events calendar around.

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