In the world of Hartford politics, I guess nothing really ever makes sense. It would seem that a long term State Representative would be able to exert some clout to keep their district from being dismantled from under them. Even more so if that Rep also served as Deputy Speaker.
In the case of 5th District State Representative Marie Kirkley-Bey, nothing could be further from the truth. The proposed redistricting of Legislative Districts has drastically cut the size of the 5th District and in fact has even moved Kirkley-Bey's residence (save the Old Saybrook comments) out of the 5th District all together and she will be in the 1st District if the changes go through. The 1st is currently represented by State Representative Matt Ritter.
I am not sure if a challenge to Ritter by Kirkley-Bey is in the future. I would say Kirkley-Bey would have a tough battle challenging one of the potential rising stars in the Legislature. Ritter was the driving force that capped tax increases on residential property and taxes as a result of re-val. The results would have been disastrous for single family homeowners in Hartford without Ritter's bill. Kirkley-Bey might be wise to consider "retirement" and bow out gracefully
A lot of potential changes may be on the political horizon for Hartford as the redistricting may also throw numerous Town Committee seats into play now as the lines are being redrawn. Several HDTC members from the 7th District will now be living in the 1st District. The 5th District HDTC members will be cut drastically also from 11 members to possibly only 4.
At least 3 members of the current 5th District HDTC have now been "redistricted" so their residences have become part of the 4th District. This could prove to be a very interesting battle for control of the 4th District as the current 4ht District HDTC includes former Town Chair Sean Arena. One of the 5th District current HDTC members that will be shifted to the 4th District is the current "shadow Chair" Marc Dibella. This could prove to be a very interesting match up come HDTC election time.
The 7th District also has seen some interesting borders cut for the area represented by Doug McCrory, Several longtime HDTC members have seen their district moved out from under them. Prenzina and Shawn Holloway, Shirley Surgeon, Paul Basch and others now reside outside the proposed boundaried for their current district.
The current 4th District State Representative, Kelvin Roldan survived a close election last go-round and just barely retained his seat from a challenge from a less than stellar candidate. Follow the dots here, Roldan's fiancee is the daughter of Bart Halloran. Halloran is the Attorney for the MDC (Metropolitan District Commission). Marc Dibella's father , William diBella is Chairman of the MDC.
Bart Halloran is also currently representing our convicted felon former Mayor Eddie A. Perez against action by the State Attorney to revoke Perez's pension, as well as 6th District State Representative and former Hartford Police Officer Hector Robles who was arrested on Larceny charges and fired from his job as a police officer.
I think it is probably pretty safe to assume that power in the 4th will not just be handed to Sean Arena without a fight.
Town Committee seats, both Republican and Democrat, are determined by the number or registered voters in a district. With the 5th District being carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey, it includes numerous unpopulated areas including most of Keney Park and a large part of the North Meadows which is primarily commercial area as well as the former landfill.
The 1st District HDTC will also most likely see some change as much of the District had encompassed the West End of Hartford prior to redistricting. The 1st now also has shifted to include much of the Northend/Albany Avenue area and has shifted the demographics to a larger minority representation. This could prove interesting to see if the HDTC from the 1st District shifts to include more minority members to actually represent the makeup of the District.
The 3rd District hasn't changed much except that it now looks to encompass the old Charter Oak Housing project area, where HDTC Secretary, the honorable Angel Morales lives with his mother on Margarita Drive. Since Morales does not have to be an actual member of the HDTC to serve on the Executive Committee, his position seems to be safe. Besides, with all the time he spends at the Hartford Public Library downtown, he has plenty of time to research the legalities.
The 6th District also remains pretty much intact.
It could all play out very interesting come HDTC election time in 2012. Most of the HDTC districts are not cohesive and are potentially ripe for change. In the mean time, maybe Marie Kirkley-Bey can land a job with the MDC and she and Bill can commute together.
The recent action trying to approve a raise for Hartford's Treasurer Adam Cloud just stinks, pure and simple. Did Cloud not understand the dollar sign and the zero's that listed his salary before he ran?
I have to wonder how this action was on the agenda and moved forward so quickly when our previous Treasurer, Kathleen Palm-Divine, had to fight for years to get her raise put forward. But then again, Kathleen wasn't a political operative pushing the ethical limits.
And it confuses me why the Council President would introduce the resolution authorizing the raise. Does rJo Winch not realize that Cloud and a couple of her Council counterparts were instrumental in her political demise? Cloud was right there, front and center at the Democratic nominating convention cutting the deals that forced Winch as well as Sean Arena off the slate.
In true Hartford political style, I would not have been surprised to see Winch landing a job in the Treasurer's Office when the new term starts if the Treasurer got his raise, but that wouldn't happen in Hartford, would it? Maybe she could get the job the Treasurer's wife had, now that he was forced to realize having his wife work with him was a conflict.
