Media Blackout

Over “Spring Fling Weekend,” several hate crimes occured, which have only been reported by the school newspaper and by the Hartford Independent Media Center. An email I sent to WFSB asking why a cracked ceiling at the U of H gets coverage, but assaults on gay students there do not has gone ignored. There has been no coverage from the Hartford Courant, Hartford Advocate, Journal Inquirer, WTNH, NBC 30, or Fox.

Meet the New Mayor, Same as the Old Mayor

That would suck, wouldn’t it? The mayoral race was hot before, but now with Perez’s own relatives doing the best they can to create the kinds of scandals that make a politician seem pretty undesirable (Perez has no control over what hid family members do, but how he responds is the important thing here), the office of mayor might be more available than before.

On May 15th, you can meet any of the mayoral candidates who have officially declared their intentions. You can grab refreshments at the Hartford Public Library around 5:30, and the actual program is supposed to begin half an hour later, ending around 7:30pm. It’s free, and a good chance to hear them answer questions live, without aid of a public relations staff.

healthcare for all

Today’s rally in the park had more people than I thought would actually come out.

And I sincerely hope that people picked up after themselves. This city hosted the rally, and has hosted many others. I’m composing (in my head) a zine called Ethical Protest, which will give activists some pointers for minding their manners. Here’s a boiled down version of what I’m thinking about:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the city you plan to protest in, finding out things like where to park, where the jails are, and where the restrooms are.
  2. Avoid fast food! Give your support to the people and businesses of the host city. (Today I saw a lot of people walking in with Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. Gasp!)
  3. Throw your trash in receptacles, or carry it out with you. Just because you don’t live here doesn’t mean nobody else does. We don’t enjoy your empty coffee cups and napkins blowing into our streets.

Thanks and have a nice day!

It's Not Me, It's Him

Elsewhere, I wrote about how annoyed I’ve been with the Mayor’s misuse of public funds. It seems that every week I get a piece of his self-promotional propaganda in my mailbox.

Well, it’s not just me having my panties in a twist over this. The Courant reports that :

 State Rep. Art Feltman has proposed legislation that would prohibit incumbent municipal officials from using taxpayer money to send campaign-style mailings within one year of an election.

Feltman is one of six Democratic candidates for mayor in Hartford. He said he proposed the new law to stop what he says is Mayor Eddie A. Perez’s misuse of tax funds “to boost his re-election bid.”

Perez has recently sent at least two mailings that would fall under the new law, should it be adopted – a quarterly report called “The Mayor’s Update,” and a promotional piece for the city’s new 311 information line. Neither violates current law, which could limit such mailings only within three months of the election.

But the mailings have brought criticism from Perez’s opponents in the mayoral election, several of whom have said the mailings are a blatant attempt to spend city money to spread Perez’s picture and campaign message.

This goes beyond Perez’s bullshit. This 311 service is bogus. Today, I tried to get information out of them regarding a dumpster in the back lot which has been overflowing for at least three weeks. The operator, polite as she was, had no helpful advice for me, even though I explained the situation several times. (Yes, I called the number on dumpster first. No, they didn’t seem to give a shit either because it’s not their neighborhood that’ll have to deal with the dirty fucking rats when they invade) Rather than working to “streamline” municipal services, perhaps Hartford can work harder on actually having those municipal services. I find it hard to believe that there is nowhere I can register a complaint about an impending health hazard.

Not in a New York State of Mind

I spent yesterday in New York City, after months of obsessing.

This was not my first time in NYC by any means. It is worth its reputation, but it gave me another bunch of things to appreciate about Hartford:

  • entire blocks don’t smell like dead, rotting chickens
  • entire blocks don’t smell like they’ve been spritzed with urine
  • our too expensive is not the same as their too expensive
  • the size
  • not having really confusing numbered streets, or streets that divide into two, but still have the same name

HPD: Donde Estas?

