The editorial board of the Hartford Courant, who hounded former Governor John Rowland for taking gifts of value and crossing the acceptable boundaries of ethical conduct, has given Hartford Democratic Mayor Eddie Perez a hall pass.
In an act of intellectual gymnastics that would make Sarte proud, the Courant gave Perez the nod for another four years at the helm of the capital city.
The editorial shifts between the surreal and the obvious and Perez fits in both these worlds. On the one hand, he is someone who operates in a "closed vest" management style while being "engaged (in) the major issues of crime, education and economic development, and kindled momentum in the capital city."
Engaged? And on crime issues? Has anyone from Broad Street been reading the police blotter lately? Or how about the $20,000 in work a local contractor did on Perez's home without permits? And how about Abe Giles and a FBI investigation in full swing?
And the record on schools deserves nothing by F's and D's from any credible assessment. Children are still dropping out, young girls are still getting pregnant and school officials are still be accused of either stealing money or are clearly not with the program of educating.
"And he (Perez) has not been shy about flexing his new muscle. For example, he took control of the city's schools by putting himself on the Board of Education (another first), getting himself elected chairman and heading the school building committee - a comfortable spot for the man who led the construction of Trinity's Learning Corridor in the late 1990s."
And as much as it kills me to say this, Kevin Sullivan and Gov. Rowland deserve the credit for the learning corridor, not Eddie Perez.
Perez's accumulation of power over the school board and the building committee, in addition to lording over City Hall, has produced little improvement for the everyday business or residents. Taxes are going up precipitously on smaller businesses to the point where many will shutter their doors and move to adjoining towns.
And Perez latest two-stepping over unionization talks at the Convention Center is another example of double-dealing that Perez has made an art form of in his four years at the helm. He spend most of time putting people on the pad, handing out jobs to buy loyalty or giving away contracts by fiat. His inability to distinguish between right and wrong is breathtaking.
The Courant then goes on to hand Perez credit for high-tech improvements to the city:
"He (Perez) also deserves credit for setting up a wireless network to get neighborhoods onto the information highway. Some question such projects when so many other needs go begging, but 21st-century technology is critical in cities.
This is total BS. The wireless network was laid down by the former SNET, now AT&T and the Department of Information Technology as part of long-range plan to make the entire state wireless and open to schools and libraries. Eddie Perez had little to do with that except for using his computer to see who has given to his campaign.
Desperate to put more perfume on this pig, the Courant rewrites history and implies that Perez's attempt to horn in on the work by Republicans at the state Capitol deserves applause:
"Though he (Perez) can't claim credit for all the new development around town, he demanded a seat at the table when the state was dispensing hundreds of millions of dollars in Six Pillars investments. He's resurfaced many streets, removing once-ubiquitous potholes, though he needs to pay more attention to other quality-of-life complaints - the noise, litter and speeding that drive city residents out."
Stop me before I impale myself. Yeah, Eddie, nice job for putting her kisser into every picture, but could you work on the drive-by shootings, the open dumping, the open-air prostitution and those gang banger friends of yours who are getting out of general population?
The Courant then launches into why Eddie brings a certain, unique style of leadership to bringing business to Hartford:
"He didn't endear himself to the business community when he lectured MetLife on how many workers it should employ and criticized ING for moving out. MetLife didn't return his phone calls a few years later when it decided to leave Hartford. Why ING couldn't be kept in the city is still unclear.
Mr. Perez has been more incendiary than helpful in labor disputes, needlessly stirring up one at the Marriott Downtown that cost the neighboring convention center some major conferences.
But Aetna, Prudential, The Hartford and Travelers, bless them, are among Hartford's committed - and growing - companies. And business leaders say Mr. Perez's behavior is improving."
Improving, because they are ignoring Perez, hoping the FBI will cart him away or the state will put the city into receivership.
There are the predictable nods to Eddie's opponents. The editors laud Republican J. Stanley McCauley, for being thoughtful, educated, honest and full of ideas. But, they think he should run for City Council because he doesn't have the requisite experience to run Hartford. If being a gang leader and running a suspicious non-profit qualifies you, as it did for Perez, then how does someone like McCauley, who isn't a felon, been employed in the private sector and outlined what he will do working with others, unqualified?
No matter, the Courant concludes with their best argument against Eddie - his honesty, or lack thereof.
"Perez has proved he can lead the city to greater things. His integrity, however, is still on trial."
Well, maybe Eddie Perez will be on trial someday, but it won't be for integrity.
28 October 2007
Posted by Chris Healy at 16:06