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Monday, August 16, 2010


As usual, tonight was another eye-opener in Hartford. I had planned on attending the 6th District Town Committee meeting for a while and then run over to City Hall for the Cotto ordinance public hearing to protect Hartford's "lily white" folks (his words, not mine) or whatever he was trying to accomplish.

I never made it to the hearing but from what I hear, it was about 50/50 split with speakers in favor or against. One observer did tell me that the majority of the speakers against the ordinance were actually Hartford residents, while many of those in favor were from outside Hartford.

The 6th District Town Committee was like watching a train wreck that you knew was inevitable, but you just couldn't turn away from it. Hartford politics being what it is, the fact that the meeting was called in the first place was surprising enough. There was probably 15 or 20 people there and Jan Appellof, the 6th District spokesperson hosted the meeting at her home. Appellof as well as many others in attendance seemed to feel betrayed that Robles had apparently lied directly to them only a couple weeks before the IAD report was released

First up was Marie Hamilton who claimed the meeting was a "witch hunt" and she would not participate. Before leaving the meeting she vowed to work against the members supporting the meeting at election time as she had done to get them elected in the first place. As she started to leave she stopped in front of me and I thought I was the next one to suffer her wrath. Instead though, she told me how much she loved the blog and that was the only way she knew the meeting was being held because she read it here.

The cast of supporting characters continued to trickle in, Al Marotta, Lou Watkins, Jean Holloway, Alyssa Peterson and I can't forget Hallie Jackson from Channel 3 who was already there when I arrived. (Hi Holly)

Next up was Al Marotta who voiced the typical "innocent until proven guilty" defense as the proposed reason for taking no action. He perfected that during the Perez trial, I hope he will notify us when the first prayer vigil for Hector is being held. Marotta was also indignant that outsiders were in attendance. How could they possibly conduct a meeting with members of the Public and the media present. I guess that whole open and transparent idea is beyond his comprehension.

The focus of the meeting quickly turned to the perceived impending arrest and all of the "what ifs" that an arrest would cause. I made a comment at that point that I thought it would evolve into a witch hunt if they started to consider , as the lawyers say, facts not in evidence. I do believe that if the justice system does actually work and the facts are even close to those laid out in the IAD report, an arrest is 99.9% coming sometime soon. The focus should be on the IAD report which seemed pretty clear as to what Robles had been accused of and admitted to already.

I listened to the conversation though and began to think when is enough enough? What degree of criminality do we need before we feel that our trust has been violated enough to ask a public official to step down? Does it take a conviction on a Class A felony or just an arrest? Is a conviction on a misdemeanor enough or can we ignore an arrest or two? Maybe a DUI? Maybe possession of crack cocaine? Or once we feel as though a public official has violated our trust, damaged the integrity of the system of democracy and disgraced himself and their office can we call for their resignation?

Innocent until proven guilty is a cute catch phrase, but if no charges should arise does that mean people like Robles or Perez or other untrustworthy politicians be allowed to remain because they never faced a jury. Aren't we the voters allowed to determine their fate when they violate our trust?

For me the decision regarding Hector Robles was clear after he lied to me twice regarding the accusations. As a friend, he spouted off to me the same misleading statements and lies he has given to the media and others. He stated it is all administrative and he had actually been cleared and it was a misunderstanding. He was right in one aspect, it was administrative to a certain degree. All IAD investigations could technically be called administrative, those "administrative" investigations many times unfortunately evolve into criminal cases.

That is the situation that Hector finds himself in now as his fate is being considered by the Office of the Chief States Attorney.

Unfortunately, as evidenced at the meeting tonight, people that may have stood behind him if he had told the truth are now calling for his resignation. Anyone who has read the IAD report can read that Robles was very aware of the facts and that he admitted his actions constituted larceny, he knew he was "double-dipping" and he readily admitted to providing false time records.

It is not a matter of if or when he is arrested or convicted. It is a matter though of how willing are we to tolerate the violation of our trust by a corrupt politician. The cloud of corruption was just beginning to lift after the Perez trial and conviction. Mayor Segarra had just begun to restore some confidence in the operations of Hartford government. Now Hector Robles has made that dark cloud over the city even darker by not only blemishing the image of the Police department but calling into question his integrity as an elected official and a member of the Hartford Legislative delegation.

It shouldn't be only the 6th District Town Committee calling for Robles's resignation. Any member of the Hartford delegation who hasn't benefited through corrupt activities should be calling for his resignation. That might be difficult for some, you know that old "people who live in glass houses" thing, but there are others who actually have integrity and should be offended by Robles's activity.

