Friday, October 24, 2008
But as I sat there and listened to Erdmann and Jim Keaney, both from the Mayor's Office, I began to think about the pending layoffs coming today, Friday. I wondered how the Mayor could face a laid off employee in the grocery store and explain why a lay-off was necessary, when at the same time the Mayor's staffer, Mr Keaney would be driving home from his $85,000 plus a year job in his $30,000 city provided SUV. How do you explain that Mr. Keaney apparently "negotiated" his SUV as a perk for his hiring contract, when at the same time some of the lowest paid employees are being laid off due to mismanagement by Perez? How do you explain to a laid off employee that their job is being cut, while at the same time positions are being created for Perez's political allies. As an example, former State Representative, Perez political "consultant" and recipient of a lucrative $65,000 consulting contract, Evelyn Mantilla recently landed a $71,000 a year job in the Hartford Health Department. Mantilla also abandoned Hartford a couple years ago and moved to the suburbs. How do you explain these actions to a laid off employee and make any sense out of it?
How do you explain laying off an employee while at the same time the Mayor and a staff member decided that the city should pay almost $3,000 for their airfare to Ireland at the onset of a budget crisis. How can you explain that someones livelihood is being eliminated while at the same time Councilmembers continue to fly around the country on junkets. One councilmember even went so far as to justify these trips claiming that is how she learned that councilpeople in other parts of the country are paid upwards of $80,000, and that is why the Hartford City Council deserves a raise.
As I spoke with a few city hall staffers at the rear entrance of City Hall, laid off employees passed us on their exit from the building carrying boxes and bags of personal belongings that they were forced to clean out of their desks, some under Police supervision. Again, I thought to myself , how could you possibly face these people and justify the layoffs.
When I thought that Eddie had reached an all time low for his actions as Mayor, I received a phone call and was asked if I had read the Hartford Courant yet. I replied no, and the caller told me to read it, quickly. When I picked it up and read about the childish antics and mudslinging on the part of the Mayor and Council President and Perez puppet Cal Torres I was furious and my belief that Hartford suffers from a total lack of leadership was reinforced. Even more so, I was aggravated that the comments regarding Councilman Kennedy's "child out of wedlock" were newsworthy. I have a lot of respect for Jeff Cohen, the reporter writing the article, and was surprised that he would even write an article with those comments in it. By luck, minutes later I crossed paths with Jeff Cohen, and made my opinion known to him. After the conversation was over, I left with a totally different opinion of the article. A cloud that had been hanging over Ken Kennedy was now lifted, and issues that had been rumoured in the community for a couple years were now out in the open. I had expressed my disaapointment to Kennedy almost 2 years ago when he was at a meeting at St. Augustine's Church, and at that time in a private conversation he explained the matter in an honest and candid way and did not try to spin the situation or lie to me about it. He did not owe me any explanation, yet he did explain the situation, and his honesty was refreshing. Ken Kennedy is someone I do not always agree with, but none the less, he is an honest man, and showed that by admitting his errors and apologizing for his actions (not that he owed an apology or explanation to anyone other than his wife and family). But as for Cal Torres and Eddie Perez, they might want to read a chapter in the Ken Kennedy handbook on being a man with integrity and accepting responsibility for your actions. The day is coming when Perez, Torres and many others, men and women, will be answering questions about their actions in regards to corruption in Hartford city government. We will see if they face it like men of integrity and accept responsibility for their actions like Mr. Kennedy did, or will we see more disgusting excuses such as when Perez's house was searched by the State's Attorneys office and he blamed it on being distracted by his wife's aneurysm and poor health.
What this city needs is leadership, not the petty politics and sniping that we have come to accept. Unfortunately we are not going to get that leadership from Eddie Perez or Cal Torres, but there does seem to be hope and promise in Ken Kennedy. Remember Ken, Hartford's motto is "After the clouds, the sun" , your cloud has just been lifted, go for the sun.
Hopefully, Hartford's next round of layoffs will be coming courtesy of the Connecticut Chief States Attorney's Public Integrity Unit, and as Cal Torres says, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander". Eddie, Cal and others, prepare to be goosed.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
And in the interest of full disclosure, I will be the first to admit that as a small business owner and resident in Hartford, I have had a very difficult time with Hartford's tax structure and carrying the city's budget on the backs of small business. Although all of my taxes are current at this time, I have not always been able to pay on time, and lost a property I owned when the city refused to enter into a payment plan for back taxes. If Airey-Wilson was behind on taxes due to financial hardship, I can appreciate that. If it was not a financial hardship and just irresponsible behavior, that is a totally different story. One needs to look no further than hartford.gov to see the struggle many small businesses and residents are facing as taxes continue to rise, Just as an example, both the Democratic and Republican Town Chairmen have faced their issues over the years with delinquent taxes, and the Republican Town Chairmen continues to be behind over 2 years on his vehicle taxes.
