Search This Blog

Saturday, May 1, 2010


As funding for Hartford's non-profits continues to tighten, tough decisions need to be made as to who gets the money and who gets cut out. Hartford's City Council will have to be making such tough decisions soon.

Many organizations who have applied for funding will find themselves getting nothing.
Among such groups are the Connecticut Science Center, Inc, the Hartford Public Library, the Hartford Stage,the San Juan Center as well as others.

I made my first visit to the Connecticut Science Center this past Friday, and even at 10:00 AM, there were hundreds of school age children visiting the Center. Why the city would not do everything possible to work with and fund the Center is beyond me. I would venture to say that except for sporting events at the XL Center, the Connecticut Science Center is probably the number one draw bringing people into Hartford at this time.

I'm not sure how decisions are made as to who gets funded and who gets cut, but according to City Hall sources, much of the decision making is political and essentially no reporting is done to see if we are actually getting our money's worth out of the grants.

I'm still researching all of the grant applicants, over 70 in all, but a few interesting facts are popping up. Federally required reports, Form 990's, must be filed annually by all non-profits. These are essentially the "income tax" forms for 501c-3 and other non-profits.

One of the interesting form "990's" is from a group that had been in the news quite a bit over the past couple years.

The Ebony Horsewomen were put in the spotlight when they were trying to push through a plan to develop almost 300 acres of Keney Park for an Equestrian Center on public land. Many issues were raised about the project but one of the most interesting was the groups use of the City's horse stables off Vine Street in Keney Park.

The project happened to coincide with the re-instatement of the Hartford Police Department's Mounted Patrol Unit. The Ebony Horsewomen were using the stables vacated when the Hartford Police disbanded the mounted unit several years ago. Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts apparently had a conversation with the Ebony Horsewomen's President Patricia Kelly regarding the need for the Horsewomen to vacate the stables.

Kelly refused and created a somewhat tenuous situation. Apparently Chief Roberts asked Kelly to provide him with information regarding her programs, the demographics the Ebony Horsewomen served and other information so that he could lead the charge to leave her programs intact and find an alternative for the mounted patrol.

According to Chief Roberts, despite repeated requests he received nothing. On a 1Hartford program where Kelly was our guest, I asked her about the Chief's claims and she disputed Chief Roberts version and claimed she had provided all of the information he requested and then some. She so strongly disputed the Chief's claims, she said that she would e-mail me everything she had sent to the Chief to prove her story.

To this day I have received nothing from her.

This points to a major problem with these grants.I would be naive to think that political pressure doesn't enter into the awarding of government money, locally, state level or national level. But on the other hand, even if the money is awarded as a "political" favor, shouldn't there be some accountability and an obligation to see that we are getting our money's worth in return?

Ok, so back to the form 990's. They are a great resource and only paint a small portion of the picture, but in many cases they raise more questions than they answer. This is exactly the case with the Ebony Horsewomen. I can't say whether their programs are worthwhile or a scam for someone to profit from a non-profit.

Take a look at their 990's and decide if you would be comfortable giving $10,000.00 of your own money to them without having a few questions answered.

In the 2008 Form 990 filed by the Ebony Horsewomen and signed by Patricia Kelly as President of the Board of Directors and CEO, she lists her compensation as $0, no compensation.

Then scroll down a little further to page 4 and look at the section for "Independent contractors paid over $100,000". In that section you will find a payment to "Diversified Equus Corp." for $108,584.00. A quick trip over to and search Concord to find out more about Diversified Equus Corp.

According to the Secretary of States Office, Diversified Equus is the company of Patricia and James Kelly and a 3rd party from Maryland. For a Board member of a non-profit to benefit from their "service" on that Board is both improper and highly unethical, and some would say criminal. Is that the case here? I wish I could say, but since Patricia Kelly has never provided the information to me that she had promised, I can only say it looks bad and questions should be asked before checks are cut.

