Search This Blog

Friday, February 19, 2010


This week our guest is Hartford City Councilman Luis Cotto.

Stan McCauley, Bishop John Selder and myself discuss issues facing Hartford, including the upcoming budget cycle.

Councilman Cotto and I have had our disagreements, but I have to admit this was a very candid and frank discussion.

Take a look, and if you have any suggestions for someone you would like to see as a guest, let us know.



Today it became official, someone that I respect and have learned much from has been appointed as the first Hartford Bureau Chief for WFSB Channel 3.

After Channel 3 left Hartford (or was driven out, depending on the version of the story) many people commented that 3's commitment to Hartford stories seemed to change and more focus was placed on the suburban news. That may be true, but all of that may be changing soon.

Channel 3 has promoted Len to the position of Bureau Chief and has re-enforced their commitment to covering Hartford. In the announcement today by WFSB News Director Dana Neves she pointed to Len's "many sources in Hartford and the surrounding towns". Neves further stated that Channel 3 hopes that "he will utilize those contacts and build many more that will allow he and the station to continue to break news and have exclusive angles. He will also continue to be a strong part of the I-Team".

I have personally known Len for several years now and he played a key role in me actually starting this blog. I have found Len to be one of the most ethical and truthful people I have met. Although the subjects of his reports may not always appreciate his digging, the one thing that has always impressed me about his style is that he digs as hard to verify information as he does to uncover both sides of a story. That may not make some in Hartford comfortable knowing he is focusing on Hartford full time, but it should definitely make for many more interesting stories and I-Team investigations.

Before arriving in Hartford, Len worked for WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina. That might explain a lot as far as his mannerisms and anecdotes. My favorite is " even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut" when he tries to explain someone getting lucky.

According to Neves "Len will be based out of the Connecticut Science Center, his new assignment begins in mid-March."

Congratulations Len, well deserved. You are a huge asset to Channel 3 and to the people of Hartford bringing out the information you do.

For those not familiar with Len, here's a classic clip of him in action:


Today was the first day of testimony in the complaint brought to Superior Court by the 5th District Democratic Town Committee challenge slate aka the "Kirkley-Bey" slate.

Contrary to what many believe, I actually do work for a living and I was unable to attend the morning session. But from sources that were there, it started off slow. In typical John Rose style, he filed a "Motion to Strike". This was Rose's attempt to end everything before it started. No dice with the Judge, she denied the motion.

For anyone not familiar with Rose's style, when he has no defense he attempts to bury the proceedings in ridiculous motions. I'm sure there will be something submitted when court reconvenes on Tuesday.

A couple of sources in the courtroom were concerned that the plaintiff's attorney was not being aggressive enough in the AM session and the Judge appeared to be somewhat confused by the subject matter.

As a side note, William Beckerman, the alleged arsonist currently on trial for, umm, allegedly torching his home has been the talk of many for his "hairpiece". Beckerman has apparently started a trend in the Hartford courts by sporting his jet black toupee atop his head. Lovely wigs were being sported by some of those who turned out today to put their best foot forward as they sat and watched the proceedings. An almost festive air seeped through the courtroom as the two passed around their zip-lock bag of penny candy to the Giles slate supporters. Grandma, you didn't share with me?

I arrived in time for the start of the afternoon session, prepared to witness a depressing scene of John Rose winning his arguments. Well, those that thought the plaintiff's attorney was sluggish in the morning were able to witness his caffeine kick into overdrive in the afternoon. And the Judge who seemed confused became a quick learner I guess and appeared on point throughout the afternoon.

The afternoon started out with John Rose arguing that this suit shouldn't be heard because only the 5th District was complaining. Rose argued that the petition problem was far greater and wasn't just in the 5th District, it was citywide. HUH? Did I just hear that right. It almost sounds like a defense attorney arguing that his client should not have been arrested yet because he only robbed one bank and there are banks citywide he hasn't robbed yet.

The cross examination of Marc DiBella continued for a while longer with Attorney Sweeney making several objections against Rose's questioning, most of which the Judge, Judge Peck, agreed with and sustained.

