Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rock Cats Hearing: Video

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

There were a lot of strong feelings at last night’s public hearing on the proposed Rock Cats stadium — some against, some for the project. Several others said they would support the plan only if the taxpayers weren’t on the hook for it.

Here’s some video of the speakers:

Chris Brown shares frustration over the deal:

Tina Franklin says she was dismayed over lack of transparency:

Alan Looper praises city’s efforts:

Debra Cohen talks about fractured trust with city government:

Rock Cats Owner Josh Solomon reacts to a resident’s complaints and questions:

Arce: I Hope We Don’t Get That Damn Baseball Stadium

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Our colleague Mara Lee attended a press conference Tuesday on Franklin Avenue. Though State Rep. Angel Arce (D-Hartford) was there for another matter, he made a point of mentioning the proposed Rock Cats minor league baseball stadium in Hartford.

From Lee:

Arce started talking about the stadium unsolicited, after saying property taxes are killing businesses on Franklin Avenue.

“I hope we don’t get that damn baseball stadium,” he said. “That’s not going to do anything for the residents of Hartford. Who’s going to pay for it? The taxpayers? That’s my biggest concern, how they gonna pay for it.”

The city issued a request for proposals today for the development of Hartford’s downtown north area, which would include a baseball stadium. You can read more on that here.

It’s also worth noting that although the city has insisted state money would not be used in the stadium project, the RFP lists “possible state/federal assistance” as one of the options a developer could include in a proposed “financial plan.” You can view the RFP here.

Segarra Endorses Wooden

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Mayor Pedro Segarra on Monday endorsed Council President Shawn Wooden for state senator in the 2nd District, which includes portions of Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor.

Wooden, a Democrat, is challenging longtime incumbent state Sen. Eric Coleman (also a Democrat). Wooden last month won the party’s endorsement at its nominating convention.

Segarra and Wooden at Scotts' Jamaican Bakery Monday.

Segarra and Wooden at Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery Monday. Photos/Jenna Carlesso

Coleman has said he will challenge Wooden to an August primary.

“It’s quite evident that Democrats are coming together to support this candidate for this position, that they’re looking for someone that would bring a renewed sense of energy and commitment that is more contemporary with the needs of our community and where we want to head as a community,” Segarra said Monday at a press conference outside Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery on Albany Avenue.

photo

Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks, Deputy Mayor Jody Terranova, Windsor Democratic Town Committee Chairman Tim Curtis and former town committee Chairman Tim Fitzgerald said last week that they are backing Wooden for the seat.

Wooden challenged Segarra for mayor in 2011, but pulled out of the race before the primary at Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s request. You can read more about Wooden and Segarra’s background here and here.

The primary is Aug. 12.

You can watch video from Monday’s press conference here:

Council Negotiates Budget Amendments

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Council members this afternoon are negotiating what changes they will make to Mayor Pedro Segarra’s proposed $557.4 million budget. Members have said the police department is likely a target for further cuts.

Council President Shawn Wooden said last week that the panel may eliminate all or part of an incoming class of 30 police officers.

“We’ve been advocating for the past couple of years for civilianizing positions that we have police officers performing,” Wooden said. “We’re looking at whether we can put 20 officers back on patrol by taking them off desk jobs, thereby alleviating the need to hire more police at this time.”

On Tuesday, Wooden said the council is considering putting up to 30 officers back on patrol from desk jobs, and civilianizing the desk positions. Members are expected to vote on the amendments later this afternoon. For more on what the council is negotiating, watch the videos below.

Shawn Wooden talks Tuesday about council’s goals for budget amendments:

Councilman Raul DeJesus discusses the potential impact to the police department:

Public Meeting Monday On Flower Street

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

The State Department of Transportation will host a public meeting Monday on options for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over CTFastrak (the busway) and Amtrak on Flower Street.

For background on the project and the closure of Flower Street, click here, here, here and here.

