At last nights Hartford City Council meeting I brought up the issue of ethics by our Mayor and Councilpeople. The point I was trying to make before Council President Torres, possibly acting through some guilt of his own and nervousness about upcoming arrests, began slamming the gavel, was this.
Most people in the city seem to be taking a wait and see attitude regarding the Grand Jury investigation, even though Mayor Perez and Councilperson Airey-Wilson have both admitted publicly that they benefitted from sweetheart home renovations from city contractor Carlos Costa. They both claim now that looking back, it was a mistake. I for one do not believe that Airey-Wilson's house was searched over $300.00 in countertops, or that Perez's house was searched to see if he took out building permits for the work. That is their version and their attempt at damage control. But lets just give Airey-Wilson the benefit of the doubt that it was over $300.00 in granite countertops. If the city contractor charged only $300 for the work, and Airey-Wilson paid the bill, ok, end of story. If all of us in the City that wanted to get the same $300.00 countertops called Costa and received the same deal, end of story. The problem arises when anyone with common sense looks at the claim and realizes that granite countertops can not be purchased for $300.00 , not even by the sharpest do-it-yourselfer on the best sale day at Lowe's or Home Depot. So therefore, any reasonable and prudent person would have to come to the conclusion that because of Airey-Wilson's political connections, she received a deal that is not available to the rest of her constituents. That is called corruption, that is called using your political position for personal gain, in most circles that is called criminal, and at the very least it is called unethical. (the reasonable and prudent person part, that's what is known as a standard for probable cause)
The time to end the wait and see attitude has come. We as citizens of Hartford need to begin removing the cloud over our city and get back to rebuilding a troubled city. Let's get people into leadership positions who actually wanted to lead, and not just benefit from their positions. The time to begin calling for the resignations of corrupt officials is now.
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?