After another "comfort break" which lasted longer than expected, testimony resumed with City Clerk John Bazzano taking the stand. Bazzano's testimony was precise as to his actions in handling the primary petitions when they were delivered to his office as required by law. He testified that the petitions were turned over to him and stored in the vault. Bazzano testified that on January 27, 2010, he was approached in the early afternoon by Marc DiBella and was advised that Dibella had found a potential problem with the "Giles" slates primary petitions.

When questioned as to what he did, Bazzano testified that he called the Secretary of the State's office and spoke with a staff attorney, Ted Bromley. Bazzano explained the situation to Bromley and Bromley responded to Bazzano by e-mail. Bazzano then outlined a timeline that appeared to torpedo the defense by Vazquez and Rose. Bazzano stated that Bromley responded to his request almost immediately, but that it wasn't until 3:30PM that he got back to his office and read the e-mail.

After reading the e-mail, Bazzano testified that at 3:45PM to 3:50PM he went downstairs to the Registrar's Office and advised the Democratic Registrar that she "had a problem". He stated that he "didn't recall" having a further conversation other than outlining the problem and then returning to his office.

Bazzano then was asked what happened next and he testified that at approximately 4:00PM Democratic Deputy Registrar Gary Coleman came to his office and told Bazzano that he needed "all" of the petitions back. Bazzano gave him the petitions and Coleman left the Clerks Office. Bazzano also testified that he had looked at the petitions before they left his office, and many were incomplete.

This was in line with the testimony offered earlier by DiBella and substantiated by his copies, that many of the petitions were incomplete.

The 4:00PM time frame is important because in Bromley's e-mail to Bazzano he stated that any changes or corrections made to the petitions after the 4:00PM deadline would not be valid and the petitions should be rejected.

Judge Peck seemed to make a point of Bazzano's timeline as though she clearly understands the 4:00PM deadline. So much for that confusion people thought earlier. The Judge even went so far as to ask Bazzano to repeat his timeline testimony so that she "had it clear" in her head.

Next up was cross examination by Rose. More objections, and more ridiculous by Rose. He even went so far at one point to ask Bazzano if he knew the boundaries of the 5th District. I don't think anyone in the court understood that line of questioning, but then again, it is John Rose. During the cross examination, Judge Peck even stopped Rose at one point and read the section in question, Section C, word for word.

It seemed as if she was trying to advise Rose to stop wasting her and the courts time because his argument was not at all in line with the wording of the form. With the typical arrogance that is John Rose, he stood with his arms folded across his chest as if to beckon the question to the Judge "do you know who I am?". I would say she clearly does and has him figured out.

Testimony will resume on Tuesday at 10:00AM barring a snow day.

Next up: Attorney Ted Bromley from the Secretary of the State's Office

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The attached State Elections Enforcement Commission decision pretty much speaks for itself.

I guess some people never learn, even after they admit to wrongdoing and sign the agreement and pay the $500.00 fine.

Olga Vazquez 2004 Full Decision


Just to bring you up to speed on the latest at Hartford Public Access Television and the Sasha Hunter saga, if you aren't aware of the controversy, read about it here in a previous posting "BILLIE SCRUSE PUTS THE SCREWS TO THE SASHA HUNTER SHOW"

Ok, now that you read that, here's the latest. Earlier this evening, February 17, 2010, the Hartford Area Cable Television Advisory Council (HACTAC)met for their regular monthly meeting.Myself and other HAPTV producers, including Sasha Hunter, attended the meeting and were allowed to speak to the Board.

Prior to the meeting HACTAC members advised us that they were more than willing to allow anyone to speak, but that they would like a written complaint detailing the issues of concern. After listening to our complaints and the details of the issues, we were urged to submit our issues promptly and that HACTAC would call a special meeting to address the complaints. They committed to calling a special meeting as quickly as legally possible, most likely within a week after the complaint was received.