A presentation by state DOT officials will begin at 6:15 p.m. Monday at The Lyceum Resource and Conference Center, 227 Lawrence St. An “open house” will also be held there from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend, compare project options and share their preferences, officials said.

City To Create Portal For Raw Data

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

The city will create a portal to house raw government data, including maps, charts and graphs, the mayor’s office said Thursday.

All departments will publish information. Beginning “in the next several months,” the city will release information on its budget, grand list, taxes, finances and assessments. Data from health and human services also will be posted. No firm date has been set yet for its release.

From the city:

Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced today that he has signed an executive order mandating all city departments to publish raw government data on the city’s website.  The executive order authorizes collection of the data by the Chief Information Officer who will manage and update the information regularly. To kick off the effort, twenty data sets will be released in the next several months including financial, budget, assessors, tax, grand list, and health and human services information.

“This is about far more than transparency,” said Mayor Segarra. “Opening the door to public information makes our services easier to access, our City departments more efficient, and our collaborations with strategic partners more effective. Sharing data allows residents to understand how government works and gives them a chance to play a more active role in it. It will also allow us to come up with data-driven solutions for many of our most persistent problems.”

Mayor Segarra’s Executive Order No. 2014-1 establishes an Open Data Management Team made up of the Chief Information Officer and appointed representatives from each city department.

To implement the online portal the City of Hartford has signed a contract with Socrata, Inc. The open data will include maps, charts, graphs and it will integrate with the City’s enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS). The data will not include any personal or private records or any other personally identifiable information.

The Open Data Management Team will present its first report to the Mayor within 6 months and then yearly progress reports thereafter. Aligning with the State of Connecticut, Hartford is the first municipality to establish an Open Data Portal.

Attorneys Spar Over Asset Disclosure

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Attorneys for Earl O’Garro Jr. and AmTrust E&S Insurance Services returned to court Wednesday to address a motion for contempt filed against O’Garro after he failed to disclose his assets.

O’Garro and his company, Hybrid Insurance Group, are being sued by AmTrust, which has claimed that O’Garro made false statements and sent forged e-mails purportedly from AmTrust employees. The lawsuit also says that Hybrid received at least $300,000 for premiums on several policies, but did not forward the money on to AmTrust.

Andrew O’Toole, the attorney for AmTrust, has said that O’Garro did not disclose his assets until after a contempt motion was filed on Jan. 13. Superior Court Judge Carl Schuman had ordered that O’Garro disclose his assets by Jan. 8.

O’Garro eventually submitted a form listing assets, O’Toole said, but he omitted information and failed to address many “crucial” questions in the document. Among other omissions, O’Toole has said, O’Garro failed to identify 83 Johnson Road in Marlborough as property he owned; failed to provide the address for a condo he owned in the Dominican Republic; and checked “no” as to whether he operated a business.

On Wednesday, O’Toole told a Superior Court judge that O’Garro had not disclosed bank accounts for Hybrid and two other companies named in the lawsuit: Blaque Rock Capital and Marlbro’s Restaurant Group.

O’Garro testified that he did not have a majority stake in Marlbro’s Restaurant Group, and could not obtain Hybrid documents because he has not been able to access the company’s former office at 30 Lewis St. Sanford Cloud Jr., who owns 30 Lewis St. along with his sons Christopher Cloud and city Treasurer Adam Cloud, has said he took steps to evict Hybrid.

O’Garro said he tried twice in December to meet with the property manager, but the manager canceled both times. He testified that he did not attempt to access the building in January or February.

“The property manager indicated he would contact me,” O’Garro said.

Kevin Roche, O’Garro’s lawyer, called the asset disclosure form “vague” and “ambiguous” and said O’Garro filled it out to the best of his ability.

O’Toole has asked the court to find O’Garro in contempt, and require that he disclose the bank accounts for Hybrid, Blaque Rock and Marlbro’s, as well as pay the attorneys’ and court reporter’s fees for a deposition that took place outside of court on Monday and Tuesday.

No ruling has been made yet.