Can You Spare A Dime? Plus: OIB 100K And Birdie’s Hippie Fest

Everyone’s raising moolah. Now that ballot qualification has been set for the Aug. 12 primary, candidates for state office are all over the place begging for dough to qualify for Connecticut’s historic, voluntary, public financing system. Basically, candidates raise a percentage in small donations and receive the remainder of funds from taxpayers.

No loot from lobbyists, contractors, PACS, or gypsies, tramps and thieves. (Well, maybe a few low-key ones.) Most candidates have set goals to qualify for the free money by next week to organize the six-week stretch run. Still, it’s not easy. Instead of asking for a check with a couple of zeros at the end candidates are asking for fives and tens to meet the numerical contribution quota. Why do I get the feeling there’s still someone lurking with a bag of cash. Ah, those days are over, right?

Example, you’re a candidate for state representative. You must raise $5,000, between $5 and $100 donations, from 150 individual resident contributions of towns included (in whole or in part) in the district. Do that and you receive an extra $25,000. For state senate, raise $15,000 from 300 residents of towns included (in whole or in part) in the district, and you get a check for $85,000.

Out of breath? So are some of the candidates. Whether you’re Democrat Sly Salcedo, running for state representative in the 130th State Assembly District that covers the lower half of Bridgeport, or Democratic state senate candidates Anthony Musto and Marilyn Moore, trying to unseat Republican State Sen. Rob Russo, it’s a stick in the eye tracking down so many donors. The good news is, once the public money is approved, candidates can’t raise any more. All the focus is on campaigning. If there’s enough time to do that!

City Kitty’s Greatest Hit

Hey, OIB has kissed 100,000 pageviews. It was a close contest to hit the number. City Kitty wins, followed closely by FedUpWithCityHall. City Kitty, let me know when you’ll join Mo and me for dinner. Bring your hair clippers. Thank you, everyone for supporting OIB. Cougar Rodgerson called today to plug his band The Chinese Restaurants playing The Green Room on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock tonight at 9. Check it out. Yahooy, bring tomatoes.

BOE Bucks

Within the next week, a group of advisors will be announced that will help oversee implementation of the forensic audit that will review the Board of Education’s $215 million budget. Republican State Sen. Rob Russo was instrumental in securing $250,000 from Gov. Jodi Rell and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney to fund the audit. Hopefully, OIB friend Bruce Hubler, a retired Wall Street executive who knows a little about budgets, will have key input into the process.

Birdie’s Hippie Fest

Mayor Bill Finch announced a five-year agreement with organizers of the Gathering of the Vibes to host the concert event at Seaside Park. Bird Man (like me) is a Classic Rock junkie, so this in a nice announcement for the mayor as we segue into the entertainment value of the Barnum Festival weekend. Bring on the Hippie Fest! See Finch press release below:

The City of Bridgeport and Gathering of the Vibes have finalized an agreement to hold the annual music, camping and arts festival at Seaside Park for the next five years, through summer 2012. This year’s 13th annual event, scheduled for July 31–Aug. 3, 2008, features New Orleans legends The Neville Brothers, southern rockers The Black Crowes, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and Friends and Bridgeport’s own Deep Banana Blackout.

Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) commented, “We’re excited to continue developing Bridgeport’s relationship with Gathering of the Vibes. The Vibes is an exceptional addition to Bridgeport’s blossoming arts and entertainment scene, as well as a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Park City to thousands of out-of-town guests from throughout the country. We look forward to growing together over the next five years.”

Gathering of the Vibes Executive Director Ken Hays added, “I want to thank Mayor Finch and the entire City of Bridgeport for all their support over the years. The Vibes at Seaside Park is a true team effort and I couldn’t be more pleased about this announcement. As a lifelong Connecticut resident, it’s a privilege to call Seaside Park home for the next five years.”

