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Prayers a Top Priority for Beleaguered Hartford?

Years ago a columnist called Hartford a “city with two left feet.”   I think it was Tom Condon of the Courant, but I’m not 100% on that.  Anyway, September 8th  was the day the disfunctional  city wiggled those left feet in front of the nation, in sandals, no less.

The “to-do” list in Hartford is long.   There are prime parcels of real estate that have been vacant for decades, empty buildings, empty storefronts,  crime ravaged neighborhoods, an extremely high teen pregnancy rate, shrinking population, unfriendly traffic patterns and the list goes on and on.   Yet Hartford made national headlines because two of the most powerful people in city hall felt the most important issue was their desire to have Muslim prayers before city council meetings.

 A news conference was held  to deal with the reaction to the prayer announcement, which was sent to media outlets just a few hours before Connecticut’s 9/11 memorial service attended by the families of the 149 state residents killed by Islamic extremists on September  11, 2001.   

The mayor was not at the news conference, neither were most city council members.  The only ones there were the two council members who proposed the prayers.   There were no citizens demanding those prayers to combat “Islamiphobia.”    The news conference was covered by all the television stations and as a result, clips were sent across the country.   After all,  the Hartford Muslim story was a prominent headline on the Drudge Report, a site read by what, a  million people every day?

“Who is the guy in the T-shirt?”     That’s an e-mail I got from an out of state  friend who saw a clip of today’s news conference at Hartford City Hall.

That guy is Luis Cotto, the minority leader of the city council of Connecticut’s capital city.  I, like others,  was stunned to see him holding court talking to reporters in a revered chamber in an historic building wearing shorts, a t-shirt with writing on it, and sandals.    What an image the country saw today, just a week after reading that we’re a “dead city.”     I wonder what a potential investor sitting in Manhattan thought of  Hartford as he watched the city’s “leadership” on CNN.    

Mr. Cotto’s appearance  takes away from his message and conveys the impression he lacks a sense of purpose.   In a city struggling with an image problem, it is disheartening to see an elected official dressed like he’s hitting the bars at Misquamicut Beach.    He should at least dress better than the students in the city, who are wearing crisp uniforms.   His attire wouldn’t meet the standards of “casual Friday” in most companies.

Cotto’s appearance  was in stark contrast to that of council president RJo Winch, who always dresses impeccably as do the other council members.    I’ve seen Cotto dress for the part of elected official (see picture below) before, so I don’t know why he chose the Dave Matthews concertwear for such a high profile event.  

Listen, I like the guy and I commend Councilman Cotto on wanting to make Muslims feel more welcome in the city and be inclusive, and so forth, but the timing was insensitive.    He clearly cares about the city, but he needs to get more involved in issues that will make a real difference, not just ones that will grab headlines.   

You’ll remember earlier this year Cotto called for a resolution condemning Arizona’s immigration law.  Very noble, yet keep in mind that “to-do” list.    Worrying about immigration in one state on the other side of the country and prayers at City Hall means items on the list fall by the wayside. 

The fallout from the prayer announcement is just beginning.   Businessman Art Langlais wrote this to the city council:    ” I regularly patronize Hartford stores and hotels.  I probably spend around $10,000 annually. I will no longer be spending any money in Hartford and I will express that loudly and clearly to all my personal and business associates in Connecticut.   Your actions are inflammatory and deliberately provocative.” 

Let’s all pray the next item on Cotto’s agenda is to take Mr. Langlais out to lunch and explain to him how important he is to the city.    How many customers, residents, businesses, corporations, and visitors will the city chase out before it wakes up?

I’d like to hear which issues you feel Councilman Cotto should be addressing.

