OP-Ed: Latino Leaders Angry Over Courant Editorial


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Real Culprits Not Named in Editorial
In an April 14, 2015 editorial, the Hartford Courant shamelessly accused Rep. Minnie Gonzalez of disgracing the House of Representatives based upon the comments in a private email.
Regrettably, by aiming its vitriol at Rep. Gonzalez, the Courant has missed the real target and absolved the real culprits. Its ire should have been directed at Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, whose petulant hissy fit and over-reaction to a private email brought the legislative process to a screeching halt.
In singling out Rep. Gonzalez, the Courant has unfairly and unjustly used her as a scapegoat in order to camouflage the failure of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to complete its business. Your editorial betrays bias, is shallow, and uninformed.
You assail a single state representative, while seeking to absolve those who were truly responsible for this Legislative fiasco.
Representative Gonzalez is a passionate advocate for reform of what many consider to be a corrupt and incestuous Family Court environment, particularly the appointment by Superior Court Judges of Guardians at Litem (GAL) for minor children.
The offending email was sent from Rep. Gonzalez’s private email address in response to an email from a court reform advocate.  Rep. Rebimbas, along with other members of the Judiciary Committee, received a copy of Rep. Gonzalez’s response.
Attorney Rebimbas maintains a private Family Court law practice which includes cases in which she serves as a GAL appointed by Judges.
She has been an outspoken opponent of reform and defender of the status quo, who evidently can dish it out in the court room and in the legislature, but is offended when criticized in a private email.
In the words of Governor Malloy, speaking on a different topic, this thin-skinned legislator should “get over it.”
To even suggest that the Judiciary Committee was unable to function because an attorney legislator took umbrage at the contents of a private email, is absurd on its face.
The objective fact is, that Republican legislators decided to orchestrate a filibuster, not over principled opposition to proposed legislation, but based upon personal pique and hurt feelings.
This represents an inexcusable abdication of their role as legislators, and representatives of the people.
Unfortunately, the Republican temper tantrum was validated by the Democratic leadership of the Judiciary Committee.  Instead of insisting that the Committee do its job before the 5:00 PM deadline, hours were squandered attempting to assuage Rep. Rebimbas’ hurt feelings.  The Committee leadership shares in the blame for this legislative disaster because, after all, they are in “control of the process.”
Sadly, the scapegoating of Minnie Gonzalez is not the only vicious attack on an outspoken Latina in recent days.
In a Judicial opinion released by the Connecticut Supreme Court, an opinion authored by Justice Richard Palmer and joined in by Chief Justice Chase Rogers, Justice Carmen Espinosa was accused of ‘dishonoring the Court.’
What was her offense?  She dared to oppose Justice Palmer, Chief Justice Rogers, Justice Andrew McDonald, and Justice Dennis Everleigh in a strongly worded dissenting opinion.  Since when has dissent, especially in legal opinions, become dishonorable?
It is certainly reasonable to pose a question the Courant seems unwilling to ask: “is it open season on principled Latina officials who dare to question and present a different perspective on issues that affect the community as a whole?”

Carmen L. Lopez, Bridgeport
Amado Vargas, Esq. Middletown
Norma Rodriguez-Reyes, New Haven
Tomas Reyes, New Haven
Joseph Rodriguez, New Haven
Chair, CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus
Yolanda Castillo, New Britain
Vice-Chair, CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus