Thursday, May 20, 2010
I'm too tired to go into all the fine details right now, but a couple of the most prominent events were involving the candidates for US Senate. The first was the loud applause upon the entrance of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as he entered the function room to address the DTC members present. The warm welcome and applause reminded me of the reception for a war hero returning home from Vietnam or Iraq. Oh, wait, I misspoke, I meant a war hero that served during the Vietnam war.
Blumenthal was allowed special consideration since he was unable to attend the previous candidates forum when it was scheduled. Another Senate candidate, Merrick Alpert was also in attendance and requested to address the meeting, but he wasn't allowed the opportunity to speak. And then a change of plans, yes he can speak. Oh wait, maybe we misspoke, you cant speak, you had your turn last week. Ok, sorry, we misspoke again, you can speak, but it will be at the end of the meeting, just hang around.
Oh, sorry again, another mistake, we misspoke. We are adjourning and as you know we misspoke so you can't speak.
And then, like a scene from "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", Merrick Alpert parts the crowd, goes to the center of the room and suddenly over a loud and obnoxious crowd, you hear a clear and concise announcement. "MY NAME IS MERRICK ALPERT AND I'M RUNNING FOR US SENATE". The room suddenly became quiet, and Merrick Alpert began a speech outlining why he was running, introduced his wife and then detailed a factual military career.
Alpert explained his military service and described how he actually served on a peace keeping force in Bosnia. Not that he was in the Guard during operations in Bosnia, he was actually there on the ground, bombs, bullets and all the rest.
I have never heard Alpert speak before, but I have to say, I was impressed. He made the perfect example of why we need new blood in the political process, rather than the recycling bin of career politicians the system has become.
And for those that believe that Blumenthal's tale of "returning from Vietnam" was a one time mistake when he "misspoke", check out Kevin Rennie's blog "Daily Ructions" where he reports on an article in the Stamford Advocate where another instance of Blumenthal "misspeaking" is detailed. According to Rennie "The Advocate reported Wednesday that on November 2, 2008, Blumenthal declared at the Stamford Veterans Day parade, “I wore the uniform in Vietnam and many came back to all kinds of disrespect. Whatever we think of war, we owe the men and women of the armed forces our unconditional support.”
To view the full blog entry, click here
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I made sure I was in the courtroom early today because I didn't want to miss a word of the arguments by Perez attorney Hubie Santos for a mistrial. If Tuesday's arguments before the daily recess were any indication, Wednesday morning promised to be great.
As it turns out, I could have slept late on a rainy morning. Before the first witness was called, only a quick statement was uttered by Santos..."we worked it out". Apparently this was a reference to his blustering from the previous day threatening to withdraw as Perez's attorney, potentially forcing a mistrial. This was due to what Santos called a "secret recording"by State's Attorney Inspector Micheal Sullivan.
Now that that was out of the way, bring on the first in the parade of witnesses for the day. The stone dealer, the cabinetmaker, the Home Depot Asset protection person, the City Treasurer and the Mayor's personal secretary.
The stone dealer was nothing earth shattering, precise and to the point. He sold Carlos Costa the "Dark Emperor" granite, it was delivered and paid for. Then the cabinetmaker ( still waiting for the butcher, baker and candlestickmaker, maybe tomorrow) not real damaging, but not real good for Eddie either.
He testified that he, and his company( which has since gone out of business) built the custom vanity for the permit-less bathroom. He detailed the materials and the cost involved which should have been somewhere around $1300.00. He never billed Costa for the vanity because they "bartered" or traded services back and forth. But then about two years after the vanity was installed, Costa called him and said he needed an invoice for $350.oo to show for the vanity. This is about the time Inspector Sullivan began nosing around and Costa needed to fabricate an invoice for Perez.
Could that maybe account for the "fabricating" evidence charge? I guess a jury will have to decide.
And that jury took a noticeable change this afternoon also. One of the jurors had a tendency to "drop" her head down and I had noticed what looked like "cat-naps" on several occasions. Apparently she realized it also, and today sent a note to Judge Dewey that she was having trouble staying awake. She's not the only one though, occasional snoring can be heard from the gallery in the courtroom, but I guess she is one of the people in there that needs to remain awake. She was excused as a juror and a new juror was sworn in.
