I was already angry when Don Naples, Republican alderman, approached me at the end of a four-hour hearing.
The first half of the hearing at Gaffney School was unbearable.
I had jotted in my notes, “parade of prostitutes.”
Our mayor had misappropriated $350,000 from New Britain’s hard-pressed taxpayers to hire a group of biased consultants. Their job was to sell us a horrible idea: savage our beautiful Bradley Mountain to give away a billion dollars’ worth of trap rock, leaving us with a lagoon of industrial runoff.
In my naivete I was unaware that such consultants existed. With no pretense of objectivity, they insisted for an hour and a half that the whole purpose of the project was a magnanimous deal to save New Britain from certain death of thirst. No mention of the stupendous profits to be made by extracting precious trap rock.
Later in the evening, a speaker from Plainville, a veteran wetlands official, let us know that there are many of these phonies-for-hire out there. So-called experts, they bully small towns like ours, who can’t afford counter-experts.
Not this time. About 30 simple citizens, at 3 minutes each, lifted us up with their passion, eloquence, and self-taught expertise, overwhelming the distorted, interminable presentation that began the hearing.
Are these guys licensed? If they are, their license should be revoked.
Despite the enjoyable interlude, punctuated by vigorous applause, at the end of the hearing I was still burning from having had an hour and a half of my life stolen.
The hearing was breaking up, and I was approaching some of the aroused attendees to sign up for our DTC email list, when Don came up to me. He was apparently stung by my using my 3 minutes to call out the Republican aldermen sitting there, for encouraging such rapine. Pleading innocent, he persisted in my face as I was trying to talk to the other people streaming by. Finally, I snarled at him and drove him away.
I’m sorry, Don. I’m not usually like that…
A public tribute to former State Senator Joseph H. Harper, Jr. will be held Thursday, June 14th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Central Connecticut State University’s Founders Hall.
Harper, a six-term 6th district state senator and Deputy State Treasurer, died May 20th at the age of 70.
Senator Harper, the Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee during his senate terms, was instrumental in building state budgets, and bringing millions of dollars back to his hometown of New Britain. A former Alderman and mayoral aide in New Britain, Harper also served two terms in the State House of Representatives After retiring from the Senate, Harper continued public service and advocacy work as a Deputy State Treasurer, as a Vice President at Central Connecticut State University and most recently as the Vice President of Government Relations at The Hospital for Special Care (HSC). In 2006, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut legislature named the state office building in Downtown New Britain after Senator Harper.
Donations in Harper’s memory may be made to the Harper Center for Autism at the Hospital for Special Care, 2150 Corbin Avenue, New Britain, CT 06053 or to the Prudence Crandall Center, 594 Burritt Street, New Britain, CT 06053.
The memorial service and reception is open to the public and attendees may park at the Welte Garage on the CCSU campus.