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Thursday, June 30, 2022

CAN HARTFORD EVER COME BACK?

The Honorable Judge Eric Coleman

I received a phone call a couple weeks ago and the caller asked me if I thought Hartford could ever make a comeback.

My answer was pretty quick and decisive. ABOULUTELY.

In my opinion, there are three major things standing in Hartford's way of  making a comeback. Number one is leadership. For probably over a decade Hartford has had some of the worst leadership imaginable, starting most recently with Eddie Perez who was eventually driven from office by the States Attorney and a Grand Jury investigation.  Hartford is under the "strong Mayor" form of government. I don't have an issue with a strong Mayor, the problem is Hartford voters have made terrible choices and have been unable to find the right person...yet.

From Eddie Perez to Pedro Segarra to Luke Bronin, all failures in my eyes. 

Pedro Segarra was cast into the Mayor's Office by  default when Eddie Perez was forced to resign under corruption charges.Then came Luke Bronin, not because he knew or understood Hartford, but because he would make a great puppet to do the political bidding of Hartford's elite who loved controlling political power, such as the DiBellas and others.  

Prior to Bronin, I had great hope for retired Probate Judge Bob Killian who ran for the office of Mayor, but there was no way of competing with the Bronin million dollar plus war chest the carpetbagger Bronin had amassed, much of it from outside of Hartford and outside of Connecticut.

I guess even a lousy candidate that very few people knew, can get elected if they are able to buy enough votes. A candidate who probably couldn't have found most neighborhoods or streets in the City without the aid of GPS.

Two other things that need to change are Public Safety and Education. Aside from the Mayor being a failure, both of those are disastrous, No one will move to a City where they don't feel safe, and no parent who has a choice will put their kids into a school system where a decent education is a crap shoot..

I am encouraged as of late because I am starting to hear people talking about the next Mayoral election.. I have been hearing the name of Eric Coleman mentioned. Coleman should be familiar to anyone who has spent more than a few days in Hartford over the last  few decades. For most of his adult life, Coleman has been serving the people of Hartford as a State Representative, a State Senator and eventually  (and currently) as a Superior Court Judge. Coleman didn't just arrive here with his sights on the Mayor's Office in an attempt to work his way up the political ladder with aspirations of grandeur, or maybe I should say delusions of grandeur like our current Mayor.


I think Coleman has the potential to restore confidence and civility to the Mayor's Office. I also think as current sitting Judge, Coleman has kept his distance from the political influence, That political influence such as the Democratic Town Committee has been one of the major forces in the downfall of Hartford.

If Coleman were  to be successful., his first stop after becoming Mayor should be a stop at 253 High Street to hand Chief Thody his termination papers. It will be a tough job to rebuild HPD to the previous levels before Thody decimated the ranks, but it can be done and it has to be done if Hartford is ever going to be safe again.

Another move would be to utilize Hartford's  Charter to its full extent and make appointments to the Hartford Board of Education of people that are serious about seeing Hartford's children and their schools excel. The Mayor has the power to appoint the majority of members to the BOE and that should be done with the best people who understand Hartford's Schools and why they have been failing up to this point.

I think Economic Development will also be an issue and it needs to be taken seriously by the next Mayor. Hartford has had far too many false starts when it comes to development and it not only makes the city look bad, it prevents any forward movement. Hartford's Economic development efforts seem to be a hotbed of nepotism ad rewards for political allies rather than any solid efforts.

There will be much more on this in the future , but I hope people will start thinking about Hartford coming back and where they can help with that effort. It can be done and I think Eric Coleman understands what needs to be done. After all of his years serving the people of Hartford, I seriously think he knows what needs to be done

Friday, April 15, 2022

JASON FIDDLES WHILE HARTFORD BURNS

HARTFORD'S POLICE CHIEF IN HIDING, JASON THODY

The City of Hartford is headed for a potentially violent summer. In years past, residents could ask the Police Chief what the plan was to deal with the homicides , the shootings and the violence. 