Also during the afternoons testimony was City Treasurer Kathleen Palm-Devine and Perez's personal secretary Barbara Crockett. Nothing earth shattering here either. Palm-Devine testified that she expedited payments for Costa at the Mayor's request, and that this was not the standard practice. (Maybe if Costa did more renovations he could have gotten Eddie to slip him cash).
Barbara Crockett testified about Costa's access to the Mayor, nothing much there other than he did have access.
Tomorrow is another day, Inspector Sullivan bright and early. I doubt any jurors will be napping once he starts laying it all out.
The title of this post are words I never thought I would say, but fair is fair.
After last weeks "spelling bee" for the word r-e-p-r-e-s-e-n-t-a-t-i-v-e, it seems as though the Democrats don't have a lock on poor spelling. After reading the unique spelling used by the "Winch for Reprasentative" campaign, it seems like Hartford Republican's have devised another new spelling of their own, along with many others by the looks of the Hartford RTC website.
And unfortunately, as if we had to give politicians statewide any more reasons to mock Hartford, the RTC website bills itself as "the official website for the 2010 Republican State Convention". The mis-spelling for Republican Town Chairperson Michael McGarry in the listing for State Central "Represenatives" is only the beginning. The information below is "cut and pasted" direct from their website.
Hopefully now that it has been pointed out the website will be corrected before the weekend to avoid further embarrassment as the "official website".
1ST SEN DISTRICT
Michael T. McGarry
Maybe if we knew what was in the cup it might explain some of the spelling.
And then another listing in the "know how to spell your elected office" column, is the incorrect spelling for "C-o-u-n-c-i-l" person Veronica Airey-Wilson, but at least "representative" was spelled correctly. Again the text below was "cut and pasted" from their website.
Court of Common Councel Republican Representative
Welcome the City of Hartford Republican Party. This site is going to give you all the information that you will need to be able to make an educated vote when you elect Republican officials running for office's in the City of Hartford and across the State of Connecticut. Also this site will tell you about your current Republican officials working in the City of Hartford and Republican Town Committee members and how to reach out to them if you have a concern in the city. THIS IS ALSO THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR THE 2010 REPUBLICAN CONVENTION AND SOURCE FOR THE 2010 STATE ELECTIONS INCLUDING THE HOTLY CONTESTED SENATE RACE AND THE GOVERNOR'S RACE. MORE INFORMATION ON THE SENATE RACE ON CURRENT CANDIDATES.
Regular Delegates- Hartford City Counsel woman Veronica Airey-Wilson, HRTC Treasurer Walter Butler, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car Rental Sales Agent and HRTC Head of Tech and Media Antonio Reyes, Jr., Travelers employee and HRTC Secretary Anna Bramante, Former Board of Education Candidate and HRTC member Michael Fryar, and HRTC Member Dan Lilly. The 2010 State of Connecticut Republican Convention will be held on May 21-22, 2010 at the Hartford Convention Center. More infomation will be found on the Events page on this website.
Need a Car to the Conventions?
Attention all Candidates, Cadidate staff, Delegates, and CT official for both the Connecticut Republican and Democratic Conventions. The is a special going on right now if you need Rental Cars for the Convention and beyond. Please call National Car Rental, Alamo Rent a Car, or Enterprise Rent a Car for the special rates that are available for renting a car for the Conventions. Why drive your own vehicle and waist miles on your personal car.
Rent a car for the conventions today.
National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car- 860-627-3470
Enterprise Rent a Car BDL- 860-292-7061 x 5
or call your local Enterprise in your area of the state for reservations.
The above information was all from the RTC website. The listing of the delegates is copied as is and nothing was added for "comedy" reasons. Yes, it does actually list the delegate and his rental car employer and then goes on to urge you to rent a car from him. Someone could probably make a small fortune if they opened some type of "boot-camp" training on ethics and conflicts of interest for Hartford's aspiring "politicians".
But then again, leadership starts at the top and it's understandable by the example set by their "Court of Common Councel Republican Representative". I chose to leave the picture of her from the RTC website rather than insert her mugshot from her felony arrest as part of the Perez corruption investigation.
And one final observation from the page listing the candidates links to their web pages and bios, the correct use of the word would be "their" as in the possessive for them. "There" as used in the RTC website indicates a location, as in over "there". And the correct spelling is "political".
