Bush Resolution Touches A Nerve

Markeshia Ricks PhotoWhat might have been a routine resolution recognizing the death of a well-known former resident touched a nerve at Monday’s Board of Alders meeting.

Alders voted unanimously in favor of a resolution “expressing condolences on the passing of the 41st President of The United States and former New Haven resident the honorable George H.W. Bush and expressing gratitude for his positive contributions to our nation and the world.” (Click here to read the full resolution.)

They made that vote with the subtle sound of hisses from some audience members, many gathered to see what the board would do about an ordinance that would create a civilian review board. Several said they were shocked to realize that alders were voting for such a proposal.

Attorney Patrica Kane let Majority Leader Richard Furlow have it afterward.

She pointed out that Bush had a less than stellar reputation when it came to communities of color, noting the Bush won the presidency after infamously invoked the case of an African-American rapist released on furlough, “Willie” Horton, in campaign attack ads against Democrat Michael Dukakis.

“I’m surprised a board with this much diversity would vote for such a resolution,” she said. “Bush opposed civil rights. He was against funding for AIDS research. You can’t whitewash history.” (Click here for a look at aspects of Bush’s record not invoked in this week’s tributes.)

Furlow cited the routine nature of the resolution. Kane was having none of that.

“It looks like you don’t know history,” she said.

Furlow excused himself from the conversation shortly after that. He said a little later that he wasn’t going to argue about racism with someone who has never experienced it. Furlow is black; Kane is white.

“It infuriates me that anyone dares approach me about civil rights,” he said. “My parents marched with Martin Luther King.”

Furlow said he remembers the first time the n-word was lobbed at him. He was a child and his mother had to explain what it meant and also tell him that it wasn’t who he was.

“The ones who have so much to say have no idea what it means to be a person of color,” he said. “They have no idea what it feels like.”

President Pro Tem and Dixwell Alder Jeanette Morrison said that she signed on to the resolution because it is a courtesy that political bodies often offer to the families of other politicians. She said she hopes one day someone would do the same for her two children should she pass away, regardless of how they felt about her politics.

“It’s called being human,” she said.

Bush died Friday at age 94. His formative years were spent in Connecticut. His father was a U.S. senator for the Nutmeg State. And like his father Bush, graduated from Yale University and went into politics, eventually being elected to Congress. He also ran the CIA. He became vice president in the 1980 election and then the 41st president in 1988.

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posted by: AverageTaxpayer on December 4, 2018  8:47am

The politics should be fought within the arena of politics. As a nation, civlity should not be abandoned, unless someone is clearly beyond the pale, (cough, Trump) and not paying full respect to our Democratic processes.

In this case people are right to speak up against the realities of George Bush’s politics. But in the era of Trump, I am glad that our BofA, — particularly given Bush’s Connecticut and New Haven roots,  — is paying civil respect to a dead President.

posted by: James Sunderland on December 4, 2018  9:06am

I understand Furlow’s frustration about a white person preaching to him about Racism. But it’s not just about Racism. People of color are not the only group that Bush did major damage too. The damage to the LGBT community during the AIDS crisis is unfathomable. There’s entire generation of LGBT folks missing because of it. For that reason I deeply appreciate Patricia Kane speaking up against this resolution. There was no civility when thousands die in there 20’s and 30’s, so I will have no civility for a president who died in his 90’s.

posted by: LorcaNotOrca on December 4, 2018  9:12am

If anyone else would like to whitesplain, please raise your virtue signal.

posted by: westvilledad on December 4, 2018  9:19am

patricia kane and anyone else booing or hissing should be ashamed. first, like furlow said, it shows total lack of self awareness for a white person to lecture majority af-am boe on civil rights.

second, everyone knows trump, fox & friends do so much to lower discourse and be nasty.  but social justice warriors need to take some responsibility too. thanks to morrison for reminding everyone she was just trying to be “human.” sometimes you can just be nice and kind and don’t need people hissing and trashing your effort.

posted by: ebw1957 on December 4, 2018  9:26am

What a pack of zeros. People demanding respect for their POV- yet give none.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on December 4, 2018  9:35am

What one has done in life is not erased because they die - Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust, recent past President of Harvard University and Scholar of Southern American History.

