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Friday, February 15, 2013


Below is the Governor's response to Connecticut's urban mayors as they prepare for their press conference to criticize his budget proposals. Word is that Hartford's Mayor Pedro Segarra reconsidered his involvement and backed out of the press conference and notified Governor Malloy in a letter late yesterday afternoon

Thursday, February 14, 2013


According to the Courants' Capitol Watch,  Democratic and Republican mayors from the state’s largest cities will hold a press conference Friday morning at the Capitol to blast Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget.  click here to read that story.

 Does any one realize that the money just isn't there?. Our big City Mayor's have lived fat and happy for far too long with no regard for reducing or controlling spending.

Rather than blast the Governor, maybe it is time to build some relationships, sit down, and deal with each other with respect and recommendations to deal with the problems.Our governor inherited a situation that I'm sure none of these Mayor's would envy.

Tough decisions need to be made and not everyone is going to be happy. I think there needs to be a lot of soul searching on the part of the Mayors for them to question whether they are going to continue to be part of the problem or are they ready to become partners in the solution.

Late word is that Hartford's Mayor Pedro Segarra has backed out of the slam session. Probably a wise choice when we realize that we need Governor Malloy more than he needs us. Malloy has been n0othing but a friend to Hartford since he was elected and moved here

And set thje politics aside, if that is even possible. At least two of the Mayor's probably see this as an opportunity to grind their political axes against Malloy


I'll be the first to admit that many times I accentuate  the negative. That is what in many cases it takes to embarrass or stimulate action to correct problems. This post is going to be a combination of negative remarks as well as some strong praise.

The first comment is going to be the decision by Mayor Segarra's Communications Director, Maribel laLuz and her e-mail to the 5th and 7th Districts of the Hartford Democratic town committee. How could anyone that has any management sense not want a debriefing of the operations after the storm. Somethings seem to have gone well, but so much also seems to have gone wrong,  a debriefing seems like it is extremely necessary to figure out what worked and what didn't.

To ignore that things went terribly wrong in some critical aspects only promises that we will repeat the same mistakes next time, probably with a couple of different key players missing though. You may not like the criticism, but it will hopefully avoid the same errors happening next time.

As far as the praise, in this storm the true praise needs to go to the Hartford Police Department. Last Friday afternoon as the storm began to build, at about 6:00PM I was at the Public Safety Complex and spoke with Chief Rovella. I invited him to come join me outside to build a snowman. He declined my offer. I keep hearing about a jacuzzi in his new office and he probably didn't want to come out into the cold. ( just kidding on that one taxpayers, there is no jacuzzi, at least not that I have seen)

During our conversation I told him how impressed I was with the snow plowing downtown, the streets looked great and there were plenty of trucks out. He agreed and told me that he was being told the entire City was in good shape. That all came to a screeching halt around  11:00PM as the storm intensified and DPW shut down.

The Hartford Police did not shut down, in fact they went into high gear for the next several days. While DPW trucks were headed for the garage in their vehicles that are intended to make it through the snowstorms, HPD was sending officers out into the storm in their 2 wheel drive vehicles , some equipped with tire chains. HPD never shut down and the calls for service continued to come in while the DPW trucks sat idle.

After the storm was done, HPD Officers in 4 wheel drive vehicles were pulling out stranded motorists as well as police vehicles that were stuck. They were even plowing streets to get EMS vehicles and fire vehicles into neighborhoods left impassable by the DPW hiatus. Yet no one at the Hartford Fire Department or the Dispatch Center sent their crews home because the weather was bad. They fulfilled their commitment to the people of Hartford while DPW did not.

For days after the storm, Hartford police Officers were trudging through feet of snow to make sure no one was trapped inside vehicles left abandoned on Hartford's street. Then the process of towing the vehicles to clear the streets of the igloos began. It was hard to find a plow truck to clear the streets after the cars were towed, But it seemed that HPD Officers stepped up and started taking charge of the snow removal operations.

