Category: politics/government

Investigations All Around

By , December 14, 2014 4:43 pm

On Friday, Mayor Segarra announced that what he calls an “independent task force” has been created to review the fire department. This task force includes former fire chiefs — Charles Teale, John Stewart, Nelson Carter, and Edward Casares — and current police chief, James Rovella.

Segarra’s spokesperson said the task force exists “to examine the department’s command structure, its resources, firefighter training and recruitment” and will “review state, federal and board inquiries into the death of Firefighter Kevin Bell.” Recommendations that emerge from this will be made to Segarra and Hartford Fire Department’s Chief Huertas.

The creation of this task force follows a number of HFD problems, from the death of Kevin Bell to the accidental discharge of a firearm to lieutenants brawling at a site, and more. Lots, lots more.

The most serious of those — a firefighter’s loss of life while on the job — occurred in October. Continue reading 'Investigations All Around'»

Stadium to Return to Planning and Zoning, Again

By , December 11, 2014 1:21 pm

After two days of meetings — with the first lasting 7.5 hours — it was decided that the developer for Downtown North would tinker with the plan and resubmit that to the Planning and Zoning Commission. It is expected that this more detailed plan will return to the commission in late December or early January of next year and be voted on at that time.

Sparks from the Stadium: Six Months In

By , December 9, 2014 11:30 am

Street Closure

Monday night, City Council adopted three resolutions that would change three streets in Hartford, entirely to accommodate the planned baseball stadium. Councilperson Deutsch and MacDonald were the only to vote “no” on all three of these items.

What does this mean for Downtown North?

The width of Pleasant Street will be reduced by five feet for a stretch of 850 feet.

The section of Trumbull Street between Market and Main will be moved 85 feet south.

Windsor Street, between Trumbull and Pleasant, will be closed off. That’s not just during construction — that’s permanent. Seen as one of the safer north-south routes for cyclists, this closure will create some inconvenience for bicycle commuters and other street users.

Nearby Ann Uccello Street became a cul-de-sac in 2013, as did Flower Street (Asylum Hill and Frog Hollow) last year. The latter was closed for reasons related to the CTfastrak; the former, apparently, happened with little fanfare. The closed segment of Ann Uccello Street is in the general Downtown North area. Continue reading 'Sparks from the Stadium: Six Months In'»

No Position from Neighborhood Group on 68 Scarborough

By , December 4, 2014 9:00 am

Not wholly unexpected, the West End Civic Association officially backed out of any involvement in the attempt by some to evict a family from its 68 Scarborough Street home. The organization’s official message:

The WECA Board feels unable to take a position, given the legal complexities and ambiguities in the zoning regulations, around the issues on 68 Scarborough Street.

WECA has the ability to recommend policy to city officials, boards, and commissions, but is not the entity that directly determines policy. In its message, it said the group has neither the expertise nor the authority to handle this matter.

What happens next? Put the City of Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission meetings on your calendar. With or without neighborhood group recommendations, they are the ones with the expertise and authority to, as they say, address the legal complexities and ambiguities in zoning regulations.

 

December 2014 Events

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By , November 27, 2014 8:52 am

December 1

  • Getting a snack at the Kitchen Cafe at the Hartford Public Library? Show your library card during December and get a 10% discount.
  • Small Business Taxes: Local, State, and Federal. Is it something you want to do? Probably not. Is it something you need if you are running your own business? 6-8 p.m. Free workshop. University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center, 1265 Asylum Avenue.
  • Want to learn to solder? MakeHartford is hosting another intro class. They say: “Participants will learn to solder electronic components to a printed circuit board while assembling and testing a small electronic project kit. The finished project is useful for the further study of electronics and is the participant’s to keep. Instruction will include workbench safety. All tools and materials will be provided. Eye protection is required. Safety glasses are available for an additional $4.00.” There are no prerequisites. “Materials provided:  Commercially available kit containing printed circuit board and all necessary components. Solder. Liquid rosin flux. MH will also provide tools for each student (soldering iron and stand with sponge, needle nose pliers, diagonal cutters). Magnifying lens, “wall wart” power supply, and voltmeter for testing, these latter to be shared.” This $35 class is for teens and adults, 6:30-9 p.m. Confirm attendance and pay at door. MakeHartford is located at 30 Arbor Street, #B7.
  • Asylum Hill Congregation Church is holding a Service of Healing and Remembrance, in acknowledgement that it is especially difficult for those in mourning to experience the Christian holiday season. 7-8 p.m. AHCC is at 814 Asylum Avenue.
  • Venom Vintage is re-opening on 11 Whitney Street — party! Festivities begin at 7 p.m. in this art gallery/vintage boutique/community art space.
  • The Hartford Jazz Orchestra gives a free performance starting at 8 p.m. in the Arch Street Tavern.

