The Blind Spot

                                          By John Murray  

   Like a truck driver barrelling along I-84, former Connecticut Governor John Rowland has a blind spot. While the truck driver is unable to see cars approaching from certain angles, Rowland is blind to a world outside of politics where not everything is partisan, and laws are not crafted and manipulated, but meant to be obeyed.

   For most of his adult life John Rowland flourished in an environment where money is king, and issues are neither right or wrong, but a shade of grey to be debated like knights jousting at a medieval fair. Politics is great theater, flush with gamesmanship and strategy, and by the age of 45 John Rowland had already crafted a brilliant political career. Elected governor three times, Rowland was already one of the most accomplished politicians in Connecticut history. His name was being floated as a possible candidate for national office. Rowland's ascent, however, plummeted to Earth in 2004 when he faced impeachment for accepting illegal gifts from contractors doing business with the state. Instead of waging a protracted legal fight, Rowland resigned from office and accepted a plea deal with federal prosecuters that landed him in federal prison for ten months.

During his first run for U.S. Congress in 1984 John Rowland appearred at a rally with President Ronald Reagan on the Waterbury Green. At the end of the rally Rowland said he grabbed Reagan's hip and swung him around towards the crowd and they both started waving to the crowd. This picture appearred on the front page of the Waterbury Republican newspaper the next morning and Rowland credits the moment for launching him to victory.

   The high-flying rocket had crashed with a thud. Three years after leaving federal prison, Rowland told the Observer he still believed he had done nothing wrong. Rowland said he had wanted to fight the charges against him, but the threat of a massive legal bill, and the enormous burden on his family had forced him to accept a plea bargain and go to prison. In his mind he had been toppled by partisan forces, and his #1 nemisis was The Hartford Courant.

   Rowland struggled to find work after prison, and in 2008 the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce and the City of Waterbury partnered to create a unique "economic czar" position specifically for him. Rowland was hired to oversee economic development projects and recruit business to the city. Rowland was delighted to be back home, and city leaders were delighted to have a man they still believed had powerful contacts across America.

Rowland was thrilled to land on his feet as the "economic development czar" in Waterbury in 2008.

The idea to hire Rowland in Waterbury came from the CEO of the chamber, Steve Sasala (now deceased), right, and came with the blessing of former Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura.

  When Rowland was hired in Waterbury the American economy was in a full meltdown. As the nation tumbled into its worst depression in 80 years, Rowland had the difficult task of pitching economic development projects to businesses trembling from the earthquake ripping through Wall Street. A deal he had worked months on to sell Broadcast Center to a Moroccan businessman fell through, and several efforts to help Hank Paine sell the Howland-Hughes Building also collapsed from fear.

   For the first year Rowland worked hard to pitch Waterbury to prospective companies and was a visible downtown prescence. Rowland wrote monthly columns in The Waterbury Observer about economic development issues, and community leaders in Waterbury believed he was working full time in the city's interest. After a year of trying to stop a business exodus from Waterbury, Rowland began to lose focus on his job. A combination of greed and arrogance led the former governor to begin focusing his energy on self-serving projects; a book, a radio show, and eventually back into the shadows of politics.

While he served as governor Rowland had championed a $250 million revitalization project in downtown Waterbury that included a fully restored Palace Theater, a new UConn campus in downtown and a beautfiful magnet arts school. When Rowland was offered a chance to perform the YMCA song onstage at the Palace with the Village People, he donned construction gear and strutted his stuff. Rowland is pictured above and below during a rehearsal for the show.

