Keep reading , the picture will eventually make sense.
I Think the timing of the Rock Cats announcement was for a couple of politicians to say to the public "look we really are doing something" The results don't matter ,the elections would be long over before the damage to the City would be realized by gullible voters. They just never planned on the Hartford apathy taking a break and people actually being organized and vocal in their opposition. Hartford residents very rarely turn out to vote, why would they turn out to oppose a $60 million dollar boon doggle.
This deal has exposed our leaders who are willing to sell out Hartford's taxpayers for the sake of headlines and photo ops in an election year. I honestly think that Council President Shawn Wooden and others have been standing on the front steps of City Hall since the press conference almost two weeks ago with their index fingers in the air to gauge which way the political winds are blowing.
Apparently the wind sampling is done, and Wooden and his colleagues have realized that it is not a good deal and the back pedaling has begun. From "done deal" to "we need more study". Wooden clearly got an earful. at last weeks Council Meeting. And if he is any judge of character he had to realize that he was aggravating some of the most vocal residents Hartford has to offer. Not a good thing in an election year when you are trying to unseat a very popular incumbent.
Leadership requires strong values and a conviction to the people you are elected to represent. This deal is bad in so many ways, not the least of which is the potential tax burden being placed on Hartford. A City that already places the highest tax burden in the State of Connecticut on its taxpayers who are some of the most impoverished Citizens in the entire United States. Wooden clearly doesn't fall into the latter category and I'm not sure that poverty or means often figure into his thinking if you review the actions of the Hartford City Council.
Self serving is probably more appropriate. Today's revelations by Courant columnist Kevin Rennie are nothing short of disgusting when it comes to the Stadium deal. You can read Rennie's column here. Rennie points out that in the proposed lease in addition to the Rock cats ownership having to provide a skybox suite for City Hall's use they also must provide"tickets to any Ballpark Events, except if Team is required to pay a promoter for any such tickets." The same politicians "shall be entitled to the number of tickets to any event in the Ballpark equal to the sum of the number of fixed seats and bar seats in the City Suite."
Can't you just envision it now, Hartford's political fat cats hanging out the window of the "City Suite" as they dine on caviar and the finest wines and beverages stocked in the Wooden Suite. Segarra would have probably already dined at Max before the game so he will probably just be waving over the railing to his loyal subjects below.
Now I can understand how Wooden changed his mind on the stadium. His dedication to long term commitment is not something he is known for. Remember the Mayoral run of 2011 that ended abruptly when he suddenly had a change of heart , some say as the result of a dirty deal that was supposed to control the balance of power in Hartford until one of the key players in the deal reneged on his promise. ( That is a story for another day). Then there is the very curious turn around in the relationship between Wooden and Segarra in the days before the Stadium announcement. The pre-election lovefest is now in full swing and the two have suddenly become best buddies. I guess the old saying is true, politics makes strange bedfellows.
Like I said before, this deal stinks in so many ways and I am sure much more is going to come out. Wishy washy politicians are only going to make it look worse. Even though the deal makes Hartford look bad , the way it makes City Hall and our supposed "leaders" look is even worse. Even Governor Malloy who seems to live and breathe economic development for our State was very vocal that there would be no state support from day one.
Anyone who looks at the numbers had to realize it didn't add up. If we paid the consultants more couldn't we get them to say there would be 1200 new jobs and why not 50,000 hotel nights per year. Those are numbers that would have to grab peoples attention.
Apparently even our Mayor is back pedaling now, His Director of Misinformation Maribel LaLuz apparently issued a statement this afternoon"Since the announcement, We have always said that we will explore all options when it comes to funding the project." . Really , what happened to the "DONE DEAL" comments. Maribel must have been reminded about a George Bush photo-op when he was on the flight deck of a US Aircraft Carrier under the huge "Mission Acomplished" banner during the Iraq military operations
And just as a side note to "DONE DEAL" ,... not so quick Pedro. It is not a done deal until we say so. The voters of Hartford can petition to force a referendum . This would only take roughly 1300 signatures according to the powers granted to residents of Hartford in the Hartford City Charter. It ain't over til the fat blogger sings.
And if this is such a great deal, then I urge Hartford resident's to support it. Let the Rock Cat owners know we will support their venture, we will buy their tickets. The only stipulation is that they go to the bank like almost every other Hartford business and put their name on the dotted line of the loan application for the funds required to build the stadium. It will probably be completed for a lot less than $60 million dollars if they are on the hook for the money. And if you believe the consultants report, it will be a goldmine.
And you could probably charge the political fat cats for the Wooden Suite instead of giving it away.
And finally, I mentioned conviction and standing by what you believe. I don't expect anyone to go by my comments, but I just want to be clear, I support Eric Coleman for re-election to the Connecticut Senate. It is leaders like Senator Eric Coleman, Representative Doug McCrory and Repesentative Angel Arce, as well as Governor Malloy, who are willing to take a stand and say what they mean and then have the guts to stand by what they say. We have enough "followers" in Hartford to sell us out, we don't need anymore wind gauges at the Capitol.
Photo above from the Internet, credited to Courant.com