Today, to what must be the hurrah’s of many, the Courant writes:
Keep an eye on downtown Hartford. Its transformation from a 9-to-5, roll-up-the-sidewalks city center to a 24-hour clean and safe neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife is moving fast.
At the Bullish discussion, a woman in the audience commented that she had moved downtown to reduce her negative environmental impact, and discovered that Hartford keeps the party going well into the wee hours of morn. Other residents can testify on this, yet our experiences are ignored. It’s frustrating to be constantly undoing the reputation damage that the media and ignorant naysayers are inflicting every time they imply that the city is either dead or dangerous. Life’s dangerous; get over it.
I’m all for making the city cleaner and prettier, but I am puzzled as to why all the energies are going into downtown when downtown is already fine. Enough rolling out the red carpet for that special chosen demographic, who gets lured in by the promise of a 24-hour city. Meanwhile, Hartford wants to make sure the bodegas close down during the night. Is there somewhat of a contradiction here?
As much as a lot of what went on at the HPL last week irked me, I think that some important things resulted too. People are still talking about the event, the place was packed, and there is some interest in local electoral politics.
If I post about national politics, it’s a rare thing. My own political philosophy is one that includes doubt and skepticism regarding expensive campaigns and the other bullshit inherent in that game (hello, there is a reason we haven’t had a female, openly gay, or person-of-color as president yet, and that reason has nothing to do with qualification). But I think that local politics are important. If we can’t fix our own neighborhoods, we’re not going to have a chance at fixing bigger issues.
So, it’s hopeful that despite what the haters on Hartford think, residents <i>do</i> give a shit about what happens here. Maybe we don’t all agree on what is most important, or on what measures should be taken, but people do care.
Even obnoxious Perez supporters. They could have been out doing something else, but they gave up a few hours to participate in what can be tedious (but damn, get some manners between now and next time!).
Another challenge that was brought up briefly during the talk was the new voting machines. There was one off to the side which people were invited to check out afterwards. I didn’t notice if anyone did.
I found out that a friend of mine had gotten arrested last week for no reason. The official charge was trespassing, loitering, and then disturbance of peace, but from his account (which I trust), he was doing nothing more than walking home from a corner store with a few friends. Why this is bad is that there is actual crime in Hartford that could be addressed. Monday night, right before I got back from yoga, a pizza deliverer was robbed on Congress Street, which is a stone’s throw from my place. While there was law enforcement there, I kept thinking about how lately there has been a bit of actual crime in this area (robberies, muggings, and I believe a shooting last week). Actual crime, as opposed to what my friend was taken in for–hanging around an area too long and then, after being approached by the cops, being a bit of a smart ass.
But Hartford is not just a bunch of people getting robbed. If it were, would anyone live here?
Tomorrow night is the monthly Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways. In the summer, they open up the doors and have music in the parking lot. It’s always a good time.
This will be cross-posted and modified slightly for the collaborative news blog that I write for, Undercurrents.
Disclaimer: this is a very long piece of writing. But I sat in a hot and noisy room for over two hours of my life, and I am not letting that be all for nothing. I suggest that you read in small increments, and whenever the politics makes you feel like vomiting, mark your place and return later.
Rude People Flock Together
I have heard that hell is other people, but really, hell is being in a crowded room full of Eddie Perez’s people. Before that is misinterpreted as me hating on Hispanics or something, let me explain.
The Mayoral Candidates Forum held tonight showcased the rude and disrespectful behavior of many Perez supporters. Certainly, most in attendance understood how to behave in public places—clapping politely, cheering when appropriate, and showing a sense of decorum. But far too many were making loud, obnoxious comments while other candidates were speaking. There also seemed to be a cluster of anti-Art Feltman people in the audience who, though not timekeepers, called out “time” when he spoke past his alloted 30 seconds (or whatever the case was at time). They did not do this when the other candidates went over time, as all did at some point during the evening. You should not have to try to win an election by having your supporters act like bad sports and spoiled children. (more…)
…electoral politics also affect our lives. A gentle reminder that tomorrow night is the Mayoral Candidates Forum at the Hartford Public Library. If you are like me, you really just go for the free soda and veggies that are available at 5:30. It officially ends at 7:30.
If you need directions on where to park, then you’re not from around these parts.
Tom Condon of the Courant will be moderating, which should entice those of you who are fans of the Condon Graffiti that decorated the city a few summers ago.
How would people feel about an open air bazaar in the city that happened maybe once a month during the summer? There have been punk rock versions of this in the past, but something more inclusive of all crafters, artists, farmers, etc., might have a better kind of appeal and vibrancy.
Finally, we have reached the time when complaints of police brutality are taken seriously. No more need to rally the community, turn in endless petitions, and get legal action going to even win the possibility of the guilty officer getting arrested or even getting moved to desk duty.
Or is it that such swift action is only assured when the victim is the mayor’s nephew?
In other accusations of police brutality, the community has not once seen such expedient action as we’ve seen in this past week.
Let’s hope that while strings are being pulled, it’s not forgotten that the mayor’s nephew is also accused of criminal activity–and another man might have permanant damage to his vision because of it.