Actually maybe the title should be "Free for some".
And before you start calling me a racist or whatever you want for drawing attention to common sense, save the time to type your comments because this has nothing to do with race.
Hartford and its residents have a long tradition of playing host to a multitude of special events held in the City every year. Jazz events in Bushnell Park, Winterfest, the Saint Patrick's Day Parade, the 3 Kings day events on Park Street, Riverfest, First Night and on and on and on.
But this year needs to be different. In the words of our own Mayor, Hartford is in a "dire" financial situation. We as a City have already laid off long time employees, and most likely more are coming.
If the situation is so dire, how can the City now allow special events that most likely in just two parades will cost the City upwards of $200,000 . If the track record for these two parades run true to history, none if any at all reimbursement will be paid back to the City budget for that money spent
This is unconscionable. How can any City official that is part of the decision making process even potentially face one of the employees who lost their jobs, in the grocery store or elsewhere and not be ashamed if this money is allowed to be spent?
This is a time when we need to take politics out of the decision and do what we all know is morally right and responsible for the City's survival, as well as the work force that have committed their adult lives and careers to Hartford.
I am not against a special event every day of the week if we could. I am more than willing to put up with the traffic inconvenience, detours, street closures and whatever else goes along with it, but they have to be self sustaining. I sometimes get buried with the numerous fundraising requests for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. But the bottom line is that numerous organizations are constantly running fundraisers to foot the bill and to make sure the check is sent to the City to cover their event as soon as the invoice is received.( as do may other groups that hold events)
And in full disclosure, I am part of the group for the Hartford . St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee and we run our fair share of fundraisers. As much as I hate hitting people up to buy tickets and attend events, I also feel pretty good knowing that no city employee is going to lose their job because a special event I am involved with is a burden on the taxpayers of Hartford.
If you can't afford it, you can't have it, at least not in Hartford. Maybe a City that is not in "dire" financial straits will welcome you and cover your bills, but those days need to be done in Hartford.
How many Animal Control Officers or laid off City Hall or DPW employees could get their jobs back with $200,000.
In closing, let me say I love a parade, just like most people, but I love seeing people living and surviving more and the City functioning more. In the words of Nancy Reagan, "just say no". It may cost you votes but it may also help to save the City of Hartford. That is called leadership.