In addition, Kelly was boarding horses in the stables for profit, according to sources, one of them who had actually boarded a horse there, the money was paid to Kelly on a monthly basis. Since no documents or information is available, it is unknown if that money benefited Kelly personally or was actually put back into programs.

990 Ebony Horsewomen

Below is the information from the Secretary of State's website:

Mailing Address: Citizenship/State Inc: Last Report Year:
NONE Domestic/CT
Business Type: Business Status: Date Inc./Register:
Stock Active Dec 18, 2001
Name/Title: Business Address: Residence Address:
IMPORTANT: There are more principals for this business that are not shown here.
Agent Name: Agent Business Address: Agent Residence Address:

Next up on on the 990 list is a non-profit that applied for funding under the classification of "HOPWA", housing of persons with AIDS. A worthwhile classification addressing a much needed service in our City. But as with the Ebony Horsewomen, one of the non-profits receiving a proposed grant of over $70,000.00 raises some serious questions as to why it is being funded by the City of Hartford.

In pulling up the form 990 for the organization, Saint Philip House, I was immediately confused. I had heard of Saint Philip House, but other than that I knew very little about them.

The first question was raised by their address. Saint Philip house is located in Plainville. I'm not saying this is not an honorable operation, but why are we funding an operation in Plainville. I'm wondering how much CDBG money Hartford organizations receive from the Town of Plainville. The answer is most likely $0.00, nothing, zero.

But then, like I said before, the 990's are a great tool to answer some questions. And also like I said before, one of my City Hall sources said much of the process is influenced by politics rather than merit. So...... go to page 5 of the 990 and the answers become clearer.

The President of the Board of Director's for Saint Philip House is Jan Appeloff. For those that may not be all that familiar with the figures in Hartford politics, Appeloff is a member of the 6th District Democratic Town Committee and a huge supporter for Mayor Perez. Appeloff was also the driving force in the 6th District behind the failed attempts to re-elect former Democratic Town Chair Sean Arena. Appeloff's home has also been the headquarters for meetings held to chastise 6th District State Representative Hector Robles for his role in the downfall of Chairperson Arena.

With that being said, go down the list of Board members for Saint Philip House and right under Appeloff's listing as President you will find Ralph Arena listed as the Boards Treasurer. Yes Ralph Arena is the brother of former DTC Chairperson Sean Arena and another faithful Perez supporter.

Coincidence? It has to be, this is Hartford and nothing underhanded would happen here. I mean there has to be a logical explanation, why would we not grant the requests for funding for Hartford based organizations serving the needs for "HOPWA". There has to be a reason why we would underfund Hartford based organizations providing services on the streets of Hartford , while providing almost the full funding request to an orgainzation from Plainville.

Is it a political decision? Nah, can't be, tell me it isn't so. This is Hartford don't forget.

990 Saint Philip House

And finally for today, read the staff analysis for this program and tell me how you would vote.
"2008 financial statement presented, cannot ascertain current operational/financial capacity to execute proposed program. Budget and narrative contradictory. No historical data on success, business openings, business retention and growth due to program participation. No date presented to justify demand for proposed level of service; recommend partial funding".
End result, even after that review, is that the recommendation is to give the Spanish American Merchants Association $35,000.00 even though the application submitted is "contradictory.

Politics, no, please say it isn't so. End result, Spanish American Merchants Association- funded, Ebony Horsewomen-funded, Saint Philip House in Plainville-funded, Connecticut Science Center-rejected. It all seems to make sense.

More to come on this, but I hope the City Council does a little more due diligence before making their decisions.

Since the site I use to get the 990's is a subscription site and not available to the public, if you have a 990 you would like to see, let me know and I'll post it here. Just provide me with the legal name of the organization and I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Apparently Mayor Perez has had enough heat placed upon him for a couple of the positions housed in his office. Perez's Capitol Projects Manager James Keaney has been the focus of much discussion and criticism related to Perez. At the time that Keaney was hired, part of his contract deal was a city "take-home" vehicle. According to sources, Keaney requested, and was provided with, a luxury SUV with heated leather seats. To this day, Keaney drives that car back and forth to his home in Cheshire daily at the taxpayers expense.

