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.
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.