That is not their job, but it was clear by this time that to get the City opened and alleviate the risk to Hartford residents by impassable streets, someone had to take charge. I spent a little time Sunday afternoon with Sergeant Bremser from the Traffic Division as they towed vehicles and coordinated efforts to get streets plowed. Bremser continued at what seemed almost around the clock Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday getting streets cleared one by one, calling for plows and loaders and keeping contractors moving to where they were needed most.

Bremser wasn't the only one though. HPD had almost 30 officers committed to snow plowing operations and as I travelled around the City and listened to radio communications, I kept wondering why Police Officers could figure out the priorities while those who should be doing it and managing the plows didn't seem as though they were.

One person who was in the EOC for most of the weekend told me that the decision to pull the plows off the road was a decision DPW realized was a critical mistake they could not recover from. I think there was also a lot of bad information that was being relied upon to make decisions in the EOC. Sunday afternoon I texted Mayor Segarra "where are our plows?". Within a few minutes he called me and told me "they are out there' we are making progress."  I replied to him that they may be out there , but they sure weren't in the Asylum Hill area.

 The Mayor said that he was told that almost every street in Asylum Hill had at least one path plowed through it. I told him I had just come back from checking for myself and he needed to go out and check for himself because most streets were still buried and hadn't been touched at all. To Pedro's credit, he called me about a half hour later and said I was correct. He had just driven through the Farmington Avenue area of Asylum Hill and agreed it was bad.

Whoever was giving the Mayor the inaccurate information hopefully won't be around the Mayor again anytime soon. Again to the Mayor's credit, he called me at about 11:00PM  and said he had just driven through Asylum Hill again and the side streets were "sloppy" but passable. That's all I was asking for . If fire, police or EMS needed to get somewhere I wanted to know that they could.

Wednesday night I again travelled around the City  just to see how the operations were going. The outside contractors and the large snow blowers brought in by the City were working like fiends. Farmington Avenue, Asylum Avenue, Park Street and the areas around Hartford Hospital were all being cleared by the crews. Again, it was interesting to me to note that these operations were being directed by HPD. I understand the police presence for traffic control and safety, but the police radio traffic channel was busy all night determining what crew would go where, where they would be dumping snow and determining where the crews would head next.

The efficiency of the operations were a credit to the police Supervisors and Police Officers working in the bitter cold to get our streets clear. One location , Asylum Avenue through Asylum Hill was being cleared curb to curb by the huge snow blower that made me cringe as I thought about the damage that thing could do. I don't think there would be any surviving a snowblower accident with that thing.

Not a DPW vehicle was in sight as I noticed Officer Mike Allen from HPD directing the movement of the trucks and loaders like General Patton during the War. The only thing missing were the pearl handled grips on his weapon like Patton had. I think they made record time outbound on Asylum, making the turn by Elizabeth Park and headed back toward downtown to clear the streets for the morning rush.

The same thing was going on all around critical traffic areas of the City, Lt. Mefferd, the Commander of the Traffic Division was doing a Mike Allen impression around Hartford Hospital and Washington Street and truckloads of snow were hauled away. Again no DPW supervisors anywhere in sight and I couldn't help but wonder why the Snow Removal Operations had suddenly become a Police Operation.

Mefferd, Allen and numerous other Police Officers were getting it done when DPW wasn't so , let it roll, Our streets are passable today.

Maribel, I know it is not your call , but please rethink that debriefing, this can't be allowed to happen again

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Take a look at the picture below of several guns seized today by Hartford's Shooting Task Force and you can make a decision. These guns were seized today in Hartford's Asylum Hill, on Sigourney Street, just yards away from the Asylum Hill Boys and Girls Club.

The STF has been a huge part of the successes under Chief Rovella to reduce violent crime in our City and I hope our Mayor and Governor Malloy are able to work together to continue the funding and fill openings on the STF to continue its work.The successes of the STF haven't happened by luck, it takes money and manpower to take these weapons out of the dangerous hands holding them.

Several openings on the STF are expected to be filled in the next few weeks as Hartford officers are moved to the STF. Under the direction of Lieutenant Lance Sigersmith and the partnership of numerous  agencies Chief Rovella and others brought together, the Shooting task Force has had a huge impact on not just Hartford but the Capitol area overall.

