Irregular Politics

The Capital Student Mayoral Debate and City Council Forum slated for today is not promoting a democratic system. None of the candidates from the Working Families Party were invited to participate. Certainly, there are time constraints that must be dealt with, but if this is the case for exclusion, then I would suggest that planners not invite incumbents. Those already in office have a voting record that citizens can examine. After several years of employment, that record is what we should look at, not their promises.

Then, today’s Courant reports that I. Charles Mathews is asking for marshals to be present at the polls next week after some sketchy situations were reported during the primary vote.

For a democracy to work, there needs to be practices that support democracy. If that means ensuring the poll volunteers are being trained correctly, so be it. If that means extending forums to be four hours long, so be it. Our electoral system is something so half-assed, that it’s no wonder more people don’t bother.

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Voting for Adequacy

I vaguely remember a poster that was on the wall in my Creative Writing class in high school. And by vaguely, I just mean that I know it existed. It mentioned mediocrity, which none of us understood at the time. The teacher loved to explain how “just good enough” was not enough.

Helder is trying to pass that message on  to the Hartford politicians who aren’t very concerned with education or communication.

I’d like to take a moment to add to his post:

Dear Hartford Politicians,

This means you! I know that Hartford’s adult literacy rate is shameful. If a person enters the Hartford Public School system, statistically, they are more likely to leave it unable to read above a sixth grade level. With that in mind, you do not need to assume that Hartford residents will not notice gratuitous spelling and grammatical errors in your campaign literature. More than just one of you are guilty of this. I do not vote for people who can’t be bothered to send their shit through spell check.

Thanks for your time,


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Final Mayoral Candidates’ Forum

Tonight from 6-7:30 candidates will gather one last time at the main branch of the Hartford Public Library to entertain questions.

I will not be able to cover this as I have an ongoing Tuesday night commitment, but here is what will probably go down:

Continue reading “Final Mayoral Candidates’ Forum”

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…with Liberty and Street Racing for all!

Just received a press release from J. Stan McCauley who has outlined his platform/planned ordinances should he become mayor of Hartford. For your reading pleasure, I’ve emboldened the more interesting items:

Administration 1. I am going to restructure, from top to bottom, the Executive
Office Staff.

a. Literally rethinking the way the Office of the Mayor is run so that
a functional Mayoral support team is limited to 10 people.

Economic Development – Growing the Grand List, and growing jobs!

2. I will bring a Bio-diesel fuel production facility to

a. It’s a green company.

b. Provide needed jobs.

c. City diesel vehicles will be retro fitted to use this fuel.

d. Reduction of the environmental impact on our air and wetlands.

e. Reduction of lung diseases associated with diesel emissions.

3. I am going to work with state officials to make Hartford the
“Low Budget Motion Picture” and “Recording Arts” capitol of the world.

a. Provide entry level jobs and training for city residents to break
into Connecticut’s growing film industry.

4. I will lead a taskforce to establish a Small Business
Employment Tax deduction that would offset the rising cost of doing business
in Hartford due to property tax-revaluation.

a. This will help hard pressed small businesses to stay in Hartford.

b. Small businesses in Hartford hire Hartford Residents so this
translates to jobs for Hartford residents.

5. I will establish and hold the first “Hartford Annual
International Idea Festival”.

a. Searching for new business opportunities to come to Hartford using
venture capitalist.

6. I will lead a taskforce to establish the “City Employee
Housing Program”.

a. Initially for police officers and teachers so that we can recruit
personnel that will live in the city as well as provide an incentive for
city residents to apply for jobs as police officers, firefighters, and

7. I want to fast track commitments to the creation of a serious
regional transportation system that allows rapid transportation throughout
the Metro Hartford Region.

a. Transportation to and from jobs!

Education and Youth

8. I will establish the Mayor’s “Urban Education Initiative”.

a. An Executive Branch intervention program whose mission is to
provide leadership training and mentoring for Weaver, Bulkeley, and Hartford
Public High schools students.

9. I will establish the “Young Women Empowerment Initiative” that
will be headed up as a volunteer effort by the First Lady.

a. This is a pregnancy prevention program that focuses on the serious
consequences to school age youth that engage in sexual activity.”

b. The seriousness of this issue can not be understated!

c. School violence, low grades and a host of other issues can be
linked to this.

10. I will establish youth “Neighborhood Recording Studios”.

a. This is a very comprehensive youth empowerment program designed to
give talented young people around the city the tools needed to succeed in
the recording arts.

b. 3 song demo deal released after a “back to school” summer talent

11. I am going to implement “Citywide Block Camps” – for summer

a. Certain city street would be closed off for the city youth to have
activities on their streets with a mini stage for performances.

b. Staffed by volunteers from the neighborhood.

Crime and Public Safety

12. I am going to establish a regional anti-drug program in
conjunction with Federal, State, Local law enforcement and area community

13. I want to move forward my anti-crime initiative.

a. Under 2 for you! – Reducing the police response time down to two
minutes for urgent calls.

