city council

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.

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September 2015 Events

September 1

Connecticut River. Really not sure what to do with yourself? Go stare at the river. Or clean it.

  • Free yoga in Keney Park at 10 a.m. Meet near the Pond House. Bring your own yoga mat/towel and water.
  • Garrison Leykam will be the featured author at the launch of Hartford Public Library’s The Author’s Table. Today he launches his book Postcards from the Highway of Life, which he says is “both a rich essay about baby boomer values as well as a wake-up call to preserve an entire generation’s identity.”  This free event will take place from 12-3 p.m.
  • West End Farmers’ Market happens on Tuesdays, 4-7 p.m., on the green near the Mark Twain House & Museum. Rain or shine. Sometimes they have live music and artists, if the bread and vegetables aren’t enough.
  • On Tuesdays you can find the Hartford Mobile Market at the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford, 1 Nahum Drive, from 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Toivo offers $5 Zumba classes! This one-hour session begins at 6 p.m. This is at 399 Franklin Avenue.
  • Real Board Games returns to Real Art Ways at 6 p.m. Just show up and play. You’re welcome to bring a game of your own.
  • Being out of town for a few days where WiFi was spotty at best, I felt grateful for having a readymade excuse for disconnecting. Tonight, there will be a discussion at ArtSpace Gallery on “Connection or Obsession: A Healthy Relationship with Social Media.” This will be a talk about what the “experts are saying about the dangers of overdoing our screen time, and we’ll strategize about ways to use these tools in the healthiest way possible.” The Healthy Potluck (bring a dish to share, list all ingredients) begins at 7; discussion goes from 7:30-8:30. A small donation is suggested. (more…)

Working Families Party, with Input from Public, Endorses Five for Council

While Democrats scrambled to endorse their slate, or, in some cases, put on a show by walking  out of a high school auditorium last month, the Working Families Party was still undecided about what route it would take. Three would definitely be endorsed for City Council, I was told, but maybe, just maybe, they would feel emboldened and run a fourth. At the time, it looked like Wildaliz Bermudez, Levey Kardulis, and Shonta Browdy would be the picks, with Larry Deutsch as the potential fourth. (more…)

Another Disorganized Convention Results in Endorsements Over Two Days

The parking lot at Bulkeley High has seen better days. Grass grows up in a handicapped spot. An empty bottle of booze sits where someone left it. The building is imposing, with few windows and no signs of joy. It looks and feels like a place one attends by force, not because it’s a center for intellectual growth that one may opt into.

With the Democratic Town Committee‘s convention slated to begin at 6 p.m., politicians, committee members, and families began to gather hours in advance on Bulkeley’s steps, some to rally for their candidates, others to avoid sitting down.

It’s not hard to stand and chat, delaying entrance to what will no doubt feel like a cage for the rest of the evening. Knowing how these go, we knew it would be inexpedient and frustrating. Snacks would need to be eaten surreptitiously, lest we get asked to leave and end up missing something. They want to preserve the auditorium’s new carpet, and who can begrudge them of that? It appears to be the only update to the room that is otherwise stuck in the mid-1970s. There’s no Wi-Fi. Outlets are hard to find. If they have any technology developed in the past 40 years, they weren’t using it, with the vote tally later being kept on a large white board that could barely be read. (more…)

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