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A Lot Of Gas Blowing Over South End Power Plant Conversion

February 10th, 2018 · 34 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning, News and Events

power plant construction

Power plant construction underway in South End. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.

UPDATE: The City Council members who represent the district, Denese Taylor-Moye and Jack Banta, were instrumental in setting up PSEG’s presentation to the City Council. “We went to (City Council President) Aidee Nieves and explained we need for them to come to the full council for a presentation to all of us,” Taylor-Moye told OIB. She describes PSEG as a “neighborhood friend” responsive to concerns that she and Banta have expressed regarding the project. She added that as representatives of the district they are in regular contact with PSEG officials for updates about the power plant conversion and jobs program.

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Trejo and Howlett are participants in Ready2Work, a $550,000 union apprenticeship course launched by PSEG Power LLC, operator of the harborfront coal-fired power plant. PSEG set up the program, which will train 50 applicants for free, as part of a 2016 deal with Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration to replace the coal burning facility with a cleaner but still controversial gas-fired plant.

But even as PSEG touts those apprenticeships, the New Jersey-based company is under fire from some religious leaders who allege Ready2Work falls far short of promises made to obtain community support for the gas plant.

“They just think they are too big to be wrong or held accountable,” said one critic, Rev. Carl McCluster.

So the City Council, which blessed Ganim’s pact with PSEG–a deal he is touting while running for governor–is trying to figure out if the allegations have merit.

PSEG Vice President of Governmental Affairs Richard Thigpen called the criticism “misinformation.” That was the word Thigpen used last Monday when he, accompanied by students like Trejo and Howlett, addressed the council. The council’s economic development committee will also sit down with PSEG.

Full story here.

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34 Comments so far ↓

  • Jimfox

    Jimfox // Feb 2, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I can’t believe no one ran this by the most Rev. Carl McCluster?
    Put down those Duchess Hot dogs, the Wrath of God will be at the meeting!
    Unless Rev. Carl McCluster has already received his Vig from PSCG, in that case no protest is needed.

    Reply

  • Jimfox

    No Ill-gotten gains for the Rev.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Total bullshit, since when do the clergy tell us how to run the city and what can e built where. I suggest the Revs go into the streets and try and bring the lost gang bangers into the fold. Oh that right there is no black mail money to be made there.
    I have a news flash for all of these people you dont just get hired as an electrician, iron worker or any other tradesman no matter what the black mailers say. The trades have apprenticeship programs that las 5 years and require the apprentice to go to classes at night for 2 nights a week. They do not get full wages until they finish the course.
    These f’n reverends are black mail artists with their hands out and should not hold sway over what is to be built in Bridgeport. Let me say this to them you are not entitled to 1 fucking thing.

  • Tom White

    Brian Lockhart has done some effective articles of late, but he dropped the ball on this one.

    He failed to mention ‘reverend’ Carl McCluster’s felony conviction for diverting federal funds in a housing project. Also overlooked was McCluster’s role in hijacking the South End NRZ and trying to strike a deal with DiNardo Enterprises for housing felons released from prison.

    Now we have a ‘reverend’ council member commenting about hiring Bridgeport residents, although well-meaning, demonstrating a lack of awareness of details of what she voted on.

    I doubt that PSEG is the least bit concerned by the threats by ‘reverend’ McCluster. I’m confident they know a shakedown when they see it.

    • Jimfox

      Rev McCluster was against DiNardo’s Playground Felon – House at first before Zoning, until (Scumbag DiNardo) offered a $50,000 reward to the South End NRZ only if Rev. McCluster help him get it through Zoning.
      McCluster took the bait. And said screw the kid’s at the Went Field playground.
      Thank’s to Zoning, (Scumbag DiNardo), Rev McCluster and South End NRZ came away Empty!

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Green Forest is just making money. Their “faith based” program does not off certification and union membership. How does “reverend” Carl McCluster think that is better than a union soonsored program that provides applicants with the necessary skills and certifications to compete in the construction trades job market? McCluster is a huckster, a flimflam man. He was a Hadacol salesman in a previous life.

  • Donald Day

    Conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” Is the position right?