Most importantly all of us who get out and vote should be leading the charge for Robles to resign. This is another slap in the face to every voter who takes the 5 or 10 minutes to actually vote and it contributes to the increased sense of voter apathy and the feeling that all politicians are corrupt. By the 6th District taking swift, yet fair and thought out action, they can start sending a solid message of their own. To do nothing sends the message that it is "business as usual" for corrupt activity in Hartford.

The old style politics that have contributed to Hartford's increasing apathy need to end. It is our system, we need to take it back and we need to actually find the leaders that are willing to take a stand and confront corruption head on. Corruption will not go away if we continue to allow those that tolerate it to be our "leaders".

Those that remain silent or oppose action are the ones getting the bus contracts, the do-nothing City jobs, employing their relatives or have greatly benefited by a corrupted government.

It is time to speak up and say enough is enough. Let the Democratic Town Chairwoman and the members of the 6th district DTC know you are fed up and want change. Feel free to post your comments here, I know most of them read the blog.

And Hector, I know you read the blog also. Remember the words I spoke to you that you told me kept running through your mind for the DTC vote the second time around? I hope they are running through your mind now and you pay attention.


Matt said...

Just food for thought Kevin.

In Robles IAD report, on page 38 next to the numeral 9 the paragraph states when Officer Robles was interviewed he was read his Garrity Rights.

When Garrity Rights are presented it does two things.

First, it prevents the police officer from invoking his/her constitutional right to take the 5th ammendmment and remain silent. Which means they have to answer IAD's questions or face a "failure to obey an order" type charge, which is likely to lead to termination.

Second, and more important in this case, it means anything the police officer says during that interview with IAD is not admissible in criminal court because the 5th amendment was not an option "voiding" the information obtained from the criminal process.

However, the IAD investigation itself is admissible in a criminal court of law.

Anonymous said...

Correction Kevin, there were 15 who spoke for and 7 who spoke against and the number of hartford residents were about the same on each side. Also, it was obvious that those who spoke against the item that they had not read the ordinance because they all sounded the same "you're going to tie our police departments hands" without siting a single section in the ordinance. The people speaking for the ordinance were much more organized and made a good case for this legislation.

The wonders of cable access.

Matt said...

Anonymous did anyone mention tonight that the state law is for TRAFFIC STOPS ONLY and Mr Cotto has failed to included that key wording in his pandering proposal?

If this passes a foot beat cop who tells loiters to get away from the front of a store 30+ times a day will have to fill out a Cotto Card each time?

peter brush said...

At a minimum, it seems to me, the Cotto should be broken into two separate ordinances; one dealing with profiling and a second dealing with Cotto's hysterical reaction to W./Obama's allegedly unconstitutional counter-terrorism activities.
Both are bad in the sense that a.)they are completely gratuitous. I have heard no evidence of police behavior that needs correcting, and,
b.)they are a burden on the cops. Personally, although I've run afoul of the cops in the enforcement procedures on a couple of occasions, my main complaint about them, fairly or unfairly, is that they are not active enough. I don't know if the ordinance will have much practical effect, but it can't have a positive one.
Cotto admits that his "...intent is not to make it easier for our cops to control our streets, but to refocus their attention on their core service..." I would appreciate it if Cotto or some other supporter of the ordinance(s) would explain how Hartford or life for those of us who live here would be improved by the ordinance.

Anonymous said...

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone among ye.

Anonymous said...

Matt...we still have cops on foot beat?

Bruce RUbenstein said...

I was at Jan's home last night giving the crowd a neutral and objective rendition of the civil,legal and political aspects to the RObles matter.The worst part of the evening was how Marie Hamilton handled herself.I know Marie for many years and always found her to be a nice woman who was very professonal.I didnt feel Marie handled herself professionally by going after Jan in her own home.I thought it was rude and very tacky to go after someone in their own hom.Marie should have called Jan and conveyed those opinions rather then attacking Jan in her own was rude..

Marie Gionfrido Hamilton said...

Bruece et al: I did not "attack" Jan, but merely owned up to what I stated earlier. Like you, I have been involved in Hartford politics for many years, the good, bad and ugly and you're so right last night was ugly: the fact that the spokesperson for district 6 wanted a meeting and elected herself "judge and jury" left a sour taste. I sat with my mouth closed for many years, bent over backwards and jumped through hoops to keep the electoral process fair and open, only to have its fate be decided by a majority of ONE! I have earned MY right to speak my mind without sugar coating my words. So be it.
Marie Gionfrido Hamilton my email address is:

peter brush said...

