And a response to another comment
OK Brookman, Here's your chance to be in two places at once. Isn't the coronation of RubInStain scheduled for the same time as the council meeting?
Just by the tone and the wording of this comment I have a good idea that I know who posted it, but I would hope that that person would have the integrity to post it under his real name, the same as I do when I refer to someone as "Rosie".
Ok, so moving on.
My phone has been ringing almost constantly since Tuesday's election, almost every call focuses on the election for the Democratic Town Committee Chairperson. I'll post a few of my thoughts here that I will say to either candidate, many of them I have said already to Bruce Rubenstein, but Sean Arena chooses not to take or return my calls, so maybe he can read it here.
First off, the selection can't be called a coronation. A coronation is usually full of pomp and circumstance and the pageantry shows hope for the future. Neither candidate can be proud of what they are inheriting, or in the case of Arena, what he has the Democratic Town Committee to have become.
A once proud powerhouse that was the Hartford Democratic Town Committee of years past, has over the last several years become a cesspool of corruption and incompetence. Strong words, yes. Untrue words, no.
In years past candidates for political positions clamored to be accepted and endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee. Now I think most candidates view the Hartford Democratic Town Committee as a necessary evil that they have to approach as part of the process. They most definitely approach keeping in mind the recent Grand Jury, the arrest of the Mayor. They keep in mind the frequent hearings at Elections Enforcement for absentee ballot fraud.
They keep in mind the Mayor's fines for misusing taxpayers funds for political purposes, also known as the "Hartford Educator". They now can keep fresh in their mind the recent Superior Court decision detailing the illegal activity by the Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez. That ruling should help, just in case they might have forgotten the first time in 2004 when she was fined $500.00 for almost identical illegal activity.
Like I said before, a cesspool of political corruption.
Although many people seem to think we have had enough and it is time for change, what exactly is the change?
The poster of the "anonymous" comment I'm sure misspelled Mr. R-U-B-E-N-S-T-E-I-N's name out of ignorance rather than anything intentional, but some might read into that another meaning.
For anyone familiar with either candidate, ask yourself if you know where they stand and what their direction would be for the Democratic Town Committee.
Since Mr Arena refuses to return phone calls, I honestly can say I have no idea where he stands. I have never heard him make a comment regarding the arrest of the Mayor. I have never heard his thoughts on the corruption and extortion charges against the Mayor and Abe Giles. I have never heard him make a comment about our Republican Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson and her arrest on corruption charges.
That's probably a cheap shot about the Republican though, how could he say anything when the Mayor is as bad, if not worse, than her. Like Airey-Wilson once said "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". That was before her arrest, so maybe she thinks differently now.
Can anyone honestly say they don't know where Mr. Rubenstein stands on political corruption? I sometimes think if he could get onto the roof of City Hall, he would be up their shouting his thoughts out loud about political corruption. He's done it everywhere else, almost to the point of making me nauseous on Cityline on courant.com, on public access programs, and even here on "we the people".
He even voiced his opinion to the entire state on WFSB's "Face the State". Although Rubenstein came out loud and clear, the two councilpeople on with him refused to take a stand against corruption.
Is that a bad thing to let people know where you stand? Absolutely not. Is it a bad thing to remain silent and say nothing, almost giving the perception that you condone corruption? Absolutely.
And while Arena refuses to return phone calls and discuss issues with those who might disagree with him or challenge his actions, Rubenstein seems to thrive on it. Maybe it's the lawyer side coming out, but Rubenstein seems to live for a good argument and having the chance to present his side.
Here's a perfect example I know first hand.
Although I wasn't around during the Carrie Perry years, I recently learned how Rubenstein operates and his potential as a leader. I had heard that some perceived Bruce as "arrogant" and somewhat "heavy handed". I had a couple concerns about Rubenstein's "style and decided to approach him with a couple of my concerns.
The first concern was that people were tired of Eddie Perez's "tyrant" style of management. Cross Perez and you were done. I was someone that really hadn't worked with Bruce before, yet I found him knowledgeable and his concern for Hartford seems sincere.
Well, I approached him and told him I was concerned about his frequent comments about when he "used to run Hartford". No matter how it was meant, I knew I was turned off by it, and others were making comments to me about it also. If he was anything like Eddie Perez, I figured that was the last conversation we would have.
In case anyone has or hasn't noticed, I haven't heard Bruce comment on how he used to run Hartford since that day. He does talk about being inclusive, committees to interview and select candidates, a public relations committee to educate voters and improve the image of politics. He seems to be open to suggestion and creative ideas.
I'm not going to get into a stump speech here, I think it is already clear where I stand. I do have to ask though what is more important in a leader. Would I prefer a Chairperson who is silent and condones the Mayor's behavior no matter what or would I prefer a Chairperson who can be arrogant and confrontational when it is needed?
Would I prefer a Chairperson who may not be liked by everyone but who's commitment to fair and honest government isn't in question? Or, would I prefer a Chairperson who has shown his commitment to Hartford by beating us out of motor vehicle taxes by registering his vehicles in New Canaan?
Bruce Rubenstein may be a lightning rod, but change doesn't come by remaining silent and accepting business as usual. I have already seen more change brought about just by Rubenstein announcing his run than by an movement by the current Democratic Town Committee over the past couple years.
Change doesn't come about by doing nothing. If it did, Sean Arena would be the unanimous choice for another two years.
And for those unsure of which way to go in the Town Committee vote, let me give you another Len Besthoff "southernism",and in the interest of full disclosure, it's a term I've heard him use, not an endorsement of any political activity
"If you stay in the middle of the road, your gonna get run over"
Make a choice, it may not be popular, but you know what you have to do if we are really going to see change in our city. Forget the personalities, forget the gossip, forget the rumors, forget the backstabbing. Do what you know you have to do if we are going to return Hartford to the proud city it once was. If there was ever a time for political enemies from the past to now come together for the public good, that time has come.
It's a matter of leadership, pure and simple.