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Friday, June 4, 2010


Another opportunity to use this picture of Sarah Barr, but also a time to shed some light on whether she understands her job and more importantly does she understand truth and honesty.

The greater question though is do any of the so called "staffers" of the Perez inner circle understand why they are there. It is pretty obvious that none of them are there to actually serve the City, they are there to support the Mayor. But even in doing that, they are terribly incompetent. How could anyone that is supposed to be loyal to their boss allow embarrassing incident after embarrassing incident to occur. I don't care for Perez, most people realize that, but does anyone in his office have his back and really try to protect him?

Sarah Barr ,as an example, has done more to harm Perez than she has done to make him look good. And right about now it would take a lot to make Perez look good, but it is almost like his staff go out of their way to embarrass him. Could you imagine anyone like Sarah Barr or Susan McMullen surviving their stunts if they worked in the CEO's office of one of Hartford's major corporations like the Traveler's or the Aetna.

I can almost guarantee that if someone with a suspended license was allowed to be hired and then drive the CEO of Aetna for several months, many people down the food chain would be on the unemployment line right about now. But not at Hartford City Hall where incompetence is rewarded almost daily.

It also raises a lot of questions though, the most important being how many other drivers are operating the hundreds of city-owned vehicles that shouldn't be behind the wheel driving. What process is being undertaken to check on that? Knowing the way Hartford operates, probably none. Hartford's version of "don't ask, don't tell"

After I posted the information regarding the Mayor's driver being arrested for operating under suspension I e-mailed several questions to Sarah Barr requesting answers to a few questions I had. In her capacity as the Communications Director for the Mayor, that is her job to answer questions.

I know she won't answer questions from me, but I really don't need her comment because I usually have my facts together long before I even attempt to contact her.

In today's Hartford Courant she apparently did answer questions for them, but her answers seemed far from the truth, if not actually outright lies.

When she was apparently asked if a background check was performed before the driver for Perez was hired, according to the Courant article, she said a background check was performed but "nothing that was red-flaggable" came up.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Unless he had a phony license, a drivers license expired for several years should have been more than "red-flaggable", it should have been "rockets red glaring-able" to grab someones attention. But again, in this administration no one ever acknowledges errors, every thing is always done right.

Barr went on to state, according to the Courant,that the background showed "There were no violations. Nothing came up in the normal process of the check". Does anyone want to place bets on whether an actual background check was ever performed ? My money would be placed on no, absolutely not.

Barr went on to state that "The city did not make a photocopy of his license when he was hired".As part of the hiring process, she said, licenses are examined but there is no requirement that they be photocopied the article stated. My understanding is that for any employer to comply with Federal Law, two forms of ID must be provided and copies kept to verify the employees immigration status when the I-9 form is completed. At the very least the employer must verify that the documents "appear to be genuine and relate to the individual and record the document information" according to federal law.

Maybe since Hartford has designated itself a "Sanctuary City" it can choose to ignore Federal Law.

These are the questions I had e-mailed to Sarah Barr requesting comment:

I am preparing a posting for my blog regarding this and I have a couple questions.

1. Was anyone injured and the extent of the injuries?

2. What was the extent of damage to the vehicle?

3. Was the vehicle leaving the Court after dropping the Mayor off?

4. What process is undertaken to check a city employee's driving history and driving record before allowing them to drive City vehicles?

5. Was anyone aware that his license had been suspended?

6. What was the purpose of the Mayor's Chief of Staff calling the investigating officer to City Hall

None of these questions have been answered by Sarah Barr. That's probably better off though, I'd prefer to deal with the truth rather than lies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Not every neighborhood in the city has a strong NRZ group operating in their area. But many residents still want to work together for the good of the City. Here is a perfect example. Whether you live in this area or not, crime is an issue we all face as Hartford residents.

Feel free to join the meeting tonight.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Sarah Barr, Mayor Perez's Director of Communications and author of the "Gospel of Perez"

In an administration that has focused on delivering the "Gospel of Perez", it seems that the Mayor's mouthpiece Sarah Barr just can't get a break. Try as hard as she might, the punches just keep flying delivering black eye after black eye to the Perez Administration. And many are wondering if the knockout blow that will render Perez down for the count is about to be delivered by a jury of his peers.

Many of the punches that have landed though have been assisted by Sarah Barr herself.

It seems hard for me to understand how someone who was once considered an actual journalist could make a 180 degree turn and now do everything she can to stifle the media. From a journalist who once built stories through FOIA requests to now be a constant roadblock to those requesting documents through FOIA requests makes me wonder.