  • Ron Mackey

    I didn’t see anywhere in the article about any comment from the two City Council members and the district leader from the 131 district.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    “The rift between McCluster and PSEG occurred when the latter, in setting up the Ready2Work course, partnered with Bridgeport-based The Workplace for candidate screening, and with state labor unions for the apprenticeship training. The pastors wanted PSEG to instead choose Green Forest, a minority-run, faith-based Georgia firm…

    “… a Green Forest-run apprenticeship program would not have offered the union or Connecticut certifications Ready2Work graduates need to enter the workforce: ‘The objective is to enroll Bridgeport residents in the Connecticut building trades unions (so) they can work on jobs all around the state and region.’”

    What will individuals recieve from Green Forest, a plastic statuette of Jesus to mount on the dashboard?

  • John Marshall Lee

    Among the words used to report the current state of PSEG developments, somewhere I believe that there is a Community Benefit Agreement with funds amounting to perhaps $2 Million to provide community assistance? Where does that group stand after a couple years from the project’s initiation? Any news on shaping of community response, holding public meetings with records available? Thank you. Time will tell.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    When a scandal like this comes to light, private citizens exploiting loopholes in the law to profit at the expense of poor people, one has to order how many more there are. First it was the “booting” of automobiles for delinquent taxes, vehicles that were seized without any negotiations with the owners. Now it is homes being seized and foreclosed upon for delinquent sewer fees. All so a well connected attorney and a real estate firm located in the same office building can make money. “those people owed money” they tell themselves. “what we did was legal.”

    Really? REALLY?! Using the flimsiest of legal justifications to kick people out of their homes, places they scrounged and saved for and lived in for years only to be told “Get the fuck out!” by a greedy lawyer.

  • Frank Gyure

    This is not new. There were plenty of public meetings and there has been plenty of mayoral and City Council involvement. The question is how much citizen involvement has there been. Did anyone attend any of the public meetings held by PSEG. Did anyone attend the protest at a City Council meeting. Does everyone know how long this has been going on. To do some research,all you have to do is type “PSEG” into the OIB search function and you will see some history. If you want even more research,ask PSEG about the number and dates of the public hearing and if anyone of you attended.

  • Ron Mackey

    Lennie, thanks for the update because I didn’t read anything about the two City Council members from the 131 district on the issue and glad that it was made clear.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    After reading all of the post i have come to the conclusion that any large company coming into Bridgeport needs to get past all the Revs and all of the people with their hands out. PSE&G should have told this and any other group to GFY. People have been complaining for years about the coal burning plant. this company comes in and is spending multiple millions to build a cleaner burning plant and they have to deal with these stick up artists. What a shame

    • flubadub

      I could not find a source, but I recall a friend of mine saying that during the 1992 casino competitions Steve Wynn was quoted as saying that he had never been anyplace before where so many people had their hands out to “help” him gain influence as Bridgeport.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Bridgeport is full of pimps. PSEG should have known. After all, the city’s highest elected official, Joseph Ganim, is a felon convicted of using the mayor’s office to solicit bribes. The “reverend” McCluster is no different, using his status as a clergyman and self-appointed (and self-important) representative of his community. If Green Forest is awarded the contract what I’ll he recieve, a new driveway? Home improvements? Will he take the Joe Ganim route by accepting custom tailored shirts? Or will it be plain old-fashioned cold hard cash?

  • Ethan Book

    My pastor is Rev. Moses Mercedes of the Iglesia Principe de Paz. He is part of the group of pastors working with Pastor McCluster on this. I just called Pastor Mercedes to ask him about this matter. He said he is well aware of the issue and has worked with Rev. McCluster on it. He says that, even after they gave PSEG 100 names of Bridgeport residents who were eligible for working with them, PSEG said they could only find eight persons to fill ten positions. He says that in a meeting with him, McCluster, a DOL official and the PSEG, PSEG said they would reply within ten days but didn’t do so. He says they have a substantial record of delays and non-responses by PSEG. Based on his comments, I say that people should carefully review the facts before making assumptions. I additionally refer to Tom White’s reference to McCluster’s public criminal history where he fails to address the undisclosed criminal history of unauthorized Republican Town Committee member Zulma Matos (Also, he supports the Bridgeport Generation Now anti-corruption program where he discourages the RTC from promoting active review and reform of the WPCA, also as a member of an internal RTC audit committee, he failed to exercise due diligence, and further he has failed in my efforts to ensure RTC transparcy and accountability and compliance with Bylaws.).

