Mayor Bill Finch delivers his state of the city address to the Bridgeport City Council tonight.
I’ve written my share of these speeches for mayors. (Glad I’m not writing this one.) It’s hard to put a bright face on city tax increases, red ink, layoffs, low police morale, stagnant development and state government deficits threatening less aid to the state’s largest city. Governing in this atmosphere is a toothache. Everyone’s hurting. Pass the whiskey bottle.
Finch’s nature is to wax dreamily. Hizzoner will talk about the mess he inherited, the hard-hitting decisions he’s made his first 10 months, and the singles and doubles in economic development that will pay off.
The mayor wants the cleanest, greenest, most affordable city with schools that improve each year. Maybe next year.
Can you believe just four weeks left until the election? Time to load up the OIB countdown clock. What are you hearing? What’s your sense of the Chris Shays-Jim Himes race?
We learned over the weekend why Sarah Palin’s a poop. She kicked off Mac’s sleazy attack machine claiming that Barack associates with known domestic terrorists. Here’s a scary thought: with Halloween on the horizon, it could be worse for Barack — he could associate with the Snow Queen.
The Ice Lady pulled out her verbal ice pick as polls show Barack’s lead hardening. Here’s a suggestion: plant the ice pick in your “you betcha.”
This is the start of the surrogate ugliness with four weeks to go and we’ll see if McCain, 72, his last chance at being president, fans the flames of push-polling social puke. Paging Karl Rove.
McCain’s handlers are telling him we have to drive a hatchet into Barack’s head. Play the race card, play the socially unfit card, dust off Willie Horton. McCain will disassociate himself from that type of tactic while winking to his hit squad. Or will Sarah do all the winking?
News release from Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition
Bridgeport Children are Losing Ground
BRIDGEPORT, CT, 10/06/08 – In today’s uncertain times, Bridgeport children are barely keeping their heads above water.
Every year, the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) reports the “State of the Child in Bridgeport.” This thoroughly-researched and well-documented report looks at key indicators of child well-being. The report compares Bridgeport’s children to children statewide. It also shows progress made from one year to the next.
This year’s report sadly shows that Bridgeport has not been able to sustain the gains it made last year. “Our 2007 report gave Bridgeport five A+’s, for achieving reductions in infant mortality, school dropout rate, child homelessness, child abuse and neglect and air pollution,” reports Barbara Edinberg, Assistant Director, BCAC. “Regrettably, three of those indicators received an “F” this year – infant mortality 50% worse; dropout rate 18% worse; children abused and neglected 12% worse. In addition, we saw an increase of more than 20% in births to teens under the age of 18 and a 15% increase in the percent of low birthweight babies.”
Edith Cassidy, BCAC Board Chair, says, “We are deeply concerned about the impact of unemployment, rising energy and food costs, and lack of affordable health coverage on Bridgeport’s children.” She adds, “How will parents manage to get their medical care and prescriptions? Will parents be forced to cut back on food purchases? Will more families fall behind on their rent and lose their housing? Bridgeport’s children already lag far behind on so many measures.”
Where is Bridgeport Failing?
• Over 10,200 Bridgeport children lived in poverty in 2006, nearly 30% of all Bridgeport children, and an increase of 575 more children than in 2005.
• Bridgeport’s rate of child poverty is more than twice the statewide rate and 50% higher than the national rate.
• More than 95% of Bridgeport public school students were economically disadvantaged or lived in families earning less than $32,560 for a family of three. Statewide, 27% of the public school students are economically disadvantaged.
• Of the 3rd – 8th grade students in Bridgeport public schools who took the Connecticut Mastery Test in spring 2008, 45% met federal standards of proficiency in reading, compared to 74% of students statewide.
• The Class of 2006 had a dropout rate of 22.4%, compared to 19% for the Class of 2005.
• In 2005, nearly 10% of all Bridgeport newborns weighed less than 5.5 pounds at birth. The number is an increase of 15% from the previous year. These babies are at risk for developmental delays and long-term disabilities.
Where is Bridgeport Improving?
• Juvenile arrests for violent crimes decreased by nearly 20%, although they were still double the statewide rate.
• The number of lead poisoned children decreased by 15%.
“More than ever, we need to be strong advocates for Bridgeport’s children,” urges Cassidy. “Our children cannot afford to lose more ground. We must continue to put the pressure on our local and state officials to achieve real change. All Bridgeport’s children deserve to be healthy, get a good education, be safe and have a roof over their heads. Their parents deserve jobs that move them out of poverty.”
The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) is a coalition of nearly 80 local agencies and community organizations committed to improving the well-being of local children. For over 20 years BCAC has combined research, advocacy, community education and mobilization to ensure health, safety, and education for all of Bridgeport’s children.
The 2008 State of the Child in Bridgeport report can also be found on our website, www.bcacct.org