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Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Respect, it goes a long way, especially when you are looking for $9 million dollars from the State of Connecticut.

Over the last week I have spent some time at the Capitol observing the inner workings while the Legislature is in session and I can't help but thinking Democracy shouldn't be this difficult. Yesterday was a perfect example.

Apparently last Friday an amendment to a bill was moving forward that would essentially giver Hartford $9million dollars from the State to help Mayor Segarra close his budget gap. Maybe not a gap, more like a canyon that will only get wider in the next few years under the reckless budget plan of the City of Hartford.

The deal was set except for one detail. Representative Doug McCrory was apparently trying to get a commitment from Mayor Segarra and his Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec for the use of a city field for the midget football program. You are probably asking what one thing has to do with the other. Spend any time at the Capitol and you will quickly learn that it is not about right and wrong and what benefits a community, it is about old fashioned horse trading. If you need something to benefit your constituents, you have to cut a deal when someone else needs your support.

In the end it wasn't McCrory's request that put the bill in jeopardy, it was one local business leader who put pressure on State Senator John Fonfara and later Saturday evening the bill was "killed" . (it is campaign time and those business contributions weigh more heavily than constituent's needs).

Monday was a new day and the horse trading began once again. Segarra and his Chief of Staff were scampering around the Capitol all day wheeling and dealing, from caucus rooms to the private office of Fonfara and everywhere in between. In order to be "deal makers" though, I think you need to come from a position of respect and be willing to compromise , not just make demands. At this point I think Segarra needs the help of the legislature more than the legislature needs him.

It just boggles my mind that a $9million dollar deal bailout for Hartford came down to arrogance and refusing to work with McCrory for his football field. All he needed was a commitment for a flat space for Hartford's kids to practice. If it was my call, I would have told McCrory the bulldozer was on the way to level a field and I was headed to Home Depot to buy the grass seed, and when could I pick up the check for the $9million.

It seems like a no brainer, but there is a flip side to the coin also. Hartford doesn't have the best track record when it comes to using the State of Connecticut's funds wisely. You might remember a couple years ago when Hartford was at the Capitol crying poverty and they needed $3million for school tranportation. The legislature found the money for Hartford only to be surprised a few weeks later when the Board of education gave out $2.8million in bonuses.

Hartford can not continue to spend money they don't have and expect the legislature to continue to bail them out. Maybe some cuts in spending and a little belt tightening might go a long way to show that we realize we have a problem and we are working to solve it. To project a $128million dollar budget canyon 5 years from now, as Segarra has done, and do nothing to begin to address it, is nothing short of reckless and incompetence.

The Mayor also needs to begin asking who is behind these failures and constant embarrassment for him. Two names seem to be the ringleaders of almost all of the failures and missteps...Panagore and Kupiec. As I go around the City I have begun asking people to name one, just one, of their success stories for Hartford. No one has provided me with any , although they can rattle off the failures and times that they have both made Mayor Segarra look like an unprepared amateur.

The WFSB building, the market at Hartford 21, the $45million that the State owes us to close the budget gap that the State claims they don't owe, Occupy Hartford which cost the City tens of thousands of dollars at the same time the CEO was bringing them coffee and donuts, the Chief of Staff's City SUV and his love of the lights and siren, the pay raises , the bonuses, I think you get the point.

Again, it goes back to respect on both sides . The letter below was sent by Mayor Segarra to Hartford's delegation today. I kind of doubt Mayor Segarra wrote the letter, but by the tone I can almost tell you who did. The dynamic duo should have learned a few weeks ago that they aren't going to shame Governor Malloy into forking over $45 million dollars by embarrassing him. Trying to do the same thing to the Legislature probably won't work either.

It might be wise for Mayor Segarra to make the trips to the Capitol by himself and leave his baggage back at the office, unless he needs the lights and siren to get there.



The Rock said...

This is not how you go about asking for millions of dollars. If this is how the city deals with business then you can understand why the city has tumble weeds blowing down main street.

