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Friday, July 16, 2010


This might easily be the most difficult post I have written on this blog. I know for sure it is the one that I have lost the most sleep over and spent the most time considering the ramifications, not for me but for the person involved.

Hector Robles is someone I consider a friend, someone I have respected for his actions, his work in the community, but more importantly his honesty and candor with me in many of our private conversations. But like us all, Hector is a human being and human beings make mistakes. How they deal with those mistakes is a measure of themselves and their integrity.

Leadership can be shown , even in the worst situations, by someone who puts the interests of his constituents first, rather than selfish personal reasons. That is exactly the situation facing Hector at this time.

As I said in the beginning, this posting raised several difficult issues. First off, I had no problem raising issues regarding Eddie Perez, John Rose and others. They were easy people to dislike. Hector on the other hand is a different story. He's a likable type guy, always accessible and responsive and overall a decent guy.

With that being said, I would say I expect more out of someone I consider a friend. I had originally heard about an ongoing IAD investigation into certain activities of Hector and his position with the Hartford Police Department. The allegations were troubling to me, and I tried to verify their accuracy. The journalistic standard a couple of my mentors have instilled in me is to double verify everything. Verify the facts through two independent sources who most likely aren't hearing the facts from each other.

The first source related most of the facts to me and advised me that Hector was well aware of the investigation, the facts uncovered and the direction the IAD was taking. The second source related pretty much identical facts and circumstances. But these were allegations that would definitely not only affect Hector's professional career but also his political career.

Not because he is a friend, but because I felt it was the right thing to do I went further. I verified the IAD information with a 3rd and 4th source, both of them also gave me information verifying the facts and all were about the same.

I don't intend to layout all of the information here, but eventually the entire report will have to be released as a public document and will be available here when that happens. In the meantime, it is not a good situation for Hector, HPD or the image of the City of Hartford.

One of the troubling parts of this is the information being fed to the media. Both the HPD spokesperson and Robles are saying that this is an "administrative investigation". This is a matter of more smoke and mirrors. Every IAD investigation could be classified as administrative in nature to begin with. In many cases as the investigation proceeds, information is developed that eventually leads to the uncovering of criminal activity. From what my sources are telling me, that is the case here.

We have had enough of the "smoke and mirrors" defense from Perez's case. We see how that has worked out for him, claiming it was merely a lapse of judgement, right up until the time that a jury convicted him of five felonies. Perez was a huge embarrassment and a media black eye for the city.

Hector has the opportunity to step up, be honest and truthful and do the right thing, unlike his political mentor Perez.It is a very difficult position, but doing the right thing isn't always easy. Admitting you are wrong and are willing to deal with the consequences may be difficult. Putting the city under another cloud of corruption after we are just beginning to come out of the cloud created by the Perez years is not only wrong, it is selfish and will damage everyone in the end as the truth will eventually come out.

Another issue with the investigation is the potential consequences. One high ranking source has said the "ball is in Hector's court". Apparently he has been given the opportunity to resign. That in and of itself is fine if the situation warrants a resignation. If that is being traded for a promise of no prosecution that would be wrong and further undermine the credibility of the Hartford Police Department. If criminal activity is found and documented, and probable cause is established, a decision needs to be made by the States Attorney as to whether an arrest is warranted, not Hartford PD.

Even in a bad situation someone doing the right thing for the City rather than himself will still come out ahead in the end. It might take a lot to regain the public's trust, but being honest up front is a good start.


Where do I begin on this one? Many people have been concerned for me and my personal safety over the last couple years. I used to always laugh their concerns off by saying ”when your time is up, your time is up”.

Gladly, my time isn’t up.

It might be a long story, but if I can get anyone else to avoid a couple of stupid mistakes I made, it’s worth it.

Tuesday night I attended the Democratic debates at the Hartford Library. During the debates I noticed the peripheral vision in my right eye was just a blank white color. I could see straight ahead, but nothing to my right side, I thought I was just tired and kind of passed it off. The debate finished off and a few others were headed out to the Nutshell café and invited me along, but I decided to head home.

