Wait a minute. No reason to come to Hartford? Some of you are not paying attention.
In jury selection for the coming corruption trial of Mayor Eddie Perez, prospective jurors are being asked by defense lawyer Hubert Santos if they have any opinions about Hartford.
As Courant columnist Helen Ubinas has reported, the responses have not been heartening. Some said they avoid the city because of what they've heard or read about the crime. Others say they have no reason to come to the city, so don't.
The poor old capital has its challenges, to be sure, not the least of which is that the mayor is on trial. But the city also has a lot going on. If you are cooling your heels in Canton — the home of one prospective panel member who said she doesn't "go over the mountain" — you will miss "Porgy and Bess" and "South Pacific" at the Bushnell this year, as well as Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen at Hartford Stage and Kathleen Turner at TheaterWorks.
You'll be missing the "Reunited Masterpieces" exhibit — as well as films and lectures — at the Wadsworth Atheneum. You won't see the great films at Cinestudio or Real Art Ways, dance presentations at the Charter Oak Cultural Center, lectures at the University of Hartford and Trinity College, hearings at the Capitol or the Huskies.
By steering clear of Hartford, you avoid some of the most socially engaged churches in the region, and some of the finest restaurants and night spots. We won't see you at Riverfront Recapture's dragon boat races or concerts, or the Hartford Marathon. Or the Richard Welling exhibit this summer at the Hartford Public Library. Etc. People who engage the city sometimes find there is too much to do.
We wish more people would give the city a chance, because as former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut once said, "You can't be a suburb of no place." Put another way, if you are avoiding Hartford, it may not be Hartford's problem. It may be yours.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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