Uncategorized

The Anti-Hartford Mentality

One of the eyeopening things to come out of jury selection at the trial of Mayor Eddie Perez was something his lawyer had feared:  an anti-Hartford mentality.   Columnist Helen Ubinas talks about it here:  http://www.ctnow.com/news/connecticut/hc-ubinas-eddie-perez0415.artapr15,0,6143412.column

Some of the what the potential jurors said reminded me of an obnoxious woman I encountered a few years back.    I live in the city and am well aware of the problems it has, but I also am proud to be a Hartfordite and will defend what should be rightly defended. 

Anyway, I was at an event and a woman who identified herself as the wife of a town official approached me.  I won’t say her name, or identify the town, only to say it is a Hartford suburb.   She criticized my decision to live in Hartford, ranting about something along the lines of “how could raise your children there?  It is not fair to them!” 

She then proceeded to pull out a photograph of a smashed car window and an empty GPS holder on the dashboard.  She told me the  tale of how her GPS was stolen in the South End.    As just about everybody knows GPS thefts happen everywhere, especially when people like this woman leave those devices in plain view.   A quick check of the WFSB archives shows we have done stories on GPS break-ins in Southington, Middletown, Manchester and this woman’s suburb, too. 

I explained why we live in Hartford and gave her some of the many reasons the capital city is our home.    She wouldn’t let it rest…with an incredulous look on her face, she continued to trash the city.  “You should live in _______ like me, it is a great town,” she bellowed.   I was so sick of listening to her drivel, I regretfully stooped to her level, and ticked off the reasons I would not live there, and it was easy.   “It is not pedestrian friendly,  has no interesting architecture, no community feel,” and the list went on.     If I write any more in this blog, you will guess the town, and I don’t want to offend the good people who live there.

There is no denying it, there is an anti-Hartford mentality out there, and most city residents are aware of it, and also are deeply disappointed the administration hasn’t done more to improve the city.  Visitors to the city can’t help but feel uneasy and turned off when they see no fewer than five big vacant buildings downtown.  They are eyesores.  Some have sat unchanged, except for advanced decay, since the turn of the century.   

 The glacial speed of progress has given the city a bad rap.   Since the 1990s, there’s been talk of using eminent domain to take the long vacant Summit Hotel from its neglectful owner.  Where does that stand?  The YMCA, with one of the best views is about to celebrate its fourth anniversary of being empty.   The list of blighted properties scaring off visitors is long.

The perception of crime doesn’t help, and the lack of a city cheerleader helps feed that anti-Hartford mentality.

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Categories: Uncategorized

8 replies »

  1. I live on Charter Oak PL and I agree.
    I find myself defending Hartford all the time, changing peoples opinion at a time. I believe one of the things we could do as residents, is build a better community between neighborhoods. I met some one from the Capitol Ave. neighborhood, and we couldn’t believe that we live this close, without any contact. We all want a better Hartford, but we don’t even connect neighborhood to neighborhood.
    I guess all I can say is keep trying, people are listening, it’s just that we have to continue putting the word out there.

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  2. Dennis, I was working on Sunday and not able to make it to the parade, was wondering if downtown restaurants learned anything from the Veterans Day Parade from last fall? Did they open or was it again impossible for people coming into the city to spend their money in the city?

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  3. I grew up in a Hartford suburb and live in a different Hartford suburb now, but I very much a supporter of seeing good things happen for Hartford. Sure, it’s easy to chuckle and roll your eyes a bit at the idea of “New England’s Rising Star”, but the point is that efforts are being made.

    I become frustrated with people I run into who simply look to bash Hartford without a single desire to offer solutions or even assist in making things better. It’s equally frustrating to encounter those who just assume there is nothing good in Hartford, but have never really bothered to look in the first place.

