Blumenthal Casts Doubt On SuBy, Plus Steel Language, And Live And Die By The Budget

Afternoon Update

: Yikes! Be careful what you request.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal dealt, at the very least, a public relations blow to Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz who wants Dick’s job as he seeks Chris Dodd’s U.S. Senate seat. SuBy asked Dick for an opinion: does she have the legal professional qualifications to run for AG? Dick says not likely, but a state judge would have to decide the issue. From Jon Lender Hartford Courant:

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday that the state law requiring 10 years’ “active practice” as a lawyer before running for attorney general is constitutional, and that it takes more than merely being licensed as a lawyer to be considered as actively practicing law.

The opinion could have a serious impact — politically, if not legally — on the person who requested it: Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who declared her candidacy three weeks ago to replace her fellow Democrat, Blumenthal, in the November election. He is not seeking re-election as he runs for the U.S. Senate.

Almost as soon as Bysiewicz entered the race, questions arose as to whether she meets the requirement in a state statute that Connecticut’s attorney general must have “at least 10 years’ active practice at the bar of this state.” A few critics have said that Bysiewicz does not meet that “active practice” requirement, even though she has been registered as an attorney here for 23 years.

Before Bysiewicz became secretary of the state in 1999, she had worked for eight years for two law firms and a corporation’s legal department – six of those years in Connecticut. Bysiewicz and her supporters say that all 11 of her years in office should count as “active practice” because although she doesn’t need to be a lawyer in the job, she and her staff dispense legal advice on laws affecting elections and corporations.

Nearly two weeks ago, Bysiewicz, in her official capacity as Secretary of the State, asked Blumenthal for the opinion on statutory and constitutional requirements for the office of attorney general that are personally relevant to her.

One of the fundamental questions she asked was whether the 10-year “active practice” statute is constitutional; her supporters say the century-old status predated the state constitution by seven decades, and the constitution just says you need to be an 18-year-old voter. Others, however, say the legislature has the right to elaborate on the constitution as long any statute that is passed does not contradict it.

Statement from Dem AG candidate George Jepsen:

“The people of the state are looking for a qualified law enforcement leader. I will bring 26 years of active law practice on day one of the job. The people deserve an Attorney General who is 100% committed to the office.

I have also pledged not to run for U.S. Senate in 2012 or for Governor in 2014, so that I can be a full-time Attorney General who is totally committed to serving the people of Connecticut.

The people of Connecticut deserve clarification of Susan’s legal status as a candidate for Attorney General. It falls on her to take appropriate steps to resolve the question of her qualifications.”

Steel Deal Stuff

City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh is back in action joining forces with several of his council peers pushing a resolution that would oblige the city to produce quarterly reports related to the 52-acre Steel Point development. Language states:

Recommended Changes to City Council Rules of Order

Amend Section XII – City Council Committee to include

Committee on Development Districts – Steel Point

Amend Section XIII – References to Committees

14. The Committee on Development Districts – Steel Point shall have sole or shared jurisdiction over all matter related to the Steel Point Development District.

A. The Mayor and / or the Economic Development Director shall refer to the Committee quarterly progress reports that detail the developers’ efforts to meet all of the deadlines / goals established in the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA). Precise assessments must be given as to whether or not the city believes that the deadlines established in the LDA will be met in accordance with the plan. Any negative comments must be accompanied by further documentation as to the steps being taken to get the project back on track.

B. All amendments to existing contracts and / or new contracts or actions relative to the establishment of a Taxing District and / or Inter-Local Agreement must first go to this Committee and the Committee will report its recommendations to the appropriate City Council Committee, i.e. Contracts, Economic and Community Development, Ordinance, etc.

C. The Committee shall be made up of seven council members. The majority of the members must represent the districts that are currently geographically most impacted by the plan. At time of passage this would require both members of the 137th and 139th Districts. The chairmen of the committee must come from these districts. The other three members shall be appointed by the council president with the approval of the council.

Joining Walsh are East End council members Andre Baker and James Holloway, and Lydia Martinez and Manny Ayala who represent the East Side. The resolution is before the Miscellaneous Matters Committee.

One Tax For Another?

Hard for me not to eye Bill’s Deadline For Jodi’s Jail: two days and counting. What will the city counter propose? And what will Jodi do in response?