Below this will be there polictical ads or video
The above text was copied from the RTC website. Just a suggestion to the RTC, maybe you can find someone that works for a newspaper that can help you edit and correct the spelling. If not, give me a call, as with rJo, my observations know no party lines.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I usually don't venture outside of Hartford's issues, but this one bothers me. I had a conversation with a Hartford political leader last week as we discussed what makes politicians "tick". He suggested that politicians that get into trouble should be forced to get a "cat scan" to see what part of their brain is glowing red to try to determine a pattern for deception.
I'm starting to think that might not be a bad idea. If these allegations are true, what would drive one of this generations most popular statewide "politicians" to stretch the truth to the extreme. This isn't 1950 when digging for information was nearly impossible. This is the age of the internet when nothing "disappears" even cheap, poorly shot video claiming service in Vietnam.
To read the New York Times story, click here. The WWE doesn't look so bad after all, at least we knew all along that was a sham.
And now I'm done for the night, Court starts at 9:30am tomorrow.
Monday, May 17, 2010
At the start of this Blog, I made the decision to allow anonymous comments. In the beginning comments were very rare, and for the most part pretty civil. In all the time and at over 80,000 hits, I have deleted only one posting. That was deleted because I had a concern for someone mentioned in the comment and their safety since it listed the persons address.
Since then, I've never felt the need to delete another comment. None have been that severe that I felt they needed to be removed. Some are spineless , yes. Some are understandably "anonymous" because even though they are factual, the writer could have problems putting their name to it, especially those that refer to City Hall or the Administration.
Then tonight I received the attached e-mail that got me thinking again. Is it time to start moderating comments? Read the e-mail and let me know what you think, and hopefully not anonymously, but I'll understand if it is "anonymous".The other issue with moderating comments is the timeliness. Comments won't appear or be posted until I'm near a computer to approve them. The other point to consider is that even if I moderate, with gmail, and other services like that, it is a matter of seconds to make up a phony name. I could be e-mailing as Eddie Perez or Willie Nunes in a matter of minutes.
A couple of names have been "*******" out in the e-mail, just because I don't think it served any purpose leaving them in.
The e-mail read as follows:
Kevin: The first two postings on the “More trouble for Olga” post are merely more examples of baseless character assassination via anonymous posters.
Our society long ago determined that anyone convicted of a crime who satisfies the sentence imposed on him/her has paid their debt to society. Whatever happened to the principle of giving people a second chance? What is the intent of the reference to ********** conviction other than to slam him, and in the process also Jean, the Dem Town Committee, etc.? Hasn’t ********* beat this like a dead horse already? How does your blog benefit by allowing this to continue?
And how useful/truthful can unsubstantiated claims be, when put forth by people unwilling to take responsibility for them? (where is the substantiation that Lou Watkins is truly being investigated?) This debases the journalistic integrity of your product.
You have done plenty of fine reporting and garnered a superb following. Despite the justifications you previously made to me, you no longer need the flexibility of allowing anonymous posting so that your blog draws readership and followers. People read you every day because of what YOU are producing, not because of the titillating value of a bunch of mean spirited anonymous posts. Another way of saying this, is that there are a lot more readers than anonymous bloggers going to your site.
Don't sell yourself short any longer, raise it to the next level and go play with the literary big boys, where putting your money where your mouth is separates the men from the boys. You will still get plenty of posters I am sure, and the quality of your product will rise substantially. You are doing a great job, and really have the ability to create an even more respected journalistic vehicle, but I think it would stand out so much more as such if it was not populated with petty and not-so-hidden agendas by mystery writers hiding behind cheap anonymity.
If you tried the other avenue of requiring and confirming a writer’s true identity, your blog would instantly stand out from the rest of the blogosphere, which is filled with blowhards getting their kicks by anonymously backstabbing anyone and anything they can think of. Where does that get us? Is that really fulfilling the goals you set out when you started this blog? I think not.
If someone truly needs to remain anonymous, have them email you and you can then confirm the facts, etc. just like you do before you put something out there under your own name. This is what mainstream media journalists do every day, and so can you. Also, by doing so, you get the credit (and should) for the stories you develop. You are, in effect, giving away the credit when anonymous bloggers actually say things on your blog that are newsworthy (and if it’s not newsworthy what’s it doing there?). Put the info into your own writings just like other respected journalists do, and you will be on your way to having Colin, Helen, Kevin Rennie, Jon Lender and the rest of the Capitol City turning to you about Hartford.
I am deeply grateful for your efforts at trying to get this city back on track.