Outside the Library I spoke with Stan McCauley for a minute and he asked me several times if I was alright. I assured him I was and asked why? He must have seen something because he said I wasn’t myself and I was acting differently. He offered to drive me home and I said I was fine.

Warning signs , I now know, of an impending stroke. It gets better, or worse, depending how you look at it.

I decided I knew myself better and I could drive myself home. I started to head home and decided to call a friend of mine, Len Besthoff. He was out having ice cream with his wife and daughters and answered his new i-phone , I was all set to tell him the news of the debate and how things turned out. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words just wouldn’t come out. As I moved my mouth to talk, all that game out were unidentifiable sounds.

As hard as I tried to from words, nothing made sense. At that time, I don’t know why, I figured hanging up and calling him again would clear up the problem. He answered the second call and the jumbled words poured out again as I tried to speak. I heard his wife Lindsey say “Len, I think he’s having a stroke”. Not me, it couldn’t be , that happens to old people.

Len realized I couldn’t answer him, so he just told me “call 911, you need to get to the hospital”. He had to be wrong, I was actually driving fine, I just couldn’t speak. I’m tough, I’ll go home, take a couple Advil. Besides, people having strokes go limp and they go paralyzed I reasoned. A good nights sleep would correct it, I was just tired and the heat was killing me.

I was only a minute from my house, so I’d feel a lot better when I got home and had a nice cold ice tea. I grabbed the ice-tea and sat at my desk trying to talk to myself. Still, the words just wouldn’t form and the more I tried to enunciate the more frustrated I got. At this point a bulb finally went off in my head, “you are in trouble stupid, you need help quick”. But even though I was in trouble, how do you get help when you can’t speak? I knew I could call “911” and say nothing, but that didn’t guarantee an emergency response. The 911 Dispatch Center handles calls like that as what they call a “10-90”, eventually an officer would be dispatched to check on a 911 hangup, but it wouldn’t be immediately.

I came up with a brainstorm. I would text my sister Sheryl and ask her to call me. I texted her a message I thought was “CALL ME”. She later showed me the text at the ER and what I had typed wasn’t even close. The words were spelled correctly, but made no sense to her. It was just a few random words that made no sentence. Luckily she had her phone on and promptly replied “WHAT?”. Again I answered her back with what I thought was a coherent phrase, but it turned out to be more gibberish.

Luckily she realized something was wrong and called me on the phone. I tried to speak, only to flood the phone with more slurred unintelligible words. Luckily my sister is brighter than me and she promptly informed me she was calling 911 and hung up. As soon as she hung up, Lindsey Besthoff called to make sure I was on the way to the hospital or she was calling 911. I guess mothers may reason these things out better than us tough guys. So much for the Advil and my comfortable bed.

Since I could walk alright, in my stupor, I decided to go outside to meet Fire and EMS in my driveway. As Engine 5 arrived, they are actually my neighbors across the street, they asked if I had called and when I tried to answer yes, a muffled slur of words came out. Hopefully they noticed me shaking my head yes, They asked what the problem was and more muffled words. The obligatory question of “have you been drinking, do you do drugs?” would have been comical if the gravity of my situation hadn’t started sinking in now.

I was put into the back of an ambulance and the poking and prodding began, heart monitor hooked up and the short trip to Hartford Hospital began. Shortly into that trip and the words I didn’t want to hear, but I had a pretty good idea were inevitable were uttered, “sir, I don’t want to alarm you, but I think you might be having a stroke”.

I knew Advil would have cleared it up and now look what my sister and the Besthoff’s had gotten me into.

