Burning In The Heat Wave, Plus: OIB Fireworks Exclusive, And Fedele Gets Public Dough

Sweating thermometer

Jesus, it’s hot. It’s making me delusional (more than normal).

So hot I swear I saw Pete Finch’s arresting officers present him with a street sign that said “This way to the watering hole.”

So hot that former State Senator Ernie Newton, the Moses of his people, refused to part the Pequonnock River. (We must conserve water.)

So furnace-like that Ned Lamont has agreed to debate Dan Malloy floating inside tire tubes on Lake Forest. C’mon in the water’s just fine.

So hellish that City Council members Bob Walsh and Evette Brantley cannon-balled together into Rooster River. And Cecil Young fanned them with his bullhorn.

So sweltering that Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa invited State Rep. Chris Caruso to take a dip at his Lake Zoar villa. (Chris, have the DEP test the water!)

So strength-sapping that Mayor Bill Finch offered every city union chief Italian Ice from Micalizzi. (Watch out boys, you might need a taste tester!)

Okay, so what’s going on with union negotiations? Sounds like the unions are digging in. They feel they’ve given enough. One quarter of the $8 million the city needs to close the  budget gap may come from cutting police overtime, in lieu of cop layoffs. That still leaves $6 million to balance the budget.

We Have Fireworks For You

What, they canceled the fireworks for the weekend because of the fire danger due to the intense heat? Okay, we aim to please. This is what you’d see if they had them. Alright, alright, so it’s from last year, but check it out.

From Dan Malloy:


July 8, 2010 – Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor, today responded to Mary Glassman’s proposal for “a four-way, joint appearance” that would include Malloy/Wyman and Lamont/Glassman. Glassman made the proposal during a radio appearance on WTIC-AM yesterday.

Malloy and Wyman jointly issued the following statement:

“We accept! We think it’s a great idea. In fact, how about July 27th in New London? If that doesn’t work, we’ll let you pick the date and location.”

From Ned Lamont:

Lamont Unveils ‘Better Schools for Better Jobs’ Plan

Education plan will prepare students to compete in 21st Century economy

New Haven, CT – Today, businessman and Democratic candidate for governor Ned Lamont released his “Better Schools for Better Jobs” plan, which aims to improve Connecticut’s education system and to prepare the state’s youth to compete in the 21st Century economy. Lamont will discuss the details of his plan tonight during an education-themed telephone town hall with Connecticut voters.

“Offering a world-class education to every Connecticut student is one of the most important things we can do to create jobs and grow our economy. We can do more at every level of education to prepare our kids to work and create jobs in the 21st Century. Connecticut has one of the best educated, most productive workforces in the world, and as governor, I will work with teachers, local leaders and parents to make sure we build on that strength by giving every child a fair shot at the starting line of life,” Lamont said.

Lamont’s plan includes steps to close the achievement gap, improve accountability, raise student achievement, and train students in high-demand fields that will be the foundation of our future economy. As governor Lamont will execute the plan by:

• Asking for the resignation of the state boards of education and higher education. While many members are excellent, others are mere partisan appointees. The good will stay, and the others he will replace with education experts

• Supporting early childhood education programs like School Readiness that target the children most in need

• Ensuring teacher prep programs give future educators lots of hands-on experience in the classroom and holding these programs accountable for training effective teachers, as other states are beginning to do

• Using student achievement as one of multiple aspects of teacher evaluation. Scores matter, but they’re far from the whole picture: for instance, teachers shouldn’t be on the hook for children who arrive in class just a few months before testing

• Encouraging districts facing challenges to collaborate with teachers and parents to change school schedules, calendars, and instruction methods–longer school days, for instance, may help raise student achievement

• Working with parents, teachers and administrators in chronically underperforming schools to restructure schools under proven models, such as CommPACT and Innovation schools

• Supporting community schools that provide children and families with wrap-around health, mental health, and other services and serve as true centers of the community

• Supporting vo-tech schools. Rather than closing schools like Wright Tech, we will make sure we have skilled trade workers to install solar panels, build high-speed rail, and power our 21st century economy

