A potential mayoral candidate — who has yet to say what he stands for — flings more mud at the current mayor. Without blinking an eye, all of the media outlets jump on it. Initially, this happens without an explanation for why the State Representative would care at all about this “issue.”
It’s simply not news. I had known that the Mayor’s husband owns investment properties and collected Section 8 from some of them well before Roldán dropped his press release, and I’m not someone who spends any time filing FOIA requests or getting information for gossiping city council aides who could spend their time better by actually working. The property assessment data for the City of Hartford is online. It’s searchable by address and by name. According to this data, Ortiz has purchased (investment) properties and an office between 2003-2007. I am not sure what need there is to “investigate” when this is spelled out clearly. There are no secrets in Hartford; at any point in the past five years Roldán could have formally expressed his concern about a possible conflict of interest, yet he waited until exploring a mayoral campaign.
In a city where approximately 30% of residents live in poverty and thousands are on the waiting list to receive Section 8 subsidized housing, it’s not all that shocking that someone who owns an investment property would be collecting federal subsidies. While there may be a conflict of interest in here somewhere, as a resident, I am much more concerned that Ortiz is behaving as a responsible landlord. There are so many absentee landlords who do not maintain their properties and who turn a blind eye to tenants who engage in routine criminal activities. Those landlords who permit the erosion of quality of life in Hartford concern me far more than those who collect Section 8 for two tenants and do so while being married to the Mayor.
This is not about muckraking, it’s about having an agenda. To this point, Roldán has offered nothing about how he would be a positive leader for the City of Hartford, yet has plenty of negative to offer about his most formidable opponent. Perhaps instead of engaging in character assassination by trying to find a scandal where one is not, a mayoral candidate’s (and current State Representative’s) time might be better spent helping to improve the city he’d like to lead.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.