   Ten years after exiting the Governor's Mansion in disgrace, Rowland was convicted again in September 2014, this time for breaking federal election laws, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. All seven felony charges stemmed from Rowland’s work in the 2009 and 2011 congressional races in the 5th District. The core of the issue is whether Rowland was a paid political consultant hiding his role from the Federal Election Commission, or was a volunteer helping a candidate out of life-long passion for politics. There were signed contracts for jurors to study, conflicting testimony, and an unseemly peek behind the curtains of political power in Connecticut. The jury sat through two weeks of testimony and then took mere hours to find Rowland guilty on all seven changes. In March 2015 Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

   Rowland is appealling the conviction and has a legion of people who still support him, but the number is dwindling. The news that Rowland had earned $400,000 a year in the two years before his arrest shocked a lot of his supporters in Waterbury. Where was the money coming from? Rowland was being paid $100,000 a year to be the “economic development czar” in Waterbury, and was already taking heat locally for spending half his day hosting a popular radio show every afternoon on WTIC radio. No matter how you sliced it, though, the chamber job and the WTIC gig didn't add up to even half of the $400,000 he was earning. Who else was paying John Rowland? Was he making $200,000 a year in speaking fees, and when did he have time to do that? Whose interests was he working for on the radio, and as the economic development czar in Waterbury? There are more questions than answers because federal prosecuters didn't reveal how Rowland earned that money.

   And why would a man earning $400,000 a year risk everything for an illegal $35,00o consulting gig? The Feds offered a theory during the trial. “Mr. Rowland had hopes of rebuilding his political influence and becoming relevant in the world of Connecticut politics. This desire was so powerful that Mr. Rowland once again cast aside the public good and his legal obligations to satisfy his own arrogance and hunger for being at the center of political action.”

   In 2015 John Rowland is still in full partisan combat mode. Rowland isn't talking as he appeals his latest conviction of campaign fraud, but from listening to his defense during his trial it is clear that Rowland believes his troubles are politically motivated, driven by a liberal media out to get him, and executed by a team of overzealous federal prosecutors.

   There is some truth that Rowland was a high profile target of federal prosecution, and he was whacked like a human  human human            piñata by the media, but it is impossible to conclude that he is the victim when in addition to the seven felony charges he was convicted of, he crossed ethical lines to pimp his radio broadcast on WTIC. After receiving consulting fees from businessman Brian Foley, Rowland took to the airwaves to champion Lisa Wilson-Foley for congress, and harshly criticize Wilson-Foley's main GOP threat, Andrew Roraback. Rowland and Roraback had been friendly for two decades, but almost immediately after getting his first $5000 consulting fee from Foley, Rowland attacked Roraback on WTIC about the death penalty. Rowland provided listeners with Rorabach's private cellphone number, and urged them to call. Roraback's phone blew up with calls from angry WTIC listeners and the stunned state senator was forced to change his number.

   Rowland also worked more angles than a geometry teacher when he handed a $700,000 consulting proposal to 2009 congressional candidate Mark Greenberg in a presentation folder from the Waterbury Development Corporation. At the time Rowland was being paid $100,000 a year to represent the economic development interests of the city of Waterbury, a job that came with the the title, "economic development czar". What was he thinking? Perhaps someone who sat through his trial this past September might give us some insight.

   Bob McCormack was a juror during the trial and spoke with the Observer after the conviction. "Rowland had signed a contract to conceal his involvement but attended fundraisers at Carmen Anthony’s restaurant and the Palace Theater, where he was front and center with a microphone. “Did they forget they were trying to hide him?” McCormack asked. “It reminded me of a crack addict, but in John’s case it wasn’t a drug he was after, it was attention.”

   http://waterburyobserver.org/node/2028

Personal History

   I have known John Rowland for 25 years and despite his blind spots, I personally like the man. He was exceedingly generous allowing The Waterbury Observer exclusive access to three election days, and providing us a behind-the-scenes peek at power at the Governor’s Mansion, and the state capitol. The Observer is a small newspaper and for the 11 years he was governor our angle of covering Rowland was limited to human interest stories of the local boy rising to prominence. We cover issues and events in Waterbury, and seldom report about the political wrestling matches at the state capital.