• Ensuring community colleges, universities and businesses work together on curricula and internships, so students graduate with the skills to land a great job 

• Creating a full loan repayment program for students at state colleges and universities who study high-demand fields like renewable energy and stay in state after graduation

Lamont’s “Better Schools for Better Jobs” is the fifth comprehensive policy plan of his campaign for governor. The education plan works in tandem with Lamont’s plans to create jobs, revitalize Connecticut’s cities, reduce energy costs and fix the state’s transportation system. To view the full education plan, please visit: action.nedlamont.com/page/s/education

From State Elections Enforcement Commission:

Public Campaign Financing Sought for Primaries

HARTFORD, CT—July 8, 2010. With action at today’s meeting, the State Elections Enforcement Commission has awarded grants from the Citizens’ Election Fund to gubernatorial candidate committees running in both major parties.

By a unanimous vote, commissioners awarded a grant of $1.25 million to the combined candidate committee of Michael Fedele and Mark Boughton, who are seeking the Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor respectively. Last month, the commission awarded a grant to “Dan Malloy for Governor,” the candidate committee for Dan Malloy, who seeks the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

“We are thrilled that gubernatorial candidate committees from both sides of the political aisle have opted to run campaigns relying on public financing,” said Al Lenge, the Commission’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “This only further illustrates the fact that the issues of campaign finance reform and clean elections transcend political divisiveness.

“Removing special interest money from politics is not the province of one political party. This issue crosses political boundaries.” Both Fedele and Malloy face candidates who have injected large sums of their personal wealth into their campaigns.

In his April 10th periodic report, Fedele’s opponent, Tom Foley, reported that he had raised more than $2.4 million for his candidate committee. Because of that fact, the commission also awarded a supplemental grant to the Fedele/Boughton campaign of $937,500. Fedele and Boughton announced that they were running a joint campaign as allowed under Connecticut General Statutes section 9-709. As a combined committee, the candidates will receive a single grant, which can be used to benefit both candidates.

“Candidates Fedele and Boughton opted to combine their campaigns, as specifically allowed under Connecticut’s campaign finance statutes,” said Beth Rotman, the Commission’s director of public financing. “The Citizens’ Election Program gives the candidates some latitude in how they want to run and finance their campaigns, while still remaining within the public finance program.”

The commission issued an advisory opinion last month that laid out the process that candidates should follow when considering whether to run joint campaigns. It included certifying to the commission that they intend to run a single campaign. Commissioner Cashman noted that he believes that the “advisory opinion as written specifically contemplates the procedure and is consistent with the statute.”

In addition to the grant to the Fedele/Boughton campaign, the commission also approved grants to “Merrill for Secretary of the State,” and 12 other General Assembly candidates. In total, the Commission has awarded grants to 45 candidates for general assembly and to 4 statewide committees.

From Tom Foley:

Foley for Governor Questions Fedele/Boughton Grant Application

Stamford, Conn., — The State Election Enforcement Commission (“SEEC”) will meet, and possibly review, a grant application by the Fedele and Boughton campaigns this Thursday, July 8, 2010 in which those campaigns propose filing as a joint committee that has raised the qualifying funds for a grant. The Tom Foley for Governor Campaign disagrees with the informal guidance given by SEEC staff stating that Fedele/Boughton qualifies as a joint committee. That guidance is at odds with the language in the statute. The Tom Foley for Governor Campaign also disputes that Fedele/Boughton has raised enough qualifying contributions to be eligible for a grant. Before the SEEC awards millions more dollars in taxpayer money to candidates for governor, the Foley for Governor Campaign requests that the SEEC rule on this application in a way consistent with the language set forth in the statute governing the Citizens’ Election Program (“CEP”).