Further criticism was dumped on Perez when it was revealed that Perez gave Keaney an "ESI" bonus at the time Keaney was hired to boost his salary to more than $180,000. ESI bonuses are intended to be used for existing employees who go above and beyond their job descriptions as a way to reward them.

Perez was further chastised when it was revealed the man James Keaney was hired to replace after his "retirement", was actually hired back as a "Special Assistent to Mayor Perez" at a rate of $85.00 per hour. Charles Crocini was rehired by Perez at about the same time others were being laid off. Even at a part time position, Crocini was(and is) making more than many City employees working full time.

And then add on to that Perez's decision to hire a full time "Energy Czar". He's only making about $90,000 a year, but I don't think he demanded a luxury SUV with heated leather seats, so there is a savings right there.

So, apparently Eddie had enough of being embarrassed by adding staff to his office through the back door approach without the Council's knowledge, in the middle of a hiring freeze none the less.

Well, this year a slick little entry in the Mayor's Budget Book caught my attention.

After reviewing this years budget proposal outlining the Mayor's Office budget, I was encouraged that Perez had come to his senses. No funding for Keaney, Crocini and the rest of the "hiring freeze hires". Was Eddie actually making cuts that made sense, an appropriation line showing -0- dollars.

My hopes were dashed when I got to page 22-1 and saw a "new" Office of Capital Assets. I asked a staffer from the Mayor's Office if it didn't require Council approval to create a new Department or Office? Nope, not if you are slick like Eddie.

Apparently, if no one questions the appropriation and the Council approves the budget, the new department would appear and be legal. Sounds a little underhanded to me, but at least it is out of the Mayor's Office and no one will notice then, too late, sorry.

So I guess Perez can say he reduced his office's budget when he is asked, he probably wont say that he buried the City's highest paid employee somewhere else, on page 22-1 of the budget book

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


First off, what is a "mil"? Here is the official definition form the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM)

Mill Rates


A mill is equal to $1.00 of tax for each $1,000 of assessment. To calculate the property tax, multiply the assessment of the property by the mill rate and divide by 1,000. For example, a property with a assessed value of $50,000 located in a municipality with a mill rate of 20 mills would have a property tax bill of $1,000 per year.

Local property tax mill rates have been set for individual Connecticut municipalities for fiscal year 2009-2010. These rates are based upon the 2008 grand list and are available below. These are the most current mill rates and are reflected in each municipality's July 2009 tax bills.

Hartford's mil rate is approaching 80 mils. Here is a listing of all towns and boroughs for the State of Connecticut and their respective mil rates. The next highest mil rate is New Haven at 42.21.

Here are a few others:

Bridgeport 38.74
East Hartford 31.67
New Britain 34.98
New Haven 42.21
Stamford 26.50
Waterbury 39.92

Take a guess who is top on the list.

2008 Mill Rates


Just about every City of Hartford employee I speak with has numerous ideas how to cut the budget and reduce spending. Almost every resident can point out an inefficient area in city services. It isn't too hard to identify some waste, and in the end it all adds up.

A couple of the obvious ones are repeated time and time again at Council Meeting public sessions, but no changes seem to be made. City vehicles being used excessively for who knows what reasons. A constant example is the Assistant Police Chief who commutes daily to Stamford, CT in a city vehicle using the city's gasoline.

It would seem to me that the reason for a "take-home" vehicle is to be able to respond back to the city in an emergency. If you live an hour and a half away, is there really a need for anyone to respond back. I would hope that there would be enough qualified people on duty to have the situation under control in much less time than it would take to drive back from Stamford. Not a huge amount, but it all adds up.

A complete review of city vehicle usage needs to be conducted and the policy revised. I won't even go into the luxury SUV assigned to the Mayor's Director of Capital Projects.

