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Friday, March 23, 2012


Many days I wonder what the message is that we are sending to young people and children in our community. In a City wracked with senseless violence, it seems pretty clear that the message we are sending is not being heard.

This becomes even more evident depending on how the Hartford City Council votes on item number 31 on Monday nights agenda. The item introduced by Councilperson Cynthia Jennings proposes "Abraham Giles Way" as the designation of the corner of Windsor and Main Streets as Abraham Giles Way. Am I missing something here? Since when do we memorialize people convicted of corruption and stealing from the people they are supposed to represent?

No disrespect to the dead, but I think you forfeit your naming rights when you plead guilty to corruption charges against the very same community naming a corner for you. This sends a terrible message to our young people when essentially we are telling them that they don't have to worry about how they live their life, the law means nothing, even when you get caught and plead guilty.

Giles may have done good things for his community, at what cost his constituents paid probably will never be known, but no one can dispute he was convicted of corruption charges.

What is next? Maybe a granite statue of Eddie Perez in front of City Hall


The Hartford City Council will vote on the appointment of members to the Charter Revision Commission on Monday night. The proposed members are as follows:

Jeremy Baver, 36 Whitney Street, Hartford, 06105 (D)
Corey Brinson, 22 Charter Oak Place, Apt. 1S, Hartford, 06106 (R)
Doreth Flowers, 264 Whitney Street, Hartford, 06105 (R)
Richard Gordon 451 Cornwall Street, Hartford, 06112 (U)
Kenneth Green , 223 Granby Street, Hartford, 06112 (D)
Kevin Henry, 487 Main Street, Unit 2, Hartford, 06103 (D)
John Kennelly, 95 Scarborough Street, Hartford, 06105 (D)
Brendan Mahoney, 160 Fairfield Avenue, Hartford, 06104 (U)
Thea Montanez, 1 Linden Place #306, Hartford, 06103 (D)
Sharon Patterson-Stallings, 40 Clark Street, Hartford, 06120 (D)
Bruce Rubenstein, 80 Goodwin Circle 17D, Hartford, 06105 (U)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The City of Hartford has reached a tentative agreement with the estate of Jashon Bryant for a one time settlement payment of $1.625 million. Although the City of Hartford Corporation Counsel has refused to release any information pursuant to an FOI request, I was able to view documents today that detailed the proposed payment to the estate.

The claim results from the fatal shooting of Jashon Bryant in 2005 by Hartford Police Deytective Robert Lawlor. Lawler reported that as he approched the vehicle in which Bryant was a passsenger he sw a gun and fired his weapon as he feared for his life from the occupants and the moving vehicle. Although no weapon was found later when the vehicle crashed, the operator of the vehicle has been serving prison time for gun and armed robbery charges unrelated to the 2005 incident.

If the City ever releases the entire documents, it should be interesting to see why they chose to pay rather than fight the claim. Although the City claims that the settlement is "sealed" and confidential, a spokesperson at the FOI Commission has a different take on the legality of that.

The State of Connecticut also has a claim on a portion of the settlement apparently for close to $200,000 for money Brant owed to the State for support payments and other items.

Detective Lawlor, who was arrested for the shooting, was eventually acquitted of any criminal charges by a Superior Court jury in 2009.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


The "Blue Flu" that is.

It doesn't seem to du much for morale at HPD when the Mayor's Chief of Staff gets a $20,000 a year raise and a Ford Explorer SUV City vehicle and the Hartford Police Department has working without a contract for almost two years now. For more on the "shared sacrifice" and the Chief of Staff's raise, check out the link to Jeff Cohen's blog in the right column

Members of the Hartford Police Union are apparently starting to raise their voices over the fact that they have been without a contract for over 22 months. Several members of the union have called me over the last few days, most talking about the initial planning of "efforts" to get the City administrations attention. According to several sources, a planning meeting is going to be held this week to discuss and "organize" these efforts.

Hartford Police Union President Rich Holton wouldn't discuss specifics of the contract negotiations, but his frustration was clear. Holton did credit acting Police Chief James Rovella with "jumpstarting" negotiations over the last few weeks since his appointment.

Others have told me that there are still major issues to be worked out before a contract agreement can be reached. Among those issues are retiree health care benefits as well as private duty job pay. Currently police officers working private duty jobs are paid straight time for those hours, even though the city recoups and actually profits substantially from the billing for those hours worked.

Another issue being discussed is the privatization of the HPD booking/detention facility. This is apparently being discussed to get more uniformed officers onto the streets, but I'm sure many might question that decision. Booking has been a source of numerous problems, and payouts, for actions of police officers and supervisors working inside that area. I'm not sure that bringing in essentially private security guards is the best choice.

With the current staffing of HPD any slowdown or reduction in the "speed" of services and responses could cripple the already understaffed department.

Others mentioned the possibility of refusing to work "private jobs" which although being costly to the officers, would also cripple construction and road jobs as the warm weather approaches. The MDC project alone may need dozens of officers each day to work on City streets. Under Connceticut State law, Hartford Police officers are required to man those traffic positions as opposed to "flagmen".

A few of the officers I spoke with also expressed their disappointment in what they felt is the lack of a good faith effort by Mayor Pedro Segarra in the negotiations. Unofficially they felt that they stepped up during last years campaign and supported Segarra when mayoral challenger Kelvin Roldan began slinging allegations towards Segarra. The union also endorsed Segarra for Mayor during last November's election. Am potential vote of "no confidence" in Segarra and former Chief Roberts was pretty much squashed when the idea arose last year.

I am not a big union person, but the fact of the matter is that Hartford's police officers probably have some of the toughest working conditions in the state and are well below surrounding towns when it comes to their pay rates. The administration is also well aware that it is costing the City money through attrition when trained HPD officers leave for better pay and benefits in other agencies.

What's fair is fair and the games need to end, Mr. Mayor. For our benefit this contract needs to be settled now.