At what price does someone change from what they were to what they are now. At what point do the ideals and beliefs you lived by and cherished a few short years ago now become irrelevant? And once the gig at City Hall comes to a screeching halt, will her media colleagues forgive and forget and once again label her as a credible journalist? I would most likely say not.

I learned my lesson of Barr's integrity, or lack thereof, early on once I began this blog. I had asked to be added to the media list for press releases from the Mayor's Office, that request was ignored, and as aggravated as I was at the time, it has paid off. Once the word got out to other media people that I was being refused access to the press releases, they started forwarding them to me once they received them. That worked out well for a while until I started getting a dozen or more "press releases" forwarded to me every time they were issued by Barr.

It also helped in developing sources. When people realized I wasn't beholding to Barr or relying on her for information, the good information began coming in regularly. And I mean the good information that has led to some very interesting blog posts, not the spoon-fed garbage from Barr about things like the hawk landing on the Mayor's windowsill and the forecast for Hartford.

Barr has almost never responded to my request for comments when I ask for them. That's fine with me because I usually have my facts confirmed long before I would ever ask her for comment. I request comment out of courtesy, not that they deserve any courtesy. Just because the City doesn't comment doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Lieutenant J. Paul Vance from the Connecticut State Police is a master at the media game. Lt. Vance regularly gives talks about how to handle the media from his viewpoint and experience. Although I have never attended one of his talks, I know a few people who have, and they have all repeated the same comments that Vance makes.

Vance tells those attending that the "big dog" is always going to eat one way or another, it is your choice whether you feed him and keep him happy or does he go through your garbage to find what he needs. Personally, I've gotten used to going through the garbage and found that the meal is much more satisfying than being spoon fed by Sarah Barr.

So Sarah, keep ignoring my e-mails and calls, it is no big deal. Ask anyone who knows me, I'm definitely well fed.

Oh, and it gives me a reason once again to use that great picture.


In my opinion, and the opinion of many people I speak with, the one major issue keeping Hartford from any significant turn around is the perception of crime and public safety in Hartford.

I like Chief Roberts, I think he is an honest man who really cares about the city he was raised in. I know that he is constantly being told to do more with less. He has many empty promises made to him by Mayor Perez. The most notable probably being the false promises of hiring new officers. At the rate that new officer's are being funded, the Hartford Police Department is just barely keeping up with attrition.

The staffing levels could also jeopardize stimulus funding that has been given to the City for new officers. Under the contract, HPD and the City of Hartford committed to maintaining the number of sworn Police Officers at 460 minimum. Police sources familiar with the numbers tell me that by years end the number of officers could be well below that and jeopardize the stimulus funds.

A few things that really make me wonder about the Perez Administrations commitment to Public Safety in Hartford are quite obvious. One recent example is yesterdays posting about the conditions at the Southend Police substation on Maple Avenue. The are covered by this substation, the Southeast District of the city has seen some of the most impressive numbers in crime reduction and stability for the entire city.

These improvements haven't just happened by luck. A new lieutenant was assigned to the area and strong accountability was put into place. This also was accomplished by building a strong team effort by the officers working in the district. That can only be done by building morale among the officers, and forcing them to work in an office with no heat or air conditioning, to me, doesn't build or maintain morale.

The solution to that situation is simple, a directive from the Mayor to the Public Works Director... get it fixed and get it fixed immediately. I guess that might take some leadership and we all know who is Mayor.

And if you want to talk about morale, how about the carrot on the stick that keeps getting dangled in front of members of the Department. A new state of the art Public Safety Complex that was started at least 5 years ago, if not more, and is now further behind than it ever was.

I remember the first groundbreaking was held years ago under the administration of Chief Harnett. Then the second "groundbreaking" was again held toward the end of the tenure of Chief Harnett. Then the third "groundbreaking" was held under the tenure of Chief Roberts. For those that recall, Chief Roberts wasn't at that dog and pony show because it was shortly after his public comments that Hartford had a "toxic relationship" with itself and we had "lost our moral compass" and he was not in good favor with Perez.

Now, several million dollars later, the new Public Safety Complex is a pile of rubble and a testament to the Perez Administration's commitment to Hartford's Public Safety.

These things all add up to a total lack or respect and no effort to build morale in the Police Department. But one of the most glaring issues that confirms that Perez just doesn't give a damn , is really a simple fix.