Last night, as seems to happen about once a month now, the neighbors had an extremely loud party. I have my suspicions that it’s actually some unpermitted dance club, judging by the sheer number of people. Anyway, the music usually starts around 10pm (last night it was 9), and doesn’t end. A couple months ago, I thought they might stop this because their party broke up when the ambulance came.

By loud music (and loud people), I mean that I can hear every word of every song, and that the dishes are rattling in the cabinets.

Around 2 a.m., the party evolved into what it usually does–some kind of fight or almost-fight in the middle of the street. The music was still going. The police were notified of a noise complaint.

As of at least 45 minutes later, the cops never went by.

I understand that this kind of thing is not priority if all hell is breaking loose, but contrary to what the fear-mongers at WFSB would have you believe, there are not kids being shot and stabbed in Hartford every single night.

There are noise ordinances for a reason–so the whole neighborhood doesn’t take their hostility to violence against the offenders when they become so sleep deprived from being forced to listen to really bad music at decibels that even earplugs won’t block.

Eight Down

The HPD recently made eight arrests and seized eight firearms, prompting the question: how many more to go?

Only one account sounded like a classic case of a kid being an idiot:

Complaint of gunshots discharged, 63 Annawan Street.

On April 26th, at approximately 8:00 p.m., officers responded to a report from citizens of shots fired in the area of 63 Annawan Street.  Within seconds, the suspect, a 16 year old Hispanic male juvenile, was apprehended by Hartford Police Officers Dave Marinelli and Rick Sarju in the rear alley of 63 Annawan Street.  The gun, recovered by Officer Ryan Rea, was located in a garbage receptacle.  The juvenile was charged with reckless endangerment first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a gun, stealing a firearm, and carrying a dangerous weapon.  His bond was set at $750,000. 

Now, if we can only do the same with others who endanger lives needlessly–namely, those who insist on talking on cellphones (with or without the headsets) while driving.

Are We Talking About the Same Event?

Either this exemplifies bad reporting, the problem with “unbiased” reporting, or both.

In this week’s Hartford Advocate, Daniel D’Ambrosio writes about the “Bullish, Bubble, or Bust” discussion in his piece titled “Signs of Life.”

His write-up sounds like he wasn’t even in the same room. Brief reports featuring sentences like the following do nothing to enlighten the public:

There was plenty of bad news to go around in the discussion–Constitution Plaza was a mistake; the city’s youth are leaving in droves because they don’t see a future here; crime is still a huge problem.

Misuse of the semicolon aside, D’Ambrosio gives no context for such assertions, and makes it sound as if those statements all went unchallenged. I, for one, disputed this idea of youth hauling out of Hartford, and even had statistics to back that up. For some reason, the writer doesn’t mention people, namely planners, knowing nothing about Constitution Plaza’s history, or why it might be considered a mistake. The talk of crime was almost non-existent. I’ve checked through my notes from the event a few times, and can’t find any mention of crime, so, I have to ask why it was big enough of a deal to the Advocate writer to even mention it.

This News Briefs section in the paper appears to be new. Maybe the Advocate should stick to what they do best: provide inaccurate dining and entertainment listings (I’m still wondering how the Alley Cat Cafe can occupy the same space as the Center Squeeze), spiteful reviews, and rants that show a complete lack of rhetorical prowess.

Discouraging Crime

Regulation of Convenience Stores Two resolutions regulating convenience stores that are open between 10 PM and 5 AM were submitted to the Council and referred to the Council’s Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee and for Public Hearing on May 21, 2007.  The first resolution requires a special permit for operation between 10 PM and 5 AM and establishes security standards.  The second resolution provides additional enforcement powers to the Police.  (Items #28 and 29)

Judging by the number of incidents reported outside of these late night/24-hour convenience stores, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to put forth a resolution. The stores themselves aren’t the problem, but give criminals an opportunity to gather, sell drugs, et cetera.