Categories: Uncategorized

18 replies »

  1. He clearly cares about the city…
    ———————————————————–
    It’s not that clear to me. He is on a crusade for social justice on a national, if not cosmic, scale. He is motivated by an extreme ideology, and the nuts and bolts practical effects on the forlorn town are either not visible or are irrelevant to him.
    Some guy over at Cotto’s blog got this response from the slovenly councilman,”…Unfortunately for you, any and all emails I receive at my City email (cottL002@hartford.gov) are subject to Freedom of Information requests and are, by default, public information. If you want to send me an email at a private email where you are most assuredly guaranteed that no one will see your bigotry, please email me at Idontgiveacrap@gmail.com.” Mr. Langlais exactly correct; gratuitous provocation. If I were him, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that lunch with Luis. It really is to the point where his antics are not merely absurd, but are in fact a menace. It would be in our interest to get rid of him in the next available election.

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  2. The Hartford City council should focus on cutting spending STAT! We are in a fiscal crisis and the unsustainable entitlement spending is exacerbating the debt crisis. Pension reform including higher contribution rates, lower benefits, and later retirement ages coupled with cuts to failed programs would demonstrate they are serious about reducing debt. Property taxes went up this year in the city. This will insure more residents will flee Hartford.
    The council also voted for a boycott of Arizona which is nothing more than an unconstitutional embargo.
    I hope the Council would invite our military chaplains to participate at future invocations.

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  3. Hello Dennis, I received an interesting text last night that one of the local news affiliates took time out of their much structured, expensive air time to mention my attire at the press conference. I find it ironic that a member of that same affiliate would lecture me to focus on what’s important for this City, as I would say the same to WFSB.

    The attire: I remember having this conversation with an older gentleman at one of my first community meetings I attended as he asked about the same. I respectfully wondered aloud how people talk about change yet they want people to sound the same, act the same, dress the same. Where’s the change? My decision to dress the way I do is both by choice and necessity. But the choice is a very conscious one and the necessity is a very real one. I’m reminded of countless exchanges on the streets or in the bus where I’m continually congratulated for “keeping it real,” my answer 100% of the time in half jest is “Dude, I got no choice…I’m poor. That’s as real as it gets!” … Trust me, it’s funny when I say it.

    I went to New Haven last week (in shorts and a tee) to testify in front of their Board of Aldermen regarding possible expansion of their Living Wage Ordinance. Trust me when I tell you that my dress was the least of those peoples concerns. They asked me very real questions regarding our budget, our own Ordinance, our city…questions that I answered to the best of my abilities. Such is the case in every meeting I attend. If someone wants to focus more on my attire then the problem at hand, then their problem really isn’t that important.

    You mention Mr. Langlais. I noticed you didn’t mention his earlier line which said the following: “If you wanted to foster inclusiveness and diversity then you should include all religions.” Mr. Langlais unfortunately is a viewer of your competitor NBC which reported that City Council NEVER starts our meetings with a prayer which is quite the opposite. I’m sure he would change his tune if he knew we were in fact taking his own suggestion towards inclusiveness and diversity.

    Finally, you would like your readers to tell you what I should be focusing on. Let’s get away from the simply ludicrous notion that one Councilperson can only do one.thing.at.a.time. Why don’t you get it from the horse’s mouth? I’ll indulge you.

    Since I’ve been sworn in I have led the fight on the following resolutions, ordinances and policies:

    • Re-creating the Office of Cultural Affairs to make the arts available to all residents not just a privileged few.
    • Re-establishing the Commission on Cultural Affairs (which is hard as heck to fill so if anyone out there is interested…)
    • Establishing Hartford’s 1st Percent for the Arts Program.
    • Successfully fighting the land grab of almost 300 acres of Keney Park land to developers.
    • Unsuccessfully fighting a similar grab (by the same developer) of land that was/is Brackett Park.
    • Introducing a passing an Ordinance that provides City services to all Hartford residents regardless of their documentation status.
    • Introducing and passing a ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinance which sets policy on how the City deals with re-entry population during the hiring process.
    • The sole champion for the arts on Council with an influx of over $2.3mil into our individual artists, non-profits and creative industry over the past 2 fiscal years.
    • The main champion for the Parks on Council.
    • Introduced and am guiding through an adopt a median program which will go a loooong way in making our City look better and encourage civic participation.
    • Introduced the resolution condemning Arizona’s draconian law SB1070.
    • As a first year Minority Leader procided over deliberations that led to the City’s first budget WITHOUT a tax increase in years.
    • I chair the single most busiest committee (Public Works, Parks and Environment) in the City with an agenda that rivals our own council agenda.