For the last few years, Hartford has suffered from a lack of police cruisers. This is due to several reasons, the most popular thing for community people to throw out is that the cops abuse the vehicles and they crash them as soon as they get them. Point taken, but it is also a stark reality that police cruisers get damaged and crash. The solution may go back to training and more defensive driving classes for officers who have a problem driving. Save older vehicles for newer officers coming onto the street until they have proven themselves as capable drivers.

I don't want to see any officer wreck a car, but I'd rather see them wreck a dog of the fleet with 200,000 miles than a brand new vehicle with 1,200 miles on it. The other problem when a cruiser is wrecked is that it is not always the officers fault.Even if someone elses insurance pays the city for the loss, the money goes back into the City's General Fund, rather than replace the vehicle.

The reason for writing this is because of tonight's evening shift at the Police Department. The PD is so short of vehicles, tonight's evening shift had 9, yes nine, cruisers "doubled up". That means that because of the shortage of cruisers, 9, yes nine, officers were riding with another officer because they had no car. So, in essence where there would normally be 18 cruisers patrolling, there are instead nine cruisers with two officers in them.

That drastically effects police response times and police coverage when you cut the number of cruisers able to respond to calls in half. Some calls do require two officers to respond, but many do not. It also cuts police visibility in neighborhoods in half.

There is a lot more, but I think the point is clear that the lip service of the Perez Administration doesn't translate to a strong commitment to Hartford's crime problems and efforts to correct Hartford's image.

I guess it is difficult for a Mayor under arrest and on trial and possibly facing prison himself to welcome law enforcement with open arms.


Just an update to the previous post regarding the Mayor's driver being arrested for Operating Under Suspension.

The driver, Pedro Bermudez, was released at the scene of the accident on a "Written Promise to Appear" next week in court at 101 Lafayette Street, the same Courthouse that Perez is currently on trial at for corruption charges.

This could work out well though for both Perez and Bermudez. Carpooling saves energy.

Oh, and still no comment from Sarah Barr.


For anyone that reads this blog, you know that I am very critical of the position for the driver for Mayor Perez being funded when the city is in dire financial straits.

And now, in a move that makes you shake your head in disbelief, it seems that the Mayor's driver should not even be on the road in the first place.

From what police sources are telling me, the Mayor's driver, Pedro Bermudez, 51, had dropped his precious cargo off at the Courthouse for the afternoon session of the Mayor's corruption trial.After leaving the court, the Mayor's driver was involved in an accident at Park and Lafayette Streets. The other vehicle evaded and left the scene, and from what sources are telling me, it actually is believed to belong to a court reporter. UPDATE: 6/2/2010, 4:30PM the evading vehicle was operated by Juan Garcia, a clerk at the Court at 95 Washington Street, he has been charged with evading responsibility.

The driver of the Mayor's vehicle apparently called police and an Officer arrived to complete the accident report.Upon beginning the investigation, the Mayor's driver handed the officer a drivers license from Puerto Rico, which was invalid. It seems as though the Officer explained that to him, at which time the driver reluctantly handed the Officer a Connecticut license.

Somewhere around that time a verbal exchange took place between the Officer and the Mayor's driver and the driver voiced his displeasure with the officer wasting time checking on his license when he should be searching for the evading vehicle.

Ultimately it turned out that Bermudez didn't want the officer checking on his license for a good reason. His Connecticut license had been suspended over 8 years ago and he was not allowed to be driving any vehicle.

Why is it that these things happen when we have so many high-priced members of the "Perez Management Team" that should be watching out for things like this?

Immediately after the Officer finished with his investigation he was summoned to the Mayor's Office by the Mayor's Chief of Staff Susan McMullen. Can anyone say interfereing with a Police Officer?

As soon as the report is ready, it will be posted here.

In the meantime Mr. Mayor, might I suggest that you let your fingers do the walking, try Yellow Cab at 666-6666.

A request for comment has not been returned by Sarah Barr, the Mayor's spokesperson.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


For months now I have been calling Hartford's Director of Public Works Kevin Burnham regarding the Southend Wellness Center and the conditions of the building and the Police Offices housed in the building. Even before he was named permanent Public Works Director he has seemed to have problems returning phone calls, and not just from me, but others in the Community also. At one point in March I spoke with Burnham at City Hall and he stated it would all be fixed in two weeks. In fairness to him, he didn't say two weeks from when.

Possibly Burnham has received his training in message handling and returning phone calls from the John Fonfara Training Academy.

Anyway, according to several Southend residents I have spoke with, the heating and air conditioning systems at the Southend Wellness Center have been a problem ever since the City of Hartford purchased and renovated the building.