A driver for the Mayor. Leadership starts at the top, and a Mayor should lead by example. Can we really afford to have someone driving the Mayor around, especially lately when that job consists of chauffeuring the Mayor and his wife from their home to the courthouse. On several days when I checked during jury selection, the Mayor's city-owned Mercury Mountaineer SUV and his driver were sitting in the parking lot of his attorney, directly behind the courthouse. Again, probably less than $60,000 (plus benefits) but it all adds up.

Sarah Barr, Director of Communications, Mayor's Office

Numerous media spokespeople. Probably half a million dollars, if not more, are spent on what the city calls "media relations". Most other people would call it media "spin" and the Mayor's Office actually calls it furthering the "Gospel of Perez". The Board of Education has a couple people handling "media relations" at salaries of over $100,000 each. When was the last time you saw a press release from the Board other than bus schedules. In reality, when media people check with the Board regarding an incident in a school, they are met with a firm "no comment". I would think a staff person could do that for much less.

The Police Department has at least 2 people handling the media and their website. Since the blog for Chief Roberts on the HPD website was last updated in August of 2009, I might question the need for that position. The Public Information Officer for the PD, a uniformed Sergeant who could be used on the street, works Monday through Friday during regular hours. The majority of incidents that the media is interested in typically happen after normal business hours.

When an incident happens after hours, a ranking officer in charge for the shift sometimes speaks to the media and on many occasions the Chief himself speaks at 2 or 3 in the morning if he is at the scene. Couldn't this happen 24/7 and free up a sergeant for the streets and save a "website coordinator" contract worth over $65,000.

Then the Fire Department has a PIO (public information officer) a Captain assigned for media relations. Probably another $80,000 a year plus salary (not including benefits). At any major incident there is always a Deputy Chief (always at least one if not more)and in most cases they speak to the media as needed.

And then there are the disciples spreading the "Gospel of Perez", also known as propaganda and spin, from the Mayor's Office. The numbers probably will never be accurate to the public as to how much is devoted to "media relations" out of the Mayor's Office, but salaries alone are probably over a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Couldn't one person operating out of the Mayor's Office handle all media relations as needed. If you look at the number of press releases generated by all of the various "media people" on a weekly basis, it would probably be hard to fill a 40 hour week for just one person. This could be a sizable amount of cash saved if one person co-ordinated media relations.

Many major cities, including New Haven, coordinate media relations through the Mayor's Office and centralize their operations reducing redundant positions. If the PD and FD can have ranking officers handle the media, why do full time positions need to be assigned. Again, it all adds up.

In addition, last year at budget hearing time the issue of city cellphones was brought up, and numerous cellphones couldn't be accounted for, even though the city was still paying the bills. Sounds like a savings is available there, who knows how much that could add up to.

Just a start, but it amounts to reduced spending. Fell free to post any ideas.


John Rose once again was the topic of conversation at Monday nights Council Meeting. Much of the debate was regarding a move to clarify the City Charter and whether John Rose should issue an opinion or should the Council just skip right over him and get an outside opinion.

On Tuesday, it seemed to become quite clear that Rosie does not have the best interests of the Council first and foremost. Almost 24 hours after the Council meeting, Rosie sent an e-mail to all Council members advising them that in his opinion they had broken the law the previous night. The e-mail from Rose to the Council outlining his thoughts is below.

The question arises though on whether the Council is actually receiving proper advice from Rose. He has exhibited his disdain for the Council on numerous occasions, and this is just one more glaring example.

If Rosie sat through the meeting and observed this perceived illegal activity and said nothing , it can amount to one of two things. If he didn't realize the actions were improper and had to research it the following day, that is incompetence. Although he makes it quite clear that he is ignorant of, or unwilling to obey, FOI laws, the Council deserves much better representation when dealing with the business of the City.

If Rose sat there and knowingly let the Council proceed down a path he knew, or felt, was illegal I would think that would constitute malpractice. If this was a game of "gotcha" to show the Council who's "the boss", Rose should be removed from Council meetings permanently. If necessary, someone competent from the Corporation Counsel's Office should be assigned to serve the Council since Mr. Rose is incapable, or unwilling to do that. Although in considering the track record of the Corporation Counsel's Office, finding someone competent in that office might potentially be a problem.

