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Friday, February 14, 2014


A vehicle being returned to the Burns School Parking lot after being improperly towed by Whitey's

Sometimes potential blog postings get dropped in my lap  and I just can't say no.. Hartford is a good City, with good people living here. When I see them being victimized, it is hard to sit back and say no. I was sitting by the fireplace with a nice fire going when the phone started ringing.

Apparently people who had parked in the lot of the Burns School on Putnam street to comply with the parking Ban were having their cars towed out of the lot by Whitey's Towing. Something didn't seem right. Why was Whitey's the only one towing and what was the need to tow them since there were no classes until Tuesday.

These were cars of most likely hard working residents who were trying to obey the requests of City leaders to comply with the Parking Ban. Since Burns is only a few minutes from my home, I left the warmth of the fireplace and went out to see first hand what was going on.

I expected to see a snowy mess of a parking lot which needed to be plowed, possibly explaining the need for the towing . Nope, the lot was plowed better than most City streets. I saw a police cruiser in the lot speaking to a couple women. It turned out to be the Principal and Assistant Principal of the School. From what I was told, the Principal orchestrated the towing and called Whitey's Towing to remove the cars.

I know Whitey's routinely preys on Hartford's residents with their towing operations and "trespass tows", but in this instance I think I will give them a pass. The principal called and at $100.00 per car, it was somewhat legit and business is business. They could have asked if the tow was proper after the Mayor had requested them to park there , but they didn't

I don't think the Principal understands neighborhood relations, The very cars she was towing were most likely her neighbors that live within a few hundred feet of Burn's school. Probably the parent's of some of her very students, maybe working more than one job to make ends meet. She probably takes her salary and heads out of town at the end of the day. So what if the parents have to pay $100.00 and storage fees to get their cars back.

 Plus, the Mayor's parking ban had ended at 4:00PM, what was the sense of urgency to have the cars towed less than 2 hours later.

So anyway, when I got there I started making calls . This was wrong in so many ways. Once again Sergeant Bremser, who was stellar in his passion for City residents when he escorted the Funeral last Saturday for Chantay Drake, once again stepped up to support our residents.  Bremser, as Sergeant in the Traffic Division works very closely with the City's contracted tow companies. Sergeant Cicero, who was also present, assisted in getting the cars returned from their improper journey's

Whitey's Towing was contacted and it appears that there is no contract between Whitey's  and the Burns School. There are quite a few requirements  under State Law to conduct Trespass Tows, the most basic requirement being a written contract between the property owner and the towing company. That does not exist apparently in this case.

In the end, Whitey's apparently agreed to return the vehicles they towed , at no cost to the owners to avoid any further action, Shortly after 8:00pm, the cars were towed back to the lot

Here is another story about Whitey's predatory towing practices.

I knew our Mayor, Hollywood Segarra , is handing out the key to the City to John Leguizamo tomorrrow night at Burns. Now that I think about it, the cars were probably where Segarra was planning on setting up his red carpet for his walk to hand Leguizamo the key to the City Saturday. The residents who had their cars towed were probably not even a thought. The show must go on.

Maybe we should be paying more attention to the needs of our residents first.

In the meantime, I have to ask what the Principal  was thinking and why she thought she was authorized to eneter into an agreement to tow the cars. Like I said, apparently you can't teach common sense.. The spokesperon for Hartford Schools was unavailable for comment.

Thank you to those involved for putting our residents first and getting their cars back. Maybe Whitey's should bill the Principal who allowed this to happen


Comedian Comes to Burns Latino Academy to Raise Funds for Auditorium Renovation
(February 14, 2014) Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra will present comedian and actor John Leguizamo with the Key to the City at a comedy event to benefit the Burns Latino Studies Academy. The show,  “A Night of Comedy With John Leguizamo will be held at the Burns School’s auditorium, and proceeds from the performance will help pay for improvements at the school. Tickets are $60 per person and are only available for purchase . Seating is limited to 450, and tickets will not be available at the door.

“It’s great that John Leguizamo has chosen to invest his time in support of Hartford’s youth,” said Mayor Segarra.

The event is being presented in partnership with the COMPASS Youth Collaborative Inc., a not-for-profit child and youth service organization that provides after-school enrichment, academic and recreational programs to Hartford school children.


I would really like to see an internal audit occasionally that says things are going well and people are doing their jobs. Unfortunately , I don't anticipate that until there is a full clean sweep of City Hall, from the Mayor right on down.

Today another Internal Audit report was released detailing the deficiencies of collecting the funds due the City from special events. If the invoices are ever even billed, the collection rate seems to be very poor, yet we continue to allow the same groups to hold events without their previous bills ever being paid.

The report below speaks for itself. How many vehicle repairs could be completed if the money was collected or how many years could we fund the mounted patrol on $100,000.00.

This is the height of incompetence by the Mayor, his COO and others at City Hall.

What will be next for the Auditors to uncover?

Thursday, February 13, 2014


React, React, React.

That is one of the big problems with the Segarra Administration. Everything is a reaction rather than any proactive approach or any vision

Today the catch phrase at DPW, and even with Segarra at his press conference , is "curb to curb"

My posting last night and the attached picture showed that it was apparently was a foreign concept to those entrusted to plowing our streets curb to curd. Here is last night's posting

Asked how the city was responding to complaints of roads still covered in snow from previous storms, Segarra said: "We are doing the best we can with what are successive snow storms. ... We're getting better at doing curb-to-curb [plowing]."

I sure hope we are getting better at it. If not we will all be driving down the double yellow line if we get much more snow.


I understand that Hartford has tough budget issues, many are self imposed by the current Administration. The latest one may be the results of DPW Budget cuts. For years there as an attendant at "City Yard" the name for the DPW Facility on Jennings Road. That is where DPW vehicles are garaged as well as City vehicles repaired and maintained.

For many years the attendant fueled the police vehicles and checked fluid levels such as oil and engine coolant. Police Vehicles were regularly scheduled for service and oil changes. Now the e-mail above details that there is apparently no money available for repair of certain police vehicles, including one who "blew" the engine for lack of oil.

Before you start screaming that is the cops fault who drove it, engines don't lose that much oil in a day or two, if these vehicles were checked regularly, it would have been noticed long before it went dry. In many cases ,officers are immediately dispatched to calls when they begin their shift and may not even have time to go to service for fuel.

The prisoner van was a vehicle that was purchased with a 6 cylinder engine , over the opposition of those knowledgeable of the manner of use of the vehicle. The van is immediately outfitted with metal caging with almost jail cell type accessories to be able to securely carry persons arrested and then transported to jail. Add to the 2000 or so pounds of additional equipment the weight of 5 or 6 male prisoners and the van is well over it's recommended weight usage.

These are the type of crazy decisions that are made by City Hall everyday by people that are strictly bureaucrats and know nothing about what they are doing.

In the meantime, maybe some of the snow tow money from today could be allocated  to the "Cars that City Yard has no Money to Repair" Account.. Or maybe a few layoff notices to unnecessary staff members in the Mayor's Office could rectify the problem.


Well, at least one of them. Three new Deputy Chiefs for HPD were picked today by Chief Rovella. According to sources, the Council approval and funding for the three slots were contingent upon strings placed on the approval by at least one Councilperson. Again, according to sources, the Councilperson provided HPD with three names that had to be promoted if the money was going to be approved without a fight..

Two of the names on the Councilpersons list though were ineligible for promotion based upon their current rank. Apparently to be promoted to Deputy Chief, you must be at least a lieutenant or higher. The one name on the list that was eligible  to be promoted  was actually promoted.

The announcement that was released today by Chief Rovella. He apparently stated that "after discussions with Assistant Chief Heavren" he was appointing Lieutenant's Brian Foley, Dustin Rendock and Rob Ford to the position of Deputy Chief.. Don't ask who Heavren is, it is a long story.

Foley will continue in the Detective Division as Deputy Chief of the Investigative Services Bureau (ISB). Foley also serves as the Department spokesperson and is expected to continue in that position. Ford will apparently assume responsibility for the North District. That area is currently supervised by Deputy Chief Neville Brooks. Brooks has recently been doing double duty supervising the Central and North Districts. Lt.Rendock will assume the Professional Standards Division  which is currently working on accreditation standards for HPD.

All three promotions are expected to take effect as of Sunday.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Can anyone in the City of Hartford say they are not aware that as soon as any snow accumulation is predicted, Mayor Segarra calls for a Parking Ban on City Streets? Tonight the ban is beginning probably 12 hours before the first flakes will begin piling up.

Better safe than sorry. Segarra doesn't want to risk any City hall employees or their boyfriend's, partner's, significant others  crashing anymore City Vehicles in snowy weather. Even though the Council issued their decree on use of City Vehicles, I am not sure that is being followed.