Mayor Bill Finch has a lot on his mind these days. More than just Jodi’s Jail. This is some budget cycle for hizzoner, who’s up for reelection next year, as well as anyone running for state office this year. The next governor, barring an act of the high heavens, will inherit a multi-billion dollar budget deficit forecast by state bean counters. Nice job, eh?

We have a lot of smart folk reading OIB. Why is it the country’s highest-taxed, wealthiest state, hangs by its budget fingernails with nothing but pavement below? (Splat!) Unless, of course, another tax increase is on the horizon to bail out the last taxpayer soaking. The way the state blowtorches little businesses is nuts. The local one-shingle concern (that would be me) must pay the same $250 Business Entity Tax that General Electric pays. Enough of my whining.

Everything that happens inside the capitol impacts Bridgeport’s budget. The State Legislature is back in session on Wednesday facing a $500 million deficit with five months left in the budget year. Governor Jodi Rell will announce her suggestions on Wednesday to close the gap. The state is relying on a few billion in savings and $1.5 billion in federal stimulus dough to hold things together for the two-year budget passed last year. This is the time of year that Connecticut’s big-city mayors weigh in with suggestions to persuade a suburban and rural-dominated legislature to see things their way. For instance … could you support a repeal of the municipal auto tax in Connecticut in exchange for a statewide property tax? That’s what New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2006, proposes as the Connecticut Legislature heads into session. From the New Haven Independent:

HARTFORD—As lawmakers prepared for a deficit-marred session, Mayor John DeStefano made a surprise pitch.

He called for getting rid of municipal tax on automobiles in Connecticut—as part of a bargain to create a statewide property tax.

The proposal came on the eve of the new three-month state legislative session, which opens Wednesday amid a $6 billion two-year deficit forecast.

And it represented a 180-degree reversal from the mayor’s position four years ago, when he was running against Gov. M. Jodi Rell for the governor’s seat. At that time, Rell proposed eliminating the car tax; DeStefano called her “oblivious” for making that suggestion.

This time, DeStefano isn’t running for governor. He still shows up in Hartford as one of the most outspoken municipal leaders lobbying on statewide issues. Now DeStefano says he’d be willing to cut the car tax—but only as way to broker a deal on statewide property tax reform.

He floated the idea at a subcommittee meeting last Wednesday of a new blue ribbon commission called Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE). It was the first meeting of the Revenue Streams and Economic Development subcommittee, a group of local and statewide leaders tasked with coming up with new ideas to save money and bring revenue to towns.

DeStefano set the stage by telling the room how New Haven provides jobs, infrastructure and social services for the region—but is forced to rely on the municipal property tax as the sole tool to raise revenue. That’s a problem, he said, because of the great portion of the town that’s tax-exempt.

Sound familiar? Bridgeport too.



  1. Grin Reaper // Feb 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Joe Crisco???
    Did Finch bring him back when no one was watching???

    Crisco? Sounds like more Fattening in the Can!

    Yahooy came out for Groundhog Day. Six more weeks of Winter.

  2. Great post, I love hearing about Bob Walsh. Seems he is the only person in Bridgeport that makes sense. Giving one entity full control over our waterfront development in a time when it’s almost impossible to raise capital for development makes clear sense.

    I also read his post pertaining to the Jacobs buyout and he seems to have the interests of Bridgeport at heart.

    Not enough time this morning to get into the state budget or for that matter the city budget.

    I read the paper most days and do look for some direction from the trusted mayor, but I never see any! I mean I really never see what he stands for and what direction he wants to see the city move.

    If the jail is approved for Virginia Ave it is very safe to say it’s because Finch is asleep at the wheel. He is a Hartford guy, he should have an inside track on plans made in Hartford, but instead he just lies about what he knew and when he knew it. The coverup is always worse than the act.

    Caruso, big bag of hot air. He is screaming and stomping too, but again too late.

    Tony from Trumbull just wants to hug and everyone should get along.

  3. WDJZ Talk Radio.

    As luck would have it, WDJZ in Bridgeport, 1530AM will
    Feature the Pat & Mike Show today at 4pm

    Please tune in and call us to help the flow.