The Shooting task Force is an asset that HPD can not and should not have to do without. The guns pictured above were taken from convicted felons today and it should make law abiding citizens shudder to think of the potential of these guns in the hands of convicted felons. Convicted felons lose their right to own guns, and no one can convince me that the shotgun and rifle are intended for personal protection ot any legitimate use.

I am going to try and follow this case to see if the courts do their part and take these criminals off our streets for a long time until they decide to live within society's rules

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


From today's Hartford Courant, Bob Englehart's cartoon
I get tired of our so called "City leaders" making our City a joke every step they take. Is there anyone in City hall that has the guts to step up and start determining accountability from our six figure sponges leeching off the people of Hartford, with very little in return except providing material for a comedy show?

In 2011 Hartford was a joke with its snow plow operations, now we are repeating the same actions with the same criticisms. Would we be unable to operate as a City if there was preparation and things went smooth, or do we thrive on the incompetence?

Let's start with a few questions. In a conference call last night between the 5th and 7th Districts of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, many good questions were raised. You might ask why two Districts of the Town Committee are asking questions. The simple answer is because that is what we do. We were elected to represent our neighbors and these are our neighbors that can't get out of their homes. These are our neighbors that can't get ambulances and firetrucks to them.

More importantly, the elected officials that are failing our neighbors now are the same people that we endorsed for their respective offices to serve the people of Hartford. Hopefully we will remember these failures when we are asked for endorsements again and remember the angry phone calls all weekend from our neighbors .

The first question I have, and most of the callers on the conference call wanted to know is who made the decision to pull our plow trucks off the road? Governor Malloy made it quite clear he told his DOT Commissioner to keep state plows on the road for the duration of the storm. I think anyone that knows the Governor would agree that if his DOT Commissioner failed the people of Connecticut like Hartford's leaders failed us, there would be an immediate opening for a DOT Commissioner.

It is called leadership and with leadership comes accountability. A foreign concept to Hartford City Government. Why do we have a DPW Director if the Mayor's Chief of Staff is on the radio from the EOC barking orders directing snow removal operations. He probably has a hard time finding most streets in Hartford without GPS.Maybe they use the campaign donor lists to decide which streets to hit first, that might help explain the strategy. What is his experience with Snow Removal Operations and why weren't they being run by the people that are paid good salaries at DPW?

Another question the Town Committee members on the call had was if they could attend the debriefing held to discuss the storm response. The reply to our e-mail from Mayor Segarra's spokesperson was "We are not planning on having a blizzard debriefing event.How do you not have a debriefing after an event like this to discuss what worked and what didn't and attempt to provide better service in the future? That is basic management, or do they not want to discuss their failures?

And the EOC, another joke and a colossal waste of space in the Public Safety Building. As of Thursday night, less than 12 hours before the Emergency Operations Center was ready to open, none of the brain trust we pay to deal with emergencies, not the Fire Chief who also loves the title of Emergency Operations Director or the Director of Emergency Telecommunications had bothered to do a dry run of the EOC before it was needed. Imagine the embarrassment at about 7:00pm Thursday when they suddenly realized there was no Wi-fi for internet connectivity and cellular coverage was sketchy at best in the room.

Luckily for Larry Bezel, a HPD employee who handles their network and computers was able to scramble into the night to get internet Wi-fi up and running for the opening of the EOC the next morning. Probably no one will be held accountable for this potential colossal failure.

And the technology that was built into the EOC also came in very handy. The front wall of the EOC is comprised of smaller flat screens for projecting television. It can be used to reproduce images on computer screens or any video that needs to be shared. Apparently it came in handy Saturday night for those being paid overtime in the EOC to watch a Hockey game on the wall in perfect living high tech color while the viewers dined on catered food from Salute Restaurant.
The EOC TV, better than any flat screen, great for watching Live with Kelly and Michael

That television wall also came in handy as freezing rain was blanketing the City and I-91 was being shut down due to numerous accidents Monday morning. A source in the room at the time said that those there, after they finished watching the Today Show, switched to LIVE with Kelly and Michael on the lifesize 10 x 12 wall.

