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Politicians: Good and Bad

Good: Gov. Dan Malloy has proposed that the state should hire single mothers to take their children to preschool. It is about time an elected official stood up for single mothers and addressed a component of the poverty cycle.

Bad: Gubernatorial wannabe Tom Foley is running on his record in Iraq. As I wrote here extensively four years ago, Foley should legitimately be examined as a potential violator of the Hague Conventions of 1898 for his role in the Coalition Provision Authority.

Foley’s job with the Bush Administration’s occupational authority was to privatize state owned industry, a war crime under the Hague Conventions. I don’t even think we need to ask how that Iraq invasion turned out for everyone.

Campaign tip for Governor Malloy: you are going to lose this unless you redefine Foley in the next 60 days as a war criminal. Foley is a complete and total jerkface who will keep us stuck in the 18th century. Please beat him.

Good: Malloy has also promised small tax credits on student loan interest. It’s not the abolition of student loans and free college tuition. But it’s a start, a step, a recognition of the crippling debt.

Bad: Foley told the New Haven Independent government should not make policy to encourage mass transit use.

Good: State Representative Doug McCrory and Hartford Court of Common Council member Cynthia Jennings are pushing for every cop in the state and the City of Hartford to wear uniform mounted cameras.

Think about how some high profile incidents would have turned out differently: the tasing incident, my arrest on January 3, 2007. They would not even have attempted corralling me if they were all videotaped.

What would be even better: If McCrory and Jennings and other law makers joined forces to ban tasers outright. Taser is torture.

Bad: The Hartford Police Union criticizing Chief James Rovella for meeting and marching with protestors of the recent taser incident.

Good: At least three Council members are not on board. Council needs six votes to transfer land. We need to turn one more.

Bad: This whole stadium game being played by Mayor Pedro Segarra is a thinly veiled re-election gambit. The City is broke. We had to sell a $14.5 million parking garage. Debt service is going to ballooin in 2017. So why are we committing to pay another $4 million a year to bring a minor league baseball team to Hartford?

What Segarra’s stadium gambit does is take everyone’s eye off the ball, and focuses all of the council and public’s energy on this pie-in-the-sky proposal, while basic needs go unmet and swept under the rug. Segarra wants a ribbon cutting before November to cement re-election.

This is a craven attempt to maintain power at the expense of the general good.

Good: Hartford Council member Ken Kennedy told me Monday night after the public hearing session of the Council meeting that the city of Hartford will never get a legit development proposal if Council nixes this without due diligence. Okay. That is a reasonable stance.

Bad: Hartford Council member Ken Kennedy told me Monday night after the public hearing session of the Council meeting that the City does not have to release all of the other RFPs. So how exactly is the council and the public supposed to evaluate this package with all due diligence required.

Bad again: Kennedy and I discussed the inequitable financing game used to build sports stadiums across the country on the public dime. I told Kennedy Hartford doesn’t have to play that game. He said that’s the way it is, and essentially admitted it is not his place to fight it.

This idea of credit tenant lease financing is a cruel joke on a broke city. The financiers who gave Centerplan their $50 million letter of intent have millions, if not billions, and they made much of it off of government contracts, like building Veterans’ Administration hospitals.

Why does government have to rely on private capitalists who will make tons of money off of the public to provide should be a public good? The monied class creates the problems of wealth inequality, and we need people of courage to confront the capitalistic class to level the playing field.

Bob Landino of Centerplan may be a smart man who has served the public, but he showed up to Monday night’s council meeting in a $3,000.00 suit. Centerplan has a litigation file with the Connecticut state court system a mile long.

Landino did not get into this position by being kind-hearted and generous. He is a tough-as-nails businessman who is in this to make money. And by looking at the proposal, make money he will. Millions. Another $3,000.00 suit is in the offing.

Good: The homeless woman from the South Marshal Homeless shelter who showed up at the meeting Monday night with her son to thank Council member Larry Deutsch and the City for restoring funding.

Bad: That we were even in this position in the first place. That Mayor Segarra only does the right thing when public pressure mounts and embarasses him.

Bad again: Yves-George A Joseph is the only black man in Centerplan’s management structure. Who did Centerplan put in front of the television cameras Monday night? Not Landino with his cop haircut and $3,000 suit.

Good: Hartford Council members Deutsch, Raul DeJesus and David MacDonald showed up at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 to see what was happening with the P&Z commission’s review of the stadium.

Good Again: P&Z tabled the stadium proposal again because P&Z lacks sufficient information to analyze the stadium proposal as a best land use for the community.

Bad: Development Director Thomas Deller, an evil genius of the stadium plan, knows what the word transparency means. But he doesn’t practice it.

Deller discussed transparency at the P&Z meeting as it relates to building façades, and how new new urbanism demands  buildings should have 75 percent street front glass for pedestrians. Unfortunately, P&Z can’t even make a decision on the stadium until its own secretary – Mr. Deller – gives more information.

Bad Again: Deller wants a groundbreaking and a ribbon cutting so when Segarra loses in November, he can go to Yuma, Arizona and get a development director’s job there. Look guys, ain’t I great? I helped build a stadium. One that will bankrupt a community. But I built it.

Good: Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Sara Bronin, a law professor who specializes in land use, spoke about riverfront access at Tuesday night’s meeting. In discusing the potential rezoning of land north of Riverside Park, abutting the levee, Bronin talked about creating riverfront access.

This is the kind of leadership vision the city needs.

Bad: There is very little diversity on the all-volunteer Planning and Zoning Commission. Only white commissioners. Mostly white staff. And the staff is depleted, as according to Deller, 14 unfilled positions remain in the development office.

Which means, in short, the few people remaining on the development staff pour all of their energy and resources into planning Segarra’s unicorn farm/minor league baseball stadium.

Good: That you read this column all the way to the end! Thanks!

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