But anyway, I think we jumped the gun on the timing of this parking ban, but if it makes the Mayor feel as though he has some power, so be it. And this gives his Director of Misinformation something to do, she sure isn't replying to e-mails requesting information from the Mayor's Office.

The Director of Misinformation may want to google flag etiquette though. Yesterday she sent out a press release that Segarra had ordered all flags flown at half staff. The Mayor has no authority to do that, only the President, the Governor of any State and the Mayor of Washington DC can order flags flown at half staff. But when do the rules matter in Hartford.

Back to my topic, people really need to pay attention to the parking bans. The almost $200.00 cost to retrieve your vehicle is crazy. If street parkers haven't realized yet, HPD is taking the parking bans seriously and sending a message. Clear the streets of your vehicles or pay the cost.

There is no excuse... the message is out and last snowstorm, almost 1,000 parking tickets were issued by HPD. That is almost $100,000 in revenue  for the City, if collected. That is a big if ,since many of the vehicles are unregistered , misused plates or in some cases stolen and dumped on the street.(NOTE TO COUNCIL- It might make sense to put some of that ticket revenue back into the PD Budget, since the entire cost for writing those tickets is borne through the HPD Budget. How many months could the Mounted Unit be supported by $50,000 in ticket revenue and tomorrow should be another ticket frenzy that could add another $50,000 . Just a thought)

Bottom line is to pay attention to the ban or pay the price. In the meantime, don't bother patronizing any  Hartford businesses with on street parking tonight because chances are good your car won't be there when you come out, and if it is it will probably have a $100.00 ticket on it


There is a very simple concept in snow plowing known as "curb to curb". It is not complicated, when plowing , you plow to the edger of the street until you feel the plow blade hitting against the curb.

Would you pay someone to plow your driveway if they only cleared the center. Probably not.

Hartford needs to start plowing "curb to curb". It does no good for the Hartford Police to enforce parking bans and clear the streets of vehicles if the streets aren't then plowed to the edge. The picture like the one above shows the newly created traffic barrier created by  snow plowing.

The edge of Main Street is now almost 8 feet from the curb, essentially eliminating a traffic lane. And it is not just Main Street. Take a look at Asylum, Farmington, Franklin Ave, Washington Street, just about every major thoroughfare as well as side streets are now choked down to single lanes with almost concrete like piles of snow. This also creates a huge problem for emergency  vehicles trying to get down these single lane roadways during rush hour ,when there is no place for drivers to move out of the way

We need to start getting it right from the first storm out, now it is too late to remove much of this snow once it freezes. Some drivers do get it though, Zion street looked almost perfect after the last storm. Maybe that driver could conduct some plow training for his fellow plow drivers.

On the positive side, at least the fire hydrant was cleared out

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


NDC Connecticut is reporting the following:

The Bridgeport police officer who accidentally shot himself in the foot in a crowded bagel shop in December has been charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm.

According to police, on the morning of Dec. 17, Officer Juan Santiago was sitting at a table at Bagel King with three other Bridgeport Police Officers when he “mishandled” another officer’s pistol and shot himself in the left thigh.

Santiago was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center for treatment. His injuries were minor.
He turned himself in to Connecticut State Police and was arrested Feb. 10 following a joint investigation conducted by state police and the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Protestors rallied outside Bridgeport police headquarters on Dec. 23 to ask police to file charges against Santiago. The investigation began that day.

Santiago remains on administrative status with the Bridgeport Police Department.

“First, I would like to say we are grateful that the officer is recovering from his injury,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett, Jr., in a statement. “We have said from the outset that we requested the State Police handle the investigation so the public would have confidence that it would be fair and unbiased.

The State Police conducted a thorough investigation, consulted with the State’s Attorney’s Office and made a determination that we will respect.”
Santiago was released on a promise to appear and is due in court Feb. 18.

This paralells closely the case of Hartford Police Sergeant Eric Smith who fired a round through his neighbors house with the round landing in the bed of his next door neighbor's young daughter.

Why is it illegal in Bridgeport and not in Windsor? I guess it all depends who you know.

Here is the link to the  Eric Smith Windsor story

Monday, February 10, 2014


Sgt Bremser, left and members of the HPD Traffic Division showing their respect as the funeral procession enters Spring Grove Cemetary on Main Street.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, I am sure many people were questioning God's will when a four year old child was recently killed in a tragic fire on Bedford Street. Chantay Drake, 4, was killed in the fire, her mother Susan Therrien  died a few days later from injuries sustained in the fire.

