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Sharper Teeth In Hartford Blight Law

Hartford Courant

July 19, 2009

Mayor Eddie Perez's office sent out a news release Thursday rightly praising "incredible community support" for helping to pass a much stronger anti-blight ordinance for Hartford. "We have now added teeth to our tenacious efforts to reduce blight in all of our neighborhoods," the mayor exclaimed.

We might quarrel with the word "tenacious," but we hope it applies going forward.

As the mayor noted, chronically blighted properties identified as having such features as hanging gutters, tall grass, broken windows, holes in the walls and so forth are now subject to a broader definition of blight and will be subject to multi-department inspections. If property owners do not comply, the city now has greater authority to take action. The fine is $100 per day per violation.

Why not break in the new, tougher anti-blight provisions by enforcing them against Denise Viera, who preaches neighborhood revitalization in Washington as a U.S. Department of Justice community development official but whose Broadview Terrace house in Hartford is falling apart? Neighbors complain, but Ms. Viera does nothing. Well, that's not quite right; the lawn was recently mowed.

But according to Courant columnist Helen Ubinas, the Viera abode is still pretty much a shambles: a sagging and rotting porch, broken windows, a gutter lying crumpled by the house.

Community groups worked collaboratively to get the mayor and council to strengthen the anti-blight ordinance.

Now use it, Mr. Mayor.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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