Your right Kevin their should of been someone from public works laying out the grid that next morning or at least a phone call made.

This city is no position to run thru the halls of the Capitol on their tippy toes and cape flying in the wind and demand the millions they are asking for. I am sure that there was no pleading as the mayor says in his letter when he hardly spoke. So who screwed up the deal not the delegation it's the Mayor and his flunkies, the not so heroic, caped crusader, Panagore and the not so trusty sidekick Jared the boy flunder.

Until the Mayor decides to do the right thing for the city and end these two not so superhero's reign of terror the city will never come out from under the shadow of terirny or oppression. Hartford will remain in the dark.

Maybe the only true superhero that can save the city is sitting right below their noses, Chief Rovella. Make him Chief and with his vision and forethought the city will start to emerge from this shadow of dakness.

Anonymous said...

Very petty for McCrory to play this game due to a football team.


I disagree, what is petty is that Rep, McCrory had to leverage $9 million dollars to get fields for a program that benefits Hartford's youth. We talk a big story about programs for youth and the Mayor's Office can't even identify an available field?

McCrory wasn't asking for a contract for a buddy, he was trying to do something positive for the people he represents

Anonymous said...

hartford has football fields up the wazoo? they have to create another one now? couldn't mcrory do a bond thing for a field? it seems like the city didn't want to commit more monies to something that the city has an overabundance of. was it too late for the representative to put a couple hundred thousand in a bond package for a field? i think i heard that rep. roldan put in for $500,000 for a dog park in downtown!


I don't think there was any money involved in Mc Croy's request, other than lining and marking a field, my understanding is he just wanted a commiyment for a field to be reserved for the midget football league, that doesn't sound too difficult to me

9 million short said...

To Anon 6:24:
It wasn't McCory who is or was holding up the 9 million its another member of the democratic slate who also represents Wethersfield. So don't assume things that aren't facts.
Oh, by the way, the guy you can blame for this whole mess is the guy Pedro gave a 20 k raise to, who he says, does the work of three people but it was only one who screwed up this deal, his Chief of staff, the boy blunder.


9 million,

You might have hit on a theme here, Batman and his cape with his faithful sidekick, boy blunder. I wish I had photoshop :)


And this just hot off the press...

I have been told that in a conversation with Rep. McCrory this afternoon the Hartford Police Union has committed to identifying and securing a field for Hartford's Midget Football league

Now that wasn't too difficult was it?

The Rock said...

They should be embarrassed, the letter is an insult and a joke. Pedro should be ashamed for putting his name on it, and if I was part of the delegation I would shut the cash drawer tight and tell the Mayor to fix his own mess.

If Pedro learned anything from Eddie it's how to piss people at the Capitol off. That's what you get when you keep a Perez leftover, Panagore.

If anyone makes a clown show of the city it's those idiots.

You couldn't make up those cast of characters, the bow tie, cape wearing cancer, the young boy blunder, a lawyer who is sucking the city dry with a paycheck and a pension and a guy who is in charge of youth services who is a useful as a fire hydrant that not hooked up, and Pedro the not so mastermind.

If the 9 million doesn't materilize, maybe they can go to the lottery commission next and ask them for millions of dollars, with a promise that they will buy tickets in the future and would win the jackpot.

Great way to balance the budget on a gamble and a whim.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, I'm confused about the McCrory link. You made it seem like he was holding up the passage of this bill due to whatever he wanted re: the football team. It seems like he's picking the wrong thing to haggle on because an additional $9mil shortfall in the budget would be more detrimental to the parents of these youth then chalk lines on a field somewhere. But I guess the more important thing now is that Fonfara is holding up the legislation, for what?


I don't claim to know all the inner workings, just what I was being told . I think McCrory was trying to leverage his support for something that most people would have thought was a no brainer want my support, I want a practice field...OK, done deal.

Instead you have someone that was willing to bet his arrogance and inexperience and it cost him (and Hartford) $9 million.