And Veronica, as far as your comments at the council meeting, about glass houses. I am more than willing to be honest with anyone that asks. Can you say the same? I know that at the conclusion of the Grand Jury, I won't be facing any criminal charges. Can you look your constituents in the eye and honestly say the same thing?
Also in a new position is long time Perezite and City contract benefactor Yasha Escalera. Escalera has apparently been hired to fill the position of Bruno Mazzulla, the city's former director of Property Acquisition and Disposition. Should prove interesting to see how Mr. Escalera is going to avoid conflict as his company , Dresca Construction, is apparently still doing business with the City.
And lest we think that the hiring freeze is only circumvented by the Mayor, another position created and filled this week is raising eyebrows. Councilman Pedro Segarra recently closed his law practice at 250 Main Strret in Hartford. As part of that closure, his secretary, Miriam Rodriguez, lost her job. Apparently Segarra felt obligated to keep Ms. Rodriguez gainfully employed , so a position (a new position) was created in the MIS Department of Executive Assistant to Chief Information Officer Erick Jackson. Although I have filed an FOI request to see how this position was filled, was it even posted or advertised, was anyone else even interviewed, and there seems to be many questions surrounding this "hiring freeze hire".
The following is the letter sent to MIS staffers by Eric Jackson introducing Ms. Rodriguez:
From: Jackson, Eric L.
Sent: Sunday, September 07, 2008 4:31 PM
To: Internal MHIS
Subject: Welcome New Hire
Hello everyone. By now many of you have either met or heard from our newest staff member
Miriam Rodriguez. Miriam’s title is Executive Assistant (EA) and she is responsible for ensuring that I complete many of the assignments I have laid out for myself in addition to those required by the Mayor’s office and all of our stakeholders. Miriam will work in concert with our MHIS directors, Dawn Meucci (Principal Analyst), and Monique Rodriguez (Secretary) to perform the financial and administrative tasks that make our department run smoothly and efficiently. In addition, Miriam will focus on internal and external communications such as the MHIS strategic plan, business plan, and annual report. Miriam’s last work assignment was with the legal offices of Pedro Segarra (City Councilman) where she performed in a similar capacity. I am very pleased to have Miriam join us and look forward to your continued support of management’s continuing effort to improve our service to the city of Hartford and the Board of Education.If you have not done so already, please drop by and wish her well in her new assignment. Miriam is located in the office adjacent to mine.
Eric L. Jackson Chief Information Officer
City Of Hartford, CT
Friday, August 29, 2008
Even greater though is how could someone that had knowledge they were the target of a Grand Jury investigation have the audacity to enter the race for the State Senate. Up until the story finally aired on Channel 3 and was posted on courant.com, Airey-Wilson was denying the search warrant to her supporters at City Hall according to sources. It should be interesting to ask other Council members how many of them have been notified they are also targets of the Grand Jury investigating corruption at Hartford City Hall. My sources are telling me that there are at least two others , and possibly three current councilpersons facing prosecution, and maybe at least one former councilperson. The allegations include steering contracts, financial improprieties including misuse of grant money allocated to city nonprofits, illegal tax transactions ,driveways and other construction services paid for by the city at employees homes and much much more.
But most notably, where is the outrage on the part of other officials. Is this expected so we tolerate it? It should be very interesting to see how Republican Town Chairman Michael McGarry covers this story in his "newspaper". By covering this story, will he risk his full page ads paid for by Perez's administration, the Board of education inserts and the lucrative legal notices that appear weekly in his alleged "newspaper"( I say alleged newspaper because I wouldn't want to accuse him of being a journalist if he isn't) How he handles the incident will tell us a lot about his integrity and if we should actually read his paper or continue to use it to line the litter box. McGarry should be as upset about being lied to about this incident as he was that it was initally "leaked" to the media. Yes, I'm sure these recent developments will upset his plans to take over Airey-Wilson's council seat , even if she ever had a chance of being elected to the Senate. As he told the Courant last year, he does need the city benefits.
I know I sound like a broken record, but where is the leadership? Where is the integrity?
A word of advice to those being investigated: don't discredit the messengers , accept what you have done, accept the consequences for your actions and move on. It worked for John Rowland and by most accounts , including John Rowland himself, made him a better person.
Maybe that ex-offender Commission that many have been calling for will get started and be there for you when you all are released and want to get your lives started again.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Eddie A. Perez
---NEWS AND COMMUNITY RELEASE---
(July 3, 2008)--- The City of Hartford is looking forward to celebrating the Independence Day Holiday Weekend with fireworks and family fun and will not tolerate the safety of residents and visitors being jeopardized in any part of the city whether it be through violence or threatening the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
Mayor Eddie A. Perez says, "This must be a secure and welcoming city. We will implement and enforce any and all measures and tools at our disposal to make sure people feel safe and enjoy themselves."