I find it hard to understand how a four year old can be taken in such a violent and tragic way. But after seeing the outpouring of concern and caring for Chantay Drake, it does become a little clearer that the opportunity for positive can come out of this tragic death.

I have written about some of this already, but parts of it just seem to need repeating so that everyone understands that Hartford does have compassion and cares for each other. This was all very evident after several recent events. Shortly after Chantay's death, the Milner School on Vine Street showed an outpouring of their love for Chantay, who along with her sister Kayla were both students at Milner. Over a hundred people gathered outside Milner for a vigil in subfreezing temperatures to start the mourning process.

Speeches and prayers helped to start the healing process for those who attended. The following Saturday, Rev. Henry Brown held a street vigil in front of the scene of the fire on Bedford Street. It was a somber scene, looking at all of the fire debris surrounding the building after it had been shoveled out of the windows by fire inspectors.

 It was also extremely eerie to look at the barred windows and not being able to comprehend the terror that those inside must have felt as the fire grew inside before taking their lives and causing the injuries that eventually took Suzanne's life. The feeling of helplessness by firefighters arriving on the scene , seeing a fire victim trapped behind the bars must also take a toll.

The funeral for Chantay was a fitting tribute to one of Heaven's newest angels.  It took some work, but Chantay was eventually brought back to Hartford, courtesy of the Ahern Funeral Home, and on Saturday she was laid to rest in a very heartwarming and respectful ceremony. I was at the Funeral Home early Saturday morning at the start of another cold and icy morning.
A flower arrangement from Chantay's classmates at Milner School

The Hartford Police Department stepped up to do their part in making the funeral procession a tribute to Chantay and her short life. Earlier in the week I had called Sergeant John Bremser of the Hartford Police Traffic Division and asked what the possibility was of getting an escort for the Funeral procession. Bremser's response was very similar to that of Frank Ahern when I asked him if he could handle the funeral arrangements. Bremser simply said "Consider it covered".

On Saturday morning, Bremser and his officers arrived at about 8:15am, two black Tahoe's and two Police Harley Davidson motorcycles. No easy task for motor officers in 14 degree weather, but none the less, they did it. After carrying the small white casket and placing it in the polished black hearse, surrounded by flowers and teddy bears, the procession was off and headed toward the Liberty Christian Center  on Vine Street.

I don't there is anything stronger than the statement made by a funeral procession with a couple of roaring police Harley's in the lead. If you have never seen HPD handle a funeral procession, it is like a carefully orchestrated ballet act. With the Harley's in the lead and a black Tahoe taking up the rear, other vehicles leapfrog along the route clearing intersections on the route for the procession to pass through.

After arriving at the Liberty Christian Center, pallbearers carried the small casket inside for Chantay's calling hours. I had never met Chantay but I had seen pictures of her and her big smile with her front teeth missing as she lost her baby teeth . I was not expecting an open casket and was surprised when the flowers were brought in and the casket was opened for viewing. I mentioned before that Chantay was Heaven's newest angel.

I couldn't help thinking that as I saw her in a beautiful baby blue party dress with sequins on it and her silver colored slippers and white knee high socks. I have never been to a wake or funeral for a child, and I'll admit this was not easy. She looked so peaceful, but I kept thinking "How could God do this?". She was so innocent, so peaceful.

As I sat there watching members of the community  file in and pay their respects, I couldn't help but think that there was already good coming out of Chantay's terrible death.People such as Sergeant Bremser and Frank Ahern were already showing everyone that Hartford is a good City with good people. Her school community at Milner was probably already strengthened and forming tighter bonds to the community. There might even be some more long term effects , such as hopefully legislation for bars on windows to have to be able to open from the inside during a fire to allow escape from an inferno.

It is probably not a wise choice to question God's will, but if nothing else, the last week and the outpouring of love from the community helped make it a little clearer, at least for me.

Thank you to everyone who helped with that  A sincere thank you again to Frank Ahern and the Ahern Family, Sgt. Bremser of HPD, Andrea Comer, Marta Bentham , State Representative Doug McCrory, Council President Shawn Wooden and his colleagues at Day Pitney and I know I am probably leaving someone out and I apologize in advance.

Chantay's death is not in vain, she has helped to strengthen our community through her tragic death. May she now rest in peace in Heaven in the arms of her mother