I constantly wonder why the values and sense of morality are so different from the city where I live and other communities mere miles away from me. I ask this question in all seriousness.
This past week the ink was hardly even dry on the Florida arrest report for a member of the Windsor Board of Education. Almost immediately, actually within hours, the leadership of the Windsor Board of Education were calling a special meeting to discuss his removal. They eventually voted to request his resignation. I'm not sure the message has even been heard by the Board member since he is apparently still behind bars in Florida.
A Deputy Commissioner from the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection made an inappropriate phone call caught on the recipients voice mail and within hours, Governor Malloy was accepting his resignation.
The bottom line though is that there was swift and decisive action against someone who clearly, according to the accusations, has shown poor judgement and has violated the trust placed in him by the people he is supposed to represent. It is not about "innocent until proven guilty", it is about violating the trust and confidence placed in them by their constituents.
West Hartford did the same thing last year when a Councilperson apparently violated the public trust by his actions. In no time public pressure was placed upon him to resign. isn't that the message that should be sent? Public positions have a higher level of responsibility to make the correct decisions when confronted with taking the right path or the wrong path.
Yet Hartford doesn't seem to get that. I had a long discussion with Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings this week about her resolution for "Abe Giles Way". She defended her actions by essentially telling me that the African American community needs their role models and they should be allowed to pick their own "role models". I asked her if Abe Giles was the best she could find? An individual who was convicted in a corruption scandal that cost the City of Hartford hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, when all is said and done.
I threw out a few more names that I thought might be more appropriate. If you are selecting role models,how about Thurman Milner, Frank Borges, Helen Nixon or even Trude Mero. Maybe even Clark King, Hyacinth Yennie, Daryl Roberts, Debbie Barrows, John Stewart, Henry Fuqua, Henry Brown... and I'm only touching the tip of the iceberg. But Abe Giles?
I'm getting a little off track from my original reason for this post, but here goes. Why does Windsor, West Hartford and so many others, including Governor Malloy, have such a different view of right and wrong and accepting responsibility for ones actions?
It became very evident during the Perez corruption investigation and only after his conviction and sentencing did he actually resign. One of his co-conspirators, Veronica Airey-Wilson actually eventually "retired" and collects her pension now from the City of Hartford and one of the other co-conspirators is now headed to having a city intersection named after him, even though he plead guilty. There was no outcry for their resignations, except maybe on this blog, and even when they were surrendering themselves to arrest on criminal charges, not a peep.
A Hartford Police officer, who happens to also be a member of the Connecticut legislature representing Hartford's 6th District, admits to stealing overtime payments from the City of Hartford during an Internal Affairs investigation. Hector Robles was eventually arrested and terminated from his job as a police officer, yet he still serves in the legislature. No demands for his resignation, no pressure placed on him for violating the public trust placed in him, ....nothing.
In fact Robles hasn't announced whether he will seek renomination for his position, but the odds seem pretty good. The convention to re-nominate him may even coincide with his next court date, May 23, 2012, where the felony charges against him are moving forward. This will prove interesting since the 6th District Town Committee which was recently elected proclaiming "change" will be the same group that may be the ones to endorse an alleged criminal.
Then we go to the recently appointed Charter Revision Commission. One individual appointed, and seeking the Chairmanship of the Commission is former Councilman John Kennelly. Kennelly is currently winding his way through Connecticut's court system on his own drunken driving charges. Kennelly was actually appointed to the commission by Councilman Alexander Aponte, someone else who has issues with public trust, as his handpicked choice. Kennelly, by his own admission apparently has alcohol issues he is dealing with. The question needs to be asked as to whether the people of Hartford are properly served while he deals with those issues and his criminal court appearances.
The list goes on and on. Individuals convicted of violations of the public trust and convicted of "selling" community service time and committing fraud through their position in the Hartford Court now serves, and has served for some time, on the Hartford Democratic Town Committee.
One of our local State Representatives was instrumental in filing allegations that a member of an opposing Town Committee slate wasn't a Hartford resident while at the same time it is pretty common knowledge that he hasn't lived in his district in some time.
An individual who has several well documented instances of being an alleged sexual predator until recently served on the Executive Committee of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, yet it was one of the "dirty little secrets" that everyone talked about, but choose to ignore. The same individual was a paid "political operative", the filings call him a consultant, yet he is also a delegate to just about every upcoming political convention.
The upcoming nominations for Registrar of Voters should also be interesting. At least one name being floated is an individual who has a well documented case of being arrested for soliciting a prostitute, all done while he was also a City employee. The "prostitute" happened to be an undercover Hartford Police Officer and I am told the video of the solicitation used as evidence is still in existence. Another potential candidate has had a checkered past involving drug use and other criminal charges including shoplifting. Apparently these are also well documented.
Now I know anyone can claim they have changed and "turned their lives around", and some do and some don't. But at what point do they become accountable for their actions?
A local Superintendent of Schools was forced to resign a couple years ago after the outcry over his drunken driving arrest. Judge Curtissa Cofield, an extremely popular and compassionate judge at Hartford's Community Court was swiftly removed from that position after her arrest for drunken driving a couple years ago. If we went by the Hartford way of thinking, she would have been promoted to a Justice on the State Supreme Court.
If it is true that you are judged by the company you keep, Hartford's political establishment can't possibly be thought of too highly. Is it any wonder we continue to not be taken seriously when we can't even have the guts to hold ourselves accountable? Seriously, would this be acceptable in West Hartford or Manchester or most other places in our State?
When you make the decision to board a plane to fly to Florida like Mr. Watts with the thought of having sex with a minor or put the key in your ignition and drive drunk at twice the legal limit or participate in corruption pay offs or solicit a prostitute or shoplift or do the line of coke or concoct a scheme to steal thousands from the City of Hartford, don't you somehow forfeit the right to represent the public? At the very least, how do you expect to gain the public's confidence and trust, not to mention their respect?
Maybe we can have a meeting to discuss this on the corner of Abe Giles Way and ask Eddie Perez to chair the meeting.