Rose 4-27-10 Email


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Here's a performance I'd pay to watch. It could be a fundraiser to close the budget gap. Maybe the Bushnell could host it, starring Mayor Eddie A. Perez, Chief of Staff Susan McMullen, Chief Operating Officer David Panagore, Corporation Counsel John Rose and of course Director of Communications Sarah Barr (no performance of the Mayor would be complete without her).

Possibly we could even open the performance with a short prayer vigil for the Mayor

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


I spoke with WFSB's Dennis House at last nights Budget Hearing at Bulkeley High School.

He told me that he had done a posting on his blog and put a link to "We the People" on there. While looking at his blog, he had a posting directed to the taxpayers of Hartford and questions they should be asking regarding "economic development", or the lack thereof in Hartford.

Here are his suggested list of questions:

The City of Hartford is beginning budget hearings to talk about Mayor Perez’ proposed tax hike. Citizens aren’t happy about paying more taxes and there are some questions taxpayers should be asking city officials.

1. Why has the city lost so many taxpayers since 2005? ING, Mass Mutual, Met Life, WFSB, the Goodwin Hotel, T.J. Maxx, and the list goes on, and on.

2. Rather than raise taxes on an already burdened citizenry, why not attract new business to the city?

3. Why have dozens of companies opened stores and restaurants in the surrounding towns, but avoided Hartford?

4. What is the city doing to recruit new business to the city?

5. Why are there so many empty storefronts downtown?

6. What additional services will we get in exchange for paying higher taxes?

7. Does the administration feel responsible for the loss of thousands of jobs in the city, and the loss of millions in tax revenue?

To view Dennis's blog click below or he can be found at under "blogs"

Click here to go to and read "the Hartfordite"


If you aren't receiving them you should be.

Linda Bayer from Hartford 2000 and Richard Frieder from the Hartford Public Library have been providing an e-mail service for a while that has proven very beneficial.

The "e-lerts" usually consist of a common sense, plain English notice of Council meeting agenda's in advance of the meetings followed up by a "council re-cap" of action taken by the council a day or two after the meeting.

Occasionally "e-lerts" include notices of upcoming community meetings of interest to subscribers.

Overall it is a great service, and well worth signing up for, it is free of charge.

To subscribe, e-mail Linda Bayer at


Someone gave me the church bulletin from Saint Peter's Church on Main Street from this past Sunday.

On the back page was a notice for a "vigil of support" for Mayor Eddie Perez.

Didn't they learn a lesson the last time the Mayor's "spiritual supporters" tried that on the steps of the Courthouse?

And the next question I have is whether it is really appropriate for a church to be holding a vigil for a man charged with criminal activity. Would it not be more appropriate to hold a vigil and pray for the future of Hartford and the monumental hurdles it faces?

And not to be judgmental, I'll leave that to a higher authority, but isn't the first step toward forgiveness and reconciliation actually repentance? If he has done nothing wrong, why the need for a vigil? Shouldn't the truth be enough to avoid any problems.

Maybe an "anti-corruption" vigil outside the Church might be appropriate.

It seems as though the priorities might be a little out of line here. Maybe a vigil to support the Mayor's family as they struggle with the stress he has put them under. Maybe a vigil to pray for guidance for Mayor Perez to do what is best for Hartford and its people. Maybe even to pray for the jurors and prosecutors and Perez's attorneys to give them strength and guidance and for justice to prevail.

I guess it is probably just easier to pray for a one sided subject with closed eyes to the truth. But, I think we all have a tendency to do just what Saint Peter's Church and Sacred Heart Church are doing.

When the situation seems hopeless and nothing else will work, we turn to God and prayer. It might work out more favorably with Eddie having a one on one conversation with the "Big Guy", that usually seems more genuine than using "Him" for a media spectacle.

