Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

EDDIE PEREZ MAKES "TIME" MAGAZINE....AND NOT AS MAN OF THE YEAR




Once again Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez has made our city proud. Perez is profiled in Time Magazine under "2009 in Mugshots" along with his alleged co-conspirator Abe Giles. Both of their mugshots can be found by clicking here:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HPD BOOKING ASSAULT UPDATE- RASHIM CAMPBELL'S ARREST WARRANT AFFIDAVIT

For those who follow the blog, it was first reported here about the alleged beating of a prisoner by two Hartford Police officers while in HPD custody.

Here is the arrest warrant affidavit submitted by Hartford Police that resulted in the arrest of Rashim Campbell and the facts laid out that led to that arrest.
Campbell Arrest Warrant Affidavit

THERE ARE GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN HARTFORD



The main sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church on Sigourney Street, pictured above, was used Monday to host a day of remembrance for homeless people who have died on the streets of Hartford in the past year.

The event was sponsored by numerous faith based organizations and groups that provide services to Hartford's homeless population. The event was well attended and included the reading of the names of those who have died and a candle being lit after each name was announced. After the ceremony, a turkey dinner was served to all who attended.

One of the things that surprised me though was who wasn't there. There seemed to be an even mix between clergy members, volunteers and homeless people. Councilman Deutsch and Councilman Cotto both were in attendance. No other council members were there, no Mayor Perez, no other elected officials that I recognized,no State reps, no State senators, no one I recognized form the Downtown Business District, which encompasses Trinity's neighborhood. (remember how vocal they were when they thought the homeless shelter proposed for downtown would kill their businesses?)

Not surprising though was the absence of the media. Susan Campbell from the Courant was there as well as a Courant photographer. Not one television station was there though to cover a positive event happening in Hartford. Not surprising though was later that night when a suspected drug dealer died while being arrested two blocks away, the coverage by all the stations was quick.

It just makes you wonder if all the "media professionals" we have employed at City Hall are really interested in projecting a positive image of Hartford.

Friday, December 11, 2009

UPDATE- OPEN AND TRANSPARENT

UPDATE, 12/11/2009, 7:30PM

When Jeff Cohen at the Courant called me about this today, he said he had apparently recveived a tip about my taxes not being paid on my vehicle. I told him I had just received the notice in todays mail from Taxserv, showing a past due amount of $122.38, plus $11.00 interest and a collection fee of $17.99 for a total of $151.27. The notice was dated December 4, 2009 and was also sent to my old address

I didn't argue the point, the taxes are due, end of story and they were taken care of immediately. I sent a check to Taxserv for $151.27

For those that read this blog, I have made an issue of Councilwoman Rosezina Winch's mother, Prenzina Holloway's taxes and the fact that she has been driving her vehicle unregistered since March 1, 2009 because she couldn't register her vehicle with the taxes due. I never made an issue of the taxes until the Courant reported on it.

It doesn't take a super sleuth to figure out where the information given to Cohen came from. The interesting part is that Nadine Muhammad, Holloway's daughter and Winch's sister, who also happens to work in the Tax Office, decided today to pay her tax bills dating back a couple years. According to the City of Hartford website, Nadine Muhammad paid her past due taxes in the amount of $2011.82 today, December 11, 2009. I wonder if she did that before or after she and her sister sent the e-mail
to Cohen.

Now if you can only get your mother and your sister to pay their taxes. As of today Councilwoman Winch's past due taxes are $505.46 dating back at least 2 years,her mother's taxes total $2738.82. A payment of $801.00 was made toward Holloway's taxes when the tax collector seized a check issued to her by the city for work in the registrars office. The Tax Collector seized the check on 11/27/09.

As a sidenote, Nadine Muhammad is also the mother of De'Quan Muhammad who was recently arrested on charges related to the stabbing death of UConn football player Jasper Howard.

OPEN AND TRANSPARENT

Since I have made a point of drawing attention to others and their outstanding tax issues, I just wanted to be the first to say that I received a past due motor vehicle tax bill from Tax Serve for $151.00. The bill was sent to the wrong address and made it to me eventually with the yellow forwarding sticker. Even though I moved over a year ago and changed my address with Motor Vehicles, apparently the City of Hartford still has an incorrect address.

I will say though that my vehicle is properly registered and the check has already been sent to TaxSERV.

For anyone wishing to make an issue of it, feel free. I know how to admit when I'm wrong and take responsibility.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

THE VERDICT IS IN, NOW WHAT?

My phone has been ringing most of the afternoon, ever since word began circulating that a verdict had been reached. I didn't even have to ask what verdict, almost everyone knew "THE" verdict was in. Immediately law enforcement officials were warning officers that the "media" was out in force, so show ultimate restraint in dealing with any issue that might arise. Others streamed out of the court shouting and being vocal that the verdict was wrong. And if that wasn't enough, apparently all other business at the court was suspended. That apparently was done to protect others in the court if tempers flared.

The first question that came to mind was why any of the above was necessary? The shooting of Jashon Bryant was a tragic event, but unfortunately what led up to the shooting and the subsequent events for the last four years are just as tragic. I have many friends in law enforcement and I know I will take some heat for the next statement, but here goes. Should any police officer have to be told to act differently when television cameras and the media are present? My first instinct, based on the police officers I know, would be absolutely not.

But then again I am not friends with Officer Lee and Officer Campbell who are the exception to the rule after they allegedly beat a prisoner in full view of video cameras. No media present, but with full knowledge that their every move was recorded, they still committed abusive acts, oh yeah, allegedly.

The irony here is that while the States Attorney's office seems to be protecting abusive cops and delaying arrest warrants for at least two, and denying an arrest warrant for another off-duty officer involved in a videotaped beating in a bar, oh yeah, allegedly. This while at the same time prosecuting Detective Lawlor. I guess the message that the community is seeing is that you can beat people and it is not a problem, but if you kill them expect problems.

The decision to prosecute Lawlor was made under a different States Attorney at the time, but it still raises questions as to the standards maintained by the current Hartford County States Attorney as to keeping officers in check. Is there a degree as to how hard you kick a prisoner while they are handcuffed on the ground before it becomes criminal? Or is an assault an assault, period. How many times do you have to pummel a bar patron in a bar fight before you break the law?

Before I get too far off track, my point is this. Is it any wonder that the mistrust between the community and police exists? The shooting of Jashon Bryant was a tragedy, but the greater tragedy is the reaction of many in the community. Many factors played into this and we could second guess and analyze the issues for the next twenty years and probably not solve them.

How did Jashon Bryant get to the point where at a young age he was involved in a life of guns and drugs. Was it only a matter of time before he experienced violence in a city filled with guns, drugs and shootings? Did the community, church leaders, government officials and family members fail Bryant, as well as all the other victims of drug violence in the city and across this nation?

And the police, do they understand the importance of community relations and building that trust that forms the bridge to the community? Not every officer is a rogue cop and I would be naive to think that Hartford doesn't have it's share of bad cops. Cops such as Campbell and Lee prove that point, oh yeah, allegedly. But actions by the States Attorney don't build any trust with the community either, they only further the point that bad cops get protected.Whether that is true or not, it is what the community sees

The night that Detective Lawlor made a split second decision and fatally shot Jashon Bryant will affect Lawlor and everyone else , including us as a community, the Bryant family and the Hartford Police Department for many many years to come.

Unfortunately Jashon Bryant paid dearly for Detective Lawlor's decision, but a jury has decided the outcome, hopefully based on facts and circumstances presented during the trial. Only two people really know what happened in that parking lot that night, and one of them is deceased.

The tragedy here will really be if we just wait for the next Jashon Bryant and Detective Lawlor type incident to occur. It is inevitable I guess in a city like Hartford that it will occur again. Unfortunately, I keep going back to the issue though of a total lack of leadership in Hartford, and this incident is another prime example.

I understand that Mayor Perez spoke today with the Greater Hartford Ministerial Alliance urging them to keep their congregations calm after the verdict. Shouldn't that discussion have started the day after the shooting? It seems ridiculous to start the conversation possibly minutes before the verdict comes down. This should be a day in and day out conversation between the police and the community.

