When I began my run for Hartford City Council, I made a decision to keep the blog separate, at least as much as possible, from the campaign. Today I have reached my political boiling point and "We the People" is a way to get my message out. This is not about supporting myself as a candidate for City Council, but more about pointing out how broken, dysfunctional and even damaging the political process is to the people of Hartford.
The back door political deals and arm twisting that is going on this week is wrong and is not about what is best for Hartford or its people. It is more about political leeches, yes I said that, making sure that funding is kept in place for their nonprofits or protecting jobs for relatives and friends, all on the backs of the people of a city they were elected to represent.
It started with the interview process the individual six town Democratic Committee Districts conducted. Only two districts even held inclusive interviews for all candidates to even try to show some sort of legitimacy. The sixth district and the first district invited all of the candidates to interview. The other districts, such as the seventh and the third, entertained their chosen candidates, excluding the others. It hardly sounds like any open democratic process that our forefathers intended.
I had originally decided to forgo the Town Committee process and petition for a spot in a primary. A member of the Town Committee convinced me not to do that but play by the "political" rules instead and go through the HDTC. The more I see how the "rules" are carried out, the more disgusting the system becomes. I am trying to leave myself out of this, but there are several good candidates that are being pushed aside because of the political gamesmanship. Candidates that would make excellent leaders for the City, but they probably aren't willing to cut the deals to make their lives easy.
People like Andrea Comer, Ramon Espinosa and A.J. Johnson who show promise and common sense are overlooked. Instead, an ethically challenged attorney, a police recruit fired from the HPD police academy for his disruptive attitude, and a current Councilperson who makes the perfect argument why we should have term limits will most likely be endorsed. And lets not forget the mayoral candidate who can't decide what he wants to be or if Mayor Segarra is good for Hartford or still "unfit to lead".
The joke around town is that if you commit a criminal act you will have a much better chance of fitting in and getting the nomination. That's not too far off if you look at the makeup of the Town Committee and consider those that blindly supported and condoned( and some even profited) off of government corruption for the last ten years.
I somehow have a hard time accepting that some of these HDTC members even have the capacity to judge others qualifications when you consider their "lapses of judgement" in the past. I find it ironic that one member of the HDTC will attend tomorrow nights convention to select and judge the various candidates after he spends his day tomorrow in Court. He will be in court on pre-trial proceedings as he gets ready to move forward after his arrest for sexually assaulting a 12 year old child.
Another HDTC member was arrested while he was a city employee after patronizing prostitutes while employed by the City. Another was convicted for "selling" community service hours while employed with the Hartford Court. And you don't have to look too far to find several Hartford Democratic Town Committee members who turned a blind eye and in some cases even defended, the corrupt actions of now convicted felon Eddie Perez.
And in this day and age, how can anyone defend selecting candidates based on a racial quota system? The 2-2-2 system, (2 blacks, 2 whites and 2 Hispanics) was a policy apparently devised under the Perry administration to make sure "equal representation" was in effect. It was wrong then and it is wrong today. I could care less what race our Councilpeople are as long as we are selecting the best, who care about Hartford.
According to numerous sources, at least one HDTC member, John Kennelly is now pushing for a "3-2-1" racial quota system. Three Blacks, two Hispanics and one White.
Kennelly would not return my calls for comment, so I can't even begin to figure out the reasoning behind that move. Maybe if Governor Malloy chooses to meddle in Hartford politics, he might want to address the issue of the overt racism perpetrated and condoned by Hartford's political establishment.
In the meantime, those that are willing to play the political games don't seem to realize that business as usual will still mean no jobs for Hartford's people. Business as usual will still mean taxing many businesses, small and large, out of Hartford. Business as usual will mean that the politicos that have benefited off the backs of some of the poorest people in the country will still be taking care of themselves and their cronies.
It seems that integrity does not matter in Hartford and it is all about the political gamesmanship. I do have to add one caveat though, two of the "rumored" endorsee's I think will be an asset to the Council. Even though I have only had limited conversations with Kyle Anderson and Kate Kowalshyn, I am somewhat impressed by them.
I think it would be very interesting to see no one garner the needed votes tomorrow night and all of the candidates forced to compete in a primary. Everyone starting on the same footing and no dirty deals. Let the voters actually decide who represents them, because the Hartford Democratic Town Committee obviously isn't.
I want to ask every Hartford voter "what will it take to upset you enough that you will actually vote?"