    Topics for today:

    What is the best freeloading, do-nothing job in the city of Bridgeport that pays the best and has the best benefits?

    The newly enacted Gays in the Military policy, we hope to hear from Robbie the gay guy and his spin on the new policy.

    As always and our favorite, Bob Walsh, racism and steel point.

    You can reach at 203.367.4375 live on the air at 4PM.

  4. “Bridgeport Now” Tue today at 8pm on Ch 88.
    Residents call in … Is a jail appropriate for a residential neighborhood? Governor Rell’s push for building another jail in Bridgeport. We are close to deadline. Joel Bing from DeRailtheJail special guest.

    We applaud efforts by Walsh for greater transparency with Steel Point.

    Residents from the proposed location will be calling in.

  5. I meant residents of the proposed jail location on Virginia Ave will be calling in.

    We also will be showing a closeup of the ghost of the Majestic Theater.

  6. It’s time for Connecticut lawmakers to stop coming up with ways to spend taxpayer dollars. They have managed to drive company after company out of Connecticut with all of their taxes. Enough of these new programs is enough.
    Here is a perfect example of their spending albeit money will come from Bonding. The state is willing to spend $20Million on a new jail for about 24 girls who have been in trouble of one sort or the other. That’s a cost of almost $1 million per female. Our reps stated that when they voted they really did not know where this thing was going. One has to wonder how many other spending bills the legislature voted on that they did not understand.
    It’s time to downsize state government.
    It’s time to seek new revenue sources. Why are we the only state from Maine to Virginia with no tolls? Why do we as state residents pick up the repair and maintenance cost for our highways? It’s time to put tolls on all of the highways coming into Connecticut. For those of you that drive into NYC tough luck take the train keep your SUV off the road. The tolls won’t get us $500 Million but maybe it will provide enough income to pay for the state highway department. For those of you that say we will lose Federal Highway funds I say bullshit. Are you going to tell me New York & New Jersey receive no highway funding? Again I say BS.

    1. About the facility for young women: What have they done with this target population for the past 5-7 years when no facility was available? What are the annual operating expenses of running the proposed facility when it opens? Is it true that the facility in the waterfront area of Bridgeport is operating at partial capacity? What is its cost to stay open per resident per day? Does combining facilities despite jurisdictional boundaries offer any efficiencies? How about getting answers to some of these because taxpayer dollars are dear, whether local property taxes, state income taxes or Federal taxes of any kind.
      Don’t know anything about Susan By … but heard that a Black Rock resident, a former CT legislator, placed his hat in the ring for the Secretary of State position ….

      1. BEACON2,
        All good questions about the new facility for the girls. The Bridgeport legislative delegation is the only body that can ask and have a shot at getting thoughtful answers. If that doesn’t work then the questions need to be posed to Senator Eileen Daly who is probably the swing vote on the State Bond Commission with a copy to each member of the State Bond Commission.

  7. “Mayor Bill Finch has a lot on his mind these days. More than just Jodi’s Jail. This is some budget cycle for hizzoner, who’s up for reelection next year, as well as anyone running for state office this year …”

    Lennie, did I miss something? What state office is Finch running for, Secretary of State? He would never get the nomination over Denise Merrill. Plus, Hartford thinks he is a joke.

  8. I am shocked that Blumenthal did anything with that AG question. He must feel he owes Jepsen big time to weigh in on such a weighty issue. So where does Sue B go?
    Back to running for Governor? That won’t look good. Challenge Dick in court? That will look worse if Dick wins round 2. Fall back into the comfort zone of Secretary of State and wait?
    What to do, what to do, what to do.

  9. Talk about Economic Developments, what’s up with THAT???
    BRIDGEPORT — Only one thing is certain about plans to open the Arcade building’s first restaurant: It’s not happening anytime soon.
    The reason why is as unclear to Helim Yildiz, who planned to open a Turkish restaurant in the building this month, as the identity of the leaseholder is to Eric Anderson, of Urban Green Builders, which renovated the landmark shopping complex.
    This Anderson is just another example of what is wrong with development in B-port. He did realize what kind of restaurant was going in this space? It’s been in the papers. It’s been talked about around town.
    He is just a lazy developer or else he is looking to squeeze the restaurant owner for more money. Get out of town Eric and acknowledge that you have forfeited your development rights to the other buildings downtown north. Enough is enough.