George H. W. Bush used racist appeal to get elected.
He nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court and stayed with him even after credible claims of sexual harassment charges from several women (some whom the Senate refused to hear).
He supported Housing Discrimination and other forms of racism against African-Americans.
His “kinder, gentler nation” did not apply to Black people.

These things are recorded history.  To say that a white person cannot point them out to a Black person is patently ridiculous.  Your parents having marched with King does not give you the right to ignore racist history pointed out by someone who may not have.  Your having been called the so-call N-word does not give you a special status to know or to determine all things racist outside of the information provided you by someone who has not been equally debased. 

If you are embarrassed by what you don’t know, learn it from whoever has the knowledge. But, to walk away in a huff and declare that a person who has not suffered racism makes room for you to perpetuate the same racism you claim to abhor.

The Rev. Samuel T. Ross-Lee

posted by: Noteworthy on December 4, 2018  11:12am

Have Some Decency Notes:

1. President Bush is dead. He served this country just about his entire life. He is the last president we’ve had who has actually put their life on the line for this country’s freedoms.

2. Honoring him in death is a small thing.

3. Bush 41 did far more good than bad - some policy positions he took were in part due to space and time and some he regretted and publicly did so later in life. But he also went against the grain like in the Fair Housing Act.

4. Every president is flawed because they’re human. Would any of us have nothing to cherry pick for somebody wanting justification to disrespect us in death? I doubt it.

5. Those of you who think you are justified need to deepen your humanity and widen your world view. That anybody would hiss during a public meeting like that is disgusting.

6. As a side note to Furlow: You think only black people know about racism and discrimination? Think again. Only black people have a right to speak on the subject?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 4, 2018  11:13am

“It infuriates me that anyone dares approach me about civil rights,” he said. “My parents marched with Martin Luther King.”

And what does that mean? In fact if Martin Luther King was here today he would have march on Bush who was a War Hawk and would have call out and march on these sell out Black Judas Goat Leaders in this day and time.

As far as Attorney Patrica Kane.I put her on this list of white Freedom Fighthers like

Joe Slovo

Howard Zinn

John Brown

Lynne Stewart


posted by: LorcaNotOrca on December 4, 2018 9:12am

If anyone else would like to whitesplain, please raise your virtue signal.

Here is one better.



posted by: Springlady on December 4, 2018  12:14pm

@The Rev. Samuel T. Ross-Lee - Well said, Sir!

Sometimes people look at my lily-white face and wonder whereof I have the nerve to have an opinion about the rights of Hispanic people in this country, namely Mexican-Americans. Although it is not clearly written on my face, I am married to a person of color and have given birth to children of color - children and spouse whose rights and freedoms I will defend to the end of my days. To say to someone that they don’t know what the experience is of another person is because of their stand-alone appearance is offense, and frankly ignorant.

posted by: Patricia Kane on December 4, 2018  12:14pm

Alder Furlow approached me after the close of the Board’s business and said he didn’t appreciate me hissing. I told him I did not hiss (although I do believe the public has a right to express its disapproval ) and a bystander confirmed that. I had mouthed “He opposed the civil Rights Act of 1964 to Adam Marchand” in response to the vote.
  My issue with the Resolution (a copy of which has been sent to the NHI ) was not the acknowledgment of a former President’s death, but the tribute paid to his history that omitted any mention of his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    There are other facts, such as his opposition to AIDS research that caused the death of too many people, coupled with his support for the Saudi royal family, no doubt part of his success in the oil business, along with policies that either disrupted or prevented change in South America and has led to the current refugee crisis. As for service in the CIA, JFK wanted to disband it.
  But it was Bush’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that seemed particularly egregious as I watched the Board of Alders, as diverse as the City itself,  pass unanimously this one sided statement that completely white washed our painful history.
  How did this happen? How could this Board of Alders approve a statement recognizing “his outstanding life of selfless service”?
  There is no problem in offering condolences to the family, but to suddenly elevate someone because of a passing connection with the City is a terrible precedent.
    No where in the mass media have I found a balanced discussion of this Bush’s record. You have to go to the internet to find facts that corporate sponsors can’t edit.
    The Board of Alders represents the people of New Haven. I respect their service and their wish to do well. Our collective history of struggle to obtain “liberty and justice for all” requires truth and not selective memory.
    FYI, I marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. too.

posted by: Bohica on December 4, 2018  12:32pm

So much anger and hate in New Haven from the liberal side, really sad commentary on the state of affairs there.

posted by: westville man on December 4, 2018  12:54pm

Patricia Kane,  Didn’t he sign the Ryan White Care Act 2 years into his presidency which funded Hiv/Aids research?  I believe he also supported the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibited discrimination against people with that disease.

