Hartford Goes to Boston

It’s my birthday so I’m going to my first Red Sox game today. I always lie about my age, so don’t ask…but I’ll say that it’s shameful that I’m only just going to my first game now.

And since it’s my birthday, I’m going to play the Queen for the Day card and ask people to stop whining about parking in Hartford now…the parking rates are being reduced. There’s also that smelly, large hunk of metal called a city bus.

Dangerous Intersections

Too busy for a school, but not too busy for a memorial.

It would be nice if the memorial, instead of being the predictable stone slabs, would instead be a gigantic garden park. You know, to make up for the destruction of this space over the last year. Trees, shrubs, and flowers would be a nice contrast to the steel and concrete of I-84 and surrounding buildings.

Hartford City Council Meeting: June 11th

On the agenda tonight (among other things):

  • repairs to Asylum, on section from Main to Trumbull. Part of this is road condition, and part of this is lighting.
  • safety measures for convenience stores– requiring at least two employees on grounds between 10pm-5am and requiring the construction of a safe space for employees. This would not happen in all convenience stores, just those where crime is routine.
  • call for the creation of the Public Art Advisory Committee, and the adoption of the Public Art Ordinance within three months
  • reduction of parking rates

Nothing to Do in Hartford

On June 21-23 and 28-30, HartBeat Ensemble will be performing The Pueblo, a bilingual play at Trinity College. The play:

explores the changing politics of Latin America and how that affects people in North America.  Known for such socialist leaders as Chile’s Salvador Allende and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Latin America now has a new wave of such socialist leaders as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua., who see themselves as  “leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution.”

HartBeat Ensemble offers more than mere passive entertainment. Their plays ask the audience to consider relevant social issues in a way that transcends binary thinking.

Living Under Rocks

Anyone who thinks Connecticut is a liberal hotbed hasn’t tried bringing up the issue of civil rights lately.

The Courant describes it as Transgender Rights Bill Loses Momentum, but it seems more like people with no imagination putting on the brakes.

“Our classrooms have to provide the best educational opportunity for our students,” said Republican Rep. Kevin Witkos, a police sergeant from Canton. “Do you honestly think young people will be able to concentrate in the classroom if their teacher is dressed in clothing of their opposite sex? I think not.”

Do you honestly think young people concentrate on anything in schools these days?

But seriously, when those of us who can be role models start behaving as such, schoolchildren will not feel inspired to act like assholes toward transgender teachers. That idea can be applied to other cases too. Parents can start teaching their children to accept and respect others who might be gay or female (and when I stop hearing “pussy” used as a slur, I’ll believe we’ve reached that point). I don’t believe that Brown vs. Board of Education made people automatically accepting of integration, but the law and society had to work together. When the people with the power to change laws are too cowardly to do so, I must question the part of the anthem that says, “home of the brave.”

But wait, there’s more:

State Rep. Arthur J. O’Neill, R-Southbury, questioned how the provision might be applied in cases where students come to school dressed in clothing of the opposite sex and in cases where a boy might want to play on the school’s girls’ basketball team.

“Would the school district be obligated to let the student go to school dressed in that way?” O’Neill asked. “Where would the boy shower?”

Didn’t Title IX clear all of that up?

That “boy” would shower where every teenager or child who was feeling awkward about his/her body anyway would shower– in the empty stall way before or after everyone else. I’m really thinking back to junior high and high school on this one, but I personally never shared a shower or changed directly in front of anyone else. I know a lot of others would change in bathroom stalls to avoid being seen. Maybe the guy’s locker room is a different place, but I’m guessing that a male-to-female transperson might not be totally identifying with machismo culture to begin with here–just a guess.

Sounds like some people need to get educated.

Hartford 2010 Blueprint

Press Release:

(June 4, 2007)— The City of Hartford and the MetroHartford Alliance will present the third and final phase of the Hartford 2010 initiative — the blueprint to sustain the Capital City’s unprecedented growth and revitalization.  This press and community event will take place tomorrow, June 5th at 11:00 a.m. in City Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 550 Main Street in Downtown Hartford.  Mayor Eddie Perez, Oz Griebel, president and CEO, MetroHartford Alliance, Andy Bessette, chairman of the board of the MetroHartford Alliance, and Ken Greenberg of CBT Architects will take part in this presentation. A presentation for the community only will also take place tomorrow at 7:00pm at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford, with Griebel and John Palmieri from the City of Hartford.  Future neighborhood rollouts will also be scheduled to answer any additional questions.