A request for comment from the Archdiocese of Hartford went unanswered. A person in the Archdiocese Office of Radio and Television said spokesperson Father John Gatzak "was in production, and unavailable"

Perez Vigil 5 3 10


One of the things I've really enjoyed about this blog is the increase in comments that are posted regularly as "We the People" continues to grow in popularity.

Just following the comments yesterday regarding the failed Charter revision attempts was an eye-opener into some of the "behind the scenes" maneuvering and explained a lot. The time and effort that is put into the comments is also encouraging.

Today I was doing my daily web "checking" and found the video below, it made me think how this would translate outside of Alabama. With the new legislation passed regarding Arizona's enforcement of immigration laws and now this video, I was just wondering what others think.

As the title of this posting says, it is a "lightning rod of a question" but I'd like to know what other people think.

I'm not opposed to immigration, although I think I would have to say I am opposed to "illegal" immigration. If not for the opportunities open for immigration to this country, I can safely say that my family history would most likely be much different. Who know's, I'd probably be headed to a pub somewhere in County Cork, Ireland about now.

With that being said, my original family members on my mothers side actually stepped off the Mayflower before there were any immigration laws here. But once the laws were enacted, millions of immigrants came here in compliance with those laws.

I'm not hinting that all "illegal" immigrants are here to hurt our country, but if 9/11 taught us anything at all, it should be to point out the gaping holes in our security as a nation and the need to know who is living within our borders.

Another big issue to me is the unreported crime and mistreatment of illegal immigrants. It is no secret that much, if not most, crime against illegal immigrant's goes unreported for fear of being identified and deported. Illegal immigrants hired by business owners also work in conditions ,in many cases, just one step above slavery. They know that any complaints about wages or working conditions can result in a one-way ticket back to their country of origin.

Is it time to review our laws to streamline the process for people ready to start a better life in the United States? Or is it time to tighten the rules as Arizona is trying?

Please take the 30 seconds to watch the video below and let me know what you think. And yes, I realize it is Alabama, not New England.

Monday, April 26, 2010


No need for a long post here, the point is quite simple. Whether or not Eddie Perez is a crook headed to prison is not the issue.

Tonight at 9:45pm the Hartford City Council adjourned their regular meeting to go into an executive session. Prior to that, as has become the norm in most council meetings lately, the discussion centered around removing the Mayor from office and arguments regarding the role of John Rose.

Please Councilmembers stop this insanity. There is much more business that is critical to the operation of Hartford as a city. Whether Eddie Perez stays or goes will be decided most likely in the very near future. His damage has been done and by not focusing on the business of Hartford, you as councilpeople are adding to the damage.

And besides, by looking like opportunists who smell blood in the water it just adds to the distractions to draw attention away from the real work that needs to be done.

Has any contingency plan been developed for what most people think will be the inevitable headline in the next few weeks on the front page of the Courant "Perez cuts a plea deal with the State, will resign today". I doubt it. Has any thought been given to cleaning out the Mayor's Office and who will come in to facilitate a smooth transition?

Wasting time on arguing about Eddie Perez and John Rose is just that, a waste of time. Please focus on the budget, focus on the huge deficit Perez will be leaving us with. Focus on how we will begin turning Hartford around once Perez, Rose and the rest are gone. Focus on the needs of city government and making that happen in full transparency so that you can begin restoring confidence in the operations at City Hall.

If Perez is gone tomorrow by some miracle that the Council could garner 7 votes to remove him or if he is removed in a few weeks by pleading guilty to numerous felony charges, does it really make that much of a difference.

Please start focusing on the real remedies and be ready to forge ahead when the reigns of government are taken back by an honest leader. The frivolous resolutions, as well meaning as they may be, are just adding to the distraction that has become the daily standard operating procedure in City Hall.

Lets be ready to make real change when that Courant headline becomes reality any day now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010



Media Contact: Julia Pistell, (908) 418-7357 (cell)

HartBeat Ensemble to Perform FlipSide as a Work-in-Progress at Manchester Community College.