  10. I wanted and would have supported Susan B for Governor. She turned into nothing more than a political opportunist. She was well ahead in the governor’s race when she changed course and wanted to run for the AG slot. She then figured she would run for Lieberman’s senate seat and the hell with Hartford and the state.
    For my money I now hope she is ineligible for the AG job and gets stuck where she is now. Serves her right.

  11. I’ve been so busy lately but I just had to post this. Obama poll numbers are on the rise again and he is getting 51% approval rating. Let’s just hope the economy turns around because there are some people out there that want to see us do bad for their political advantages and that is not good. Republican or Democrat we should never want to see an administration fail. I would have loved to see Bush do a great job but he did not I just hope 2010 is a turnaround year for the economy.

  12. TC you always say downstate Dem. I don’t care where they come from it is what they can do. Stamford is near us a 20-25 min drive. To be honest when I leave Bpt the only other places I set foot into is downstate CT and Bpt is somewhat downstate for crying out loud I get New York News when I’m in Bridgeport I do not get upstate news. Malloy was a mayor of a big city and did a hell good of a job. Even though I like Ned I want someone who knows about urban issues. Stamford is a great city and Malloy did a good job there.

  13. Look I have posted here many times about Stamford mayors, many times. I will try again. Stamford will never let Bridgeport develop if they can stop it. Stamford and the other cities downstate fought hard to keep a casino out of Bridgeport. They cited the traffic and such as a detriment to the casino. Do you think they gave a shit about how long someone sat in traffic on their way to work in Stamford? NO.
    What Stamford and the other towns downstate were worrying about was the loss of lower-tier workers. They knew if the Casino came to Bridgeport so would the labor force that commuted to Stamford every day. Where would they get the workers to fill these jobs at the salaries they were paying? The same holds true today if for some reason Bridgeport gets an infusion of industry and jobs.
    You can blow all the smoke you want up Malloy’s ass but he still is no friend to Bridgeport. There is also the fact that he is not well known statewide.
    Lamont is a carpetbagger that did win the primary battle against Lieberman and then lost the general election to Lieberman. Lamont has spent the last 6 months campaigning around the country for various Democratic liberals, most notably Joe Sestak from Pennsylvania who is running against Arlen Specter for senator.
    Is this answer good enough for you?

    1. donj,

      I think by downstate T.C. is referring to the country club Democrats from the Gold Coast. There’s more money (and correspondingly more influence in Hartford) from Fairfield down to New York City. Bridgeport is treated like an ugly stepchild.

      1. From what I’ve been able to cipher, nothing much in the way of state funds goes to Bridgeport unless the Hartford honchos are positive that the money will be used for its intended purpose. I’m going to venture a guess that is why the Golden Hill Street bridge has been an eyesore for the last twenty years.

        Hey Lennie, am I correct about this?

  14. Hey donj, a few more tidbits re Malloy:

    He built his impressive record in Stamford on the backs of the residents when he increased the size of the city’s bonded indebtedness more than any previous mayor. He bought out employees who were not loyal and did so using the city employee pension fund. He always worked the unions then screwed them over by privatizing custodians and even the parks dept. Add to it that the contract went to a big contributor. Allegedly he appointed his cousin as fire chief. He is a great politician but his allegiance is to no one but himself and his ego. He supported Hillary in the hope of landing a job in DC. Had enough? BTW I was supporting Suby until she showed her colors. Now what? Someone with less baggage.

  15. Yeah Thanks BPT Kid I understand now but Stamford is no rich city I can tell you that. I have family and friends that live there and for the most part they like it even though I would say they live in some not so good neighborhoods in Stamford. Bpt Kid do you like Lamont or Malloy or neither? Thanks for the feedback TC and BPT Kid. I’m really undecided and was a strong Ned supporter but now am a solid undecided leaning towards Malloy.

  16. Bonded debt going out of the roof; privatizing jobs left and right. Sounds like Bridgeport when Murphy and Stafstrom were in charge.
    Oh, wait a minute. Stafstrom IS bond council for Stamford and Murphy WAS in charge of Personnel.
    And now they are headed back this way. Can’t be good.