In January I was in the Southeast Police Substation, housed in the building on Maple Avenue, and since there was no heat, the temperature was 45 degrees. Last week I was in there again and since the air conditioning doesn't work and the windows don't open, it was 91 degrees.

The Department of Public Works solution to the heating problem was to place two small space heaters in the office and run wires up into the ceiling. A definite fire hazard as well as a very inefficient way of heating the offices. The solution for the air conditioning problem from DPW were two small residential air conditioners vented into the space above the ceiling. The air conditioners only run for a short time before they fill with water and shut off and then the holding containers have to be emptied to restart them.

Typical of the way the City handles construction projects, the Heating and A/C units were possibly installed by someone who used to run a hot dog cart on Union Place and was given the contract for the project. It worked on the Park Street bidding process. One would think though that at the very least some sort of warranty would be in place for rooftop units that are less than a couple years old. But then again, if the City holds the contractor accountable for their work, the campaign contributions might not be as large down the road.

On top of that, in January the Wethersfield Police "were attempting to stop" a vehicle headed north on Maple Avenue when it crashed into the front entrance of the Police office. They used to call them pursuits, but I guess that term is no longer politically correct. A light post, fencing, and shrubs were knocked over as well as the front doors being knocked out and replaced by makeshift plywood and a single door.

The intercom that visitors would ring to get into the Police Office was also broken and hangs by wires at the plywood entrance. A large plate glass window above the front entrance was also shattered by flying debris and that window is now held together with duct tape.

From what I understand, the vehicle that crashed into the building was insured, so where is the money to pay for the repairs and why does it take almost 6 months to get the building fixed and where did the money go?

I can almost guarantee that if this was the A/C or heat in the Mayor's Office or Kevin Burnham's Office, it would not take month's to fix. Maybe this is another argument for getting Department Heads to actually live in Hartford, as the city's ordinances require. Maybe the Mayor can send his "Energy Czar" to witness the inefficient use of energy and make some suggestions.

Mr. Burnham, you should have the number from the numerous messages I have left, but it is also at the top of the blog if you need it. Maybe I should try calling 311 instead.

Hopefully DPW will correct this mess as fast as they did the graves in Soldiers Field when WFSB exposed that neglect. I-team please take note :)


Just an update, the final remaining walls of the Public Safety Complex were knocked down today.

Kudos to the Perez Management Team for another fine job well done. Efficient government at its finest.


If a church can not be used for a graduation ceremony, then how can they be used as polling locations during elections? A different set of rules maybe?

Just off the top of my head, the Liberty Christian Center at the corner of Albany Avenue and Vine Street is one of the more active polling places in Hartford.

ACLU ? Judge Hall? Please save us .


After posting earlier about the Enfield school graduation conflict, an "Anonymous" commenter posted his (or her) disagreement with my ideas.

"Anonymous" cited the separation of Church and State as one of our basic fundamentals of our Democracy. It's a catchy phrase, but what exactly was meant by the "separation" and what do we choose to scrutinize and what do we choose to overlook.

If there is such a thing as separation of Church and State, what is it and where does it begin?

Let's look at the supposed "separation" starting on a local level. Millions of dollars are given out to religious organizations in Hartford for so-called community initiatives. Some are legitimate programs producing results, many are not.

And if a program funded by the City is held in a church building, how is that any different than a graduation program being forbidden from being held in a church? Are secular symbols removed for after-school or daycare programs held in or around a church building?

And when a program is publicly funded and run by a religious organization, where do we draw the line? Is it ok for a church or minister that receives funds from the City to then endorse Mayoral candidates or politicians from the pulpit? No one can deny that happens in Hartford.

Is it OK for a minister receiving funds from the City to stand behind a recently arrested Mayor and support him with a "prayer vigil"? Or is that just part of "doing business" in Hartford?

That line of separation between Church and State seems to be non-existent when it comes to Hartford. Where is the ACLU on this?

And then we go to the state level. The Roman Catholic Church probably has one of the strongest lobbying efforts at the Capitol, influencing the approval or denial of many legislative efforts. It's the way the system works, but how do you pick and choose what is acceptable and what is not.

And so much for that separation when both Congress and our State Legislature begin every session, every single day with a prayer.

And one of the most interesting "separation's" to me that seems to really cloud that "separation" theory is the Obama Administration's Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

While some see religion being brought into society as a bad thing, is religion not what has held our communities together during good times, but especially during bad times. No one is "forced" to accept or abandon religion, the same as no one is forced into a life of crime or drugs. It is a conscious decision one makes and the same as a decision to use drugs, if it is not your thing, "just say no".