    also

    As a Councilperson I have redefined what true transparency means. Every one of my cards has my cell number on it and I give everyone my cell number. Every task force that I participate in has a Google group with minutes, emails, documentation so that anyone and everyone can have access to it. I created a short lived (but I’m always trying to resuscitate) video series called Councilor Cotto’s Fireside Chat (see…I even have fun doing this) where I try to demystify City Hall for the average viewer. I also have a fun Facebook group (Councilor Cotto’s Counsel • 980 members) which highlights Hartford specific events to combat the ever present “nothing to do in Hartford” which you and I both know is a myth.

    I can go on and on but instead I’ll leave you with a friendly challenge. If you can find someone on Council who has done as much for the citizens of this City, I will wear a tuxedo through the end of the year.

    I’m waiting…

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  4. Prayers? Immigration? Isn’t the city council supposed to be concerned with the city? How do prayers (or any religion)have anything to do with bettering our capital city? And where do the immigration laws of Arizona fall into play here in CT? We have parking lots galore! We have empty buildings including the store fronts of Hartford21. And while I’m all for dressing down when able, why would any government official want to show such disrespect for the people they are supposed to be representing? Ridiculous!

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  5. People who care about Hartford should not forget there is one reason Luis Cotto is a member of the City Council: the Working Family’s Party’s (WFP) political agenda in 2007 was overwhelmingly focused on expanding their statewide/national presence through supporting ANY candidates which had the best chance of being elected. The WFP had no prior base of support with Hartford residents nor any connection to its problems and struggles. (Even three years later there is but a handful of Hartford WFP registered voters). Rather, Hartford’s weak republican party presented a golden opportunity to capture the city’s three minority council seats, and the WFP’s clamor for change would fit in well with voters weary of the city’s eight years of decline under the Perez regime.

    The WFP poured hundreds of thousands of union supplied dollars into the campaign, and two people with no previous political experience became WFP trophies. Who in Hartford didn’t receive almost daily multicolor glossy campaign mailers during the last weeks leading up to the election? Luis and Larry certainly did not raise the money for them. And does anyone really believe Jon Green is behind Luis’ efforts for immigration reform in Arizona and religious equality at Hartford City Council meetings? Jon doesn’t even object to Luis’ prior budget votes with Eddie regarding layoffs of city employees. No, the WFP got what it needed in 2007: election victories to substantiate itself as a force to be reckoned with, and Hartford got…well, you all read the blogs.

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  6. Luis Cotto addresses any and all issues that he feels are important to the well being of Hartford. I am the Dean of Students at Achievement First, a charter school in Hartford. Me and my family also run a Saturday basketball program for 375 youth ages 5-13 called Saturday Hoopsters. It is an 100% volunteer driven program and we often struggle for volunteers to coach the different teams. We ask for support from the entire community, from the mayor and important businessmen and women, to the everyday neighbor. Not surprisingly, we struggle most with attracting volunteers to coach the youngest group because it runs from 7:30am to 9am. Luis Cotto is there every morning during the winter, coaching a team. He has never mentioned this when people tell him to get involved in important issues. He’s never flaunted the work he’s done or mentioned once that he is a councilmen. He simply shows up, does an incredible job, and goes home. If Luis showed up in a suit and tie to coach basketball on a Saturday morning, I might be surprised, but I certainly would not care. Why? Because he does one heck of job. If we stopped worrying so much about what type of advanced degree our leaders have or what they look/dress like and more about their competence, perhaps we would have more city leaders like councilperson Cotto, a person who truly has the city’s best interest at heart.