  17. Take a look at the listing of mil rates for the state on the website:

    You will see that the average mil rate in Stamford is about 16 mils; Norwalk is 19 mils; Waterbury is 40 mils; New Haven is 44 mils; Hartford is 72 mils; and Bridgeport is 38.7 mils.

    Malloy has run Stamford for 14 years. In the first two years in office he bonded the complete separation of sewer and storm and upgraded other transportation basics.

    I worked in Stamford from 1974-1984 and spent a significant portion of my time working to get the companies that were bailing out of New York City during their fiscal crisis to locate their corporate offices in Stamford. The companies came but the city wasn’t ready to provide the basic services and infrastructure. Nor was the State especially related to the congestion caused by locating all those headquarters on High Ridge and Long Ridge Road. Serrani was Mayor before Malloy.

    Stamford also has had a independently elected Board of Finance. Sure their Board of Reps is 40 members, 20 districts, two from each district. However, the independently elected Board of Finance provides the accounting and finance expertise to properly oversee the fiscal health of the City. Nothing gets to the Board of Reps of a monetary nature unless the Board of Finance approves it. In my opinion, if there is a charter revision commission for Bridgeport coming up to deal with the rule of one, it is a Board of Finance that is sorely lacking in Bridgeport. I am a big fan of a Board of Finance.

  18. I need to clear up what Lennie and Joel posted today on yesterday’s post.

    1. I said that Fabrizi’s brother was fired by Winterbottom and that’s why when Fabrizi became Mayor he fired Winterbottom. Lennie commented that Fabrizi’s brother left on a workers comp claim. Truth is that the brother had many problems, anger and other stuff which I respect and won’t go into. He was given many chances and was in and out of programs but kept failing. Fabrizi when he was council president always got the brother’s job back in spite of Winterbottom’s objections. They fought about it all the time and Fabrizi used his political influence to keep the brother’s job when he should have been terminated. If the brother went out on a comp settlement, someone should check into that as I’m sure he got the max payout if Fabriizi had anything to do with it.

    2. Joel got the two brothers confused. One was a firefighter who retired and became a landscaper who got a lot of work from the city. Remember all the claims of nepotism and fixed bids during the first Fabrizi-Caruso election? I don’t know anything about sexual harassment. The other brother worked at Public Works under Marsilio.

    Don’t mean to criticize the brother because he had problems. Just saying that Fabrizi used his position both as council president and mayor to break city policy and then fire the man who tried to enforce the policy. That makes him a liar and a hypocrite.

  19. *** Right around 1998 there were about 28 total state (men & women) DOC facilities. By the year “2000” some had closed due to state budget cuts & as time went by, the inmate population increased to powderkeg numbers. Some of the jails were used for other things & some not; so why not utilize what may be available first to see just how it will work out before spending all that money to only end up closing the facility years down the line due to budget cuts again? After working in DOC for 21+ years, I’ve seen the waste & money spent on temp. liberal ideas. I have a couple shank marks to prove it, especially when cuts affect the quality of staff control for the interest of inmate “so-called” dorm-like rehabilitation! *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  20. Nancy: Bridgeport had what amounted to a board of finance that was eliminated 20 years ago during the financial crisis because they were (appointed) stooges of the mayor. The city council was chosen to handle the budget because they were elected, knowing that they might be either stooges for the mayor or their political party. The hope was that there would be more cranks than just Bob Walsh (no offense to Troll).

    1. Look next door in Fairfield. Elected executives (selectpersons), elected Board of Finance with bipartisan representation and staggered terms, 4 years I think, to create real institutional memory and expertise year to year, and an elected legislature (RTM).
      So don’t we have enough appointments in this City of stooges, f.o.b.s, people with perceived conflicts of interest? I believe that a Charter Revision creating a body, a Finance body, to receive the budget developed and initially reviewed by the Mayor and his advisers, and create something that the legislature can fathom and rule on would be a major improvement. Once the Mayor’s office throws the ball to the City Council, and the Budget Subcommittee catches it, where is the credentialed professionalism or expertise beyond average? Where can things be aired and questioned by the citizenry? Why isn’t this possible in Bridgeport?

