Councilperson Deutsch holds a level
Councilperson Larry Deutsch held a Stanley level to demonstrate the need to keep politicians “on the level.” Then, he showed a brass union to call attention to how union jobs are a good fit for the city.
The frequently outspoken elected official said he had been promised five minutes to speak before the crowd of nearly 300, but was later told he would have to sign up and take a one- or three-minute spot like everyone who was not Mayor Segarra or Thom Deller.
Deutsch arrived prepared with hardware props and a list of seven questions:
- what, exactly, will be the full-time union or living-wage jobs for Hartford residents?
- will the mayor’s administration and team owners commit to a signed community benefits agreement regarding a fund for school and park improvements, blight remediation, community centers, and more?
- can there be a binding and secure guarantee for residents and taxpayers for full repayment of all City expenses — from consultants to construction to publicity — if the owners decide to relocate the Rock Cats before the lease is up?
- how will there be compensation for workers and small businesses that depend on the stadium games if the team leaves before the contract is up?
- who exactly will pay for police overtime and Department of Public Works sanitation?
- why haven’t Hartford taxpayers and City Council been asked what they want for downtown and he rest of the city before spending money to plan and put out proposals for a stadium?
- how will workers losing jobs in New Britain be treated?
Neither Segarra nor Deller had answers to his questions.
Few answers were provided for anyone’s questions. Continue reading 'City Officials Blow Opportunity to Inform Public, Answer Questions'»
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'»
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'»
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.
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'»
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.
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.
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'»
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'»
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'»
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?'»