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  7. Just to respond to the inaccuracies in Murphy’s reporting.

    1) I raised about $6,000 for my campaign (which can be easily checked because we all have to file) and I believe my campaign buds at the time (Larry Deutsch and Urania Petit) raised about the same. WFP matched our amounts (or came in under…which can also be checked) for a total of around $36,000.

    2) Both Councilman Deutsch and myself voted for the ’08-’09 budget and against both the ’09-’10 and this years ’10-’11 budget due to the unfair burden put on our Unions via concessions projections.

    3) Prior to our election, the City of Hartford residents elected WFP candidate Sharon Patterson-Stallings as a member of the Board of Education. Since our own ’07 election, the residents voted in Urania Petit as a Registrar of Voters (the only 3rd party candidate to hold that office in the Country) as well as Robert Cotto (no relation) and Elizabeth Brad Noel in last years Board of Education race. Sharon Patterson-Stallings lost by 17 votes to DEM Luis Rodriguez Davila for the fourth elected position but was recently appointed (as a DEM) by Mayor Pedro Segarra.

    But Murphy is correct on one statement: There is one reason I am a member of the City Council: the Working Family’s Party’s (WFP).

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  8. dennis,

    thank you for communicating the issue so clearly. while, i support inclusion of all, hartford’s problems are numerous and difficult. if they are to be solved, the leaders of the region (city, state, business, religious, cultural) will need to produce a collective effort to solve them. hartford does not have the “luxury” of addressing major national and international issues (like Mayor Bloomberg of New York does); it must maintain a laser like focus on ITS issues. i can tell you what an investor in boston would do. he would start investing in a city that “gets it” (Austin, Texas) and become THAT city’s largest landlord . . . .and would stop investing in Hartford until the children that seem to be running the city are supplanted by adults who will provide the leadership and make the tough decisions that this once great city requires. hopefully the new mayor and a non absentee new governor will provide that leadership.

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  9. Mr. Dennis House reveals his lack of depth and substance when he tries to discuss politics, religion, immigration, and economics and ends up ranting about fashion. More than an ineffective discursive strategy, his diatribe suggests that socio-economical challenges in Hartford will be solved by bringing in corporations, investors, good Christian values, legal citizens, and tourists. He appeals to the tastes and visual desires of power and wealth, and is more interested in social engineering and landscaping than in quality of life for all neighborhoods and peoples. Mr. House’s suits and ties may appeal to a highfalutin demographic, but his ethical substance is out of synchrony with our vibrant and beautiful city.

    On the other hand, Mr. Luis Cotto’s style—his alternative and vernacular dress, as well as his warm, friendly, spirited, brave, and caring demeanor—attracts Hartford citizens of all colors, religions, social classes, neighborhoods, and ages, and encourages many to participate in the daily creation of a vibrant social and cultural landscape. If Hartford’s image needs to be refashioned, it should first and foremost match its working people. If tourists, investors, and corporations are willing to respect their needs, they can certainly support an organic way of development that may on the long run benefit all. Otherwise, corporations, real estate investors, businessmen, tourists, and broadcasters will only see in our social milieu a run down place where you can get cheap real estate, inexpensive labor, a cool condo with security overlooking the skyline and the Connecticut river, and suited neighbors, politicians, and broadcasters who will cater to their needs and desires.

    Mr. House, put on a t-shirt and jeans, take the bus (no TV cameras), and visit some of the places where our admirable councilman takes a bite and interacts with his constituents. Some suggestions: “Los Cubanitos,” “Monte Albán,” and “Aquí se puede 1 and 2,” and “Jerkfish;” Miguel Zenon’s “Rayuela” concert on the Polish National House; “The Red Rock Café;” Broad Street Studio Gallery exhibit: “Boricua en La Luna.” Also, take a good look at Mr. Cotto’s remarkable initiative, Center Without Walls, which attempts to bolster artistic endeavors in the city by creating ubiquitous, inexpensive opportunities to enjoy art in the company of people of all walks of life (including suited tourists, business owners, and teleprompter-reading newscasters). This may give you a clue about his inspired way of advancing society.