I got to court late today, I really do have to work a real job occasionally. This blog is interesting, but it doesn't pay the bills.
So last week I had posted how frustrating it was to watch Hubie Santos, Perez's lawyer, manipulate the system with sleazy tactics. Well, today the playing field was leveled, I think, with one well placed smack to the defense by Judge Dewey.
On Friday during cross examination of a key witness, Carlos Costa, Santos asked him a question, and I'm paraphrasing here, but essentially "have you ever bribed a politician or government official to get a contract or to benefit yourself". After one of Costa's prolonged contemplation sessions, he answered in his "Brandoesque" voice....."no". Uh-oh, could be a problem.
Now I'm not an attorney, so I'm sure the term is wrong, but after Santos finished his cross examination Prosecutor Michael Gailor began his "cross-cross-examination". Rethinking this now on "Law and Order" I think they call it re-direct. I wish I could insert the "dumm-dumm" sound effect here.
So anyway, as soon as Gailor began his whatever you want to call it, he asked about Costa's claim that he never bribed any official or paid anyone for special consideration. When Costa once again answered no, Gailor asked if he recognized the name "Veronica Airey-Wilson". Now keep in mind, that since the start of the trial, Attorney Santos has shuffled from the defense table to the witness stand and back in a manner that reminds me of an elderly man shuffling down the hall of a nursing home.
After watching Santos and the way he operates, I'm more convinced that it might be theatrics more than an actual malady. I'm kind of convinced of the theatrics part after watching Santos shoot out of his chair and to his feet before Gailor could finish the name Airey-Wilson to shout out the word "OBJECTION".
In that old phrase I used last week, "what goes around, comes around" it was coming around quick to bite Hubie in the a........ . Once again I digress.
It seems that prior to the start of the trial, both the State and Santos had an agreement that Perez's "alleged" co-conspirators would not be mentioned. Veronica Airey-Wilson and Edward Lazu were off limits during the Perez trial.
But here is where Hubie's "slickness" came back to bite him. Apparently by Hubie asking Costa if he had ever bribed anyone before and Costa answering no, Hubie did something we see TV lawyers get chastised for all the time. According to Judge Dewey "Mr. Santos, you opened the door". slap, slap, slap, and finally one more slap for good measure.
Judge Dewey admonished Santos that even though a deal had been reached prior to the start of the trial for not mentioning Airey-Wilson and Lazu or their cases, the deal worked both ways. Santos couldn't expect the benefit of the deal while tying the states hands with the same deal. When he opened the door in questioning Costa, the State could now walk through that door also.
And walk they did. The jurors seemed to really perk up and pay attention and the note books were all open and perched on the jurors laps as they scribbled notes, even the Bondsman was scribbling quickly.
They really seemed to start when Gailor asked Costa what the name Veronica Airey-Wilson meant to him and Costa responded "she's a Hartford City Councilwoman". How do you know her? "I did work in her house, I put granite counter tops in her "butler" pantry". Did she pay you? "no, I didn't expect to get paid". Here we go, more of the quid pro quo, Costa expected her to help him out when he had problems, oh yeah, allegedly.
And then Gailor asked Costa, how about the name Ed Lazu? Costa:" I put in sidewalks and a driveway for him at his house". Gailor: did you expect to get paid? Costa: "No, I expected him to help me out if I had problems with the Human Relations Department". Gailor: "Did you have problems with Human Relations?" Costa: "yes, I was behind on my MBE and DBE filings and someone in the HR department was starting to come down hard on me".
I think you get the point, and at that late in the day when most people would be ready for a nap, the jury seemed wide awake and scribbling notes fast and furious.
Eddie on the other hand was spinning the Brazilian prayer bracelet he's wearing now frantically around his wrist.
Tomorrow is another day Eddie, but it seems like each day keeps getting worse. I can't wait to hear from the State Inspectors.
The last paragraph of his posting was :
"There's a lot of trial to go, but I do not consider facts 1 through 4 to be in dispute. You wouldn't put up with it where you live, so don't say it's OK for low-expectations Hartford. It's our state capital. It has to be better than this.
Some of the points he makes are points that readers of this blog have read probably since the beginning of my posts. Why do we settle and accept poor leadership in Hartford? It's not only the Mayor that is responsible for the mess that Hartford has become. There is more than enough blame to go around for everyone. Those that inhabit Hartford City Hall, our so called leaders on the State and Federal level, the media and most importantly Hartford's residents.
