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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The more I see, the more the "political operations" in Hartford continue to surprise me. The Republican Party in Hartford is dead and has been in steady decline for years. Many reasons can be thrown around to deflect the blame, but pure and simple, it comes down to a lack of leadership. Any leadership that might be claimed by the Republicans on a local level is held by those with outdated, antiquated ideas that have harmed the party on all levels.

It doesn't have to be that way. One of the reasons the Republican Party in Hartford has seen its demise is because they fail to embrace new ideas and put any effort into education and outreach to rebuild the party. OK, enough on the dead Republican Party.

What really bothers me though is the current state of the Democratic Party in Hartford, specifically the Democratic Town Committee. In case no one has noticed, the "endorsed" Town Committee candidates took a beating yesterday. In the 1st District Ken Green has won re-election(if he survives a recount and holds his 3 vote lead).Green was the incumbent but also was the challenger for his seat since the Town Committee gave his nomination to Matt Ritter.

In the 7th District, incumbent Doug McCrory won his seat back after the 7th District Town Committee attempted to orchestrate his ouster. The 7th District nominated rJo Winch to run in the 7th, the 7th District Town Committee has a large number of Winch family members seated as members. McCrory handily beat Winch to regain his seat.

In the 4th District, challenger Angel Morales came within 9 votes of de-throning incumbent Kelvin Roldan. A recount will be held to determine the winner in that race.

In the 6th District, Hector Robles had a challenge from Alyssa Peterson. Even though Peterson really did not run much of a campaign and didn't qualify for public funding, she still obtained about a third of the vote.

In the Fonfara/Vargas Senate race, Vargas had a respectable showing until the Wethersfield votes were figured in. Fonfara had a much better showing in Wethersfield than he did in his hometown of Hartford.

The part that bothers me though is that all of the endorsed candidates were pretty much on their own. Where were the Town Committee operations. Where were the phone banks for the "endorsed slate"? Where were the signs to vote for the "endorsed Democrats, vote Row A".

I was surprised when I drove through Windsor Center last week and saw a huge banner on a building across from the Town Hall. "WINDSOR DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS" with just about every endorsed candidates signs in the windows. Windsor has about a quarter of Hartford's population, and Hartford probably has more registered Democratic voters than Windsor has total residents.

I'm not aware of any "Hartford Democratic Headquarters", no phone banks, not even a spot fro residents to drop in and get information about the races. Why not? If Windsor can do it along with many other smaller towns, why can't Connecticut's capitol city?

If you attended Town Committee meetings or listened to Hartford's so called political leaders, you would think the rooms were filled with James Carville's or Karl Rove's. Nothing seems further from the truth. Imagine what could happen if all the talk was actually put into action.

I think a lot of the dysfunction is by design though. If voters were educated and actually got involved, that might present a challenge to those that have become fat and happy with their political stature. Many Town Committee seats, both Republican and Democrat, are hardly ever challenged. If you look at the names on the Town Committee's, it probably hasn't changed much in the last ten or fifteen years. If it changes, in many cases the last names remain the same, only the first names change as families retain their "dynasty" hold and make sure the family names carry on in Hartford history.

The town committee's are the first step in getting the best candidates to run for office. As long as the twon committee's are a mess, our selection process for public officials will remain a mess.

It is time we start looking for the best possible candidates and the best people to represent us on the Town Committee's. Until then, nothing will change.


Anonymous said...


I tend to disagree with you 99 44/100 of the times, but this one you got it 100% right.

Hartford's political parties are just empty paper thin shells...

Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin the way I see it if the DTC members not all would actually be running a campaign to better the community & not their pockets the city would probably better off. I just read city line I see sean A*** a comment as CHAIR of redevelopment. he shouldnt be to happy he should look at what the voting ##s in the 4th came with If i was Kelvin he should move Angel did a great job.

Anonymous said...

Kevin....half the problem is that Jean Holloway...who is an avid reader of your column...and surely will read this...doesnt know "jack" about being the chair,doesnt care and has given Mark DiBella and her paramour Tom Page the power to make certain things happen.If Jean Holloway had the interests of the HDTC in mind she would resign and also convince her vice chair to resign also as Lou( kickback) Wadkins is under investigation by the feds.Jean is very busy with her "special friend" Tom Page defending that pesky foreclosure of her's while Tom Page is defending her and being sued personally and professionally for malpractice.Then you have a HDTC Treasurer who gave Federle money,and had his wife throw a fundraiser for Glassman, while making believe that he was for Malloy.Kennelly of course is about 45 and lives with his mommy and is known to be "busy" after lunchtime. Throw in Minnie( she has a few SEEC matters winding their way eventually to the Chief States Attorneys Office),Ramon( nitetime at Broad Street ramon),Carbone and Kennelley and you have as vicious a set of corrupt politicians as can be found anywhere.The fact is Kevin, that about half of the HTC needs to be gone as they are either criminals,corrupt,incompetant,political prostitutes or psychos.