Into triage, the quick wristband put on me and the wide double doors to the inner sanctum of the bustling ER swing open electronically. Then just a few feet into the ER and the booming voice comes over the intercom system ”activated trauma in Red Pod, stroke victim coming in”. The same EMT who didn’t want to alarm me on the ride in looks at me and with a reassuring smile says “that’s you, you’re the stroke victim”

I knew he was wrong, I only needed Advil and some rest.

Then, like a scene from a TV show, I am wheeled into a large room with just about every stainless steel device you could think of. Then, like an automobile assembly line, every one of the 8 or 10 people in the room jumped into action. Someone , removing my shirt and tie, two others trying to get IV’s in, one in the right arm, one in the left, someone else taking vital signs, someone else hooking up leads for the heart monitor, a couple of doctors conducting the entire symphony. I was impressed.

Once that was all completed, it seemed like non-stop action, and immediately off to the CT scanner for a scan of my head and brain to see what was going and how severe it was. On the way to the CT scan a drug called “TPA” was explained to me. Apparently it is a super industrial strength “clot buster” that can be used in the first 3 hours of a stroke to help reduce the devastating effects of a stroke. It is not without its risk, including possible death, but they said it was very effective. Fortunately for me, they explained, it was available but most likely not necessary unless things intensified. I wanted to say thanks, but all I needed was an ADVIL and I’d be fine, this was all my sisters idea.

I think somewhere between the trauma room, the CT scan room and the TPA discussion, it started to sink in that I could potentially be in trouble. I’m really not sure what was going on inside my brain, but I realize now, not only could I not speak correctly, I wasn’t making the clearest decisions either. As soon as the CT scan was complete I was told that my mother and my sister had arrived.

My speech seemed to be getting back to normal, my vision was normal again and I expected to be released any time now. Obviously, there were people parked all over in the hallways on stretchers who seemed sicker than I was. Mt mother and sister seemed to be getting used to these late night reunions in the ER. It was about a month ago they sat with me until the wee hours of the morning on the e-coli episode,

They weren’t alone for long though and the word that “Kevin has had a stroke” spread quickly. The first to arrive was Stan McCauley who came in around midnight. A good blessing from a good friend could never hurt. The second to arrive was Alyssa Peterson, always out looking for votes. I felt sorry for her because she had heard I was in the hospital and she came immediately, only problem is she went to the wrong hospital. They pointed her to the correct hospital. Alyssa knew where I lived so she figured I would go the the hospital a mere few blocks from my house.

Did she really expect a guy who just wanted Advil for a stroke to make a lucid decision? I know I will aggravate the St’ Francis Medical Center people, but in my typical sarcastic manner I explained my decision to Alyssa. I told her “if you want to go to heaven you go to St. Francis, if you want to live you go to Hartford Hospital”. I apologize again to SFMC, I was in the middle of a stroke.

Eventually everything appeared to be stable, the neurologists were in and explained everything. It was time to send Mom and my guardian angel for the night, my sister, home while I was admitted to a regular room.

The scenarios and potential diagnosis were played out and hashed out as numerous tests were done. As I looked around at some of the other patients I passed on 9North, the “Stroke” floor, I began to realize my stupidity for treating this incident as lightly as I did.

Now that I had been stabilized, the testing was pretty much complete and now it was time for the HH people to show me the error of my ways. Fortunately, I had no visible remnants of a stroke. No paralysis, no speech difficulties, and anyone that would see me today would probably say “yeah, right, you just wanted a short vacation”.

If nothing else, it was a warning shot across my bow to catch my attention. A few changes such as diet and lifestyle and the addition of a baby aspirin a day should keep me off the stroke floor for a while.

I hope anyone else that experiences a similar situation will get to the closest hospital immediately, preferably by calling 911 and summoning EMS, but just get there. The drug TPA is very beneficial if needed , but only in the first 3 hours after the onset of a stroke.

I think the scariest thing to me though is that if I hadn’t been making a call or trying to talk to someone, I might never have known that a stroke was underway in my brain. I had no headache, no pain, no dizziness, nothing. If I had been alone and not talking on the phone I wouldn’t have noticed the slurred speech for the half hour or so it lasted . I shouldn’t have ignored the vision problem either, that should have been obvious to me as not normal.

