3:30 p.m. UPDATE: Friday the 13th, lucky day for me. How about you?
Chris Dodd must feel like his mouth has been glued to a diesel exhaust with the motor running. The revved up media fumes just keep on coming.
The latest, first reported by Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie and fanned by the Wall Street Journal, centers on a sweetheart real estate deal Dodd cut years ago for an Irish cottage in Galway Bay with a buddy who’d been convicted for an SEC violation. The hits just keep on coming.
The only thing that could possibly save Senator Dodd from himself is the continued layoff grinder of journalists by corporate conglomerates. I’ve never been to Ireland, but that 10-acre estate in Galway doesn’t sound like such a bad place to hang out in retirement.
I see from her comment on Thursday that MCAT couldn’t make the cookin’ OIB anniversary party at Matty’s Corner because she was schmoozing members of the city’s legislative delegation in Hartford about her new wind-powered venture. Hey Cat, some of them did the smart thing and partied with us Thursday night, including State Senators Anthony Musto and Ed Gomes, and State Rep. Auden Grogins. It’s always interesting to hear the blonde banshee’s take on the legislative process.
What an amazing turnout, largest event yet. Thanks to everyone, including the gracious host Danny Roach. It was getting so hot inside that Mojo and Joel Speedy Gonzalez had to take their argument outside. Apparently Joel tried to give Mojo the finger and missed.
It was nice to see Big Denis O’Malley and bigger John Gilmore giving each other the Irish. What was that boys, a warm-up for next week? We also had a nice spillover turnout from those that attended Caribbean Night at Épernay where former Democratic Town Chair John Stafstrom and Mayor Bill Finch’s Chief of Staff Adam Wood served as guest barkeepers, including City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh. I wonder if Woody served Troll a mickey?
Troll’s magnetic babe Judith was a hit at the OIB party. Usually, pols run away from the Troll. Now they want to talk to him. Gee, wonder why?
Cougar Rodgerson was in rare form schmoozing pols and peeps for his planned run for the Board of Education. Hey, Coug, I asked, did ya talk to Carmen Lopez about your run? Cougie just kept on smiling.
Always great to see Jack McGregor and his wife Mary-Jane Foster, founders of the Bridgeport Bluefish. They were among many new faces at an OIB party including Kathy Young, that whirlwind account rep for Cablevision, and Ed Adams, the genial former G-Man, who was chatting with former City Councilman Pat Crossin. I was trying to spy but Pat just kept on saying things like Lennie leaks, Coyne flips and Pinto spills the beans, or something like that.
Everyone was asking: Lennie, who’s City Hall Smoker? Well, I don’t give up my peeps; but really, I don’t know. Keep giving them hell Smoker!
And after the party a bunch of us headed over to the Gallery at Black Rock for the art opening of the talented Jessica Bajoros. Go there and check out her work. Fantastico. And while you’re there say hello to the host OIB friend Eileen Walsh.
We’ll produce blackmail photos from the party this weekend.
News release from Mayor Bill Finch
Federal Judge’s Ruling Frees City From ‘Special Master’ Provision
BRIDGEPORT, CT (March 13, 2009) – In a ruling released Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Janet B. Arterton freed the City’s police department from its more than 25-year federal court oversight. The substance of her ruling is reviewable after 18 months, but in September 2010, the ruling to abolish the ‘special master’ will become final.
Mayor Bill Finch called the decision a “historic moment for the City, and validation of the continuing pattern of fairness toward every officer, regardless of gender or color.”
“When I took office in December 2007, I made the resolution of the Guardians case a top priority. It is my belief that racism has no place in Bridgeport, and especially not in the Bridgeport Police Department,” said Finch.
“This is tremendous news for the City. This ruling says the court has recognized that the racism that was present in the Bridgeport Police Department in the 1970s is indeed, a thing of the past. Now, we will be able to control our own police department, a move that will help us fight crime more effectively, while simultaneously saving the money the city has been paying the special master since 1983,” Finch continued. “We will continue our efforts to make sure that all Bridgeport police officers are treated fairly and evenly.”
The case began in the late 1970s, when the Guardians, a Bridgeport black police officers’ association, filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that black and Hispanic officers were consistently overlooked for promotions, and were routinely given the worst duty assignments. Following a trial in federal court that ended in late 1982, the late Judge T.F. Gilroy Daly ordered the appointment of a “special master” to oversee all complaints of racial harassment and discrimination in the Bridgeport Police Department.
Under the system mandated by Judge Daly in 1983, a “rotation order” was put into place requiring all Bridgeport police patrol officers to change their duty assignments every two years. Both Mayor Finch and former Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood argued during a hearing in early August 2008, that this rotation program prevented the implementation of community policing, which calls for officers to be assigned to specific neighborhoods in order to build relationships with the local residents, and gain their trust in an effort to more effectively fight crime.
“This ruling will allow our officers to serve the community at the neighborhood level by letting them forge relationships with the residents they protect,” said Acting Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr.
The present leadership of the Bridgeport Police Department is thoroughly integrated by race and gender. Over the last decade, Bridgeport has had two African-American police chiefs, an Hispanic Acting Chief, and the leadership of the Office of Internal Affairs, the ning Division, Professional Standards division, as well as the position of Deputy Chief, have all been capably filled by minority officers. At present, the department is one of the most diverse departments in the state.
“We will now have a stronger arsenal with which to fight crime,” Finch said. “We will be able to assign police personnel where the Chief feels they need to be. This will allow us to implement community policing in its truest form.”