The four-day festival offers entertainment options for the entire family. In addition to showcasing 40 bands on three stages, this year’s event launches the bold Green Vibes environmental initiative, aimed at educating attendees on issues related to global climate change. Local organizations committed to developing sustainable energy alternatives will be highlighted, while a “Solar Stage,” featuring up-and-coming artists from the Bridgeport area and beyond, will be powered by on-site solar panels. A wide variety of custom arts and crafts vendors will be on hand, while designated kids areas provide diversions for even the youngest of attendees (kids 12 and under are admitted to the event free of charge). Convenient shuttle service to satellite lots, local hotels, the Bridgeport Metro North station and Port Jefferson Ferry makes the event an easily accessible day trip from anywhere in the northeast.

Gathering of the Vibes 2008 marks the festival’s fourth appearance at Seaside Park. The 1999 and 2000 concerts were unprecedented ventures for the Park, with thousands of campers taking up residence for extended weekends of music and revelry, which propelled the event to national prominence. Following a sweeping restoration and renovation project at Seaside Park, Gathering of the Vibes returned to the Long Island Sound waterside haven in August 2007. Approximately 20,000 attendees per day enjoyed musical performances by acclaimed artists such as Buddy Guy, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. This year’s event will again showcase musical legends and emerging artists at the Park’s 370 pristine acres.



  1. Spare a Dyme? How about people dropping Dimes and hopefully we can get rid of the Corrupt. Lennie, there is a lot of confusion with Citizens campaign fund. As I understand it, We must get 150 people from within the district to donate $5 to $100. If I get 150 people and each can only afford $5, that would leave me with $750.
    I understand that in such event, I would be allowed to raise the remaining $4,250 from outside the district as long as it’s not out of State. Am I correct Lennie?

  2. hey lennie,

    congratulations on the impending hundred thousand hits. i hope you don’t have to take joel to dinner.

    molotov kisses from your favorite anarchist,


  3. On BOE Bucks:

    I second that motion for Bruce Hublers’ appointment as an advisor to the implementation of the school auditing.
    I strongly feel that Hubler and the group shall be allowed to scrutinize the audit report itself. I don’t trust the BOE, Finch and the Regional Business Council as far as handling this matter is concerned. According to the press conference last week, Stage 1 is complete and Stage 2 will soon be completed and we didn’t even know that such committee was formed and that the Business Council is the feduciary of the funds. We still haven’t heard of the findings in stage one (1) or what exactly they have recomended if any recomendations where made at all.

  4. Festival of the Pipes:

    Lennie, for the next 5 years the Hospitals shall be fully staffed every August, in anticipation of the flow of overdosed concert goers. Last year a Bridgeport Police Officer was injured trying to subdue a concert-goer high on Acid. My friends at the Hospital told me so crazy stories about the people coming in after experiencing a trip of a lifetime. Marina Village dealers are waiting for the masses of customers coming to town. One would think that Narcotics and Vice would bust these people when using drugs in a Public Park. I’m sure that if the event was held at Beardsley Park, Finch would have a different opinion of the event. Not in my Back Yard!

  5. actually joel,

    i’m a vampire, just like you.

    additionally, please spare yourself the indignity of soliciting lennie’ advice on a blog concerning state rep public financing and seec regulations.

    i truly cannot believe that you are an endorsed candidate by any party in any city.

  6. joel,

    a five year deal with the vibes is a boon for bridgeport. a potential 60,000 people and their dollars in and out of bpt and our small businesses for three days is a no-brainer. a couple idiot kids are gonna o.d. anywhere that festival is held.

    i applaud bill finch for the first time on this blog for signing that agreement.

    also joel,
    check out my new band, the adoptees.
    we will be debuting at seaside park this summer at the gathering of the vibes.

    eat the brown acid.

  7. In response to Trailblazer’s last remarks…She protests that I persistently bring up the transfer station supervisor. Yet she doesn’t object to Yahooy, Wondering and others who write about Keeley and Auden every day or the blogger who repeatedly inquires about the lack of an Economic Development Director. Makes me think that she has a personal interest in this story.