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  10. As a Hartford schoolteacher I can tell you first hand the top priority in the city is jobs. The parents of many of my students are unemployed and complain about the corporations leaving Hartford. One parent who is too poor to own a car essentially lost her job when the company moved to the suburbs. I do not see the city council addressing this issue at all. It seems they do not care that every person or company with money is leaving. We desperately need these taxpayers to keep the schools and city going!!!!!! Are jobs are tough enough.
    Many of my students do not have fathers or father figures in their lives and need role models. I agree that Mr. Cotto’s attire should be more professional, considering the students in the city he serves wear uniforms.

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  11. It’s my understanding that city council meetings in the past have frequently been preceded by prayers of the Christian variety. I would prefer there were no prayers. Since the Constitution prohibits the imposition of religion on individuals, any sort of prayer is out of line. However, these days, with attacks on Islam rampant in the U.S., fanned by an irresponsible media, I appreciate the gesture the city council is making. It’s times like these when we all should be reassuring minority groups that not all Americans are ignorant yahoos. Yes, the city has major problems and our city officials need to deal with them. But sparing a few moments on the issue of Islamophobia is something that all elected officials should consider.
    As for what Channel 3 contributes to the mix. From what I have seen on local news, the most important things happening in Connecticut seem to be car accidents, fires, extreme weather hysteria, shootings, stabbings, beatings, etc. Dennis, you might want to reconsider your own news priorities. As for your fashion concerns for Luis, you seem like a very dapper dresser. Why don’t you take him clothes shopping?

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  12. stop investing in Hartford until the children that seem to be running the city are supplanted by adults who will provide the leadership and make the tough decisions that this once great city requires.
    ———————————————————–
    Let’s hope Mr. Gottesdiener doesn’ take his own advice. I think it’ll be a pretty long wait for an adult council. It is not fair to suggest that Mr. Cotto doesn’t care for the town. I think it fair, however, to say that he, and the others on council (although, perhaps to a lesser extent) have a higher priority; social justice. For example, he brags above about voting against the budget “due to the unfair burden put on our Unions.” Hartford’s problems are indeed state legislated, and in my opinion have to do with “exclusionary” land use regulation combined with public education administered by district. But, we’d be so much better off if we could get a municipal government which strove for justice by improving the town’s fiscal situation and bond rating.

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  13. Kudos to Mr. Luis Cotto for modeling for us what it means to think globally and morally and acting locally.

    Mr. House claims that the timing of Mr. Luis Cotto’s actions were insensitive. Where have we heard this notion before that taking a moral stand is “untimely”? Oh yes, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote about it in his Letter From Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963. Perhaps we should remind Mr. House and dwell on Dr. King’s words and vision for our democratic and moral society, and at the same time shed light on Mr. Cotto’s vision for our community of Hartford.

    Dr. King wrote, “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.

    Mr. House and his business minded friends worry about the bottom line of potential future investments, yet they don’t seem to be concerned that people of color (muslim, latinos, immigrants, etc.) around our region and country are under duress, at best, and under attack, at worst. Hate crimes are up. Attacks against Muslims and Latinos are on the rise. This is not a coincidence. Politicians and commentators around the country are engaging in the age-old practice of scapegoating and demonizing the immigrant and Muslim other in this historical moment of economic despair.

    When one, or two, or three of our communities are targeted for verbal, psychological, and physical abuse, our whole national community is harmed. If we remain silent, not act, and allow that hostility to fester, and only worry about a superficial image that is contingent upon the bottom line, then we as a society are standing on shaky ground.

