Outspoken Franklin Avenue businessman Paul Mozzicato is running for city council, and he likes his chances
July 26, 2007
By DANIEL D'AMBROSIO, Hartford Advocate Staff Writer
When the giant tax bills hit the fan for Hartford small businesses recently, Franklin Avenue bakery owner Paul Mozzicato quickly emerged as the front man for the alliance that sprung up in reaction to the crisis.
So it's not too surprising that now Mozzicato is running for city council.
For those of you who haven't been following along, a quick review: In the city's recent long overdue property revaluation, homeowners and big business were spared significant tax increases at the expense of small business owners, who took it in the shorts.
Increases of up to 100 percent were commonplace for guys like John Tornatore, owner of Gordon Bonetti Florist just down the street from Mozzicato's bakery. Mozzicato himself saw his taxes nearly double. The city has instituted a five-year phase-in of the increases, but as Mozzicato has said, a doubling over five years is still a doubling.
Although he wasn't officially endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee at last week's jamboree at Bulkeley High School, Mozzicato is hitting the pavement this week to get the signatures he needs to get on the Democratic primary ballot for Sept. 11.
The way Mozzicato sees it, the endorsed candidates — Calixto Torres, James Boucher, Pedro Segarra, Kenneth Kennedy Jr., Matt Ritter and R. Jo Winch — don't have much of an advantage over him. Even though all but Ritter are incumbents.
"Now is the day you start working," Mozzicato said. "Get out there and prove who you are and what your belief system is. The incumbents, the newly endorsed and the unendorsed are all in the same boat in my opinion."
Sitting in the corner booth of his café attached to the bakery he owns together with his brother and sister and parents, Mozzicato, 33, said his entry into politics grew out of many years of community organizing.
"When I started talking to neighborhood people everyone pretty much had the same concerns — public safety and quality of life issues that are important to everybody," he said.
Mozzicato calls incumbent Mayor Eddie Perez an "affable fellow," with whom he has agreed to disagree.
"You can't hold a grudge because you don't agree with a policy decision," said Mozzicato. "I just think some [of Perez's] decisions haven't been thought out enough, like this tax thing."
Mozzicato said if elected his approach to running Hartford will be similar to his approach to running his bakery and cafe.
"You got to get the pulse of the overall community," he said. "At the end of the day they are the customers of this business. We got to get back to the point where customers are buying the product and believing in the brand again."