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      No one gives a damn about the dysfunction of the Republican Town Committee. That’s a bad soap opera that wouldn’t make it onto the public access channel.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Well Mr. Book it sounds like your pastor is one of those in line with his hand out. To even be associated with McCluster should tell you something. BTW no one has said what kind of jobs were talked about ? If its one of the trades that is not going to happen

    • Ethan Book

      My point Mr. Fardy is that there needs to be more review of the facts rather than just take at face value the PSEG rebuttal of “misinformation. I have known Pastor Mercedes for 14 years. I don’t see him as having his hand out.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        PSEG is converting a power plant to natural gas from coal. The former is the cleanest of hydrocarbon fuels; coal is the filthiest. The residents if the South End will not have to live with chronic respiratory problems. “Reverend” McCluster and his friends ought to be rejoicing, thanking the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Instead he’s making a fuss because no one thought to kneel down to kiss his ring and ass.

  • Tom White

    Does anyone have a clue as to what Ethan Book is talking about?

    Neither does he.

  • Tom White

    Ethan Book lives in a world of hearsay, innuendos and conspiracy theories.

    • Ethan Book

      Tom White, you fail to understand hearsay. That’s a legal concept which applies to court trial evidentiary hearings. Hearsay can be fully acceptable to support probable cause for justifying further investigation. In addition, there are established hearsay exceptions. Also, when facts give rise to questions, the questions should not be dismissed simply as being innuendo. Further, conspiracy is an established legal concept. You yourself suggest a conspiracy theory by your statements of the existence of municipal government corruption.

      • Joe McLaine

        Ethan,
        When you have a battle of wits with Tom White it is like you are fighting an unarmed man.
        His twisted logic is much like the logic of someone who smokes crack. And we know his close friend can tell him where he can but it.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Hearsay is inabmissible in American courts, Ethan.

        “Reverend” McCluster and his colleagues are critical of “Ready2Work falls far short of promises made to obtain community support for the gas plant.” Ready2Work is offering apprenticeships, professional certification and union membership. They are going to train people with journeyman’s guidance and hands on experience. Successful candidates will have marketable job skills to earn real money. That’s preferable to working as a security guard or flipping burgers at Mcdonald’s. Green Forest, the “faith based” program endorsed by McCluster offers none of that. His position suggests a firm of humm fallibility, not altruism.

        • Ethan Book

          TBK, some hearsay is acceptable in American courts. It’s fully acceptable in CT administrative proceedings. We’re not in court. Hearsay can be relevant for the discussion process. If Tom White is suggesting that I’m inappropriately using hearsay, then let him give examples. My main point here is that it’s inappropriate to say that a group of pastors have their hands out simply because they say that PSEG hasn’t done what has been promised!

          • Ron Mackey

            Ethan Book, NOBODY cares what’s going on with you and the Republican Town Committee, NOBODY.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            That’s right. No one, absolutely NO ONE here gives a rat’s ass, a flying fuck or a tinker ‘s damn about the dysfunction of the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee. The Bridgeport GOP has been irrelevant for decades. It’s a bad melodrama, a bunch of immature white guys arguing over who I’ll be captain of the stickball team.

            Don’t air the committee’s dirty laundry. We all know the RTC is moribund, wheezing and hitching.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            *who will be captain

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            PSEG is doing what they promised. It is the corporation’s prerogative to screen applicants for eligibility. PSEG is giving a fair amount of jing to train apprentices for long-term employment. The church people are acting as if this ought to be more like four loaves and five fishes, free money for the welfare class.

  • Joe McLaine

    It sounds to me like the Tom White dummy is sitting on Garrett’s lap again.

  • Joe McLaine

    Ron,
    I enjoy reading about the BRTC. In my opinion the leadership is pompous, arrogant, racist, and corrupt. They can not relate to the electors of the city, and the leadership uses the organization as a personal grab bag to take advantage of the crumbs that they are entitled too without doing the work expected of them.
    Ethan subjects them to public scrutiny. But I do agree the BRTC is so insignificant that most people don’t care.

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