All anyone has to do is listen to the "don't snitch" policy to understand that relationships between many neighborhoods and the police are strained at best and non-existent at the worst. Unfortunately, some police officers just don't get it when it comes to "community policing". It is not just a catchy phrase that has become politically correct, it needs to become a philosophy taught and driven home everyday to every member of the police department. Any officer that doesn't understand that every member of the community is a shareholder in this philosophy, should not be on the streets of Hartford.

With that being said, members of the community need to realize that this is a two-way street. Police can not solve crime on their own, but community members also need to have that basic trust and relationship with police to know that in working with the police all parties are respected.

I'm not sure how it will get started, but honest and open dialogue needs to start to build trust between the community and the police. That wall of mistrust needs to be broken down, and it needs to be a real discussion without all of the politically correct rhetoric. Call it as it is, and if feelings get hurt, so be it.

Getting the community involved and being a partner in crime fighting might just be the first step in letting criminals and thugs know that we are taking back our streets. Serious law enforcement efforts and a community response might have let Jashon Bryant know that criminal behavior wouldn't be tolerated and to find a different path than the one he was headed down. A real working relationship with the community might have also not put Detective Lawlor in that parking lot making the unfortunate decision he was forced to make.

As a city, if we continue with police/community relations as they are, we are destined to repeat more Bryant/Lawlor type encounters and splitting the city even more. Everyone needs to be involved, police, community, so-called city leaders, church's, schools, everyone.

In the meantime, the Hartford County States Attorney needs to step up and send the message that police abuse at any level will not be tolerated. It might just be the first step in building that trust with the community.

OFFICER LAWLOR VERDICT IN - NOT GUILTY

Friday, December 4, 2009

FORMER HARTFORD ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF MICHAEL FALLON PASSES


After an extended battle with cancer, former Hartford Assistant Police Chief Mike Fallon passed away earlier today. Fallon was currently the State Capitol Police Department's Chief, moving into that position after retiring from HPD.

No arrangements have been announced yet.

Although the Chief and myself had our differences at times, we were also able to work together at other times. Anyone that knew Chief Fallon knew that he was definitely someone that insisted on professionalism from his officers and that was always reflected in his appearance. From what I have been told, he was a tough boss, but he was also responsible for many members of the department advancing up through the ranks under his "mentoring".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

IS HARTFORD GOVERNMENT ACTUALLY WORKING ?


For the last month or so both here and on Cityline on Courant.com, the yellow hummer and the "hiring" of its driver have been a hot topic. Myself and others questioned the hiring of someone found guilty of voter fraud to work in the Registrar of Voters Office.

As more of the information regarding Prenzina Holloway became apparent, her yellow Hummer and its outstanding taxes of almost $4000.00 played a key role in the conversations. Then came the information that because of the outstanding taxes, the vehicle registration had expired and could not be renewed until all of the taxes were paid. Ms. Holloway was apparently driving the vehicle unregistered since the end of February when her registration expired.

Both here on this blog and at Council Meetings, myself and others suggested that Holloway was not a city employee, but rather a vendor working for the city at election time. That fact gave the Tax Collector, Marc Nelson the right to take any payments headed to Holloway and apply them to her back taxes. Apparently that happened a week ago Monday, when Holloway received what she thought was a paycheck, but instead received a letter from Nelson.

In his letter, Nelson advised Holloway that her check was being applied to her oldest taxes as payment. Apparently dropping the name of the Mayor and a Councilperson didn't influence Nelson, and the check was withheld. For those that follow this blog, I had issues with Nelson that were previously posted here. But as much as I point out critical points, I will also point out when someone is right.

Congratulations Mr. Nelson for doing your job, in what must have been an instance full of pressure to look the other way. Maybe "business as usual" for the old political guard is really coming to an end. The jury is still out on that one, but Nelson's actions show there is hope.

The icing on the "corruption-free" cake came today at about 1:30PM. Even though Holloway apparently knew her vehicle was unregistered, she continued to drive it. Keep in mind that a yellow Hummer is not an easy vehicle to blend in with traffic. I would think most people would immediately find a way to pay the taxes and register the vehicle, or park it in the driveway until it was legally able to take back on the road.

Not Prenzina. The vehicle was regularly driven with the expired registration with what appeared to be no concern for the repercussions of breaking the law.

Well, that came to an end today when Hartford Police officers conducting traffic safety enforcement noticed Ms. Holloway driving with no front license plate. She was stopped for that violation and upon further checking, the officer's realized the yellow Hummer was unregistered. Rather than tow the vehicle, Holloway was given the courtesy of driving the vehicle to her driveway. Hartford Police officers removed the unregistered plate, issued Holloway the appropriate tickets and advised her not to take the vehicle out of her driveway until it is properly registered.

Anyone want to place bets on whether the vehicle goes on the road unregistered?

Maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of a new style of government where who you know just doesn't cut it any longer. Or, on the other hand, people might be getting tired of being embarrassed when the corrupt activities are exposed.

UPDATE : HOW LONG CAN YOU DRIVE AN UNREGISTERED VEHICLE ON HARTFORD'S STREETS WITHOUT THE HARTFORD POLICE DOING THEIR JOB ?



Apparently 264 days and counting.

UPDATE November 23, 2009, 267 DAYS AND COUNTING

UPDATE DECEMBER 1, 2009 And we now have the answer, 275 days. HPD took the yellow Hummer off the streets today, ticketed the owner/driver and seized the unregistered plates at about 1:30PM today, Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CENTER CHURCH HOMELESS SHELTER INFORMATION

The proposed homeless shelter at Center Church in Hartford has stirred a lot of controversy. According to media reports there seems to be a couple different versions as to what is being proposed for the site. Is it an "overflow shelter" when other locations are full to capacity? Is it a "no freeze" shelter used when certain weather conditions exist? Is it a regular shelter open every night from December 1st through April 1st?

The answer seems to be the latter according to information sent to members of Center Church. The informational documents are below and seem to cut through a lot of the "spin" and layout what the congregation members of Center Church have been told, as well as the timeline.

First Church of Christ Shelter Info

A COURTHOUSE RALLY FOR THE RIGHT REASON

Most of us recall a "prayer rally" that was held on the steps of the Hartford Courthouse by Mayor Perez after one of his court appearances. I think most people thought that was very inappropriate.

Tomorrow another rally is being held on the steps of the Hartford Court for a much different reason. After the recent shooting of Hartford Police Officer Michael Bodner, comments were made to the media that suggested the police officer might be better off dead, and I'm paraphrasing there.

After reading on-line today that four police officers were essentially ambushed in a coffee shop in Washington state and were shot and killed, it drives home the difficult and dangerous nature of police work today. I think most people would agree that the Hartford Police Department is less than perfect and we would like to see even more improvement. The question though is where does the fault for that lie? My feeling is that it lies in a lack of funding on the part of city hall, resulting in a lack of manpower and a lack of appropriate resources dedicated to public safety in Hartford.

The attached press release from the Hartford Police Union outlines the details for Monday's press conference at 9AM at the court at 101 Lafayette Street.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
RICHARD RODRIGUEZ
PRESIDENT, HARTFORD POLICE UNION
860-548-1435

NOVEMBER 25, 2009

HARTFORD –
PRESS ADVISORY
.

Every day, Hartford police officers face dangerous situations as they protect Hartford’s citizens from its most violent criminals. After two recent violent attacks on police officers by convicted felons, including one incident in which Officer Michael Bodner was shot in the line of duty, the Hartford Police Union has scheduled a press conference to make the public aware of the growing threat to public safety.

This Monday, November 30, 2009, at 9 a.m. at 101 Lafayette Street, the Hartford Police Union is calling upon all members of the community -- including concerned citizens, fellow police officers, and elected officials and representatives from throughout the state -- to stand united in support of Officer Bodner and all other police officers who put their lives on the line every day.

This press conference is being scheduled after friends and family members of Officer Bodner’s assailant appeared at the assailant’s arraignment on November 12, 2009 and made inflammatory and divisive comments outside the courthouse. Some tried to justify the shooting of a police officer.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2008:
• 58,792 police officers were assaulted in the U.S.;
• 41 officers were murdered;
• 68 officers died in accidents while performing their duties.

