Welcome to Hartford Today and Tomorrow! As an introduction to my blog, I wrote a little essay about who I am and my experiences in Hartford, but that will have for my second post. First, I must tell you what this is about.
This blog is about radical change in the Hartford area. It’s about one radical change in particular: the notion that the City of Hartford should merge and become one with as few as five or six or as many as ten or eleven of the surrounding towns. The essays I post here will be about that subject, either directly or indirectly.
So, what am I doing here? I’m writing about a subject that has been on my mind for thirty years – the subject often referred to in our particular corner of the country as “regionalism.” More to the point, the subject is the demonstrable inefficiency and ineffectiveness of organizing ourselves into multiple municipalities ranging in size from a few thousand to approximately 100,000.
Regionalization is a subject that has been discussed from time to time in certain circles in greater Hartford. There’s the occasional editorial or op-ed piece, the random conversation about the problem over lunch or dinner. There’s the oft-repeated frustration of our state and local leadership. There is no action, even on what should be relatively simple cooperative activities that, in my opinion, are useless or counter-productive.
A few years ago I began to question more seriously why we – greater Hartford – can see the problem and nevertheless choose to do nothing about it. I’ve wondered why our political leadership hasn’t acted, and I’ve wondered why our array of nonprofit organizations hasn’t, either. At various times, I’ve considered becoming active politically or creating a nonprofit organization to address the problem, and for various reasons I’ve decided that isn’t for me. Ultimately, I decided I would begin to speak to the community about the problem and leave it to the community to decide the extent to which it wants to listen.
What do I hope to accomplish? Well, when my thinking turns the corner toward hallucination, I hope to start a movement of citizens that will result in Hartford becoming one city of 300,000 people or more, instead of one city and seven or eight separate towns. When I come back to reality, I hope to start a conversation that leads to greater Hartford actively seeking to shape its future, a conversation that until now has been stopped dead in its tracks by the prevailing attitude that there is nothing to be done about the problem. There ARE solutions to the problems this community faces, and it’s time we got to work on them.
I begin this effort with my own unique combination of arrogance and humility. I have great confidence that what I think about this subject is correct, and I also have a healthy understanding that I’m just an old guy talking too much about something few people are interested in. My arrogance keeps me going, and my concern that I’ll be dismissed with a smile hasn’t deterred me.
So here it is, a collection of my thoughts on the subject of radical change for greater Hartford. If you read on with me, you will agree with some of what I say and probably disagree with some. I tend to present my ideas as though they are facts, which will lead some of you to want to argue with me and ask me how I know these things to be true. My answer is simply that it’s what I believe, based on some research, some observation and the workings of my brain.
As more than a few help desk workers have discovered over the years, I’m fascinated by computers and digital technology, but my fascination has not led me much beyond being a bumbling idiot when the time comes to actually DO anything. I am a total novice at building and running a blog site, and I apologize in advance for whatever shortcomings, including almost total ignorance of social media, that will become apparent as this project progresses. I am indebted to Peter Ingersoll for his help in getting this blog site up and running.
My thoughts expressed here haven’t arisen full-blown from my mind without the help of many people who have been willing to talk with me about their perspective. Among those are Peter Arakas, Lew Robinson, Martin Geitz, Oz Griebl, Rick Porth, Lyle Wray and Christian Sager. I thank them for their insights and simply for their willingness to think about the problem with the intention of doing something. I mention them not because they endorse what I say – these are my thoughts and they may or may not agree with me – but because their willingness to talk has been helpful to me.
I thank my wife, Carolyn. No one knows better than Carolyn my propensity to go on about things, and maybe she’s encouraged me to do this just to get me to stop talking to her about it! Whatever the reason, Carolyn has consistently encouraged me to write and encouraged me to get this project off the ground. Her support keeps me going.
Thanks for reading this far, and I hope you will read on and start talking about solutions.