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Friday, March 19, 2010


The Connecticut Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal submitted by John Rose and the City of Hartford in opposition to the ruling issued by Judge Peck regarding the illegal altering of the petitions handled by Hartford's Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez.


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Hartford is at a critical point in whether it once again begins to move forward or continues a slide backwards.

We have seen the current administration under siege for several years now under rumors of corruption. Rumors that over the last year or so went from rumors to valid criminal allegations and eventually to criminal arrests based on sufficient probable cause. We have seen businesses boarding up and moving out of Hartford due to out of control spending and some of the highest tax rates in the state.

A budget that has increased over $125 million in eight years, a mil rate that has doubled and a staff in the Mayor's Office that far exceeds the 5 individuals allowed by Hartford's City Charter. A rainy day fund that has disappeared from almost $40 million, if not more when Perez became Mayor to potentially a budget "gap" of over $70 million today.

Yet ground zero for all of this political mess, known as the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, continues to spiral out of control.

The last few weeks have proven to me that whoever is claiming to be in control, no one is control and the Town Committee is a complete and total mess. In light of the recent election for a Chairperson, I have to say I was extremely disappointed by the behavior on both sides. It is tough to write that because I have the highest respect for Jean Holloway and her commitment to Hartford and its future.

One of the first lessons I learned was that to succeed you have to realize that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

If I was going to talk about change and reform, I'm not sure I would choose to select the same person chosen as the Vice Chair to be the symbol of "change and reform", someone that has been embroiled in a scandal of his own in which he has pocketed tens of thousands of dollars. I'm not sure that I would choose someone to run on a Town Committee slate that was convicted of violating the public trust by running a scam right out of a courthouse.Reform may be difficult, it might not always prove popular, but is more than just a word you throw about.

I posted earlier this week about potential repercussions from this chaos surrounding the Town Committee. One of the major problems is that we may potentially be closing the door on any influence at the State level if we do not have legitimate delegates to the State convention. Governors and other politicians usually tend to have long memories when it comes to remembering where there support came from. Not being able to commit delegates to a candidate because of local political squabbles is not only borderline insanity, it is inexcusable.

Whether I was the "losing" Chairperson candidate or the "winning" Chairperson candidate, it seems that the direction should be clear. Neither candidates position is "rock solid" clear and it could go either way. It could be a long road as it winds its way through dispute hearings and eventually court hearings and who knows what else.

It is time for the "winners" and the "losers" to put aside personalities, egos and whatever other differences are creating this chaos. It's a gamble for both sides, but the time has come to show that Hartford does actually have people capable of leadership. Both sides need to agree to call for a special meeting called for the purpose of electing a legitimate Chairperson. It needs to be called at the earliest possible date allowed by law.

Since both sides have shown their obvious lack of trust in each other and also their inability to respect differing opinions, I also think a neutral Chair for the meeting needs to assigned, and most likely a parliamentarian supplied by Democratic State Central that both sides can agree on.

It's not rocket science, but it is common sense, something this City seems to be lacking.

Please act like adults and show that Hartford does have leadership potential. And for change to happen, people have to step up and vote for what they feel is right, not what they have been told to do or repeating the way it has always been.

Like I said, if I were Chair, not that anyone cares.


Apparently the leaders of all of Hartford's City Labor unions have been summoned to a 4:00PM meeting today at Hartford City Hall.

Due to the City of Hartford's poor budget outlook, Mayor Perez is calling on the unions to once again do their part in closing the budget "gap".

This might be a harder sell to the unions this year considering last years givebacks seemed to go right out the back door of City Hall through ESI bonuses to the Mayor's cronies and trips on the backs of laid off city employees.

These should be some interesting negotiations.

Maybe Perez can lead by example and start by cutting positions in his office.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Sorry for the delay on this, but its been another busy week.

Every three months a "Producer's Meeting" is held at Hartford Public Access Television and it is required for producers wishing to have a program in the upcoming season to attend. The "spring" season meeting was held Monday night. A couple dozen producers, including myself, attended.

The agenda presented by Billie Scruse (pronounced screws) was short and she breezed through it in less than 20 minutes. The meeting was relatively civil up to the point she opened up for questions. Apparently she is not used to being held up to scrutiny, because that is where the meeting turned bad.