In Hartford, 20 percent of the officers have been assaulted in 2009 alone.

Hartford Police Union President Richard Rodriguez said that the press conference is intended to show that Connecticut will not tolerate an assault on the rights of police officers. The Hartford Police Union will call upon the state Legislature to pass legislation mandating severe minimum sentences for those who assault police officers once convicted.

Monday, November 23, 2009

LEW: DON'T YOU GET DIZZY SPINNING SO MUCH ?

Apparently the truth bothers many people in the Mayor's Office and in the Council Chamber's.

I got a couple of phone calls Sunday that I was a topic of conversation on the "Abe Gile's Show" on WKND radio. But the interesting part was that Lew Brown, the assistant mayoral mouthpiece, was calling in questioning why the Courant would report on Rosezina Winch's trip to Texas (see courant.com/cityline , Traveling Winch).

Brown, who once exhibited journalistic integrity before joining the staff of one of the most corrupt administrations in Hartford history, questioned why the Courant would use a "campaign manager for a mayoral candidate" as a source. Apparently Rosezina (courant.com/cityline, traveling winch) also called to chime in and once again justify her trip.

For those who don't recall, Winch lied at least twice to the Courant about the cost for her trip. Once I posted the requisitions she submitted for her trip on this blog and after Council President Cal Torres informed the Courant that "Brookman was right, Winch is wrong", Winch finally came clean and said the trip was more than she had admitted.

But back to Lew "spin it" Brown, the truth is the truth no matter where it comes from. In the words from a famous movie quote, maybe "You can't handle the truth", but it still is the truth.

And a little bit more background, the people who call me with this information are people who know the difference between right and wrong. All too often lately it seems that everyone paints City Hall with the same wide brush. Luckily there are many people at City Hall and throughout city government that still have the integrity that I once thought Lew Brown had. Lew may have sacrificed his, but a lot of people still want to do the right thing.

Keep the calls coming. If they have to spend time discussing me on a radio program, we are definitely doing something right.Unfortunately, if they only put as much time into doing the right things as they do covering their tracks, we'd be in a much better spot.We are making a difference .

DAN NOLAN LABOR BOARD HEARING UPDATE

Hartford Fire Department Deputy Chief Dan Nolan was scheduled to begin his mediation hearings today before the State Labor Board. Although opening statements were made by both side, that is about as far as it got before being recessed until December 11, 2009.

In an ironic twist, the City of Hartford's star witness was not available to testify at the hearing. Assistant Chief Parker was injured at home over the weekend and was unable to attend. The veteran firefighter apparently fell off a step ladder at his West Hartford home.

I know we keep hearing our Mayor say that "justice delayed is justice denied" as he faces his criminal charges. Does the same thinking apply to Nolan's charges?

TIME FOR MORE TRAINING SUSAN

According to City Hall sources, Hartford's computer system has contracted a virus. This has rendered many of Hartford's in-house computers useless since Friday. One city hall source told me this afternoon "we haven't been able to do anything since Friday because of the virus".

Many city departments were at the payroll office today manually inputting employee payroll records since most that had been entered into the system were not able to be accessed in time to cut checks for this weeks deadline.

According to Hartford's Chief Information Officer Eric Jackson, a "worm" began infecting City computers last Wednesday and spread steadily last week and over the weekend. The "worm" apparently is resistant to anti-virus software and is what Jackson called "self replicating". The worm apparently also blocks paths to anti-virus websites to keep the updates required to remove or block the worm from being accessed.

Jackson said removing the worm is a "very manual intensive process". Efforts to remove the worm are ongoing. Jackson further said that no one using the city's website, hartford.gov, is in danger of contracting the "worm".

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CHIEF TEALE MAKES A CHOICE- ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT


At the end of last Saturday's posting regarding Dan Nolan, I made a comment that Chief Teale can't have his integrity and his job while working under this administration. I said it was time for Chief Teale to make a choice as to which was more important.

Apparently Chief Teale has made a choice. In an abruptly called staff meeting at 4:00PM today at Fire Headquarters, Teale announced his retirement after 28 years with the Hartford Fire Department. Chief Teale's official last day with the Department will be April 4, 2010. No information is available at this time how much vacation or accrued time will be used before that date.

The following e-mail was sent to all department members:

-----Original Message-----
From: Chance, Ronald J.
Sent: Thu 11/19/2009 4:44 PM
To: Fire Dept
Subject: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM CHIEF TEALE

All members and employees of the Hartford Fire Department please be advised that
I have decided to retire. My final working day is currently scheduled to be
April 9, 2010 leaving 4 months and 20 days for us all to prepare for a new chief
of this department. I would like to thank all of you for what will be at my time
of retirement 28 years in this department and 10 years as chief. Thus far it has
been the most defining time of my life and a truly rewarding experience.




Sincerely,


Chief Teale

Saturday, November 14, 2009

TWO GREAT WEBSITES AT CT.GOV


The State of Connecticut seems to be working to provide much information to web users in a user friendly manner. One of the sites that I have started using regularly and which has proven invaluable is the State of Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission website, on there you can view candidates campaign filings outlining all of their income and expenditures, here is the address:
http://seec.ct.gov/eCris/DocumentSearch/DocumentSearchHome.aspx?seecNav=|

Have you ever wondered who had the best deal on rent for their campaign headquarters ? It looks like Hector Robles ($568.87). Have you ever wondered how much David Medina, Matthew Hennessey and Calixto Torres have donated to Kelvin Roldan's exploratory committee "Roldan for CT"? If you want to see who bounced checks to "Roldan for CT", that is there also. Interested in how much John Fonfara's campaign paid his campaign Treasurer, you can find the info here? (over $6,000).

Would you like to see how much former State Representative Evelyn Mantilla has been paid as a "consultant" for various campaigns. (I'll leave you in suspense on that one, but it is a big number, not including all that was paid to her by the Perez Campaigns). And don't forget to check out the Giles reports. How much did Abe Giles pay to himself for rent and use of phones as well as how much of his donations came from Georgia?

It's great reading, now if only the City of Hartford took the same step toward transparency.

Another site that was recently upgraded and is a great resource for parents is the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry. click here to go to the Department of Public Safety Registry site Before using the site though, be sure to read and agree to the terms and conditions. Keep in mind that it is illegal to use information from the website to "harass or commit a criminal act against anyone on the registry".

The new mapping portion of the website puts the location of registered sex offenders into perspective. As an example, put in the address 34 Sequassen Street, Hartford, CT 06106. This is the address for the River Street School. You will most likely be amazed and, somewhat nervous, as to the number of sex offenders within 3 or 4 blocks of several Hartford Schools. In case you are wondering, 43 registered sex offenders in close proximity to several hundred students.

When you enter an address the map shows you the location of any registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. Click on the names on the right hand side if you would like further details, including the offenders picture, name and other information.

Another great feature is to "register for e-mail alerts". If you would like to receive an e-mail alert if a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood,sign up and you will receive an e-mail from the Connecticut State Police

I'M GLAD I'M NOT A PARENT IN HARTFORD



I'm sure you are asking yourself what that picture has to do with this post, I'll get to that eventually.

About a two years ago I sat at an MDC meeting as the Commissioners debated the re-appointment of MDC Chairman William diBella. DiBella had been under Federal investigation and had been found guilty of numerous civil charges and ordered to pay more than $791,000 in fines as the result of Federal charges of Fraud. At that hearing, MDC Commissioner Kevin Deneen made a very passionate presentation in opposition to DiBella's re-appointment.

Commissioner Deneen, a Windsor Attorney and someone I have known since childhood, asked how he would explain the MDC Commission's actions to his children. I'm paraphrasing here but Deneen asked how do you explain to a child that it is not ok to steal, when they ask essentially isn't that what Mr. Dibella did?

I was driving in downtown Hartford this past week and I came by the old YMCA and the Memorial Arch when I saw the sign shown in the above picture on the front of the building that houses Blackeyed Sally's and the Pig's Eye Pub. Now I'm not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought the sign was totally in-appropriate for not only downtown Hartford, but for any public area.

