Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Congressman-elect Jim Himes met Friday to talk about pressing financial issues in the city that got the former Wall Street banker elected on Tuesday. No Bridgeport, no Jim Himes in Congress. The election is over and now the young congressman must start thinking about producing for the city that produced a modern-record 23,500-vote plurality.
Let’s see now, the city is on the edge of the worst financial meltdown in 20 years; more layoffs are expected with the current budget millions in the hole and climbing, more than one-third into the budget year; the next budget year that starts July 2009 has a projected shortfall of $30 or $40 million, but who’s counting; the mayor is at war with most municipal unions, wants to reform civil service and is doing November novenas (even though he’s not religious) for the economy to turn around.
What can Himes do? Maybe a novena or two himself because he cannot do a damn thing for the city’s predicament in the short term. Remember that campaign promise to do something about the closed Congress Street Bridge? Campaigning is a whole different world from governing. Now the real work begins. Except it’s going to take Himes months and months to get up to speed about how things work in Washington to help the state’s largest city.
The good news is Democrats control the White House and Congress for the next two years. If Barack and Himes cannot produce for the city, there are no excuses. All this talk about infrastructure improvement, middle-class tax cuts, Brownfield investment, teacher-pay enhancement, affordable housing grants will shake out. What did Yahooy say about Finch’s promises during last year’s mayoral primary: a chicken in every pot.
Well, the pot is empty and the financial feathers are about to fly. I hope Jim Himes becomes the greatest congressman on the planet. I hope Finch goes down in history as the mayor that turned the city into the (what’s that slogan?) cleanest, greenest, most affordable city with schools and neighborhoods that improve every year. Hizzoner is just a few weeks away from his one year (can you believe it?) anniversary as mayor. In a few weeks I’ll be asking you for your report card. A year from now I hope things are much much better.
Joel Breaks Ganim Story
Click here to go directly to Joel’s report of Paul Ganim’s recent scrape with the police.