HARTFORD, CT. – HartBeat Ensemble, Hartford’s local professional theater ensemble, will perform a workshop version of their newest original work, FlipSide on April 30th, May 1st, 7th, and 8th at 7:30pm at the Manchester Community College Auditorium (MCC). The work is the culmination of hundreds of hours of interviews with the community about the War on Drugs. HartBeat Ensemble will use audience feedback and talk-back discussions to finalize the production for its official premier next year.

Using rhythmic choreography and spoken word poetry from local poets MIRA and MIND EVOLUTION, FlipSide tells the story of two drug warriors on opposite sides of the drug war. FlipSide is a story that uses spoken word, addicting rhythm sticks and

potent characters to portray the war on drugs. To write the play, HartBeat conducted a huge range of interviews and says, “we are excited to present a well-rounded, deeply thought play that will help us all examine this all-to-familiar topic in a new way. We invite the audience to be the final contributors to our new work.”

FlipSide is being work-shopped as part of HartBeat’s New Play Institute in collaboration with Manchester Community College. While conducting the Institute, HartBeat works for a period “in residence” while also teaching MCC theater students to create their own original work on the same topic. The final outcome of the partnership is the debut of a new play in development. The New Play Institute fosters an environment of experimentation and creativity for both the Ensemble and MCC students and offers audiences the chance to experience new theatrical work in its early stages. Admission is $5 general admission and free for students with student identification. Each performance will be followed by a discussion of the play.

During the research phase of this project, HartBeat worked with Dr. Robert Painter of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy to accumulate empirical information on the topic of drug policy. During this time HartBeat also conducted interviews with many people who have themselves been involved in some way with the underground drug economy. HartBeat interviewed ex-offenders, ex-addicts, health workers, law enforcement, drug counselors, and policy makers. This interview process aimed to create performances that were complex and true to real life.

The performance will be held at the Manchester Community College Auditorium (Great Path, Manchester, CT) at 7:30 on April 30th, May 1st, May 7th, and May 8th.

Reservations can be made by emailing
The mission of HartBeat Ensemble is to create original, professional theater based on stories from the people of our community. Through Mainstage plays, Open-Air performances, and Education programs, HartBeat Ensemble makes theater accessible beyond the barriers of class, race, and gender. Their last major production was Ebeneeza: A Hartford Holiday Carol, which traveled through four of Hartford’s neighborhoods and drew in new and diverse audiences.


Some days, actually most days, you just have to scratch your head in wonderment and ask how John Rose still has a job, never mind a law license.

You may recall that late last year Hartford Corporation Counsel John Rose advised the City Council that the Murtha lawsuit was a stinker of a case and should be settled. The Hartford City Council ignored Rosie's advice and dug their heels in. Eventually the Court decided in Murtha's favor and awarded him damages.

Now, even though Rosie acknowledged the case stunk and the city should settle, he is now appealing the Murtha decision once again in court.

I know, I know, you are probably asking yourselves if he knew they were going to lose and predicted that, why would Rosie now spend the money to appeal? Good question, but look who you are dealing with. Whether it is FOI decisions or Court decisions, Rosie has no problem spending the taxpayers money in Hartford on these eventual losses.

Rosie's next date with destiny is scheduled to begin in New Haven Superior Court on May 24, 2010 at 10:00am.

Open the checkbook, Rosie's on the way.


This afternoon my phone rang and it was a call from the Working Family's Registrar of Voters Urania Petit. It was in the middle of the Red Sox game where the Sox had just scored to take the lead. I was almost ready to let voice mail grab the call, but I figured for Urania to be calling on a Sunday afternoon, something must be going on. Maybe she was calling to tell me Eddie cut a deal, that would definitely be better than any Red Sox win.

Something was going on, but it wasn't the deal I had hoped for.