    Mr. House claims he commends “Councilman Cotto on wanting to make Muslims feel more welcome in the city and be inclusive.” Yes, this is part of it, but at the same time it is larger than this. It is about displaying a “radical welcoming”, to quote the Hartford Episcopal Reverend Don Hamer, a welcoming that forges a whole sense of self from the various immigrant, ethnic, and religious communities that comprise us. But at it’s core it is about justice, here and everywhere, as Dr. King once wrote. I would argue that this is better for business in the long run. Now is the time to take a stand for our Muslim neighbors and friends. It isn’t a time to waiver, or to think about the bottom line exclusively or whether we wear t-shirts or suits. The important thing is to act and work towards our vision for a pluralistic, democratic, and just society, one that includes the business community, but also goes beyond the bottom line to make us whole again.

    Anyone who knows Luis Cotto well has seen this holistic vision in his business ventures and practices, when he and his sisters owned and ran one of the most vibrant, eclectic, and community oriented café’s in Hartford. We see it in his highly successful arts and music events. He is responsible for promoting and organizing many wonderful artistic events that connect the local with the global and Hartford with other communities in the country and abroad. We see his vision in his many pro bono work and hours with community groups, youth groups, and artistic groups. So, it’s no surprise to see his vision play out in his role as one of our city leaders. He’s being true to who he is and what he believes in. He’s connecting the dots locally, globally, and morally. Kudos to Luis!

    Hartford resident
    Professor of Education
    Saint Joseph College

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  14. Thank you for all your well crafted responses. I am well aware of the accomplishments of Councilman Cotto and of his devotion to the city. He is genuinely a nice guy who is liked by all who meet him.

    Having said that, the majority of comments I received strongly suggest Cotto and the city council need to do more to address the urgent problems in the city. In a span of several decades, Hartford has gone from one of the richest cities in the nation to one of the poorest. The population has declined by tens of thousands of people. Virtually all of the downtown shopping has fled to suburbia. Big corporations, who paid big taxes to the city have left, taking thousands of jobs with them. Not just the jobs of executives, but jobs of everyday people who live in all neighborhoods of the capital city.

    The ripple effect of these corporate departures has been devastating for the city. Thousands of workers who used to purchase meals, services, products, etc., are now doing that elsewhere. As a result, many city merchants are now just barely getting by.

    Mayor Pedro Segarra has said development and recruiting new business are his top priorities and the council should support him in that.

    As for Mr. Cotto’s attire at the news conference, hey I am a t-shirt and shorts guy myself. I only wear a suit and tie to work and related professional events, and of course weddings, funerals, and the like. Both Councilman Cotto and I are alumni of parochial schools that enforced a dress code and we both know the reasons behind such a standard, a standard I respect to this day.

    Call me old fashioned, but I still think Councilman Cotto should attend city events looking more like his official picture on the city website, than the one at the top of this post.

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    • Dear Mr. House:

      I believe your approach to Councilman Cotto’s t-shirts needs to be turned on its head. Instead, Mr. Cotto’s well chosen attire should be understood as a demonstration of the utmost respect for this city’s and country’s well-versed -but not often well-practiced- version of democracy and political decency. The hard fought and often vexing right to choose one’s form of self-expression and presentation is at the heart of our liberal democracy. The alternative is a flattened and simplistic notion of respect based on homogeneity and conformity: only if we all look the same can we see and listen to each other. This kind of sartorial inflexibility is only a slippery slope away from more forceful notions of social purity: only if we look and sound a certain way can we have rights as citizens, as humans.

      I could only hope that Mr. Cotto’s “beach attire” would instead profoundly encourage a “potential investor sitting in Manhattan” to look favorably upon the courageous and creative leadership of Hartford. More importantly, Councilman Cotto’s long history of advocacy and support for Hartfordites with all ranges of clothing allowances should be the real measure of his public appearance.

      So, Mr. House, you were right to comment on Mr. Cotto’s outfits, but not in the way that you did. How and why Mr. Cotto dresses the way he does –as he himself eloquently explains- is woven into the very fabric of this city, a city that he has only helped to make more livable and welcoming for all.