What's next, will the Holiday Inn Express next door put up a sign "Bring Your Whore's Here- Special Discount Rates" ? In light of the City of Hartford apparently finding bumper stickers critical of President Obama unacceptable, what stand will they take on this?

The more I thought about it though, I wonder what messages we are sending to our young children. I think that most people would agree that raising a child anywhere these days is a difficult task, but in urban areas the task is even more challenging. Many children in Hartford do not have the benefit of a strong male, (called a father in most areas)to guide them. On top of that many have a single mother working 2 or three jobs to make ends meet.

Now add to that what some consider a failed education system that graduates 3 out of 10 students from the Hartford School system. Throw in the pressure of drugs, gangs, gun violence and crime. Not a great recipe for success.

Now throw in the example society sets. Kevin Deneen was right, how do you explain a William diBella to your kids? How do you explain a Mayor that has been arrested twice already to your kids? How do you explain to your kids the Police Chief and Superintendent of Schools standing by the Mayor after he's been arrested? How do you explain to your kids the reason to obey the law when a so called "community leader" drives her Yellow Hummer for almost a year unregistered?

And how do you explain to your kids what is socially acceptable as far as language to use? It must be difficult to explain to a kid why not to use a word when they point to a building and see the same word in three foot high letters. "Mommy, why is it OK for them to say it?"

And we wonder why we have the problems we do. Mr. Mayor, please do your job and let the owners of Pig's Eye Pub know this is not the example we want to set for our kids.

Am I over re-acting? Let me know. And by the way, that sign runs the entire length of the patio at Pig's Eye, it is probably 12 feet long by about four feet high

IS THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX IN JEOPARDY ?



The above picture is the front facade of the old Hartford High School and intended to be the front of the new Hartford Public Safety Complex. The large open area between the right portion and the left portion is one of several areas of the building that have collapsed


Although a couple of groundbreaking ceremonies have been held for the "new" Public Safety Complex, it may be further behind now than it was at the first groundbreaking ceremony several years ago. For those that travel in the area of the construction sight, High Street has been totally closed to traffic, apparently due to the collapse threat of the remaining structure.

As anyone who has viewed the site. the brick exterior walls of the old Hartford High School were saved to form the exterior of the new complex. At a cost of almost $3,000,000 (yes, that's millions) steel support beams were used to shore up the walls in an attempt to keep them structurally sound.

Apparently that investment wasn't a wise one as large portions of the walls have been collapsing. On Saturday, a source familiar with the project said that the rest of the building may have to be razed and the project redesigned as a totally new structure and new design. This would render the majority of the current design work useless.

As of the last groundbreaking, statements from the Mayor's Office indicated that funds were in place for less than one-third of the $80,000,000 price tag. That figure seems irrelevant now as any new design work will only add to the final cost unless the project is scaled back to reduce costs.

As any one familiar with the Perez Administration knows, "cutting spending" or "reducing costs" is not a term used in their vocabulary.

APPARENTLY IT'S NOT ONLY THE HARTFORD FIRE DEPARTMENT EMERALD SOCIETY THAT SUPPORTS DAN NOLAN




After this last posting about the bumper sticker controversy and Dan Nolan being banished from public events, the comments, e-mails and phone calls started within about a half hour after the blog post went up on-line. I went back and looked at all the comments and e-mails from the beginning and it seems pretty clear that Dan Nolan's case stirs up some pretty strong opinions.

No other postings have brought out the same number of comments. Not when Eddie Perez was arrested (twice), not when taxpayers money is squandered by a traveling Councilperson, not even when two police officers are accused of police brutality, none match the volume of comments on Nolan.


Although most of the comments are pro-Nolan, I think the facts of the case pretty much speak for themselves. At a Connecticut Labor Board hearing later this month, hopefully the facts will become clearer. At that hearing the veil should be lifted from this termination as all of the facts become public and people are obligated to testify under oath.

One of the major questions I have that will be hopefully answered is how this all got started and who was the driving force behind it. From the documents uncovered through an FOI request earlier this year, it seems that the Hartford Firefighter's Union President Vincent Fusco was the first to send a letter of complaint to the Hartford Fire Department administration based on allegations from an anonymous source.

After requesting the investigation, Union President Fusco seemed to change sides and wrote about the "damage" that the suspension and investigation was doing to Nolan's reputation. Now, the same Union that initiated the investigation is handling Nolan's defense, under the guidance and direction of Fusco. I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel about that if I was in Nolan's situation.


Although I would prefer to fully provide both sides on an issue, the Fire Department Administration won't talk. The Union President won't return calls or present their side. The Corporation Counsel won't return e-mails or phone calls. Some people are willing to talk as long as their names aren't brought into it. Union "leadership" that I have spoke with tried to defend the Union President's actions, until they saw the letters side by side.

They spoke of issues of "liability" if they didn't report "anonymous" complaints against Nolan. If one tenth of the "tips" that have been relayed to me, many of them that I have looked into and found to be accurate, are true, the Union and the Fire Department have much greater liability issues than Dan Nolan.

Where does the Union stand on the letter sent to Nolan's union attorney banning him from Fire Department events? And how does the Union leadership feel about the Corporation Counsel attempts to manipulate law enforcement to discredit Nolan. A source familiar with the police investigation told me that it was very clear that the City wanted a prompt investigation and the arrest of Nolan before his Labor Board hearing. That didn't happen and the investigation has been closed since there is no probable cause for an arrest.

That indicates to me the City is desperate and knows their case is weak, and most likely won't stand up to scrutiny. For the Corporation Counsel to push such an agenda is shameful. But then again, Cheif Teale told me a couple months ago, I was bering used by Nolan.

Issues of drug use, alcohol use, firefighters routinely not showing up for work for days in a row without notifying anyone, arrests of firefighters for thefts and child pornography all raise serious questions. Where has the union been on all of this and does the pattern of discipline for those acts compare to the punishment for Nolan?

I guess that is an issue for the Labor Board to decide, and even after they render a decision, I can almost guaruntee that won't be the end. If this adminstration has their way, no expense will be too much and this case can drag on for years until the courts decide, or until a Mayor with a conscience is elected and people like Nolan, Clarence Corbin and others are given an apology and an offer to return to work.

In the meantime Chief Teale, just a comment to you. Under the Perez Administration you can't have your job and your integrity. Make a decision and choose which one is more important to you

Thursday, November 12, 2009

HARTFORD FIREFIGHTERS: LEAVE YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS AT HOME


I received two separate calls this week about activity taking place under the control of the Hartford Fire Department Administration. Both of these incidents make me wonder if anyone in the Chief's Complex at Fire Headquarters has read the US Constitution.

The first incident involves a firefighther who had two bumper stickers on his personal vehicle. One read "Obama bin lyin, Impeach now", the second read "Somewhere in Kenya a Village is missing it's Idiot" and in the center of the "o" in idiot is the circular logo that was the trademark of the Obama campaign.

During the evening of his shift on November 10, 2009, Mike DiGiacomo, the firefighter, was approached by Hartford Fire Assistant Chief Milner. Milner informed DiGiacomo that he could no longer park his vehicle in the firehouse unless he removed the stickers. Apparently, Milner told him, someone had complained about the stickers and it was creating a hostile work environment. The stickers don't appear to be threatening or obscene, just merely expressing a view point that the firefighter was unhappy with President Obama. It brings to mind all the negative Bush stickers that were trendy toward the end of the Bush years.

Being able to slap a bumper sticker on your car and voice your opinion is a basic civil right, I feel, awarded to all of us whether you agree with the message or not. I think we call that freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Chief Milner advised the firefighter that this matter had been discussed with the Firefighters Union and Hartford's Corporation Counsel and both agreed with Milner's order. If the union agreed, I am surprised. Calls to the Union office have not been returned.

If the Union agreed though, what might be next? Maybe an order to remove all IAFF stickers and emblems from members cars if negotiations don't go well and the City becomes upset. Maybe telling a firefighter he can't wear a crucifix because an atheist firefighter doesn't like the message it sends?

Neither Chief Milner, Corporation Counsel John Rose or Union President Vincent Fusco have returned my calls.

The second incident involves Hartford Deputy Chief Dan Nolan, who was terminated by Chief Teale. That termination will be the subject of a Labor Board hearing November 23, 2009.