This year is different, If I am counting correctly, Hartford recorded its 11th  homicide of the year today . A daytime shooting at a relatively busy intersection, in broad daylight, blocks from Saint Francis Hospital resulted in a homicide, # 11 for the year so far.

And as I said, in years past, typically members of the community would  be meeting with the Police Chief to address their concerns. Typically the Police Chief would lay out their plan for their summer initiative  and the plan to address the concerns and hopefully put their fears at rest.

There is no chance of that this year . Why you might ask? Because Hartford's Police Chief Jason Thody is no where to be found. Well , let me correct that. Thody can be found at the FBI national Academy for the next 10 weeks, away from the City. 

Despite the official description, the FBI Academy is widely regarded as a networking and resume building opportunity.

I think most people would wish that a Police  Chief with almost thirty years of experience would be able to teach the classes, not attend them. Wouldn't it seem to make more sense to begin grooming junior members of the Department for future leadership roles, rather than sending the Chief?

It also seems like poor management that anyone would allow the Police Chief to be away for at least 10 weeks while violence is spiking at the same time that the number 2 guy , the Assistant Chief, is relatively new to the position and probably can't find most streets in Hartford without using GPS. At the same time the number 3 guy, Deputy Chief Jay Lee is away at training for 6 weeks out of state.

Does no one at HPD look at staffing and scheduling and question how two of your top "leaders" ( and I use the term leader sarcastically when I refer to Thody) In addition the current staffing at HPD is well under what is needed to function, Although HPD should have roughly 425 officers, their current level, I am told is about 330 sworn Officers, and more leaving almost daily. Many of those officers have left in the past two years since Thody has been Chief

Maybe the FBI can offer a course "How NOT to run a Police Department". I would fully support Thody attending that class  for as long as  it takes..























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Thursday, March 10, 2022

IT IS TIME FOR ROVELLA TO THE RESCUE , AGAIN


 In 2010 and early 2011, the City of Hartford was plagued with gun violence, very similar to today's wave of violence

At the time , then Governor Dannel Malloy called his then Chief States Attorney Kevin Kane to the Capitol. During their meeting, Governor Malloy's instructions to Kane were simple. Malloy's instructions were "Do something about the crime in Hartford".

Kane's next move seemed to make a lot of sense. He moved his Chief Inspector from his office to organize and oversee the efforts, as instructed by the Governor.

Rovella quickly formed the "Shooting Task Force " and the results were almost instantaneous. Arrests were  being made for shootings, and cases that were being left unsolved were suddenly resulting in arrests and violent criminals were being taken off the streets of the Capitol region.

I am probably over simplifying this, but Rovella's philosophy was simple. In  order for Law Enforcement to be successful, they had to come out of their "silos" and share information and work together for a common goal, to combat gun violence.

This required communication and collaboration to get  the results both the Governor and Rovella wanted.

Rovella's plan wasn't rocket science, but it definitely was creative and unusual for Law Enforcement. Rovella brought numerous agencies into his plan to all work together.  HPD, surrounding suburban Police Agencies, Connecticut State Police, State's Attorney Inspectors, a Prosecutor from the Court to specifically follow prosecutions, State probation and Parole officers and numerous Federal partners such as DEA, ATF and FBI.

One of the biggest components of   Rovella's plan was communication and accountability. If someone was lucky to get invited inside the Shooting Task Force offices it quickly became apparent why the operation was working. The data exchanged and "connecting the dots" to criminals and potential shooters was obvious. A back hallway connecting offices had dozens of pictures posted of persons suspected with volent gun crimes and how  they were all connected together. Hartford is a relatively small City and most volent crime is committed by a very small percentage of persons. Tracking those persons and predicting their moves produced huge results

Rovella's plan was so productive, that his efforts were replicated in other Connecticut cities such as New Haven and New Britain with similar results.

The current administration doesn't seem to understand the problem or how too fix it. Rather , they seem to buy into the latest trend pushed by college academics with little or no results. One example is the "evidence based policing" which Thody and Bronin have seemed to buy into because someone's friend pushed it as plausible and landed a consulting contract in the process. Evidence based policing has been a failure in Hartford and the current crime stats show that.