December 2

  • The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is putting together a Renter’s Guide for Greater Hartford.  They say this is ” to help low-income and very-low-income households and individuals address fair housing and mobility issues. The guide will focus on low-income and very-low-income individuals but should also have broad enough appeal to apply to anyone who is looking to move. We believe that addressing community issues requires the help and input of community members, particularly those who are affected and could benefit from such information. For that reason we are hosting a meeting (dinner provided) at Hartford Public Library from 5:30pm-7:30pm where we are inviting community members to come and give us their input and feedback on the project.” An r.s.v.p. is requested but not required. They want to ensure there will be enough food for everyone in attendance. Contact caleman@ctfairhousing.org or call (860) 263-0728. Let him know if child care will be required.
  • Board of Education Workshop Meeting begins at the Milner School (104 Vine) at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to come listen, but there is no public comment during workshop sessions.
  • CTfastrak (New Britain-to-Hartford busway) is holding a series of open houses so that potential riders can plan their trips and buy tickets. There will be some sort of hands-on demonstration. This first one is from 6-8 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street.
  • Real Art Ways hosts its monthly Real Board Games: They provide the games (but you can also bring your own), you just show up. 6 p.m. until closing. Free.
  • Happy, Healthy Holiday Shinding: monthly healthy food meetup at ArtSpace, 555 Asylum. Bring a dish that can serve seven others. List all ingredients on a notecard (important so that people with allergies and sensitivities know what to eat or avoid). Bring own plate, utensils, and so forth. Free parking behind ArtSpace for those participating in this event. 6:30-8 p.m. Meet in the gallery space.
  • The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, Hartford Hillel and Muslim Student Organization are sponsoring tonight’s Muslim-Christian-Jewish Songfest and Poetry Evening. This event is free and open to the public. It will take place in Auerbach Auditorium of Hillyer Hall (H125) at the University of Hartford, 6:30-9.
  • This event is just over the line into West Hartford –> 92Y Talks – “Global Muckraking: 100 years of journalism from around the world”: Watch this live broadcast at Congregation Beth Israel. They say: “Columbia professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics Joseph E. Stiglitz talks to Anya Schiffrin, editor of Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism From Around the World, about a wide range of global issues from economics to journalism to politics. Selected by today’s leading journalists, the book collects gems of muckraking journalism from Britain to Burma.  Crusading journalists have played a central role in American politics. Muckraking journalism is part and parcel of American democracy. But how many people know about the role that muckraking has played around the world?  This groundbreaking new book presents the most important examples of world-changing journalism, spanning one hundred years of history and every continent.” All are welcome. Admission is $5 each. Pre-register to be guaranteed a seat: bethisrael@cbict.org or (860) 236-0580. This begins at 8:15 p.m. CBI is located at 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford.
  • Giving Tuesday: donate. Continue reading 'December 2014 Events'»

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'»

Speed of Capital Improvement Projects: November 2014 Update

By , November 5, 2014 6:26 pm

We began looking at the speed of various projects in Hartford as we noticed a serious slow down of work at the same time that we were hearing rumors out of City Hall that money was being creatively redistributed. Others can look into the latter, but as we took a peek at various projects, it was undeniable that movement stalled in the season when the weather is actually cooperative for much of the work. Now, we look again to see what has changed since early September.

iQuilt and the Intermodal Triangle

When the iQuilt was developing and the public was invited to various meetings, the impression given was that this was meant to invigorate the environment, making a more pedestrian-friendly connection from the area of Bushnell Park and The Bushnell, to the Connecticut River. Wayfinding signs have been installed and Envisionfest has finally begun attracting a respectable number of visitors, but what else?

The Intermodal Triangle Project is responsible for the sidewalk along the north side of Bushnell Park getting ripped out. Those who use the park as part of their commute have found themselves re-routed. Continue reading 'Speed of Capital Improvement Projects: November 2014 Update'»

Concern About Registrars, Years After Previous Complaints

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Though Mayor Segarra did not return comment about why the Registrars’ of Voters errors during past elections had not caused deep concern within City Hall, his public relations contact issued a statement today on behalf of both the mayor and Councilperson Wooden, announcing that the duo have “co-sponsored one resolution that will launch an investigation into yesterday’s voting issues and a second that will restructure the office of the Hartford Registrars of Voters.”

Last year voters had the opportunity to weigh in on the Registrars, but as we reported, there was little effort to translate the ballot questions into language accessible to the average resident.

The call for an investigation seems to replicate what is already expected to occur as a complaint is being filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

DoNo How to Behave

By , November 3, 2014 7:57 am

There’s no need to opine over the name of a candidate’s watercraft or the illicit affairs that an elected official may or may not be having. Those may all be indicative of someone’s character, but one truly need look only at how a person is performing in the public space to reach the same conclusions.

Regardless of what the Rock Cats’ stadium may or may not do for Hartford’s economic state, this process has shined a harsh light on the character of those who are supposed to be serving the residents of Hartford. Continue reading 'DoNo How to Behave'»

Constant Change of Plans for City Council and Committee

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By , October 27, 2014 8:33 am

A flurry of emails have been sent in recent days for City Council and committee meetings tonight:

Agenda Council Meeting October 27, 2014

Continue reading 'Constant Change of Plans for City Council and Committee'»

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