A Community Center with Communist ties will most likely be getting a nice fat check from the state of Connecticut soon. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes confirmed Thursday that the center's request for $343,500 to upgrade a facility associated with communist and progressive viewpoints would be placed on the commission's June 4 agenda. "They clearly have a community mission," Barnes said.
The New Haven Peoples Center is owned by Progressive Education & Research Associates, Inc. They host the Communist newspaper, "People's World," and according to their website, the center is "a meeting place of labor, community, peace and social justice groups." The site promotes their "Progressive Action Roundtable," which supports the Occupy Movement and has an "Aggressive Progressive" newsletter. Their annual meeting is coming up to promote the Labor History Association. The center is clearly partisan, and one wonders if all members of the community would be invited.
Sen. Toni Harp, D-New Haven, who asked the administration to consider releasing funds for the project, said Thursday that "this is a center that is really important to the community. If they are political, it is with a small 'p,'" as reported by the CTMirror. The story continues, "since funding stalled in late April, Harp said she has heard from several labor and civic groups urging state support for the repair work." Is it appropriate for hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars be given to a "community center" that has clear communist ties?
Does Everyone Support the People's Center?
A key Republican on the bond panel, Rep. Sean Williams argues, "state government can't afford pet projects in lawmakers' home districts that don't address pressing public health, public safety or infrastructure needs." It seems like a reasonable concern. Would funding be issued for a Fascist soup kitchen?
A former state employee, Mary Plaskonka, flagged the project as "questionable" and "emailed members of the state Bond Commission to ask why they would be giving money to an organization which operates on a part-time basis and hasn't filed a 990 tax form with the IRS since 1999", according to the nhregister, and continued to say that the center does not have "the financial resources to operate the facility to begin with." Al Marder and Joelle Fishman, are both communists and run the center.