I posted a lot about Nolan's termination, and at the risk of sounding like his PR agent, I'm going to post more. I still believe in right and wrong.

Let me start by saying that when I spoke with Nolan about the incidents, I made it clear that I thought he could have handled the situation differently, but everyone has their own style of dealing with issues. The first incident began when Nolan crossed paths with another Deputy Chief from the Hartford Fire Department, someone who played a part in Nolan' termination. The Chief approached Nolan and acting as though nothing had ever happened, said hello and asked how he (Nolan) was doing. Nolan responded with a prompt "Go f**k yourself". That comment seemed fair since they had already done it to him.

The second incident occurred at a retirement party at a downtown restaurant. During the party, someone asked for everyone to be quiet because Chief Teale was going to speak. Nolan responded the people he was with "f**k Chief Teale". Although Nolan's comments may have not been the best choice and may be socially unacceptable, the last I knew this is still a free country and poor taste isn't a crime.

On October 19, 2009 Nolan's union attorney received a letter from the Hartford Corporation Counsel's office. The letter is posted below. Essentially the letter threatened Nolan with possible arrest as "the City of Hartford has referred this matter to the Hartford Police Department".

Nolan readily admits to the statements, but both Nolan and other sources have confirmed that there were no threats or anything else said, other than the remarks quoted above

The letter also states that the second incident "occurred at a Fire Department sponsored retirement party". I am more concerned about that statement than I am about Nolan's comments. Is the Hartford Fire Department actually "sponsoring" events at a bar where alcohol is served? If so, what liability are the tax-payers of the City of Hartford taking on for anyone leaving a "Fire Department sponsored" event.

The part that makes me wonder if the Corporation Counsel and Fire Department administration understand what "freedom" means is in paragraph two.The letters author writes " we would like to remind your client that he is not allowed to enter fire department property or to attend any department sponsored events such as: retirement parties, memorial services, graduation or promotional ceremonies.". How do you forbid someone from attending events that are open to the public?

Hartford Police Department sources did confirm the existence of an investigation at the request of the Corporation Counsel's office. The source also stated that no evidence of any criminal violations was found after several interviews, including Chief Teale and Nolan himself.

I can understand that he can't enter fire department property if that means going inside a firehouse. Other than that, the rest is fair game and I would be interested in knowing how they intend to keep Nolan out of public events. I would imagine any action to keep him out will only add to his eventual settlement before a jury.

Finally, Ramos, the attorney from the Corporation Counsel's office, insists that Nolan "desist from uttering any disrespectful comments against his former supervisors". I've always been told that respect is earned, not demanded. In the entire Nolan case, I can't find anything that would seem to earn the respect of Teale
Milner or Parker. The entire situation has been handled poorly by everyone involved from the Chief on down to the Corporation Counsel and even the Firefighter's Union leadership and like I said in the beginning, I don't think Nolan used the best judgement either. But in the end, I guess that's what juries are for.

We do still live in a free country and actions such as these should be offensive to anyone that believes in freedom. I may not agree with Nolan's language at that time and place, but people have fought and died for his right to say it. Nolan is one of those people that has willingly stepped up and to this day defends his country by his military service. After serving in other countries, I would imagine he knows what our freedoms mean to us first hand.

And Dan, if you don't watch the language we will have to give you a time out in the corner. That you scare you about as much as the Corporation Counsel's empty threats.

Requests for comments were made to Chief Teale, Chief Milner, Corporation Counsel John Rose and Union President Vincent Fusco. As of this time......no comment.



























0.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

WHAT LED UP TO THE LATEST HPD INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION ?

On Saturday I posted the information regarding an Internal Affairs Investigation into officer's actions inside the Hartford Police booking area. The incident involved a suspect who was being held after his arrest on Breach of Peace and Interfering with police charges. The facts of that incident seem pretty clear and don't seem to be in question.

The problems seem to have started on 11/1/2009 at about 0300 hours (3:00am)when according to Officer Rhashim Campbell, the suspect in custody, Michael Stewart, attempted to flood his cell. Campbell and another officer, according to Campbell's report, were trying to relocate the suspect to another cell when the suspect allegedly tried to strike Campbell.Campbell claims they were attempting to restrain Stewart when Stewart bit him on his right ring finger.

Although Campbell's report seems to paint a clear picture of the incident, apparently the video of the incident presents a different view according to sources. The HPD investigation continues and the two officers involved have been suspended.

I spoke with Michael Stewart earlier today by phone and he declined to comment on the incident.

The initial incident reports are posted below. Other documents will be posted as they are obtained.Some witness info has been redacted for confidentiality purposes.

Hpd Stewart Reports

ROSEZINA'S BIG ADVENTURE- THE TRUTH, THE DOCUMENTS


Winch on the right, photo from Cityline


It was disclosed on this blog last weekend that Hartford City Councilperson Rosezina Winch (rJo) has traveled to San Antonio, Texas on the taxpayers dime. Jeff Cohen from the Courant (http://courant.com/cityline) began questioning the trip. In at least two interviews with Cohen, according to his reports, Winch insisted the cost of the trip was only $1400.00.

During the first interview Winch commented that I "needed to get a life" and that I was wrong, the trip was definitely $1400.00. After I posted the actual numbers for the trip, Cohen contacted her again and she repeated that the cost was $1400.00 and apparently told Cohen that "I don't know where he got that number from".

The answer is quite simple, I got my numbers from public documents that Winch submitted to have the trip paid for. Winch may not be able to tell the truth, but the documents do. Look at the documents below and decide for yourself who is telling the truth.

The credit card authorization form for her hotel room at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, TX for $1569.12 ($261.52 per night).The National League of Cities registration confirmation form for $800.00. Expedia flight confirmation for Northwest Airlines and return flight on American Airlines, $279.40. And this figure doesn't include her meals or reimbursement for sunflower seeds. (yes, she has billed the city in the past for buying sunflower seeds on a trip)

GRAND TOTAL - $2648.52


And as a credit to Cohen, I like his postings title and have named the documents the same

Traveling Winch Documents

Monday, November 9, 2009

ROSEZINA'S BIG ADVENTURE, UPDATE #1


Earlier today Jeff Cohen at the Courant posted on his blog (Traveling Winch at http://courant.com/cityline) referencing my entry about Hartford Council Majority Leader Rosezina "rJo" Winch's taxpayer funded trip to San Antonio,Texas at the taxpayers expense. This occurring in the middle of a budget crisis at Hartford City Hall.

Jeff contacted Winch in Texas for her comment on the trip. Her response was that "Brookman needs to get a life". She further related to Cohen that the trip was pre-approved and only cost $1400.00. Well, here is the real story on that. The actual numbers for the trip are $1569.12 for her hotel, $279.40 for airfare, $800.00 for registration, adding up to a total of $2640.52. If Winch uses the same math formulas at budget time as she does when speaking to the media, it sure would explain a lot.

As far as being an "approved" trip, the truth is that approval was given after the trip was already booked. Using a city credit card, Winch's administrative assistant booked the trip. Apparently, from what sources are telling me, Council President Calixto Torres was not aware of the trip prior to it being booked. When he became aware of it, he was extremely upset and questioned how it was booked. After being told it was booked on a city credit card assigned for council use he sent a memo to all council members outlining the use of the credit card. In the October 19, 2009 memo, Torres stated that all purchases over $100.00 on the "p-card" must be approved by him. A copy of the memo is attached below.

Hopefully at the conference there is a seminar on "Telling the Truth when Confronted with Difficult Questions". Add that one to the suggested classes list please Councilperson Winch.

TORRES MEMO:

Torres P-card Memo

MUNIS MALFUNCTIONS AGAIN


After last weeks revelation that a taxpayer funded junket (all expenses paid) was taken by mayoral Chief of Staff Susan McMullen and ten others, the problems with Munis keep on coming.

Last week, the entire MUNIS system was down for an extended period. Now it has been learned that the e-mail portion of MUNIS that forwards messages to city employee's with Blackberry phones has also been down since last week.

Hopefully all of this travel for MUNIS "training" will pay off and the problem will be resolved.