And if you don’t recognize or want to acknowledge the warning signs, hopefully you will have someone like my sister Sheryl or Len and Lindsey Besthoff to force you to acknowledge the warning signs, it might save your life.

I guess why they call strokes the “silent killer”. Please look at the brochure below and remember the warning signs and act promptly if they occur to you or someone you are around. Stroke is the number 3 cause of death .
Stroke Facts

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


"HE'S NOT A CRIMINAL", those were the words uttered by a woman outside of Hartford Superior Court who identified herself as the "fiancee" of Clifton West, the 18 year old accused of shooting a Hartford Police Officer Friday night at Mather and Brook Streets.

"He's not a criminal". The fact that anyone could utter those words under these circumstances amazes me. What would the "fiancee" like us to use to describe her future husband. Maybe another misguided youth finding his way on Hartford's streets? Maybe as we so often hear after such incidents he was a good kid, just starting to turn his life around?

No, it seems pretty clear cut, anyone that would aim a gun at a police officer and pull the trigger is definitely a CRIMINAL, and a criminal of the worst kind. All moral character is gone when an individual, a CRIMINAL, can shoot at a police officer.

I'm not trying to trivialize any of the other shootings that happen in Hartford on a daily basis, but it just seems that someone who would shoot a police officer is capable of just about anything. Police Officers are the symbols of what keeps our society the somewhat civilized structure we expect.

If West could shoot a police officer under such circumstances, is there any doubt he would not hesitate to pump a few rounds into anyone else that got in his way. That is the mind set that seems to grasp a small group of young people roaming Hartford's streets and the senseless gun violence has ruined many lives, 18 year old Clifton West's included. I hope his "fiancee" doesn't have any hopes of a large wedding anytime soon


Here is the City of Hartford's May check register supplied by the City and Hartford's Chief Operating Officer David Panagore

Hartford May Check Register


Hartford Police were called to Hartford City Hall this morning to investigate an apparent burglary into the Corporation Counsel's Office on the 3rd floor.

No information is available at this time as to what area was entered or what might have been taken.

Could this be another scandal in the making? Only in Hartford.

Monday, July 12, 2010


As I have been laying low for the past few weeks focusing on what was concern number one, my health, I am now ready and full of energy to spout off about a new era in Hartford's history.

I can't respond to all of the comments that have been posted here, but I just want to say thanks to "Bruce", "Matt", "GiGi" (I have been assured it is not that GiGi) and all the others, especially that guy (or gal) "Anonymous" who have kept the conversations flowing while my postings were at a minimum.

And to all the well wishers, thanks again for your concern. I do have a couple of regrets though that I didn't take some of the people up on their offers. Imagine what I could have done with a picture of Chief Roberts bringing groceries up my stairs after he asked if "there was anything I needed?". And to Bishop Selders, thanks for the prayer beads. I know I'm not supposed to pray for such things, but they worked great during jury deliberations.

Ok , on to the comments.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "YOU MIGHT BE ASKING WHY EDDIE A. PEREZ IS GONE.......":

So, Kevin, what is the scoop??? Which Dept Heads and Directors were NOT invited to stay by Mayor Segarra???

The answer is pretty simple, your guess is about as good as mine. I know what my recommendations would be, but that's about it.

If nothing else, we see Mayor Segarra as someone who doesn't operate from the seat of the pants and you have to look at the total picture. The elimination of John Rose and Susan McMullen were pretty safe bets right from the start. I am somewhat surprised by the survival of Sarah Barr, but who knows, that might be a short lived survival.

Barr was responsible for many of the dirty deeds put forth for Eddie as she authored and preached the "Gospel of Perez". Many people still see her as the face of the Perez Administration and this will be an impediment to regaining any one's trust in Hartford as long as she is around.

