The first regular meeting of the "new" Hartford City Council was held last Monday and the public comment session was interesting. I wasn't able to attend in person and I just watched the recording of the beginning of the meeting, the public comment session.
I hope that Council President Shawn Wooden doesn't fall into the "Cal Torres Syndrome" as he gets comfortable in his new role. Torres had a way of treating the public with disrespect when it came to shutting them down if they were delivering a message he didn't like. Wooden seemed to fall prey to that as the session dragged on and he made numerous attempts to cut off one person who is a regular at meetings.
The real fireworks began though when one resident who is also a regular at meetings, Alyssa Peterson, raised legitimate and well documented credibility issues regarding Councilman Alexander Aponte. Aponte has had complaints filed and sustained against him for his practice as an attorney.A panel of his peers concluded that Aponte had engaged in behavior that they called "dishonesty, fraud and deceit". Aponte shot up in his chair and urged Wooden to shut down Peterson's comments when she questioned Aponte's integrity.
Read the original Aponte vs. Statewide Grievance Committee posting by clicking here
Aponte claimed that Peterson's comments were a "personal attack" and forbidden by Council rules. The charges and resulting decisions by the Statewide Grievance Committee are well documented and a matter of public record. As an attorney, Aponte should be well aware of the difference between "personal attacks" and legitimate documented actions. I think we call that "history" and if Mr. Aponte does not want his history quoted, he may not want to create it in the first place.
I realize that this was Mr. Wooden's first time in the President's seat, but he needs to be reminded that those members of the public who take the time to go to Council meetings to speak are his constituents and it is important that the Council listen to what they have to say and that they are treated with respect.
And since Ms. Peterson was shouted down by a belligerent Aponte, below are the documents she was referring to. You can read them and make your own decisions about Aponte's character and integrity.
Aponte Grievance Panel Finding of Probable Cause