   After one year working for the chamber of commerce Rowland asked me to collaborate on a book project with him about his life in politics. Rowland had written a book during his ten-month sentence in federal prison and titled the book, “Falling Into Grace.” The book had keen insights into prison life and his spiritual awakening, but didn’t address politics or the mistakes that led to resignation from office and imprisonment. The book had been rejected by publishing houses and Rowland asked me to rework it. After reading the manuscript I suggested we begin the process all over again to plumb around the underbelly of politics, and the details surrounding his downfall.

   I told Rowland that I was willing to invest my time in the project only if he opened up about what had led to his resignation. He suggested arrogance had been his downfall, and I countered that arrogance wasn’t a crime. He had broken laws and needed to address the situation in an open manner, and I encouraged him to apologize to Connecticut.

   Rowland bristled. “No one talks to me like that,” he said.

   “That’s your problem," I said. "You have surrounded yourself with enablers who tell you that you've done nothing wrong.”

   Rowland went quiet for 20 seconds, and then he agreed. Rowland said a tell all book  would be a healing process for him and the state of Connecticut.

   In the Spring of 2009 I spent more than 50 hours interviewing Rowland, most of it at my kitchen table in Morris, and began writing a book. Rowland admitted wrongdoing, and appeared to be liberated by talking about it as he sought forgiveness. Rowland was enthusiastic about the project and routinely poked at me to finish. We had a contract that stipulated Rowland would control the project (it was his story), and he would pay to self-publish the book (for the sake of control). We agreed on a 60%-40% split of the profits, and he was going to pitch the book at his public appearances in Connecticut, and motivational talks around the country.

    When Rowland was hired by WTIC radio in 2010 he stopped prodding me, lost interest in bankrolling the project, and never mentioned the book again. Exhausted by trying to write a book and keep my small newspaper afloat, and with no outlet for publication, it was with some relief I shelved the project. With the radio show Rowland had what he wanted, the ability to control his narrative and continue a march towards redemption.

   Everything appeared to be going well for John Rowland until his blind spot clubbed him across the skull again. No longer in the political arena, Rowland tried to swap his considerable political experience for huge consultant fees, and conspired to conceal the arrangement from the public. Despite his conviction and sentencing of 30 months in federal prison, Rowland has acknowledged no wrongdoing. He has engaged in political combat for so long that it has warped his perception of the world. He is appealing his conviction, and has again reframed the debacle to paint himself as a victim of a partisan conspiracy.

   While Rowland continues to operate in political mode - where everything is partisan and a shade of grey - there is a group of individuals who operate in a world of black and white, and they are the federal prosecutors who tried and convicted him of campaign fraud. What John Rowland sees as something to debate, something to spin, the federal prosecutors see as an illegal attempt by Rowland to rob voters of a fair election for Congress.

   This is Rowland’s blind spot. The whole world does not operate like Congress or the State Legislature, an exclusive and tiny bubble where laws are crafted and passed, and money drives the machine. In the world the rest of us live in we have to follow laws or there are consequences. Rowland can no longer debate and fight the partisan fight. He broke federal election laws and is headed back to prison.

   Rowland’s decisions have devastated his family and friends, and he is scheduled to begin his 30-month prison sentence in three months. Rowland’s descent from power is tragic on many levels; for all the pain inflicted on loved ones, for betraying the state, for tarnishing the Rowland name (his father and grandfather are members of the Waterbury Hall of Fame), and for carrying the hopes of a battered city into battle, losing focus, and splattering mud in Waterbury’s face.

   And like a truck driver changing lanes on I-84, John Rowland has discovered that danger lurks in the blind spot.

 

   (The Waterbury Observer asked it’s Facebook followers to weigh in on John Rowland. We asked how Waterbury was processing the latest Rowland conviction. We asked, and Waterbury answered.......)

Ron High - Have fun in jail Johnny, you deserve it...

Ned Greene - A political hit job if there ever was one in a one party state.

Cindy Paolino - All I can say is “ego”, John Rowland let it get the best of him.

