Activists Send Hundreds of Tacos to Connecticut Mayor

Associated Press + More

"He clearly thinks of us as a third-class people," he said.

Others were more forgiving, saying they viewed the comment as a misstep, but not something that should end Maturo's political career.

Others in East Haven said people are being too sensitive.

Paul Esposito, 70, a lifelong resident, made a special trip Thursday to East Haven Town Hall to express his support, telling Maturo's receptionists, "I don't want him to resign. People make mistakes all the time."

Those who know Maturo say that he's not an idiot or a bigot, but that if the taco comment was meant to be a joke, it was clearly a misstep they think he genuinely regrets.

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"It's baloney. They're making a mountain out of a molehill," said Michael Liso, 65, who said he worked as a firefighter with Maturo and has known him for 40 years. "That's why you put erasers on pencils. ... It's over and done with. Now let's move forward."

Maturo, 60, asked East Haven residents in a written apology Wednesday to "have faith in me" and the town. Whether he can make peace soon with Latino residents upset by his taco comment remains to be seen.

Marcia Chacon, a native of Ecuador and co-owner of My Country Store, said the one remark by Maturo destroyed some of the goodwill he had earned in the community by hosting a recent open house with the police department.

"We realized that he is a racist person," she said. "We realized it is worse than we thought."

Maturo has said he will no longer publicly discuss the quip. Messages left for several of his political allies at the state and local levels were not immediately returned Wednesday and Thursday.

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