This article was written by Kerri Provost. Dateline is June 30, 2011 – I could tell you about myself, but think it is better for you to hear it from someone else.
Five Questions with J. Stan McCauley
I spoke with J. Stan McCauley (AKA Pastor Stan) by phone.
What are your top three favorite things (events, places, people, etc) about Hartford?
“The opportunity and potential of Hartford is off the chain. That’s probably number one.”
He quickly followed that: “second I would say is the city itself,” referring to the entirety of it. McCauley said that he does not exaggerate when he says “Hartford is the greatest city on Earth.”
His third favorite thing about Hartford is “the richness of its diversity.”
What are three specific and measurable actions you would take to boost the city?
“Hartford needs to be managed,” he said. “It’s just a ship at sea that’s adrift. The passengers don’t know how to float the ship. The captain is asleep.” Later, he clarified by saying Hartford is “not a crisis. It’s not broken. It’s mismanaged.” McCauley said that to deal with this, he would “bring in an entirely new staff,” including a COO, “who actually know what they’re doing and love the city. ”
Then, after cleaning house, he would arrange for “a meeting with all City staff” to be held at Bulkeley or Weaver to make clear his expectations of City employees. McCauley said that “customer service has to be paramount.”
Finally, he said, “we’ll make Hartford a destination for entrepreneurs and new businesses,” which, “in this current economy its going to be a challenge but can be done.”
How do you plan to deal with absentee landlords who neglect their properties?
McCauley said “I’m not a big fan of eminent domain […] I don’t think it should be used at all, but if it’s going to be used at all, this would be a better use.” Absentee landlords who do not maintain their properties have “abandoned responsibility as citizens” and “their neglect and absence is affecting the quality of life.” Because there are blight ordinances on the books, he would want to “impose maximum fines until the property becomes the City’s.” The City would then “use [McCauley’s proposed] anti-blight program to rehab the house.”
For those who missed the recent mayoral candidate forum, here is a recap of that anti-blight program. McCauley says,”let’s take individuals who’ve done their time, paid in full.” In an effort to prevent recidivism, McCauley said “you need an employable skill…if you’re going to be dropped off in Hartford and become a burden of Hartford.” He said that those working in this anti-blight program need something productive to do. They’ll earn “whatever the market can bear” for one house and the other house that they fix up will go to the City for existing (not newly hired) City employees at a reduced price. By doing this it “pushes back crime” because participants have done “sweat equity and are working for the community.” He said that these homes would be strategically located in the city. Participants would develop a “sense of pride,” and would have that investment in the community. This in turn would help to protect against copper theft, broken windows, etc.
How are you qualified for this job position?
“I have designed and built Hartford Public Access television. Raised all the money for it.” McCauley explained that the large staff included people with a variety of viewpoints. He said there were “pro abortion and anti abortion people working on the same show.” His “job was to manage all of that.” So, “managing difficult people and personalities” is one of the ways he feels he is prepared to be the mayor. To this, he added “years of pastoring.” This experience, he said, has allowed many residents to confide in him. He said that he has “an ability to work with people.” Moreover, he said that “the city doesn’t need a law degree. It needs a heart that cares and can deliver beyond rhetoric.” Later, he clarified this last thought by saying, “I would contend that what we need are engineers and builders, not lawyers.” As he said that, he got a thumbs up from a passerby.
How do you keep your finger on Hartford’s pulse, and if elected, how will you make yourself available to your constituents?
“I’ve been available as a public figure for twenty odd years.” He said, “I give people my phone numbers.” He currently has a radio show on WKND, and said that he would “continue to do this weekly as mayor.” A lack of transparency leads to corruption, he said, so it’s necessary to “have access to people who can ask [the mayor] tough questions at any time.”
Right now he uses the bus to travel, but says he might have to use it less if mayor because of the demands on time. He also said that “every Sunday we go out bike riding throughout the city” and would continue with that.
McCauley said, “I’m approachable.” People “can always call me or pull me to the side,” he said. McCauley stated that he would attend NRZ and other community meetings.
Another idea he had was for “a mobile city hall,” using a bus, that would visit different neighborhoods.
If you have more questions about me or my exploration to become Mayor of Hartford, feel free to contact me directly at 860-944-9797.