Don Savoy Sr. - He got a free hot tub, big deal, political campaign contributions are for buying influence and its done everyday, but he’s going to go to jail for something that they all do, every one of them. Every time they sit down at a luncheon and the taxpayers pick up the tab that’s the same thing in my book.

Gary Mancuso - Rowland overdid it with the oversight board. City employees were not treated fairly especially the fire department.

Al ForinoUltimately his story is a Shakespearean tragedy, a local golden boy made good who was destroyed by his own arrogance and feeling that he was above the law. John is not a stupid man. He had to know that what he was doing, both times, was wrong, yet he either felt that he deserved the perks or that the law is for suckers. Waterbury’s willingness to give him a second chance is commendable, Christian even. After all, he paid his dues. He served his time, not to mention that he had to resign in disgrace a la Richard Nixon. You would have thought he had learned his lesson. But noooo. Not only was he drawing his salary from Waterbury, he had his salary from being a radio personality, eligible for his federal and state pensions. A nice life. Yet he tossed it away.

  It would make my blood boil to listen to his radio show. He would spout his conservative claptrap, railing against the public feeding off entitlements all the while ignoring that he was feeding still at the public trough, as a convicted felon no less. It was equally disturbing listening to him get off on his audience calling in and addressing him as “Guv”, a title he was forced to give up in disgrace.

  I don’t buy the theory that Waterbury gets what it deserves. From the time that Rowland graduated from high school, in 1975, until the year 2000’ when he was governor, every one of our mayors had been indicted or convicted. Heck we even had an election when the convicted candidate defeated the indicted candidate and the third party reform candidate came in last. You cannot make this stuff up. I think we are a city of hardworking honest people who are proud of our city and home. Rowland was right about one thing only, we are the center of the universe in our own deluded minds, and yet we were routinely ignored by the state, so I guess when we finally had our favorite son in there, there was a feeling along the lines of “they’ve had theirs for years, it’s time for us to take care of our own.” And that was our own downfall.

Griselda GeeRiddick Blanco - Free my nigga John, he ain’t do shit.

Donald Basil - People forget when John Rowland grew a beard and slept on the streets in downtown Waterbury to get a feel for what the homeless were going through. As a Congressman, John assisted me with a special project with the St.Vincent Depaul homeless center. It was a project I was working on to shed some light on the problem and raise awareness and money for. John didn’t know me when I solicited his Congressional office, but he jumped in and helped. When an individual spends a lifetime in a career the knowledge about that field is in his head and should be his property forever to use as he sees fit.
   Isn’t that what freedom is all about? But because his political knowledge was so threatening, the political opposition assassinated his character and neutralized him. So, bottom line, not only does government own your paycheck, they own your mind and say it’s illegal to consult someone in anonymity. Who makes the laws? Lawyers, and usually for their own benefit. And because there are campaign laws, this makes the premise of that law constitutional? Sounds like bull shit of the highest order to me. So, if I decide to use all the knowledge I have consumed in my industry career and attempted to use it to consult a business owner so that he could beat his competition, I should be a felon too? This is why I loathe politicians and the political system. John Rowland was painted by the lying liberal media to be this big political monster of a thief when in reality, the real thieves are running the state, country and planet. Prayers to John Rowland and his family to relieve them of all the bloodsuckers in Connecticut.

Mary Gucciardi Basil - Best Governor Connecticut has had.

