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Thursday, May 10, 2012


The Maple Avenue Revitilization Group, MARG, will meet tonight at 6:00PM in the basement of St. Augustine Church at 10 Campfield Avenue.

Tonight's special guest will be Hartford Police Chief James Rovella. If you haven't had the opportunity to meet Chief Rovella or if you would like to hear his plans for the Hartford Police Department, feel free to stop by. The meeting is open to the public


There was a lot of finger pointing going on at the Capitol the last few days, much of it coming from Mayor Segarra and his dynamic duo.

In a statement released this morning, Segarra , who happens to be in San Francisco , said “The result tonight is a reckless disregard for the residents and business owners of the City of Hartford. After months of meetings, proposals and conversations – and six days of continuous discussions with all stakeholders – the entire legislative delegation finally came together to support House Bill 5156 (LCO Amendment 5565). It was not a perfect bill, but it would have made essential technical corrections to Public Act 11-212 and allowed the City the ability to generate the additional revenue that was assured 3 weeks ago when a previous compromise was struck and my recommended budget was due. The continual back-and-forth, the brinksmanship, the willingness by some to kill a bill or concept simply because it wasn’t 100% of what they desired will only end up hurting residents and business owners."

I guess I have to ask who was actually responsible for "the reckless disregard" as Segarra states? It seems that much of the proposed Segarra budget is based on phony revenue projections and non-existent dollars he used to balance the budget. In the private sector I think it would be called fraud, and I think more than a few corporate people have gone to prison for similar actions.

The real facts are that Segarra and his budget team used  projected revenue that  the failed legislation would have raised to balance his budget. There was no firm commitment that the legislation was going to pass and it seems both reckless and irresponsible, and possibly fraudulent, to count on those numbers. It feels the same that if I purchase a lotto ticket, I may actually win so I am going to go spend that money before I even have it. In this case, Segarra's bid for the lotto win failed and we are left with a $9 million budget hole that now needs to be filled.

It may actually be worse than the $9 million hole though. Segarra's budget also seems to be counting on more "funny money" , including $1 million dollars in Union concessions. As of today I don't believe that there is a single penny being given back yet by any of Hartford's unions. It may actually be a tough sell to union leadership to get any voluntary givebacks considering that Segarra handed out large raises to his inner circle while many lower paid employees haven't received raises since 2007.

Then there was the $45 million Segarra and Chief Operating Officer David Panagore claim the State of Connecticut owes Hartford for school building projects dating back over 8 years. As you might expect, Governor Malloy and the State of Connecticut have a different take on that. Even though both Segarra and Panagore claim they are using that money to close budget gaps over the next five years, there is no commitment that the money even exists or is owed to Hartford.

The failure of the bills to pass may just be a blessing in disguise though. First of it is going to make the Council take a long hard look at the budget and actually force them to cut City spending. The Charter requires a balanced budget and the Council needs to make that happen. Council President Shawn Wooden told me last night that the Council was well underway in making substantial cuts to the Mayor's proposed budget to reduce spending.

The loss of Segarra's version of "Monopoly" money now makes the council's job even more difficult. This action is long overdue though as Hartford has relied on the annual "band-aid" fixes from the Legislature to address budget and revenue issues rather than take the hard look at it's spending. Hartford's annual budget spending has increased over $130 million a year since 2001. Most people would also say that the budgetary increases have not corresponded to an increased delivery of city services.

In Segarra's press release today he stated that the bills failed "because of disingenuous motives and an inexplicable unwillingness to compromise". Hopefully he wrote that comment while looking in a mirror with his Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec and COO David Panagore behind him. If nothing else, Segarra may be forced to realize now that his tactics aren't working. How much more can his crew embarrass him before he realizes that he is being made a fool of and it is time for change?

For anyone that reads this blog regularly, you already know I am not a fan of Senator John Fonfara. But I can give credit when it is due. Fonfara stood his ground on these bills right up until the final minutes. Much of that was due to pressure from Metro Hartford Alliance President Oz Griebel, but he still held his ground. I think in this case his constituents are actually going to benefit from his actions.

I had a long conversation with Griebel at the Capitol Wednesday night, and he clearly understands what it is going to take to start turning Hartford around. It is not going to be a higher mill rate or higher taxes on a City that is already the highest taxed in the state. It is going to take a common sense  business approach, not poorly conceived political solutions.

Although Segarra claimed that the bill would have been the right thing to do, nothing could have been further from the truth. What it would have done was bail him out from his fraud budget, but at what cost?

The proposed legislation would have directly put a $ 9 million burden on the backs of Hartford residents who are renters. The proposal would have upped the assessment percentage on rental properties and most property owners and investors would not absorb the additional tax costs, they would pass it on to their tenants. How does that benefit Hartford's residents who are renters, many of them already living on the financial edge?

These failures by the Segarra administration need to lead to a few very important conversations. First off needs to be with the Council, and they should be very upset with the precarious position Segarra has placed them in with the phony money budget. The second conversation needs to lead to some deep soul searching by Segarra. How much more can he allow Panagore and Kupiec to conduct business in this manner.

It seems like this "Cabinet" and Segarra's management team should be compared to the gang who couldn't shoot straight. They have alienated just about everyone who is in a position to help Hartford, but if you read the press releases and letters, it is everyone elses fault except theirs. When is Pedro going to realize this isn't working.

And finally the real discussion needs to be how are we going to reduce spending and start living within our means as a City. All the band aids don't matter one bit if we can't realize we have a real problem with revenue vs. spending

In the meantime we need a Mayor who can put the social worker mentality aside and start making the tough decisions he was elected to make and stop listening to those who have no clue what Hartford needs or even how to get there.

Hopefully Mayor Segarra is enjoying his trip to San Francisco, some real work needs to be done when he returns

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Word from the Capitol is that the budget closing deal for Mayor Segarra that was killed then resuscitated has once again died.

I have to really ask why Segarra would build a budget around money he never had and then wait until the final hours of the Legislative session to try to get a commitment for the funds? It sounds both reckless and deceptive

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This is what is running our City.

I posted a comment earlier that I wish I had Adobe Photoshop when someone came up with the caped crusader and his "boy blunder" to describe Hartford's Chief Operating Officer David Panagore and his loyal sidekick, Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec.

 Within minutes this picture appeared in my e-mail.

Thank you to my faithful readers


I just watched the breaking news on Channel 3 that the University of Connecticut Women's basketball program has ended their relationship with CPTV to televise the women's games. This is wrong on so many levels. Let's start off that the company chosen, SNY isn't even Connecticut based, it is in New York. Hopefully Governor Malloy might have something to say about this as we look at more jobs being lost in Connecticut by the people that produced the UConn games. According to Uconn, the winning bid for SNY was $20,000 more than the CPTV bid which was somewhere in the $4 million range over the next four years. UConn needs to realize why they are the popular program they are today. It's the loyalty of their fans and the people who have supported them over the years. CPTV was airing their games back when no one was watching women's basketball. The success of Uconn can be tied largely to the fan base built by CPTV. Should the UConn program be driven entirely by dollars or should they also consider their fans, many or them who are senior citizens who don't have cable or satellite packages. It just seems like a state university should be about pride and support from their local fans who also support the college through taxes paid and not so much "broadening the UConn appeal" as the media reports stated. Maybe it is time for a boycott of the UConn Women to remind them what is important and who supports them.


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.