Feb. 27, 2007
By Ken Krayeske • Hartford • 10:30 PM EST
While it's a little to early to write the epitaph for Mayor Eddie Perez, City Council showed some teeth this week and went after him on the nasty, dirty rotten parking deal Perez gave Abe Giles.
But by moving it to the Parking Authority and not calling for an investigation, City Council is helping Perez save face here. Perez failed to inform voters of his tricky political giveaway in his Winter 2007 franking privilege. I wonder why.
The eight-page color brochure that Perez and his taxpayer financed re-election committee sends out quarterly has highlighted his latest achievements, including groundbreaking on Aetna's new 1200-space parking garage on Flower Street, the doubling of property values in Hartford since 1999 and the results of a 25-year study which show that serious crime has trended downward.
How Perez wants to take credit for property values doubling and crime trends dating back a quarter of a century, I’m not sure. He made sure to tell us that taxes are not doubling.
Double speak, though, erodes the integrity of the entire piece of literature. And frankly, I'm pretty tired of dishonesty in government.
At this point, whenever I see Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts name associated with anything other than a resignation letter, I refuse to take it seriously.
For those of you who think Chief Roberts still has a shred of credibility left after he appeared on Colin McEnroe's show and said there will be consequences for arrestees who choose to invoke their Miranda rights, his year end summary of 2006 shows that "overall serious crime is down almost 6 percent from 2005."
Is this like baseball, where he receives a contract bonus if his ERA is lower than last year? Is that statistic adjusted for population loss or growth? And why is 2005 a benchmark year for crime prevention? As Twain said, there's lies, damn lies and then statistics. And politicos will bend them to paint a rosy picture of the world.
I wonder if the crime wave committed by peace loving hippies are included in those trends. Perhaps our outrageously huge apartheid prison populations might account for that drop, more than the community policing initiative promised by Perez and Roberts.
And I doubt that precipitous drop counts the woman smoking a cigarette on the street who was shot in a drive-by a few weeks ago.
Yet Perez promises us he is working with other mayors across the country to remove illegal guns from the streets. He supports legislation requiring gun owners to support lost or stolen firearms, which missed in the House last year by a few votes, I think one of them was state rep. Minnie Gonzalez.
But there is more he can do than lobby for a law. Perez, like many others in power, ignores the war on drugs as the source of much of the street crime plaguing us. The shootings will go away when we remove the profit motive from street-level drug dealing and regulate it like we do Tylenol, Oxycontin and Jose Cuervo.
When are we going to realize as a society that we cannot stop people from doing drugs? And as long as we blindly accept Prohibition, the policy will provoke violence in our streets.
Perez tiptoes around the economic injustice in the city, too.
He explains that school building projects have sunk $40 million into our local economy, with almost $8 million going to Minority-Women Business Enterprises. He forgot to mention that money comes from the state.
And no word about living wages, or a redistribution of wealth in America's second gilded age. That's probably too dangerous for him.
After sitting here looking at seven pictures of Mayor Perez and sentence after sentence of the elementary school slogan "Mayor Perez says," I feel pretty disgusted with the overall dishonesty of the piece.
All I want is a little honesty from people. Tell me the truth. Don't sugar coat your administration so people vote you in again. I suppose the Mayor has to peddle hope, but mix that with honesty. Publicly admit to me your mistakes and I will give you my admiration and respect.
The hubris behind this latest mailer seems like it is on loan from the Bush Administration. If Hartford is lucky, we will be done with Mayor Perez a short year before we kiss President Bush goodbye. I hope.