Frank Cirillo - Rowland took to the airwaves on WTIC talking so much shit about tax payer dollars. I am no different than anybody else when it comes taxes. But stop bitching, we all have to pay for things we don’t like or use, that’s the deal. Let’s take a look at Rowland. From his days in Congress to his days as Governor, most of his adult life was getting paid by tax dollars. It cost a lot of tax dollars to put him away the first time. Nobody was picking on poor little Johnny, he fucked up, and should have known better. After we paid for his clothes, food, and health care in jail with our precious tax dollars, he got out.
   He came back to Waterbury and got a $100,000 dollars a year from Mayor Mike. Have any of you seen how much we pay for property taxes in Waterbury lately? What did he do for that money? Really? Now it’s costing the people more to put him away again. Let’s not forget his family problems. I’m no saint, but I’m not out there on the radio telling people how to live. Most of what he has, including his underwear, was paid for by the people. Now we have to support him for another 30 months? It’s a sad story. So what? None of us have it easy. Do I feel sorry for him? No I don’t. I don’t care where he’s from. We all make mistakes, and we have all paid for them. Screw him.

Mike Rivard - I wouldn’t trade growing up in Waterbury for anything. It was a wonderful childhood in the late 60’s and 70’s although sadly a far different place than it is today. I think Rowland did his best for Waterbury and do believe he was a victim of circumstance in an already corrupt system. Bottom line is he should have known better and is now paying the price. I admire him for what he tried to do for my former hometown, but think he should have been stronger and resisted it’s inherent corrupt politics. It really is sad to see that the downtown area is a ghost town filled with daytime vagrants and folks down on their luck. Oh what could have been if our once great city could have focused more on development rather than corruption. Shame on all of them.

Mark Penta - He was tried and convicted in a court that obviously had solid evidence. Not to mention he went to prison before for corruption. Lock him up; and keep the cookie jar a little higher next time he gets out.

Charles Venditti - When he gets out I think we should put him in charge of managing the city’s funds....

Greg Boulanger - I’d vote for John in a New York minute. Period. Lisa Wilson Foley is the real crook. She knew what she was doing. But the government didn’t really want her.

Ken Harge - I applaud coverage of this topic. Personally I think that all elected officials should be held to the highest possible standard. They write the laws that we must abide by so they must be far above reproach when it comes to their own behavior. The fact that Rowland was hired to do work on behalf of the city after serving a prison sentence for his improprieties as governor is stupid. I think his punishment wasn’t harsh enough especially being a second time offender.

JF Cheffont -There is something about Rowland that made Waterburians cheer for him. We wanted him to succeed, but he is a gangster that couldn’t get away from breaking the law. I would like to hear how his psychology works? Why couldn’t he just earn a normal living? He should be interviewed by the Observer and answer the tough questions. Why can’t you overcome your gangster mentality Rowland?

Hermin Sanchez - A waste of taxpayer money. So the ones that would have the most to gain, the Foleys, get caught and are convicted, but little jail time just to rat on Rowland.... I love how the feds work.

Jeffrey J Miller - Governor Rowland may have been beneficial to Waterbury (ie: UCONN Waterbury construction, HUSKY care increases), but he embarrassed this state with not one but two convictions for political corruption. He held a “no-show” job (New Haven Register still trying to get documents re: his “work” there via FOI) to help develop the Waterbury economy but spent his time instead on the radio with partisan rants and contract campaigning. I cannot accept the idea that federal prosecutors were “overzealous” with the governor given that he knew he should have stayed away from campaigns except as commentator.

Edward Thomas - No matter how much money he took from the campaign, and whatever gifts he accepted, he tried his best to better Waterbury. We were once a thriving city, and he wanted to see that again. In no way am I backing up what he illegally did, but I do see the good that he brought to Waterbury as well.

Javier Arroyo - I think Rowland got what he deserved. He willingly took illegal money for his campaign. I am from Waterbury and still can’t figure out how this city found a job for this crook. As the governor of this state he was hard on crime and he spent tons of money to build new prisons to lock up crooks. Well Mr. Rowland, take it like a man and stop trying to save face.

Robert Goodrich - Interesting facts about Rowland’s voting record: “From Jan 1985 to Oct 1990, Rowland missed 219 of 2,727 roll call votes, which is 8.0%. This is worse than the median of 4.6% among the lifetime records of representatives serving in Oct 1990.” Also, approximately 30 of the bills he worked on either as a Sponsor or Committee member only 1 was ever signed into law. This is a poor record at best and certainly shows a degree of ineptness as a Congressional lawmaker.