Chief Daryl Roberts is another question mark, but I think Roberts deserves to be let loose to do what he was hired to do and that is run the Hartford Police Department. Ironically, as I sit here and write this, today is the four year anniversary of the Chief's appointment as Police Chief. Chief Roberts survived four years under some of the most difficult times in Hartford's history.

My great, great uncle (I probably need another great in there) was a former Hartford Police Chief back when Hartford was an entirely different place. I have read stories about him, Chief Michael Godfrey. He was actually Chief at the time of the Barbour Street Circus Fire. At that time Police Chiefs, in Cities like Hartford, were chauffeured everywhere in large sedans and were more powerful than most elected officials.More importantly, no one said no to them or dared cross them and they usually got what they needed.

Now in our present day era, Chief Roberts is being told to do more with less in a society that seems to become more and more violent everyday. A prime example was this weekend,an 18 year old boy leveling a rifle at a police officers chest and firing.

When Chief Roberts made his comments a couple summers ago that our city had a "toxic relationship" with itself, a firestorm erupted. The firestorm wasn't in the community, most people loved his honesty. We all know it but most people are afraid to say it. No, the firestorm erupted at 550 Main Street in the Mayor's Office. How dare Chief Roberts express his (and many others) honest thoughts. That was not in line with the Gospel of Perez.

That wasn't the start, but it sure escalated the contentious relationship between the Chief and Perez.

At the very least, Chief Roberts deserves a 6 month extension on his contract with the instructions from the Mayor that the leash from City Hall is off, go do what we hired you to do, and lets review that in 6 months.We have already seen stepped up enforcement action citywide. Maybe coincidence, maybe the result of HPD being allowed to do their job without interference from a prison bound Mayor, only time will tell.

The results will tell the story, but in 2 weeks time there have been numerous arrests for drug dealing at the Washington Street McDonald's, 30 people arrested for drug sealing in Keney Park, bodegas having their "after-hours" permits revoked or suspended. All within the last two weeks under the Segarra Administration.

The Fire Chief is in good shape I think. Ed Casares is an honorable guy and I think will steer the HFD in the right direction. The only major question is the Dan Nolan case hanging out there and how that will be resolved and what impact that will have on the Department. Much of the testimony from Nolan's Labor Board hearings has the potential to far from flattering for the previous Administration and the transcripts will make for some good reading.

Hopefully Casares and a new Corporation Counsel can come together and resolve the situation favorably without any huge settlements. It is only my opinion , but Dan Nolan will be a rich man in the end if they don't. The same can be said about Police Officer Matthew Secore who the Labor Board ordered his reinstatement after Perez fired him, only to be disregarded by John Rose and Perez. Another big settlement in the making.

Several others in the Mayor's Office need to go also. Many are back peddling now and saying they only did what they had to to remain in good standing and keep their jobs. Nice try, but I'm sorry. You are adults, you made decisions, now live with the consequences. The Office of Constituent Services was, I feel, essentially run as a political backroom and a polling operation for Perez. That entire operation needs to be revamped and actually provide a service to Hartford's residents.

The Finance Director, as I said in a previous post, needs to be scrutinized. If he knowingly played games with Hartford's budget and allowed budget projections and revenue collections to be over inflated at Perez's insistence, he needs to be gone.But even if the Director stays, the Deputy Director Lydia Rosario needs to go. Rosario has hired several family members and relatives bypassing Hartford's hiring practices as well as covering up large thefts of cash from the Tax Collectors Office. Rosario and Tax Collector Marc Nelson are now orchestrating a witch hunt against an employee who brought the issue to light, attempting to terminate him.