As Colin points out, Perez was elected with a margin of less than 6,500 votes. Council people in West Hartford had more votes for their winning margins. And yes, you read that right, 6,500 votes in a city of roughly 125,000 residents, and if you believe the numbers, close to 54,000 registered voters.
Apathy is a major factor, but like I said, there is plenty of blame to be spread around. Does anyone recall the Courant's editorial endorsing Perez for re-election? An editorial most likely written by Perez's buddy, David Medina who at the time was on the Courant's editorial board. Shortly after Perez's re-election Medina landed a job with the City of Hartford's Board of Education with a salary in the $120,000 price range. More of good old Hartford "quid-pro-quo"?
Just to be safe, Perez bought, I mean hired, a couple of others from the Courant to continue pushing the "Gospel of Perez". Most notably is Stan Simpson, who prior to leaving the Courant was a respected columnist addressing issues in Hartford. Simpson has also landed at the Board of Education in another one of those $100,000 plus a year jobs.
In the previous post about Jeff Cohen and his "ethical" considerations, it seems like night and day between Cohen's previous employer and his current employer WNPR radio.Where as WNPR quoted ethical considerations as to why Cohen was stepping aside, the Courant and its "sister" operation FOX 61 TV seem to interpret the rules quite differently.
I was somewhat surprised last Sunday when I watched the Sunday morning political shows, Stan Simpson at 10:00am, Laurie Perez "the Real Story" at 10:30am, and Dennis House 's "Face the State" at 11:00am. I know, I lead a boring life but they are better than Budget Hearings on Public Access.
So back to last Sunday. Stan Simpson was going to discuss the Perez trial. I wanted to see how that was handled, and right off the bat I had a problem with it. I would think that a journalist discussing such an issue would right off the bat make some sort of comment like "in the interest of full disclosure, I want to say that upfront in addition to being the host of this program I am also an employee of the Hartford Board of Education and Eddie Perez is technically my boss".
Then it got worse, I think. Stan's guest who was supposed to add "perspective" to the segment also should have made some sort of disclosure. The guest, attorney Andrew Crumbie, laid out that the Prosecution had an "uphill" battle to convict Perez. That may very well be true, but did he arrive at that conclusion before or after the City of Hartford has paid him over $100,000 in the last year or so as an "outside" attorney working for Corporation Counsel John Rose. (some of his payments are listed on the City's check registers posted on the blog to the right).
It just seems that if Jeff Cohen understands ethics and they apply to him, they should apply to anyone who wishes to maintain their credibility. But then again this is Hartford. I would fully expect someone like Dennis House to disclose before an interview that the guest was a relative or maybe someone he had a former business relationship with before he would begin if that was the case. But then again, if he was like Jeff Cohen, he probably wouldn't put himself in that position in the first place.
I still want to write my recap of today's court activity, so let me end with a posting of the Courant's 2007 editorial endorsing Eddie A. Perez for Mayor:
Mr. Perez For Mayor
Editorial By Courant
October 28, 2007
Despite a close-to-the-vest management style and a sometimes self-destructive stubbornness, Eddie A. Perez has been a good mayor of Hartford. He has appointed top people to key city posts, engaged the major issues of crime, education and economic development, and kindled momentum in the capital city.
He would be The Hartford Courant's unequivocal choice for another term if not for his recent ethical lapses. A criminal investigation into renovations done on his home by a city contractor is clouding his administration. Nevertheless, he has owned up to mistakes, and we trust he will make no more.
The chastened mayor is still the strongest candidate in the field. His leadership has put Hartford on a more promising path than it's followed in decades. He should be re-elected.
Mr. Perez, 50, is the city's first strong mayor in decades. Under the old council-manager system, it was often difficult to tell who was in charge. That's no longer the case: Mr. Perez is the boss.
And he has not been shy about flexing his new muscle. For example, he took control of the city's schools by putting himself on the Board of Education (another first), getting himself elected chairman and heading the school building committee - a comfortable spot for the man who led the construction of Trinity's Learning Corridor in the late 1990s.
His eye for talent drew in the visionary Superintendent of Schools Steven J. Adamowski and the popular Police Chief Daryl Roberts, among others who are transforming and re-energizing their departments. New schools are going up; crime in many categories is going down. Though there are still a few weak areas, city government is working better than it has in decades. Mr. Perez's constant interest in the city's children is laudable.
