HPD: Donde Estas?

Last night, as seems to happen about once a month now, the neighbors had an extremely loud party. I have my suspicions that it’s actually some unpermitted dance club, judging by the sheer number of people. Anyway, the music usually starts around 10pm (last night it was 9), and doesn’t end. A couple months ago, I thought they might stop this because their party broke up when the ambulance came.

By loud music (and loud people), I mean that I can hear every word of every song, and that the dishes are rattling in the cabinets.

Around 2 a.m., the party evolved into what it usually does–some kind of fight or almost-fight in the middle of the street. The music was still going. The police were notified of a noise complaint.

As of at least 45 minutes later, the cops never went by.

I understand that this kind of thing is not priority if all hell is breaking loose, but contrary to what the fear-mongers at WFSB would have you believe, there are not kids being shot and stabbed in Hartford every single night.

There are noise ordinances for a reason–so the whole neighborhood doesn’t take their hostility to violence against the offenders when they become so sleep deprived from being forced to listen to really bad music at decibels that even earplugs won’t block.

Eight Down

The HPD recently made eight arrests and seized eight firearms, prompting the question: how many more to go?

Only one account sounded like a classic case of a kid being an idiot:

Complaint of gunshots discharged, 63 Annawan Street.

On April 26th, at approximately 8:00 p.m., officers responded to a report from citizens of shots fired in the area of 63 Annawan Street.  Within seconds, the suspect, a 16 year old Hispanic male juvenile, was apprehended by Hartford Police Officers Dave Marinelli and Rick Sarju in the rear alley of 63 Annawan Street.  The gun, recovered by Officer Ryan Rea, was located in a garbage receptacle.  The juvenile was charged with reckless endangerment first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a gun, stealing a firearm, and carrying a dangerous weapon.  His bond was set at $750,000. 

Now, if we can only do the same with others who endanger lives needlessly–namely, those who insist on talking on cellphones (with or without the headsets) while driving.

Are We Talking About the Same Event?

Either this exemplifies bad reporting, the problem with “unbiased” reporting, or both.

In this week’s Hartford Advocate, Daniel D’Ambrosio writes about the “Bullish, Bubble, or Bust” discussion in his piece titled “Signs of Life.”

His write-up sounds like he wasn’t even in the same room. Brief reports featuring sentences like the following do nothing to enlighten the public:

There was plenty of bad news to go around in the discussion–Constitution Plaza was a mistake; the city’s youth are leaving in droves because they don’t see a future here; crime is still a huge problem.

Misuse of the semicolon aside, D’Ambrosio gives no context for such assertions, and makes it sound as if those statements all went unchallenged. I, for one, disputed this idea of youth hauling out of Hartford, and even had statistics to back that up. For some reason, the writer doesn’t mention people, namely planners, knowing nothing about Constitution Plaza’s history, or why it might be considered a mistake. The talk of crime was almost non-existent. I’ve checked through my notes from the event a few times, and can’t find any mention of crime, so, I have to ask why it was big enough of a deal to the Advocate writer to even mention it.

This News Briefs section in the paper appears to be new. Maybe the Advocate should stick to what they do best: provide inaccurate dining and entertainment listings (I’m still wondering how the Alley Cat Cafe can occupy the same space as the Center Squeeze), spiteful reviews, and rants that show a complete lack of rhetorical prowess.

Discouraging Crime

Regulation of Convenience Stores Two resolutions regulating convenience stores that are open between 10 PM and 5 AM were submitted to the Council and referred to the Council’s Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee and for Public Hearing on May 21, 2007.  The first resolution requires a special permit for operation between 10 PM and 5 AM and establishes security standards.  The second resolution provides additional enforcement powers to the Police.  (Items #28 and 29)

Judging by the number of incidents reported outside of these late night/24-hour convenience stores, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to put forth a resolution. The stores themselves aren’t the problem, but give criminals an opportunity to gather, sell drugs, et cetera.

“Bullish, Bubble, or Bust” Reportback

Tonight the Hartford Public Library provided a venue for a large audience who would witness a range of opinions regarding the city’s revitalization. The audience, though not all white, clearly did not fairly represent the ethnic diversity of Hartford. The panel, even less diverse in terms of race, had some distinct ideological differences.

The atmosphere was insular, with an undertone of sucking up (to whom, I’m not sure). It was not cozy so much as exclusive-feeling. Either you were following their conversation for years and on a first name basis with everyone, or you couldn’t get a microphone to ask a damn question for over an hour.

Rather than go subject-by-subject, I’d like to pull out a few gems from what individual panelists said. I’ll begin with comments from Chuck Coursey, who is the spokesman for Northland Investment Corporation, “downtown Hartford’s largest private property owner,” which happens to own Hartford 21. Spoiler: the cliche, “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it” fits well here.

