As usual, the last column by Mike McGarry was interesting for fiction as well as fact. He’d heap Hartford’s problems on the few years Working Families Party has been around, not on decades of insider two-party Republican-Democratic rule, disgraceful caucuses, back- room profit-seeking deals, “business as usual” and the emptying of the city of jobs, workers, businesses.
Let’s see some ways that a fresh Council with Working Families, some new reasonable Democrats, and no Republicans could go right, as well as left.
It would insist on fair hiring of city residents with living wages, paid sick days, respect for labor organizations, and services and loans for small businesses. It would watch that big projects like MDC and the Public Safety Complex and schools are extra careful to hire minorities, women, and city residents generally.
It would improve public transportation between work and safe neighborhoods without blight; and make sure education remains securely in the public realm, as it has been for a century, to fairly educate all (children, adults, immigrants) with good neighborhood schools, respect for teachers and their organizations, local control with universal standards – and without profit-making and false promises.
Services would come through good, truthful, open government. It would fight for taxes from federal, state, and city sources just as ethics, religion, and humane people teach: from those most able to pay – without the shameful tricks and breaks that Republicans and some “Democrats” maintain for the wealthy.
Don’t Republicans like Mr. McGarry speak well, but also hide, sometimes citing the ‘party of Lincoln’ in campaigning or not even mentioning their party affiliation - of Hoover, Nixon, Bush, Cheney, Gingrich? Do they deny that the rich now pay less and stand farther above the rest (99%) of us than ever in history and in the current world? What do they say as their own social security and Medicare may be cut?
Conservatives like the ‘good old days.’ How about when taxes were a little more fair and progressive, government could act to regulate banks and credit, accept collective bargaining, protect families against cheating landlords and careless bank foreclosure?
Do conservatives want to attract more investors? How about with: 1) real ‘public/private partnerships’ with agreements for corporate tax breaks only with tight guarantees for lasting good jobs or taxes returned? 2) new rules for equal profit sharing among corporations, workers, and the city? and 3) local banks and power companies helpful to businesses and homeowners instead of giants like Bank of America and CL&P?
A new City Council must give up the old two-party business as usual and restore honesty and fairness for all - working families, including young, old, immigrants, unemployed, homeless - with secure jobs and living conditions. Why would conservatives pout and cry and argue about going left or right?