14. I am going to start my “Ex-offender Training and Apprenticeship

a. “The One for One Flip” to regain our neighborhoods.

b. Provide entry level jobs and training for city residents to break
into Connecticut’s growing construction and building trades.

15. Create a skateboard park for Hartford and regional youth.

16. Create the “Greater Hartford Riding Range” – for Pocket Bikes,
Mini Bike and ATVs.

17. I want to establish a taskforce to look into street racing
permits so that the L Street drag strip would be a safe place for the
Saturday/Sunday auto and bike races.

a. Fire safety, health, and other concerns would then be addressed by
having inspections on the vehicles entering.

Respecting the judgment of my fellow citizens as I seek their mandate for
reform, I hereby pledge my name to this Contract with Hartford.

So, maybe it is all fun and games. I’d be curious to see if any other candidates can match him on the skatepark and legalized street racing. You know, you can battle crime, poverty, and pregnancy via intense, punitive measures, or you can address these things by creating positive alternatives. I don’t know about anyone else, but the kids in my neighborhood wouldn’t suffer from having some additional creative outlets.

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The Fear Campaign

Perez sent out an enormous postcard that does nothing more than appeal to people’s sense of fear. On one side there is this creepy, almost Halloweenish-looking picture. It depicts a door, slightly ajar, with a view of the night sky. The equally Halloween-style text reads: “We can’t afford to go back to the way things were….” On the reverse side, the text reads: “When I. Charles Mathews was in charge, there were twice as many crimes in Hartford as there are today. Don’t turn back the clock.” Next to this– a blatantly misleading crime statistics chart.

He documents only two years, one in which Mathews presumably affected crime, and then one from 2006. This is misleading. If you look at a more detailed chart published by the Hartford Police Department, you can see that while there was a spike in crime in 1991, it dropped off sharply from there. You might also note that the dramatic decline occurs before Perez’s own tenure.

This postcard is nothing more than a desperate attempt at a smear campaign.

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I spent a few days up in Provincetown MA for the Norman Mailer Society conference. I’ve been going since the NMS began five years ago, though the inaugural conference was held in Brooklyn. It’s really the closest thing that I get to any vacation, and since it’s the off-season, the rates are more reasonable, the streets are less crowded, and the weather is closer to enjoyable.

Provincetown, I keep saying, is a place I’d love to retire to, when all of my work here is done. Money aside, I just could not envision living in a place like Provincetown, Northampton, Asheville, or even Portland, where a liberal community is already thriving. To me, it seems like an easy way out.

As ideal of a place as it is in many ways–beautiful views, middle-of-nowhere, small town (in winter), thriving art community, anything goes gay community, and cultural events almost constantly–there are two things that have not sat well with me. Continue reading “Provincetown”

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Hartford International Film Festival Fundraiser Friday

This Friday evening (7) at La Paloma Sabanera the Capitol Cinema Collective will be screening the LoRes 2007 Film Fest to benefit the Second Annual Hartford International Film Festival (11/8-11/11/07). The LoRes 2007 Film Fest consists of 15 shorts filmed in Hartford.

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One Question…

we can ask is why some candidates are given preferential treatment over others at events that are supposed to be non-political anyway.

Another question we can ask is why the hell Columbus Day is still being celebrated at all. Are people really that nostalgic that they can ignore the genocide part of Columbus’ legacy, or is it that torture is back in Vogue?

It’d be more respectable to stop with this Columbus crap and just have an Italian pride day. Celebrate the culture, not the criminals.

Continue reading “One Question…”

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Hartford: Not Dead

A letter to the editor in today’s Courant claims:

Mr. Springsteen managed to bring more than 16,000 people into downtown Hartford this past week to eat and drink at local businesses and celebrate on what would have been an otherwise dead Tuesday.

And while it’s true that The Boss got people into the city for the evening, this author makes two assumptions that are false–

1. I’m not convinced that a majority of these visitors supported local businesses. Continue reading “Hartford: Not Dead”

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no.mad II opening

We just got back from the opening reception at the Design Center Building at 1429 Park Street. The exhibit was much larger than I expected, and very, very cool. My only criticism is that many of the pieces were not labeled well, so I had no way of figuring out who the artist was or what the piece was called.

The photo is of an installation called “Flank” by Sarah Foley, an alum of University of Hartford (art school). It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the piece is a world map arranged in different configurations on plexiglass and wired to be about eight feet in the air.

Also in the exhibit: a shaking lamb, high heel art, a modified piano, an enormous pumpkin pie, and dozens of other art objects.

There is an afterparty tonight from 8 until 2am on the first floor of the building. There’ll be breakdancing, burlesque, music, video art, and food.

The gallery will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 pm until the closing reception from 3-6pm on October 28, 2007.

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