Urania had just received a call from Father Emmanuel from Saint Michaels Church on Clark Street asking for her help. Apparently one of Father Emmanuels parishioners had parked in Saint Michael's Church parking lot to attend Mass. When she came out her car was gone. Luckily for the parishioner it wasn't stolen by an unknown person.

The car was actually "stolen" by a driver from Whitey's Towing Service. For those not familiar with Whitey's, they are predatory towers preying on some of Hartford's most vulnerable residents exercising what they call "trespass tows". They have contracts with many property owners to remove vehicles that park on lots where they apparently aren't authorized to park.

The problem is that they do this without any, or very little, oversight. Whitey's knows that many of the vehicles they tow are from people that can't or won't fight back, and the only way to recover your vehicle is to pay the $90.00 or more fee.

After Father Emmanuel's parishioner realized the car had been towed by Whitey's, he drove her to Whitey's West Service Road goldmine, also known as the impound lot. There the driver who towed the vehicle spoke with Father Emmanuel. He refused to release the vehicle until the $90.00 fee was paid. He apparently described to Father Emmanuel how he had towed the vehicle from alongside the church near the side fire escape.

Father Emmanuel questioned how they could do that and the driver replied that Saint Michael's had a signed contract with Whitey's to remove the vehicles. Even though there were no signs warning violators about the towing as required by State regulations, the driver refused to give back the vehicle.

That's when Urania called me, she must know I love a good fight, especially when the Giant is abusing the little guy.

I met with Father Emmanuel at Saint Michael's Church, he showed me exactly where the car was parked and related most of the above information to me. My next call was to the Hartford Police to become involved. They requested we go back to Whitey's and wait for the officer to arrive. We did and shortly thereafter three officers showed up and they spoke with the driver.

After speaking to the driver the Officer's came back to us and stated it was a civil matter since the Whitey's driver showed him a contract signed by an Arthur Teale for towing at 17-19 Clark Street. OOPS, the problem is that Saint Michael's Church is 7-9
Clark Street, not 17-19.

It seems like that should have been a simple matter at that point, a mistake was made, return the car, end of story.

Nope, the Whitey's driver was still insisting that the $90.00 fee be paid and that the car owner would have to come back to the office on Monday to rectify the matter and get a refund.

At that point I asked the officer for a supervisor to intervene in the situation. The officer resplied to me that "supervisors don't come to you, you have to go to 50 Jennings Road". Whether the officer realized it or not, he was interrupting the Red Sox game for me, and that was not the answer I wanted, or expected, to hear.

At that point I once again explained to the officer that there were a few problems with the tow. First off that the property at Saint Michael's was not posted for "trespass" towing as required by the State of Connecticut. Second, the driver himself admitted he had towed the vehicle from the wrong address without any authority or permission to tow the car.

For anyone else that would constitute motor vehicle theft and taking the car without the owners permission. It would seem that would no longer make it a civil matter, and the drivers actions were criminal. Especially after he admitted his mistake, the car should have been returned immediately.

Again I requested a supervisor and the officer again refused. As much as I didn't want to involve Chief Roberts in a matter like this on a Sunday afternoon, there are times when it is good to have him in your speed dial.

When the two officers there realized that I was calling the Chief, a quick conversation was held with the Whitey's driver by the officers and not surprisingly, the decision was made to return the vehicle to its owner.

Chief Roberts assured me he will be following up on this tomorrow as to the way it was handled and the fact that even after repeated requests for a supervisor, no supervisor was requested. I have every confidence that some "customer service" training classes will be in a couple of officers immediate future.

It is time for both the City Council and the State's Attorney's Office to launch an immediate investigation into predatory towing practices in Hartford. At the very least, an ordinance regulating these towing practices needs to be looked at and imposing severe penalties for incidents just such as today's

It will be interesting to FOI the Hartford Police Departments record of complaints against Whitey's Towing and others preying on Hartford's residents and visitors to the City.

The end result is the car owner got her vehicle back, but I am far from done with this one. If you have any information regarding Whitey's or similar such incidents, please feel free to e-mail me any details at, or if you would like, post them here.