People are being shot in Hartford, almost daily and at least 8 people have been murdered in the first few weeks of the new year.  The ever dwindling numbers  of Hartford Police Officers is going to make for a very difficult summer if things continue on as is.

It is long overdue for the time for Mayor Bronin to show some leadership and institute plans to bring accountability and solutions to Hartford's violent crime problem. If Bronin is incapable of making the tough decisions. it might just be time for Governor Lamont to have the conversation with his Public Safety Commissioner , James Rovella  to "do something about the crime in Hartford". It worked in 2011 and the time is right to give it a shot again under  Rovella

Friday, December 3, 2021

COUNCILMAN GALE FAILS THE SMELL TEST

COUNCILMAN JOHN GALE

A former Connecticut State Auditor used to speak of using the "smell test" when deciding if use of public funds was acceptable. If it stinks, don't do it. 

Hartford City Councilman John Gale's nasal passages must have been extremely congested not to recognize that this smell test stunk to high heavens.

In a nutshell, Gale came up with a scheme to show his appreciation for City employees during Covid. He wanted to have lapel pins made to show "Hartford Pride". Originally, according to sources, Gale had proposed paying for them out of pocket. Apparently, that never happened, at least not until I began questioning the expenditure from the City budget. 

Gale moved his plan forward, according to COO Thea Montanez, sometime in June. Rather than use any competitive bidding process to provide the best value to City taxpayers. Gale ordered and purchased the pins from his daughter's business for a total of almost $4,000 dollars. Now here is where it really starts to smell and runs afoul of ethics laws and ordinances. 

Gale 's printed material that accompanied the distribution of the pins specifically noted that they were courtesy of Councilman John Gale and ""the Hartford Party". The Hartford Party is the political party Gale formed to get re-elected after the Hartford Democratic Town Committee refused to give him their endorsement for his re-election campaign.

Gale should have known better. Instead of making it a thank you from the entire council, Gale's wording and mentioning himself and his personal political party, it essentially became campaign propaganda material for Gale, paid for by the taxpayers of Hartford. An improper use of taxpayer funds.

Even more troubling is that City Clerk Noel Macgregor, Council President Maly Rosado and Council Aide David Grant were all aware of  and signed off on Gale's propaganda order and Gale's misuse of City funds ,and none of them raised any red flags over what was clearly improper.


                                              ORIGINAL INVOICE FOR PURCHASE


ENTRY SHOWING BLANKET APPROVAL FOR GALE'S PURCHASE WITH CITY DOLLARS. APPROVED BY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROSADO, CITY CLERK MACGREGOR AND COUNCIL AIDE DAVID GRANT. RUBBER STAMP CHECKS AND BALANCES, NOT GOOD PROCESS

It was apparently only after COO Thea Montanez was made aware of the purchase   that she told Gale to self report himself to the City's Ethics Commission for his ethics violation. That action by Montanez was detailed in her e-mail to me today after I began questioning Gale's purchase and apparent misuse of City funds. That e-mail is below.

Since I raised the issue, Councilman Gale has reportedly reimbursed the City almost $4,000 for his propaganda purchase

COO Montanez's explanation e-mail to me today

Hello -

Hello -

On Tuesday, Dec.1st, Council President informed me that Councilman Gale used city funds to purchase pins as a thank you to city employees and the pins were purchased from a business owned by a member of his immediate family (Hartford Prints!).  That same day, I contacted Councilman Gale to confirm whether this was accurate and he confirmed it was. I informed Councilman Gale that I was concerned that the purchase potentially violated the City’s Ethics Code.  

As a follow up to our discussion, Councilman Gale self reported the purchase to the Ethics Commission via Corporation Counsel’s Office. He informed the corporation counsel's office of his intent to reimburse the city for the expense and since then, he has submitted payment to the city. 

There were 1400 pins and pin backers that were ordered that totaled $3100. In addition, he ordered 1400 envelopes, which included digital printing services and that was an additional $400 for a total of $3500. The total amount invoiced was approximately $3700 because tax was charged. 