Coursey remarked early on that Hartford 21 is “already” over 1/3 leased out, which means that Hartford 21 is ahead of their schedule. In explaining his adaptation of Reaganomics, Coursey mentioned how in the future, he’d like to see the developments that began in downtown to move “south toward Hartford Hospital,” and then later toward the north. He acknowledged the problems created by the physical barrier of I-84, and even began to sound progressive by suggesting that some parking lots downtown be razed and made into “entry level housing.” Too bad the clientèle for that entry level housing is an afterthought in all this, coming in behind the nouveau riche who now get to “tower above the rest.” (more…)

Today: Gentrification in the 21st Century

Hartford’s Next Generation of Development:Bullish, Bubble, or Bust?

The road to Hartford’s current revitalization has been marked by many successes as well
as many challenges. From the era of the “Bishops” and Constitution Plaza, to the Six
Pillars, including Adriaen’s Landing and other major projects, to the current Hartford
2010 planning process, development in Hartford has often depended on key events,
relationships, and lessons learned. And what is on the horizon in the next five, ten, or
twenty years? This program will include a discussion of these important issues with
business, community, and government leaders.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Light Refreshments 5:30 pm
Program 6:00 – 7:30pm

Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street

John Motley, Partner, MotleyBeup Group, LLC
Oz Griebel, MetroHartford Alliance
Chuck Coursey, Northland Investment Corporation
John O’Connell, Former Hartford City Councilman
Yolanda Rivera, Hartford Construction Jobs Initiative
Marilyn E. Rossetti, Hartford Areas Rally Together
For more information or to register please call or email Richard Frieder, 860-695-6365,

The discussion is free and open to the public. Anyone who questions the “if we build it, they will come” mentality that is prevailing in the city right now, it wouldn’t hurt to come by and openly challenge that idea. Having seen people displaced for the latest incarnation of revitalization (read: YMCA closing and conversion of Colt artists’ studios to Colt “upscale living”), I have my doubts about any long-term positive effects.

Pro-Life My Ass!

At a recent Hartford City Council meeting:

Lost and Stolen Guns – The Council referred, to its Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee, an ordinance requiring Hartford gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the Hartford Police Department within 48 hours of finding that the gun is missing.  The ordinance also allows the Hartford Corporation Counsel to sue a resident of any town in Connecticut whose gun was used in a felony in Hartford and who did not report the gun lost or stolen to their local Police Department or Connecticut State Police.  A public hearing will be held on this ordinance on Monday, April 16, 2007. (Item #22)

But 48 hours seems like too much time.  I understand that in some cases, a person might not even know he has had property stolen from him, but the rules must change when there is weaponry involved. Even if the gun is used for target shooting or deer hunting, it remains a weapon. Any argument against that show delusions about the nature of guns.

With gun ownership comes responsibility. That means knowing exactly where the device that can (and often does) take away life is.

Hartford's Third Annual Earth Day Fair

Contact: Linda A. Bayer, Chair, Earth Day Committee

860-509-3710 or Htfd2000@aol.com

Hartford’s 3rd annual Earth Day Fair will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2007, from 11 AM to 3 PM, at Hartford City Hall and the Hartford Public Library, 500-550 Main Street.  The Fair is sponsored by the Hartford Neighborhood Environmental Partnership (HNEP), a coalition of nonprofits and governmental organizations working together for an environmentally friendly Hartford.

The theme of the Fair is climate change and 30 exhibitors will present information and hands-on activities that help children, youth, and adults understand global warming and learn what they can do to help solve this environmental problem.  Exhibitors include the CT Science Center, Knox Parks Foundation, the Hartford Botanical Garden’s CT Creative Store, Inner City Outings, the Hartford Food System, and Alchemy Juice Bar.  Adults, families, and youth groups are welcome.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring old sneakers, batteries, and cell phones to recycle.  The first 100 recyclers will receive a small gift.

Special events during the Fair are:

Recycling Magic Show at the Library                  11:30AM to 12:15PM

Native Animal Show at the Library                  12:30 to 1:15PM

Stilt walker and drums on Burr Mall               1:20 to 1:40PM and 2:25 to 2:45 PM

A complete list of all of the activities is available at www.hartford.gov www.healthyhartford.org or www.hplct.org or call (860) 509-3710 for more information



Spring Cleaning

Yesterday in Hartford’s South End, volunteers cleaned the litter off of lots along Franklin Avenue, including near the D&D market.

A regular crew maintains the Downtown area, but other parts of Hartford rely on individuals, independent groups, and the annual effort to clean certain areas.