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.
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'»
As expected, the deal was voted through, with no nay votes but three abstentions: Larry Deutsch (Working Families), David MacDonald (Democrat), and Raúl De Jesús, Jr. (Democrat).
Before casting his vote, De Jesús said the serenity prayer in Spanish, then English. Continue reading 'Downtown North Plan Approved'»
As the controversial Downtown North proposal goes to vote on Tuesday, there are still dozens of questions remaining unanswered, not to mention an outstanding FOIA request placed initially to Thomas Deller and Wayne Benjamin, and now to Maribel La Luz. Two camps seem to have emerged on this issue, and it’s not pro-stadium/anti-stadium. It’s those who find it reasonable to ask questions and expect thorough, detailed answers, and those who find critical thinking cringe-worthy.
We have been compiling reader questions since June. Here is what people still want to know about this project. Some reader questions were edited to add clarity:
- What details exist on the retail space and potential tenants?
- The City would be contributing land for the the construction of a brewery. Is it acceptable to use public funds to facilitate the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol?
- What would the rent be for the housing? Would this fulfill the demand for the type of housing that exists in Hartford?
- How exactly would a stadium drive development? Give details. How has this occurred in cities that are comparable to Hartford in terms of population and wealth?
- Why isn’t there a proposal without a stadium?
Downtown North Redevelopment is back on the agenda for tonight’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. This document has been prepared for the meeting:
Downtown North Redevelopment PZ 090914 V2 FINAL
Since City officials announced plans to build a stadium last June, more questions have been raised than answered. Among those questions:
- Do all parcels hold considerable market, retail, residential, and mixed-use development potential?
- Have all of these parcels been completely surveyed and do topographical maps exist for all parcels? How are developers able to do a proper feasibility study without designs overlaying the topo? Can that be done without site or land surveys?
- Did the City have a recent market appraisal done for all of the parcels?
- Are there environmental reports on all of these parcels? Are there any underground storage tanks/sewer lines at these parcels that will need to be moved? How much will it cost for asbestos remediation at 150 Windsor Street? What is the magnitude of these potential environmental issues? Who pays for environmental remediation costs?
- How much will it cost for the street realignment of Trumbull and Pleasant, along with the abandonment of Windsor? Who pays? How will this impact the flow of traffic with several nearby schools and colleges?
- Are there unpaid taxes on any of these properties? What is the City doing to collect?
- Is there a reason that the commercial developer is able to have these properties gifted? Isn’t the norm for the commercial developer to purchase the parcels they plan to develop? Is there a reason that the developers are not being asked to pay full fair market value for this land? Continue reading 'Questions Remain on Downtown North Revelopment'»
Despite the Hartford Community Loan Fund’s announcement that it was not going to continue pursuing the opening of a grocery store in Downtown North because developers and other partners felt the proposed stadium changed the nature of the environment this market would be in, a document issued to City employees this week claims otherwise.
Though other developers stepping in is a possibility, the HCLF has said that the City came to them years ago with the specific Downtown North area in mind. Research was conducted to find community-oriented partners who have experience and competence in working with urban markets.
The HCLF met with the City before the release of this document and let officials know that they could not move forward in that location so long as the stadium would be there.
BallPark June18 REV
This document also includes a hand-picked selection of news articles and opinion pieces that promote the stadium; articles containing serious questions about funding have not been included.
There have been concerns voiced by some in the community that “misinformation” about the stadium has been floating around. Real Hartford could not get questions answered at the press conference, nor were questions answered by later attempts to reach Segarra or Deller.
Here’s what’s been drafted as a lease agreement between City of Hartford and Connecticut Double Play, LLC.
City of Hartford / Connecticut Double Play Lease Agreement
There’s a bit to read.
At the press conference one week ago, Segarra said he did not anticipate additional parking. This document states that there would be “ballpark dedicated parking.”
If members of City Council have been checking their email and reading social media since the rumors of the stadium began last week, the major opposition to the project vocalized during Monday’s public hearing should have come as no surprise to elected officials.
Seventeen people spoke strongly against the stadium. There were three — two of whom are politicians — on the fence, and one business owner who seemed generally cautious. There were a total of five in favor, two of whom are politicians. Of those supporters, only three were what could be called strong supporters.
Although Segarra talked a good game at last week’s rushed press conference, we have learned that most members of the City Council only found out about this “done deal” at the same time or after the general public did last Monday.
Councilwoman Jennings said something needed to happen for Hartford’s economy to improve, but she had many questions that she wanted answers for. Monday, she asked to have her name removed from the list of those sponsoring the land transfer item.
In another interesting turn, Shawn Wooden, who spoke in favor of the stadium in the capacity as Council President at that press conference on Wednesday has revealed that his firm (Day Pitney) represents the seller of that land: Rensselaer. Monday night, he recused himself from voting on the land transfer item. Continue reading 'City Hall Dominated by Voices Against Stadium'»
Governor Malloy issued a letter to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council on Tuesday urging more “flexibility” and a delay regarding the planned changes to teacher evaluations. There was no mention of delaying or canceling the standardized testing in March; those tests are central to this issue.
This relieves stress for many of those directly affected by the policy that was pushed through in 2012, but some in the media are playing this off as politicians merely being responsive to constituents. Although the current standardized testing does not encourage this, let’s apply some critical thinking and see what evidence leads us to believe. Continue reading 'Policy Delay a Sign of Responsiveness?'»
A scene from inside Milner at Jumoke Academy, the one Hartford school that is currently part of the Commissioner’s Network
Mayor Segarra and the Board of Education could intervene any time to stop outgoing Superintendent Kishimoto from pushing an agenda that the community has loudly spoken against. They could urge her to focus on addressing the actual concerns that School Governance Councils want addressed at their respective schools. Instead, residents continue to scratch their heads over how someone whose contract was not renewed could stay on for an entire school year and wield power after being slammed on her own performance review, which incidentally, was the only review the Board of Education officially conducted for her.
In November, parents said “No” to the proposal to toss SAND School to a newly formed private management company linked to Capital Prep Magnet School’s principal, Steve Perry. Just days before that, Clark School parents said “No” to the plan to hand the public school over to the Achievement First charter school chain.
Opponents of public schooling have framed this as a grand conspiracy led by unionists; while the teacher’s union has had involvement, it has been minimal, which is plain to anyone who has been paying attention. Parents have been leading the fight against disrupting their children’s educations by closing schools.
Now, Superintendent Kishimoto is pushing for Clark and SAND to become part of the Commissioner’s Network; Continue reading 'Lame Duck Superintendent Pushing Again to Hand Over Clark and SAND'»