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Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I guess it should come as no surprise to any of us that have weathered Hartford's ups and downs, what our City elected officials say and do are two completely different things.

Everywhere I go I keep hearing them say "Hartford needs jobs for its residents" yet surprisingly, or should I say not surprisingly, that doesn't seem to be the case. It seems like the people that have hung in here and weathered the storm and actually believe in Hartford are shown the back seat when it comes to jobs.

A perfect example is Mayor Segarra's office, sadly. I had questioned the Mayor when his first appointment of a Chief of Staff was not even someone that lived in Hartford. I was told that was short term and he was going to move into Hartford, apparently that never happened. Now a new Chief of Staff who hails from Woodstock, Connecticut has been appointed. I doubt that many Hartford residents could even tell you where Woodstock is on a map, never mind associate the problems Hartford faces with any similar issues in Woodstock.

And just for FYI, Woodstock is in the Northeast corner of the state, near I-395 and the Rhode Island border, population 7,909. Their claim to fame is that Woodstock is a rural, historic community with an agricultural background. Maybe if we decide to start exporting Hartford's dairy products or trees from Hartford's Christmas tree farms, we can emulate Woodstock.

Segarra's new Chief of Staff apparently has extensive management experience that qualifies him to move Hartford's urban agenda forward. Apparently he was a para-legal and office manager at Seligman and Katz for a period of time. Seligman and Katz is the same firm that represented Hartford's corrupt Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson in her criminal matters. That experience could possibly prove helpful in identifying additional criminal behavior remaining at City Hall.

It has been reported that he was also a clerk for a Legislative Committee. He also has been involved in several campaigns and reportedly was the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Lamont Campaign. I would feel better if he was associated with the Malloy campaign, Hartford could use a winner, but oh well. Luckily for us he does work cheap though if the candidates filings are accurate. After Matt Hennessy and his Harvard trip and six figure salary,ESI bonus and lobbying contracts, hopefully the 27 year old Chief will be starting at the low end of the budget ladder. This is Hartford though, so that is doubtful.

To view reported payments to Segarra's new Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec, click here. Under recipient name, enter Kupiec and hit search.
I know Kupiec is young, but he also seems to work cheap, which will be a good thing at budget time. He apparently was paid a little over $5,000 by the Lamont Campaign for his reported role of Deputy Campaign Manager. Those numbers pale in comparison to Hartford's other "political consultants" like the Feltman's, Mantilla's, Arroyo's and McDonald's who have learned to work the system for every political penny available. But like I said before, he is young and I'm sure if he hangs around City Hall enough, he'll learn.

Kupiec also shows payments from Fonfara campaigns, but even those were small.

Hopefully Mr. Kupiec will be relocating to Hartford soon. It only seems right that someone who is going to be responsible for Hartford's urban agenda should be living that urban agenda like the rest of us have been, for better or worse.

I think if we had required that more department heads live in Hartford, as required, we would be seeing much different results. I called our Public Works Director Kevin Burnham almost two weeks ago and still haven't had the courtesy of a return call yet. Unfortunately it isn't an isolated incident, I have yet to receive a return call from Burnham anytime I have left a message for him. Maybe the new Chief of Staff can remind Burnham what customer service is and who he actually works for.

I also find it interesting that when it comes to the issue of jobs for Hartford residents, we continue to turn a blind eye to the leadership of the MDC. The MDC could be pumping billions of dollars into Hartford's economy and eventually into Hartford households. Yet, Hartford's leaders seem to have given a free pass to the leadership at the MDC when it comes to demanding jobs for Hartford's residents.

That free pass in combination with the MDC Chairman's "get out of jail free" card continues to overlook the people who actually live in Hartford. If the Mayor was serious about reform, he would have called for MDC Chairman William DiBella's resignation. When it comes to jobs for Hartford's residents on the MDC's Clean Waters project, we need an advocate that actually lives in Hartford and truly serves the people of Hartford. I doubt that the Mayor or anyone on the Council can honestly look at a Hartford resident and say that they believe William DiBella is a Hartford resident and even lives in the MDC's service area as required by law.

Hartford's Mayor appoints the MDC Chair and the City Council ratifies it.

The requirement of residency is a conversation I have had personally with the Mayor. when he appointed Burnham as the Public Works Director I questioned it. When Hartford Police Sergeant Andrew Jaffe retired from HPD and was then appointed as the Emergency Communications Director, I questioned it. Mayor Segarra assured me that a condition of Jaffe's appointment was that he would take up residency in Hartford within 30 days. Does anyone want to bet on whether that has happened?