Innocent until proven guilty is a cute catch phrase, but if no charges should arise does that mean people like Robles or Perez or other untrustworthy politicians be allowed to remain because they never faced a jury. Aren't we the voters allowed to determine their fate when they violate our trust?
It is a difficult question. It certainly seems to me that criminal conviction is not required. I believe the facts in Eddie's situation, certainly after he was indicted, demanded that he get out. I think the same about Veronica now.
I keep going back in my mind to the situation with our cops. I don't have a handle on how the union rules, etc., work there, but correct me if I'm wrong; Murtha is not a cop because of perceived ethical violations short of criminality. (At least, that would be the ostensible rationale.) But, politicians it seems to me are even less entitled to their positions of honor if evidence of dishonesty, particularly in the line of duty, becomes available. I don't know what a legislative ethics panel might say about it, but I would certainly be prepared to vote against Robles on the basis of facts so far established, and might, if I were at the Town Committee meeting, demand that he resign.

Bruce Rubenstein said... know that I like and respect you....however I do not come from a point of view that says it is proper to attack someone in their own home...All you had to say and I certainly respect your right to say whatever you wish, could have been conveyed another way...perhaps by phone...

Anonymous said...

I did not read the IAD report but after reading the internal memo regarding Officer Robles conduct, one thing is clear; he certainly is not a good police officer. Double-dipping aside, his conduct as an officer is grounds for termination or some other disciplinary action. What has his voting record at the Capitol been?

Anonymous said...

Marie...Hector is an admitted CROOK...your carrying his water on the pretense of political fairness is going to damage YOUR reputation and not his...

Nichelle Hamilton said...

I quite frankly, have had ENOUGH. All this “Blah blah blah” about Robles is exhausting. Has he been found GUILTY….UMMMMM NO! So all of you ‘so called’ politicians need to hush up an listen.
Some of you know me VERY WELL, and some of you don’t. Those that don’t…my name is Nichelle Hamilton (yes Marie’s daughter) For those of you that do…you know I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK of me…with that said….I am DISGUSTED at the fact some of you are crucifying a man who has yet to be found guilty of the crime you are accusing him of.
There are SEVERAL of you that sat there with your hands out, when you needed Hector, be it personal or political. And now that he needs YOUR support, that’s when you turn your back on him??? SHAME ON YOU!
Hector was compared to Eddie…I have to say…that was like comparing apples to oranges… I personally will say…should Hector be found guilty…I WILL BE THERE TO SUPPORT HIM NO MATTER WHAT…AND if he is found INNOCENT….I will be the FIRST ONE sitting on the side lines with a bag of popcorn (for entertainment of course) AND WATCH ALL OF YOU NON BELIEVERS while you PUCKER UP and kiss his @ss when you need Hector to back you again….it is for this reason alone that I tell my mother…be very careful about those who you STICK YOUR NECK OUT FOR…cause those PIT BULLS that need a MUZZEL are the ones you need to watch out for!

Anonymous said...

Nichelle....go kiss someone's arse for a job in the register's office and leave the prosecution of Hector to folks who arent biased.YOur boy Hector already admitted guilt so there really isnt much to say involving "innocense"...try reading the report instead of bloviating like a $20 kept ho of Hector's/



you commented "I am DISGUSTED at the fact some of you are crucifying a man who has yet to be found guilty of the crime you are accusing him of."

Is that the standard we use that we should hold our elected officials accountable only if they are found guilty of a crime? What about the trust we place in our elected officials and public officials? Can they only violate our trust by being convicted of a crime?

Hector is someone I had trusted and was friendly with for years. He lied to me and he lied to everyone that asked him about these incidents. You can read that for yourself in the IAD report where he admitted to the investigators that he submitted fraudulent time cards, he knew his actions were illegal and constituted larceny and he used the term "double dipping". How much clearer does it need to be for everyone to realize that Hector's integrity and moral character is not what we had thought when we elected him. His actions are a huge violation of the public's trust and he needs to step up and resign.

Is it any wonder that the voters have no confidence in the system and see elected officials with questionable integrity and ethics as the norm? That is why people are not turning out to vote.

Also, as I had said at Monday's meeting, Hector should resign based on the information that is on the table now, not based on the "what if" he gets arrested. Just with what we know now is more than enough to call for his resignation, he has embarrassed the system, himself and us as voters of the City of Hartford.

Since the arrest has not taken place yet, that would be unfair to judge him based on what may happen (even though that arrest will be coming any day now).