MHIS Director Eric Jackson is apparently unavailable for comment. Sources have said he is in Africa on vacation for two weeks and is then booked for city travel to various conferences for almost a month when he returns.

4:00PM UPDATE- MUNIS/Blackberry service is still down, no anticipated correction date is available according to MHIS.

(Susan, get out your repair manuals from your training and see what you can do)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

HPD INVESTIGATING PRISONER ASSAULT BY OFFICERS


As much as Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts and many members of the Hartford Police Department try to build police/community relationships, it seems that some just aren't getting the message.

Several sources have confirmed that an Internal Affairs investigation is underway into the assault of a prisoner inside the Hartford Police Department booking area. The incident, which has all been captured on video recordings, occurred when one officer, reported to be Officer Rhashim Campbell, entered the cell and allegedly assaulted the prisoner.

After assaulting the prisoner in his cell, Officer Campbell removed him to a larger open area in booking, at which time a second officer allegedly became involved. The second officer is reported to be Officer Kent Lee, a department veteran. From what sources are telling me, the two officers then handcuffed the prisoner and knocked him to the floor , at which time the assault continued with kicks and punches being delivered to him as he lay on the floor.

Although the alleged actions of the officers is deplorable, the response of HPD should be commended. The victim of the assault apparently didn't make a complaint immediately after the incident. What did happen is that one of the officer's involved was apparently bragging about the incident inside Police Headquarters and his comments were overheard by a sergeant. HPD Internal Affairs launched an immediate investigation into the incident and confirmed the beating through the video recordings.

At the time of the assault a supervisor was present in the area, but it is unclear what actions he may have taken to stop or report the incident , if any. The regular booking sergeant was not on duty and Lieutenant Kevin Ahlquist was working an overtime shift supervising the area.

Sources are also telling me that arrest warrants will be prepared for those officers involved once the level of criminal conduct has been determined.

Although this will most likely be another black-eye in the national media for Hartford, the actions of Chief Roberts and his leadership in responding swiftly to the incident should also be recognized as a positive step forward in building community trust and confidence.

A SLIGHT TITLE CHANGE- "IF YOU WERE GOING BROKE, WOULD YOU TAKE A TRIP TO SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS ?"


After last week's revelation that Mayoral Chief of Staff Susan McMullen jetted off to an all expense paid vacation to Florida with ten of her City Hall allies, I am somewhat surprised to hear of more taxpayer paid travel. But then again, why should anything happening at Hartford City Hall surprise anyone.

Council Majority Leader Rosezina "rJo" Winch will this week be taking her show on the road as she jets off to San Antonio, Texas on the Hartford taxpayers dime. Winch will be attending the "NBC-LEO" Congress of Cities and Exposition in San Antonio November 10th through the 14th. All expenses paid by the taxpayers of Hartford, at the same time that employees are being laid off.

Hopefully, Winch will avail herself of the training seminars available during the four days, I might suggest Wednesday's class from 9:00am to noon in room L13"Building Public Trust Through Performance Leadership", if that is full try room L16
"Guarding the Public Checkbook: Local Government Finance".

I am sure when the issue is raised, Winch's response will be similar to McMullen's, that they actually save the city money by taking these trips. That may be true, but drastic times call for drastic measures. If laid off employees are facing foreclosure because they lost their jobs, is it really proper spending any money that is not necessary to vital functions of the operation of the city?

Maybe it would be proper to take part of your salary as a councilperson and pay for your own trip to further your social networking. Didn't the Council call for a travel ban at budget time?

Here is the link to the conference website http://www.nlc.org/CONFERENCES___EVENTS/CONGRESS_OF_CITIES___EXPOSITION/Backtomain.aspx

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I KNOW, I'M BEATING A DEAD HORSE

It seems that anyone outside of City Hall realizes Hartford has some real problems, but once you enter that building something seems to happen to reality.

I keep griping about the lack of leadership at City Hall, and each week it seems to become more and more obvious. I could go back and bring up example after example, but let me just mention a couple of the most recent examples.

Back in the early summer, Reverend Henry Brown stopped by my home and we spoke one night about his frustration with gang violence and the city's response, specifically Mayor Perez's response. Rev Brown told me that he had approached the Mayor in an attempt to set up a meeting to address what Brown saw as the rising gang violence in the City. Perez's response was that Hartford didn't have a gang problem and essentially brused Reverend Brown's efforts off. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly if you take into account Perez's issues with honesty and integrity, at about the same time that Perez said we didn't have a gang problem he was supporting a Federal grant application stating that Hartford was suffering from a "gang infestation". Although I'm sure that at the time the grant application and the Police Department's Intelligence report were being prepared, Perez, and others, never thought that report would see the light of day in any public way. Only through the diligence of a couple of reporters from the Courant did the report become public. Once the report got out, the spin machine went into overdrive. We heard the Police Chief trying to educate us on "formal" gangs versus "informal" gangs, like it makes any difference. Are we supposed to feel any better if a family member is shot or robbed by a "formal" gang member instead of a less trained "informal" gang member?
The Mayor's staff also went into overdrive doing the radio talkshows, speaking a lot but saying nothing. Do five homicides in seven days still keep us in contention as a safe city? And then, one of the most ridiculous comments by our esteemed Council President/Puppet Calixto Torres, "we need to protect the image of the City". No mention of protecting the residents of the city or visitors to Hartford, just the image of Hartford. Newsflash Calixto, take care of the crime issues and the image will fall in place. Most people are getting tired of the smoke and mirrors, and it has become quite obvious that it is a false facade. The bottom line is the question that needs to be asked, and hopefully answered; was the report a fraud or was the grant application itslef a fraud? The answer seems to clearly be one or the other. The Police Department Intelligence report was misleading and contained fraudulent information or the City submitted a fraudulent application to get the $500,000 grant money knowing they didn't have a gang problem. Which was it? Luckily though the truth finally came, it was the media trying to make Hartford look bad, it was all the media's fault.

Then we get the hiring in the Registrar of Voters Office of a person guilty of voter fraud and appropriately fined by the State of Connecticut. When the Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez was asked for a comment by the media about Prenzina Holloway being hired, her response was "how much damage can she do on the inside?". ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????????? Not even an attempt to disguise this hiring as legitimate. Maybe "she will be an asset during the election period", maybe "we need the help", maybe even "she's still suffering from that financial hardship she used to have her fines reduced so we gave her a job". Nope, none of the above just the brilliant remark "how much damage can she do on the inside". If only that Grand Jury report would be released in its entirety, we could probably answer that question much better as to "how much damage can be done on the inside?".

And finally, in less than a weeks time we have another prime example of the stellar leadership exhibited by those at the helm of the USS Hartford as we steam fullspeed ahead toward that iceberg that threatens to sink us. After layoffs of some of the lowest paid city employees, after cutbacks and concessions by the unions, furlough days imposed on most workers and tax increases imposed on struggling small businesses, we continue to hear about ridiculous spending. As I posted earlier, Mayor Perez's Chief of Staff and ten to fifteen others are in Florida this week at a trasining seminar for the City of Hartford's software system. Would it not have made more sense to fly one instructor to Hartford than it would be to fly fifteen individuals to the instructor, paying their airfare, hotel, meals and who knows what else? It would be interesting to note how many of those individuals in Florida for "training" would readily agree to sit in three days of classes at City Hall for the same purpose. I'm sure several of them would find a reason not to attend the training if it didn't include airfare to Florida and a hotel stay in Orlando.

I spoke to someone that attended a dinner in Stamford last week as part of the "Save Chris Dodd's Job Tour" by President Obama. The person told me that they sat at a table and the topic of conversation turned to politics in Hartford. What about that corrupt Mayor of yours, what about the mess that Hartford is, what about those gangs, what about that crime, why has Hartford become such a joke? I felt bad for the person that was attending a fundraiser, only to hear such negative comments. And the person that relayed this to me is one of the good people that cares about the future of Hartford. If only our Councilmembers and Mayor would listen to these comments and realize they have made a joke, a very sad, sad joke, of a once very proud and prosperous City.

Why is it that everyone on the outside of City Hall gets it?