Justin Clark, Campaign Manager for Foley for Governor commented, “The SEEC has shown from its actions that it intends to interpret the CEP statute very loosely and, frankly, contrary to how the statute was written. It appears that the Commission has a strong bias in favor of approving grants, even when applicants have not qualified under any reasonable reading of the statute. This bias discredits the program and reveals an inherent conflict within the SEEC. Members of the SEEC and the SEEC staff have a strong interest in having candidates receive grants and get elected. If the SEEC persists in this bias, the CEP will have created a corruption of our elections that is worse than the problems it was intended to resolve. We encourage the SEEC to stick to the language of the statute and eliminate their bias toward awarding grants so as not to further call into question the integrity of the CEP and SEEC.”

Mr. Clark cited several examples of where past and anticipated positions of the SEEC are inconsistent with the CEP statute:

· Under the statute, Fedele/Boughton does not qualify as a joint committee because one is an endorsed candidate and the other is not. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-709(a), the CEP statutory language regarding the ability to “campaign jointly”, refers to the “party-endorsed candidate for nomination or election to the office of Lieutenant Governor” and the “party endorsed candidate for the nomination or election to the office of Governor.” The statutory language is clear that a non-endorsed candidate for governor and an endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor are not eligible to form a joint campaign committee. The SEEC should reject this application on this basis.

· Perhaps no principle of the CEP is more fundamental than the $100 limit on individual contributions to a campaign committee. This principle is clearly stated in Conn. Gen Stat. § 9-704 (1) where it says “contributions from any individual, including said candidate, that exceeds one hundred dollars . . . shall not be considered in calculating [qualifying contributions].” The Fedele/Boughton application being heard tomorrow includes many contributors who have contributed more than $100 to the joint committee. If the amount by which contributions to the joint committee exceed $100 were excluded from its qualifying contributions, the joint committee would likely not have raised enough money to qualify for a grant. This “double dipping” is contrary to both the letter and spirit of the CEP and the SEEC should reject this application on this basis, too.

· Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-700(11), the CEP requires that a candidate who has opted out of the program report when their primary spending has reached 90% of a qualifying candidate’s primary spending limit. Primary spending is clearly defined in the statute as the amount spent during the primary campaign which the statute unambiguously defines as: “the period beginning on the day following the close of (A) a convention held pursuant to section 9-382 for the purpose of endorsing a candidate for nomination to the office of Governor…and ending on the day of a primary held for the purpose of nominating a candidate for such office.” Thus, spending that applies to the 90% trigger for filing an Initial Supplemental Campaign Finance Statement should be amounts spent from May 23 through the primary date of August 10, 2010. The SEEC has informally opined that it intends to ignore the language of the statute and define primary spending as all money spent since the forming of a campaign committee. This position is clearly at odds with the language in the statute. The “topping-up” grant to the Malloy campaign was made on this basis.



  1. It’s so hot LeBron James is having his press conference with ESPN at the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club. They must be the only Club in America with air-conditioning. It will be a great fundraising opportunity for the national organization, but come on Greenwich! Wassup wit dat LeBro???

  2. It had to be a tough decision for the unions to vote against givebacks knowing that members would be laid off. I can’t blame them though this administration does not know which way to go. One union is told they need to give back 19 days while another is told they have to give back 5 days. What gives with that?
    The FD & PD are told they need to give back a designated amount of money.
    My question is why weren’t adjustments made by the budget committee? Why did they virtually okay every department budget as it was presented? Was the budget committee acting in concert with the administration to screw the unions and its members?
    The unions could not trust the administration as they have taken absolutely no steps to reign in the deficit. The administration has gone the other way in regards to the deficit. They have hired 40 plus political assholes. They have continued the spending unabated.
    The administration while asking unions for givebacks put themselves in for a 4% raise or about $4,000-plus more a year in salary.Their excuse was they need this payment for their pension benefits (makes no sense).
    The city has been working the same way since Adam Wood took a leave of absence. A good will move would be to eliminate Wood’s job from the city and thus a huge savings. Just a thought.
    The people of Bridgeport need to wake up to what is going on in this city. They need to know about the mismanagement, the dumb spending habits and the callous behavior of the administration towards city workers.

    1. The COB asked each union for different amounts. They asked Nage for about one Million in givebacks, divided by the number of union members that’s about 17.5 days, between 5 to 7%. The residents, employees and taxpayers should demand an explanation on how could they pass an unbalanced budget. This admin pulls everything out of their ass.