He was regressive with his views on race, no doubt. And that’s why I don’t consider his generation “the greatest”.....

posted by: HewNaven on December 4, 2018  1:14pm


posted by: redman on December 4, 2018  1:28pm

There is so much hate in New Haven. I have lived in New Haven county for almost 70 years but avoid the city of New Haven as much as possible because I know I am not welcome there. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the liberal belief system is called names and yes hated. I don’t support gay marriage, or transgender rights,or illegal immigration. Nothing is open to discussion just name calling and hate.

posted by: Bill Saunders on December 4, 2018  2:24pm

As long as the praise for GHB doesn’t surpass the praise for Reagan, feel-good notions of ‘history past’ will live ‘in tact’ for future generations!

posted by: Perspective on December 4, 2018  2:56pm

With all the changing of building names, streets, statue removal, resolution protesting,etc. perhaps the creation of a list of ‘worthy names’ is in order…....smh or as others have already posted, name one public figure who hasnt done something “wrong” in the eyes of others

posted by: Patricia Kane on December 4, 2018  3:13pm

@Westville man:  When we are dealing with political figures, we are not required to “speak no ill of the dead”.
  For people of color to honor a man who opposed their rights as citizens deserved to be called out. Willie Horton is Bush’s legacy.
  It’s interesting to notice who chooses to criticize me for raising a perfectly legitimate point with Alder Furlow, but do not hold either the Alders of color or their white colleagues accountable for proposing this egregious piece of propaganda.
  French citizens have put on yellow vests and upped their protest activities to hold Macron accountable for increasing their taxes. New Haven people watch another defective plan for a Civilian Review Board kicked down the road, while a tribute resembling hagiography is also tabled, and together they merit a hiss!
  I think the Board of Alders and the people of New Haven ought to be able to handle a discussion as to what is appropriate in a Resolution representing the people of this city, of which I am one. There was no part of the Board’s meeting that sought public input.  The hissing was a spontaneous reaction and a muted one at that.
  I still want to know: who wrote the Resolution? Was it submitted to the Mayor by the entire Board? Will it be edited before it is put before the Board for a vote?

posted by: Patricia Kane on December 4, 2018  3:16pm

Correction: The Resolution was NOT voted on, but tabled. The last minute parliamentary maneuvers could not be heard clearly by those in the audience.
    I hope the Alders will have a robust discussion about what is appropriate in these kinds of Resolutions.

posted by: TheMadcap on December 4, 2018  4:28pm

“I don’t support gay marriage, or transgender rights,or illegal immigration. Nothing is open to discussion just name calling and hate”

Well yeah, we’re not going to give the pretense of legitimacy to your intolerance

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 4, 2018  5:01pm

Biggest 1980s’ Cocaine Kingpin: George HW Bush v Pablo Escobar


The Dirty Secrets of George Bush
The Vice President’s illegal operations


posted by: westville man on December 4, 2018  5:02pm

Patricia cane - Did you read my post? I asked you a legitimate question and agreed with you on the issue of race. Your response to me makes no sense.

posted by: westville man on December 5, 2018  8:24am

“Kane”...Apologies, dictated not read.

posted by: Patricia Kane on December 5, 2018  8:55am

@Westville man: You were right to cite 2 positives in Bush’s record. The Resolution also cites some positives.
  All I’m pointing out is that we do not have to overlook the total reality - especially when it is so mixed - to make a statement acknowledging someone prominent’s death.
  The mass media is totally overdoing the praise and concealing the real record (Iran-Contra drugs for weapons), which is harmful and dangerous.
  The cult of personality may be the norm in some places, but not here.

posted by: westvilledad on December 5, 2018  9:01am

patricia kane may not agree with the resolution.  but booing and hissing at a memorial tribute? c’mon!  it’s not an ‘egregious piece of propaganda’ just a nice way to honor a ww2 vet who spent most of life in public service. i disagreed w/ almost all of both bushes policies. but i think we can still be nice and civil and honor a dead president.  you make yourself look just like the maga crowd when you’re mean and nasty when other people are trying to be nice.  don’t go so low, ms. kane and friends.

