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Sunday, December 20, 2015

HARTFORD: LAND OF DREAMS


Or probably more appropriately, Land of Broken Promises. I was watching "Face the State" this morning and saw the flashback piece about the implosion of the old Aetna building on Asylum Street. It was supposed to be the future site of New England's tallest skyscraper when the new project was built. It never happened., it is still an empty lot

That got me to thinking back about all of the broken promises made to us, the people of Hartford. Why are we duped into so many false starts?  And we continue to fall for it hook, line and sinker

It seems like we have become much more gullible over the last few years.

Lets start with the Adrien's Landing Redevelopment project. If we had believed everything we were force fed for that, we would all be watching Tom Brady throwing touchdown passes today where we used to pay our gas bills at CNG on Columbus Boulevard.

We all know the end result of that broken promises. A "krafty" businessman, Robert Kraft used Hartford as a pawn in his plans to get a better deal for a new stadium in Massachusetts. Who could blame him? Most scammers know an easy mark when they see it, and I doubt you could get much easier than a desperate Hartford City Hall . Despite not having their anchor football stadium, the Front Street project had gained momentum over the last few years and now does generate some traffic for Hartford business. Unfortunately the tax revenue to the City is still pretty slim, but at least it has created some decent jobs.

But as a City , I guess we never learned our lesson that Stadium deals, as a matter of public policy are not good ideas. And in the end they usually are much more costly than any benefits realized. Let me fast forward a few years to the Yard Goats deal. This should probably be the poster child for broken promises to the City.

The only ones that seem to be benefiting from this are the team owners, the Solomon brothers. All we heard during the processs were the buzzwords to grab the support of  Hartford residents. The biggest being "JOBS". Now the question needs to be asked, where are they? What are the real numbers? Give me the names of 20 Hartford residents employed  gainfully on the jobsite. Give me the names of 10 Hartford contractors working on the job?

One of the other buzzwords that always draws attention is "DOWNTOWN SUPERMARKET" . Where are the plans for it? It sounded good at the time to potentially fill a much needed  void. Affordable quality food for Hartford residents. There actually was more progress on this before the Yard Goats deal was ever announced.  The potential developer that the City had been dealing with pulled out as soon as the deal was announced. I have not heard anything solid since.

And remember all of the original drawings announced with considerable fanfare showing the Hooker brewery and its rooftop patio highlighting the stadium project ? One word, D-E-A-D. Now that part has been replaced by Hard Rock Café. It was surprising to note that the Hartford Courant reported that no proposal has formally been submitted for the project by Hard Rock Café.

Is there anyone at City Hall, Development Services ,or for that matter Centerplan that has any basic understanding of business concepts ( Centerplan is the developer for the stadium project) Has anyone ever heard of a "MOU" (memo of understanding) That is where the basic concept of the development should be laid out. Who is going to do what? Laying out funding, scope , job promises, tax breaks etcetera, etcetra.

 A "MOU" would keep us from looking like fools as we normally end up doing when the headlines fade  and all the potential  for free publicity has been gained by developers willing to use Hartford.It would also let us know that Centerplan and the City actually have a plan of action and a clear definition of what "DONO" is envisioned as , instead of the seat of the pants approach we have been willing to settle for so far.

Maybe the plan is to sandwich the Hard Rock Café in between the supermarket and the affordable  market rate housing we were promised. Unfortunately we are the last ones to know what is planned, although I'm now sure that even the "powers to be" know what they want. I think it is that old philosophy that if you throw enough against the wall, something is bound to stick. That philosophy unfortunately makes for very messy walls and probably very limited  benefits for the people of Hartford who so sorely need a "win".

Maybe if we can't clean up our own act with sound business practices, we luckily can count on law enforcement and related Grand Juries. That saved us from the Perez era and promises to rescue us from millions of potential losses from the Wooden/Kennedy era Council reign with Dillon Stadium.

And while I am at it on broken promises, what is up with the "welcome mat" to Hartford as you exit Route 2. Remember the old Channel 3 site. that was demolished after 3 was driven to the suburbs by a less than friendly City Hall. We were sold a bill of goods for an environmentally sound,  state of the art office building with rooftop patios and terraces. Are we still giving tax breaks for that property?

What ever happened to the luxury condos slated for the old YMCA on Jewel Street. I can answer that one quickly..... NOTHING.  Northland's gentrification of that property never took place ( Well, I guess maybe it did succeed, the facility was shut down). A building that used to allow  Hartford youth to interact and play basketball alongside future US Senators, politicians and other leaders was effectively shut down  as another broken promise to Hartford's people. It sits empty and decaying today.

Enough is enough. We have a suite full of lawyers in the Corporation Counsel's Office that should be deigning these announcements to protect our interests as a City instead of just making empty headlines for developers. I want to see these projects succeed, but I also want to see our interests protected.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally I think the Recent Hard Rock proposal is contingent upon a casino. If the casino goes somewhere else, Hard Rock will to.. Just my opinion

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

That is the sad part. The way Hartford does business, we don't know what it is contingent upon since there are no agreements in pace before the announcement. It is all about the headlines to make it look like Segarra is actually accomplishing something, other than driving us into bankruptcy

Anonymous said...