    I think the biggest push needs to be a way to get people actually living in the city to get some vibrance and life there, especially when there isn’t a concert or sporting event downtown. However, it’s a little tough to convince someone to move downtown to one of the newer apartments that would cost me the same amount as the mortgage on my condo (and I think I fit the demographic of a young professional they would like to see in the city). This just strikes me as the biggest hurdle to climb.

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  4. I am a recent college graduate and young professional who is a huge supporter of Hartford and always has been. Yes Hartford has its problems but the perception most suburbanites hold of the city are false. Many suburbanites hold myths about the city that they see as true. For instance, one of the main reasons people cite for not coming into the city is parking. There is more then enough parking, even during events. Most people don’t know that street parking is free after 6pm and on weekends. I can’t remember the last I parked in a garage in Hartford unless I was there all day for work.

    Hartford has made huge strides over the last 10 years. Unfortunately the city is feeling the effects of the recession as multiple downtown properties enter into foreclosure and businesses continue to close. There are glimmers of hope though as one business closes and another one opens. Small businesses are crucial to Hartford’s continued success.

    Hartford needs new leadership. It needs a new committed and dedicated mayor who will work 24/7 for the city. It needs someone who will travel outside of the city and attract new businesses. Mayor Perez’s recent budget proposes increasing the mill rate. Taxes are killing businesses in Hartford. There is no reason or incentive for businesses to stay when the cost of doing business is cheaper in the suburbs – as well as in other states. The quality of life needs to be increased for Hartford residents. The streets need to become safer and the schools need to become better. Big cities across the nation have decreased crime and improved the quality of their school systems and there is no reason Hartford can’t follow in their footsteps.

    With that being said I continue to support Hartford in every way I can. I am one of the city’s biggest cheerleaders. There are already great events happening throughout the city. The Science Center for instance hosts the Liquid Lounge and the Wadsworth hosts Phoenix First Thursdays both of which draw huge crowds of young people to Hartford. The city can succeed if it has the correct leadership and the full support of the region.

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  5. I am a recent college graduate and young professional who is a huge supporter of Hartford and always has been. Yes Hartford has its problems but the perception most suburbanites hold of the city are absolutely false. Many suburbanites hold myths about the city that they see as true. For instance, one of the main reasons people cite for not coming into the city is parking. There is more then enough parking, even during events. Most people don’t know that street parking is free after 6pm and on weekends. I can’t remember the last I parked in a garage in Hartford unless I was there all day for work.

    Hartford has made huge strides over the last 10 years. Unfortunately the city is feeling the effects of the recession as multiple downtown properties enter into foreclosure and businesses continue to close. There are glimmers of hope though as one business closes and another one opens. Small businesses are crucial to Hartford’s continued success.

    Hartford needs new leadership. It needs a new committed and dedicated mayor who will work 24/7 for the city. It needs someone who will travel outside of the city and attract new businesses. Mayor Perez’s recent budget proposes increasing the mill rate yet again. Taxes are killing businesses in Hartford. There is no reason or incentive for businesses to stay when the cost of doing business is cheaper in the suburbs as well as other states. The quality of life needs to be increased for Hartford residents. The streets need to become safer and the schools need to become better. Big cities across the nation have decreased crime and improved the quality of their school systems and there is no reason Hartford can’t follow in their footsteps.

    With that being said I continue to support Hartford in every way I can. There are already great events happening throughout the city. The Science Center for instance hosts the Liquid Lounge and the Wadsworth hosts Phoenix First Thursdays both of which draw huge crowds of young people to Hartford. The city can succeed if it has the correct leadership and the full support of the region.

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  6. I know why people, including myself are anti hartford, the crime, drugs, and lack of government leadership. These topics are forever never ending, and only always seem to get worse. You dont hear about these problems in the “burbs”. The reason i believe is there is less corruption between the smaller town government, as well as smaller police departments.

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  7. I love Hartford and would move there in a minute, but the property taxes are preventing me from pulling the trigger. I think if we were able to fix that, more people would see the benefits outweighing the disadvantages…

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