posted by: robn on December 5, 2018  11:24am

This is not really the time to be speaking ill of the dead and even if there have been some valid arguments that Bush Sr policy set the stage for similar amped up Trump policies, I think there’s a distinct difference. There is no doubt in my mind that Bush Sr deeply cared about the health and well being of the United States. Donald Trump only cares about himself.
To Alder Furlow’s point about a white person “daring” to approach him about civil rights, this is further proof (beyond his conflicts of interest) that he is unfit for office. POC may have sufferred beyond the comprehension of non POC, but they don’t exclusively own the characteristic of empathy.

posted by: JohnTulin on December 5, 2018  12:10pm

Patricia Kane, I hope after your long life of serving the public no one reduces your commitment and hardwork to a few of your more questionable and imperfect decisions.  That would be unfair and petty, and more about them than you.

posted by: Bill Saunders on December 5, 2018  2:28pm


For someone who was worried about Attorney Kane not experiencing racism before,  Alder Furlow sure gave her a dose of it in the Public Forum.  I second your nomination for resignation.

posted by: Bill Saunders on December 5, 2018  2:58pm

Attorney Kane is just bringing some good ole English Parliamentary Practices into a Public Alder Hearing.

In Britain, Speakers wield contorted, bedazzling insults as to to not violate the ‘Rules of Parliamentary Language’.
Phrases like ‘Hypocritic Hooligan’ and ‘Idiotic Ignoramus’—they are off the playing field !  Be Creative!

In response, Members of Parliament will sometimes boo, hiss, and laugh.
Clapping, however, is not permitted because it just got too out of hand—which just goes to show ‘civility’ only goes so far!!!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 5, 2018  4:14pm

This former Skull & Bones man had more skeletons in his dark secret closet than a whole bushel of fascist criminals, or crime bosses.In fact Pick your oligarchs.Read about Operation GLADIO!!!! and we can not forget Poppy Bush’s daddy Prescott Bush supported NAZIs .You Can’t forget good old Bush hand in Operation Condor.In fact this was his crew   Kissinger, Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Casey, what a crew. And we can’t forget his U S dictator puppet Pinochet.

How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power.

George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.


My bad. Someone told me at the edge of the woods today that Steven Winter and Adam Marchand went to Yale.Now I see why they voted for this.I wonder are they Skull & Bones man?

posted by: Patricia Kane on December 5, 2018  5:38pm

@ JohnTulin: I do not consider Iran Contra and Willie Horton to be petty issues.
@Westvilledad: There was NOT a memorial tribute to Bush. There was NO booing.
@Robn and Bill Saunders: Alder Furlow is most certainly fit for service. I respect his unfailing civility in his role as an Alder. He and I will continue our conversation in private another day.
  Our colloquy occurred after adjournment and was just about one person’s opinion as to the appropriateness of a Resolution that had not yet been publicly distributed or discussed. I hope it will be revised so as not to ignore history.
    This is not the first time I’ve been told I couldn’t understand another person’s experience. I have not lived as a person of color and do not claim to have the same understanding as one who has. Women have their own challenges, as the #MeToo movement has shown.
    As someone who grew up in a poor neighborhood and worked my way through college, I understand struggle and recognize injustice. That is why I have been an activist my entire adult life, starting with “Ban the Bomb”, when JFK was president.
    We owe much to indigenous peoples and descendants of enslaved Africans not only for the harms done to them, but for the wealth created by them, but for which they were not compensated.  We cannot even have that conversation and move towards reconciliation if we ignore history.
    If the mass media is going to white wash history and eliminate all but the most favorable facts, then we will have to take responsibility individually for sharing what is already part of the public record.
    To quote Joe Hill, ” All the world is made of music. We are all strings on a lyre. We resonate. We sing together.”

posted by: Bill Saunders on December 5, 2018  5:39pm


I am going to start referring to ‘our most esteemed’ Secret Society as ‘Numbskulls & Boneheads’.
Add it to the TownY Lexicon!

posted by: Bill Saunders on December 5, 2018  8:11pm

Patricia Kane,

Your are right.  The proper opposition to Alder Furlow is at the polls.