I know the Mayor has been critical of Hartford's employee Unions and has portrayed them as a big part of Hartford's financial problems.
The ongoing relationship ( if you can call it that) between mayor Bronin and the Police , Fire, DPW and other employee unions has not been the best.
I am not sure our finances are really as bad as they are being portrayed, and I am also not sure that the "scorched earth" decision making by Bronin is warranted. Maybe , if it is a bluff, it is time to start playing real poker and call the Mayor's bluff.
I just wonder what would happen if Hartford's Unions went to Mayor Bronin and said they seriously want to be a part of the solution. If they told the mayor that they understand the damage that will be done to Hartford's small businesses as well as Hartford's reputation by the cancellation of Riverfest and they want to help.
What if the relevant Unions offered to donate their time for the four or six hours it would take to pull off Riverfest. What is the Mayor also made a couple phone calls to some of our multimillionaire earning CEO's of a couple of our corporations and ask if they could kick in some of their pocket change to keep a Hartford tradition alive. What if the Mayor dipped into his political PAC , which as of last report was funded at close to $100,000, and kicked in $10,000 or $20,000 to help fund Riverfest?
What if the perpetual fundraiser Congressman John Larson kicked in something to support two of the towns in his district that have supported him very well over a couple of decades. Heck, we would even be willing to claim it as a political event for Larson
Maybe the Hartford Courant who ran an article this morning with a plan to move Riverfest off the river would be willing to put their money where their mouth is and help fund the event. We aren't talking millions , we are looking for roughly $100,000 between two cities
In 2012, the last year I could find on line, Mark Bertolini the CEO of Aetna received annual compensation, including salary and benefits of $13.2 million, I would guess a charitable donation for his home City would not be out of the question to continue history and tradition in Hartford. The CEO of Hartford hospital also makes a sizable salary, , maybe we could ask him to step up.
If things are bad as Mayor Bronin claims, now is not the time to drive us off the cliff, it is time to find as many partners as possible to be part of the solution. Hartford's Unions could play a significant role in that and make a huge statement of their love for Hartford by stepping forward.
I think it might be time for a new marketing slogan for Hartford. "HARTFORD HAS IT"seems to be meaning less and less everyday. We had the Winterfest skating rink. The rink was very popular for the last several years. The rink was something positive that we could draw people into Hartford with, to show that we really are a good place to enjoy. Gone under Mayor Bronin's budget cuts (there is an effort underway now to privately fund Winterfest, you can donate at https://www.crowdrise.com/winterfest-hartford-2016-2017) Hartford had it
Hartford used to have a Mounted Police Patrol Unit that was always very popular at the Winterfest Rink and other events throughout the City. Gone under the Bronin budget cuts. Hartford had it.
Riverfest, the JULY 4th Independence Day celebration, which highlighted Hartford's years of cleaning up a dirty river through Riverfront Recapture and the MDC. An event that drew thousands of people into the City to celebrate so much of what Hartford has to offer. An event that had a huge economic impact on Hartford, filling restaurants and other venues for the night. An event that drew people far and beyond just the river.
Spectators were enjoying Hartford from the lawn of the Capitol to the roofs of many parking garages throughout downtown , to the spacious lawns of Samuel and Elizabeth Colts back yard, now known as Colts Park, and just about every street and parking lot from Downtown Hartford to the riverfront. Once again, gone under Bronin's budget cuts. Hartford had it.
The Old State House...gone due to budget cuts.What is next ? Closing Elizabeth Park 's Rose gardens. Let's get rid of all of our positive attractions.
It just seems inconceivable to me that a mayoral candidate that could raise over a million dollars for his own campaign couldn't pick up the phone and raise $100,000 to save an event as beneficial to Hartford as Riverfest.
I don't know if it is all part of the effort to make it look like Hartford has finally hit rock bottom or that we are beyond hope without being able to bust our labor Unions. It just doesn't make sense to me
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