Hartford is at a critical point in whether it once again begins to move forward or continues a slide backwards.
We have seen the current administration under siege for several years now under rumors of corruption. Rumors that over the last year or so went from rumors to valid criminal allegations and eventually to criminal arrests based on sufficient probable cause. We have seen businesses boarding up and moving out of Hartford due to out of control spending and some of the highest tax rates in the state.
A budget that has increased over $125 million in eight years, a mil rate that has doubled and a staff in the Mayor's Office that far exceeds the 5 individuals allowed by Hartford's City Charter. A rainy day fund that has disappeared from almost $40 million, if not more when Perez became Mayor to potentially a budget "gap" of over $70 million today.
Yet ground zero for all of this political mess, known as the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, continues to spiral out of control.
The last few weeks have proven to me that whoever is claiming to be in control, no one is control and the Town Committee is a complete and total mess. In light of the recent election for a Chairperson, I have to say I was extremely disappointed by the behavior on both sides. It is tough to write that because I have the highest respect for Jean Holloway and her commitment to Hartford and its future.
One of the first lessons I learned was that to succeed you have to realize that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
If I was going to talk about change and reform, I'm not sure I would choose to select the same person chosen as the Vice Chair to be the symbol of "change and reform", someone that has been embroiled in a scandal of his own in which he has pocketed tens of thousands of dollars. I'm not sure that I would choose someone to run on a Town Committee slate that was convicted of violating the public trust by running a scam right out of a courthouse.Reform may be difficult, it might not always prove popular, but is more than just a word you throw about.
I posted earlier this week about potential repercussions from this chaos surrounding the Town Committee. One of the major problems is that we may potentially be closing the door on any influence at the State level if we do not have legitimate delegates to the State convention. Governors and other politicians usually tend to have long memories when it comes to remembering where there support came from. Not being able to commit delegates to a candidate because of local political squabbles is not only borderline insanity, it is inexcusable.
Whether I was the "losing" Chairperson candidate or the "winning" Chairperson candidate, it seems that the direction should be clear. Neither candidates position is "rock solid" clear and it could go either way. It could be a long road as it winds its way through dispute hearings and eventually court hearings and who knows what else.
It is time for the "winners" and the "losers" to put aside personalities, egos and whatever other differences are creating this chaos. It's a gamble for both sides, but the time has come to show that Hartford does actually have people capable of leadership. Both sides need to agree to call for a special meeting called for the purpose of electing a legitimate Chairperson. It needs to be called at the earliest possible date allowed by law.
Since both sides have shown their obvious lack of trust in each other and also their inability to respect differing opinions, I also think a neutral Chair for the meeting needs to assigned, and most likely a parliamentarian supplied by Democratic State Central that both sides can agree on.
It's not rocket science, but it is common sense, something this City seems to be lacking.
Please act like adults and show that Hartford does have leadership potential. And for change to happen, people have to step up and vote for what they feel is right, not what they have been told to do or repeating the way it has always been.
Like I said, if I were Chair, not that anyone cares.