Each pin was placed in an envelope with a thank you note signed by “Councilman John Q. Gale, The Hartford Party.”  The pins were ordered in March and invoiced and paid in June. The funds initially used were general fund dollars appropriated to the City Council in the FY21 city budget for the purposes of civic engagement, to be spent at Council's sole discretion.

Thank you, Thea


Friday, September 17, 2021

IF YOU ARE A POSTER CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING YOUR ANONYMITY, PLEASE READ THIS!!!

 A note from My Lawyer, Mario:

 

Dear Reader:


The founders of our country anonymously criticized government since the early colonial days.  They knew it was an important way to share ideas.  They knew about the danger of retaliation. There’s history here.  There’s tradition here. 

 

Anonymity is also really important to a very smart Attorney, Paul Levy.  Attorney Levy is offering to help people who posted here to protect their anonymity.  He is offering to do so pro bono, which means there is no fee. You can reach Attorney Levy by e-mail at plevy@citizen.org or by phone at 202-588-7725. 

Levy has represented hundreds of anonymous speakers over the past 20 years, always pro bono.  You can learn a little more about Levy here:  https://www.citizen.org/about/person/paul-alan-levy/


If you have posted here and you are worried about staying anonymous, you have a right to have that anonymity protected.  It’s part of the freedom of speech.  We want you to have the tools to protect your anonymity.

 

We thank you for your continuing support.

 

 

Mario Cerame

Associate Attorney

Brignole, Bush & Lewis

73 Wadsworth Street

Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: (860) 527-9973

Fax: (860) 527-5929

Thursday, September 2, 2021

IS THIS AMERICA?


This court decision just seems wrong to me in so many ways. The Court order for me to turn my laptop and cellphone over to a disgruntled Hartford Police Lieutenant just does not seem like America.

Let me just start by saying that at no time did Hartford Police  Lieutenant  Vincent Benvenuto ever attempt to contact me  to ask that I remove something that he found offensive or questionable. I have done that several times in the past when someone would call me and say that they thought a comment was unfair or baseless.

It also seems a huge invasion that someone can tramp through my personal devices to settle a vendetta or for whatever reason he wants to find out the identities of commentors. For example , both devices have medical in formation, banking information and other personal data.

Event though Google told the plaintiff that the information they are looking for is not available and even their expert testified that it may not be available, the judge still issued his order. It almost feels like Benvenuto has gained access to my home and allowed tgo paw through my desk and file cabinet on his search  to soothe his hurt feelings

There was never any mention of anything threatening or criminal in nature in the comments, it was the personal feelings of the commentor's, nothing more.

It was also obvious that the HPD command staff did not look favorably on the blog , and on more that one occasion voiced their displeasure with having their dirty laundry aired on the blog. It also seems a little odd to me that a Police Lieutenant would kick up the money to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit over hurt feelings. Who is funding this suit? Was it a coincidence that Benvenuto was moved into on e of the "gravy" positions at HPD as the Commander of the Intelligence Division immediately after the suit was filed? Was the position a reward from the Command Staff  for trying to silence the blog?  We will probably never know .

That move did not last long. Benvenuto was moved back to the Patrol Division shortly after he filed yet another lawsuit against HPD Chief Thody and Mayor Bronin. The reason you might ask?  Benvenuto's fellings were hurt on ce again when Thody refused to give Benvenuto a take home car for his daily commute to his home in Brewster, NewYork.

An appeal is not cheap, but I think I owe it to m y sources and the commentor's who have placed their trust in me and this blog. Any help in funding that would be greatly appreciated. This ruling will set a dangerous precedent for media outlets, social media users and journalists and can be wide reaching.

Thank you in advance

Go Fund Me link here-GO FUND ME or you can search under my name , Kevin Brookman, at gofundme.com. All donations are anonymous.You can also use venmo.com  and follow the link here  to make a donation.


You can view the entire case and filings herehttp://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=HHDCV196119733S


Link to Judge Noble's decision-http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/DocumentInquiry/DocumentInquiry.aspx?DocumentNo=21296387