Category: commentary/editorial

Suggestion Box: Films in the Filth

By , June 24, 2015 1:00 am

45 Evergreen Avenue. City-owned lot

Forget the free movies in the parks.

Here’s an idea. Feel free to run with it. Continue reading 'Suggestion Box: Films in the Filth'»

Election Season: Debate in the South

By , June 12, 2015 10:36 am

left-to-right: Luke Bronin, Joel Cruz, Jr., John Gale, Giselle Jacobs, Robert Killian, Mayor Segarra, Lew Brown

Cognitive dissonance: when a candidate goes to a debate for south neighborhoods — set in one of them — and proceeds to claim that this part of the city gets advantages that the north end does not. Continue reading 'Election Season: Debate in the South'»

Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions

By , May 14, 2015 9:39 am

“Why isn’t the mayor here?”

That was the first question asked by an audience member, before the official time for questions began — before anything really began — at the Business for Downtown Hartford’s “Candid Conversations” event. Continue reading 'Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions'»

CTFastrak: A Seat-of-the-Pants Review

By , March 30, 2015 8:43 pm

Part One: Frog Hollow to Firefly Hollow

Photo by Christopher Brown

A friend had suggested a Sunday morning meet-up at the downtown New Britain CTFastrak terminal for a leisurely bike ride to Bristol’s Firefly Hollow Brewing Company. I rode my bike to the Sigourney Street Fastrak station in Asylum Hill to catch a free ride to Hard Hittin’ New Britain. A woman in a bright vest offered a decal and advice about the best entrance to use when loading a bike on the bus. (Tip: there’s a bike pictogram by the rearmost door—go in that way) Continue reading 'CTFastrak: A Seat-of-the-Pants Review'»

Hartford’s Plan to Make City Attractive for Young People

By , February 18, 2015 7:04 am

As dirt was piled on top of frozen ground, destined to be “broken” for a project that had been declared done before any consultation with the public, and as distraction-upon-distraction was thrown at residents on an evening utterly overloaded with City meetings, a group of young(ish) professionals were told they do not belong here.

Without an inspection being conducted, residents of 68 Scarborough Street received a cease-and-desist order last year because their definition of family does not mesh with that of those living around them. Continue reading 'Hartford’s Plan to Make City Attractive for Young People'»

Neo-Puritans and Political Sex Scandals

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By , February 9, 2015 7:48 am

Note: This was written in October 2011 in anticipation of a mayoral candidate’s decades’ old personal history being released as a way to fling mud. It has sat dormant as a draft until now, since that “news” was just published elsewhere. I will be providing no links to that material and will let this piece speak for itself. Continue reading 'Neo-Puritans and Political Sex Scandals'»

Suggestion Box: More Festive Winterfest

By , January 2, 2015 7:56 am
Winterfest is no longer a brand new thing. There has been time enough to iron out the kinks, yet, kinks remain. Since June, residents have been essentially ordered by the mayor to dream big, so here are some modest-sized dreams for improving upon what already exists.

Gimme Shelter

The rink has already been closed several days this season when it has been cold enough for ice to exist, but the skating surface got wrecked by a little drizzle. Extreme cold, extreme heat, and monsoons should close down Winterfest for a day now and then, but a little rain shower should not. A temporary canopy over the ice rink would provide shelter for skaters during light rain and would extend ice time. When severe storms are predicted, that canopy could be taken down and stored. We know that access to one of these exists — it has made appearances at Envisionfest.

At the very least, the Winterfest powers-that-be could redirect those wanting some public skating time to use the year-round indoor rink inside of the Koeppel Community Center on New Britain Avenue on days when the outdoor rink is closed. Continue reading 'Suggestion Box: More Festive Winterfest'»

Most Best Awesome Superlatives of 2014

By , December 22, 2014 10:07 am

There are people who hate year-end lists because it sounds like the creator is putting out some clickbait while spending his days going to Christmas parties.

We’re using this opportunity to review the operation of the city and the City– what helped to build up Hartford and who needs to have a time out to think about what he has done. Continue reading 'Most Best Awesome Superlatives of 2014'»

Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time

By , November 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Interracial marriage was not permitted in many states during the early 1960′s. In fact, anti-miscegenation laws existed in the majority of the United States through the middle of the last century, allowing for racism to dictate the nature of marital and intimate relationships. The Supreme Court struck down those laws in 1967.

A few years later, the push for same-sex marriage began. Again, hateful legislation defined marriage in a way that includes some, while excluding others. It took a few decades for this movement to take hold, and there has been much backlash along the way, as one can witness through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and the incessant verbal diarrhea from pundits. In 2010, one state began to fight against the federal government’s restrictive definition of marriage. Many others followed. Same-sex couples can not be legally married in the entirety of the United States yet, but there is no doubt that opinion has shifted toward that happening eventually.

Sometimes the law is wrong. When it is wrong, we are obligated to recognize that and change it. These are, after all, civil laws, not God’s laws.

Hartford

The West End is currently looking at what appears to be an outmoded law:

The purpose of the R-8 district in the city is to provide for and protect single-family residences sited on a lot having a minimum area of twelve thousand (12,000) square feet. The R-8 district provisions encourage the future development of these very low density residential areas for primarily residential purposes by prohibiting conversions, roomers, most institutional uses and all business uses.

On the surface, this might look sensible. Who wants factories or prisons in her backyard? Zoning can be useful in that way.

All of Scarborough Street is zoned for R-8 use (see above). The language is seemingly vague. What does “primarily residential purposes” mean? On this street, in the same zone, a property is owned by the University of Connecticut. In an article the Courant ran on this, there was no mention of neighborhood opposition to what is used as a place for donor events. The Wadsworth Atheneum owns a property on the street. So does Jumoke Academy. Two properties are owned by trustees, another is a land trust. There are two churches operating on Scarborough Street. This leaves 21 other properties, one of which has been on the market for several years.

The issue at hand is 68 Scarborough Street. Continue reading 'Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time'»

Suggestion Box: Bike to Shop

By , August 19, 2014 5:05 pm

A possible destination east of the Connecticut River

The purpose of Bike to Work is to encourage people to use bicycles more than automobiles. The intentions are good, but the event feels like a poor fit for those who work something other than first shift, work at home, or work in a direction opposite of the gathering place. It serves a purpose, but it is only one way to get butts on bike seats.

Here’s an alternative: Bike to Shop Day(s). This already exists elsewhere — California, to be exact — as an annual event. Here are ways it could work here.

Bike to Farmers’ Market Tour: Gather in Bushnell Park by carousel (1-6miles): A slow and easy ride for less experienced cyclists who can get tips on site for securing their produce. Tour should feature a farmers’ market that is hosting live music or when a festival or health screening is planned. Distance changes by which market is featured. Continue reading 'Suggestion Box: Bike to Shop'»

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