The Hartford Town Committee is now the laughingstock of the state and you can thank the above for it.


I agree with much of what you said, and I haven't seen a lot of change, if any in the operations of the DTC since its change in leadership. Jean Holloway is someone I trust and consider a good friend. She inherited a mess and was not cut out to be moderating playground fights at a nursery school, which is what the DTC seems like. Far from adults. With that being said, we all have decisions to make, and maybe it's time for a decision on her part where the DTC is headed.

As far as the foreclosure, when the issue was raised several months ago I asked her about it as I might suggest you can also. I was satisfied with her answer, it was a relatives house left to her with a lot of problems and she was having trouble getting out from under it. Not that this justifies anything, but her plight is no different from many people in Hartford who are saddled with properties they can't sell and taxes on the properties that are skyrocketing.

Until people start stepping up and taking the risk to change things though, nothing will change. By the numbers I saw earlier, more people probably voted in Greenwich, CT yesterday than voted in all of Hartford, that's rather sad.

Rich Wareing said...

Hartford is hardly unique. Look at Bridgeport and New Haven. Lamont had the support of their 2 very powerful mayors and their DTC's and Malloy ran more or less even in Bridgeport and pretty well in New Haven. Look at Bloomfield. Matt Ritter had the support of the Bloomfield DTC, yet Bloomfield went for Kenny Green. The fact is that town committees don't have half the influence they used to because individual candidates can go out and raise their own money; unions and other interest groups proivde their own workers to campaigns; voters are more sophisticated than they were 60 or 70 years ago and they more independent in their thinking and less likely to go along with what "the bosses" want; etc. Could town committes do more? Of course. Most (of both parties) are pretty useless, or, at best very spotty. But the days of powerful town committees being able to deliver a decisive blow for their endorsed candidates on a consistent basis are a thing of the past.

Bruce Rubenstein said...

I agree with Rich and Kevin.

The laws have changed whereby alot of the power and perks to being a party official have been reduced or eliminated.Starting with the repeal of the "party lever" a couple of generations ago,the laws have chipped away at the parties.It is now easier then ever to get on a ballot if you are a 3rd party candidate or a petitioning candidate.And candidates now form their own organizations, seeing the party for only an endorsement, though endorsements now only get you some publicity and not much else.In Hartford an endorsement for state representative got you what?

In Connecticut the fastest growing entity is the "independant" as parties offer less and less reason to register with them.Coupled with the diminished reason for joining a party is the advent of " identity politics" I venture to say that more people are into identity political work then in party political work and probably are more effective.

peter brush said...

Agreed; Republican Party in Hartford all but dead. Not sure, though, what new ideas you might have in mind, or how they'd help. There are simply next to zero folks in town inclined to Republican ideology, even of the RINO sort we generally find around Ct. The only reason we in Hartford have had any Republicans whatsoever on Council in the past thirty years is the statutory minority representation mandate. And, of course, we've not had any mayors, state reps, or senators. It is simply unfair to blame the party, whatever its shortcomings, for the state of affairs. I don't think a hope-and-change-clean-articulate-black guy could win office in Hartford if he were to run as a Republican. What is curious is that no matter how far into the ditch Ct.'s towns are driven, the complaints about one-party-"progressive" rule in perpetuity are muted, at best. And, in fact, going back to my perennial point, I personally don't think our political institutions have much to do with the abominable condition of our towns, Hartford in particular. You could put the most organized, motivated, and enlightened municipal government imaginable in charge at City Hall, but we'd still be stuck with legions of morons and criminals.

Anonymous said...

Mr Brush....there certainly is a more "relaxed" air for tolerating criminals in Hartford then ever before, among the political class.That casual and relaxed atmosphere set the stage for criminals and the corrupt to invade the HDTC like locusts.So now we have felons as officers in the party, aided by their accepting sponsors on the town committee.We have much the same attitude in city hall, with a great deal of incompetance thrown in the mix.

peter brush said...

The sort of crime of which our political guys like Eddie P. are guilty are not good, but are not the sort that make living in town unappealing. I refer to the legions like the guy who killed a beautiful 4 yr. old kid while driving dui at extreme rates of speed. Chances are that if theses guys vote at all they vote Dem./Green/WFP. I think the Democratic Party has not done a good job of governing the town, but my position is that the people are so corrupt, their lives so disordered, that governing is not particularly relevant. And, neither is public education, which is where half the municipal budget goes. Cops, prisons, and deportation are what's needed, but that doesn't account for the law-abiding morons nor for what happens when folks serve their prison terms (i.e., they come back to Hartford).

Anonymous said...

Mr Brush....I agree with you, the disorder and immorality is apparent as you move in from Prospect Street.Hartford has become the dumping ground for all of the worst in humanity including giving bus tickets to felons as they finish their sentence in jail.We have so much filth and immorality that you can drive by any major street during the day and see an act of crime or some immoral act.