The HACTAC board seemed concerned regarding the status of the operation and lack of transparency at HPATV. I detailed the issue that HPATV Board meetings are not open to the public, and in fact, myself and other producers had the police called on us to be removed when we tried to attend a Board meeting. Several jaws on the HACTAC board dropped open at that statement, especially from an organization whose middle name is "Public".

I also spoke about the numerous producers who have requested representation on the Board of Directors, only to fall on deaf ears. I don't ever recall a member of the HPATV Board attending a producers meeting.

Sasha then spoke and outlined her suspension from HPATV's lineup and the way her situation has been handled. Then another producer spoke about her many years as a volunteer at HPATV and how she has volunteered as a camera person at Hartford City Council meetings. Apparently because she is a supporter of Sasha Hunter, Trish has been told that her volunteer services are no longer needed at Council meetings.

HACTAC seemed to take these allegations very seriously and outlined the steps that they may potentially take to correct the situation if they agree with the complaint.
Apparently, they have the authority to take several steps, up to ordering Comcast to remove HPATV's authority to broadcast on the 3 channels allocated to them for the public access usages. HACTAC also stated that they have the authority to withhold Comcast funding to HPATV and appoint a different non-profit as the new operator of the franchise.

They stated that every attempt to rectify the situation would be taken first, but if the Board and Executive Director chose not to communicate or address the issues, worst case they could exercise the above scenarios.

More to come on this I'm sure. I guess sometimes it is just not a good idea to poke a hornets nest without giving it some long hard thought first. You may think the hornets aren't going to fight back and protect themselves, but that first sting will let you know you made a mistake.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Apparently Hartford's high taxes aren't the only thing Sean and Ralph Arena have figured out how to beat. As I first posted here, Hartford's Democratic Town Chairperson Sean Arena and his brother, 4th District Town Committee member Ralph Arena have apparently been registering and having their cars taxed in New Canaan. New Canaan has a mil rate of 13, compared to Hartford's much higher mil rate of almost 74 mils. Read the previous posting and view the Arena's New Canaan tax bills here.

Now, after obtaining the Arena's vehicle registrations from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicle's, it appears that the Arena's have found another way to beat the high cost of living in Hartford.

As you can see on the registrations, both brothers share an insurance policy from AIG, using the false New Canaan address. This apparently serves a dual purpose in beating Hartford's high cost of living. Insurance rates in New Canaan are much lower than in Hartford, and by claiming to live together, the brothers are only using one policy rather than the 2 separate policies they should have.

Only in Hartford I guess. Leadership by example.

And as you may or may not recall, our current Mayor Eddie A. Perez pulled the same scam during his first term as Mayor. Perez registered his cars and had them taxed in Bloomfield until the Hartford Courant picked up on it and exposed his activity.

In their registrations below, I redacted out their date of births and operator license number
Arena Registration Redacted


Apparently the ugliness known as Hartford politics continues. The original allegations of tampering with Democratic Town Committee petitions was first detailed here, click here to read the original posting.

Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez chose not to take the advice of the Secretary of the State and her legal staff. Attorney Ted Bromley from the Secretary of the State's office outlined the steps that needed to be taken in an e-mail from himself to Hartford City Clerk John Bazzano. That e-mail is below. In the e-mail, Bromley states that if the petitions were not completed and submitted in accordance with Connecticut law "the petition pages would have to be rejected"

DTC Petition SOTS E-mail

Since Vazquez wouldn't take the proper steps, the 5th District Democratic challenge slate, the "Kirkley-Bey" slate, is hoping that a superior court Judge will take the correct steps to rectify the situation. A hearing in Superior Court on Washington Street has been scheduled for Friday morning at 10:00am



Apparently the post from a couple weeks ago regarding Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez and her alleged altering of primary petitions wasn't the first time she was accused of such activity.

It seems that Vazquez was the subject of a State Elections Enforcement Complaint filed in 2004 alleging essentially the same behavior in falsifying signatures on petitions. Vazquez admitted her wrongdoing, according to the stipulated agreement, and paid a $500.00 fine.