As Hartford's unemployment climbs toward 20%, if it hasn't already exceeded that, we need to focus on real jobs for Hartford's residents. No more lip service, no more political rhetoric. It's all about the JOBS Mayor and about rewarding those residents that truly believe in Hartford and are willing to fight the good fight to change things. Too many people see Hartford as a paycheck and a means to a great retirement, and the higher up the ladder, the richer the gravy train is.

And Mayor, when you told me last week I would be excited about the changes you were going to make.....I'm still waiting.


Anonymous said...

Wow, man, i have been very cool and agree with your general pov over the past years...but dude, i think you are way off base lately. I'm not one of the bigshots,but close enough to know. For godssake, Kevin, do some real, big-picture reporting. LOL funny word verification....liess...NOT!

Anonymous said...

if u really saw a problem u would have taken more action against other non-htfd residents quickly employed by the admin..linda bayer ring a bell ???v

Anonymous said...

hijo, el superendente bloomfield entiende muchos dolares pero esta retirado. Cuanto dolares??? muy illegales!!!!

Anonymous said...

Some corrections:

"Hartford's Mayor appoints the MDC Chair and the City Council ratifies it."

not true. Regardless of how the Commissioner gets on the MDC, the MDC board itself chooses who its chair will be.


"The requirement of residency is a conversation I have had personally with the Mayor when he appointed Burnham as the Public Works Director..."

Must've been a short conversation seeing that Segarra did not appoint Burnham, Perez did.

peter brush said...

Personally, I don't much care where the guys live. Sentimental favor goes to folks foolhardy enough to actually live here, but as a taxpayer I'm happy to get the best cop, firefighter, bureaucrat, or political hack talent available. In fact, I wouldn't necessarily mind if we had councilmen who came in from Woodstock. What would be better is if we could trade 7300 of our residents for all of Woodstock's.

Anonymous said...

Holy wow, Peter Brush just hit it on the head. Perfectly said.

Biscuits said...

Wow, I was at Woodstock and I was sure it was in NY.

peter brush said...

Wow, I was at Woodstock and I was sure it was in NY.
In the state you were in doubt you could have any idea what State. But, just to be clear, I'd have people working for our fine Ct. River municipality from Woodstocks of any state or country, whatsoever. In fact, Stanley Owsley himself would be an improvement over some of our elected guys even though he lives in Australia now.

Stealy said...

I will way in briefly. I am moving from Glastonbury into Hartford, buying a house next week. I have been reading with interest... while Mr. Brush's viewpoint has some merit, there is equal merit to paying people who live in Hartford. Too much tax payer money leaves each week to the benefit of surrounding suburbs. To help turn Hartford around, it needs strong leaders AND strong residents... and by the way, both of my children will be attending HPS. SWP

Stealy said...

Weigh in.... I can spell, sorry about that

Anonymous said...


For IMMEDIATE Release Contact: Alberto Negron

December 16, 2010 (860) 240-8518


Representative Kelvin Roldán (D-Hartford) - In response to recent scandals in communities like Hartford and Shelton, State Representative Kelvin Roldán announced today that he will introduce legislation this session to prevent municipal contractors from giving expensive gifts to town officials and prevent politicians from padding their pensions while in office.

The first piece of legislation will prevent town and board of education officials from receiving anything of value exceeding $100 in a calendar year from a municipal contractor, prospective contractor or individual with matters before a planning and zoning commission. Towns with a functioning ethics commission may set a lower gift threshold. The second piece of legislation will prevent local town councils from using taxpayer funds to enhance the pensions of elected officials during their terms in office, as has been the practice of the General Assembly.

The pension padding ban is in response to pension enhancement offered this year by the administration of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra which will allow two elected city officials, including a city councilwoman arrested in a corruption investigation, to retire during their terms in office with pension enhancements that will cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

“It is stunning that in these difficult financial times that a city administration would make it a priority to pad the pensions of elected politicians with tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars while residents are faced with the potential for drastic cuts in city services and increased taxes. Elected officials must put the needs of the people they serve before the financial well being of their fellow politicians.” Roldán stated.

The gift ban legislation is in response to scandals in Hartford, Shelton and other communities where developers and municipal contractors have provided expensive gifts to municipal officials.

“There is no uniform rule across the state on how to deal with gifts from contractors to municipal officials that control hundreds of millions of dollars in local contracts. The fact is that expensive gifts from contractors to municipal officials can create the appearance of undue influence in awarding bids or rendering decisions. After years of debating this issue, the State of Connecticut needs to set unambiguous bright line that will provide clear guidance to local officials and the public about the acceptable standards for behavior in this area,” Rep. Roldán said.

peter brush said...

Glastonbury is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 31,876 at the 2000 census.
We'll take all we can get from Glastonbury; just as good as Woodstock for our purposes.
Hartford's 5th District Democratic town committee will hold an information session Saturday for ex-offenders and their families about parole, pardons and re-entry. All are welcome to attend.