Hartford 2010 is “The Framework” that will build on the considerable accomplishments of the past five years by the City and the Alliance and is designed to attract additional private investment in the City to make the region more competitive in the global economy while providing a great place to live, work, and play for residents and visitors alike. The framework reflects the entire community’s vision for a dynamic, livable, healthy, and economically vibrant Capital City.  It successfully builds on Hartford’s natural, economic, cultural, social and physical assets that include its compact Downtown, relationship to the Connecticut River, major educational institutions, transportation infrastructure, key employment concentrations, and energetic residential neighborhoods.

I’d be interested to hear from anyone who decides to go to this.

Northland Investment Corp.: Smarter Than George W. Bush

…not that that means anything.

In the paper today, Northland rep, Coursey, expressed what it seemed to take forever for the developer to figure out–people would rather spend a shitload of money on something they’ll get a return on, than throw it away on an apartment.

 As his staff continues to lease out the 262 apartments at Hartford 21 – they recently rented their 100th unit, making the tower 38 percent occupied nine months after it opened – Gottesdiener is slowly working with the city to get between $5 million and $10 million in funding for the Jewell Street project. The original plan included 200 condos and 100 apartments. The current plan targets only those people who want to buy: 250 condos and 30,000 square feet of retail.

“At this stage, it’s all condos,” Coursey said. “There’s a lot of rental product on the market right now. There’s not a lot for sale. What we’re finding from a lot of people at Hartford 21 is that there are people that do want to own something downtown.

They can spin the Hartford 21 debacle all they want– only having half of the units rented, at this point, in Connecticut’s capital city shows failure. But the old YMCA site is more troubling, as the homeless who’d been living there will be displaced. At least the only loss with Hartford 21 was a dungeon of a shopping mall.

I hope that Jeffrey Cohen simply made a typo when he wrote:

With more than 40 stories of residential units built atop the old home of the downtown YMCA, a glass tower of luxury homes alongside Bushnell Park, it’s the kind of image that enthuses city enthusiasts.

City enthusiasts? Did Cohen perhaps mean city developers?

Crime Numbers

Here are the crime statistics for the period of Jan. 1, 2007-May 12, 2007 (and same period during 2006) in Hartford. This chart is a simplified version of the one found on the Hartford Police Department website.crimestats.gif

When the mainstream media (and even the alternative media) report on crime, it is usually in a way that is sensational. Graphics and music often make the crime seem more dramatic, and something more threatening than it is–most violent crimes are committed by a person who knows the victim.

Furthermore, certain areas are made to look like war zones, when the truth is that crime happens everywhere. On a recent trip to New Hampshire, I grabbed a copy of The Gilford Steamer. That’s the title, I shit you not. Gilford is a small town, that the police log for May 8-14, 2007 was published. They actually printed and broke down what the 231 calls to the police were for. Mostly, it was small town stuff (underage drinking), but they had their fair share of problems–assault, drugs, harassment, larceny, criminal mischief, domestic, and endangerment of youth.

If all the smaller towns and suburbs were to publish every last criminal account, maybe Hartford’s reputation wouldn’t be so tarnished, and maybe any time Hartford’s own violence did make the news, people wouldn’t blame the victim by accusatorily asking what the victim was even doing in the city.

If you tally up all of the arrests made to date in 2007, and divide by the number of days in period (132), it comes out to roughly 40 arrests made per day.

Update

Sometimes there is really nothing to report on.

 I will admit to smiling at the news last week that WFSB got flooded. Too bad that the water damage will surely cause a problem for any potential future tenants of the space when they relocate to Cromwell or Rocky Hill or wherever in a few months.

As for the violence of Hartford that everyone seems to count on, there were some teenagers having a verbal melee in my back lot a few minutes ago. After standing by the door and giving them the evil eye for a minute, they dispersed. No shots were fired. Nobody was stabbed. If their little scuffle (most likely over some dumb teen crap like boys) advanced and got anywhere near my freshly planted flowers, the outcome might’ve been different.