      Mark Overmyer-Velázquez

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  15. Most of the preceding comments reflect real concern and insight to Hartford’s needs, and our appreciation should go to Dennis for hosting this Blog.
    I see no other City Councilperson comments here, so feel I must add just a few – with a clear focus on profound issues leading to suffering or success of our people in the City.
    If I may quote you, Dennis, with full agreement, you noted some: “There are prime parcels of real estate that have been vacant for decades, empty buildings, empty storefronts, crime ravaged neighborhoods, an extremely high teen pregnancy rate, shrinking population,…”
    Others have correctly focused on needs for jobs, housing, environment, and of course education.
    It’s incumbent as a Councilperson (and one who is also in Working Families Party, but not with identical views or appearance to the other member), to speak to the issues with respect, collaboration, and specificity, even if controversial, for progress to be made.
    1. Jobs: Work for MDC and Public Safety Complex must be given fairly, with training for permanent work, to Hartford residents. This will help to support…
    2. The Small Businesses in the city, paying ever-higher taxes without the same breaks given to downtown corporations. More local jobs and small businesses will…
    3. Help support a growing, not declining, population, and…
    4. Allow more relief to poorer and fixed-income elderly facing disproportionate sales and property taxes while…
    5. The State fails to pay adequately for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) while Hartford has so many tax-exempt properties at the same time the City provides fire, police, street, and other services to the State, colleges, churches, and others, leaving the burden on homeowners and renters through an unfair statewide and local tax system.
    6. The City must approach budget needs with consideration for workers and retirees by negotiating openly and early with union and neighborhood organizations in a spirit of mutual respect (lacking in the previous administration) and care for the incomes and environments of its workers, children, and older residents.
    7. Health insurance rates for workers and retirees in the City are rising out of sight, and the City (with our prompting) must fight for better rates from the insurance giants, even in our backyard, which are making obscene profits at our expense.
    8. To inform all citizens and the press, more transparency and true freedom of information is needed (such as communication with the public at Council meetings), and hoped for with the new administration.
    9. Inclusion always of religious, racial, and national groups in our City should go on regularly and fairly, from invocations (if any) at Council meetings to neighborhood improvements, job and language training through good libraries and programs, and so on.
    THESE are the main issues to me and generally to Working Families Party – which is quite willing to support Democrats, Republicans, or other members or candidates when they have done good work which fairly serves the whole City. I and Working Families have concentrated on these matters, asking questions and proposing changes, more than looking at appearances, claims, and election promises.

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  16. With respect, Councilman Deutsch, it is as I claim. You guys are primarily concerned with something other than the welfare of the corporation to which you owe a fiduciary duty; i.e., the municipality of Hartford.
    The bad news is that the municipality’s main benefactors, the State and U.S., are going broke. Promises made in name of social justice not likely to be fulfilled, union employees likely to lose jobs. The good news is that praying before council meetings costs nothing.
    ——————————————————-
    Others have correctly focused on needs for jobs, housing, environment, and of course education.

    Allow more relief to poorer and fixed-income elderly…

    …care for the incomes and environments of its workers, children, and older residents.

    …fight for better rates from the insurance giants, even in our backyard, which are making obscene profits at our expense.

    …Inclusion always of religious, racial, and national groups…

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  17. It amazes me how Dennis House can belittle two of the most important issues of our time — immigration and religious tolerance — while belittling one of the most well-loved and respected leaders of our city.
    “Worrying about immigration in one state on the other side of the country and prayers at City Hall means items on the list fall by the wayside,” House writes. News flash: anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate crimes are on the rise nationally. Muslims and immigrants make up a substantial portion of Hartford’s residents. Sending a message to make sure they and others know they are welcome here should be a top priority for Hartford’s leaders. Bravo, Luis, for standing up for what really matters. I am sure there were many in the years leading up to the Civil Rights movement who said that calls for desegregation were quaint or marginal. They couldn’t smell the whiff of change in the air, or sense the need for leadership. I am so thankful we have a member of our City Council who is in touch and courageous enough to see when leadership is needed.

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