Maybe rJo could handle Clouds "community giving and outreach" plan so that he wouldn't have to strong arm City vendors to benefit his campaign worker's non-profits.
But the larger question is why the public had to be the first to identify the Council's actions as illegal. Does the Mayor have a staff to review things first. Do we not have a Corporation Counsel that should have enough legal experience by this time in her career to question improper actions by the Council.
Even more importantly, the Corporation Counsel sat on the dais as the pay raise was raised and very little debate took place. Would it have been that difficult for the Corporation Counsel to raise a point of order? "Madame President, I have concerns regarding the legality of this matter and recommend it be tabled for further research"
I'm not sure that anyone cared about the legality. If the illegal nature had not been pointed out here by a commenter more than 24 hours prior to the Mayor's veto, would it have just gone through unquestioned? How could four attorneys sit there, 3 Council members and the Corporation Counsel, and not realize the actions they were voting on might be illegal?
How is it that the "dangerous" lefto Councilman Luis Cotto, as GOP Town Chair Mike McGarry describes him, and the other WFP Councilman Larry Deutsch, were the only ones to question the actions. Forget the legality, what about the moral and ethical issues of the raise? Hartford has the highest unemployment in the state and many residents would love a $10,000 salary, never mind a $10,000 raise.
Who is the "dangerous" lefto now Mike? Cotto and Deutsch said no, but your own Republican fully supported it. One of those things that makes you go "hmmmm" and shake your head in disbelief.
And Cloud was already elected and knew the salary. It is not like we are saying we need the raise to a salary to be competitive and attract the best possible Police Chief or Tax Collector or any hired position. Cloud was elected, and if the salary wasn't enough, then don't run.
It's old news by now that an arbitrator awarded our disgraced and corrupt convicted felon former Mayor Eddie Perez almost $71,000 in vacation time and sick pay. Jeff Cohen from WNPR has more here
I guess it is a small price to pay to get Perez to just go away, but what about everything he has cost us? How much has been spent repairing Park Street which is falling apart after Perez's deal and now stands as Hartford's tribute to corruption and payoffs.
What was the total the City of Hartford spent on attorney fees representing city employees that were called to testify before the Grand Jury? The answer is several hundred thousand dollars, who is going to reimburse us for that?
And who makes the decision when litigation is done and what is the criteria? In this case it seems as though it is Mayor Segarra, the beneficiary of Perez's dirty deeds that paved the way for Segarra to move into the Mayor's Office.
Why is Perez given the luxury of benefiting from an arbitrators decision when just about anyone else has had to fight for compliance with a decision? Secore, Nolan, Murtha and others come to mind.
Why are some decisions fought to the death yet Eddie gets a check cut, no questions asked? Hopefully the Department of Corrections will attach the payment to pay for his prison stay.
photo from http://www.wfsb.com/story/14969552/the-hartfordite
I know that usually I watch Dennis House's "Face the State" program (Sundays, 11:00am, Ch. 3) while getting started for the day and eating breakfast. This Sunday I will have to be sure to eat early to avoid being nauseous while watching one of his segments. Sorry Dennis, it's not you but your guest.
I'm sure most people have noticed that the Republicans in Hartford were thoroughly beat into the ground the last few years, and especially this past November when they lost their remaining seats on the Council. You may have also noticed that the local GOP "leadership", and I use that term lightly, have had plenty of blame for everyone else except themselves.
Even before the loss, you could see the venom spewing from Hartford's Republican Town Chair Michael McGarry anytime he spoke about the Working Families Party (WFP) and in particular WFP Councilperson Luis Cotto. I am not a fan of Cotto's, but McGarry chose to make it personal between himself and Cotto.
McGarry also concocted the deal, or was at least one of the "masterminds" behind the misguided deal to endorse Democrats in the last election. This stripped the Republican's of any ideology or any means of differentiating the GOP from the Dem's. In the end, McGarry should realize that his deal cost him and his party votes.
According to Dennis House's blog "the Hartfordite", McGarry said the election of Working Families candidates to the council instead of Republican candidates, is bad for business and sends a message to investors to stay away from the city. He called the WF party “dangerous.”
I would counter that the attitude of the Republican Party in Hartford for the last several years under McGarry's "leadership", or lack thereof, has been dangerous. Throughout the entire Perez corruption scandal, McGarry and his party remained silent. No press releases, no comments, not a word.
Since 1999 as Hartford's mill rate steadily increased from about 29 mills to the current rate of over 71 mills, not a word was said by McGarry and his party. The only Republican elected to the Council Veronica Airey-Wilson voted for just about every item that increased spending as well as every bloated budget. Although she had to align herself with Perez and his operation since a Grand Jury investigation eventually proved that she was also benefiting from Perez's criminal acts.
Not surprisingly though, not a word from the Republican "leaders" before or after Airey-Wilson's arrest. In fact, they appointed her nephew to replace her on the Council when she left after her arrest on criminal corruption charges. And in the total opposite of Republican beliefs of smaller government and reduced spending, Airey-Wislons nephew, Corey Brinson voted for the illegal raise for the City Treasurer Monday night. Hopefully one of his last official acts as a Councilperson since he was not re-elected.