Now I know you might think that maybe traffic cameras or maybe even the local radar might make sense for those managing our Emergency Operations to be viewing, but nope, Kelly Ripa and Micahel Strahan lifesize for the brain trust.

Now it gets even better, If you were digging out a City, what would your priorities be? Maybe heavily travelled routes around hospitals? Maybe routes in and out of the city that carry rush hour traffic? Maybe the area around Downtown that will host the sold out Uconn/Syracuse game tomorrow night?

Nope. I was incredulous when I got the phone call this afternoon that the huge "airport"type snowblower we had contracted to clear city streets was actually in the southend blowing snow on South Street. I had to see that for myself so I shot the video above because I didn't think anyone would believe me, a street that is not a major thoroughfare, is not an artery in or out of the City.

I asked how they decided what streets to clear and they told me DPW Director Kevin Burnham told them he wanted South Street cleared for the rush hour.WHAT? Had anyone heard of Farmington Avenue, Asylum Avenue, Capitol Avenue and rush hour? As I write this now, at 7:00PM,I look out my window at Asylum Hill  and Farmington Avenue and Sigourney Street are still total gridlock.

A fire truck or ambulance would never get through even down the center because there is no room for anyone to yield. I do feel comfortable though knowing  that South Street is moving smoothly during rush hour.

In the video above , I also took some shots of a few streets in Windsor Locks this afternoon. Notice the streets plowed curb to curb, the huge mounds at the intersections have been pushed back, and Rt 20 in front of Bradley Airport is pushed right back to the curb.Windsor Locks kept their trucks on the street throughout the storm and it shows.

 Picture above from, clearing snow on Park terrace. It might be easier blowing the snow into the park, but at what we are paying per hour for the rental, does it serve any purpose to ignore the major arteries and have the borders of the park clear?

Windsor Locks kept their trucks on the street throughout the storm and it shows.

Why do we settle for being a joke and when are we going to insist that those we endorse "have a set"  and are willing to step up and hold people accountable when it becomes clear they are incompetent and not serving the people of Hartford? Maybe a debriefing and an honest assessment might begin to chnage hartford's course . Admitting you have a problem is the first step in correcting it.

Again, I know it was a historic storm, but it was just as historic in Windsor Locks, Windsor, Wethersfield and Plainfield as Stan McCauley reports and they all seemed to deal with it. Our failure to meet the challenges we need to plan for are also becoming just as historic, or is it tradition.

Monday, February 11, 2013


As if you haven't shoveled enough snow already,and may be shoveling later in the week again, please remember to shovel out fire hydrants near your property, even if it isn't directly in front of your property, having it cleared will save precious minutes if it is needed  by the Fire Department


This may surprise you but this post is not going to be about snowplowing, even though I will be the first to say we deserve better in that regard.

No this is going to be about the people we hire to serve the residents of Hartford, and are they here to build their pensions and just collect a paycheck or are they truly public servants.

These thoughts started from a phone cal I received early this morning. It was from someone questioning why a Ford Crown Victoria Police Car with a City of Hartford "HFD" municipal plate was able to pass them every morning on I-91 south, using the HOV lane with only one person in the car. They recognized the driver of the car as Andrew Jaffee, Hartford's Emergency Teleommunications Department Head.. The caller said the vehicle routinely passes them almost every morning headed into Hartford.

I replied to the caller that the bigger question to me was why Jaffee would be on 91 Southbound every morning when as a Department Head, Jaffee, claims to be a Hartford resident as required by his contractand the City Charter. That Jaffee would ignore his contractual obligations to Hartford, especially while the City is under a State of Emergency, seems to be a matter that the Mayor needs to address immediately.

If Jaffee is not living in his Woodland Street Condo, as he has told community members when asked at numerous meetings, but instead goes home to his Suffield home every night, he is perpetrating a fraud on the taxpayers of Hartford and should be gone. The daily journey's in the HOV lane would seem to prove the latter.

Other questions arise also. Why does Jaffee feel he has the privledge to break Connecticuts's laws and drive in the HOV lane as a single passenger in a vehicle that looks like a police car, complete with red and blue lights and antenna. Jaffee is not a police officer now and does not have the legal right to abuse the privilege that most commuters would also like to use.