Human Relations Director Lillian Ruiz....gone, gone, gone. Much of the Perez corruption operations happened under her watch. She might not have been found criminally liable, how I don't know, but she held the responsibility for Carlos Costas oversight as far as his minority hiring and reporting. Her employees were wheeling and dealing with Costa to cover up his poor performance. She should have known what was going on in her department. Plus I don't like the comments she made about me in a couple of her staff meetings. (yes, sources are everywhere)

Health Department....Eddie did a good job of burying Evelyn Mantilla there and protecting her as a civil service employee. What she does no one actually knows, but she does report to work to collect her $70,000 a year plus salary, thanks to Eddie Perez. The Director should be pretty safe though.

Public Works...the verdict is out on Kevin Burnham. Overall I think he has proven ineffective and is slow to get out of the box and accomplish anything. Hartford's streets are a mess, I haven't seen any milling or street rebuilding , to the best of my knowledge, so far this summer. Hartford's Parks and cemeteries are a mess and an embarrassment to Hartford's image. In Burnham's defense, it is hard to accomplish anything when you can pretty much count your staff on one hand.

Mayor Segarra has been speaking about pumping money into a summer intern program to hire people for maintaining our parks, hopefully by rebuilding the bridge to the Capitol some money can be found for such a program. But first up for Burnham is to get in the habit of returning phone calls or at the very least designate a responsible person to call people back on his behalf. That includes other department heads as well as city residents. Ignoring problems doesn't solve anything.

And we have way too many Deputy Directors in DPW. One such person is Deputy Director Marilyn Cruz-Aponte who landed here in Hartford courtesy of Perez's Chief of Staff Susan McMullen. McMullen and Cruz-Aponte worked together in New Britain before McMullen was let go by the City of New Britain. I know Mayor Segarra isn't vindictive, but Cruz-Aponte is the person who singled out Segarra's half brother to be laid-off in last years first round of terminations. From what sources have told me , she has also had some very unflattering comments about our new Mayor and voiced them in a meeting the same day Segarra was sworn in.

And you probably thought I forgot about MHIS Director Eric Jackson, another one...gone, gone , gone. I have already written too much in this post, but I'll get into Jackson in depth again soon. But suffice it to say, he has been another huge drain on Hartford's resources with nothing in return.

Human Resources Director Santiago Malave, the jury is still out on him. Personally, I like him and I know he was doing Perez's dirty work, but like I said before, they are all adults who made decisions for themselves that they must now live with. Many personnel decisions have been made and are still pending that may cost Hartford millions of dollars in the end for unsubstantiated allegations and charges that haven't held up before the Labor Board and most likely won't hold up in court. Malave was supposed to be the voice of reason when it came to personnel matters and I'm not sure that has always happened when it came to pressure from Perez.

Let me know if I left anyone out and I'll try to respond with my thoughts.

And to "Dave", I know you are waiting for my response, you will be up next.


Tonight Hartford's Democratic Town Committee will be holding interviews to potentially find a replacement for Mayor Pedro Segarra's open seat. Segarra's seat on the Council was opened after he moved up to the Mayor's position to fill the vacancy left after former Mayor Eddie Perez became a convicted felon after his corruption trial.

The effort to conduct public interviews could be a good start to restore the public's confidence in a "corruption free" city government. Or it can show that nothing is going to change at City Hall.

Word around this weekend has been that the interviews are just for show, and that the replacement has essentially already been chosen by Hartford's power broker "wanna-be's". Only the decision after tonight's interviews will show if change is imminent or if the whole process was a sham.

Hopefully it will be the first scenario and some people with integrity will be involved to make the right choice. Not a choice determined by who is the most politically connected or who can play the game the best.

A couple of the names I have heard floated are not without baggage and some tough questions need to be asked of the candidates to avoid any more potential "black eyes" for our image as a city.

In the few short weeks, actually two weeks and three days,since Mayor Segarra has taken office, I see the tide turning in favor of Hartford's image. It could be the "honeymoon" period, but I doubt it.

Tonight's interviews could assist the Mayor in our image rebuilding or they can reinforce the mindset that Hartford's politicos don't want to change. Only time will tell.

Depending on the choice, maybe the tough questions will have to be asked here.