McGarry himself probably has a hard time as Republican Town Chair criticizing City Hall since he benefits directly from the City and Board of Education's advertising in his periodicals.
Rather than calling WFP dangerous, it mike make more sense to educate potential voters as to what the GOP is about and why it would make sense to vote Republican. I think people are fed up with the negative politics and if you put a message forward that makes sense, people just might listen.
There is no outreach to the community, there is no education and there definitely is no Republican presence in Hartford, other than Mike McGarry spouting his nonsense blaming everyone else.
Buy a mirror Mike and line up your Republican Town Committee members behind you, that's where you should be looking to place blame for the decay of the Hartford Republican Party.
I agree that the WFP most likely will not be good for Hartford for the next four years on the Council. It will most likely mean more fiscal recklessness, more liberalism and attempts to tie the hands of our Police even more and less accountability to the voters.
But McGarry is the one that has to accept the blame. The WFP ran campaigns and got their message out, the Republicans did not.
The Hartfordite also stated that "McGarry predicts the increased power of the Working Families party, will be so detrimental to the city it will actually help rebuild the Republican party in the city.". If only it were that easy what the Democratic controlled Council has done to Hartford for the last 10 years would have voters flocking to the GOP in record numbers.
The Republicans have to grow a back bone and be willing to make some noise and let people know what is happening in City Hall every day, 24/7. In McGarry's case, silence has not proven golden and he has missed many opportunities to gain a voice for the GOP, no one knows what they stand for or what they believe in.
The only thing that will rebuild the Republican Party in Hartford is hard work, and a lot of it. And that hard work will have to come from fresh blood with new ideas and a message the voters can connect with, shouting out the WFP is bad just won't cut it.
The end for the Eddie A. Perez corruption case that is.
Legal briefs are due to the Appellate Court by December 21, 2011 and a decision should be rendered shortly thereafter. Perez had appealed his conviction on corruption charges and his subsequent prison sentence. The corrupt former Mayor has remained free on an appeal bond pending the decision.
In an interesting move, Mayor Pedro Segarra has vetoed the raise for the City Treasurer that was approved by the Hartford City Council Monday night. Segarra makes the claim that the raise was a violation of Connecticut's Constitution and cites his reasons in the letter below.
The same reason used for the veto was also posted here on the blog as a comment at least one day prior to the veto being submitted to Town Clerk John Bazzano.The "anonymous" commenter had posted "One problem, the state Constitution prohibits a raise until 2015
"The compensation of an elected official of a political subdivision of the state whose term of office is four years or more may be increased once after such official has completed two years of his term by the legislative body of such political subdivision"
I guess my readers know what they are talking about.
Several sources in the Hartford Police Department and at Hartford City Hall are confirming that Mayor Segarra has picked, and made a job offer to, who he hopes will be the next leader of the Hartford Police Department. The choice will have many of you asking James "WHO?".
Segarra has apparently made an offer for the "interim" Chief of Police position to veteran Hartford Police Officer and current Chief Inspector of the Chief State's Attorney's Office James Rovella. Talks have been in the works and according to sources, the offer was made to Rovella after a lengthy meeting this morning at City Hall. The "interim" title is apparently a matter of semantics as the final details and contract are worked out.
Rovella was chosen to run the Hartford Shooting Task Force earlier this year after it was created at the direction of Governor Malloy under the guidance of Connecticut's Chief States Attorney's Kevin Kane. Rovella and his task force have produced some very noticeable results and has impressed many with the ongoing efforts of his team.
Rovella retired from the Hartford Police Department after building a reputation as an outstanding investigator and then moved on to eventually the Chief Inspector in the State's Attorneys Office.
Rovella also has a very strong working knowledge of the Hartford Police Department and its "players", which should prove interesting as the transition from the Roberts administration begins. Rovella apparently is known as a no nonsense supervisor with a strong work ethic and commitment to professionalism. One source told me that it is common to see Rovella in his office at 7:00am when others are arriving and still be there at 7:00 or 8:00PM at night after others have left.
Rovella also was raised in Hartford from what I am told and has a keen interest in the City.
This wasn't the Segarra choice I would have predicted, but it seems like it could be a win-win situation for the HPD as well as the people of Hartford with the right support for Rovella. This potentially could also be a huge morale booster for HPD, a department that has been racked lately by labor battles and lawsuits and what has been perceived by many as vindictive management by HPD Command Staff.
After getting fed up with the lack of openness in Hartford City Hall, I decided to begin a program on Hartford Public Access Television called "WE THE PEOPLE". Through tips received we have been able to expose numerous issues that the Perez Administration would prefer to keep quiet.
Any information received is kept in strict confidence, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 860-883-2297 with any information.