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We Can't Do That Because...

By Mike McGarry

January 24, 2013

In his inagural speech, President Obama said, “Take the risks that make this country great.” Well, not in Hartford.

If Hartford ever needs a new logo, and motto, we think Billy Dugal should revisit the editor page of the Hartford News to draw a proper pen and ink editorial cartoon.

Billy was famous back in the day for many illustrations and cartoons for the Southside Neighborhood News and the Hill Ink (now, Hartford News). All you had to do is give him an idea and ... presto! A great, memorable squibble.

So, Bill, here is what we need: a Hart (deer) squeezing a wet blanket over the Hartford sky line. The cut line would be: "We can't do that because..." it would make it easy for a boss, a corporate leader, a non-profit, any leader of local men and women to deflect any idea that would make them uncomfortable or any hint of progress that might tread on their well paid turf. Doing nothing always protects a job.

In the discussions that we have stirred up over the XL Center request for proposals, the constant refrain from many has been just that - "We can't do that because ..." Yes, proposals are picked apart before they are even truly considered because rather that use time and energy, many of the corporate mentality chip away at any detail until the person with the idea gives up. Save that bottom line at all costs.

One memory we have is a discussion by the Hartford Proud and Beautiful Board about the Hartford Blooms project. Nit picking about minor details, finding objections, throwing up roadblocks seemed to be the delight of some (well paid, well positioned) Board members. To his everlasting credit, Jack Hale (then the Knox Parks Director) said "wait a minute, hold on, let's look at this simple project differently. Let's think of it as a logging harvest. The logs are cut, sent down a flue to the river and float to the sawmill. Yes, a few will sink, a few might end up on the shoreline. But, where do you think we get our lumber? Most will make it just as most of the pots will be just fine." Case closed and 15 years later, we still have flower pots, many thanks to the Business Improvement District, around town.

So, to those who think the XL Center ice can't be used, those who won't even consider "Buskers" around downtown, those who degrade the idea of local products (to save a few dollars), those who won't join together for promotions or the greater good, we say "keep it up and you'll have your way" and Hartford's new motto will be " we can't do it that way because ..."

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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