City Council President Tom McCarthy has a lot on his plate, and I’m not talking about Big Macs. (Okay, that was a lame aim.)
Big Mac has a full-time job in the city’s Labor Relations Department while trying to move along council business during a mighty tough budget cycle that will increase taxes with the hope of restoring jobs eliminated by Mayor Bill Finch for the budget year starting July 1.
McCarthy still hasn’t ruled out a run at the state senate seat occupied by Republican Rob Russo. Mac gave me a little needle the other day after I wrote that he’ll not be a candidate because there’s too much going on around him. Anthony Musto, the treasurer of the town of Trumbull, has been making the rounds and looks like he will take a shot at Russo. That means Mac, a bright, strong campaigner, would have to wage an August primary. It also means he must make a decision soon if he wants to make a play at the Democratic Party endorsement that takes place next month and/or raise the moolah required to take out Musto.
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa (Mac supported him for town chair) has nodded that Musto will likely be the candidate. Mario does not appear to be in a primary mood. He wants to avoid primaries against state legislative incumbents such as Chris Caruso, Bob Keeley and Jack Hennessy.
So why hasn’t Mac made a final decision? My sense is he’s leaning against a run, but a little birdie has been whispering in his ear of late. Finch, though mayor of the state’s largest city, is still protective of the seat he had to give up. Bird Man spent seven years in the state senate and enjoyed his time there. He misses the legislative joviality. And he wants a Dem in his old seat. Russo whaled Tom Mulligan, the Democrat Finch supported in the special election to fill Finch’s seat in March.
Ironically, Russo has been supportive of helping move along state business that helps the city financially. Just six weeks into the job, he’s been in regular contact with the mayor’s office, and has been pushing a flashpoint issue: trying to secure the state funds for a mega audit that would finally show us–hopefully–a clear image of where the money is going for a more than $200 million city education budget.
Russo has also taken a position that city employees should not serve on the city council, and wants state law to forbid it, a direct shot at Big Mac who says Russo’s rule is a bunch of hooey.
Russo will be hard to beat in November. He’s doing all the right things while building bridges on both sides of the political aisle.
So it comes down to this: does Big Mac have the fire in his belly? He’ll need to find the propane.
New release from Mayor Finch
Mayor Celebrates Housing Success in Bridgeport’s East Side
Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) today attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the East Main Mews site at 588-612 East Main Street in Bridgeport. The project, co-developed by E/N Properties and Regan Development Corporation, involved the rehabilitation of six vacant, boarded up buildings located in Bridgeport’s East Side. The project revitalized these historically significant buildings into 20 affordable rental apartments and 3,015 square feet of newly renovated ground floor neighborhood retail space. The goal of this project was to provide affordable housing both to low income and very low income households.
“East Main Mews is a great example of how new development in Bridgeport can play directly into our City’s Consolidated Plan priorities by fighting homelessness and blight at the same time,” said Mayor Finch. “By taking these boarded up and vacant properties and turning them into useful, productive housing vital to our community, we are truly moving Bridgeport forward.”
The Mayor was joined at the event by Alanna Kabel from the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development; Julie Fagan from HUD; John Craford from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority; Jason Epstein from E/N Properties; Ken Regan from the Regan Development Corporation; and Carmen Colon from Alpha Community Services.
Financing for the project was acquired through owner investment, Bridgeport’s federal allocation of HOME funds, State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Flex funding, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity and Historic Tax Credit equity. The partnership exemplified by this project also helps the City of Bridgeport to meet the goals identified within the City’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and can serve as a model for other developments to achieve these objectives. The Bridgeport Housing Authority was also thanked for providing project-based Section 8 assistance for 13 of the apartments in the building.
Press release from Chris Shays
Shays Announces $863,515 Grant for Derecktor Shipyards
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) announced today Derecktor Shipyards, located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, will receive a $863,515 grant from the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. The funding will be used for a welding tank, welding machines, air casters and hydraulic bender.
The grant is part of the new Assistance to Small Shipyards program, set up under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006.
“This grant will help Derecktor improve their efficiency and cost-effectiveness by allowing them to make capital and infrastructure improvements,” said Shays.
“Derecktor has been in Bridgeport for seven years and they have a tremendous business here,” stated Joe Riccio, Executive Director of the Bridgeport Port Authority. “This funding will be a great boost to their capital needs and keep them competitive in the global marketplace.”
The Maritime Administration is the agency in the Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. Its mission is to improve and strengthen the U.S. marine transportation system, including infrastructure, industry and labor, to meet the economic and security needs of the United States.