Two such tools are the announcement of the nationally recognized community based crime-solving program "Crime Stoppers" coming to Hartford and the enforcement of a city ordinance for public safety details at places of public amusement and extended hours wherein security and/or safety of patrons are questioned or violated.
Another safety measure and priority is the health and cleanliness of these city establishments. Citations will be issued and establishments will be closed if violations are found and not corrected. The Fire Department will also enforce all fire codes in all public assembly establishments.
Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts adds, "The brave men and women of the Hartford Police Department will uphold the law in all of our neighborhoods. We continue to reach out to our neighborhoods and business community to build positive relationships. A safe and secure Hartford is our number one priority on a holiday and everyday."
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Deputy Chief Dan Nolan, seated, center
"More than two months after Hartford Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Nolan was placed on paid administrative leave amid accusations that he offered leniency to Hartford Fire Department recruits in exchange for charitable contributions, his status remains in limbo." Hartford Courant Article, 7/2/08 http://www.courant.com/community/news/hfd/hc-hfdfire0702.artjul02,0,4971831.story
This is the height of hypocrisy, the City suspends an employee for trying to teach future city employees a sense of community by getting them involved in charitable events and public service. No accusations of Nolan benefiting from the actions, no accusations of pay-offs, just maybe using a tactic that others didn't approve of.
Where is the same standard being applied? Shouldn't we also be calling for Perez to be placed on suspension until his investigation is conducted.If the facts are truly as they are laid out here, Dan Nolan should be commended for his actions. In a society where it is all about "me first" Nolan's actions should be encouraged to teach young persons what leadership is about and a sense of community pride.
Friday, June 20, 2008
This afternoon, our beloved Mayor conducted a "press conference" accusing the Courant of promoting hate speech by allowing readers to post on courant.com. Like most of us who slow to look at accidents on the highway, I couldn't avoid the chance to view this trainwreck first hand. I wasn't supposed to know about the event, as Sarah Barr has still refused to add me to media notifications. Fortunately, over the years I have built relationships with other media people who are more than willing to forward me the notifications.
Anyway, let me get back to my point. What I saw at the "rally" was something I totally did not expect. I saw a man who was able to see the best in people at a time of crisis, a man that exhibited true leadership at a time that it is sorely needed, a man that refused to use a terrible string of events for his own personal gain, a man that spoke from the heart and not a prepared script. Before anyone thinks that I have lost my mind, no that man was not Eddie Perez. As I was videoing the event for my program, I looked behind me and saw a man standing down the street by himself under the shade of a tree. The man was Angel Arce, who's father was struck and left for dead in the street almost 2 weeks earlier. I approached Angel, who I have known and respected for several years, and asked how his dad was doing. In an emotional voice he said both he and his family were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and the comments being made by Perez were way off base. Angel stated that they have been inundated by cards and showings of support from across the country wishing his father well. Black, white, hispanic, every ethnicity you could think of, nothing racist about it at all. And when you would expect him to agree with Perez and be bitter after all that his family has been put through, a promising ray of leadership shines through. Angel stated that he's not about embarrassing people, or name-calling, but rather this is a time for the city and its people to come together. Instead of blaming the Courant, blame the individuals who ran his Dad down. Angel said that rather than grandstanding, people should be working to identify the persons who have shown the worst of what Hartford can be if we don't unite and move our city forward. I'm not sure that I could show the same forgiveness and civility that Angel showed if that was a family member of mine lying in a bed paralyzed. In a time when everyone wants to focus on what is wrong with Hartford, Angel Arce, without saying a word, shows what is great about Hartford.
Angel, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Keep being an inspiration to me and others.
And to answer the question, is the Courant promting racism?
my vote is no, they are promoting free speech. No one is forcing any of us to log on, and it seems as though there are more pressing issues for us to focus on.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
If anyone advising our beloved Mayor, King Eddie the 1st, were employed in the private sector as public relations consultants, they would surely be looking for employment elsewhere.