Though he can't claim credit for all the new development around town, he demanded a seat at the table when the state was dispensing hundreds of millions of dollars in Six Pillars investments. He's resurfaced many streets, removing once-ubiquitous potholes, though he needs to pay more attention to other quality-of-life complaints - the noise, litter and speeding that drive city residents out.
Mr. Perez is to be commended for resisting pressure for more homeless shelters in Hartford. The region must share the burden rather than making Hartford a dumping ground for the needy.
He also deserves credit for setting up a wireless network to get neighborhoods onto the information highway. Some question such projects when so many other needs go begging, but 21st-century technology is critical in cities.
Mr. Perez inspires fierce loyalty in his many fans - but he also has a considerable foe club because of his insular, autocratic, occasionally antagonistic governing style. He needs to broaden his inner circle to include more department heads and state leaders.
The same pugnacity Mr. Perez puts to good use fighting for his city can also alienate allies. He must master the art of diplomacy for the city's sake and stop public displays of political bravado.
His antics may play well to his base, but they earn him no capital at the Capitol or in corporate boardrooms.
He provoked the governor and legislature, for example, by breaking ground for a magnet school on Asylum Hill without clear title to the land. He had to abandon the site, at considerable cost to the city.
He didn't endear himself to the business community when he lectured MetLife on how many workers it should employ and criticized ING for moving out. MetLife didn't return his phone calls a few years later when it decided to leave Hartford. Why ING couldn't be kept in the city is still unclear.
Mr. Perez has been more incendiary than helpful in labor disputes, needlessly stirring up one at the Marriott Downtown that cost the neighboring convention center some major conferences.
But Aetna, Prudential, The Hartford and Travelers, bless them, are among Hartford's committed - and growing - companies. And business leaders say Mr. Perez's behavior is improving.
Most serious was his Rowland moment, when he hired a city contractor for $20,000 worth of work on his kitchen and bathroom and didn't pay him for two years until the state came investigating. This is so wrong on so many levels that it calls his character into question. So does a no-bid city parking lot deal and other troubling arrangements with North End power broker Abraham L. Giles, whose help Mr. Perez doesn't need.
These transgressions are not as minor as state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and other high-ranking Democratic backers make them out to be. But Mr. Perez's accomplishments outweigh his errors, worrying as they are.
He has proved he can lead the city to greater things. His integrity, however, is still on trial.
The Other Candidates
Mr. Perez's most serious rival, petitioning candidate I. Charles Matthews, 63, is a former deputy mayor and retired corporate executive who works as a consultant on human resources. He was a tough politician in his time and is a worthy challenger to the strong-headed mayor. His message is trustworthiness, but his chief appeal to many is that he is not Mr. Perez.
State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, 57, also a petitioning candidate, provides a good check on Mr. Perez's worst instincts - such as her proposal for taking ethics commission appointments away from the mayor and giving the panel the power to impose penalties. But her call to open the old YMCA to the homeless is not a formula for urban success.
Republican James Stan McCauley, 47, is a pastor and CEO and executive director of Hartford Public Access Television. This mellifluous speaker would make a good city council candidate with his fresh ideas, but he is too new to electoral politics to oust a solid incumbent.
Thirman L. Milner, a petitioning candidate who will turn 74 on Monday, set his own record when he became the first popularly elected black mayor of a Northeastern city in 1981. His campaign, however, has been perfunctory.
Newcomer Raul DeJesus, 20, a police cadet and petitioning candidate, is a fresh face who also needs seasoning in elective politics. But it's reassuring to get this bright glimpse of Hartford's political future.
If you aren't following Helen Ubinas' "tweets" on line or viewing the trial first hand from the courtroom, you might be missing out on the media coverage.
It's tedious being there, uncomfortable sitting on the benches and you have to develop a thick skin to the glaring stares from the Mayor's sycophants. And that doesn't even draw into consideration the parking and trips to the meter every two hours, only to have to empty your pockets all over again to make it back into the court through the metal detectors.
But one of the reporters who may have the best understanding of the issues and the investigation of the Perez case is noticeably absent. Jeff Cohen started some aspects of the investigation through his investigative reporting when he was at the Courant. Prior to the start of the trial, Cohen left the Courant and started with WNPR radio.
I think Jeff might have been as surprised as the rest of us when he was named as a potential witness during Jury selection.