Speakers include Eric Crawford, Bob Farr, chairman of the Board of Pardons and Parole, Andrew Moseley, parole community manager, I. Charles Mathews, president of Northstar Center for Human Development and Lynn Ford, director of Taking back Your Life.

Helen Ubinas has more here.
What we actually do get. No offense intended to the offenders, and I wish them success. But, wouldn't it be nice to live in Glastonbury?

Anonymous said...

Kevin - First, I have been reading with interest on your blog for some months since moving back to Hartford. Previously I had lived here for 14 years while working for the City. I am absolutely amazed, angry and disgusted that folks in this city are still talking about the "same ol stuff!" (i.e. city residency for jobs, corrupt politicians, failing schools, crime, crooked cops, crime, etc, etc, etc. I would've thought by now if the idiots who were elected in leadership positions weren't doing their job(s), voters would've voted them out, post haste!

Bottom line is until poverty is finally addressed with more than "lip service" Hartford will not ever be the "Rising Star" it proclaims on banners throughout the city.

A prudent person would look at other cities in the same conditions and see what they have done to turn things around and emulate their success.

Steve Perry has an excellent program at Captial Prep with a 100% graduation rate. Why hasn't the BOE and superintendent emulated his program citywide?

I can honestly say that next year I plan on leaving Hartford and maybe visit in 5 years to see if it has truly become a Rising Star. I wish you all good luck!

Stealy said...

"Bottom line is until poverty is finally addressed with more than "lip service" Hartford will not ever be the "Rising Star" it proclaims on banners throughout the city."

Amen to that, and you are correct about education. But the biggest question is, shouldn't there be some inner motivation from the people that are poor and not educated to actually want to help themselves? There seem to be quite a few resources already available, yet many poor residents continue to live in the "Culture of Poverty."

Glastonbury is great, if you like to live in a Lilly-white community with little diversity and spoiled-rich children with $$$ to spend on Heroin and Blow in High School...

Honest Abe said...

The critera for a job within city hall isnt wether or not you are a Hartford resident,but wether or not you are corrupt and/or will turn a blind eye to corruption.

Anonymous said...

In response to Stealy - Yes, one would think that those who are in the grip of poverty would use resources available to them to better their condition. However, many poor folks don't have the wherewithall to seek them out. Either that, or in some cases, feel that their condition is the "norm." If the generation before them lived in poverty human nature sometimes dictates they also will continue to live that way.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. I'm old enough to recall the War on Poverty (started under Lyndon B. Johnson.)

Our city has made some strides, but not enough in the right direction. Apathy is a terrible condition for humans, and this seems to be rather widespread in Hartford.

Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to recall the War on Poverty (started under Lyndon B. Johnson.)

The phrase "war on poverty" suggests that there is the potential for victory, an end to the war. But, there is not. At this point the war has simply been institutionalized, and not to the benefit of our towns. We have a population perpetually on the dole and flocks of political hacks funding and administering all the social justice programs for eternity. If George Aiken were alive to witness our war on poverty I bet he'd suggest something similar to what he suggested about LBJ's Vietnam war; declare victory and get out.

Nobody really believes that there will be an end to poverty. But, can we ask why it is that poverty is concentrated in our towns? And, is it ok to ask what benefit, if any, the towns derive from being so used (by the State)? It is an irony that early (state) social justice/progressive programs/regulations are largely responsible for the ghetto-ization of our towns; public education by district and zoning by municipality. There is NO benefit to the town in being where the poor reside. The only benefit is to political hacks (and the bureaucracies they spawn and oversee) who appeal to the perceived self-interest of the welfare state's beneficiaries. Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford... are what they will be unless structural changes are made at the state level. But, even in that unlikely event we'd still be faced with the getting-the-paste-back-into-the-tube issue. Now that the suburbanization of the state has been completed, with city populations unattractive (not to say repulsive), and with established social and physical infrastructures in Glastonbury, Wethersfield, W.Htfd...; is it even possible to reverse urban flight? I doubt se puede.

The more I think upon it the more I disagree with Kevin B.'s original point. I guess all things being equal I'd prefer to have municipal employees who don't vote in municipal elections. But, in general, I'd prefer fewer of employees with smaller benefit packages. And, my hunch is that's one wish I'm likely to see fulfilled, despite Lawyer Malloy's promises.

peter brush said...

Having difficulties with Comcast, etc.
The above anonymous rant my responsibility.

Anonymous said...

What some people seem to forget is that where ever the talent comes from,
Woodstock, China or even Japan it might be the best talent for the city without preconceived notions.

Remember this country was founded by farmers.

My bets on Kupiec doing a good job.