Category: incompetence

Learning Curb: Long Trail of Fail Edition

By , November 5, 2013 7:33 pm

As you’ll see, not all poor parking jobs are created equal. At first glance, this doesn’t look terrible, just slightly spatially challenged. Being a foot or so away from the curb could happen to anyone.

Anyone, that is, who drives for about eight-tenths of a mile on an injured tire and then rim. Continue reading 'Learning Curb: Long Trail of Fail Edition'»

When Every Vote Doesn’t Count in Hartford

By , March 6, 2013 7:49 am

In Hartford, the Working Families Party has displaced Republicans as the minority party on City Council. We have three Registrar of Voters because of the strength of this third party.

Knowing this makes Hartford’s recorded results from November’s presidential election seem unlikely. How can a city with a sizable progressive-minded population only have two votes for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and none at all for Stephen Durham, the Freedom Socialist Party candidate for president?

It can’t. Continue reading 'When Every Vote Doesn’t Count in Hartford'»

48 Hours Later

By , February 11, 2013 1:58 pm
Trinity Street in downtown has been plowed several times. Meanwhile, residents in the neighborhoods are still waiting for one plow.

Trinity Street in downtown has been plowed several times. Residents in some neighborhoods are still waiting for one plow.

The snowfall stopped two days ago, but residents are reporting that a number of streets have yet to see a plow. Streets described as not “open,” with open being defined “as the plow opening up the middle of road” were posted by residents on the Hartford Fire Department’s Facebook page. It is safe to assume that this is an incomplete report, as not everyone has access to Facebook.

If you want to know exactly which streets were reported as “not open” — which areas receive service and which do not — check out the map created by Real Hartford. The streets included on the map — marked with snowflake icons — were reported on Monday morning and early afternoon.

Under the Busway

By , January 25, 2013 8:07 am

Yesterday the Department of Transportation held a reconsideration hearing for the ruling on Flower Street. This was requested back in November by Timothy Wilson, the Manager of Highway Design. When the request was granted, in November, only few of the stakeholders were notified of the new hearing date; the others found out just in recent days after a FOIA request was placed, essentially forcing the DOT to make contact with those who had opposed the closure of Flower Street during the first hearing. It is unclear what efforts were placed in filing public notice of this hearing; those who were informed of it were given scant details as to the nature of the evidence that the DOT would be presenting to itself.

The conflict of interest inherent in an agency ruling on its own matters has been controversial, but not enough to force reconsideration of how this matter is being handled.

What new evidence did the DOT have that would force the closure of Flower Street to pedestrians and cyclists in addition to motorists? Continue reading 'Under the Busway'»

Deflowering Without Consent

By , August 14, 2012 12:00 pm

Dissent from Neighborhood

Not a single Hartford resident or business owner attending Monday’s special meeting of the Frog Hollow NRZ spoke in favor of the closure of Flower Street. Though the Connecticut Department of Transportation is required to hold a public hearing (August 23) regarding this street closure, the DOT spokesmen (the sole female never spoke) made it clear that they were uninterested in engaging the community in discussing the unilateral decision to further cut off Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill from one another. The viaduct began that job; the busway appears to be finishing it.

The meeting began with a presentation on the planned closure of Flower Street, though the DOT actually gave more overview of other parts of the project along with the planned construction on Broad Street, which they said could begin as early as next week. They explained, in detail not afforded to the Flower Street portion of the project, how the Broad-Asylum-Farmington intersection would be reconfigured. This segment showed serious detail to repainting lanes differently, but did not incorporate lessons from past failures with reconfigured turning lanes, as resident Jennifer Cassidy noted. This could be a metaphor for the DOT’s method of planning: be detail-oriented about one aspect while not investigating other angles whatsoever.

Outdated Studies

In their presentation, the DOT spokesmen (8-10 employees with the Department were present at the meeting, but only three spoke at any length) boasted that the Flower Street closure had been endorsed by the FRA/FTA administrations, though they did not say when this occurred.

Time matters.

They also said that they had traffic concerns regarding this area, yet the most recent traffic study completed for Flower Street was done by CRCOG — in 2006.

Cary Wheaton, the executive director of Billings Forge Community Works, along with David Corrigan, of the Frog Hollow NRZ, demanded a new traffic study be completed as there have been major changes in the neighborhood since 2006. The Firebox, a major draw, opened in 2007. The Kitchen at Billings Forge opened its doors only a few years ago. In that area, there have also been classes and events at the Studio, along with a farmers’ market — none of which were happening at the time of the CRCOG study. The Dunkin Donuts, formerly at the gas station on Broad and Capitol, moved into a space on Lawrence and Capitol. Continue reading 'Deflowering Without Consent'»

Hartford Schools Banning Media from Public Meetings

By , February 13, 2012 9:55 pm

Last week before Superintendent Kishimoto, Principal Sullivan, and the parents and community at Burns Latino Studies Academy had a meeting about the personnel changes, some members of the media received a message stating they would not be permitted inside. This ban was unevenly enforced, as some media were turned away and others not, despite being required to sign in. I, for one, openly took notes and asked questions after parents had a chance to do so themselves.