For ethical reasons and to preserve his journalistic integrity Jeff and his new bosses at WNPR have made a decision for Jeff to distance himself from the trial. It just seems amusing to me to see someone that understands ethics and integrity taking the high road when we are talking about an Administration devoid of any clue what integrity and ethics are.
You can read a much more in-depth explanation by clicking here
One of the most prevalent issues affecting "quality of life" issues in Hartford's neighborhoods is noise. Loud stereos, loud cars and probably the most common complaint is the noise plague that descends on Hartford's neighborhoods at the first sign of warm weather.... the mobile Ice Cream truck and their obnoxious sound systems.
One of the most active "NRZ's" (neighborhood revitalization zones), Hartford's version of neighborhood community groups, is the Maple Avenue Revitalization Group. MARG has been one of the most pro-active groups in the City in working to help re-write Hartford's noise ordinances and address quality of life issues.
MARG, in conjunction with their Board President Hyacinth Yennie, is constantly fielding complaints at their community meetings regarding the Ice Cream trucks and their late night loudspeakers.
Recently at another meeting being held at Saint Augustine's Church basement, an Ice Cream truck parked outside with its loudspeaker blaring and actually making it difficult for those inside to hear the guest speaker at the meeting. Hyacinth went outside and advised the operator of the noise ordinance and asked him to turn the music down as a courtesy to those inside. The operator refused.
Unknown to the Ice Cream truck operator, MARG and its members also have an outstanding working relationship with their HPD Community Service Officers Ted Sposito and Carlo Faienza and the HPD Zone Lieutenant Robert Allan. The story about the Ice Cream truck was related to them and today apparently Officer Sposito heard the music and observed the truck violating Hartford's noise ordinance late in the afternoon.
Although in the overall picture, a loud Ice Cream truck may not seem like a large issue. On the other hand, it is probably the number one complaint I hear throughout the summer at community meetings relating to quality of life issues( that and ATV's racing on the streets).
Lieutenant Allan and his Community Service Officer's obviously get it. It's all about the "broken window theory", if you focus on the minor issues and send a clear message, the more severe issues tend not to develop.
Oh, and by the way, the photo above is that same Ice Cream truck being towed after Officer Sposito stopped the driver. He was violating the noise ordinance which would have resulted in a trip to Community Court. He apparently was also operating the truck without any insurance and that required a tow truck.
Good work to MARG and HPD.
If you have a noise complaint or need information as to how to make a noise complaint, the document below from the HPD website should help:
In the opinion below, Attorney Allan Taylor of the Day Pitney Law firm advised the Council that the issue is "moot". The opinion states that "The Council's failure to have adopted an Ordinance specifying the "procedure for determining said absence or disability" renders moot the question whether it could lawfully declare the Mayor absent or disabled as a result of his obligation to attend his criminal trial".
In plain English, any action by the Council would would have had to have been an Ordinance passed before the trial began. That's not to say the Council couldn't start a proceeding to remove the Mayor after a hearing before the Council, but in all likelihood the seventh Councilmembers vote required to accomplish that most likely would be elusive.
Once again it raises the issue as to whether Corporation Counsel John Rose is able to advise the Council properly or is he only the Mayor's attorney or is he purely just incompetent?
Taylor Opinion 5-17-10
After watching last weeks budget hearing and listening to the numerous complaints I frequently hear about the Democratic Registrar, I keep asking myself what is going on in that office?
It just seems to keep getting worse for Hartford's Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vazquez.
After the 5th District Democratic Town Committee race petition mess, the Superior Court decided that Vazquez and her assistant Garey Coleman had acted improperly in the handling of the petitions. That should have been pretty clear to Vazquez because she had been fined previously by the State Elections Enforcement Commission(SEEC) for similar behavior in 2004, that decision and complaint can also be viewed below.
Now the matter will once again be headed before the SEEC for their investigation and a ruling on Vazquez's actions.
The complainant, Jean Holloway, is now Hartford's Democratic Town Committee chairperson.
In a complaint filed on April 16, 2010 by Georgiana "Jean" Holloway it is once again alleged that Vazquez has violated state election laws. The complaint can be viewed below. It seems that the investigator assigned should be able to make quick work of this one by reading the Judge's decision and reviewing the Court's transcripts.
VAZQUEZ Complaint+2010 048
Olga Vazquez 2004 Full Decision