city council

Cops: Don’t Dish if You Can’t Take It

The horses make an appearance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Garden and Ashley on May 11, 2016

It’s been a tough few weeks for the police, perhaps tougher for those who have made questionable moves.

Budget cuts have eliminated the Mounted Police, effective at the beginning of July. A few mounted police made an appearance at the Zunner Building opening ceremony on Wednesday, where the governor, mayor, and other elected City and State politicians were present. Though well attended, the need for crowd control at this event was not apparent.

The Animal Control Unit has been significantly reduced; ACO Sherry DeGenova, who has earned the reputation of being valuable for her non-stop passion and commitment to her work, was among those cut. Responding to this decision, the community — including many people from beyond Hartford’s borders who adopted dogs that would have otherwise been killed — has marched, petitioned, filled City Hall during a Council meeting, and gone very public with its discontent over a budget cut that some are claiming will actually cost the City of Hartford more money in the long run. (more…)

Zunner Building Opens in Asylum Hill

L-to-R: Yvonne Matthews, Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association; Andrea Perreira, Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford; Lynda Godkin, NINA; Jack Ellovich, Hartford Community Loan Fund; Matt Ritter, State Rep.; Dannel Malloy, Governor

 

“Government sometimes gets it right,” Malloy told onlookers at the grand opening ceremony for The Zunner Building, a restoration project that has been, according to Lynda Godkin, 15 years in the making.

View of Asylum Hill from inside the Zunner Building, located at the corner of Garden and Ashley Street

In this case, the State of Connecticut was a significant source of the funding for what turned a 90-year old, much dilapidated building, into a refreshed mixed-use building with help from Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA).

Besides the State Housing Tax Credit Contribution Program, State Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, and Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, funding for $2.4 million renovation of 207-215 Garden Street came from the City of Hartford Fa├žade Improvement Program, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Eversource Energy, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Hartford Community Loan Fund, Travelers, Wells Fargo Bank, Connecticut Natural Gas, and ConnectiCare Insurance Company. (more…)

City Council Revisions Need Closer Look

The April 11, 2016 City Council meeting included on its agenda a resolution:

(COUNCIL PRESIDENT CLARKE II) The Court of Common Council highly encourages the Mayor to negotiate with all collective bargaining units and offers the following additional suggestions for achieving savings and generating more revenue, which suggestions are not intended to be an exhaustive list.

(more…)

Suggestion Box: Patching the Budget Hole

How we got here

The City of Hartford’s economic problems did not just happen. They did not spring up when Mayor Bronin was sworn into office. They did not emerge last year or even the year before that. (more…)

February 2016 Events

February 1

  • Witnesses to Hunger opens at 2 p.m. today in Conference Room 1B in the Legislative Office Building. They say this is a “project that uses photographs taken by Connecticut residents to bring visibility to their everyday struggles to make ends meet. These powerful images and the stories behind them reinforce the need for substantial policy change to ensure health, success, and hope for all of our neighbors. The exhibit is comprised of over 50 photographs taken by 15 witnesses from towns across Connecticut.” Some of the witnesses will be at the opening to participate in a discussion about hunger in Connecticut, along with possible solutions. The exhibit, in the lower concourse, will be on view through February 11. Free, open to the public.

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Leadership in Transition

Carlos Hernandez Chavez reads his prepared remarks at the Youth Engagement Town Hall on Saturday // Photo courtesy of Allison Holst-Grubbe

Mayor-Elect Luke Bronin recently announced that he would forgo the glitz and expense of an inaugural ball, favoring a reception only, following the swearing-in of all other elected officials in early January. In past administrations, there have been both the light refreshments and meet and greet in City Hall, and the evening wear on display in a much larger facility. The plan is for Bronin to be sworn into office following the midnight First Night fireworks.

This weekend Bronin held a Youth Engagement Town Hall at Wilson-Gray YMCA, where Hartford’s strengths, such as already existing youth services programs, were touted. Here, a resident urged others to get involved with the dozens of municipal boards and commissions, and to support the incoming mayor and provide him with ideas of what we need, saying that if we don’t advocate for ourselves, we can’t get mad at the leader for not knowing what needs attention. The takeaway from this meeting was that many residents felt that City and community resources are disconnected from each other.

A few weeks ago, Bronin created several committees and policy working groups. Essentially, these perform as ways to add oversight and transparency, along with provide more opportunity for comment from members of the public. (more…)

Ladies Rising

Photo courtesy of Wildaliz Bermudez

Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee endorsed exactly zero women in 2011. That Cynthia Jennings served on City Council beginning in 2012 was thanks to her affiliation with the Working Families Party.

The last four years must have sent a message. This time around, the Democrats, Working Families, and Republicans each endorsed two women on their respective slates; ultimately, voters opted for two newcomers,Wildaliz Bermudez and Glendowlyn Thames, along with incumbent Cynthia Jennings and rJo Winch, who previously served on City Council, but not during the current term.

Of the four women, Ms. Bermudez is also coming in as the first Latina member of City Council since the previous was elected in 1999.

Though new to this position, Bermudez is not new to Hartford or City Hall. She was moved to run out of “frustration” with “fighting things from the periphery,” namely, the baseball stadium that is currently being erected in Downtown. (more…)

Democracy in Hartford

Even with all the extra attention given to the Hartford Registrar(s) of Voters, even with the election monitor, voting has not gone smoothly this Election Day:

  • Reports of issues with machines at several polling places. Low battery before 7 a.m. at one; same issue by 8 a.m. at the Hartford Public Library polls (Downtown). Reports that the United Methodist (West End) polling place would be counting ballots by hand.
  • City Council candidate Nyesha McCauley’s supporters at Annie Fisher School (Blue Hills) spotted standing in the travel lanes on Plainfield Street, holding signs.
  • Reports of a moderator at Grace Lutheran Church (Asylum Hill) telling residents to “vote Row A”
  • Voter at United Methodist (West End) told she is not allowed to view the number on machine that indicates which number voter she is for the day. Explanation given: new policy this year. Her husband voted fifteen minutes later at same location and was able to view the number with no interference.

(more…)

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