Thursday, May 22, 2008

Elm City ID card target of more ire

Auto dealerships pull out of Elm City Resident Card discount program following complaints

By Mark Zaretsky
Register Staff
— Two area auto dealerships dropped out of a discount program associated with the controversial Elm City Resident Card program Wednesday under pressure from the anti-illegal immigrant group Community Watchdog Project.
The withdrawal of Bob’s Dodge of Naugatuck and Barberino Nissan of Wallingford came the day after the city announced they would participate.
“I just can’t get involved in this,” said Ron Capasso, co-owner of Bob’s Dodge and part of the management team at Barberino Nissan both of which the city had announced Tuesday would participate.
Capasso said his only goal in in getting involved in the discount program was to promote the dealerships, and he wasn’t looking to make a political statement either way — by signing on as a participant or by dropping out.
He said he made the decision to pull out “after catching about five calls” criticizing the dealerships for taking part.
Under the program, the dealerships would have offered a $500 discount to any cardholder buying a used vehicle and a $1,000 discount to any cardholder buying a new vehicle.
Community Watchdog Project organizer Dustin Gold of North Branford said that “fortunately, this is no longer accurate.”
“Community Watchdog members and other distinguished Connecticut citizens that have done business with these dealerships began calling to express their disgust,” Gold said. “Within one hour, Barberino and Bob’s decided to withdraw their participation.”
He cited that as proof that “you can ‘take on City Hall.’”
Jessica Mayorga, spokeswoman for Mayor John DeStefano Jr., confirmed the dealerships withdrew and said, “There still remain a number of other great businesses that we are very pleased to do business with.
“All I know is, they asked to cease promoting their name as one of the participants,” she said. “They had some concerns, and I guess they just didn’t feel that it was the right fit for them. ... I do understand that they received some criticism and some calls that concerned them and they pulled out, that’s all.”
The ID card program has been controversial since before the city launched it May 31, 2007, because the IDs are issued to any city resident, regardless of whether they are legal U.S. residents.
City officials believe the card can reduce crimes against illegal immigrants, as it can be used to open bank accounts or to show police in the event of a crime. Illegal immigrants often are targets of thieves because some carry cash in lieu of using bank accounts, and are often hesitant to report the crimes because of their illegal status.
Nearly 6,000 people have signed up for the card, which can be used for cash transactions at some stores, to feed parking meters and as identification at city libraries. The discount program is an incentive to get additional city residents, including those who are legal, to get IDs.
Current businesses participating in the incentive program include: Mohegan Sun bus tours, which will give free $20 entertainment vouchers and $10 food vouchers for use at the casino, as well as a 10 percent discount on bus tickets; retailers Rendezvous, Jimmy’s Hip Hop, Modell’s Sporting Goods and the downtown Subway, which offer cardholders 10 percent discounts; Video Game Plus, which gives 6 percent off used games and DVDs; and Foot Locker, which will give discount coupons. C-Town grocery stores is joining businesses that accept the ID card as a debit card. The card also entitles holders to free use of Lighthouse Point Park and the transfer station.


Discount Cards said...

In my point of view these situation are came into the department from the poor management.The lack of the management is a big cause of these kids of complaints.

mona ahmed said...

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