Julie Riv - Rowland has a building named after him in downtown. I wonder if he gets royalties or some kind of monetary compensation for it?

The Waterbury Observer - The building is actually named for three generations of Rowlands. John’s grandfather served as comptroller in the city and ironically was the key figure in exposing a massive corruption scheme by Waterbury Mayor T. Frank Hayes in the 1930s. John’s father also served as comptroller in Waterbury. There is no compensation involved, although some have suggested renaming the building.

Micah Benton - I don’t think they should rename it. The father and grandfather shouldn’t be shamed because of John Rowland’s acts.

Jimmie Griffin - I knew John from running on the state ticket with him in 1994 and found him ambitious and articulate. During his tenure as Governor I had the opportunity to join him at the Hartford Club for a high profile fund raiser. He handled himself well on his feet and commanded your attention with his wit and rhetorical abilities. His arrogance and confidence angered the more seasoned political figures who were jealous of his rapid rise to stardom at such an early age. Rowland was lured into the normal web of corruption that comes with deal makers in high places. He was much too smart for his profession and others were threatened by it. He was sucked into the high roller status and tricked his ownself with his tremendous wit, which was too bad because I thought he was a promising young man. Power went to his head. Federal pursuit of him may have been aggressive because he was too cocky and the feds didn’t like his in your face approach. With all the stuff that goes on in Waterbury its amazing they have spent all this money and time on one past governor, when they might find more serious crimes in present administrations on both the local and state level. Was it really worth all this drama?

William McCormack - Waterbury deserves better, enough is enough.

Linda Kulmann - Everybody violates federal law in CT. He’s the sacrificial lamb for some reason. He’s probably got the dirt on some VIP.

Trish Donohue - I worked with John Rowland for 4 years, while he served as Economic Development Coordinator for the city of Waterbury. What I can attest to is his good character, and commitment to the city of Waterbury. I witnessed first hand how hard he worked to draw businesses into the city and how he was able to keep several firms from leaving Waterbury. As a speaker at many of the Chamber’s events, he drew an exceptional crowd and spoke quite eloquently about the city and his goals. He was determined to bring his message to everyone - to do what he’d been committed to doing - to improve economic development in this city. While working for the Chamber I co-faciliated round-table discussions he’d established with a number of key-players, to collaboratively find ways to achieve just that. He monthly wrote articles that were published to keep his message fresh and strong. Let it not be said he had another ‘agenda’. John Rowland is a good and caring man, and has always had the backs of everyone in Waterbury.

Johnny Valentin - Can’t say he got a raw deal, but pretty sure outside forces did everything possible to tarnish his reputation and possible bid for the White House. He did our city a lot of good.

Robert Paolino - Best Governor we ever had.

Tyler Fredericks - Rowland has been screwed over several times because and only because he is a strong Republican in a blue state. Liberals love to bully and strong-arm opponents out of power. The Democrats fear John Rowland and that is why they get him in these messes. He is a great man that deserves to serve our state and has for the better.

Mike Moriarty - This is a political lynch mob of a good man and a great Governor. Prayers.

Micah Benton - I’ve followed Rowland closely since coming to Connecticut 6 1/2 years ago. I think he’s an arrogant crook who thumbed his nose at the law twice and now he is paying with a much deserved prison sentence. Having said that, since I haven’t been in CT my whole life, I don’t know all the facts about him, and I had no idea that he was thought of as a possible VP or Presidential candidate. It’s shocking he’s fallen that far.

Elizabeth Ivers - Rowland is anti-union. I’m sick of lying politicians. All they do is make promises they can’t keep and raise our taxes. The middle class pays through their nose.

David Oladele Adeyemi - Hi John, Just suck it up and serve your time. We’re willing to give you a third chance to redeem yourself. 3 strikes and you’ll be out forever.