From what several people at the Capitol told me, Fonfara killed the bill Saturday on the instructions of the Metro Hartford Alliance and Oz Griebel. Connect the dots before you ask why he would listen to the Alliance . You may want to look at the good Senator's campaign filings and see where his money comes from

Kerry said...

You're all over the place on this one Kevin. You beat up the Mayor for advocating for passage of a bill that would bring more revenue to the city but then you beat up a senator for playing stupid "horse trading" games in killing the bill while you defend a representative for successfully "horse trading" for a football field. I know Doug is your ally now and he walks on water now for the time being, but just a little more objectivity would be appreciated.

This is another example of the Democrats callously using taxpayer funds for their stupid games.

Anonymous said...

"...the Chief of Staff's City SUV and his love of the lights and siren, the pay raises , the bonuses, I think you get the point."

Indefensible, I agree. But, Kevin you can't lay everything at the feet of the administration.

The WFSB building,

The site's sitting empty because AI Engineers can't book enough tenants to justify building their building. Not surprising with 500,000 square feet of vacant office space just up the road on Columbus blvd.

"the $45million that the State owes us to close the budget gap that the State claims they don't owe,

This is PILOT we're talking about -- Payment In Lieu Of Taxes -- state payments to municipalities with large tax-exempt state properties in them. The state legislature has never funded PILOT at 100% of the amount required by statute. This one hurts other cities and towns, not just Hartford. The problem existed long before the current administration.

Occupy Hartford which cost the City tens of thousands of dollars at the same time the CEO was bringing them coffee and donuts,

The administration didn't exactly invite Occupy to the city. They did try to keep it civil and not earn the city a black eye by sending in the riot police.

Full disclosure - I work for the city. I see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Far as I can see, Pedro is honest; a million times better than Eddie Perez.

peter brush said...

This is pretty confusing, and I don't think the confusion is a function of layman ignorance. What relation, if any, does the $9million have to the $45 million? Is the $9million amount simply a handout by the State? Jeff Cohen reports that the bill including the $9million passed the House unanimously, and McCrory signed on to a letter saying the bill "will help the City of Hartford meet its obligation to produce a responsible, balanced budget." ( Was it then subsequently "killed" in the Senate? If so, what's "the deal" Cohen suggests may be in the works.
Agree with you: "To project a $128million dollar budget canyon 5 years from now...and do nothing to begin to address it, is nothing short of reckless and incompetence." Counting on the increasingly fiscally unsound State government for financial help to operate the bloated muni govt. is probably not prudent.

Anonymous said...

The 9 million is not state money - it's state permission to for Hartford to alter its wacko property tax system.

Most towns apply their mil rate to 70% of a property's assessed value.

Hartford has applied its mil rate to 24% of assessed value for residential properties for years and now wants to move it up to 45%, IIRC.

It's a balance the scales move -- property values went down in the 2011 reval, the City moves up the percentage of the value it applies the property tax to: tax bills stay roughly constant for residents, the mil rate only inches up a bit, and the revenue picture is shored up.

Unfortunately, this requires permission from the state legislature. Permission we just failed to get.

Remember, this is the administration that closed a $9M projected gap last year, and is closing a $3M projected gap this year. All through real moves (delaying new hires, ramping up collection pressure on tax deadbeats, etc), not raiding the piggy bank like Perez and his cronies did.

The city finished last year in the black. The fund balance is increasing. The City's bond rating just got reaffirmed. The numbers speak for themselves.

Full disclosure (again): I work for the City, but not in city hall.


Anonymous 11:57PM,

A lot of your facts are in question. You might want to step back from giving credit for the "balanced" budget, especially when you consider that much of that "balancing" is being done with your pension funds. Right now the Segarra plan is to underfund the REQUIRED pension payment by as much as $16million dollars. That affects the solvency of YOUR pension. Look at the entire picture and you will realize the plan is reckless and irresponsible

Anonymous said...

What city hall do these folks work in?

I have nothing else to say.

There statements are as real as the budget. (Projected)