Archive for November, 2007

The Happiest Place is one of the Most Dangerous
November 26, 2007

The new rankings of the “most dangerous cities” in the United States are out, and they are already being criticized for the way crime statistics are being used. The FBI compiles the statistics, yet distances itself from the CQ Press, which puts out the “most dangerous” list. Critics say the rankings are there for shock value and paint an inaccurate image of a city. The chief of police in Detroit said the rankings give the impression that a visitor to Detroit will be killed, but the truth is, most of the killings are drug related and not random. Murderers are not roaming the streets of downtown Detroit looking for innocent tourists to just shoot. Kara (a native of Metro Detroit) and I have visited Detroit several times, and plan to visit there again with our daughter. We even stay in a hotel right downtown and walk on the sidewalks!

According to the study, Detroit is the most dangerous city in America, followed by last year’s winner of this dubious crown, St. Louis. Hartford ranked 31, down from 34 last year, but a big improvement over the No. 7 ranking a few years ago. The motives behind murders in Hartford are often similar to the ones in Detroit. Again, gun-toting thugs are not cruising the streets of Hartford to take out random people.

The Connecticut naysayers will say, “I’m not going to Hartford, it is dangerous.” With that logic, there are plenty of other places they need to take off their list of possible vacation sites, places more “dangerous” than our Capital City.

  • Orlando
  • Yes, according to the study, the home of Mickey Mouse is more dangerous than Hartford. It was ranked the 11th most dangerous city! Those who don’t want to visit Hartford should tell their children the home of Disney World is too dangerous. There is a Disney store in one of the malls that should be safer, but don’t drive over Avon Mountain to get there. Statistically, it is more dangerous than any street you’ll find in Hartford.

  • Washington
  • Tell your children they can’t go there, either, because it, too, is more dangerous than Hartford. There is a replica of the Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain that will be much safer. Just tell them to squint at the State Capitol as you drive by, and it might look like the U.S. Capitol.

    Also avoid Baltimore, Miami, Tampa, Houston, Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. They are all more dangerous than a trip to the Hartford Civic Center.

    There is more crime in Hartford than in Glastonbury. It is a city. There is more crime in New York than its suburbs, but does that make these cities inherently dangerous? No.

    I’ve lived in Hartford for 15 years and have never been the victim of violent crime. My car window was smashed years ago, but my car was also broken into at the Westfarms Mall. Crime can happen anywhere — and it does. There are carjackings in the suburbs, robberies in the suburbs and even murders in nice towns. We report on them every day. On Tuesday, Nov. 20 newscasts, we had crimes from such dangerous places as Old Lyme, Manchester, Plainfield, Putnam, Norwich and East Hartford.

    No matter where you go, you need to be careful.

    Honoring Our Veterans
    November 13, 2007

    Hartford Veteran's Day Parade

    On Veterans Day, the day we honor the men and women who have served our country and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country and way of life.

    I never served in the military and it is something I regret. Two of my college roommates were in ROTC and later went on to careers in the Navy and Marines. One served in Kuwait and Iraq in the Persian Gulf War — they used to try to get me and our other friends to join. We really should have.

    My grandfather was in the Navy and served in World War II in the Pacific. I still have his mementos hanging on our wall at home. He died before I was born, so I never had the chance to ask him what it was like.

    My father-in-law was a fighter pilot shot down over Belgium in that same war. He loves to tell us stories of how he parachuted to the ground, was chased by Nazis and made his way to Allied soil thanks to an underground network.

    To all the veterans out there, thank you for your service.

    Check out some great photographs of the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade through downtown Hartford courtesy of Greg Ng, Managing Editor of wfsb.com.

    Election ’07 is history
    November 7, 2007

    Campaign 2007 on Channel 3 Eyewitness News

    It was a night for the incumbents. Mayors in Hartford, New Haven, Middletown, Meriden, East Hartford, West Haven and others were all re-elected.

    In Hartford, Mayor Eddie Perez was re-elected to a third term in the toughest race of his life. While it was a victory, the numbers reveal some major disatisfaction with the mayor. More people voted against him than for him. It’s exactly how Bill Clinton was elected and re-elected, but I’m not sure Mayor Perez is the politician that Clinton is.

    More people voted in Hartford this year than in 2003, but the mayor got fewer votes than he did four years ago.

    Former Deputy Mayor I. Charles Mathews finished second. At 63, he is still young enough to run in 2011, and it is possible he will begin laying the ground work to do so. But four years is a long time, and there could be a whole new crop of people seeking the city’s highest office.

    As for 2011, keep an eye on Matt Ritter, who was elected to the City Council. He received more votes than anyone last night — including the mayor.

    Some of the results surprised me: Republican J. Stan McCauley — the hardest-working candidate the GOP has turned out in the city in years — had a poor showing. He even failed to reach the number of votes received by Mike McGarry, the Republican candidate in 2003.

    City Council candidates Thom Page and Paul Mozzicato both lost despite having signs just about everywhere.

    I wasn’t surprised former Mayor Thirman Milner didn’t do better. Some of his answers at our recent forum and at other debates seemed right out of failed policies of the 1980s. When asked how he would accentuate the Connecticut Convention Center, he said, “Hartford shouldn’t be a convention city.” I’m sure the dozens of restaurant owners along with the hundreds of people who work in the city’s hospitality industry were cringing when they heard that.

    Mayor Perez needs to tackle some big problems as he begins his third term. Crime is down in the city, but the perception among visitors and suburbanites is that the city is dangerous. I think a major reason is the number of blighted buildings either in downtown or on its fringe. Visitors don’t want to walk by eyesores. The mayor needs to make it a priority to work with the owners to fix them up or sell them to someone who will. The mayor also needs to follow through on his promise to use eminent domain to take vacant buildings away from owners who insist on keeping these unsafe and unsightly structures.

    He also needs to work with the owners of the acres of surface lots to get them developed. Several companies have left the city complaining about the lack parking. The city needs to get more garages built and fill in the vast acreage of asphalt that is a blight on the city.

    The city needs more new housing. The mayor has overseen the development of hundreds of new housing units, but they are not enough. The city’s population has been dwindling for decades, and the exodus needs to be reversed.

    The mayor needs to lead a crackdown on quality of life issues in all neighborhoods. Motorcycle drivers with tailpipes modified to increase the noise need to be cited when they are speeding through city streets at midnight. Graffiti vandals should be arrested and made to clean up their damage. Residents need to be told that if trash pickup is on a Thursday, you don’t put it by the curb on a Sunday.

    Some other interesting tidbits from Election Day:

    New Haven Mayor John DeStefano was re-elected to an eighth term, tying a record that he can break in 2009 — but there has always been speculation the mayor has his eye on the congressional seat held by his good friend, Rosa DeLauro, should she decide not to run next year.

    In West Hartford, the Democrats, led by Mayor Scott Slifka, retained control in a seeming ringing endorsement of the Blue Back Square project, which dominated town politics in recent years. In a strange twist, the most vocal opponent of Blue Back, Republican Joe Visconti, was also elected to the Town Council.

    Sadly, many cities and towns had unchallenged races, denying voters a chance to choose. The Democrats punted in Middletown, allowing Republican Mayor Seb Giuliano an easy victory.

    Also, check out a great Web site, Connecticut Local Politics, which features maps of how the municipal elections went.

    I’d lke to hear from you. Be sure to leave your name and hometown when leaving comments.

    Thanks!

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