Ellen Ferrari-Mercier - Unfortunately this is why Waterbury is called Sin City. You reap what you sew. Can we please have an honest politician in Waterbury. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to say where I grew up, and that’s sad.

John Jack White - One thing that surely can’t happen now, after being convicted twice on felonies of a political nature, is any future involvement with politics after his release. His life with his family will go on, but his credibility is shot as far as politics goes. So, while he’s in, he’ll have plenty of time to ponder what other endeavors he can pursue for himself and his family.

Heather Johnson - People might find him crooked, but he got things done. He’s not a murderer or child molester.

Bill Lawton - I’m a fan of Rowland. People have done worse than him. Has anybody been paying attention to Hillary Clinton? I miss his talk radio show.

Dan Vincent - Eh..I liked him. Waterbury and Connecticut could and have done worse.

Louise Forgione CostelloI’m not condoning any wrongful behavior, but the man loves Waterbury, he’s in there pitching, and that’s enough for me. We all know that politicians are not beyond reproach, to put it mildly, but I have met John Rowland, and I like him.

Mike Moriarty - One time my mom brought her expired passport to the airport by mistake (before 9/11) and they wouldn’t let her board the plane to Ireland. John Rowland’s office was called and was on the phone with Air Lingus in minutes, and my Mom was allowed to board the plane. Hats off to Governor Rowland and the Rowland family. He’ll always have my vote.
                                                                                   
Marilyn Mangini - How timely. I was just telling my cousin the other day that I would like to move home and do a documentary about the sordid world of Waterbury politics. I’m very interested to hear what people have to say.

Jimmie Griffin - I want to weigh in once again to say the people of Waterbury have enabled John to return to his lax attitude about politics. Let’s be clear, it’s almost impossible for any political figure to be exempt from corruption, and if the Justice Department attempted to put them all in jail only a small group would be walking around in America. You would think that rich ones would not have the same motivations as others, but we have found that greed supersedes all of that. I recently posted a status update saying that it’s almost impossible to impact corruption when the people committing the crimes against the public are being investigated by many of the same attitude, who in turn cover-up. The smarter a person is, like Rowland was, the more of a threat he is to the strong arm tactics of the past and those who control (organized crime) do not want anyone to sophisticated to break up their strong arm tradition that scares the corrupted person from pointing fingers their way. In other words, John is really harmless when it comes to real corruption that runs deep in the veins of political structure leaders. I point to the Community Action Agency scandals that have been cuddled by the political system to control the masses of minorities and the poor. Did you notice nobody has been calling the talk of the town this morning, or there was not a follow up story or reaction from the community on the New Opportunities story which I much deeper than Rowland’s ever was in respect to human casualties. What real harm did Rowland’s crimes do to hurt the people? How much money or personal gain was involved? Rowland may have taken advantage of a few rich opportunists but he did nothing to hurt the people and really only himself. Instead of wasting all this time investigating Rowland and putting Rowland behind bars when under the noses of the so-called organized crime corruption task force has allowed the abuse of millions and millions of federal and state dollars to be funneled through anti-poverty programs with no measurable results and outrageous salaries to their leaders. As I sit home thinking how damn stupid we are to be evaluating the little damage that Rowland has done instead of investing the real corruption of public funds by private non-profits that have evolved into powerful political machines as pork barrel projects of political leaders who want to stay in office forever in this country. Why doesn’t the Observer leave John Rowland alone because he has never been a real danger to anyone, but these anti-poverty programs have and nobody dare question them because they are under the control of the government self made corruption to control the people of this nation and limit their freedom of speech by keeping them silent. I think they should let John Rowland go and pickup the Mayor, the Community Action heads and the Governor, if they really want do their jobs for the people of this city, state and nation because I believe they are all truly corrupted. It’s time to stop this distraction from the real corruption in America, to focus on the designed re-enslavement through manipulation and social welfare of the American people through government programs.