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Segarra's Pluses Ahead Of Minuses

It's early for a progress report, but so far not too bad for Hartford's new mayor

Helen Ubiñas

July 28, 2010

In case anyone's keeping score, and who would be rash enough to do that so early in Hartford Mayor Pedro Ernesto Segarra's tenure (Oh, right, me), here's how Hizzoner is measuring up nearly a month into taking over the helm at city hall.

In the "Yes, Pedro!" column, we've got:

*Asking for resignations of all department heads — though there are still some resignations he seems to have missed.

*Speaking of resignations — standing up to perennial pill and former corporation counsel John Rose.

*Showing support for the Hartford Police Department by attending the arraignment for the yahoo who shot and wounded a police officer earlier this month.

*Targeting the infamous Butt-Ugly Building for demolition. Now, we just have to be sure something is built on the site. The city has its fill of dilapidated buildings — hello, Capitol West. But it also has way too many empty lots.

*Forgoing the crown by not appointing himself to the school board – at least not yet. In an interview with WNPR's Jeff Cohen on Monday, Segarra said he's looking for someone to take former Mayor Eddie Perez's seat on the board of education. But he hasn't ruled out appointing himself, as Perez did. Hmmm. Better to focus on leading the city and find others for the board. But for now, we're leaving this in the pro column.

And this late-breaking addition — showing up to a rainy Bushnell Park concert celebrating the city's 375th birthday and dancing, as the old saying goes, like no one was watching. People were, and they liked his moves and his joie de vivre.

And in the "Awww, Pedro, really!?" side, we've got:

*Hiring former Hartford City Manager Saundra Kee Borges as the city's new corporation counsel. This is the time to be brave, to be bold. Instead, Segarra went super safe and reached back into Hartford's past. But hey, at least that position was filled. Segarra's vacant council seat is still empty and as a colleague pointed out, isn't a new council president way overdue?

*Semi-succumbing to the fort mentality. Word from city reporters is that Segarra is already less accessible. Don't let that happen, Pedro. Remember your own words when you took over: "It is about people and positive relationships in the community. I plan to meet with neighborhood leaders with the message that I am here to listen and learn." And remember my unsolicited advice to keep that statement handy.

I'll add to the progress report every now and again. But feel free to share your own observations.

The good news is that, at least by my count, Hartford's new mayor is still ahead.

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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