This event was advertised publicly in the Frog Hollow is Home Facebook group, inviting members of the community to attend. There was nothing in this notice indicating the possibility that this meeting could be closed to some individuals.

On February 13th, the Hartford Public Schools again attempted to ban the media from what was supposed to be a public event.

Continue reading 'Hartford Schools Banning Media from Public Meetings'»

Council Primary Candidates Forum

By , August 25, 2011 11:32 am

About half the seats were filled at the start of Wednesday’s forum; by the end, only a few dozen people remained, and many of those were candidates’ families, or, candidates running with the Republican and Working Families parties. Two of the ten Democrats running for City Council did not attend. It was a rare event that finished early in spite of many questions from the audience.

The forum provided Democrats with the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the other candidates; few bothered to do so. Instead, candidates were quick to agree with each other, rarely adding anything meaningful to previous comments; a few candidates gave rambling responses to most questions, stumping the audience as to the point being made. Continue reading 'Council Primary Candidates Forum'»

Is this what Democracy Looks Like?

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By , July 22, 2011 2:12 pm

Because the Hartford Democratic Town Committee convention did not start on time, there was opportunity to check out the fashions. Continue reading 'Is this what Democracy Looks Like?'»

Behind the Scenes at the Hartford Democratic Town Committee Convention

A large room crammed full of powerful people (and those aiming to be) dressed in red, white, and blue, with buttons and signs galore. The party casts its votes, maybe some numbers don’t match up and a recount is needed, but the endorsements get made and the evening moves on. Reporters pushing their way through to get to the newly endorsed or to those left behind. That’s the image that comes to mind, and to an extent, that is what happens. But for those who have never been to a convention and who are not politically connected, it might be eye-opening to learn that the behind the scenes “back room deals” are not so secretive after all.

The Hartford Democratic Town Committee’s convention was scheduled to begin at 5:30 on Thursday evening in Bulkeley High School’s air conditioned auditorium. We assumed that this was the fake time, which is told so that events kick off on time about thirty minutes later. Segarra’s supporters were gathered around the building’s entrance with signs and stickers at 4:30 pm. By all accounts, I thought I would be home by ten, latest.

Upon entering, we had our choice of seats. Nothing was roped off. Nobody was serving as an usher. I sat with Emily of Live in Hartford, and near reporters from The Hartford Guardian and The Hartford News, two small, local newspapers that work hard to get the story, like journalists from days of yore. We were in the second row, center, and nobody seemed to mind.

Waiting for the event to begin, we noted who was conversing with whom. Julio Concepcion, an HDTC member, stopped over and we chatted about the waves he made when he publicly questioned the 2-2-2 strategy days prior. In the audience was a young man, a teenager about to enter Hartford Public High School after attending Bellizzi. He began the evening as the embodiment of idealism. We never saw if he looked the same, or disenchanted, when he slipped out later.

At 6pm, we thought the event was going to begin when the committee announced that the little people had to move our seats:

The rationale made sense. Leave room so that HDTC members can easily access the microphone and be heard; one wonders why this was not announced earlier. One also wonders why this was even attempted, as the members were scattered throughout the auditorium, some griping that they could not hear, all the while not moving their seats, despite the vacant ones now reserved for them. Continue reading 'Behind the Scenes at the Hartford Democratic Town Committee Convention'»

Historic Property Demolition…for Parking?

By , May 17, 2011 3:13 pm

The “oh, hell no!” heard throughout Hartford today was in response to the Historic Preservation Commission’s agenda item:

I Historic Review

a. 77 Wadsworth Street — Demolition of building for the purpose of repaving the property as a surface parking lot. Applicant– Jeffrey Dressler, Owner- 77 Wadsworth Street, LLC

Let’s look at a few of the problems with this.

1. Hartford does not need more surface parking

2. This particular area does not need more surface parking. Though technically in the South Green neighborhood, it is considered by some as part of South Downtown.

View 77 Wadsworth St in a larger map
3. The City of Hartford’s adopted Plan of Conservation and Development is pretty clear about reversing the trend of creating surface parking. The part of the adopted POCD dealing with Downtown directly states, the need to “rationalize Downtown parking” by “Encourag[ing] removal of surface parking.” Not a single section of the plan under the “neighborhoods” category suggests creating surface parking.
4. In nearly every discussion that has happened involving the direction of Hartford in the last two years, sustainability has been part of the conversation. There is nothing ecologically sustainable about surface lots.
5. Tearing down an historic building entirely to create parking is shortsighted.

The Historic Preservation Commission will be meeting on Wednesday May 18th at 4pm in the conference room at plaza level — 260 Constitution Plaza. If you can not make that meeting, you can email the Director of Planning, Roger O’Brien, at or send the message to him via Lynda Crespo, Administrative Assistant. at

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