    And the reason I mention his girlfriends is because he was pretty careless about spending time with these ladies (and I use that term loosely) during the time when he was supposed to be working. People saw them and reported them. He does have a family which is the really sad part of the story.

    I am glad that Lennie contacted labor relations and that they are bringing this to a conclusion. I will respectfully back off and let that investigation take place. Because the truth will prevail.

    As far as the other things Trailblazer mentions…I have no idea what she is talking about. Sounds like a personal vendetta to me but has nothing to do with the supervsior investigation.

    Have a nice day everyone!

  8. Who is the transfer station supervisor in question?

    What are the allegations?

    What is the city doing about it?

    Are the FBI investigators monitoring this alleged federal crime?

    The price of oil was $24/barrel on 9-11-01. The we had President Bush…….

  9. Oye mi amigo Eddie, no te pases de moda… Rie, Llora que a cada cual le llega su hora…. Y ya tu sabe, ya, no hay que llora, pues la vida es un carnival…

    Ahora falta Pacheco y Hector… Que cante mi gente!!!

  10. donald bpt, congratulations on your new band the adoptees. I heard that Bill Finch only signed the agreement when he heard that a band with the name “The adoptees”. were going to play at the vibes. Bill will be there to cheer you on, He’s your biggest Fan. Is it true that your stage name is donald trumpet?


    I have been reading your remarks regarding Trailblazer. Seems to me that you might be the one with the personal interest in the transfer station supervisor story. Why are you so concerned about his family life and his girlfriends? Are you supporting any of them? Or in fact trying to meet any of them? I thought this was a place to write about issues, not a dating service. Whether the supervisor is guilty or not shouldn’t matter to you unless you have a vested interest in this story. Could that be the case? Maybe Trailblazer finds this topic a bit more interesting than the Keeley and Audin stories. To each his own. I think it is about time you come clean with your interest in this story. If you are really in the know as you claim, stop speculating.

    If memory serves me correctly, Trailblazer stated that he was not a woman, why are you badgering Trailblazer – again – sounds like you have a personal agenda in this story.

    Have a nice day!

  12. It’s hard to believe that anybody would be upset that the Gathering of Vibes have signed a contract with the city. This is the type of short sighted NIMBY idiocy that has had this city bogged down for decades. Remember the Little League complex? Thank you Chris Caruso.

  13. A comment or two:

    Funny how a former Eco Dev. director from B’port goes to Stamford and gets action. Maybe it’s the inept leadership in the council and mayor’s office that holds things back or the incompetent staff in the office. Or maybe, just maybe, Stamford sells itself because the people are up on Stamford not like here where we literally kill to advance our special interest and not the city’s interest.

    The dpw supervisor did a stupid thing and should be fired. Why bring in his personal life? Maybe those that do don’t have one of their own???

    As far as I know the city is minus an eco dev director and dpw director. We have no leadership to build the city and maintain the city. Well Ollie, here’s another fine mess …

  14. I think its the leadership in many cases that hurts Bridgeport because they cater to the NIMBY crowd. A perfect example was Tom Bucci bowing to a small section of the North End who were against the Little League Complex. People should see what they missed out on as this complex was built in Bristol. Irnocally the city just built 2 ballfields at 90 acres park ( Veterans Park).
    Look at the shipping terminal on Seaview jobs and income but NIMBY took over and the politicians caved in.
    Go to a zoning hearing and it is unusal if you dont have a NIMBY group speaking against project.
    You can not move a city forward without pissing someone off and the same is true in Stamford. You have to stop worring about a few votes and move forward.

  15. Good news with the Vibes but let’s not overreact.
    The article says tens of thousands of people showed up last year and they spent tens of thousands of dollars. I believe that works out to $1.00 each.
    People show up and go to the self-contained venue and spend their money within the plastic fences.
    Nice group of people. I had a young man offer me a hit off his pipe last year and I’m not talking “Prince Edwards” tobacco.
    Kudos to Bill Cummings for referring to the visitors who do not stay overnight as the “day trippers.” Nice choice of words.
    Last year they would send ambulances into the crowd following pleas of help based on reports of persons down. “We have a report of a family member down in the crowd. Please look around and see if you can see someone down on the ground!”
    It seems in so many ways Bridgeport still has problems getting out of the ’70s.