Maybe it is time that we as residents of the City of Hartford start demanding apologies from our beloved Mayor for his actions that embarrass and divide us as a City. Let's start with an apology for his actions that have resulted in a grand jury investigation.Let's DEMAND an apology for his "mistakes" that resulted in a search warrant being issued for his home and the resulting investigation by the Office of the Chief State's Attorney. Let's DEMAND an apology for the use of almost $100,000 for private lawyers to represent city staffers before the Grand Jury. The question arises why would they need lawyers to represent them at the city's expense, unless they are concerned about potential criminal charges themselves. In which case, I would think they should be on their own. I'm not aware of any city official being required to commit criminal acts as part of their official job performance. Let's DEMAND an apology for his misuse of funds and the lack of integrity he showed when he used city funds for his own political and personal gain and published the "Hartford Educator" and was eventually fined by the Elections Enforcement Commission. Let's DEMAND an apology for the way he has treated our Governor and soured the relationship between the people of Hartford and the Capitol. The same Governor who always comes through when we need her and help from the state level, most recently through the deployment of state troopers to our city. A deployment that was made necessary because our beloved Mayor continues to keep his head buried in the sand and deny crime problems exist in Hartford. Let's DEMAND an apology for the almost $4 million spent when King Eddie THE 1st decided to forge ahead with his inappropriate plan to build a school at the corner of Farmington and Broad Street. Spending money for site work, steel for the building and other expenses, despite warnings from the State that a school was not an allowed use for that piece of land. Let's DEMAND an apology from the Mayor for providing dumpsters and parking lot privileges to political ally Abe Giles, all at the taxpayers expense for his own political gain. Let's DEMAND an apology from the Mayor for his treatment of the Waterford Group and the Wohlman brothers, developers who were willing to invest in Hartford when others wouldn't. They built the Marriott, renovated the Hilton invested in Hartford, only to be sued by the Mayor to force a union down their (and their employees ) throats. Unions that even the employees didn't want, unions that should be fighting their own legal battles and not at the City's expense.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
For over thirty years the Republican Party in Hartford has been in a steady decline. The same leadership that has been controlling the destiny of the GOP and the membership of the Republican Town Committee for decades, continues to try to maintain it's stranglehold on it's less than 1900 registered Republican voters left in Hartford,down from a high of almost 30,000, resisting change every step of the way.
Last year's Mayoral run by J. Stan McCauley marked the first time in recent history that a Republican running for mayor was taken seriously in Hartford. Unfortunately, McCauley didn't seem to receive the support and encouragement from the Hartford RTC that one would expect from such an articulate, thoughtful candidate. McCauley was not afraid to raise issues that others , including local Republicans, dare not speak about such as corruption charges against Mayor Perez, fiscally irresponsible spending, Hartford's underground economy, better known as the drug trade, underachieving school system a tax structure that is killing small businesses across the City.
Luckily, the leadership of Connecticut Republican State Central Committee as well as the House Republican's see a quality of leadership in McCauley that the Hartford Town Committee (Jurassic Park Republicans stuck in their dinosaur ways) have failed to embrace. Through the encouragement of State Central and the House Republicans, Mr. McCauley is running for State Representative in the 4th District against Perez puppet Kelvin Roldan. For the Republican Party to survive and begin growing again in Hartford, we need to realize that our new base of voters lies in the minority communities and neighborhoods which make up the City of Hartford. Demographics change, times change and people change. If we as Republicans in Hartford are not willing to change, we will quickly come to the end of the road at which lies our irrelevance as a viable party in Hartford.
A key area to effect change in the voting numbers is through the Registrar of Voters position. Although essentially a non-partisan position, the Republican Registrar of Voters should be playing an instrumental role in motivating and educating potential voters to get them to vote, and hopefully educate voters as to what the Republican party stands for. For far too long, the Republican Registrar of Voters office has been the epitomy of patronage and cronyism and represents everything that is wrong with politics.The "good old boy network" at its best, or worst depending how you look at it. An office that has steadily and strongly resisted any change, and only got rid of its typewriters four years ago when a new Democratic Registrar insisted on computers. A Republican Registrar that told me to "get the f*** out of his office" when I suggested it might be a good idea to attend a candidates forum and try to register voters. His response before he told me to get out was why bother trying, no one registers Republican anyway. The same Republican Registrars office that couldn't even seal voting machines on time for a recent Primary, even though the Secretary of State's Ofiice provided a detailed calendar. The same Republican Registrar of Voters who just lost the funding for the Assistant Registrars position because he failed to fill a position for almost 6 months while it was empty and has now filled it, only to find the funding was cut by a hiring freeze and the new political crony will only have a job until July 1st. Also a political hiring without any job posting, advertisement of the position to find the most qualified candidate, interviews, nothing. More business as usual in the Republican Registrars Office. After watching this for the last few years, watching the incompetence, and watching the party that I enrolled in the first day I was eligible to vote, continue its downward spiral toward irrelevance, I decided to run for Republican Registrar of voters in Hartford. As myself, McCauley and others who believe that the Republican Party in Hartford can grow and be influential again, we are meeting and talking to many voters who have no idea what the GOP stands for, and as we talk about the party, people are actually willing to register and be part of the Republican Party.
No, you don't need to be a Democrat just because it's Hartford. Change isn't always easy, but in this case it is long overdue. Some of Hartford's greatest moments came under Republican leadership, and myself and J. Stan McCauley and the other "Independent Republicans" of Hartford look forward to your support to build the GOP in Hartford once again and be a part of the team working to bring about change. For more information, please feel free to watch the "Independent Republican" program Sunday's at 10:00PM on Hartford Public Access Channel 5.