Jaffe and his Dispatch Center have also been a source of embarrassment for the Mayor and the City. We have a lot of good employees in the Dispatch Center and I am trying not to paint all of them with a wide brush, but since Jaffee took over , several high profile news stories have been embarrassing to Mayor Segarra and his administration, The woman who laid dead in her house for weeks rotting after a dispatcher mishandled a call made national news. Recently  a home invasion Police response in the Southend of Hartford was delayed for hours when a dispatcher mishandled the call,

The call was actually deleted at one point from what high level sources at HPD have told me. The actual dispatch was only properly handled after a family member of the victim called Channel 3 out of frustration.  Reporter Karen Lee actually arrived at the scene before police did.

Jaffee may very well be in over his head. As a sergeant at the Hartford Police Department, Jaffee was known as a "house  mouse" , which is a term that means he was never on the streets as a supervisor but instead handled duties inside Police Headquatrters. Jaffe only supervised a handful of people, mostly handling cell phones, pagers and computers.

Once our felonius Mayor Eddie A. Perez hired Jaffee as the Director of the City's Dispatch Center, and Mayor Segarra kept him on after he took over the Mayor's Office,
he took over a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year operation managing approximately 60-70 employees. A monumental task for anyone, especially someone with very little management skills. Jaffee's predecessor, Gary Stango managed the Department for several years and I don't recall much turmoil under his leadership.

Stango was a retired Lieutenant from the Waterbury Police Department and was given the task of building the newly established Department of Emergency Service Telecommunications  from the ground up.

Jaffee, who was also responsible for the creation of the new Emergency Operations Center in the Public Safety Complex. Sources are telling me that Thursday evening as the Center was preparing for its first use in advance of the Blizzard, there was a mad scramble for WI-FI, since no "dryruns" had been conducted to test the Center. Cell service from what I am told is almost non-existent in the EOC with poor reception.

Wouldn't a full scale test of the EOC had made sense long before it was needed ? That's what managers do, think ahead and have everything ready

For what Jaffee is making through his police pension that he is collecting and his six figure salary, we deserve better for our tax dollars. At least maybe if he lived in Hartford as he has promised us he might feel what we go through daily here as residents.

A full audit of all Department heads needs to be conducted, are they actually Hartford residents? Do they own vehicles and have them registered in Hartford paying taxes on them? Are they registered voters and voting in Hartford?

Like I said, we deserve better.

Sunday, February 10, 2013



I don't want to sound like whining because I can look out my window and see we had a historic snowstorm. I can also look out my window and see that no City of Hartford plow truck has passed in over 24 hours. The few trucks I have seen while I am out have been driving with their plow blades up in the air.

Now I understand that the city is divided into specific plow routes, but even as those trucks go to their route, in this case those blades should be on the pavement pushing every flake of snow they can.

This is not just an inconvenience now, it is a public safety emergency when firefighters and EMT's are carrying people blocks in a stokes basket to the closest street that has been plowed. I am getting calls from across the City from residents telling me that their streets haven't even had one pass from a plow yet.

Yesterday, a woman on South Marshall Street a woman went into labor. I happened to be in the neighborhood and heard the EMT's radio that they couldn't get to her because the street wasn't plowed. Everything was in place at the right time and I saw a large bucket loader coming down Farmington Avenue. I got out and stopped the loader and asked the operator if he would do me a favor.

I explained the situation and asked if he could make a pass down South Marshall Street to open it up for the ambulance. He quickly agreed and opened up the street and the Ambulance was on it's way to deliver a baby.

Sadly, the only plow truck doing anything was operated by two Hartford Police Officer's, Officer's Cavanna and Stackewitz, driving a City plow truck assisting stuck motorists and police cars.Maybe if I at least saw a DPW truck moving about I would feel better, but I don't see any.

Hartford always settles for less than stellar plowing operations. This storm is historic, but then again so is Hartford's response, it is what we have come to expect from the DPW, there is no excuse for it.