  3. If Malloy and Lamont want to have their debate in Lake Forest … I hope they’ll at least contribute an associate membership fee to the LFA!

  4. To design a budget and subsequently pass a budget with an 8 million dollar deficit anticipating union concessions was ludicrous and dangerous. Now, it will devastate a city with citizens who depend on municipal support. That support comes from the employees. Those responsible should never be placed in a governing role again. God help the city of Bridgeport.

  5. They canceled the fireworks because of the intense heat and a fire hazard? Really? That is just so much bullshit. The fireworks are either shot from a barge or they are set up on the sand. Where is the fire hazard? The fireworks are set to explode over the sound and as far as I know the oil spill has not reached Long Island Sound so we don’t have to worry about the water catching fire.
    There is another reason for canceling the fireworks we are not being told about. Who was sponsoring the fireworks? Did they pull the funding? What is the real truth?

  6. It is real interesting how Lamont always comes out with a plan on an issue a week after Malloy’s plans. Lamont just rearranges words and steals what Malloy says. Poor Mary Glassman was left to defend Lamont’s action on John Rowland’s radio show. She took some tough punches. Leave it to Lamont to make a woman defend him.

    It is so hot Lamont has gone deep, deep underground.

    It is so hot the Mayor is sponsoring a wet tee shirt contest for the employees of City Hall.

  7. TC: Your point is well taken, but by observation the public doesn’t get into a broil until they actually see and feel a decline in city services–like “in the good old days” 20 years ago when police response time dropped to 45+ minutes on calls because of manpower issues during the financial crisis.

    One way to beat the heat used to be walking onto the ferry in the morning and STAYING ON IT. You paid the fare and never got off. They would let you stay. A group of el cheapo South End friends would ride back and forth from 9-10 a.m. to 4-5 p.m., drink beer, eat lunch, sun on top in the breeze crossing the sound, and duck into the restaurant air conditioning while in either harbor.
    In the “good old days” it was not difficult to find an illegal place to park where friendly Bridgeport police officers would leave your car alone.

    1. In the “good old days” the cops used to beat the heat by ducking into Jack Prince’s joint on Main Street, which is now home to Peep Holes United Bank.

  8. The city has done a decent job with cleaning up after the tornado, but “steal point” hasn’t done a thing to clean up or fix any of its property. If you ride by you can see the fences are almost lying on the ground. While they have said over and over they wanted to be good corporate citizens to Bridgeport, I’ve seen no effort on their behalf to be just that. They are sitting on what may be our most valuable tract of land and they haven’t stepped up once to be “the good corporate citizens” they promised they’d be.

  9. Hector,
    The Steal Pointe Developers have filed damage claims in excess of $50 million dollars due to the tornado. They estimate damage to the gold fences (painted black to discourage vandalism) at $2 million; damages to the historically significant O’Rourke House in excess of $2 million. They are seeking $5 million to build and incorporate the O’Rourke museum into one of their shopping malls.
    Damage to the bulkheads are immeasurable and they are seeking a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement to construct new ones.
    They are seeking $4.5 million to construct a new Pequonnock Yacht Club based on the price the City of Bridgeport paid for the old one.
    And the balance is for lost revenues due to the negative impact the tornado had on their development plans.
    They did agree to sign the land over to the city if their damages are fully recognized.
    Here’s hoping …

  10. Finch needs to shit or get off the pot in regards to the layoffs. You can’t keep threatening people each week and then back down. The unions aren’t bluffing; the answer is a resounding “NO.” So do what you gotta do Mayor Finch and stop bluffing. The sooner you lay off the sooner the lawsuits can be filed.

    Keila Torres of the CT Post filed an FOI to force the city to reveal all the hires, including temps and consultants, during the last year. So far the city has refused to give up the names. It’s just a matter of time. The taxpayers will be very surprised to see the number of people who’ve been hired during the so-called hiring freeze, including many politically connected relatives and girlfriends.


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