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Candidate Files Complaint Over Political Fliers

By DANIEL E. GOREN And JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writers

October 31, 2007

City council candidate Gerry Pleasent has filed a complaint with state election officials against state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, a mayoral candidate, accusing Gonzalez of taking his campaign literature off car windshields and substituting her own.

Pleasent, a former deputy police chief in Hartford, said he and a campaign worker placed his campaign fliers on about 50 vehicles in the parking lot of St. Peter's Church Sunday.

Then, he said, Gonzalez drove up with two of her own workers, and he watched as one of them removed one of his fliers, brought it to Gonzalez and discussed it for a few minutes.

"At that point, I said, `Before they see us, let's go around the block and come back in 10 or 15 minutes, and see what happens,'" Pleasent said Tuesday. "When we came back, the first thing we did was to canvass the vehicles we placed the cards on. They were all gone. And not only were they all gone, but in their place was her literature. Which means they had to be physically removed.

"I felt hurt, because I was never her enemy," Pleasant said. "I never had arguments with her. In early days, I admired her spunk. The spunk she had in dealing with her constituents. I guess things change as you go on."

Gonzalez said she saw Pleasent's fliers on the cars - and examined one of them - but denied that she or any of her workers were involved in removing them.

"I told the girls he's a Republican. He's a friend of ours. He's a nice guy," Gonzalez said Tuesday. "I would never do something like that and I would never allow somebody to. He's not running against me. Come on. He's running for city council. He's not going to hurt us."

In fact, Gonzalez said she sympathized with Pleasent because her own campaign materials had been vandalized. She said someone came to her house and headquarters and removed and destroyed her lawn signs.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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