  21. Chicken and the egg. I don’t mean a Board of Finance that is appointed. I believe the Charter should specify a Board of Finance composed of elected experts in accounting and finance. The charter should specify the min quals for the nominees that can be put up for election as citywide positions. The DTC process as it is presently constituted probably will not attract the best and the brightest but this municipal finance stuff is complicated and needs a balance of OPM and elected oversight in my opinion. Chicken and the egg. What comes first?

  22. Haven’t posted in a while but felt compelled to weigh in on the recent article in the paper regarding civil service. This whole mess regarding Jacobs is a complete joke. This administration has proven yet again that it will stop at nothing to push through their own selfish agenda. They have spared no expense in forcing out a handful of employees who were not willing to go along with the game plan as dictated to them. I would love to know the final tally on the settlements and outside legal expenses incurred by the city as a result of the Jacobs, Abate and Riccio suits combined. All taxpayer dollars being squandered away to satisfy the political egos and appetites of this inept administration. These three cases are just a shining example of irresponsible politics getting in the way of government … taxpayers be damned.
    As far as civil service is concerned and what is perceived by some on this blog to be a lack of concern by the unions … I ask … what could the unions have done to prevent it? I don’t think anyone involved with the unions could have anticipated Finch hijacking the Civil Service office using Dunn and Winterbottom to help him repay his debts with city jobs. Make no mistake about it … this is an all-out attack on labor in this city and I do hope all the union officials are taking notice and talking to their respective members. As far as the pushback goes … I know of at least a couple locals who have been putting numbers together regarding votes they may be able to deliver on election day. If they are serious and can effectively organize their votes and have the support of the other locals … the numbers are pretty impressive. One has to wonder if the unions can deliver on the type of time and effort required to pull it off. I wish them luck because that is the only currency they have.
    Random thought … Finch and his team have, in my humble opinion, some very Republican-like tendencies. This attack on labor, protecting the interests of a few well-heeled friends, little or no regard for the collateral damage left in their wake. Pretty scary stuff.

  23. And could someone please answer me as to why Nancy Hadley is longer employed by the city? Am I the only one reading this blog who has asked themselves that question? Oh wait let me guess … her separation with the city was probably political? Could it be that maybe she was just too damned smart for these pinheads in charge? Perhaps they were threatened by just how well qualified and competent she is?

    Lennie–I am not sure if it’s possible but is there any way of putting a total dollar figure together for the Jacobs, Abate and Riccio suits that includes outside legal expenses?

  24. Ms. Hadley,

    Your tenure in Stamford was one that saw the infrastructure of a great city become fashioned and take its first baby step. The next decade (’84-’95) under Serrani/Esposito saw it flourish to greater heights. Malloy’s time was even greater expansion almost to the point of breaking. He deserves credit but didn’t do it alone as he would have people think. It took 20 yrs before he arrived on the scene and he had everything in place to help him.

    A B’port board of finance is a good suggestion but with a caveat that there be minority party representation. Otherwise you’d have a redundant group of party people feathering their own nests. That is not progress and not what we need.

    Thank you for your time in B’port. This city was always 20 yrs behind Stamford and because of you the gap was closing. Sorry to say, I think we’ve regressed to a point where a 20 yr gap would be a good thing.

  25. *** An urban experienced independent accounting firm hired by the city council’s B&A committee to oversee the city’s budget without any influence from the Mayor’s office, etc. Have the city budget split in 4 with the B & A’s and firm’s findings & recommendations on each individual part voted on by first, the B & A then the entire city council. In other words, there has to be some type of $ expertise involved in the process along with the average usual work done by the B & A every year, along with an operating audit on the city side & B.O.E. every 4th year of a Mayor’s term. ***

  26. PCF; In my opinion Nancy Hadley was too smart and too strong a women for them to deal with. Nancy wore Bridgeport on her sleeve. She practiced what she preached. She moved into Bridgeport and lives downtown. No other appointed department head has done this. It would be interesting to see how many of the top execs hired by Finch actually live in the city.
    This administration has shown that it cannot deal with strong, intelligent women. I reference the departure of Rita Bakalar and Michele Mount . If I ran this damned city these 3 women would be my first 3 hires.
    What we have now are a bunch of yes-men that spend their days doing a CYA and very little else.


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