The threat of questioning her heavy handed tactics loomed large and I couldn't resist the chance to ask a few questions.

The handling of the "Sasha Show" has been a matter of concern for everyone and Scruse's refusal to answer any questions has also been a problem. I've been a firm believer that if you deal in good faith and truthfully, then you shouldn't have any problem explaining your actions.

I asked a generic question about signing out equipment from HPATV and the repercussions for returning equipment late. Scruse answered that anyone returning equipment late could possibly have their right to sign out equipment suspended. I asked if she meant their show suspended and she said no, their right to use HPATV equipment. I then asked how someone would know if this was a problem, and she stated a violator would receive a written warning first.

I then asked a question about the policy of producers attending the mandatory meeting in order to have a program. I think at this point the little bulb went off in her head and she realized where I was going. I tried to clarify if the meeting was actually mandatory since I knew of a few producers from the last season who did not attend the producers meeting, yet still had programs.

She started to get agitated and finally stated that it was her call if mandatory meant mandatory, and if she wanted to let someone have a program she could. She then quickly went to someone else in the room, I guess figuring that would be easier.

Wrong choice, the next questions were just as tough.

Scruse then declared the meeting was over and no one wanted to be bothered with such issues. She then seemed to cave into the pressure and made some sort of declaration that Sasha Hunter wasn't an employee and she (Scruse) wasn't bound by any privacy issues. She claimed to lay all of her facts on the table and offered up a copy of an e-mail she sent to Sasha and a copy of an e-mail that HPATV's lawyer ( yes, lawyer) wrote to Sasha.

It seemed odd that the e-mails Scruse offered up were a direct contradiction to the policies she had quoted earlier.

In her e-mail to Sasha, Scruse pointed to one reason for suspending the Sasha Show was that Sasha failed to attend the "mandatory" December 14, 2010 ( Scruse said 2010, I think she meant 2009, unless she's clairvoyant). This would apparently be the mandatory meeting that Scruse had just stated wasn't mandatory but more discretionary on her part.

Then the second reason for her suspension was that she had returned a camera tripod 18 days late. This apparently is also a contradiction to her earlier statements that returning equipment late would only result in suspension of a producers right to borrow equipment, not a suspension.

I also asked if Scruse was willing to share the copies of the written warnings issued to Hunter as per her policies. I stated that if the written warnings were shared with us, I would be prone to believe that the suspension was legitimate and not personality related as suggested.

That seemed to be the final straw and she grabbed all of her propaganda and files and quickly headed for the door. On her way out she stated that if we had a problem, "take it up with the Board". I would imagine that she meant the Board of Directors of Hartford Public Access Television, the same "Board" that has called the Police on myself and others in the past for attempting to attend Board meetings.

Scruse left the room and offered up one of her staff people as a sacrificial lamb. Unfortunately he was unable to answer any questions or commit to any solutions.

The meeting ended with more dissatisfaction with Scruse and her abilities by her actions. She probably could have gained much more credibility by spending the extra 15 minutes addressing the problem than she did storming out like a tyrant.

It seems odd behavior for an organization whose middle name is "PUBLIC".

The video has been a problem trying to capture and upload, but as soon as it is ready it will be posted here.


Hang on Hartford Democrats, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

It seems that (FORMER?)Hartford Democratic Town Committee Chairperson Sean Arena's "Endorsement Dispute" filing may be the latest violation of State Central rules.

According to the Democratic State Central rules, Article V, section A, Arena's complaint would have to"be referred to the State Central Committee members in the applicable district for local resolution".

In this case, that would be the same person who replaced Arena by the process being disputed, Jean Holloway. The other Democratic State Central member from the District would be Hector Robles.

In essence, for Arena to have exhausted his "administrative" remedies in the required process and go through the appropriate steps, he would have to file his complaint and attempt to resolve the issue with Robles and Holloway on the local level first.

I know, it is all very confusing, but typically whether it is a union grievance or a political dispute, or pretty much any civil matter, you have to exhaust your "administrative" remedies before moving to the next level when you feel aggrieved.

Arena has not done that, and potentially his complaint could be kicked back to the local level where it needs to be dealt with first, according to party rules.