YOU GOTTA LOVE HELEN UBINAS FROM THE COURANT


Earlier this week I posted about the latest political crony and Perez puppet to be added to the City of Hartford payroll. Today Helen Ubinas from the Courant posted a comment on her blog at courant.com about the Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez's comment about the hiring. In light of Prenzina Holloway's actions in 2005 resulting in charges of voter fraud and subsequent fines imposed by the State, Vazquez commented "how much damage can she do inside?"

Look at Helen's blog for the answer to that question, and be sure to click on the link at the last sentence for the real answer. click on "Are you?"

click here to go to Helen's blog

IF YOU WERE GOING BROKE, WOULD YOU TAKE A TRIP TO FLORIDA ?



PICTURE ABOVE OF THE GAYLORD PALMS HOTEL, THIS WEEKS HOME FOR PEREZ CHIEF OF STAFF SUSAN McMULLEN AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE

Apparently those in the Mayor's Office at City Hall would answer yes to the above question.

As Hartford faces one of the toughest financial years in its history, Perez Chief of Staff Susan McMullen and at least 12 other city staffers have jetted to Florida for "off site training". From what several sources are telling me, McMullen along with Budget Director Rick Galarza, Tax Collector Marc Nelson, MHIS Director Eric Jackson, Deputy Finance Director Christian Johnson and others are spending several days in Florida, all expenses paid by the taxpayers of the City of Hartford. The "off site training" is apparently regarding the "Munis" software, Hartford's in house software program. The entourage flew to Orlando on Sunday and is staying at the Gaylord Palms Hotel , pictured above. The cost for the classes are listed as $624.00 per person. No total cost estimates for the trips are available at this time, but early estimates are that it would most likely cover the salary of at least one of the employees Perez laid off to balance the budget.

Hopefully Hartford's unions will consider more givebacks in the near future so that McMullen can take a winter vacation at the expense of Hartford taxpayers also . For anyone wishing to welcome the entourage back, they arrive at Bradley at 8PM tonight on Southwest Airlines

Monday, October 26, 2009

FROM THE "YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP" FILE

Well, one of the items on the Hartford City Council Agenda tonight is an appropriation of additional funds for the Registrar of Voter's Office. Apparently they can't manage the budget with the allocation provided to them at budget time in July. Surprisingly, one of the items that is helping to drive them over budget is the hiring of Democratic Town Committee operative Prenzina Holloway as a "consultant" for 40 hours a week. Yes, that Prenzina Holloway, mother of Councilwoman Rosezina "rJo" Winch, and the same Prenzina Holloway that was found guilty of voter fraud by the State of Connecticut Election's Enforcement Commission and fined $10,000. In July of 2005 Holloway was found to have been illegally in possession of absentee ballots and had signed the name of another person to an absentee ballot application, according to the Elections Enforcement Commissions website. Holloway was fined $10,000 by the EEC. That fine was subsequently reduced to $2,000 when Holloway claimed "financial hardship", at or about the same time she purchased an H2 Hummer. So much for the financial hardship.

And to prove the old adage that "politics makes strange bedfellows", the same person that filed the complaint resulting in the charges and fines against Holloway is now the same person that hired Holloway, Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez-Aviles. ALthough I guess this is part of the "quid-pro-quo" we keep hearing about in Hartford politics. Holloway was the swing vote who eventually jumped up during the Democratic nominating convention and changed her vote to the Olga Vazquez-Avila camp, resulting in the eventual ouster of Shirley Surgeon as Democratic Registrar.

And we wonder why Hartford is stuck in corruption and political patronage.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FOI COMMISSION DECIDES UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST DR. ADAMOWSKI AND HARTFORD SCHOOLS, UPHOLDS FINES


More on this later, but the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission decided unanimously in my favor today regarding an FOI violation committed by the Hartford Schools and Dr. Adamowski. In an unusual act, the Commission also levied a fine against the person they deemed responsible for withholding the documents, Jill Cutler-Hodgman, a Hartford Schools staff person.

The documents requested included Dr. Adamowski's employment agreements, his personnel records, any documentation of payments for housing/living expenses and a record of all of Dr. Adamowski's City issued credit card expenses. The request was not complied with fully until the day before the FOI hearing in July, almost 5 months after the documents were requested, and even then they didn't provide everything requested.

More will be posted on this later.

HARTFORD HITS 30TH HOMICIDE FOR THE YEAR, BUT DON'T WORRY, THEY AREN'T RANDOM

Hartford experienced its 29th and 30th homicides of the year in a double shooting this morning on Whitmore Street. Although the victims names haven't been officially released yet, the response was immediately that the average person doesn't have to worry, these aren't random acts. I'm sure that is the message that Police Chief Daryl Roberts has been ordered to release, but is that supposed to make us feel any better, or for that matter any safer? Immediately this casts doubt upon the victims and our minds race to the conclusion that they must be involved with the drug trade. I wonder though about the lives of the victims, the Nelson Street victim was apparently getting off the bus at 6:30am after coming home from work. This mornings female victim was apparently an employee at McDonald's and had been a Hartford Police Explorer. And Monday nights victim was chased down like a dog and shot inside a building on Mahl Avenue.

I fully understand that the drug trade has inherent dangers associated with it, but I am not convinced that all of Hartford's homicides are actually drug related.I'm also not convinced that the shooters in these homicides are proven marksmen. During last nights executions, there most likely were at least 40 or 50 people sleeping in the neighborhood separated from the flying bullets by only a pane of glass. Are we supposed to feel better that no innocent victims were hit when a bullet flew through a window into a child's bedroom? Yet we are told "don't worry, these aren't random acts". If someone has no fear of shooting someone down in the street, are we supposed to feel safer knowing that they have selected their intended victim, done their due diligence and are accurately executing their intended victim. Or might they be mistaken and be shooting the wrong person leaving for work or getting off a bus after a days work. But, once again we are reassured "these are not random acts".

If the acts were targeting a different group, other than drug dealers, lets say homeless people,should we then feel better when we are told "don't worry, if you aren't a homeless person, you have nothing to worry about". I'm not condoning drug dealers, but I also fail to see any leadership addressing the issue of the homicide rate and gun violence. Rather, more time is spent trying to "spin" the issue to make it look better. I'm not sure how you can make any homicide or shooting look better, but it is only a matter of time before we hear the Mayor saying "you know, crime is actually down in Hartford", unless he learned his lesson from the last time he did it. Luckily for Perez, he doesn't have to say it when he has his Police Chief saying it. And we all know that Chief Roberts has some credibility in the community, something the Mayor lost after his first and second arrests.

No one deserves to be gunned down in the street, no matter what the circumstances. But then again, "don't worry, these acts aren't random", does that make you feel any safer? And Chief, I know you remember last year how people were ready to support
you and rally behind you and your Department when you stated Hartford had lost it's moral compass. Although that wasn't well received by the Mayor, it was definitely well received by the community. Maybe another dose of that candid honesty is exactly what we need now. When 30 people can be executed in our city so far this year, we have lost our moral compass. Not just those doing the killings, but the rest of us that can sit back and accept it as business as usual says something about us as a city. Where is the public outcry?

The town of Cheshire mobilized after a vicious home invasion, are we any different?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

HERNAN LaFONTAINE LAUNCHES NEW CAREER AS FICTION/COMEDY WRITER

I read the Hartford Courant this morning and I feel compelled to compliment former Hartford City Council President Hernan LaFontaine for giving me the best laugh I have had in a while. His attempt at stating why Eddie Perez should remain in office was just hilarious. LaFontaine starts off by saying "Any objective assessment of his performance in office since he started will reveal an ongoing and quantifiable record of accomplishments benefiting the citizens of Hartford at all economic levels." Let's start by his most obvious financial accomplishments. Perez has singlehandedly driven Hartford to the brink of bankruptcy. He has increased city spending by almost $125,000,000 per year over what was being spent when he took office. This increase in spending while many, including the City Treasure, were telling Perez his revenue projections were unrealistic. This has resulted in Hartford's "rainy day" fund being tapped by Perez on a regular basis. The rainy day fund, which was roughly $54,000,000 when Perez claimed his throne, is now said to be at less than $16,000.000, and if the real books were opened up, probably far less than that number.

