Wednesday, November 24, 2010
A DEFINITE, ABSOLUTE, UNEQUIVOCAL NO, THEN MAYBE THEN YES.... MAYBE
That seems to be the stance that has been taken by Hartford's Mayor Pedro Segarra as to his mayoral run.
Initially it was no, definitely not when he assumed the Mayor's Office in July.
Since becoming Mayor he has been evasive as to whether he would run for a full term or not. This past Sunday on Face the State he still wouldn't commit. He stated he "had taken out the papers" for a possible run but he was still considering it. Then a few hours after the program aired, the Hartford Courant announced that Segarra was running for a full term.
Although I might agree that as of right now the Office of the Mayor is Segarra's for the taking, it seems like the honeymoon period after his shotgun wedding that put him in as Mayor might be quickly ending.And just my thought here, the comments that Mayor Segarra is waiting for someone qualified to step forward and no one has yet is reminiscent of the Perez ego when he appointed himself to the Board of Education because "no one else was qualified".
The people that call me and those that follow City Hall have a great concern for the Mayor's sudden case of laryngitis when it comes to speaking out about the continuing corruption in Hartford. Specific examples are the hiring of former Mayor and now convicted felon Eddie Perez by a non-profit receiving major funding from Hartford's taxpayers, the lobbying contract to Matt Hennessey funded through the Hartford School system and John Rose landing at a law firm that he paid almost a half a million dollars to while he was Corporation Counsel.
And quite a few people are very disappointed that the Mayor has not addressed the air of corruption that permeates the Council Chambers. During the period of the Perez Grand Jury and eventual conviction, Segarra was someone that seemed to still be able to bring integrity and honesty to the Council. Segarra was able to ask tough questions when they needed to be asked and he was also able to avoid the distractions of the corrupt Perez Administration and focus on the business of Hartford, especially during tough, borderline disastrous, budget times.
By luck for the people of Hartford, Segarra was able to persevere and attain the position of Council President. I think this was partially due to his sense of fairness but also in great part because he was able to focus on getting the job done without the grandstanding we see frequently on the part of the Council. I honestly shudder to think where we would be now and where we would be headed if someone else besides Segarra had become Council President and eventually became Mayor.
Mayor Segarra made a couple of quick decisions when he first took office. Although I commend him on those moves, in all honesty they were no brainers. John Rose, Susan McMullen and Lillian Ruiz shouldn't have been tough decisions for anyone attempting a clean sweep of City Hall. It seems as though one of the other crooks at City Hall must have stolen the Mayor's broom though because the housekeeping suddenly stopped.
I have had conversations with the Mayor about others at City Hall that should be shown the door, but in respect to him, those were private conversations and I respect the Mayor as someone I consider a friend and he shouldn't have to differentiate between our talks as friendly conversation or fodder for a blog, so I'll draw the line there.
But, more importantly, the people that I am speaking with seem to share a lot of my thoughts.
Whoever becomes Hartford's next Mayor needs to set a clear tone and we need to know where he (or she) stands. Mayor Segarra has been quite clear that he wants people to feel good about Hartford. His actions show that and in part I think it is working. That is entirely understandable and with a Masters in Social Work i fully understand, I think, where Segarra is coming from. If the Mayor isn't rescuing a cat from a tree or consoling a fire victim, I'm sure we will be able to find him serving hot chocolate in Bushnell Park at the skating rink.
If that is what makes Hartford interesting and draws people back, good job Mayor Segarra. But that is only half of the job. We need a Mayor that can determine when to be the nice guy and also be able to flip the switch and make the tough decisions when needed.
In trying to recover from a corruption scandal, a clear tone needs to be sent to everyone. Whether it is the resident's of Hartford, a business owner looking to move to Hartford or even the people firmly entrenched and profiting from Hartford's corrupt political system, the message needs to be clear...THOSE DAYS ARE DONE!
For someone that has brought dignity and integrity to Hartford City Hall, I would think Mayor Segarra is as offended, if not more offended, as many of us are with what we still see at City Hall. A Councilwoman still sitting there while she is on probation for her arrest in the Perez corruption scandal. The Councilman who is actually Segarra's replacement is neck deep in a federal investigation, and malpractice and fraud allegations. I won't even go into the names I'm hearing that are going to be shoved down our throats for Councilman Ritter's replacement when he goes to the Legislature.
I'm sure this bothers the Mayor, and yes he is only one person, but people want to hear him setting a tone that Hartford is going to move forward and prosper. We are going to do this with every effort to be corruption free and beyond reproach and those who can not play by the rules aren't welcome in Hartford City Hall.
Only doing half of the job, the "feel good" part, is not what the people of Hartford are looking for and we need and deserve the full "Mayoral Package" not just the feel good options.