That raises another problem though. As the clock ticks on Arena's complaint, other issues come into play. Most likely the complaint should get kicked back and see what happens on the local level. That can cause a few things to happen. Robles and Holloway determine that it is a conflict for them to decide and since Robles supports Arena and Holloway supports herself they are at a deadlock. Refer the matter up the process to State Central.

Or Holloway resigns as a State Central member and her replacement and Robles attempt to resolve the matter. That scenario is highly unlikely and would potentially have a great impact on any balance of "power" on the Town Committee.

The more likely outcome is that no matter what they decide,short of Arena being named Chairperson, Arena will not accept their decision. At that point, since he had exhausted his "administrative" options on the local level, Arena could take his dispute to State Central. That would be the normal progression, and in a court of law, where this is most likely to end up, taking the proper steps up the ladder is required.

And now on to the next major problem. As the clock ticks on all of this, the Democratic State Convention is rapidly approaching and delegates need to be selected for the convention. The problem with that is there are hard and fast deadlines that need to be adhered to for that selection. There are also specific time lines that govern the dispute process.

In addition to the five day time frame to select the members of the "dispute" committee from other State Central members, there is a requirement of a seven day notice to be given before any hearing can be held.

The hearing process timeline would most likely extend beyond the delegate "deadline" resulting in the Hartford Democratic Town Committee being unable to send legitimate delegates to the convention when the whole process is in question.

With the number of candidates for Governor and other Constitutional statewide offices in the mix this year,more so than ever, every delegates vote counts. If a winning candidate should receive a nomination based on a slim vote margin, I doubt they want to risk that support on a Hartford delegation vote that might not hold up.

If a Hartford delegation to the Convention can't be chosen due to the illegitimacy questions, Hartford's local party rules once again kick in. Apparently those rules call for the same delegates to be sent to the convention that were sent 4 years ago.

Welcome back Abe Giles and company as delegates to the convention for 2010.

I know, it is still very confusing, but that's politics in Hartford. You can't make this stuff up.


Article V:


A. Any dispute concerning endorsements for any office, or for delegate or for town committee member or officer, and any dispute concerning the interpretation and effect of party rules and procedures must first be referred to the State Central Committee members in the applicable district for local resolution. In order to expedite any such disputes, State Central members may seek legal opinions from Counsel for State Central. If the parties involved cannot bring about a resolution to their differences within seven business days, then the issue may be referred to the State Party Chairman in writing asking that the issue be resolved through a Dispute Resolution Committee. If the dispute is brought before a Dispute Resolution Committee, the issuing of a previous legal opinion by State Central Counsel concerning the dispute shall not prohibit said Counsel from advising the Dispute Resolution Committee.

B. A Dispute Resolution Committee shall be composed of no less than three (3) nor more than five (5) members of the State Central Committee, appointed by the chairperson
thereof, none of whom shall be represent the district or districts concerned. The decision of the committee shall be conclusive and binding upon all parties.

C. The committee shall be appointed no later than five (5) business days after the Democratic Party Chair receives a written request for the resolution of a dispute pursuant to this article. The committee shall set a time and place for a hearing of said dispute within five (5) business days of its appointment. The parties to the dispute shall receive notice at least seven (7) business days prior to the hearing unless exigent circumstances warrant less notice. The Committee shall issue its decision within three (3) days of the close of the hearing, and a written copy of such decision shall be filed with the State Central Committee, and provided to each party to the dispute. However, when exigent circumstances arise, the State Chairman shall have the authority to modify these requirements.


Helen Ubinas found the "WANTED" t-shirts while, according to her "trolling the web" today.

I have to say they are much more popular than I thought and have been a big hit. They were especially popular at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and even a few people from outside of Hartford wanted them once they saw them.

The only problem is that for the initial order I only ordered size large and x-large. I figured that would be the universal size for most of us and took into consideration that they would fit comfortably over a kevlar vest (Not everyone likes the message).

There are still L and XL available ($10.00), and when I reorder I will make sure to get some smalls for, as Helen referred to them, "the little people".

I'll save a small for you Helen, even though you are larger than life in my eyes :) and if Eddie wants to order one, I'll save a small for him also.

To read Helen's posting or go to her blog, click here