LaFontaine goes on to state that "the repeated delays in court proceedings are tantamount to extreme legal harassment that would likely not occur if he were an average citizen." Probably a very true statement, but again, the facts tell a different story. Most, if not all, of the delays have been caused by Perez and his attorneys. The truth is that although we keep hearing Perez and his attorneys state they want a "speedy trial" and "justice delayed is justice denied", in court documents uncovered this week, Perez and his attorneys actually asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to delay his trial until after his term as Mayor, until January of 2012 at the earliest.(these documents can be viewed in a previous post "Does Eddie Perez Really want a Speedy Trial").

In another surprising and somewhat comical statement, LaFontaine apparently equates Perez's troubles to a political witchhunt when he says "The cries for the mayor's resignation and the incessant rumors and allegations against him represent a level of political persecution that has not been seen in Hartford in 30 years." The last I knew, Superior Court Judges don't sign search warrants and arrest warrants based on "incessant rumors and allegations". If anything, I would say that any charges against Perez were given an extra level of scrutiny above and beyond what the average citizen might expect. The standard of probable cause was most likely raised even higher to "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" before any warrants were signed. LaFontaine further writes that "A rush to judgment in the public forum does not take into account the mayor's ability and continuing value to Hartford as demonstrated by the city's forward movement during his tenure in office." Although I am not one to give Perez much credit, there are those that do. But you have to ask, at what point are you willing to stop overlooking any positives, if there really are any, as opposed to the negatives and the damage they are doing to our City. If that was the case, Buddy Cianci would still be the Mayor of Providence Rhode Island. Most people knew he was corrupt, but he still turned Providence into a vibrant city with a beautiful downtown. Should his corrupt activities have been overlooked because positive things were happening? If we are to overlook corruption because the person may claim to be or is perceived as a good leader, John Rowland would still be Governor.

Another very comical claim, it has to be comical because Mr. LaFontaine is well aware of the timeline, is that Eddie Perez is responsible for "increased economic activity in the form of a convention center, and a new hotel and a world-class science center are some of the signs of substantial urban progress generated by the mayor's stable leadership and clear focus on success in municipal government." Need I remind Mr. LaFontaine that Eddie Perez had nothing to do with any of the planning or development of the Convention Center or the Science Museum, it began long before Perez under Mayor Mike and Governor John Rowland, who actually had some vision for the City of Hartford. And although Mr. LaFontaine mentions a "new hotel" he isn't specific. Is this the Hartford Marriott? Is this the same hotel Perez filed a lawsuit against and eventually walked away from the lawsuit after he realized it was a no-win situation? And is this hotel owned by the same people who do not wish to spend another dime in Hartford as long as Eddie Perez is Mayor and phase 2 of their project has not moved forward at all even though it is needed and viable?

LaFontaine goes on to mention Perez's "compassion and sensitivity", I have to say that almost made me choke I was laughing so hard, until I read the next line "He is without any doubt the people's mayor." It has to be comedy, nobody could write that and keep a straight face. Ask the hundreds of city and Board employees who have been laid off due to Perez's mismanagement if they find him compassionate or sensitive to their needs. Ask anyone who has lost their home or business due to Perez's excessive spending resulting in unbearable taxes if they fine Perez compassionate and sensitive.

Finally LaFontaine states "Those of us who have had the opportunity to witness Mayor Perez conducting his everyday work at the highest level of professionalism know that he will continue to withstand the pressure created by the irrational demands of his detractors." Is it irrational to demand that our elected officials not partake of corrupt and criminal activities? Is it irrational to demand that our public servants are truly that, servants that care more about the people they represent than they do about lining their own pockets?

Eddie Perez's legacy might have been much different than what it will potentially be if he had remembered where he came from and the struggles the City of Hartford faces rather than only taking care of himself and his cronies.

LaFontaines entire comedy piece can be read at Courant.com by clicking here

Saturday, October 3, 2009

HARTFORD REGISTRAR OF VOTERS, POLITICAL ADS=GOOD, VOTER OUTREACH=BAD

Even though the City of Hartford is facing a huge budget deficit, when it came time to place a full page advertisement in a program booklet for a political organization, the Registrar of Voters Office quickly jumped at the opportunity. Even though the ad doesn't mention one word about voter registration or even the importance of being registered to vote, it does prominently name the Registrars and Deputy Registrars and looks more like a political advertisement. A copy of the ad is below in PDF format. As you can see, the City of Hartford seal and "Registrars of Voters" is prominently displayed in the advertisement.

But even though that ad was ok and use of the seal and "Registrar of Voters" was fine with the Democratic Registrar, a firestorm of e-mails was about to erupt. Working Families Party Registrar Urania Petit added her sponsorship to a voter outreach event, a Board of Education Candidates Forum sponsored by various groups, including Hartford 2000 and the Hartford Public Library scheduled for October 27, 2009. A copy of the flier for the forum is below in PDF format. The issue appears to have started after the flyer was printed and distributed by Hartford 2000 and forwarded out by e-mail. One of the people who received that original e-mail was Kathy Evans, Secretary of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee. Evans, who works for a non-profit partially funded by the City of Hartford, "Organized Parents Make a Difference" known as "OPMAD" then forwarded the e-mail out to unknown recipients from e-mail address at opmad.org. The e-mail was sent under the header of kathy.evans@opmad.org but was "signed" by Sean Arena, Democratic Town Chairman. According to the e-mail, Arena urged the recipients to "try and attend to support our candidates for B.O.E". I'm not sure how OPMAD is set up,but if they are a 501c-3 non-profit and they are using their resources to endorse or support political candidates, that is another issue that most likely will endanger their non-profit status if pursued. Apparently one of the recipients from the opmad.org e-mail on behalf of the Democratic Town Chairman was Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez. Vazquez was apparently upset that Petit would have the audacity to sign on to a voter outreach program without clearing it through her first. It should be noted that although Petit is the first third party Registrar of Voters elected in the State of Connecticut, she did it legally in accordance with Connecticut State Law, and there is no difference in authority conveyed to her or the Republican or Democratic Registrar. They are all on equal level in the eyes of the law and no one Registrar is in control of the Registrar of Voters Office. Apparently was so upset by the use of the Registrar of Voters logo that she e-mailed Corporation Counsel John Rose requesting an immediate opinion as to whether Petit may have broken any laws. In Vazquez's e-mail she states " As the Democratic Registrar of Voters, I do not understand why the name of the Registrars of Voters continues to appear as Co-Sponsor for numerous events held by other organizations". I may be missing something here, but isn't that what they are supposed to be doing? We are not talking about a "for profit" event, we are talking about an event that is meant to educate voters and make responsible choices when exercising their right to vote, exactly what the Registrars Office should be doing every day. Vazquez further asks "Can law allow this and is this legal?". The greater question might be "Can law allow this and is this legal that a duly elected Registrar of Voters is actually doing her job and interacting with voters?" The entire e-mail is also below in PDF format. Surprisingly, Corporation Counsel John Rose was apparently having a day in which his thoughts were actually based in law, and forwarded the e-mail to two of his underlings for their opinions and asked "am I missing something here...is this a tempest in a teapot?".

The Corporation Counsel's Office came back with the following opinion that "Examination of the applicable election sections of the Connecticut
General Statutes reveals nothing in the flyer's contents which would
constitute a violation of Connecticut election law.The existence of the registrar's seal on the flyer does not promote a particular candidate or act in any way to influence voters to vote one way or another. The seal merely shows the support of the Hartford Registrars of an event which promotes educating the voters of Hartford
by encouraging voters to listen to the various candidates in a neutral
forum.". John Rose again was apparently on a roll with using the law and common sense that day and offered the following advice,"the better part of valor would be for the three Registrars to communicate before any one of you uses the office's seal
or the city seal to endorse a program.". It seems to make sense to me.

If people at City Hall only put as much time and effort into doing the right things rather than wasting unlimited resources on doing the wrong things and political back-biting, imagine what we as a City could accomplish. Urania Petit declined to comment on this issue.

DOCUMENTS BELOW

Registrar's NAACP Ad
Registrar BOE Forum

Registrar e Mail