Segarra accomplished nothing positive. He was able to cheat Jenna Carlesso with his bullcrap; he cannot cheat me

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Cheat Jenna?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jenna Carlesso. He took her recently on a ride around the city, showing her his "accomplishments" and how much people of Hartford "love" him. She "forgot" to ask him about his mismanagement, about his corruption, about his failures (many failures, quiet a few were reported by Brookman in his blog).

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

OK thanks, I was just trying to clarify what you meant, Now I understand.

Anonymous said...

I guess 5:12pm tried to say is that Segarra was able to fool Jenna Carlesso. He certainly did.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS:
Pedro's Yard Rats stadium is already $10,000,000 over budget and will NOT open as originally promised.
Anybody surprised? Pedro Segarra, you are a stupid ba----d.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, you are making my blood boil again on topic. But you asked a very good question. Why do we allow this to happen or something to that effect. Yes, and I remember the day that Hartford Aetna - Hartford's first skyscraper was destroyed. I played a role behind the scenes in obtaining a 30 day reprieve on the demolition. I was there that morning on April 1, which was quite an appropriate day to destroy an historic building for what turned out to be a parking lot. Mitzi Yates Waterhouse was a Vice President of Society for Savings and she led the lobby efforts to sway the city council. Suffice to say, it was a very sad morning for me. I recall walking away with a tear in my eye.

Money always trumps historic architecture in Hartford. We destroyed the Lois Polli and The Palace Theaters on Main Street in favor or a concrete wall. Now, we insist on wasting millions on changing Gold Street and this just makes no sense at all. This is supposed to create a greenery IQuilt? Who was the nut case that dreamed this up? We destroyed the Morgan building on Asylum St by gutting out the interior leaving 20 feet of facade curtesy of then state treasurer Frank Borges financing of the development.

Ok back to the future. The question of why we allow is easily answered. City leaders are only as intelligent, cultured, worldly, having priorities balancing the needs of the community against the long view. If we don't elect such people, then we are doomed to be affected by their ignorance. To be candid with you, we Hartford residents don't have a good track record electing quality leadership with major exceptions like Barbara Kennelly and yes, Nick Carbone. And other for sure. If I go further with berating Hartford, you will delete my post. So I will say only that our leadership is only as good as those who elect them.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kuanza, Falice Navidad and may the witches of Eastwick brew their stock for all to drink.

Anonymous said...

Kevin everything is not all bad. Shawn Wooden former aide Janice Flemming just got a job working with Centerplan. Its a shame that people like her always find a way to get hired by greedy wealthy developers to block or should I say keep the community quite. I hear she also got a job working for the developers on that other north Hartford project Bowels Park. Keep your eyes on people like her "can't trustem" btw didn't she get paid to work on political campaigns $$$$$ laughing all the way to the bank. power to the people LMAO.

Anonymous said...

@9:09 -- Hi, I am wondering if you could quality your remark about the aide, Janice Flemming, finding jobs. Is there anything unethical about seeking employment?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:09 Absolutely nothing wrong with seeking employment. However when your job is to "keep the community quite" or be the one token negro on the job that explain what your bosses want to do we have names for you. (sell-out,house negro, spook who sit by the door, to name a few)btw she's also a commissioner at MDC. Question how has the community benefited from her role over there? Now she is the negro front for Center plan!! Funny one meeting she is there to represent the minority contractors next meeting your working for Centerplan lolol. Get that money sister we always had people like her on the plantation.

Janice Flemming said...

And we always had people like you on the plantation. You know the kind who talks shit about its people to outsiders but can't own their words. Why you mad?!?!?!? I guess if I had to be called Anoymous I would be mad too!

Bill Katz said...

Janice, he is mad obviously because he is an insecure little person who probably feels left outside of society. He is probably uneducated and has little to offer and is probably a recluse.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Mr. Katz.

I will not be posting your second comment. You may not like what 9:09 had to say, but he has every right to say it. Maybe Ms. Fleming might want to re-read that comment and after some soul searching decide if any of it is true or valid. And what was the criteria for that position, was there any merit based interviews and how any other Hartford people were even interviewed or considered for the position? was it advertised anywhere? my guess is none of the above . And I will never identify commenters or sources for this blog, no matter what choice words you feel like calling them. And depending on your operating system, you will find a red "X" in the upper right corner that you can click on at any time.

Anonymous said...

6:48PM, there's nothing unethical in seeking employment. There's a hell of a lot to Wooden dealing with Centerplan and then securing high paying job to his aide Janice.
The fish stinks from the bubble head.

Bill Katz said...

My bigger objection is that an anonymous poster was allowed to insult someone using ethnically derogatory words. It has no place in public discourse. But obviously, not everyone agrees with this premies. And that is unfortunate - even if the person used her insider influence to procure employment.