I think I've said enough about this a long time ago, but it just seems bizarre to me that a couple of parents would go to the extremes to alienate their children from religion, rather than explain that diversity is what makes this country great.

You are free to make decisions for yourself. Believe in God, don't believe in God. Choose to drink alcohol, choose not to drink alcohol. The list can go on and on, but will looking at a cross as you walk into an auditorium to receive your diploma really scar you for life?

And is a little more civility and tolerance really a bad thing for us to strive for today?


I don't consider myself an overly "religious" person, but for some reason the Federal Judge's decision in the Enfield graduation case is bothering me. To me, your religious beliefs aren't something you wear on your sleeve, but they hopefully come across in the way you live your life and treat others.

I guess the core of the matter revolved around the decision by the Enfield Board of Education to hold graduation ceremonies at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield. After the decision was made, three students and two of their parents objected and the ACLU apparently took up the charge and filed a federal suit.

Long story short, the hearing in Federal Court was fast tracked and yesterday Federal Judge Janet Hall issued her decision. In essence, graduation at the First Cathedral was off, Judge Hall claims it violates the First amendment of the US Constitution.

I guess the first thing that troubles me is that three "Jane" or "John" Doe's can file a lawsuit changing the course for a much larger group of people. This wasn't a majority decision, not even close. This was a decision by three students out of several hundred students and two of their parents

All five plaintiffs in the lawsuit requested "anonymity". So much for taking a stand for something you believe in. And what about that old standard to be able to face your accuser? How can you face an "anonymous" accuser?

Further more, the Judge toured the First Cathedral and as "neutral" as the Cathedral's leaders tried to make the building, there were still "secular" symbols that couldn't be hidden, such as the large cross atop the building.

If secular symbols are the issue, I think the parents and the three students must have much greater problems surviving in our society today. What do they use for currency if they object to secular symbols and statements? Do they refuse their paychecks and object to cashing them because of the phrase on every bill "IN GOD WE TRUST"?

Do they leave a ball park when "God Bless America" is sung? I totally agree that religion should not be forced on anyone, it should be a choice. But then again, for a couple of hundred years religious freedom has been a cornerstone of this country. Walking into a church is not going to make anyone a "bible thumping Christian" (no offense to bible thumping Christians intended) anymore than walking into a bar is going to convert someone into an alcoholic.

As adults, something these three students will eventually be forced to become, we face choices and decisions everyday. Some call for difficult decisions that are not always pleasant, but are one person's rights more important than the majority's rights?

And I'm not sure where the Judge's decision is coming from also. If it is based in the theory that "secular symbols" that can't be removed will somehow force religious beliefs upon the three students and their parents, this could end with an ironic twist.

If by some chance this should end up at the US Supreme Court, the students and their parents will be confronted with numerous "secular symbols".

As they walk up the front steps of the US Supreme Court, if they look up at the stately facade, they will see Moses holding the ten commandments in his lap. Not good for non-believers as they feel the pressure of organized religion staring back at them.

Then , if they make it as far as the entrance to the actual Supreme Court courtroom, they hopefully wont be offended as they pull open the doors to the courtroom, they have the symbols of the 10 commandments engraved into the doors

And then after they take their seats, God forbid (sorry bad choice of words mentioning God). I'll try again.... and then after they take their seats, Heaven forbid,sorry, another religious term. I guess you just can't get away from religious symbols and terms in this country.

After they take their seats, if they look up above the bench where the Supreme Court justices are seated, they will once again see a religious symbol of Moses carved in his full religious glory.

If a little religion is acceptable for the US Supreme Court, will it really hurt a couple of students from Enfield?

And finally, in the words of our 4th President of the United States and a founding father of our country and our Constitution James Madison;"We have staked the whole of all our political Institutions upon the capacity of mankind for Self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to The Ten Commandments of God."

Monday, May 31, 2010


I guess it is now official, the Perez Administration's attempts at historic "preservation" are a failure.

In what was supposed to be the stately new entrance to Hartford's Public Safety Complex now lies a pile of bricks and debris. Due to what many have called an act of incompetence, the attempts to preserve the 1800"s era school building have resulted in the collapse and eventual demolition of the buildings shell.

You can read my previous posting "The Perez Legacy of Incompetence Continues" by clicking here.

The picture above serves as a testament to the acts of the Perez Administration

Only two parts of the wall from the southwest corner of the building now remain.

There are no estimates available at this time as to what additional costs are now added to the project for demolition and re-design of the building, a project that was never fully funded to begin with.