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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Task Forces, Advisory Meetings, and Publicly Funded Arenas: A Rich Mix

Hartford, CT Mayor Eddie A. Perez is dancing...

The mayor:
wanted to know whether there was sentiment within the Greater Hartford business community to support a new downtown arena, so he created a "task force" to study the question.

When that group's first meeting was held behind closed doors in April, The Courant questioned the secrecy and filed a Freedom of Information complaint with the state. The group stopped meeting at city hall and retreated to the offices of the MetroHartford Alliance regional economic development organization.

There, business leaders say they can talk with candor, out of earshot of the press and public.

They met again Tuesday, turning away a Courant reporter. Perez and the city contend the task force meetings are private.

They might ought not be, Mayor...people grow suspicious quickly these days about arena deals, and when you embrace the 'ol smoke-filled room, things generally go downhill from there.

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