  16. Yahooy

    If you read my retort to the old quarterhorse to his thanking Chris Caruso, you might have comprended my sarcastic thanks to Bucci regarding Little League.
    The year was 1987. A mayoral election cycle, all the mayoral candidates that year were against the 90 Acres location. Bucci was the mayor and didn’t have the balls to go against the North End. I will never forget how hurt the late and great Perry Pilotti was over the loss of this issue.
    Two years later Trumbull wins the World Series and the rest is history. Bristol gets the regional facility and we once again strike out.

    Wondering is correct regarding a leader sometimes has to stand up and let the chips fall where they may if they think it is the right thing. Not the politically right thing.

    Yahooy-Quick-Call the FBI. Better yet call my friend, Ed Adams, retired lead agent on Bridgeport corruption, at Mill River Group in Fairfield.

  17. Celia Great contribution. You have nothing better to do than throw mud. It’s people like you that hurt Bridgeport. You stand on the sidelines throw mud and actually contribute squat to improving Bridgeport. If you know of absentee abuses what did you do about it. Here I’ll help you answer: NOTHING.

  18. This Just In: Courant Events

    Courant In A Jam! Going Jelly-Up!!

    Courant announces deep staff and page cuts to take place. Staff calls Tribune Group a bunch of Schmuckers.

  19. City Kitty (Win) -Congratulations!
    Con (Place) -Close but no Gelato!!
    Yahooy (Show)-2 nights with Joel at The Rock!!!

    Cougar, and The Chinese Restaurants, playing at Green Room this evening. They are the opening band for the Take-Outs. Followed by Mao Tse Tongue ‘N Groove.

  20. A bunch of Rednecks were disappointed because they thought it was an Alabama Fundraiser.

    Mario Testa will be hosting an absentee ballot party on the East End in Support of Bill Stewart.

    Do you think if Mario walked down Stratford Ave at night would his pockets look like Rabbit Ears?

  21. After I play my show tonight I am going to call the CT Department of Retardation to see if they can pay Joel Gonzalez a visit.

    Joel you will always be # 0.5 in my book.

  22. Wow – even Celia Cruz came back from the dead to post on this blog! donald – agreed, the Vibes festival is a good thing for the city, but no matter what, a few immature idiots are always going to behave like fools no matter how good the event is. They just can’t help themselves, same stuff goes on at the fireworks, but a few bad apples don’t spoil the whole bunch. On the whole, it’s a fun time for most people.

  23. up on bridgeport – so did I not realize I entered a contest? what’s my prize…can’t be worse than yahooy winning 2 fun-filled nights with Joel in BR…I doubt he’ll be cashing in on that prize…NOT!!! Joel – tonight please take an Ambien and go to sleep.

  24. Avian Bird Flu breaks out at Sea Weed Room.

    Reports are coming in that a Cameo appearance by General Tsao’s Funky Chicken took place tonight. They sat in on a set with The Chinese Restaurants. Word up is that Al B. Shure was in the house and everyone was all Funked Up!

    Encore show tomorrow night at MSG.

  25. City Kitty
    I hear you wonton the contest by the hair that was in my soup.
    How’s tings? Mo is great dinner company. I don’t know about Curly. Maybe Mother Goose will call and give me a bedtime story so I won’t have these hallucinations.

  26. Lennie I can hear Mo fighting with you on the way back home after dinner with Silly Kitty. I suggest you warn Mo about the kitty coughing up fur-balls while Mo eats.

  27. Sorry ’bout that, Kelly. I only read posts that have my name in them.

    You want me to call some guy you know who used to be with the FBI………WHY?

  28. To some of you people on this blog…try to remember that the principle reasons Obama has secured the presumptive democratic nomination is his intelligence, vision and drive…not his color. You make it a race race and we lose and get McCain.


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