I'm done with it.

Anonymous said...

Bill, Janice most important asset, her best qualification is being close to Shawn Wooden. That's it and she knows that.

Anonymous said...

Hartford: Land of promises and lies, unless you are related to Segarra, Kee-Borges, Wooden, Minnie Mouse Gonzalez, Edwin Vargas and the likes.

Anonymous said...

During the mayoral campaign Judge Killian repeatedly reminded us that the city is broke, that we were almost bankrupt. Judge Killian repeatedly told us that Segarra's baseball stadium will cost the city millions more than the $56 millions fantasied by Pedro Segarra (actually lied to us). Unfortunately the Judge was right. We should have listened to him.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

I just watched the video you posted during the mayoral campaign with 4 candidates. Not the last campaign, but the 2011 campaign, where Segarra announced that he was working 24/7 for the city. PROMISES AND LIES in 2011. PROMISES AND LIES in 2015.
Bronin should be moving fast, No more promises, we need results!

Anonymous said...

Pedro-Maria-Peter-Caviar-Segarra had a dream: getting re-elected as mayor, despite being a corrupt, disastrous mayor for over 5 years.
Patrick Roma, his 1st campaign manager, didn't fulfill that dream.
Michael Beckendorf, his 2nd campaign manager, didn't fulfill that dream either.
The 3rd campaign manager, Michael Bland, well, the same as the previous ones.
Even bringing in Michael Kampfman didn't help.
This Segarra crushed the dreams of thousands of Hartfordian individuals and families with promises and lies, and then more promises and more lies.
Thank G-d that it's your dream that is now crushed.
As one commenter said earlier: Now get lost.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

3:41 pm

Feel free to spell out the word GOD, it is not a bad word you need to hide here

Anonymous said...

At 3:41 Segarra didn't crush any dreams of Kee Borges, the Wallers, the Dellers, LaLuz, the Gonzalez' (that's for Minnie), the Maldonados (her daughter), not to mention Ortiz (that's for Charlie) and the others who are related and 'connected'.
It's truly a blessing to see Segarra going... Going... Gone.

Anonymous said...

Under no circumstances should Pedro be allowed at the Dunkin Donuts stadium for the 1st Yard Rats game. Under no circumstances!!! This stadium is built with tax payers money instead of the billionaire Solomon family that own the team, and was built on a mountain of lies

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%. I wouldn't let this creep into this scandalous stadium. No way.

Anonymous said...

For 18 months now, Segarra is planning to throw the 1st pitch in the Yard's opening day. Segarra had no interest that the stadium would be delivered on budget and on time. He just planned on throwing out the 1st pitch.
I WOULDN'T LET HIM IN A MILLION YEARS UNLESS THIS MESSY STADIUM IS DELIVERED FOR THE AGREED $56 MILLIONS. NOT A PENNY MORE. WITH THE ROOF THAT WAS ORIGINALLY PLANNED. ON TIME, NOT A DAY LATE.

Anonymous said...

11:25AM
Expect many more surprises with this ballpark that will shock everyone, including Centerplan and the city filing lawsuits against each others at a cost of millions more to us, the taxpayers.
The whole things was planned and executed in a sloppy way and in a rush. Pedro paid to much attention to his luxury suite and his free tickets in this deal. Remember his "Done Deal" announcement? Now Pedro himself is the "Done Deal," out of office kind of a "Deal."
No first pitch to you Pedro. No way Jose.

Anonymous said...

Question: Who was the genius who prepared the stadium agreement between the city and Centerplan? Who was in charge of the entire legal aspect?
Answer: SAUNDRA KEE BORGES.

Anonymous said...

Segarra will not be the mayor for the first pitch if there is one. And since Bronin is extremely against this huge waste, it will be interesting if he allows himself to throw out the first pitch. This may be a hard one to call. Ultimately, I think he would since he will be representing the city. I hope he doesn't. Let Pedro throw out the pitch. Legally, the city is on strong grounds but the inevitable lawsuits will probably end in settlements. My spin.

Anonymous said...

Bronin already said that he'll invite Pedro to throw out the first pitch.
Wrong decision. People of Hartford will hate it. Pedro will be booed in the stadium.

Anonymous said...

I saw a report where Luke Bronin says he'd extend an invitation to Segarra for the first pitch. Maybe he'll change his mind when he finds out all the miscalculations and all the unknown with this stadium.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, people of Hartford know and respect you, why don't you start a prtition calling Mayor Bronin to invite anyone to throw out the 1st pitch, ANYONE BUT SEGARRA.

Anonymous said...

That's right, nobody want to see Segarra there

Anonymous said...

I watched "Face the State" with Dennis House this morning. His "guest" Pedro Segarra said he didn't regret anything. Look at him, this jerk, corrupt bastard didn't regret anything. Hey, you idiot, complete idiot, you still don't get it, do you?

Anonymous said...

72 more hours and Pedrito is gone. Some Hartford residents told me they were counting the minutes.